"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)
2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)
The Gifts of the Holy Spirit Are for Today!
By: Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.
Speaking in tongues? Prophecies? Healings? Discerning of spirits? These and other supernatural signs and spiritual gifts were commonplace occurrences in the early Church. On that the Bible record is clear. But should we expect such spiritual gifts in our churches today? A growing number of Christians responded “Yes!” to this question during the twentieth century and up to the present time.
The first half of the twentieth century saw the emergence of many of today’s large Pentecostal denominations, with the associated manifestation of various gifts of the Holy Spirit. In the second half of the twentieth century, the Charismatic Movement led millions more Christians in non-Pentecostal denominations to embrace the present-day validity of these supernatural gifts.
However, man’s experience and beliefs by themselves do not establish doctrine. That is the prerogative of the Bible. In the balance of this study, we will examine a number of Scripture verses which support the ongoing validity of the gifts of the Spirit throughout the Church Age.
1 Corinthians 12:4, 7-11 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit.... (7) Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.
This spiritual gifts list contains what Bible teachers commonly call the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit (note: another list occurs in Romans 12). In the order listed, as translated in the King James Version, they are:
• the word of wisdom
• the word of knowledge
• gifts of healing
• the working of miracles
• discerning of Spirits
• divers kinds of tongues
• the interpretation of tongues
Biblically knowledgeable Christians readily admit that these divinely-empowered spiritual gifts occurred in the first-century Church, as recorded in the New Testament. The question that is raised by some, and which is at the heart of this study is: Are these spiritual gifts still occurring today? I reply with a heartfelt “Yes!” to that question, and I invite you to consider the following Scriptures in support of that belief. (Bold text throughout this study is mine, added for emphasis).
Mark 16:15-18 [Jesus] said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.  Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.  And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues;  they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
These verses, along with the companion verses in Matthew 28:18-20, are known as the Great Commission. These words of Jesus make it quite evident that the Great Commission is intended for the entire Church Age, stretching from Jesus’ First Coming to His Second Coming. Consider the following:
• Jesus commissioned the Church to “go into all the world” with the Gospel (vs. 15). We are still in the process of fulfilling that command in this, the 21st century.
• Jesus commissioned the Church to “preach the good news to all creation” (15). That, too, we are still in the process of fulfilling.
• Those to be affected by the Great Commission are “whoever believes...” (16). “Whoever” would encompass all believers in every century.
• Supernatural signs — including speaking in tongues, driving out demons, and healing the sick — were promised to accompany the Great Commission. That is, the Gospel that is preached “to all creation ... [in] all the world ... [to] whoever believes” throughout the Church Age is to be accompanied by the supernatural spiritual gifts of God.
• In sum, the Great Commission throughout the centuries since Jesus’ death and resurrection involves preaching the Gospel of Christ, accompanied by God’s confirmation with supernatural manifestations — (Mark 16:20) “And the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.”
Matthew 28:19-20 "...go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
This is Matthew’s record of the same Great Commission that we just looked at. Consistent with Mark’s account, we see that “to the very end of the age” we are to “teach them to obey everything” that Jesus commanded them, including His commands to heal the sick, to cast out devils, etc.
It is vitally important that we Christians of the 21st century understand that Jesus intended the Great Commission to be pursued throughout the Church Age as He originally established it — that is, WITH accompanying supernatural signs. Sadly, for too much of history, the Church has been content to try to reach the world with the preached word only, thereby violating the Apostle Paul’s great declaration: “Our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction” (1 Thessalonians 1:5).
1 Corinthians 1:7-8 Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed.  He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. (underlining mine)
Recall our opening list of spiritual gifts given by the Holy Spirit, taken from chapter 12 of this epistle to the Corinthians. Here the apostle Paul is opening this same epistle by assuring them that they will lack no spiritual gifts all the way “to the end”! Contrary to teaching in some modern circles, the early Church was promised that all the way to the end of the Church Age, up to the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, they would “not lack any spiritual gift.” Millions of Christians around the world today continue to believe straightforward Bible promises from God like this one, and they are personally receiving gifts of the Spirit and seeing them regularly manifested by God in their midst — exactly as promised!
1 Corinthians 2:4-5 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power,  so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.
Today as then, it is vitally important that our preaching of the Gospel be accompanied with a “demonstration of the Spirit’s power.” Such demonstrations in Paul’s ministry included healings and miracles, along with other gifts of the Holy Spirit. This principle still applies today. That is, the faith of those we lead to Jesus Christ must not rest on the skill and wisdom of our words, but on the Word of God confirmed with genuine manifestations “of the Spirit’s power.” In other words, the supernatural gifts of the Spirit provide Christians in every century with powerful testimony to the reality of the Gospel we preach.
