Acts 2:5-12

Sunday Morning Bible Study

 June 15, 1997


Just before ascending to heaven, Jesus told the disciples to hang out in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit came upon them, filling them, and giving them power to become witnesses for Him.

They've been waiting and praying for about 7 days now, when the day of Pentecost arrives:

Read Acts 2:1-4

Further issues concerning tongues

Last week I mentioned that there were some further issues I wanted to discuss concerning tongues.


What is "tongues"? (the gift of tongues)

Definition - Allowing the Holy Spirit to speak through you, to God, in a language you don't understand, and haven't learned by normal means.

It's language addressed to God:

(1 Cor 14:2 KJV) For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.

It's a message you don't understand:

(1 Cor 14:14 KJV) For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.

It can be a known, human language, or the unknown language of angels:

(1 Cor 13:1 KJV) Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.


What is the gift for?

1. Prayer

If you're honest, you'll have to admit that there are times you just don't know how to pray.

Perhaps there's a specific situation you know you should be praying for, but you don't know just what to pray for.

Perhaps you don't even know what's wrong, but you have this impression that you ought to be praying for a particular thing.

The Holy Spirit knows how to pray better than we do:

(Rom 8:26 KJV) Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

2. Praise

Likewise, there are times when you are so overwhelmed with God's presence, that words just can't quite describe how much you appreciate Him.

Tongues may be an expression of worship, as the Holy Spirit gives praise and honor to God, through your mouth, bypassing the limits of your puny, human mind.

Paul calls it an excellent way to give thanks (1Cor.14:16-17)

3. Personal edification

(1 Cor 14:4 KJV) He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.

How is the person built up?

They are able to pray and worship like they couldn't otherwise.

They are letting the Spirit work directly through them, learning to trust in His work.


Are gifts of the Holy Spirit, like tongues, present today?

There are some folks who teach that some of the gifts are no longer for today, but were only for the times of the apostles.

They teach that gifts like prophecy and tongues were only for the time when the church was being established, but once the church was established, there was no longer a need for these gifts.

Their main text for this is:

1 Cor 13:8-10 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. {9} For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. {10} But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

The reasoning goes like this: Prophecy and tongues are considered the "partial" things, and when the "perfect" thing appears, these "partial" gifts ceased. This is absolutely correct.

They will then take you a verse to show you what the "perfect" thing is:

Psa 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.

The reasoning then goes on like this: If God's Word is the "perfect" thing, then once God's Word was complete, with the writing of the New Testament, there was no longer a need for the "revelation" types of gifts, and hence they ceased.

They will also make statements to the effect that there are no occurrences of these gifts after the times of the apostles.

How do we answer this?

1) It's bad hermeneutics to say that Psalm 19:7 is referring to a completed New Testament.

David didn't say, "The Law of the Lord WILL BE perfect", but that it "IS" perfect.

When David wrote Psalm 19, the "Law of the Lord" he had in mind was the "Law of Moses" (having written 1,000 years before the New Testament).

If the Law of Moses was "perfect", and there was no longer a need for further revelation, then why is there a New Testament?

More importantly, Psalm 19 is talking about how wonderful God's Word is, and how it fully affects our life, not about whether or not we need more revelation.

2) The context of 1Corinthians 13 tells us what the "perfect" is that will cause these gifts to cease.

1 Cor 13:11-12 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. {12} For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

It's when we see Him face to face that we will have "perfect" knowledge.

Either by death, or at His Second Coming.

When we see Jesus, we won't need these "revelatory" gifts, because we'll have perfect knowledge.

3) There will be revelatory gifts in the last days:

Joel 2:28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.

Even though Peter applies this passage to Pentecost, Jesus applies it to the tribulation (Mt.24:29)

If tongues and prophecy ceased at the completion of the New Testament, how could they be present during the tribulation?

4) There are examples of the gifts being used after the times of the apostles, if you will choose to accept the evidence.

From roughly AD 150 to AD 250, there was a group known as the "Montanists" who practiced the gift of prophecy. Some felt they were heretical, but the famous church historian Tertullian was one of their group.

Modern Day Examples:

Richard Robles - shared this with me just last week.

He was visiting a church, where the Pastor felt led to give an altar call, and a chance to receive Christ as Savior.

When nobody responded, the Pastor stepped back and began to pray softly in tongues, but some of the people could hear the sounds coming out of his mouth, including Richard.

Later that week, he got a call from a man who had been in the service, who said that he had gone home and asked Jesus into his heart. The man was Russian, and apparently the Pastor had been praying in Russian. The man's heart was so touched, that he gave his life to Jesus.

From Chuck Smith's book, "Living Water", pg.175 -

"Lynn Hinojosa is a lady in our church, who when she speaks in tongues often speaks in French. Not just the common street French, but an aristocratic variety. And she's never studied the language!

"In the early years of Calvary Chapel our family often attended a summer camp in Arizona. The kids all got to go to camp for free. I conducted the camp, and in this way we got a week or two of vacation in the mountains. One year as we prepared to leave for camp, Lynn laid hands on our daughter, Jan, and began to pray in French. Now, Jan's college major was French and she understood everything the woman said. She was praying that God would use Jan's life as an inspiration to the young girls to whom she would be ministering, and offered a beautiful prayer of intercession for God's help and assistance.

"Jan said that as Lynn was praying, "I was trembling all over, because I realized this was a prayer of the Holy Spirit for me. What a thrill to realize that the Spirit was interceding for me! It was so glorious to know that this prayer was the Lord's desire for me.""


