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The Birth of the New Testament Christian Church:
Acts 2:1-14

Acts 2:1-14, “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 [the Holy Spirit], and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. 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 marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galileans? 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 Judea, and Capadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphilia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine. But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: for these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.’”

[This is a transcript of a sermon (it will eventually be three sermons covering Acts 2) given by Pastor Joe Focht, Copyright © Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA (http://www.ccphilly.org ).] “Father, we settle our hearts and thank you that we can gather publicly like this. And no doubt Lord, before we know it, our lives may change, Lord, never to be the same again. [This sermon given in 1996, 5 years before September 11, 2001.] No doubt this nation, guilty of so many things, Father, no doubt has judgment looming over it, even if there’s a Josiah or a reprieve, Lord, before you come. And we pray, Lord, that there be a great awakening and a great revival. We all know so many, Father, friends and relatives we love, that still stand at a distance, unyielding, still blinded. But Father, as we sense the urgency of the hour, Lord, we pray for peace in Jerusalem. Father we pray, send Jesus to set up his kingdom, to usher in that age that all the prophets have spoken of. Father, as we have privilege and time together in your presence, Lord, fill us afresh with your Spirit. Speak to us Lord. Change us, Lord. Take away from every one of us in this room the excuse of just being the way we are, knowing Lord, that you are changing us and conforming us into the image of your Son. And Lord, hasten that work, as there is urgency in the day that we live, Lord. Now that there would be urgency Father of the Work of your Spirit in our hearts, that we might decrease and your Son might increase in each of us. Lord, we thank you, Lord we pray for peace, Lord, in that city, in Jerusalem, Lord, according to your Word. We pray Lord that you would allow us to see Him, to settle in your presence as we continue, and that your Word would be alive. Bless our fellowship, Father, we pray in Jesus name, Amen.’

Acts chapter 2, the day of Pentecost, an interesting and important study for us, because on this day 3,000 people are saved. So it’s important for us to take note of what happened. Interesting contrast, by the way, to the day the Law was given [on the same day of Pentecost over 1000 years before], that tells of when Moses descended from Sinai, when he broke the two tables of stone, on that day 3,000 died. On this day, when the Spirit descends upon the church, 3,000 are born eternally, saved. [i.e. born-again, cf. John 3.] And it was because of an experience in the life of a believer, they had seen Christ, they had walked with Christ, they had many of them reaped the benefits of his ministry. When I think of the 120 that were there in the upper room, no doubt Lazarus was there. He received of the benefit of Christ’s ministry, being raised from the dead [John 11] I would say is receiving of the benefit of Christ’s ministry. Or Simon, that used to be a leper. No doubt he was among the disciples. Think of those that were there, that received the benefit of his ministry. And the 12 that were there had been taught by Jesus for 40 days concerning the things of the kingdom. They were already believers--in John 20 he had breathed on them and said “Receive the Spirit”--and yet all of them were not yet ready to do the work that God had set before them [cf. Acts 1:6-9] with all they had seen of Christ with their eyes, with all of the conviction that was in their heart, with those few that had already believed, so that he might instruct them and open the Scripture to them and prepare them for their ministry. Yet their was still something else to take place before they were ready. That’s important for us, because many of us, in one sense in our hearts, have seen Christ, many of us have grown up in a Christian home, many of us have a heart about Jesus, but there’s always something of the reality of Christ, that each one of us needs in our lives, or it’s phony. We need the reality of his Presence. We need the fulness of his Spirit. It isn’t just an intellectual exercise, categorizing the things we believe into particular categories. We can be so right that we’re dead right. [He’s talking about dead orthodoxy, churches and Christians that are spiritually dead--nominal Christians in spiritually dead churches--a scary thing.] But it’s a living relationship, and it’s an experience of his presence and reality. And it’s much more than goose-bumps. Interesting, as I look at this scene, there’s 120 [the Greek indicates 120 family names, so this may equate to the 500 referred to in 1 Corinthians 15 by Paul] in the upper room. And I think, ‘Where are the thousands that were fed when he divided the loaves and the fishes, the five thousand men and women and children? Where were the innumerable masses that followed from Decapolis and Tyre and Sidon and all of Judea--and saw him heal the sick and open the eyes of the blind, and cleanse the lepers and raise the dead? Where are the multitudes from Capernaum, where it tells us at Peter’s mother-in-law’s house that Jesus there, as the Sabbath ended and the sun went down healed all that were in the entire village at Capernaum and all that were brought? Where are the thousands upon thousands that had heard, that had seen?’ Isn’t it interesting that there’s 120 out of those multitudes? That this was enough to change the world. Of the thousands that come here, 120, 180, how many are necessary to set the rest of us on fire? Ten of us? One of us? Pray for me, because I want more of what God has for me. I want to change. I think of the things in my life that stand in the way of a fuller experience of his power, of his holiness and joy. All I’m saying, that’s not it at all. It’s just as I look at the fruit of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, longsuffering, meekness, temperance, I think how desperately I need more of that. And I think, directly relational to that, to the personality of Christ being reflected in us, there is a greater openness when those things are manifest then for him to flow through us in power. And I’m longing for that, an outpouring of the Spirit in my own life. In my own time with him if I get up early in the morning or I sit up late at night, or I’m sitting somewhere in the park, I’m longing for a greater measure of his presence, a greater fulness of God’s Spirit. And don’t let anybody say “Oh, we don’t need what they needed then.” I don’t know about you, but I need what they needed then. I don’t know about the city you live in, but the city I live in needs what they had then. And I don’t know about the church that you attend, but the church I attend needs what they needed then. And the world that you live in may not be the same world I live in (my wife tells me I’m in a different world sometimes), so I guess that’s possible. But the world I live in needs what the world needed then, and that is a church made up of believers and a pastor that reflects Jesus as much with their lives as they do with their mouths in love, in power, in joy, in service. So this chapter [Acts 2] is important to us. And maybe, no matter what your position is, we’ll offend you before we are through, but don’t feel alone because we’re out to offend everybody--that is, everybody who would seek to restrict the work of God’s Spirit because of some petrified and atrophied position they hold theologically.

Chapter 2 says, “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 mighty rushing 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 [Holy Spirit] and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:1-4). It said “When the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all together in one place.” It says “in a house.” We’re not sure whether that is a house joined to the temple or when it says “in a house” it’s speaking of a portion of the temple itself. We know that in the end of Luke it tells us “and they were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God.” We know that over in Acts 2 it says “They continued daily with one accord in the temple, and in breaking of bread and house to house they did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart” (Acts 2:46). They must have been in location to the temple precincts, because there will be 3,000 people that will be saved. That means there will be many more thousands that will hear. But they had to be somewhere where thousands would have been, probably somewhere, I would imagine, in the area of Solomon’s Portico, in the southern side of the temple, with its many pillars in that day. It tells us that within six months earlier, Jesus at Hanukkah, it says, at the Feast of Lights, the feast that was in the winter, that Jesus was walking alone in Solomon’s Portico. And I think, you know it says “For the glory that was set before him he endured the cross, despising the shame.” And I think, you know, here’s Jesus, who within six months will be crucified, risen and ascended to heaven, wandering alone in Solomon’s Portico, thinking, ‘It won’t be long before 3,000 will be born [again] in one day, here in the precincts, and then thousands more.’ They were all to gather together in one place, regardless, somewhere in conjunction to the temple where thousands upon thousands upon thousands could gather.

It’s interesting, it says “When the feast of Pentecost was fully come.” Now it was one of the three mandatory feasts [Holy Day Feast seasons, 1) Passover/Unleavened Bread, 2) Pentecost, 3) Trumpets/Atonement/Tabernacles--those are the three feast seasons] when every Jewish male that was able, was to come to Jerusalem. Pentecost was one of the most crowded. Passover, a mandatory feast, no doubt, many of these same people had had been in Jerusalem on Passover when Christ was crucified. And they knew of that situation. When Jesus walks with the two on the road to Emmaus [Luke 24] and they don’t recognize him, and he says “Why are you so sad?” and they say “Oh, because of the things that have transpired here lately.” He said, “What things?” And they says “Are you the only guy in Jerusalem that doesn’t know what’s happened here?” Paul, when he’s before Felix says “This thing was not done in a corner, certainly you know about it.” So as the multitudes from many nations had come and gathered there on Passover, many