Pentecost and the Gift of Tongues

Acts 2:1

TRANSCRIPT [Prayer] Father, we thank Thee for the privilege of the study of the Scriptures. We thank Thee for the light that they shed upon the truth of the Word of God. We thank Thee for the ministry of the

Listen Now

Read the Sermon

TRANSCRIPT [Prayer] Father, we thank Thee for the privilege of the study of the Scriptures. We thank Thee for the light that they shed upon the truth of the Word of God. We thank Thee for the ministry of the apostles and of our Lord and the prophets, as well, and others who have been instruments for the communication of the inspired Word. And we pray, Lord, that in these days in which there is considerable lack of interest in the Word of God, but interest in other things that seem to be more exciting, more interesting, to professed believers, that we may not lose the sense of the love for, and the importance of, the Holy Scriptures. We do believe, Lord, that they are sufficient for life and for practice, and we ask that we may not be deterred from following their teaching. May this evening be an instance in which we study the Scriptures and learn from them and gain insights that will enable us to live our lives in a way in that is pleasing to Thee. Father, we would not close this prayer without expression to Thee of our gratitude and thanksgiving for Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, which made it possible for us to know Thee, to communicate with Thee, to receive communications from Thee, to have the sense of the companionship of the Triune God throughout all the experiences of our lives. We thank Thee for the confidence that that does give us in these experiences in which we find ourselves from time to time. We ask Thou blessing upon each one present here, upon their families. We pray for this church and ask Thy blessing upon its leadership, upon its members, upon the young people, as well as the older people. We pray that it may have a testimony in the year 1994 and in the years that follow, if it should please Thee, that it is true to the Word of God. We ask that Thou wilt be with us this evening as we study together. In Jesus’ name. Amen. [Message] Returning to Acts chapter 2, verse 1 through verse 13, and the subject for tonight is “Pentecost and the Gift of Tongues.” And I’m going to read verse 1 through verse 13 for the Scripture reading. So if you have your New Testaments, turn to Acts chapter 2. And Luke, the Christian historian, writes in verse 1 of Acts chapter 2, in the second volume of his work—Luke being the first volume:   “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. “And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language. Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, ‘Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born? Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.’ So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, ‘Whatever could this mean?’ Others mocking said, ‘They are full of new wine.’”   We’re living today, as I mentioned in one of the preceding messages, I believe on 1 Corinthians chapter 12, verse 1 through verse 3, in what Pentecostalists like to call the time of the third wave. Now, by the term “third wave,” they mean the third out-breaking of Pentecostal gifts in the 20th century. There is total agreement upon the fact that the first outpouring was in 1906 in Los Angeles in a home where people were meeting. I think it was 306 Azusa Street. And that is largely thought to be the beginning of the 20th century Charismatic movement. So that Azusa Street represents the first wave. And then in the 1960s, into the earlier part of the 1970s, sometimes even the latter part of the ’70s, a second wave broke out. And then, we are living today in the third wave. I went back and looked at some material that I had on some of this. And one of the things that interested me was an article that appeared in the Dallas Times Herald, which no longer exists, of course. But in the Times Herald, there was an article about Mrs. Jean Stone of the Blessed Trinity Society. It was a lengthy article; at least there were two columns, in which she spoke of the work of the society and what had happened to members who were members of it. The article appeared January the 30th, 1963. And she spoke about revival of Charismatic teaching, Pentecostal teaching, Charismatic—I’m using them in the same sense—what were called quote, “historic churches,” unquote, of manifestations of God, speaking in tongues, healing the sick and casting out devils. Mrs. Stone was an Episcopalian, and she went on to speak how in the Episcopalian church, Dennis Bennett had been responsible for much of the out-breaking due to the experiences that he had. What interested me, among other things, was the fact that she went on to define what were expressions of the activities that she thought were representative of this new movement. For example, soon as a person became involved and entered into the Charismatic type of life, they began, first of all, to tithe almost immediately. They began reading the Bible with a new understanding—I’m using her words. They began to read the Bible with a new understanding. They have more love and charity. Heavy drinkers stopped drinking. We’ve seen dramatic healings. She did not describe a single one of the healings, so I don’t know what all of that might mean. But what I was