Thursday, December 30, 2004

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.  Acts 2:2-6

The day of Pentecost, a day which is still celebrated on the seventh Sunday after Easter.  This was the day which the Apostles were told by Jesus would come when he told them to wait for the comforter that He would send to them.  This miraculous moment in Christian history is often taken completely out of text.  The Pentecostals refer to this as the reason they believe someone isn't truly filled with the Spirit until they speak in tongues.  As we will see by further investigation into the Bible, this argument does not hold up.

When the Spirit fell upon them it was for the purpose of getting across the message of Jesus Christ to a large crowd of people from many different countries that spoke many different languages.  Everyone heard the gospel in their own language so they could understand and as a result three thousand people were baptized.  If you have ever been privilege to witness a baptism it is a very emotional thing and I can't even imagine being a witness to three thousand being baptized.  That must have been an awesome day.

Another gift of the Spirit is however what is called the "Speaking of Tongues," where the Spirit speaks through you to the Father.  This is in the heavenly language, which is not understandable except by God or by one who is an "Interpreter of Tongues."  This language is often thought to be the language, which was spoken on the day of Pentecost.  Throughout the rest of the book of Acts we see others that are saved and when the Spirit comes upon them they begin speaking in tongues.  This premise has led many to believe that when the Holy Spirit comes into our lives it is marked by the speaking of diverse tongues.  Now we get to see where this is an inaccurate statement.

There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.  There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord.  And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.  But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.  But one and the same Spirit works all these individually as He wills.

I Corinthians 12:4-11

Apparently this was a problem in the early church just as it appears to be today.  There are many who will try to make you feel like you are not been blessed by the Spirit unless you speak in tongues.  As Paul clearly tells us here there are many gifts of the Spirit and no one person will possess them all.  Paul starts this message off with these words:

Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant:

Unfortunately when it comes to our faith ignorance is still running rampant.

Through studying and prayer we should be seeking to eliminate the ignorance in our lives and once this is accomplished we can seek to destroy the ignorance in the churches around us.

Our Lord and Savior tells us in The Book of Luke how we can receive the Holy Spirit by this simple parable:
"If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish?  Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?  If you then being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!"            Luke 11:11-13

I don't think we can get any clearer on this than what the Master has said.  It is when we try to take simple Christian teachings and turn them into something deep or philosophical that we distort the true and simple meaning. 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.  Against such there is no law.  And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.  Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.            Galatians 5:22-26


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