of them had already come in contact with the crucifixion of Christ and the rumors of the resurrection. Now on Pentecost, which was 50 days later, June or July, the weather was warm, the lanes of shipping were open. It was often more difficult to get there for Passover because of how early it was in the season. The shipping lanes were completely open at this time of the year and Pentecost tended to be the feast that was more crowded. Tabernacles would be the other mandatory feast [Trumpets/Atonement/Tabernacles] in the fall. Paul tells us that they were a shadow of things to come, the feasts and the Holy Days, but that Christ himself was the body that cast that shadow into the Old Testament. And certainly in the Passover we see all of the beauty of the types and shadows of Jesus, the Lamb of God, slain from the foundation of the world, stepping into time and fulfilling those many Passovers that had been celebrated. Certainly in Tabernacles we’re looking forward to the coming of Christ and the setting up of the kingdom. [Click Here for a fuller description of those shadows.] But it says, “When the feast of Pentecost was fully come”, and it doesn’t mean that the day was fully there, it has the idea when the feast of Pentecost had finally come to express all that it was fully meant to express in the first place [much like that very Passover 50 days earlier when Jesus, the Lamb of God, was sacrificed for the sins of the world]. The idea is that there had been over 1500 Pentecost’s that had passed since Leviticus 23 legislated this mandatory feast. Over a thousand Pentecost’s had come and gone without seeing what Pentecost was meant to see [or represent]. And now, it says “When the feast of Pentecost was fully come they were all with one accord in one place”, on a Sunday, by the way. It tells us, Leviticus 23, that you count seven Sabbaths from the Passover and then add one day. So you’re adding one day after the Sabbath, which is Saturday. Sunday is the day the Church is born, Sunday, that the day the Church worships [except for the Sabbatarian and Messianic Jewish branches of the Christian Church], Sunday the Lord rose, Sunday called the Lord’s day, the first day of the week when they gathered, over in Acts 20.

Sunday, “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 a rushing mighty wind [do you know what tornadoes sound like?], and it filled all that house where they were sitting.” Now it doesn’t say there was a wind, that all of a sudden their hair was blowing in the breeze. They didn’t turn around and look at each other and see everybody’s hair flopping around. This was the sound of a mighty rushing wind, where they were gathered, suddenly, all of a sudden. One of the translations translates “The sound of a mighty breathing”, which is interesting, the “Ruach” in the Old Testament, “the breathe”, the same word [in Hebrew] used for spirit. It was the sound that came and settled, of a mighty rushing wind, no wind, but the sound coming upon the place where they were sitting. Notice that. They weren’t on their face, they weren’t kneeling, they weren’t groveling, they were sitting. I like to sit and pray. No rules, I like to stand and pray. I like to drive and pray. I need to drive and pray, and with my eyes open, by the way. But I like to sit and pray. If I get up before it’s light, I like to sit with a cup of coffee (too dark to read) and Jesus. I like to sit and pray. They were sitting. All of a sudden this sound starts to fill the place where they were. “And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire and it sat on each of them.” Now it doesn’t say that little flames with a forked tongue sat on each of their heads. That’s a bad hair day. It doesn’t say that fire was on their heads, they’d have all got burned. It says “cloven tongues of fire dividing”, it gives us the sense that there was one entrance and then a dividing into tongues of light that looked like fire. They had never seen a neon bulb, they had never seen a light bulb. They’d never seen a flashlight. It was like fire dividing into tongues and sitting upon each of them, is the idea. And imagine, how they looked around at each other, 120 of ‘em looking around, everybody had that little light sitting on their head. Now, is it symbolic of the Shikinah glory of God--coming to fill us as temples? We are the temple now of the Living God. Yeah, I think so, that’s good. I like that. Don’t know how exactly it is, but I’ll take that. I’m the temple of the Lord and want to be filled with his glory. And the qualifications are not too bad. It says that he’s put his glory in these earthen vessels, that it may be his glory and not ours, I can fit into that. Is it a cloven tongue of fire, representing the tongue being the human instrument, and the fire being the divine energy that would be involved? Yeah, I like that too. I’ll take that. The tongue’s a powerful thing, if you haven’t noticed. James tells us that the tongue is set on fire of hell. ‘Consider what a great forest fire a little spark kindles.’ And all of the things in this world that are promoted, from abortion to immorality, promoted by the tongue. Satan knows. How interesting here, God giving them utterance, filled with the Spirit. I need more of that. I need less of my tongue and more of his, if you haven’t noticed. I don’t know if you feel the same way. I don’t very often regret something I didn’t say. I most often regret something that I did say, that I wish I hadn’t said. And you can’t reel it back in, once it’s gone. “There appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them…” Now notice, the manifestation is before the Holy Ghost, the manifestation comes first, there’s the sound, audible, then there’s the visual, and then the Spirit. And these things are never repeated. They’re not repeated in chapter 4 when they’re filled with the Spirit. They’re not repeated in chapter 10 when Paul’s filled with the Spirit. They’re not repeated in chapter 11 when Cornelius and the Gentiles are filled with Spirit. Some things are not repeated. This was something that was done on the day of Pentecost to bring home to those 120 believers that were there, that this was a Divine action, a sovereign move of God, and that they were filled--and it’s passive on their part. They didn’t make it happen, they didn’t grovel for it, it’s something that God did, he ignited the fire that would become the Church, because he tells us in the first chapter, ‘You wait here until you’re endued with power [from] on high, that you may be witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria unto the uttermost parts of the earth.’ And we’re gonna read of the crowds that were gathered in Jerusalem from the uttermost parts of the earth that were infected with the living Messiah that was now in their hearts in an overflowing capacity. And there were gifts involved with this. It says they spoke in tongues when they were filled with the Spirit. Now it doesn’t say they spoke in tongues when they were baptized with the Spirit, which should make some of you happy, who like to put your technology into categories. But some folks say, ‘Well there’s only one experience. There’s that initial experience, and when you have that initial experience, you’re baptized, you’re filled, you’re indwelt, you get everything you’re to get at one time. Well, the problem with that is, in the 4th chapter the same men are threatened not to preach Christ. They come back to the place where they’re meeting, rejoicing they were counted worthy to suffer for his name, they begin to pray. It says the building is shaken, and they were all filled again, with the Holy Spirit, same group, refills. I need him bad. Chapter 8, those in Samaria, preached to by Philip, receiving Christ, believing, being disciples, being baptized in water. Then Peter and John come from Jerusalem and lay hands on them. Now they already are indwelt with the Spirit, if they’re already believers and disciples. But then the Spirit comes upon them, and they’re filled, and speak in tongues--there’s manifestation, experience. Very interesting, in chapter 11, when Peter is recounting what happened at the house of Cornelius in chapter 10, Peter says, “As I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them as on us at the beginning. Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, ‘John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost, for as much as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, what was I that I could withstand God.” Peter says there, the experience of the house of Cornelius was the baptism of the Spirit. But it says in the chapter, they were filled. Peter says, what happened to us in the book of Acts was baptism of the Spirit that Jesus spoke of, but it says here they were filled. It says in chapter 4 that they were filled again. Are they baptized again? And I like the fact that all of you have this quizzical look on your face, because I don’t know either. And if we could nail it all down into its neat little categories that we could justify, and put all in positions, then we would be killing the very thing that the book of Acts seeks to instill in us, and that is that Jesus Christ is risen, he’s alive, he is not subject to our categories. He is willing to lead us in a fresh and in a new way and to fill us every day with the Holy Spirit. And you can call it whatever you want to call it. And if you got all of it you need the first day you were saved, I ain’t met anyone like you before, because I got saved in 1972, and I need more of God’s Holy Spirit today. And I would be depressed if I thought there wasn’t any more. And the Bible is clear that we’re growing in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. That can only happen by his Holy Spirit. [You can read the Bible all you want, day in, day out, without the Holy Spirit, and this growing in the grace and the knowledge of the Lord will never occur. It takes daily prayer and Bible study, coupled to God’s indwelling Holy Spirit to cause spiritual growth.] That we are growing in our service. No one has the capacity to serve in the church, except through the empowering of the Holy Spirit. No matter how much natural ability you have, no matter how much talent you have in the natural, no matter how many diplomas and certificates and seed-sewing certificates you have on the walls of your office, you have no capacity to serve in God’s kingdom, except by the empowering of his Holy Spirit, and his calling and his equipping. Now if you have talents and gifts, no doubt, if he calls you to serve, through the gifts of help and mercy or one thing or another, you may bring those things to bear under the direction of the Holy Spirit and his equipping. But we are desperately, all of us, in need of a continued filling of the Holy Spirit.

