Read - Acts 2v1-13
Message - Scott Woodburn
You have probably heard it said that Pentecost was the birth of the church. I do understand what people mean by this but they are wrong. In these devotions I have made the case for the church starting with Adam and Eve who, after falling into sin, received a covering from the Lord. If anyone has ever been saved it is by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone. Pentecost did not mark the beginning of the Gospel age with another path of salvation now being left behind. So what actually was going on?
Let's go back to Sunday school. Long ago the earth had one language and the same words (Genesis 11v1) and, using this unity for sin, the people of the earth sought to build a tower with it's top in the clouds "to make a name for themselves." (Genesis 11v4). In response the Lord scattered the people throughout the globe and confused their speech (Genesis 11v7-8). When you arrive in Spain next summer (maybe!) you see dramatic evidence of sin in the simple fact that unless your hosts can speak English, your language and theirs is still confused.
Pentecost means "fifty days" for it took place fifty days after Passover. It was a time that all Jewish males had to come to Jerusalem for the feast of weeks (Numbers 28v26). This is what is taking place in Acts 2. The disciples are together (v1) and the Spirit arrives in power (v2-3). They are filled with the Holy Spirit and begin speaking in tongues (v4). What is this gift? It is the gift of being able to speak in another language that was previously unknown to the speaker. It is not babble or mumbling or a so called heavenly language, it is intelligent speech, a foreign language that the individual previously did not know.
So those who have travelled to Jerusalem for the feast of weeks suddenly hear the Gospel in their own language (v8). Suddenly the curse of Babel is being reversed. Humanity's confused speech is put in order as the Spirit works and what many hear is the Gospel. The prophecy of Joel 2v28-32 was being fulfilled on the day of Pentecost. It wasn't the birth of the church and today another Pentecost is not possible or required. The Lord's promise to gather a people from the nations was being fulfilled and the Gospel was leaving the boundaries of national Israel.
We may not be able to order a meal in Thailand and we might struggle to ask directions in Peru but the Gospel is the same in every language. Christ Jesus died for sinners and all who receive Him will be saved. Paul tells us of Pentecost's significance in Ephesians. "Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called 'the uncircumcision' by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ." (Ephesians 2v11-13)
In Christ your nationality is irrelevant and the language you speak is not a factor. The curse of Babel has been reversed and one day with united voice the church of Christ will sing His name forever!
Q64 What is required in the fifth commandment? The fifth commandment requireth the preserving the honor, and performing the duties, belonging to every one in their several places and relations, as superiors, inferiors, or equals.