Does everyone who is filled with the Holy Spirit speak in tongues? No!

1. Not everybody is given the gift.

(1 Cor 12:29-30 KJV) Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? {30} Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?

The wording in the Greek implies that the answer is obviously "no" (use of mh, A.T. Robertson's Grammar, pg.1175).

Some would say that it was only because the Corinthians were immature that they didn't speak in tongues. But

2. If everybody had the same gifts, there would be no need for each other.

This is the whole theme behind 1Corinthians 12, that we are a body, and each a separate part of the Body.

We're all supposed to be different.

(1 Cor 12:17 KJV) If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?

We all need each other.

(1 Cor 12:21 KJV) And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.


Guidelines for use in the church (from 1Cor.14).

1.     Order

(1 Cor 14:27 KJV) If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret.

It's not supposed to be that everyone speaks in tongues at the same time.

It's supposed to be orderly.

Paul writes:

(1 Cor 14:40 KJV) Let all things be done decently and in order.

2.     Interpretation

(1 Cor 14:28 KJV) But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.

Tongues without interpretation isn't going to build up anybody but the speaker, so the speaker can speak quietly, and not disturb the others.

3.     Self-control

Some people give the impression that their behavior is unavoidable, that somehow they lose control, that "the Spirit made me do it".

Yet Paul gives guidelines, expecting that the people can follow them, expecting them to be able to speak to themselves if they need to.

(1 Cor 14:32 KJV) And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.

Acts 1:5-13

:5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men,

devout men - guys who want to do what God commands.

This was the day of Pentecost, one of the three yearly feasts where all good Jewish men were to come to Jerusalem to present themselves to God. (Ex. 34:23-24)

Because of this, there were religious, Jewish men from all over the world, men who took God seriously, men who wanted to be pleasing to God.

:5 out of every nation under heaven.

At this time in history, the Jewish people as a race have been scattered throughout the known world.

:6 Now when this was noised abroad

Or, "when this sound occurred" (NAS)

What sound? Not the sound of the tongues, but the sound like a rushing mighty wind that had filled the house.

:6 the multitude came together

The people heard this roaring wind noise, and they were drawn in out of curiosity, to see what was going on.


Evangelism can take place by bringing interested folks in to hear the gospel.

These people heard the commotion, and in a sense joined in the church service to hear the gospel.

There will also be evangelism taking place when the apostles and others GO OUT to the world and preach the gospel as well.

We see both of these as important in our church.

Not only do we want to be faithful to preach the gospel in our regular church services, but there are going to be times when we plan special events, things specifically designed to bring your friends to, the ones who you've been reaching out to.

We are also learning that we need to be developing ministries where we take the message outside the walls of this place, and into the community as well.

Booths at the Fullerton Marketplace.

Concerts in parks, on campus.

:6 and were confounded heard them speak in his own language.

confounded - confused

language - dialektos - a known language specific to a particular group of people.

:7 And they were all amazed and marvelled

amazed - lit. "to stand outside of themselves"

They were "knocked off balance"

:7, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?

Was it their accent? Did they speak "Parthian" with a Galilean accent? (all those "you-all's") Was it their clothing? (wearing Hawaiian shirts with plaid shorts)

:9 Parthians, and Medes

These are places all across the Roman Empire:

Parthians - Southeast of the Caspian Sea

Medes - The region south and southwest of the Caspian Sea.

Elamites - Western edge of Persian, modern Iran.

dwellers in Mesopotamia - The area between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

Judaea - the area around Jerusalem.

Cappadocia - An area in Asia Minor. (Cappuccino?)

Pontus - An area in Asia Minor, north of Cappadocia

Asia - Asia Minor, modern Turkey

:10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia

Phrygia - An area in Asia Minor.

Pamphylia - a province in Asia Minor

Egypt - the country of Egypt.

parts of Libya about Cyrene - Libya the country in North Africa, Cyrene was a city in Libya. Cyrene was the home of Simon, the man who was forced to carry the cross of Jesus to Golgotha.

strangers of Rome -

strangers - epidemeo - to be present among one's people, in one's city or one's native land, this is referring to the Jews that lived as "foreigners" in Rome, but now visiting back home in Jerusalem.

:10 Jews and proselytes,

Jews and proselytes - these people were Jewish, whether they were born Jews, or whether they had converted to Judaism (a proselyte).

:11 Cretes and Arabians,

Cretes - from the island of Crete

Arabians - Jews living in Arabia

:11 the wonderful works of God.

wonderful works - megaleios - magnificent, excellent, splendid, wonderful things

This isn't preaching the gospel, this is praise to God for His wonderful works.

Remember, tongues are addressed TO God, not to men.

:12 what meaneth this?


Our worship prepares their hearts.

We often think of worship as being a purely "Christian" thing, where we do it behind closed doors, where there are only believers.

Yet here are the disciples praising God, a crowd gathers, and they start asking questions.

And when Peter gets up to answer their questions, 3,000 people are going to be saved!

This is one reason why the Harvest Crusade has learned to start off each night with praise and worship.

I think this can work in several ways in our lives:

a.      Bring your friends to church, and show them that God is real by worshipping.

Don't be afraid of worshipping in front of others.

b. When you're at work, why not say "Praise the Lord!" every once in a while.

Don't let it be just one of those "Christianese" phrases we use, let it really mean something!


To come to know Jesus personally.

Perhaps you've begun to realize that God is real, and He wants you to know Him.

To ask for prayer, perhaps to receive the gift of tongues.

Perhaps you realize that you want more in your Christian life, and are open enough to ask God for all He might have for you.