1] When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2] And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3] Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. 4] And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
5] And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. 6] And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in their own language. 7] Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? 8] And how is it that we hear, each one in our own language in which we were born? 9] Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10] Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoing Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11] Cretans and Arabs – we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.” 12] So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “Whatever could this mean?”
13] Others mocking said, “They are full of new wine.”
Acts 2 records a watershed event in the history of the church: the pouring out of the Holy Spirit. Unlike those instances in the OT where the Spirit came upon God’s people for a limited time and a specific task, for example, 2 Chronicles 15:1, the Spirit came upon these believers to indwell them permanently. Like the Crucifixion, it was a one-time event. Christ doesn’t have to die for each new generation and the Spirit doesn’t have to come in such an overt way for them. Christ has died and the Spirit has come. He indwells each believer as a guarantee of each believer’s final arrival in heaven and as the “firstfruits” of our relationship with God as His children:
2 Corinthians 1:22, who [God] also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.
2 Corinthians 5:5, Now He who has prepared us for this very thing [the victory of eternal life over mortality, vs, 1-4] is God, who also has give us the Spirit as a guarantee.
Ephesians 1:14, who [the Spirit] is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
In these three verses, the KJV has “earnest” for “guarantee.” I think I like this word better. An “earnest” is a down-payment on something, or at least that’s what it used to be called. At least to me “guarantee” doesn’t really have the same impact. When my wife and I bought our present house, we had to give the owner some money to seal the deal, as it were. It was our “earnest.” This was our promise to buy the house, which we did. It was also his promise to sell us the house. By the grace of God, we now own it free and clear.
The Holy Spirit is God’s down payment, if you will, on the eternal blessings He has promised to His people. But, unlike our lengthy time of paying for the house, the payment for our redemption was made all at once by the Lord Jesus on Calvary. By the grace of God, salvation is ours, free and clear.
In the case of the house, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t “upkeep”. I need to get out and mow the yard once more before winter gets here. We recently had the house painted. We’ve had the roof replaced and the sewer lines cleaned out. But the house is ours.
So it is with salvation. There is “upkeep”. This does NOT mean that we have to “keep” it or else we might lose it. It’s ours, free and clear. But, as with the house, there are things to do as Christians: prayer, Bible study, fellowshiping with other believers, faithfulness during the week and not just on Sunday.
On this first Pentecost, what happened to the believers? They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance, v. 4.
“Other tongues.” What does this mean? Was it just gibberish, or “angel tongues,” or something else? Luke clearly tells us. In v. 5, the crowd drawn by the sound of the “rushing mighty wind,” v. 2, heard them speak in their own language, v. 6. Then Luke lists 17 languages understood by those who heard the disciples.
This astonished the crowd because it was evident that these disciples were Galileans, v. 7. Galilee was in the northern part of Israel, next to Gentile territory. In fact, it was called Galilee of the Gentiles, Isaiah 9:1; Matthew 4:15. Galileans were considered uncouth and ignorant, without learning and speaking even their own language clumsily and without grace. Yet here were these men, speaking foreign languages, and, we might imagine, doing so quite fluently, though Luke doesn’t specifically tell us that.
This brings us to what they were talking about: the wonderful works of God, v. 11.
“The wonderful works of God.”
We’re not told which of these works are included, but I think there’s a lesson here, nonetheless. Our world and culture is awash with skepticism and unbelief. We’re told that this world just happened, that it evolved from nothing into the wonder we see all around us. There is no God, no rhyme or reason for anything, it just happens. The Bible is just another religious book, subject to human wisdom and scholarship. There are no absolutes (except that one!), everything is just what culture and society say and accept. We see the results of that teaching in the degeneracy and violence all around us.
We need to return to a Biblically-based preaching and teaching. This world didn’t just happen; in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth, Genesis 1:1. Man didn’t “evolve” from lesser creatures; he was created as a direct and unique act of God, Genesis 1:26, 27. Death entered for no other reason than man sinned, Romans 5:12. There are absolutes; man is accountable. There are a heaven and a hell, and there’s only one way to enter the one and to escape the other: faith in the Lord Jesus, Acts 4:12.
Some received the message, others mocked, saying, “These men are drunk!”
Lord willing, we’ll see Peter’s response to this jibe in our next post.