interested in, as I read this over today, it sounded to me as if what she is really describing, is what it means to become a Christian. It all sounds like conversion. If a man is truly converted from an unconverted state, then, of course, he would begin to give of his substance for the proclamation of the gospel. He would certainly begin reading the Bible. And he would have a new understanding because he would have the Holy Spirit as his teacher. And then they certainly would have more love and charity and heavy drinkers would stop drinking if they were truly converted. And since the New Testament promises healing in accordance with the will of God, we might even see dramatic healings. So it would appear to me that all that this said is simply that it’s a great thing to get converted and to truly get converted. In that case, these wonderful things would be taking place. So as I read it over again, I thought, well, it just appears to me that there were some people perhaps who did get converted and some things were happening, but it was a far cry from justifying some of the things that take place in the Charismatic movement. A month or two ago, I made reference to Peter Masters’ book in which he makes the point that twenty-five years ago, orthodox, non-charismatic evangelicals can usually have cordial fellowship with old-fashioned Pentecostals. They were conservative evangelicals. But a new brand of Pentecostalism has emerged which has been called the Charismatic Renewal Movement and that, of course, is what the three waves have to do with. This movement, I think is fair to say, has lurched from one excess to another, as Master says, so that now we are confronted by a scene of utter confusion. Such as, the statements about Paul Cain would indicate. Masters, in his book on the movement, contends that Satan’s aim in the movement, for he thinks it is a satanic movement, that first of all, he would like to take away any serious respect for Scripture. Authority, not just inerrancy, is the issue. Then, secondly, to greatly increase the credulousness of the Christian people. [I] think that is very true. We see many people who have an attachment to some of the Vineyard movement, this Charismatic renewal movement and the knowledge of Scripture is very, very shallow. We are interested in experiences, but in the truths of the Word of God and the doctrinal statements of Scripture, that is not their interest. And in fact, John Wimber himself has so much as said the same thing more than once. Masters went on to say that what one of the aims, it seems to him, is that Satan has, is to destroy all true worship. That is worship full of intelligent appreciation and adoration of our glorious God. I mentioned also, the ministry of Paul Yonggi Cho—I’m not going to talk about that, but I think if you listen to what is going on over the TV screen, for example, on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, you’ll constantly be subjected to heretical teaching. You may not understand it. Maybe your understanding of Scripture is so shallow you don’t see that, but I think most of the people who have been in Believers Chapel for any period of time would immediately begin to have questions about the things that are said over that particular network. For example, statements like, “Every man has been born again.” “Every man who’s been born again is an incarnation and Christianity is a miracle.” “The believer is as much an incarnation as was Jesus of Nazareth.” These are quotes. God has been reproduced on the inside of you. It is in reality, God imparting his very nature, substance and being to one human spirit. {zoe} [Greek word for “life”]—that means eternal life or God’s life. This new kind of life is God’s nature. Now, there is a sense in which we inherit certain of the things that have to do with the divine nature, but we do not say in Christianity that when we receive new life, that we therefore, have all the attributes of God. To say that we have all the attribute of God is to say we are God, because that is the substance of the being of God, those attributes. Casey Treat Pastor of Seattle’s Christian Faith Center tells us to claim our Godhood. Quote, “The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost had a conference and they said, ‘Let us make man an exact duplicate of us.’”—oh, and I mentioned this before, you may remember the idiom, oh, I don’t know about you, but that does turn my crank—“An exact duplicate of God. Say it out loud, say it out loud. I’m an exact duplicate of God. See the whole congregation, I said. I’m an exact duplicate of God.” So these are the things with which we are faced, and if you do not think that this has influence in the evangelical movement today, you are not really well-acquainted with what’s happening in evangelicalism, because there is definitely strong influence from that movement. And many of us have had close friends or even members of family who’ve gone off into a movement like that. It’s been well said that ignorance of the truth leads to two types of error: heresy, fanaticism. The former, heresy, comes from insufficient understanding and is illustrated by Romanists and their doctrine of apostolic succession. There are other errors that have to do with fanaticism, which come from over-emphasis of the truth. I think this is illustrated in evangelical—I’m using the term that they