John 14:11-12 ...at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
Jesus promised that believers (not just apostles) may do the works that He did, and even greater, because He has returned to the Father and given us His Spirit. Ministering your spiritual gifts is very much a part of "full gospel" ministry. Christ’s disciples in the early Church did indeed do the works that He had done. They healed the sick, raised the dead, cleansed the lepers, cast out devils, and more. But note that Jesus’ promise was not just to the disciples of that first generation, but to “ANYONE who has FAITH IN ME.” If you have faith in Jesus, then in His Name YOU can heal the sick, cast out demons, etc.
Romans 11:29 God’s gifts and his call are IRREVOCABLE.
God’s charisma are irrevocable. The Amplified Bible says: “For God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable -- He never withdraws them when once they are given.”
The Greek word here for “gifts” is charisma, from which we derive our English word “charismatic.” The Bible is assuring us that the charismatic gifts, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, are never revoked or withdrawn when once they have been given. In fact, the bible encourages you to increase in your spiritual gifts.
Hebrews 2:4 God also testified to [our great salvation] by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.
James 1:17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who DOES NOT CHANGE like shifting shadows.
God the Father does not change, including in His giving of spiritual gifts. He confirmed the preached Gospel in the first century with “signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit.” And He who “does not change” confirms the same Gospel in the 21st century with the same supernatural manifestations. You can be filled with the Spirit of God today and manifest His powerful gifts, even as the early Church did.
Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the SAME yesterday and TODAY and forever.
Jesus ministered in power, signs, wonders, and miracles in the first century. And the Bible clearly records Him empowering the early Church to minister with supernatural manifestations and spiritual gifts. Well, Jesus is the “same ... today.” Jesus has not changed. As in the early Church, so today, through the baptism of the Holy Spirit, He empowers His followers to minister in the power and the gifts of the Spirit.
Galatians 3:3 Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?
KJV: Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
Jesus began His Church in the power of the Holy Spirit. He will bring His Church to maturity and completion in the same power of the Holy Spirit, not by “the flesh.”
The early Church was born of the Spirit and baptized in the Spirit. They ministered in the power of the Holy Ghost and manifested the supernatural gifts of the Spirit. But as Paul notes above, even in the first century there began a drift away from living and ministering in the Spirit to living and ministering in “the flesh,” that is, by man’s human abilities.
Some segments of Christianity in our day have made this same error — that is, believing that “human effort” can successfully accomplish Christ’s Great Commission. To correct this error, Paul called them back to remembrance of their beginnings “in the Spirit”. That is my desire in this study — to call the Church back to its beginnings, when the word of God was preached and confirmed in the power of the Holy Spirit with signs, wonders, miracles and gifts of the Spirit.
1 Corinthians 13:8-12 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is KNOWLEDGE, it will PASS AWAY.  For we know in part and we prophesy in part,  but when PERFECTION COMES, the imperfect disappears.  When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.  Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see FACE TO FACE. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
This portion of Scripture has been used by some allegedly to prove that the gifts of the Holy Spirit ceased at some arbitrary time long ago. In fact, these verses prove exactly the opposite! They are among the New Testament’s strongest references to the continuing validity of the spiritual gifts.
Will prophecies, tongues and knowledge “cease ... be stilled ... [and] pass away”? Certainly. These verses clearly declare that. But the relevant question is when and in what sense? The answers are clear from the very text itself — that is, in the perfected state that occurs upon the Second Coming of Jesus, not before.
Vs. 10 says “...when perfection comes...” Clearly the apostle Paul's writing this as yet-future indicates that "perfection" had not come in his day, some decades after Jesus' life and ministry on earth. As of today, twenty centuries later, this has still not occurred. Jesus is the Perfect One. “Perfection ... comes” to us at His Second Coming, when we see Him “FACE TO FACE”! (vs. 12) Then, when we see the Perfect One “face to face,” tongues will be stilled, prophecies will cease, and knowledge as we know today will pass away.
But in what sense will they “cease ... be stilled ... [and] pass away”? This is a crucially important question. The answer is given in verse 12, using the specific illustration of “knowledge ...[which vs. 8 says will] pass away.” Verse 12 shows us that knowledge as we know it now “passes away” NOT in the sense of going from some to none, but in the sense of going from “know[ing] IN PART” (vs. 9) to “know[ing] FULLY” (vs. 12).
