Do Christians need to speak in tongues to prove their conversion? What happened on Pentecost?
[Darris McNeely] You know, sometimes a scripture is read and and a meaning is read into it that's not there, and you miss the complete meaning that is really intended in a certain scripture. Let me give you an example, it's in Acts 2. It's a story of the day of Pentecost when the church was gathered and God poured out His spirit for the first time. They began to speak in languages, and out of that, we have got in our modern world today a whole niche of religion, Pentecostal charismatic religions where people tried to pray down the spirit as an evidence of receiving or having the spirit of God.
Let me read to you what happened here in Acts 2 beginning in verse 2, "The churches gathered in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost and suddenly," it says, "there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them divided tongues as a fire and one sat upon each of them," this was the outpouring of God's spirit. Verse 4 tells us that. "They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues as the spirit gave them utterance."
The story goes on to show that they rushed out into the temple area, people from all sorts of nations were gathered there for the festival of Pentecost and people heard in their own language and the disciples were speaking in these other languages, and that's the point. The word tongues here in verse 3 is a word from the Greek that actually means a language like Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, or English for us today, it's a known tongue a known language. They were not speaking in unintelligible emotional jibberish which is so often what we see passing today for this phenomenon of speaking in tongues. That's not what happened there, they didn't have the gift, but they were communicating knowledge, they were communicating information that people heard and understood.
What is really happening here is what is told to us in verse 3, where by the fire that reached down and actually touched each of the disciples, they were receiving individually the very power of God's Holy Spirit. And that's what had been promised weeks earlier by Christ before his death that he would send the spirit, the comforter, his presence and that of his Father, the very essence of God would come to them and it did on this day. And that's the meaning of the scripture here, the empowering of the disciples, then to go out and to be witnesses and to do the very work of God by the living Christ in them through that spirit. That's the meaning.
When read other meanings into the Bible, we miss what God is telling us and here we have an example of that and we miss the all-important meaning, that God gives us His spirit to empower us, not just to love and to have that of a sound mind, which are important, but also to be His servants, His disciples, and being a part of the very work of God and preaching the gospel.
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