Summary: how the holy spirit enabled the disciples and us to speak words in ways we’ve never spoken before
May 19, 2002 Acts 2:1-21
1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: "Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs -- we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!" 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, "What does this mean?"
13 Some, however, made fun of them and said, "They have had too much wine."
14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: "Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15 These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 17 "`In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. 18 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. 19 I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 20 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. 21 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ (NIV)
The English language has many sayings that are connected to body parts. For instance, if you “stick your foot in your mouth,” it means that you say something really dumb. If you are going to “give someone an ear full”, it means that you will yell at them. If you are told to “keep your nose out of it”, it means that you should mind your own business. And if you “give someone a helping hand” it means that you are going to help them out in someway.
If things looked different up here this morning, be rest assured that your “eyes weren’t playing tricks on you.” Instead of wearing white, I am now wearing red. There’s a reason for that. This means that it’s time to switch seasons - to go on with the last “festival” of the festival half of the church year. Today is the official day that we call “Pentecost.” It means 50th. On this day, the Holy Spirit did something very special. Instead of sticking His foot in the disciples’ mouths, the Holy Spirit stuck his tongues - tongues of fire - on the disciples’ heads. In the fulfillment of an Old Testament prophecy, He enabled the disciples to speak in tongues. He gave their mouths what we would call a “helping hand.” So the theme for today is ~
The Holy Spirit Stuck His Hand in the Disciples’ Mouths
I. Enabling them to speak in tongues
Pentecost was originally known as the Feast of Weeks. There were three special festivals throughout the Old Testament that the men of Israel were expected to attend. The first one was the Passover. The second, fifty days after it, was the Feast of Weeks. In between Passover and the Feast of Weeks, the Jews would regularly have their wheat harvest. So God established the Feast of Weeks - 7 weeks after Passover, to be exact, as a time that the farmers could bring their first fruits to the Lord. They would bake two fresh loaves of leavened bread and wave them before the Lord, signifying that their harvest had come from the Lord. That’s why there were so many people from all over the world in Jerusalem at this time - from Media, Egypt, all over the place. They came to give the Lord the firstfruits of their grain harvest. What an opportune time this was for the Holy Spirit to give the New Testament Church a helping hand!