This well-known portion of Scripture says nothing about the gifts of the Spirit ceasing in the sense of disappearing. The flow of thought, as clearly illustrated in verse 12, is that spiritual gifts that are partial now (tongues, prophecy, knowledge...) will go not from partiality to zero, but from partiality to FULLNESS. For the entire Church Age we can expect to “know in part and [to] prophesy in part” (9). Then, at Jesus’ Second Coming, “when PERFECTION COMES, the imperfect disappears” and that which has been “in part” will (verse 12) be brought to fullness, not to nonexistence!
1 Corinthians 1:7-8 Therefore you do NOT LACK any SPIRITUAL GIFT as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will keep you strong to the END, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. (caps mine)
Let's close with this Scripture that we examined earlier. Paul wrote to this Corinthian church about the gifts of the Holy Spirit (chapter 12). He showed (chapter 13) how those spiritual gifts would continue during the Church Age in their partial, incomplete state and then would be brought to fullness at the Second Coming of Christ.
And the apostle (ch. 1:7-8 above) clearly encouraged his hearers to expect to “not lack any spiritual gift ... to the end,” right up to the “day of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
And that is my encouragement to the Lord’s Church today. Preach the Word of God. Teach the Word of God. Share the Word of God in your personal testimony and witnessing. And expect God to confirm His word with “signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit” (Hebrews 2:4).
This Bible Study And Additional Resources Can Be Found Online At:
By: Jim Feeney, Ph.D.
Only One Way to God | Here It Is
Summary: You hear people say, “All roads lead to God.” However, the bible exposes this as a tragic error that is leading millions to eternity in hell. By contrast, numerous Scriptures plainly declare that the one and only way to God is through the Savior, Jesus Christ. Let’s see what the bible clearly teaches about God's one and only plan of salvation — that is, Jesus Christ!
Acts 16:30-31, KJV ...Sirs, what must I do to be saved?  And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
•• The apostle Paul was asked by the Philippian jail keeper, “What must I do to be saved?” Paul’s immediate response was to exhort the jailer to “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ” and he would be saved. And today, as then, that is the one correct explanation of how to be saved.
•• Paul did not offer or suggest multiple roads to God. He set forth Jesus Christ as the pathway to salvation.
•• Jesus Himself stated this same truth, as the next Scripture shows.
John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
•• The way, the truth, the life! Not “a way”.
• Not one of many ways to God, but “the way” (singular).
•• ”I am the way ... to the Father,” said Jesus.
• One dismisses Jesus’ statement at one’s eternal peril, for Jesus is the only way to heaven and the presence of God the Father.
• Or one can accept Jesus as declaring an all-important truth — that is, that He and He alone is the pathway for men and women to come to God.
• Jesus did not allow for other avenues to salvation. He plainly said that “no one comes to the Father except through Me.”
•• The apostle Peter joined Jesus and the apostle Paul in declaring the one and only way to salvation, as the following verses show.
Acts 4:10, 12 [The apostle Peter said] Then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed....  Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”
•• Peter’s words are unequivocally clear about God's determined plan of salvation: “Salvation is found in no one else" [than Jesus Christ, vs. 10].
• Not in good works, not in good intentions, not in trying hard. Sadly, millions of people have fallen for the error that says our good works will surely earn us a place in heaven. But the Bible clearly indicates that God's "great salvation" is by the Lord's grace, not by our good works.
• Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.
• Titus 3:5, KJV Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us.
•• Likewise, Peter asserted that no other living being — past, present, or future — could lead us to God and to salvation. He said, “There is no other name [than Jesus’ name, vs. 10] ... by which we must be saved.”
• Great men like Abraham, Moses, Paul, and Peter cannot save us.
• The heroes of other religions — Buddha, Muhammad, Joseph Smith, etc. — certainly cannot save us.
• Only Jesus Christ the Son of God can save us and bring us to God. Only Jesus can truthfully say, "I am the way!"
•• Let’s examine in the following verses a variety of insights into our main theme — that is, that Jesus Christ is the one and only way to God and to eternal salvation. First, let’s look at some of the insights offered by the apostle Paul.
Ephesians 2:17-18 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.  For through him [Jesus] we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
•• Paul states succinctly that it is through Jesus that both Jew and Gentile “have access to the Father”.
• Jesus came from God the Father in heaven to earth (John 1:14; John 16:28).
• And now it is through Jesus — and His death, burial, and resurrection — that we have access to God the Father in heaven. The question of how to get to heaven and the presence of God is now eternally answered: through Jesus Christ! His crucifixion and resurrection secured our salvation. And His own words laid out the "one way" — "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6).
