Friday, December 9, 2016

Speaking in Tongues Today!

Acts 2:1-12
The Holy Spirit Comes at Pentecost
2 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[a] as the Spirit enabled them. 5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,[b] 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”

Jesus had promised the Holy Spirit when he left the disciples and went back up to heaven. He had told them to wait in Jerusalem for the promised Holy Spirit. And now on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came into the house they were staying and filled the disciples. They began to speak in other languages. The bible said, "they spoke in other tongues". Amazingly all those who were there for the Jewish festival of Pentecost heard the apostles speaking in their own native language.

If you look at this map, literally it shows that the people gathered for Pentecost in Jerusalem represented all of the nations known at that time. Here is that map!

The importance of this day was not only did the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, fill the apostles with His power, but He equipped them to preach the gospel in other languages that were represented that day. Talk about a strategic moment.

Many today talk about speaking in tongues and it gets confused with this original usage of this gift, which was to preach the gospel to all nations gathered at Pentecost. We have rarely, if ever, seen this gift used like this again in church history. The bible has been translated into thousands of languages so that all may read it in their native language. But the bottom line is that the Holy Spirit filled and empowered the apostles do something far beyond their own understanding or knowledge to continue the movement Jesus started.

Assuming the Holy Spirit hasn't changed, and that all believers in Jesus are still filled with the Holy Spirit, wouldn't it make sense that God would be doing similar things today. We may not speak in another language, but we can translate the gospel for someone who is far away from God. There are many today not in the church who don't understand the language we use. Words like "transubstantiation", "parousia" and "hermeneutics" mean virtually nothing to those outside the church. I am not saying those are unimportant words, but they simply don't translate to a non-believer.

But Jesus wants to reach all people. How will He do it? I believe through you and me. As we get out in the world and understand what people who are far away from God are concerned with, we can begin to translate the gospel so that it will make sense to them. Isn't this what Jesus did? To the Jews he showed he was the Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament. To the Gentiles, he was the true God they were longing for, when they worshiped the gods of that age.

You don't have to go overseas to be a missionary. Look next door, or out in your own community. People near you need to hear Christians speaking the Good News in their own language. One that makes sense to them and shows them that God loves them unconditionally sins and all.

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