On Pentecost, something happens in their lives. Men that already believed, men that already saw Christ, that were already taught by him before his ascension, now there’s a new dynamic in their lives. A dynamic of power, a dynamic of change, a dynamic of being infectious, not just being a container, but being a conduit. Not just holding, but now bursting forth rivers of living water as Jesus had said. But there are those who are gonna say, ‘Well you’d better look out. You open yourself up, you might get demonic tongues. Don’t be too open. You don’t know what you’re gonna get’, like Jesus’ April Fools prankster. You know, he said in answer to that, “What father, if his son comes, asking him bread, will give him a stone, to break his little teeth on.” “Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent to poison him? Or what father having a little child who comes asking for an egg would give him a scorpion that would sting him on his face?” And all of you that say ‘Who would do that? That’s not right.’ And he says, “If you, then, being evil, sinners, human, know that that’s not right, if you know how to give good gifts to your children, and you’re sinners, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask.” There is an experience of being indwelt and sealed with the Spirit the second that we’re saved. There is an experience of being filled, and we may go to the Father and ask for that experience. There’s no asking for the filling of the Spirit the second we’re saved, we’re asking for Christ to forgive our sins and to be our savior. Paul in Ephesians 5 says, “Do not be drunk with wine wherein is excess, but be ye being filled with the Holy Spirit.” It is something that we are continually to be doing. And here we see it for the first time in the book of Acts. We don’t need to look for fire on our heads, we don’t need to look for the sound of a mighty rushing wind, but we do need to look for a greater measure of God’s Spirit in our lives, all the time as we grow in Christ, a sovereign move in our own lives.

“They were all filled with the Holy Ghost”, verse 4, “and began to speak with other tongues”, glosia, “as the Spirit”, the tenses here are “kept giving them utterance.” So the Spirit continues to give them the utterance, they are speaking in different languages, dialektos, we’re gonna read of that. And, by the way, the same experience is described, dialektos & glosia, both of them describe one experience here. They’re not speaking with their understanding. They’re not speaking with their intellect [as we shall come to see]. They’re speaking something they don’t understand. The Spirit is giving them utterance, they’re opening their mouths and speaking. Now look, we’ve all been around places where, you know, they have the excesses, you know, speaking in tongues class. And somebody grabs your mouth and goes, “OK, you’ve got it now--babble, babble, babble”--and then we’re supposed to go home and go, babble, babble, babble--I’m speaking in tongues!” You’re stupid. You’re shaking your jaw. You don’t want some man to come up and grab your chin. How many of us thought, “Oh Lord, I want the gift of the Spirit, to speak in tongues, but I don’t want to be phony, so I’ll just sit here, relax all my jaw muscles, and loosen myself up, Lord, I’ll be putty in your hands.” And we’re just waiting for him to grab our chin so we can start babbling. Paul says, “I will pray in the Spirit and I will pray with my understanding.” He was involved. We’ve all seen people go on with tongues, you know--babble, babble, babble--they go on for seven miles. And the interpretation comes, “My children, I love you.” And you think “Wait a minute. This person must have been speaking in increments of those letters, you know. What is this?” Or we hear somebody goes, “Shine the old commode.” And it’s three and a half paragraphs that come out in interpretation. You’ve been there and you’ve seen that [if you’ve visited a Pentecostal church]. Or, you know, you’re in some place where every week the same woman is gonna go--“Wa, Wa, Wa, Wa, Babble, Babble--and you know, “Set your clock, it’s quarter after eleven”, because she goes off at the same time every week in the same place. But that doesn’t negate the gift. The gift is for today, and because there have been so many abuses, half the church is turned off, and the Holy Spirit that should bring unity is become the very point of division. ‘Oh when that which is perfect is come, tongues are gonna cease, let’s build an altar there.’ I encourage you to read D.A. Carson’s “Showing of the Spirit.” Does a great job, there. To say, that Paul was writing to the Corinthians about the completion of the canon of the Scripture and saying ‘Now when that which is perfect is come, that which is imperfect will pass away.” It is ridiculous to say that the Corinthians understood what the completion of the canon meant, it’s ridiculous. Or to say that tongues in some way was equivalent with Scripture until it was completed is ridiculous. That somehow, before the canon was completed, tongues filled in the space. No, no, no, no, we’re told clearly that when these folks gathered together they hear them speaking the wondrous works of God. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians, chapter 14, that he that speaketh in an unknown tongue doth give thanks right well. He that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh to God and not to man.” So it had nothing to do with speaking to the church and the Scripture would not replace it. If you’re speaking in tongues you’re speaking to God, not to man. You edify yourself, not the church. And how many times have we been in a place where someone will speak in tongues, and then here comes the interpretation, “My little children, if you will do this and you will do that…” Wait a minute…That is not an interpretation of the tongues. Because Paul said “He who speaks in an unknown tongue speaketh unto God, not unto man.” You hold that. Maybe it’s a prophecy, maybe it’s a word of knowledge, but we’re gonna wait for the interpretation of that tongue, and if it doesn’t come, no one else here tonight will speak in tongues, because there’s no interpreter present. You see, because Paul said, “Let all things be done decently and in order.” Some churches have embraced the first half, “Let all things be done.” Some churches have embraced the second half, “Decency and order.” I think God wants both. “Let all things be done decently and in order.” Now we believe in that here. I pray in tongues. I pray in tongues at home. I pray in tongues will I’m driving, while I’m alone. We gather here to study the Scripture. If you get up in the middle of a Bible study and start to speak in tongues, we will tell you to be quiet and sit down. If you don’t listen, we’ll carry you out. Because I believe if someone is up here teaching the Word, and exercising a God-given gift to feed, to exhort, to teach, why would the Holy Spirit interrupt himself? He’s not schizophrenic. He doesn’t have a multiple personality disorder. And we’re here to study the Word of God. If we opened up this sanctuary to Pentecostal behavior, every screwball for a hundred miles would be here, who would love an audience this big. And I grew up in the Pentecostal side of the church, and a lot of the things we did there was learned behavior, it was not biblical spirit-filled behavior. It was imitation of what we had learned from the generation before us, who had learned from Azuza Street, who had learned from some God-given revivals. The Catholic charismatic renewal was a movement of God. Millions were born-again through that movement. The shame of it was, there was no growth, because it’s difficult in that environment, without exposition verse by verse, of the Scripture, so there was no growth into spiritual maturity. But to say that move was of the devil is ridiculous, because Jesus said that a house divided against itself can’t stand. [Some would say, ‘Well, that is why Satan created a false church, to attempt to divide the body of Christ.’ Time will only tell, whether that view is correct or not.] And millions were saved and came to love Christ through that movement.

But the other side of the abuse is to say, “Well, if you don’t speak in tongues, you’re not saved.” That’s stupid. Or to say, “If you don’t speak in tongues, you haven’t received the fulness of the Spirit.” It’s not biblical. Paul says in 5th grade English “Do all speak in tongues? Are all prophets? Do all have the gift of miracles, are all apostles?”--rhetorical question. “I, as Paul, would rather see you have the gift of prophesy.” Now to say that’s passed away is ridiculous. It says in Revelation 19 that the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” And the testimony of Jesus certainly has not passed away. I would rather have you in this church have the gift of government, or helps, or mercy, or faith, or miracles, because he who speaks in an unknown tongue edifies himself. But Paul says that he who prophesies, speaks not foretelling the future, but forth-telling the truth of God with authority, edifies the Church. I challenge you, because I need, and everyone around you needs God to give life to whatever gifts he’s given you, whatever they might be. And they’re all different. Again, if I start coughing in the middle of a service, and my throat is dry and I’m struggling, and some little kid comes walking up here with a tray with a pitcher of water and a glass on it, and just as he’s coming up the steps he falls, crashes on the ground, cuts his finger, starts crying. Someone with the gift of mercy’s going to come right up and go “Oh, are you alright? Let me see that finger.” Somebody with a prophetic gift is gonna say “I told you not to do that.” Somebody with a teaching gift is gonna say “Now the next time you do this, you have to watch this, and be very careful, you only have to bring a glass, he’s not gonna drink a whole pitcher.” Somebody with the gift of helps is gonna come and start picking up the glass and putting it in a dustpan and mopping up the water. Somebody with the gift of exhortation is gonna say to me, “Next time drink before you start, and then it just won’t happen to this kid.” I mean, we will all relate to something in a different way, God’s wired us differently and desires to bring to fruition in us those things that will not happen without the power of the Holy Spirit. It will not happen with one filling without greater fillings. And as we look at America today, we have not been all that we need to be. And when I look at you guys, I live with a haunting sense that I have not been all that I need to be. But the good news is, God freely gives, that he loves, that all we need to do is ask for a greater filling of the Spirit. That it is his good pleasure to give us the kingdom, to change us. That if we confess our sin that has been in the way of a greater measure of his Spirit, a greater holiness, he’s faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, and pick us up and dust us off and start us off again. And that his mercies are new every morning, and that he wants above all for men to know that we are his disciples by the love that we have one for another--and that is not a natural love but a supernatural love.