1 Corinthians 2:1-2 When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.  For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.
•• The Book of Acts relates the story of the conversion of Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9:1-22), now known to us as Paul the apostle. This persecutor of the early church had failed to find salvation in his strict adherence to Judaism. Then he found salvation, eternal life, and peace with God through his new faith in Jesus Christ.
•• Thereafter Paul had one dominant message — “Jesus Christ and Him crucified”!
• Paul preached Jesus Christ as Savior — Jesus, who had died for our sins, was buried, and rose again on the third day. That, he said, was “the Gospel”, the Good News (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). To offer any other savior, or way of salvation, is bad news!
1 Corinthians 3:11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.
•• Too many people in this world try to lay some other foundation for salvation — for example, the doing of good works; living a decent, honorable life; going to church, etc. These are certainly good things to do, but they are not the foundation for salvation.
• “No one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.” Jesus and Jesus alone is the only foundation for our salvation. He alone is the Rock upon which we can take our eternal stand. As the hymn says, “All other ground is sinking sand.”
1 Timothy 2:3-6 This is good, and pleases God our Savior,  who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.  For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,  who gave himself as a ransom for all men...
•• Paul writes to young Pastor Timothy that the one and only mediator between God and man is the Son of God, who came to earth and became man for us, that is, Jesus Christ. He is the one mediator, the only go-between between lost sinners and a holy God.
•• Now let’s examine a number of very clear Scriptural declarations by the apostle John of the unique place Jesus occupies in the salvation of our souls.
John 3:16-18, 36 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son....  Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.
•• John 3:16 is among the bible’s most famous verses. It promises eternal life to those who come in faith to Jesus. But verses 18 and 36 add some important warnings.
• Vs. 18 — “Whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” To reject Jesus is to incur God’s condemnation.
• Vs. 36 — Eternal life is mentioned again as the reward for those who come in faith to Jesus. But we read the dire warning: “Whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.” It is a fatal decision to reject God’s only provision for salvation, Jesus Christ.
John 6:66-68 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.  “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.  Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
•• At a time when some of Jesus’ disciples were leaving Him, Peter spoke words of wisdom for seekers of all generations: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” Peter knew that there was no other source, no other words, no other avenue that led to salvation than the words of truth that Jesus spoke about Himself and God the Father.
John 8:23-24 But he continued, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.  I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am [the one I claim to be], you will indeed die in your sins.”
•• In contrast to all other men, including His own apostles, Jesus asserted, “I am from above.” His origin, His rightful place, and His current place of enthronement, is heaven itself.
•• That being said, Jesus warned His hearers that if they did not believe in Him and in His words, they would die in their sins. Again, He was making a clear, unequivocal statement that it was through Him alone that we would be saved from our sins.
1 John 2:1 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense — Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.  He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
•• Who speaks to the Father in defense of us sinners? Jesus Christ!
•• Who is the “atoning sacrifice for our sins”? Again, Jesus.
•• The Bible declares us all guilty sinners (Romans 3:23). What remedy, what redemptive plan of salvation, has God provided for that? Only one — “We have one who speaks to the Father in our defense — Jesus Christ.”
1 John 4:14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.
•• All roads do not lead to God. It is God, not man, who has the right to determine how lost sinners will have their relationship established with Him. And He has determined that His Son Jesus will be that divine provision for our salvation.
• “The Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.”
1 John 2:23 No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.
•• John echoes Jesus' words that He, Jesus, is the only way to God the Father. He declares in no uncertain terms that "no one who denies the Son has the Father".
1 John 5:11-12 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.
•• It is wonderful to find eternal “life in His Son.”
•• It is an eternal disaster to look elsewhere for salvation, for “he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”
In closing this bible study, let’s look at two final Scripture portions, both from the writer of the epistle to the Hebrews.
Hebrews 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
•• Why is Jesus the one and only way to God? Because it is uniquely Jesus, God’s Son, who was chosen by God to “taste death for everyone.”
• As Paul wrote, it is Good News (“gospel”) that “Christ died for our sins” (1 Corinthians 15:3) and “was raised to life for our justification” (Romans 4:25).
• We serve a crucified and risen Savior, the only one God has ever appointed to such a glorious task.
Hebrews 9:27-28 Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment,  so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.
•• This same crucified, risen, exalted and only Savior Jesus Christ “will appear a second time ... to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.”
• Are you waiting for Him as Savior? Or have you fallen for the eternally fatal deception that says, “All roads lead to God”?
