Acts 2:4- “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” NKJV
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My last post found me with too much to say and too little space to say it in. Needless to say, this is a love topic for me. Today, I want to actually talk about speaking in tongues.
It was the day of Pentecost. The disciples had remained in Jerusalem, as instructed by Jesus. It’s been almost 50 days since their last human contact with Him, but He was very specific to them: remain in Jerusalem until you receive power from on high. So they did.
During this time, they chose someone to take Judas’ place, in order to have 12 apostles. They spent time in prayer and supplication. There were 120 disciples, men and women, in the place. They had a spirit of oneness among them as they sought the power the Lord had told them about. And when the power came, they knew it!
Luke wrote, that when the Day of Pentecost was fully come, they were still all on one accord and in one place. Suddenly, there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and the whole house was filled. Many tend to think this was a little quiet prayer meeting, but last night when the wind was blowing, I thought we were in the midst of a rain storm. Wind is powerful, and I believe this rushing mighty wind, came with force, blowing things and possibly, people around.
Luke goes on to inform us about this event by saying, that there appeared to them, divided tongues as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. There were 120 people, and 120 tongues, that appeared like fire. When this happened, Luke wrote, they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
We can’t stop there in the recount of what happened. Luke doesn’t! He informed us that there were all kinds of people in Jerusalem that day, from every nation under heaven. And when this sound happened, they all heard their own language. All the people in the house spoke the same natural language, yet now, they are all speaking supernaturally, all kinds of languages that they have not learned. The people who hear them are truly amazed at this strange event, wondering what did this mean?
They didn’t have to wait long to gain insight to what was happening. Peter stood up and preached a powerful message that caused great fear to come upon every soul, resulting in many signs and wonders. They had come into contact with power from on high, just as Jesus had said. Peter’s key text, as we call it today was:
“And it shall come to pass afterward
That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your old men shall dream dreams,
Your young men shall see visions.
29 And also on My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days. Joel 2:28-29 NKJV
Peter was basically saying, this day, this scripture is fulfilled in our midst!
The fire is an important aspect of this baptism, because John the Baptist told the people that he baptized with water, but Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire! (Matthew 3:11) On this Day of Pentecost, He did just that! The baptism was so great, that after they were heard speaking with tongues, they became a different group of disciples. After the crucifixion they were fearful. After the resurrection they had joy mixed with apprehension. But after the baptism of the Holy Spirit, with tongues of fire, they became a mighty force against the kingdom of darkness. They were transformed!
Today, tongues have become, just that, speaking in tongues. Not many speak of the baptism with the evidence of tongues and fire. But the fire was as much a part of the baptism as the tongues.
Tongues were mentioned by Jesus before He left. In His great commission He said:
15 “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” Mark 16:15-18 NKJV
Notice that He said that one of the signs that would follow those who believe is “they will speak with new tongues”.
When Peter was sent to Cornelius’ home to share the gospel, the Holy Spirit fell upon the Gentiles as they listened to the gospel. Some argue that this baptism was only for the apostles, but not only were they not apostles, they weren’t even Jews. Yet, they heard the gospel, received it, and spoke in tongues! (Acts 10:44-46)
There are many other examples of individuals receiving the Holy Spirit with tongues. Paul was such an individual. He even said that he not only spoke in tongues a lot, but he wished everyone spoke in tongues.
The argument today, is that tongues has ceased. The same argument that says miracles have ceased because we are so advanced in medicine and don’t need miracles. That is a topic for another day and another blog. But just as I believe in miracles, I believe in the baptism of the Holy Ghost, accompanied with tongues, fire, and signs and wonders!
I am thinking that I will have to continue this in another blog. However, let me make this point: If the twelve needed this baptism, and Paul needed this baptism, then we also need it. It makes you stop and wonder if this lack of receptivity to speaking in tongues is why we have to work so hard to do the great commission? Wonderful Jesus!