The Spirit continued to give them utterance. It says “There were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven”--Mediterranean world--“Now when this was noised abroad”--and there’s a question, was it the sound of the mighty rushing wind, or was it, and it seems to be the noise of so many different languages speaking of the wondrous works of God at one time--“now when this was noised abroad the multitude came together, and they were confounded”--here’s why--“because that every man heard them speak in his own language”--his own dialect, it means the language he had known from a child. And it’s confounding them because here are they, by and large Galileans, common men, we’re gonna read later, they took note that they were ignorant and unlearned men. But they had been with Jesus, and they’re not hearing these things in Hebrew and Aramaic alone, they’re hearing them in all of the languages from the world that they had come from. “And they were all amazed. And they marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galileans?”--‘these guys are hicks, look at the way they’re dressed. “And how hear we every man in our own tongue wherein we were born?” Kind of the opposite of God confounding them at Babylon, to where no one understood what anyone was saying, now by the Holy Spirit speaking in all these different languages, and everybody understanding them. Listen, “Parthians and Medes”, you know, Medo-Persian Empire, into the area of Chechnya where Dave Lecomp goes, Elamites, that is from Iran, Elam is Iran. Dwellers of Mesopotamia, that’s Chaldee, Iraq, that whole area, and in Judea, Capadocia and Pontus and Asia--these are the points in Turkey and Asia Minor today. And Phrygia and Pamphilia, all the way down to Egypt, and in the parts of Libya, North Africa, Cyrene, North Africa, strangers from Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes from Cyprus, Arabians from Saudi Arabia, we do hear them speak our dialects the wonderful works of God, and they were all amazed and were in doubt, saying one to another, what meaneth this? Others mocking, said, ‘These men are filled with new wine.’” Now take note, here they are from all over the known world, and what they’re hearing is they’re hearing not sermons, they’re not hearing a message, as it were to them. What they’re hearing is everyone speaking the wondrous works of God. He that speaketh an unknown tongue speaketh to God. They must hear this wonderful beautiful praise to the Living God and to his Son Jesus Christ, in every language they knew. And they look up and see a group of 120 of Galileans. We’re not told if the light is still on their heads, I doubt it. Now obviously the sound of the mighty rushing wind is not there, they wouldn’t be able to hear them. What they’re hearing now is the Spirit continuing to give them utterance, as they’re speaking in languages that they’ve not known. I have known missionaries in continents through Asia and Africa, in countries in Asia and Africa, that tell me of converts being filled with the Spirit and praising God in English, and not knowing what they were saying. Good friend of ours, Laura Lee, Kathy and I knew her years ago, they made a movie about her, “Walking Through The Fire”, healed of cancer, she opened up for Billy Graham on his crusades. One day [she] began speaking in tongues. And an Eastern Orthodox priest came and said “Where did she learn this?” and here, she was reciting some series of prayers that they trace all the way back to Antioch, that the Eastern Orthodox priests only teach one to another as they become priests. And she had no idea of what she was saying, and just praising God with these prayers. John Courson talks of a meeting where they were praying together, a small group and one or two began to speak in tongues. There was no interpretation, so he said “That’s it, let’s hold that here.” And afterwards the janitor of the building, who was from Iran, came with tears in his eyes, and said “Who taught them that?” “They were talking about Jesus Christ and how wonderful God’s love is and praising him in my tongue that I learned.” And here, hearing the praises of God. You know, “Though we speak in the tongue of men or angels…” Paul says. And remember, “have not love, I am nothing, though I prophesy and understand all mysteries, have all knowledge--if I have not love I am nothing. Give my body to be burned--should be a little plaque I should have on my wall “I am nothing”, just to remind me every day to seek him for a greater measure of his love. Here were these men, touching all of these lives--and these then would be those who would go back to the known world. Peter when he writes his first epistle talks to those that are “scattered abroad”, the Diaspora, those who have been sewn throughout the Mediterranean world like seed. Here they are on the day of Pentecost. It will tell us at the end of the chapter, 3,000 accept Christ, and as they go back to their native lands they take the Living Christ with them. The purpose of this whole circumstance is not for people to gather round and be amazed and hear people jabbering in tongues. The purpose of it, is it sets the floor, the stage for Peter to step forward, and he began to speak as the Spirit gave him utterance, but in Aramaic, their own language, or in Hebrew. No doubt the Spirit quickening his mind, because there’s no evidence he’s holding a Scroll as he gives his sermon, and yet quoting Scripture after Scripture after Scripture after Scripture after Scripture. And 3,000 turned to Christ. “What’s going on with these men? What is this?” they say [verse 12]. They were in doubt, saying one to another, saying, ‘What meaneth this?’ Others, mocking, said, ‘these guys are drunk.’ And there will be those when you endeavor to do anything Spirit-led, who will mock. That comes with the territory. Man, step out in the Spirit, watch the sparks fly. But it’s good. God allows it. Little bit of pressure, proves what we are, doesn’t it? Miles McFerson said, “You never really know what flavor a teabag is till you put it in hot water.” I find out that when I get under pressure, I find out quickly that I need more of the Holy Spirit, because too much of my spirit’s there. I feel like one of those little play-dough plastic dolls where you put the stuff in and squeeze it, and all that hair comes out. When it’s under pressure and all that orange hair comes out all over and a beard and everything. That’s what I feel like when I get under pressure. My flesh comes out, Joe Focht comes out, and he’s gotta quick get the scissors and trim all that off, you know. But God allows it to happen so I can trim it off. I just have to explain that to the person I might offend. Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, will stand up now, “Peter standing up,” notice, with the eleven, including Matthias, “lifted up his voice and said unto them, ‘Ye men of Judea and all ye that dwell in Jerusalem, be this known unto you and hearken to my words, these men are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour [9am] of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel…” And he begins to give a biblical basis for what is taking place. And whatever you do in the name of the Lord, you need to have a biblical basis for what you’re doing. Don’t tell anybody, “Well, the Spirit’s not bound to the Scripture.” He will never contradict the book that he wrote. Heaven and earth will pass away, the Scripture will not pass away. Don’t let anybody call you “Oh you’re a Bible worshipper!” “You’re a Bible worshipper! That’s all you are! That’s why the Spirit’s not moving there.” “Come to our fellowship. Oil’s dripping from the ceiling, people are rolling in the aisles, screaming, laughing hyenas, dogs barking, you Bible worshippers…” Hey, I’ll worship my Bible, and the God that it puts in front of me, because that won’t change. And for those folks, they’ll need something new in two weeks. But you can only laugh so long. “What are you gonna do this week?” “Go to church and laugh, what we do every week. Did it three years ago, 52 weeks a year. It’s 156 weeks we’ve been laughing.” You’ve gotta come up with something new, now you’ve gotta crow like a rooster. There’s a new one that they do now. They just go like this [ear to ear grin, I think]. It’s called “Joy unspeakable.” Now that’s what you have as you’re laughing [at them]. You know, look, the Holy Spirit gets a lot of bad press, because he has human advertisement. Be supernaturally natural, don’t be supernaturally weird. Have a biblical basis for what you believe and practice. If Jesus taught it in the gospels, if it’s practiced in the book of Acts, it’s expanded in the epistles--we have church doctrine and practice. What the world needs is love. God so loved this world that he gave his Son. The world that drives you crazy, and the world that you want to leave behind, the world that you’re frustrated with, the world that you’d like to see burned someday, is the world that God loved, and gave his Son that whoever would believe, in that world, would not perish, but have everlasting life. Aren’t you glad that was effective in our lives? But if you’re anything like me, now that I’m in, ‘Get us out of here, Lord.’ I think there are many more to come in. But once we’re in, in the church, one body, it says that every joint, every ligament supplies in the human body. That the eye can’t say to the ear ‘I don’t need you,’ or, ‘to the hand, I don’t need you.’ Can’t just be an eyeball rolling down the aisle. You know, an eyeball is a beautiful thing, in somebody’s head. We’ve got some little kids around the church sometimes, and their eyes are so blue, beautiful. But if I walked out of the office door and one of them was laying by the car line, I wouldn’t say “That is beautiful, look how blue that eye is. I love that eye, look at that.” There’s a setting, every joint, every ligament supplies in the body, we need your gifts. In the body we need you to be filled with the Holy Ghost. Because if you’re in the body, and you’re living in sin, and you’re mocking Christ and you’re playing a game, you infect everyone else with that. If every joint and every ligament supplies, you never live to yourself in the body, in the body of Christ you effect others or infect others. I need you. The Church needs you. The Lord needs you, filled with the Spirit. The worlds needs a Spirit filled Church.”

End

[Keep in mind, at the time that God started the Church via his Holy Spirit on this Pentecost, the believers at this time were all Sabbath-keeping, Holy Day observing Torah-observant Jews. This will help you understand the historical studies in the next section. And even as they grew in the grace and knowledge of the Lord as Christians, at this point in time--over the next thirty years, the believers were more like Messianic Jews than the Baptist or Methodist or Church of the Nazarene Christian you may know as a neighbor. The next section of short historical research articles will make that plain, what this early church was like, and how it developed, and split into the various branches of Christianity we know of today.]

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