say is their term also—evangelical Pentecostalists, in the realm of tongues and healing. Well, in order to get into this topic in detail, I think it’s important for us to take a look at look at Acts chapter 2 first. Do we have to stress in Believers Chapel that the importance—that it is important to test questions from the Word of God? Do we have to say something like that? Do we have to lay stress upon the fact that every question has its solution if it’s a spiritual question by a reference to the Word of God? I don’t think that we really have to do that if we’ve been listening to the things that have been taught here in the Chapel through the years. And your Sunday school classes and the ministry of the Word of God from the pulpit, you’ve been taught over and over again that all spiritual questions must be tested by what Scripture says with reference to them. Experience is always secondary to the teaching of the Word of God. One of the reasons for that, of course, is that experience does not have divine authority, to start with. But then also experience has a very deceptive character because it must be interpreted by people who are of themselves not totally able to interpret experience. Only God can interpret our experiences in an absolutely accurate way. We have remarkable things in the Word of God that if we were left to experience to interpret them, we might think that we’re really divine things. For example, in Revelation chapter 13, verse 12 and verse 13 we have these statements. This is with reference to the second beast that is to come upon the human scene. John writes,   “Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men.”   Well, that would be a remarkable sign. And what makes it so remarkable is the fact that it’s so similar to something found in the Word of God that we all know, was something that was done by God. We turn back to 1 Kings chapter 18 in verse 24 and we read with reference to Elijah’s challenge of Ahab and then on Mount Carmel we have the Lord versus Baal. And we read in 1 Kings 18, verse 24, “Then you call on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the Lord; and the God who answers by fire, He is God. So all the people answered and said, ‘It is well spoken.’” (You know, of course, the story that finally, Elijah after he had a little fun mocking the prophets because all of their activities couldn’t produce fire from heaven. We read in verse 38,) “Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench. Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, ‘The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!’”   And can you not easily understand how in the last days, the days in which the book of Revelation speaks here, that when the beast performs great signs so that even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, there will be some who will say, that’s the sign of the divine working. Was it not the precise sign that distinguished the God, the true God, in Elijah’s day? But of course, we know that that would be false. We’ve read the Bible, and we know that the Bible speaks about false signs, deceptive signs. There are other passages in the Bible that speak of the same thing in order to warn us against that which is the counterfeit. In 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 in verse 8 and 9 concerning the lawless one, we read, “And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of his mouth and destroy with the brightness of his coming. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders.” So talk about signs and wonders. It’s the lawless one, the false prophet, who in the last days will truly perform signs and wonders and will gather about him vast multitudes who will follow his teaching of signs and wonders. Oswald Chambers once made a statement. I think, in one sense, it’s rather surprising because Mr. Chambers was not what I would think of as a great student of the Word of God, although he has some remarkable things in some of his books, and I like to read them. But he made the statement to the effect that—I want to get the exact reference to it because it’s such a fine statement in which he said—I know I have it here. I know it’s here, I think. Yes, I do. I found it. He once said very truly, “There is no authentic impulse of the Holy Spirit that is not wedded to the words of the Bible. To recognize this, is the only way to be safe from dangerous delusions.” I really do like that statement, so I’m going to say it again. “There is no authentic impulse of the Holy Spirit that is not wedded to the words of the Bible.” In other words, every spiritual experience that is a true spiritual experience must be explainable by the words of Scripture. You get the point. All experiences that are valid must be true to the truth of the Word of God. They must be wedded to the words of Scripture. Now, I’m taking the position in these studies that the principle of temporary gifts is taught in the Word of God. That is, it’s a biblical principle to have temporary spiritual gifts. I say that because it is one of the fundamental principles of the Charismatic movement, almost all of the people in the Charismatic movement, that that is a false principle. There are no temporary spiritual gifts. To cite one of them—it could be many of them that we would cite, but there are many of them that make the same statement. She—Kathryn Kuhlman, one of the