For more specific treatment of the gift of tongues see https://benrochester.com/2010/06/17/christian-glossolalia/
Acts 2 1-13, The Gift of Tongues
Intro to Text:
Jesus gave the church specific instructions to remain in Jerusalem. In 1:4-5, he foretold the “Baptism of the Holy Spirit,” and in verse 8 “the power of the Holy Spirit” on their preaching. Then, in 2:1-14 the fulfillment came about. In 2:1-4 the Holy Spirit rests upon each person. In vv. 5-11 Luke described the people present at the event from all nations. In vv. 12-14 Luke shows the perplexed reaction of the people prior to Peter’s explanation. In verses 14-39 Peter preaches to clear up the confusion.
Today we focus on the events that led up to Peter’s sermon. The power/baptism/filling of the Holy Spirit came upon the church. What does that mean?
Intro to Us:
Needless to say, there is a great deal of debate as to the nature of Tongues in the book of Acts and the Corinthians. For the sake of time, I will focus on Acts, and leave Corinthians for another day. I do not intend to speak just about the gift of tongues, but also the “Baptism/filling/power of the Holy Spirit” You can all see my paper, which will be on the website this week on the subject. This is church, and not the time to pontificate and fight about other churchs’ practice.
This text a prototype/example for the whole church’s mission. There are three main symbols that give us the mission of the church. They’re found in 1:8, and 2:1-13. They are these
1) Holy Spirit empowering/baptizing/filling of the church
2) Witness to Jesus’ deeds
3) Reaching to all Nations
In short, this passage tells us how the church is supposed to be! It is a prototype. It is an example. It is an example in dramatic, symbolic, miraculous clothes, but the same principles apply every single time we meet for church.
Luke’s point was to show: How the church does not have a mere intellectual persuasion. It is not as though several religions have the same truth but Christianity is the best of the few. No! But there is real supernatural power to re-create in the Word of God, especially the Gospel. Therefore, if this passage shows us what the church is supposed to be in prototype/symbolic form, then we must be a place and people where the Holy Spirit works!
Because Presbyterians have a long history of revival, Many people long for revival! They lon for those days when the word of God brought many thousands of souls to Christ. They pine and waste away like a girl with a crush for that day when God will bring the unbeliever into his kingdom.
Also, many try to figure out the secret formulae to bring about revival. “If we just do this or that.” The fact is we cannot bring people to Christ. We can only be faithful to the work of outreach. But we can do one thing. We can be a place where God is working tonight.
The fact is, every Sunday should be a day where you are experiencing the work of the Holy Spirit convicting, conforming, comforting you by the law and Gospel. We need to be a place today, tonight, in this hour where God the Holy Spirit pours down his blessing upon the word of God.
Point: Today be a place of Holy Spirit’s work in the Word!
Don’t wait for revival to come to others, pray and think of how revival comes to you! Seek God’s word passionately. Hunger for God’s word! Learn God’s word! Eat and be satisfied!
This text tells us how to seek revival Biblically
1) Witness to Jesus’ deeds
In verse 14 and following Peter gets up and preaches! He proclaims to over 3,000 people! But this was the last sermon. We read in verses 2:6 and 11 that they were “speaking” and “Declaring the mighty deeds of God.” So, before Peter got up God is in control of his church. He brings about the blessing. Notice that in this passage
to preach, they were already all doing this! The whole church was given the sudden drive to preach the Gospel!
Here is the scene: People can speak new languages, there is the sign of the Holy Spirit coming in tongues of fire. All of the people out preaching the Gospel in public. That’s a crazy scene. The Question after all this stuff happens “What does this mean?” in verse 12 is absolutely right.
What does it all mean? Their impulse was that it was symbolic. And they are absolutely right. The fire comes and “fills them with the Holy Spirit and they began to speak.” When the Prophet Isaiah was called by God to preach, this is what happened to him! The Angel to a fiery coal from the altar and touched his mouth to cleanse and empower him to preach! Here the fire comes down and cleanses and empowers the church to preach!
Second, the word “tongue” has two meanings. First, the first fire is in the shape of a tongue in verse 3. It is as if God takes away their normal tongue and gives them a new tongue to speak with. He puts his words in their mouth. They preach his word! We will pick up on the second meaning in a minute, but focus now on the “new tongues.”
>>>The purpose of these miracles was to show that the church has a prophetic office. The church speaks the truth.
What truth do you suppose they were speaking? Remember, in 1:8 Jesus told them to bear witness to him. They are to declare the historic deeds Jesus did. How he took on flesh, suffered, died, and rose for their salvation and that he would return to Judge. These are historic facts, but also a powerful message of salvation.
