Some people think they know everything about Jesus and fail to see some major concepts. Others look so closely at details they overlook the obvious. For example, many people think Jesus just came to forgive our sins. Yet He came for much more.

Why did Jesus Come?

John the Baptizer told people about Jesus. John came to introduce the Lord, and he knew Jesus’ Mission. While on the banks of the Jordan, John explained his mission had been the baptism of repentance, but Christ’s would be to baptize with the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 3:11).

Many people do not recognize Jesus’ mission to be the baptism of the Holy Spirit because no one received the Spirit during His lifetime. In fact, it seems Jesus said very little about the gift of the Holy Spirit (or Holy Ghost) during the days of His flesh. However, the phrase “Kingdom of God” means life in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). So, all of Jesus stories and teachings about the Kingdom of God really pointed to the promise of the Spirit of God dwelling in the hearts of His followers. In the book of John, we see Jesus speak to His close followers in detail about the work of the Spirit in their lives, even commanding them to receive the Spirit, which they did after His ascension. Jesus’ secret was that the Life He came to give is His Spirit! (See John 7:37-39; 10:10.)

What were Jesus’ Last Words?
When a boss goes on vacation, he typically spends a few days getting everyone ready for what they will need to do in his absence. The last things he says are usually the most important: “When the new client from KC calls, make sure he talks to Bob. The account will be finalizing the report next week, make sure the VP gets it immediately…” and so on.
In the Last recorded words of Jesus, we find Him repeating the same key things: repentance, baptism in His name, and the promise of the Holy Spirit (See Mark 16:16-18; Luke 24:46-49; Acts 1:4-11).

What were the disciples to do?

They preached the gospel, saying men should turn from their old ways to serve the living God (repentance). By repenting of sin, a person joins Christ in His death.

They preached baptism, commanding those who had left their sins to take on the Name of Christ in the water. By baptism in Jesus’ Name, a person joins Christ in His burial.

They preached the promise, that all could receive the Spirit of God to dwell in their hearts by faith. By the gift of the Holy Spirit, a person joins with Christ in His resurrection.

What did Jesus say His Mission Was?

Jesus explained, “John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:5). He was preparing to leave the disciples for good at this point. He would disappear into the sky and they would be on their own. He recapped His earthly ministry referencing the words John had spoken about Him. He told them to wait in Jerusalem until they received the Spirit and power.

How did the Holy Spirit Come?

The disciples met everyday in the temple to worship and praise God for the next week. On a Sunday morning, the feast day called Pentecost, they were worshiping God when the Spirit moved in like a wind. They heard the sound of wind and saw flames of fire appear above each of the 120 worshipers as God filled them with His Spirit: “They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to talk in other languages, as the Spirit enabled them to speak” (Acts 2:4). They all received the Spirit and they all spoke in languages they had never learned before!

How do you Know You have Received the Holy Ghost?
The believers spoke in tongues (Acts 2:4). In Acts 8, a magician was so amazed at this ability, he wanted to pay money to give this ability to sell to other people (he was told no, of course). In the house of a Roman, the Jewish believers knew these gentiles (non-Jews) had received the Holy Spirit because they heard them speaking in languages they had never learned (Acts 10:44-48). Paul met some of John’s disciples, re-baptized them in Jesus’ Name, and they spoke in new tongues when they received the Holy Spirit (Acts 19:1-7). Consistently, people who receive the Holy Spirit will speak in a language they have never learned before.

Why does God use Unknown Tongues?

Remember from previous lessons, God’s plan does not always make sense. Some people think it odd when they see God causing people to speak in a language they do not understand. However, God has done a lot of off-the-wall things, such as Noah’s ark, circumcision, and the crucifixion.

Perhaps God uses our tongue because it is the most difficult member of our body to control (James 3:5-8). If He takes over the worst part of our lives when He fills us, that means He can fix everything else, too.

Perhaps we speak in tongues when we receive the Holy Spirit because our hearts connect directly to our mouths. Whatever we feel we say (Matthew 12:34). People who have a heart like the devil talk like the devil. Those whose hearts have been filled with God’s Spirit will talk with words given from heaven.

Perhaps God gives us the Holy Spirit with other tongues to let others know we have the same gift they received (Acts 11:15-17). If God gave us the Holy Ghost without any external indication, how could others rejoice with us? However, when others who have experienced the joy of the Spirit baptism see someone else speaking in tongues, they know they share the same gift.

What is the gift of the Holy Spirit?
Down Payment.
Remember from the previous lesson how we said entering the new covenant is like making a contract on a home. Repentance is the verbal agreement. Baptism is when God signs the papers for our lives. However, no one moves into a home without something else first: money! The Holy Spirit is our celestial currency. God gives us His Spirit as a down payment on eternity with Him (Romans 8:11).

“God put his stamp of ownership on you by giving you the Holy Spirit he had promised. The Spirit is the guarantee that we shall receive what God has promised his people” (Ephesians 1:13-14).

God’s law in your heart. God puts His desires into our hearts rather than just on a list like He did with Moses (Jeremiah 31:31-33).
God’s Presence. God made humanity so He could dwell within us. His Spirit is how He comes to live within us. If we do not have His Spirit we have nothing. “Whoever does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him” (Romans 8:9). God leads us to live right by His Spirit within us (Romans 8:14; see also Exodus 33:13-14).

What does the Spirit do for you?

The Spirit produces fruit in your life: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). Can you think of any reason you would not want a life filled with these? Is there any reason you would not want this gift?

Would you like to receive this gift right now? First, turn from all your sins and ask God to forgive you. Determine to get baptized in Jesus Name if you have not done that yet. Ask the Lord to fill you with His Spirit. Now, worship Him by telling Him how great He is. Talk to Jesus about His power and grace. Thank Him for His love and patience with you. Do not ask for anything at this moment, just keep worshiping the Lord. As you enjoy His presence, you will feel Him draw closer and closer. Keep worshiping Him until you feel the urge to say something you do not understand. Just let these words come out as you glorify God perfectly in words you never learned before.

Next time…

The church began with the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Many churches today, however, never talk about this and have never seen it happen. We will talk about what changed down through the years.