leaders in the ’70s, of this particular movement, made the statement that there is not anything that is found in the Bible with reference to signs and wonders that we should not expect to happen today. In other words, nothing is ruled out. Everything that we find in Holy Scripture with reference to the early church, for example, is something that may happen today. If that is so then, of course, we may legitimately look for new apostles. The apostolic, so far as the history of the Christian church is concerned, has always been regarded as a gift that was given for a period of time and is no longer given nor to be given. So the very fact of the apostolate, of the apostles is evidence of the fact that there are temporary gifts. Now, we are proceeding on the basis of the fact that that is really true. It is a fundamental error to fail to make the distinction between the age in which the salvation that we see in the Bible was created through the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ and the age of the appropriation of it, which is now lasted for eighteen hundred, nineteen hundred years. So we need to distinguish between those two periods of time. The period of time when the Son of God came, carried out the atoning work and ascended to heaven and the ages since, in which, through the preaching of the Gospel, men and women have by the work of the Spirit in their hearts been brought into the possession of what the Son of God accomplished when he was here in his work of atonement. Now, turning to our passage in Acts chapter 2, what Luke is describing, of course, is what happened on the Day of Pentecost in the first four verses and we can call it the coming of the Holy Spirit. We know, of course, that this was promised by the Lord Jesus Christ. He said that they were to remain in Jerusalem until they would be clothed on high with power. And so the expectation set forth in Luke chapter 24 in verse 49 reaches its consummation here. It said to them, remember—I’m going to read Luke 24:49, “Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.” Now, that does not mean, my Christian friends, that you may, for example, go home tonight and tarry and expect that the Holy Spirit will fall upon you. As H. A. Ironside says in one of his books, of an experience he had with someone who was contending that, “Well, sir, you are two thousand years too late and six thousand miles too far away.” Because he said, tarry in Jerusalem. So it’s obvious, we have to pay attention to the meaning of Holy Scripture. And here our Lord said to them, “Tarry in Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.” And the Day of Pentecost, after they had tarried there for a lengthy period of time is the time when the Holy Spirit did come and they were endued with power through his presence within them. It’s sometimes overlooked that God gave Israel a series of seven feasts. Now, these feasts that were given to Israel were redemptive feasts; that is, they represented great redemptive acts of God. There was the Passover, for example, that looks at the death of our Lord. There was the First Fruits which looked at his resurrection, and so on. There were at least—there were seven of them—and there were seven specific aspects of the atoning work of our Lord Jesus Christ that are represented by those seven feasts. Now, Pentecost was one of the feasts. It was one of the atoning feasts. The Jewish people still celebrate Pentecost. They celebrate it as {Shavu’ot}. That’s the name of the Feast of Pentecost. It is a feast today. It’s a festival of the wheat harvest. That’s what it was then, and they celebrate the ingathering of the harvest, the wheat. There were two baked wheat loaves. You may remember from Leviticus where the feast is described, and those two baked wheat loaves were part of the feast. They were leavened, incidentally—not unleavened, they were leavened and representing in the history, of course, the union of Jew and Gentile ultimately in the one people of God. It is, according to Jewish tradition, and it’s only tradition, that the Torah was given at about that time. Certain things that are celebrated in the {Shavu’ot} today are not scriptural. That is, they are not in thorough accord with instructions in the Old Testament concerning this feast. But this is the Feast of Pentecost, and it celebrates the harvest. And, of course, the preeminent harvest that God has in mind for Israel is this is the beginning of the harvest of what Christ accomplished in his blood sacrifice on Calvary’s cross. The coming of the Holy Spirit which was gained for every believer, as an indwelling presence, a permanent indwelling presence forever, for us, by the shedding of his blood. So it was the Day of Pentecost. And when it had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. Now, being of one accord is not the reason that the Spirit came. Sometimes people read the text as if that were true. This is a fact, a historical fact, they were all of one accord. They were looking for it, but the Spirit was going to come whether they were in Jerusalem or not. This is part of the historical fulfillment of the plan of God. So they were told to stay in Jerusalem not so that the Spirit would come in Jerusalem, but so that they might experience the blessing of the Spirit who would certainly and sovereignly come to Jerusalem. So they were there. And when the day had