Summary: This message points to the awesome power seen at Pentecost and the power available to us today. In this message I also draw an analogy between the story of the Tower of Babel and Pentecost. There are many notable differences.
The Power of a Changed Life
Acts 2: 1-21
back in the OT we find a very interesting story about the building of the tower of Babel. This was early of course in history, population much smaller but the people had learned a brand new technology: how to make bricks. Now their buildings could be much larger. So they found a large open plain where they could live and they decided to build a tower there. They believed they could build a tower that would reach all the way up to the heavens...and what was their motive? “Come let us build ourselves a city with a tower that reaches to the heavens so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the whole earth.”
But instead the scripture says the Lord came down to see the tower they were building. The tower had not reached heaven at all. God had to “come down” to see the city.
The purpose of the tower was to unify them. They had one language and they wanted to gather everyone together through this one great achievement-a tower. But instead God reversed their plan, giving them different languages so they couldn’t understand each other. The tower intended to bring people together was the tower that scattered the people and drove them from each other. Know this truth. When we separate ourselves from God we will separate ourselves from God’s people.
Now their language, instead of being the same-all sounded like what we now call babbling...the tower of Babel. The place then becomes known as Babylon.....one of the most evil cities in history.
It reminds me of the Soviet astronaut who in 1961 became the 1st human to orbit the earth. The media quotes him as saying while he was in orbit, “I don’t see any god up here.” Many people today are still under the impression that we can somehow use technology to build something that will take us far into the heavens so that we can see whether there is a God or not. Amazing! We live out the scripture where Paul says they claimed to be wise; they became fools.
Now the day of Pentecost begins the reversal of this process. Languages developed and of course continued to do so all over the world-one estimate says there are close to 7000 different languages today.
Look with me at some of the differences we see in the Tower of Babel in the OT and the Day of Pentecost in the NT.
1. Babel is a symbol of rebellion; Pentecost is s symbol of unity.
2. At Babel the people wanted to make a name for themselves. At Penetcost the people wanted to glorify God.
3. After Babel the people could no longer work together. At Pentecost they started working together.
4. Babel was an example of man’s will. Pentecost was an example of God’s will.
5. Babel was bad news. Pentecost was good news.
6. Babel showed God’s judgment. Pentecost showed God’s blessings.
7. The message of Babel was we are gods. The message of Pentecost was we are God’s.
8. The message of Babel was God is nowhere. The message of Pentecost was God is now here.
What Pentecost says to us is that God is not far away. We do not have to build a tower to get to Him. God is now here. Pentecost gives us an example for the church to follow. It gives us some principles we can learn from. Because the church at Pentecost is much closer to being the church God had in mind than what we have today.
First of all in every God’s church we must have an atmosphere where God can move. Notice v. 1. When the Day came they were all together in one place. There was an atmosphere that brought them all together. They were waiting together because they knew in their hearts that Jesus would fulfill the promise He had made just a few days earlier.
Acts 1:8. None of them wanted to miss this. They didn’t know what was going to happen; they just knew they wanted to be part of it.
2nd, the church must be able to get the attention of people who were outside the church. Over and over throughout the book of Acts we see that the church was too powerful to be ignored. That was certainly the case on Pentecost Sunday.
* they hear a sound like a violent wind that fills the whole house
* they saw tongues of fire
* they are filled with the Holt Spirit
* they spoke on other tongues/languages
As a result we see that the people of that day were “utterly amazed” v. 7 and v. 12.
Listen, a dynamic church will attract attention when God is moving inside the church people outside the church will notice. And here is the reason. It is the power of a changed life. Now as is almost always the case, there were some who were amazed...v. 2:7 ..there were also those who were amused. V. 13.