You’ll recall we have been speaking about Peter’s transition from believing only Jews may be saved to grasping that the Gospel is for all people everywhere, irrespective of colour, language, ethnicity or culture. He had a huge doctrinal shift taking place. Oh, I pray that this will be true for so many who are dear brothers and sisters in Christ but have been led astray through incorrect interpretation on certain parts of Scripture as well and some who willfully capitalize on these errors. Do you recall before Peter preached at Pentecost, the apostles experienced a phenomena of being able to speak in “tongues”?
Ac 2:1 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.
I’m not seeking to expound these verses. Rather, I would like you to see that when the Spirit came, extraordinary things happened … one of which was the apostles being able to speak in “tongues”
Acts 2:4 as the Spirit enabled them.
The word “tongues” means “languages”. Any good Bible will show that in the margin. The Greek word for “tongues” means “known earthly languages”. We need to back this up by getting Scripture to prove Scripture right! We read on:
Ac 2:5 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?”
For the celebration of Pentecost, people came from everywhere. Some say the area had more than 1 million people for this event. So we see there were God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. This refers to the known world of the day (v5). Now the extraordinary occurrence … each one heard them speaking in his own language. They did not hear gibberish or what some might call “angel language”. They heard words in their own native language. Notice where the people came from … verses 9-11. There are at least 15 languages … and they heard the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ in their own language. They heard and understood. (As said before, this is the reversal of the confusion of languages in Genesis 11.) The apostles spoke languages they did not know as the Spirit enabled them so that people from all over the known world heard the Gospel in their mother tongue. Without knowing the Greek behind the word “tongue” people have devised a “doctrine of tongues” that does not agree with what the Bible teaches! What was the purpose of “tongues”? That the Jews and converts to Judaism hear the Gospel in their own language. Many who were saved took the Gospel back to their own lands.
1) Now look closely at what happens at Cornelius’ house.
Ac 10:44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. 46 For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Peter preached the Gospel and as the people present heard the gospel with understanding, the Holy Spirit came upon them all. The Gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out
meaning the New Birth (Being Born Again) was received because of the earnest intent of all those present. Like Cornelius, they were god fearing, desiring more intimacy with God and once they heard Jesus preached, their spiritual appetites were quenched … they were saved … and to prove that they were genuinely saved, they praised God … they were so happy and joyful and elated that their worship was realized verbally in “tongues”. Again in the margin of the Bible it refers to languages because it is the same word used as in chapter 2. Whatever their nationalities were; wherever they came from; they praised God in their mother tongue. Look at these verses again …
Ac 10:45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. 46 For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.
To prove the authenticity of what happened, God permitted the praise in “tongues” … their mother languages … for the believers (circumcised believers) and Peter to know this is genuine. Gentiles became Born Again just as some Jews were.
Jn 3:5 Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’
2) Look at what follows salvation.
Ac 10:46 Then Peter said, 47 “Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” 48 So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.
Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days. Immediately they were baptized. They showed everyone that Jesus is now their LORD. They identify with Him and no longer with Judaism. Right doctrine comes through right interpretation of Scripture. The results are that souls become truly saved and are unashamed in identifying with Jesus as Lord.
Father, help us to practice right doctrine for the Spirit to use. Enable us to test what we hear and read against the Bible so that will not fall prey to false doctrines. Amen.