Today, our final message in this series is entitled “Gateway into the Supernatural.” If you missed any of the first three messages in the series, I’d encourage you to watch them online on our website. So, let’s begin today by talking about the supernatural. What is the supernatural? The supernatural is an event or manifestation caused by something or we should say someone beyond the natural. The way things normally work in our world is according to the natural laws of science. When the Holy Spirit works in our lives and circumstances in ways beyond the natural, we define that as supernatural.
Now, I might add that the Bible clearly teaches that God is in complete control of the natural course of events in our lives and world as well. Yet, as we read through the Bible, we see that it is full of supernatural events and manifestations. We read of miracles, signs and wonders, spiritual gifts, answers to prayers, dreams, visions and others ways of God speaking directly to people. The reason that all those stories of the supernatural are in the Bible is to show us that God was, is and always will be supernaturally involved with people of faith. God wants you to live a supernatural life, with the Spirit active in your life in supernatural ways. Why? Because it takes the supernatural power of God for you to carry our God’s purpose for your life.
In this series, we’ve been talking about the baptism in the Holy Spirit, which is the gateway into the supernatural. We’ve gone through many accounts in the book of Acts of believers being Spirit baptized and then speaking in tongues as evidence. Speaking in tongues is a spiritual gift and contrary to common opinion is not a niche topic in the Bible. It is spoken of throughout the book of Acts, in three whole chapters of 1 Corinthians 12-14 and in numerous other passages in the rest of the New Testament. So, what is speaking in tongues? Let’s look to the Bible for the explanation.
1 Corinthians 14:2 (ESV) For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit.
Quite simply, speaking in tongues is prayer to God through the Spirit in a language that the speaker does not understand. Why would anyone want to speak in tongues? I could preach a whole sermon on answering that question, as there are many reasons given in Scripture. I’d begin with the fact that it is a gift from God for every believer and all God’s gifts are good, beneficial and necessary to accomplish His purposes. But, let’s quickly look at one of the most important, yet largely overlooked, reason to speak in tongues.
1 Corinthians 14:14-15a (ESV) For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful. What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also;
Here we see confirmed that tongues are prayer. When you pray in tongues, the Holy Spirit is praying through your spirit bypassing your mind. We’ll see another passage dealing in more detail with this later in the message. But when the Holy Spirit prays through you in tongues, He prays a perfect prayer in keeping with God’s will. And when you pray a perfect prayer in keeping with God’s will, God always answers that prayer. So, every prayer that you pray in tongues will be answered, which leads to amazing, supernatural results when you pray a lot in tongues. That is just one of the many benefits of using personal tongues. Yet, it shows that this gift of tongues as a personal prayer language is intended for every believer. So, today, we’re going to continue our journey through two more accounts of Spirit baptism in the book of Acts, to learn more about it.
Paul is undoubtedly the greatest missionary who has ever lived. He was used powerfully in miracles in many occasions. He planted many churches, raised up leaders and wrote a large portion of the New Testament. Paul’s whole life was saturated with the supernatural power of God. Paul’s early life was as a legalistic Jew who persecuted Christians. But then …
Acts 9:3-5 (ESV) Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.
Jesus met Paul on the Damascus road and Paul believed in Him and was saved. In an instant of time, Paul repented and turned away from His previous lifestyle. God spoke to a believer named Ananias in a vision to help Paul, then Saul, take the next two steps.
Acts 9:17-18 (ESV) So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized;
Here we have an ordinary believer, not an apostle, who was used by God to help Saul, soon to named Paul, take the next two steps in beginning as a believer. The light on the road had blinded Saul, so as Ananias prayed, Saul was healed of blindness and baptized in the Holy Spirit. Spirit baptism is also referred to in Acts as being filled with the Holy Spirit. Next Ananias helped Saul be water baptized. There is no mention of speaking in tongues in this account, although from the pattern in all the other accounts, we know that Paul must have spoken in tongues when Spirit baptized. This is confirmed in Paul’s writing in the book of 1 Corinthians where we find that …
1 Corinthians 14:18 (ESV) I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you.
The Corinthian church was known for their use of speaking in tongues. Paul here writes first of all that he thanks God that he speaks in tongues. Paul thanks God because tongues was God’s good gift and released the Spirit’s power into his life and ministry. Not only did Paul speak in tongues regularly, he was confident in stating that he spoke in tongues more than everyone else in the Corinthian church. This is a personal testimony from Paul. It powerfully refutes those who say that tongues has no purpose. Paul’s life and ministry was a testimony to the power of the Spirit released through his life by tongues.
So, Paul spoke in tongues in an ongoing manner more than everyone else. Although tongues is the initial evidence of Spirit baptism, tongues was never intended by God to just be used once. When you are Spirit baptized, you can speak in tongues whenever you choose to. You can speak in tongues as often as you choose to. The more the better. As in learning any new language, your ability to speak in tongues will grow the more you learn to cooperate with the Spirit with your prayer language. Everyone who is Spirit baptized should pray in tongues as well as English every day.
If you struggle with that, come forward for prayer so that you can released into a greater dimension of tongues in your life. If you have been Spirit baptized, but only spoke in tongues once and never again, you really are missing out on the benefit of Spirit baptism. You will only gain the benefit of Spirit baptism by daily praying in tongues.