come, there was suddenly a sound from heaven as of a rushing, mighty wind and the whole house was filled where they were sitting and they saw the divided tongues which separated so that one was sat upon each one of them and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in tongues. The consequences of the Spirit’s coming is what you might expect, and it’s stated twice. For example, in verse 7 we read, “Then they were all amazed and marveled.” Now, I must confess, if I had been there, I would certainly have been in that company. Amazement and marvel would surely have been my experience. And then in verse 12 again, “So they were all amazed”. And I think I would also have been perplexed. What does all of this mean? I was—I would have been astonished, and I would then within myself be asking the same question, “Whatever could this mean?” And then, I would hope I would not be in this third group, but I would be quite sure I think now, knowing what I know, that this third group would be there. Those who are critical. Notice verse 13. “Others mocking said, ‘They are full of new wine.’” That’s interesting, too, because when a man is really filled with the Holy Spirit and excited over the things of the Lord God, there is something of a parallel between the people who have been imbibing the wrong kinds of spirits. Be not drunk with wine wherein is excess but be filled with the Holy Spirit. We all know that we hit the bottle, it won’t be long before the bottle has control over us. That’s the meaning of being filled with the spirit, controlled by the spirit. And so they were controlled by the Spirit, and it would be natural for others knowing that they are now under a new power in their own carnal way with lack of understanding of what was happening, to say these guys are full of new wine. Ever been in a Christian gathering where they’re really excited over spiritual blessings? There is something of that same kind of thing. But now, the pertinent features of this gift of tongues. Acts, remember, is the factual history book of the early church. It contains the account of three definite occurrences of speaking in tongues. Chapter 10, verse 46, is the second. I’ll just read these verses, 10:46 says this in Cornelius’ house, “For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered, ‘Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?’” And then in chapter 19, verse 6. In this most interesting occurrence in which the disciples of John the Baptist have an encounter with the Apostle Paul. And in chapter 19, verse 6, we read, “And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.” There is a possibility that there was a reference to speaking in tongues in chapter 8, verse 17 and 18, but it’s not specifically stated, and I will read these verses. We read, “Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money.” So there must have been some kind of response on their part that suggested the coming of the Holy Spirit. There may have been speaking in tongues there, but the Scripture does not say anything definitely about it. Now, when it says that they began to speak in tongues, they were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues. What is meant by “other tongues”? Or as some of your texts said, “unknown tongues.” Over in 1 Corinthians chapter 14 and verse 2—I’m not always quite sure of this particular text I’m reading because the New King James Version does change things a bit. And I’ve forgotten what the Authorized Version says here but in 1 Corinthians 14:2 we read, “For he who speaks in a tongue (Now, I Think the Authorized Version has an “unknown tongue.”) Does not speak to man but to God for no one understands him; however, in the Spirit, he speaks mysteries.” And you know, in the Authorized Version, you frequently do have the expression “speaking in an unknown tongue.” That creates false impression because that creates the impression that the languages that they were speaking were really ecstatic speech, ecstatic gibberish. The text, however, does not say that. It’s very plain that in Acts chapter 2 what was spoken was a genuine language. Not gibberish, not ecstatic speech. It was a genuine language. So when we start out the first speaking of tongues and, generally speaking, that which is done first, is a clue to what will follow afterwards, particularly if the language is the same and the language is the same. But we would expect then, that speaking in tongues thereafter, is the ability to speak in a known language, one that you had not studied. For example, if I were to suddenly now start speaking to you in Russian, I would be speaking in tongues. Because I know a few languages, you might say, Where did Dr. Johnson learn Russian? Well, I can tell you right now, I don’t know a word of Russian. Well, I take it back. Nyet. I do know a few things like that. But I do not know Russian. I could not speak Russian. If I were to start speaking Russian, that would be speaking in a tongue unknown to me but known to that great country, the country of Russia. So, first of all, when we talk about tongues, tongues in the New Testament refers to known languages. Here, it seems to be very plain. There are some questions about this, obviously, because some of the statements later on in 1 Corinthians 14, raise some questions. But what I want you to notice is that the first historical utterances are clearly known