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Posted by: admin on Sun, Jul 26, 2009

Pastor Mark Stephens

The Elect
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Tongues of Fire
Pastor Mark Stephens
Jul 26, 2009

Before the day of Pentecost, the Holy Ghost had come upon men and women periodically, usually to empower them for specific tasks given by God as portrayed in the Old Testament. Pentecost fulfilled Old Testament prophecy and many predictions made by Jesus Himself.
Christ taught His disciples to pray, “Thy kingdom come” (Matthew 6:10) The Apostle Paul said, “The kingdom of God is not meat and drink [it was not by observing any particular feast, custom, or ritual]; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Romans 14:170).
The Holy Ghost came as the authority and power of the kingdom of God. The disciples had witnessed the miracles of Jesus. They saw His death and burial. They also saw the resurrected Christ stand in their presence three days later, which amazed them. Even Thomas, who was a doubter, stood in awe and declared, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20L28).
Even though they had seen and testified to this, the disciples could not just go on their way preaching. Jesus had given them specific instructions:
“Tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49).
God wanted a witness from Heaven to empower mankind. Only an earthen vessel empowered from Heaven could declare the glories of the world to come (Acts 1:8).
The doctrine of speaking in tongues and being baptized in the Holy Ghost has been accompanied by much controversy. As always, let us look to the Scriptures to see what the Word says concerning this phenomenon.
“And when the day of Pentecost was 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 all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:1-4).
What happened on the day of Pentecost?
  1. This event came right on time. “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come “ (vs1)
  2. A sound from heaven, like a rushing mighty wind, “filled all the house where they were sitting” (vs. 2).
  3. Tongues of fire “sat upon each of them” (vs. 3)
  4. They “were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues” (vs. 4)
  5. The language came “as the Spirit gave them utterance” (vs. 4b).
The Jewish people were familiar with the term Pentecost. Everything God did in types and shadows in the Old Testament was fulfilled in the New Testament. In the Old Testament God revealed Himself in many ways to Israel. He was known as the “I am,” promising to sustain them on their journey from Egypt to Canaan. Whatever they needed, He was the I am of sustenance for that very thing.
One word gives us an understanding of this concept-the word “true.” Jesus said”
“My Father giveth you the true bread from heaven” (John 6:32).
True means to have without concealment. Throughout the Old Testament, God had been concealed in type and shadow. In the New Testament, however, He is no longer concealed. He became in reality everything that He merely was a shadow of in the Old Testament.
Pentecost was a type of something that one day would explode and change this world for eternity. Pentecost meant fiftieth day. When we read “the day of Pentecost had fully come,” that means the fiftieth day after Passover had arrived.
Everything that needed to precede this memorable day had taken place. Jesus, the Passover Lamb, had died and risen from the dead. He had walked with His disciples, was confirmed 40 days and nights with many infallible proofs, and then was received into glory.
Our personal Passover must precede our Pentecost. The blood of Christ prepares us for Pentecost, washing away our sin and prejudice, enabling us to come together with devout men and women from every nation. You cannot have a Pentecost with God if you are biased against people not just racial prejudice but experiential prejudice. People have devised a grading scale between one and en for the severity of certain sins. Sin, which simply means to miss the mark, has no scale of severity in the eyes of God.
God is tearing down racial, ethnic, and religious barriers, bringing people together from all walks of life in one place with one focus: to reach the world for Jesus. We need it to be said of us, “The day of Pentecost has fully come.” The word fully means to come with an expected end, to come with anticipation, to come to have a part in a mission.
Pentecost marked the beginning of a mission for the Jewish people as they gathered in the fruit of their labors. Pentecost in Acts 2 marked the beginning of a mission for the church to gather in lost souls. We need Pentecost to fully arise in our life as we fall in love with Jesus, the Passover Lamb, to carry out the ingathering of His harvest.
The sound from Heaven “filled all the house where they were sitting.” This sound was a sign, witnessing that Heaven was speaking. The Greek word for sound denotes a loud rumbling or roaring voice, much like the rumbling of a tornado that precedes the storm.
The wind filled closets, bedrooms, bathrooms, upstairs, and downstairs. It filled all the components in the house: jars, glasses, significant and insignificant things. This indicates that anyone can be filled with the Holy Ghost.
We have seen saved Baptists, Methodists, Catholics-wall walks of Christian professions-filled with the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking with other tongues. The only mandatory prerequisite is that you be a believer, a born again, blood washed child of God (Acts 2:38, 39; John 14:17).
This experience was not for a select few. The cloven tongues of fire rested upon each one-men and women; young and old; apostles and disciples. Hearing the sound, the amazed multitude asked, “what do these things mean?”
The Apostle Peter answered their question:
“This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; and it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: and on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy” (Acts 2:16-18).
God planned for His Spirit, a consuming fire, to rest upon each of His children. Peter told the crowd:
“For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call” (Acts 2:39).
Peter, who later preached to the Gentiles in Cornelius’ house, said:
“Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, of a truth I perceive that God is no respector of persons” (Acts 10:34).
He saw the Holy Spirit fall on the assembly even before he finished his sermon, confirming God’s promise.
They “began to speak with other tongues” (Acts 2:4). Tongues in this passage is the Greek word “glossa,” which simply means a language.
Devout Jews from every nation had gathered in Jerusalem for Pentecost. When the Holy Spirit was poured out and the disciples began to speak in tongues, it cause quite a stir.
“Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marveled, saying one to another, behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and the strangers of Rome, Jews ad proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongue the wonderful works of God” (Acts 2:6-11).
Luke mentions over a dozen locations in this passage, representing many languages and dialects. Tongues enabled the multitude to hear the mighty deeds of God in their own language.
The language came “as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:4). Utterance means the ability to speak plainly, to declare openly, or to have the ability to enunciate with clarity. The people spoke, but the words came through the ability or enabling of the Holy Ghost. They spoke as the Spirit gave utterance.
When you do something you are doing it with assistance. If you walk across the room, you are walking as your feet move. Your feet are the tool being used to carry out the mission of walking.
The believers at Pentecost spoke the language of heaven, but only as the Holy Ghost gave them utterance.
The Old Testament conveyed many truths, but they were concealed in types and shadows. Everything in the Old Testament tabernacle depicted in some type or shadow the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
After the resurrection of Christ, He showed Himself to the disciples and others for 40 days. Before ascending to heaven, Jesus told His followers to wait for the promise of the Father. They gathered for prayer and waited as Christ took up the office of high priest forever.
The Jews knew that the Passover resulted in the death of an innocent lamb. Fifty days later marked the beginning of their harvest or the feast of ingathering. Jesus said He was the Passover Lamb. Pentecost marked 50 days since His blood had been poured out for the forgiveness of sins.
The disciples’ wait ended. “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come…there came a sound…”(Acts 2:1,2). This was the fulfillment of the pomegranates and the golden bells (remember the priest who went into the holy of holies) The bells were a sign that the sacrifice had been accepted, and the Holy Ghost was the sound that our sins had been atoned for.
“Charity never faileth: but whether there by prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away” (1st Corinthians 13:8-10).
The Holy Ghost has not been given to the church to entertain congregations but rather to empower them. Jesus said, “Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you” (Acts 1:8). The Holy Ghost gives us power not to just shout, run the aisles, or to put on a show. He empowers us to intervene in society as a witness.
Jesus gave these instructions to His disciples:
“And these signs shall follow then that believe; in my name they shall cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover (Mark 16:17, 18).
The Book of Acts records the amazing signs and wonders that occurred through the disciples. What was the catalyst for those miracles? Pentecost. After being endued with power from on high, “they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following” (Mark 16:20).
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