When the people who hear said, “we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” 11: What do you suppose they were declaring? They were declaring the mighty works of God in Jesus!
App: Reformation leads to Revival! Biblically, the church sees revival when the seek orthodox theology! It works in that order on the church scale –as in Thessolonika… It works that way on the individual scale… Rom 12:1-2… Be transformed by the renewing of your mind…
Here is the point: Where the Gospel is preached, that’s where God works! If we don’t preach the Gospel, embrace the Gospel, believe the Gospel, then we will not only —never see revival in the larger world— but also we will also miss it for ourselves.
We need the effective word of God! We need the witness to Jesus!
Segue: Why is the word effective?
2) Holy Spirit Power/filling/Baptism of the church
Now, the Baptism of the Holy Spirit shows up in 1:4. This must be distinct from regeneration (being born again) because it happens to the church. Also, Luke defined is further by calling it “empowering” in verse 8. And in 2:4, when the promise comes, Luke calls it filling with the Holy Spirit. Paul also speaks about the “Filling” of the Holy Spirit in Eph 5:18 as distinct from re-creation because it is repeatable and a command to us! “Be filled with the Holy Spirit!” As opposed to “quenching or grieving the Spirit.” Which is also something we do. So what is this thing?
The best definition is from the OT.
Mic 3:8 But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the LORD, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin.
Isa 58:1 “Cry aloud; do not hold back; lift up your voice like a trumpet; declare to my people their transgression, to the house of Jacob their sins.
Job 32:18 For I am full of words; the spirit within me constrains me.
2Sa 23:2 “The Spirit of the LORD speaks by me; his word is on my tongue.
Def: of HS Baptism: Supernatural blessing on ordinary means of preaching God’s word!
Second blessing charismatics take this to mean you must speak in tongues to be regenerated. Because, they confuse this “filling” with the other sense, which is in Colossians 2:11-12, and 1Peter 3:21. Those verse show Baptism by the Spirit into Christ refers to regeneration. We do believe this is something distinct from the initial conversion work of God.
The filling/baptism/empowering is the blessing for the church who seeks the word of God. In that word, and in that Church, who seek God’s word— God does a mighty work! Paul tells the whole church to be filled with the Spirit! IN Acts 2 the whole church is filled with the Spirit. Not that we all need to get out and preach, but we do need to all be engaged in the word!
Segue: What is the ultimate purpose of the church in this age? What is our goal?
3) Reaching All Nations
The second meaning of “Tongue” is human language. The people were given supernatural ability to speak other “Glossa” or tongues. They spoke God’s word in new languages. Notice that there are “Men from every nation present” (2:5-6). Notice also the list of nations in sort of form of opposites (2:7-11). Creatans and Arabians and everyone in between (11). Beach bums and desert rats and everything in between.
This is an example, or prototype of what the church should be doing. Preach the Gospel to all nations. In 1:8 Jesus told his disciples to bear witness to the whole world, i.e. the “ends of the earth.”
There is, naturally, anxiety because of this command. We ask, “How can we ever reach out to the whole world?” —Think about how hard it is just to reach those who don’t believe in your own family!…
Again, we must never try to reduce revival to a formula of pattern. No, we need to rest assured that if we are faithful to God, he does what he will.
But at the same time, we need to act. God uses means, and the means he uses is by preaching the word to people in new areas who have not heard. This is one of the reasons we believe in being a church planting church plant. We want to build into our DNA the work of preaching to the world, and to stay faithful to that work.
I know, we often lose faith in the power of God when we don’t see The Word work. We get downhearted because our experience dictates the way we feel. We don’t see mass revival. We may even take things into our own hands, jump the gun, abandon our principles, just to bring people into the kingdom through other means than the word of God… All because we desire to see that day of revival!
Now, our hearts, our emotions, our experiences are dangerous things. They are very deceptive. Nevertheless, they are real! Emotions are really part of us. Is it wrong to seek comfort from somewhere for our doubt?
It is absolutely right! But we must seek the comfort God gives us! It is here in the word of God. Now you need to remember that we bear witness to the ear, but Jesus in the Holy Spirit speaks to the heart! We don’t convert anybody, the Holy Spirit does!
The best thing for you to do then is to seek for Jesus in his word! Pay attention to the word of God! Read it! Study It. Be about it! Bask in it! Glory in it! Seek revival in your own heart first!
Why? Because God works today! Not some “time in the future” when we “finally see revival!…” No, seek his word today! Reform your theology back to Scripture today! Seek revival today! Rest in Jesus today!