languages, not unknown languages. Chapter 2, verse 4, “other tongues.” Now, “other tongues” is an expression that means different tongues. That is, there were different kinds of languages being spoken, but they were all known languages. Get the point. Different but known. Because as he goes on to say, “There were Parthians, Medes and Elamites and people from Pontus and Asia Phrgia, Pamphylia, et cetera. So “other tongues” is not a reference to a language that’s unknown. It’s a reference to known languages, but different, one from another. Chapter 2, verse 6, we read this, “And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language.” There are two words for language that are used—two words for the tongues that are used. One is the word {glossa}. It’s found in the term {glossolalia}, speaking in tongues. That’s a transliteration, speaking in a {glossa}, “tongue,” and {lalia}, it’s from {laleo}, the Greek word that means, “to speak.” So {glossolalia}, you’ve seen it, is speaking in tongues. It’s thought today to be almost always ecstatic speech. Speaking with sounds that don’t really have any particular, specific language sense, ecstatic speech. Incidentally, the Mormons believe in ecstatic speech, also. They, in one of their doctrinal points is, We believe in speaking in tongues. Now, in verse 6, however, the word is not {glossa}, but the word is {dialektos}. Does that make sense to you? {dialektos, dialektos}—dialect, dialect. That’s the word from which we get our English word “dialect.” In verse 6 then, we read, “And when the sound occurred, the multitude came together and were confused because everyone heard them speak in his own {dialektos}.” Clearly, every time it occurs in the book of Acts, and it occurs in chapter 1, verse 19; chapter 2, verse 6 and verse 8; chapter 21, verse 40; chapter 22, verse 22; chapter 26, verse 14. Isn’t my memory good? It’s very good when it’s on the page here in front of me. Every time that word {dialektos} occurs, it refers to a known language. Now, in verse 11, we read, “Cretans and Arabs.” After he’s listed all of these, how is it we hear in verse 8, each in our own language in which we were born. They were hearing these individuals who had never studied their language, speaking their language. And so they were amazed. And they certainly were perplexed. How did they know that? So he goes on and says, “Parthians, Medes, Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt and in the parts of Lybia adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs and we hear them speaking in our own tongues.” Now, this is the word {glossa}. This is the word that is used for speaking in tongues. Dialect occurs a couple of times, a known language, but here, it’s called a {glossa}. In other words, what the {glossa} means, is defined by the {dialektos}, a known language, and what the dialect means is, it’s a {glossa}, a tongue. So it’s very plain that Acts chapter 2 has to do with speaking languages. {glossa} is equated with the {dialektos}, which every time it occurs in the book of Acts means a known language. Now, I think, since we have a minute or two, I’m just going to read these verses. It’s very important I think, to make this point tonight in our first study before we turn to Acts—1 Corinthians 14—verse 19 of Acts chapter 1, we read this, “And it became known to all those dwelling in Jerusalem; so that field is called in their own (dialect, {dialektos}) own language, {Akel Dama}, that is, Field of Blood.” Now, chapter 2, verse 6 and verse 8, we’ve already read, so let’s turn to chapter 21 in verse 40. And here we read these words, “So when he had given him permission, Paul stood on the stairs and motioned with his hand to the people. And when there was a great silence, he spoke to them (in the Hebrew {dialektos}) in the Hebrew language.” Surely, a spoken language, not an unknown language. Chapter 22 in verse 2, we read these words, “And when they heard that he spoke to them in the Hebrew language, they kept all the more silent.” And then in chapter 26 in verse 14, the last occurrence of the word in the book of Acts, “And when we all had fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me and saying in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’”             So what Acts tells us is that the speaking in tongues is speaking in a known language, One that had not be studied by these individuals, and they were speaking it in evidence of the mighty power of the Holy Spirit that had fallen upon them in the city of Jerusalem. That would be a miracle, a mighty wonder. Talk about signs and wonders. With these people speaking languages they had never studied, that would be a real sign and wonder. But to speak ecstatic gibberish, Mormons can do that. Anyone can do that if you just learn a little bit of the symbols and of the little sounds that are made. Mrs. Jean Stone was asked, she’s the person I mentioned at the first, of the Blessed Trinity Society after she had spoken to the group, she was asked to say a few words in an unknown tongue. And as she began to pray a little bit, and then suddenly she began to speak in melodic tongues. And they were, as the person described it, simply some sounds, sweet sounding sounds. And that’s all it was. And I don’t know whether she knew they meant but, so far as the article is concerned, no one knows what they meant. Now, if that is true, then