The final account of Spirit baptism that we’re going to look at is that of the Gentiles in Cornelius’ house. God spoke to Peter in a vision telling him to go preach to this group of Gentiles and when he did …
Acts 10:43 (ESV) To him [Jesus] all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
That verse was the conclusion of Peter’s message to a group of Gentiles calling on them to believe in Jesus and receive forgiveness of their sins. It is evident from the following verses that those Gentiles believed and were saved. Then …
Acts 10:44-46 (ESV) While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles. For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God.
Interestingly, the Gentiles were Spirit baptized before they were water baptized. How did Peter and the Jews know that the Gentiles were Spirit baptized? The text clearly says that they knew they were Spirit baptized since they heard them speaking in tongues. So tongues again is the initial physical evidence of Spirit baptism. And what were they doing as they spoke in tongues? They were praying and glorifying God. What was missing from God’s standard for new believers? They were not yet water baptized.
Acts 10:47-48a (ESV) “Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.
The normal sequence is Spirit baptism after water baptism. But here we see Spirit baptism followed by water baptism, so either way is possible.
If you’ve listened to all the messages in this series, you’ve heard account after account in the book of Acts of believers who were water and Spirit baptized. The account to the Gentiles is the only case where Spirit baptism happened almost simultaneously with being saved. Yet, the evidence of speaking in tongues was the same as when Spirit baptism happened later. The bottom line that the book of Acts teaches us is that every believer in the New Testament church was expected to be both water and Spirit baptized. This was the power that Jesus commanded and promised to every believer. What the book of Acts and the rest of the New Testament teaches is that Spirit baptism is the gateway into the supernatural and is the norm for God’s church. If you have not yet been Spirit baptized, keep reading through the book of Acts, reading the book Power for Life and praying and you will receive.
In our last point, we’re going to look at some of the benefits of personal tongues that a believer receives when they are Spirit baptized. 1 Corinthians 14 teaches on a public gift of tongues, where someone speaks to the whole church in tongues. Public tongues must be interpreted in English according to the Bible, so everyone can understand what is being said. Not everyone has the gift of public tongues, but everyone can speak in personal tongues.
1 Corinthians 14:5a (ESV) Now I want you all to speak in tongues, …
Despite corrections Paul gives to the Corinthians about public tongues, he wants them all to continue to speak in personal tongues. Why?
1 Corinthians 14:4a (ESV) The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself …
Quite frankly, this verse should be enough to convince everyone to pray in tongues as often as they can. When you pray in your prayer language, you strengthen or build yourself up. You strengthen yourself to withstand temptation, you strengthen yourself to hear from God, you strengthen yourself to understand God’s Word and we could go on and on. One of the most amazing benefits of praying in tongues is that …
Romans 8:26-27 (ESV) Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
If you’re like me, there are often times when I don’t know exactly what to pray for. I don’t know the exact will of God in a particular situation. That is a weakness. In those times, when we pray in tongues, the Holy Spirit is interceding or praying to the Father for us. Now, this prayer of the Spirit through our personal prayer language bypasses our minds and addresses God in perfect keeping with the will of God.
You see, often when we pray with our minds, they get in the way. We may doubt, we may worry, we may be praying for things that are not God’s will, we may get distracted. But when we pray in the Spirit in tongues, the Spirit prays a perfect prayer through us in perfect keeping with God’s will. According to the Bible, prayers that are prayed according to God’s will are always answered. Incredibly, therefore, prayer in tongues will always be answered.
1 Corinthians 14:1 (ESV) Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts …
There is a basic Scriptural principle that you have to use the gift that God has given you in order to receive more gifts. Since every Spirit baptized believer has the gift of personal tongues, as you use that gift and desire to be used in additional spiritual gifts, God will give you more gifts. Some examples of spiritual gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12 are prophesy, miracles, faith, healing, discerning of spirits and words of knowledge. Using your gift of tongues is a gateway to ministering in our supernatural gifts.
Once you’re baptized in the Holy Spirit, you can pray in tongues anytime and anywhere, just as you can choose to pray with your mind, anytime, anywhere. The more that you pray in your personal prayer language, the more blessing you will see in your life. If you’ve been Spirit baptized and have not continued to pray in tongues, pray and ask God to help you pray daily in tongues.
Something many people don’t realize is that your personal prayer language is in many ways similar to a normal language. It takes time to speak a normal language fluently. In the same way, it takes time and practice to become fluent in your prayer language. The more you pray, the easier it becomes. Praying in tongues is the key to obeying the Bible’s command to pray without ceasing. You can pray in tongues, even when your mind is occupied with something else.
When you pray in tongues, you will be able to resist temptation. When you pray in the Spirit, you will be able to hear God speak to you more clearly. When you pray with your prayer language, you will see many more answers to your prayers. So, bottom line, seek God to be Spirit baptized, if you haven’t already been. Seek and don’t give up until you experience it.
If you’ve already been Spirit baptized, stir up the gift within you by praying in tongues daily. The more the better. If you have questions, be sure to read through Acts and the book Power for Life. God has made available the gateway into a supernatural life through Spirit baptism. May each one of us receive His awesome gift of the baptism with the Holy Spirit.