• Jesus is waiting warmly, graciously, and openly today for you to come to Him for salvation. Believe in Him as the crucified and risen Son of God. Bring your sins to Him in sincere sorrow for forgiveness. And experience His welcoming you into the family of God and into the sure hope of spending an indescribably glorious eternity with Him and with God the Father.
• If you desire some additional help in finding salvation and peace with God through Jesus Christ, our page "What Is The Gospel?" offers additional guidance. You can also email us at Salvationscall@gmail.com
Additional resources as well as this Bible study can be found at:
By: Jim Feeney, Ph.D.
Speaking in tongues — is it the unique initial evidence that someone has been baptized with the Holy Spirit? Or should we look for another sign?
Pentecostal Christianity worldwide is believed by some researchers to number half a billion members. The vast majority of them strongly hold the doctrinal position that a person baptized with the Holy Spirit will speak in tongues as the initial evidence of that experience. That is the position that will be put forth in this bible study. Let’s examine three primary Scripture portions that lead to this conclusion.
Acts 1:4-5; 2:1-4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.  For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” ... [2:1] When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.  Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.  They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
•• What is unique here? — the speaking in other tongues. Glossolalia is the technical term used by theologians to describe this experience.
•• What is not unique here? — the manifestations of wind and fire.
• 1 Kings 19:11 The LORD said [to Elijah], “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind.
• 1 Kings 19:12a After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire.
• 1 Kings 19:12b And after the fire came a gentle whisper [KJV: a still small voice]. It was in the voice, the speaking, that Elijah discerned the Lord. So he went out to the mouth of the cave to meet with the Lord who spoke to him.
•• Elijah met with God at Mount Horeb. God granted him dramatic manifestations of wind and fire, also an earthquake. But the bible specifically states that “the Lord was not in the wind ... not in the fire.” Elijah sensed the Lord in the “still small voice.”
•• At Pentecost in Acts 2:1-4, the disciples likewise experienced dramatic, God-sent manifestations of wind and fire — similar to Elijah at Mt. Horeb. But the only unique manifestation on that day of Pentecost was the talking in tongues, not the wind and fire.
Acts 10:44-46 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message.  The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles.  For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.
•• Again, what was unique here? — the speaking in tongues.
•• What was not unique here? — the praising of God, which is common throughout the Old and New Testaments.
Acts 19:6 When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.
•• Once more, what was unique here? — the speaking in tongues.
•• What was not unique here? — the prophesying, which is commonly seen in both Testaments.
The Scriptural conclusion? The baptism with the Holy Spirit (as we have seen in Acts 2, 10, and 19) is a uniquely New Testament experience. And it has a unique initial evidence — speaking in tongues!
The sound of a rushing, mighty wind (Acts 2:2) is not an evidence, nor is it “the evidence”. It occurred on only one of the New Testament instances of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. And it had occurred in the Old Testament (e.g., 1 Kings 19:11), where it was clearly not the evidence of the Pentecostal baptism with the Spirit.
Fire, or tongues of fire (Acts 2:3), is not an evidence, nor is it “the evidence” of the Holy Ghost baptism. It also occurred in only one of the New Testament cases. And fire was a fairly common occurrence in the Old Testament when God revealed Himself, and again clearly not in the context of the Holy Spirit baptism.
Praising God (Acts 10:46) is universal throughout Scripture. So it cannot be singled out as an evidence that one is Spirit-filled. Many non-Spirit-filled people praised God in the Old Testament and continue to do so today.
Prophecy (Acts 19:6) is likewise common in the Old Testament among those not baptized in the Holy Spirit in the abiding, Acts 2, Pentecostal way. So it too cannot be put forth as a unique evidence that one has received the baptism of the Spirit.
What conclusions can be drawn from the Scriptures we have examined?
• Neither wind nor fire are necessary evidences of the baptism with the Holy Spirit.
• And if they do occur, as they already had in the Old Testament, they do not therefore uniquely certify that the person has received the Holy Spirit baptism.
• Neither praise nor prophecy is a necessary evidence. They may indeed occur, but many Old Testament persons did one or both, but were not baptized in the Spirit.
• Other things — like love, or renewed zeal — may flow from the baptism with the Holy Spirit. But they also characterize many Old Testament saints without this Pentecostal, spiritual filling.
• Only speaking in tongues (as in Acts 2, Acts 10, and Acts 19) is the unique evidence of the unique New Testament experience called the baptism with the Holy Spirit.
Find This Bible Study and More Like It At: http://www.jimfeeney.org/tonguesinitialevidence.html