on the basis of it, almost all of the tongues, speaking of today, is not in accord with the book of Acts. And if that is true, then the thing that Mr. Chambers said, is true also. That’s false because it’s not experience—the experience is not wedded to the words of Scripture. Eugene Nida of the American Bible Society analyzed scores of tapes of tongue speaking. And he concluded—this is a statement that was made by him in 1967—that all that he heard was nonsense. In other words, they were not languages at all. Well, the context in teaching then, of Acts chapter 2—I want to say a few words about it before we stop. Some of this will come up later. The messages in known languages were given, evidently, for three purposes. First of all, the Spirit’s coming is the authentication of the new Christian movement. Because it’s sent of its semi-official character, the apostolic was present in the Acts’ cases. So what the movement received from the incidence of the speaking of tongues on the Day of Pentecost is the authentication of the Christian movement. The sign was primarily directed toward the Jewish people. We’ll bring that out when we study 1 Corinthians chapter 14, verse 21 and 22. From the Acts 2 occurrences and from this particular occurrence, we now know that the Jews and the Gentiles are related together in the one body. That has been authenticated by the falling of the Holy Spirit upon the group of people there. Since they were primarily Jewish people, we’ll say that Jews are in the one body that the Messiah has brought into being by his death on Calvary’s cross. As he says in chapter 2, verse 4, “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Since they were almost entirely Jewish people, we can say, Acts chapter 2 makes the point that Jews who believe are in the body of Christ together. Now, the context teaching of Acts chapter 10 is different. Jews are present again as the apostolic message is authenticated in the home of Cornelius, and tongues come to pass. But in reference to what happened at that particular place, there is evidence that perhaps judgment is inferred with reference to the Jewish people. And so from the second incidence of speaking in tongues in chapter 10 in verse 46, we learn that Gentiles are in the body on an equal footing with the Jewish people. That’s the whole point of Acts chapter 10. It is that men do not have to—Jews or Gentiles do not have to be circumcised in order to come into the body of Christ and be on an equality with the Jewish people. That’s the whole point of this statement as is argued at the Council at Jerusalem in Acts chapter 15. So the context in teaching of Acts chapter 10 underlines that fact. Jews being present again as the apostolic message is authenticated by the Spirit, that tongues, perhaps with reference to the judgment of the Jewish people for unbelief, Gentiles are in the body of Christ upon an equality with the Jewish people. Now, in Acts chapter 19, again Jews are present—the disciples of John the Baptist—Jews are present as the apostolic message is authenticated by the Spirit. The tongues then come as a sign, and we learn that Old Testament saints for John the Baptist’s disciples were just that. They had not heard anything about what had happened on Calvary’s cross. But they had believed the message of John the Baptist and evidently had wandered off into parts of the territory of that time, had not heard that the Spirit had been given. And so they too now are seen to be in the one Body, chapter 19 in verse 6. So let me conclude by just making this point: First of all, the evidence of Acts is that tongues were known languages, not ecstatic speech. And, second, the gift of tongues was given for testimony to the Jews that the new believing body created by the ministry of Lord Jesus and the coming of the Holy Spirit is the body—spiritual body of Jesus the Messiah. That’s the point that is made on the day of Pentecost in Acts chapter 2. Well, our time is up. And we will pick it up from this, but we’ll turn to 1 Corinthians chapter 14. And I think it would be great if you would read that chapter a few times before we study it because it’s not easy to interpret it. And it would be much easier for me to make the points that I would like to make if I have confidence that you are familiar with the text. So read 1 Corinthians chapter 14 before we have our next class next week. Let’s bow together in a word of prayer. [Prayer] Father, we thank Thee for the privilege of the study of the Word of God, and we pray, Lord, that by the ministry of the Spirit to us today who came on the day of Pentecost in a special way may lead us by illumination into a further understanding of what Thou art doing in this age in which we are living, the age from the cross and resurrection of our Lord Jesus until his coming again. We pray Thy blessing on each one present. If there should have been someone here who does not know our Lord, we pray that by the ministry of the Holy Spirit, Thou wilt cause them to understand their need of forgiveness of sins and understand how our Lord Jesus’ sacrifice has paid the penalty for sinner’s sins. And, Lord, we ask that Thou wilt create within the hearts of all who may be here who do not know our Lord the desire to know their sins are forgiven and to flee to him. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.

Posted in: Acts, 1 Corinthians