Suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.
Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language (Acts 2:2-6).
We read in Acts 2 the amazing account of the birth of the church for this age. The Spirit of God had been given for certain tasks in the past. Now He came to indwell every believer, giving them power they had never had before.
But for what? Merely to sit around and enjoy? The first and immediate use of these disciples by the Spirit, and even the unusual manifestation of Pentecost, give us clarity.
What appeared above every believer? “Tongues as of fire.”
Think of this for a moment. Picture it in your mind. Fiery tongues.
This amazing phenomenon was on purpose. That it was clearly recognizable in the shape of a tongue is key. The fire was not in the shape of a heart or a hand, but a tongue.
This picture was forever burned in the mind of each disciple (and in us, if we’re listening). It indicates that the primary purpose of the coming of the Spirit to indwell every believer was to empower and loosen the tongue to do what tongues are designed to do—to SPEAK.
And immediately upon their filling by the Holy Spirit, what did they do? They “began to speak with other tongues [languages] as the Spirit was giving them utterance.” The Spirit within them ignited their minds and hearts and then their tongues with the message of Christ.
What was amazing and no coincidence was that there were Jews present who were “devout men from every nation under heaven,” and each one of them “was hearing them speak in his own language.”
Every nation—hearing—in their own language, through freshly empowered followers of Christ. God had gone to extraordinary lengths to communicate to them in their native tongue one thing: the gospel.
He gave His Spirit so the believers could communicate the gospel in a way every man in every language could hear. This was a dramatic, visual illustration of Christ’s Great Commission (Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 1:8), that they would receive power to be witnesses to the end of the world.
The remainder of the chapter tells the amazing story of Peter, standing in the power of the Spirit, speaking the gospel. Three thousand people heard, believed, and confessed their faith in immediate baptism. In fact, every time the Spirit’s filling is mentioned, it results in them speaking the gospel with boldness.
What is the purpose of the presence of God’s Spirit in your daily life? Surely His presence in us is exhilarating and brings joy unspeakable and full of glory. He comforts and guides us and does everything we would imagine when God inhabits a human.
But if we aren’t careful, we will miss the primary purpose, given in bold relief at Pentecost. He has come to dwell in you so you can speak the gospel! So that your tongue will be loosed and empowered to tell people about Jesus.
This is important for us as we pray for the revival and spiritual awakening we so desperately need. The purpose of God’s presence in revival is always bold witness.
Lives are changed, and people are filled with God, yes; but the death and resurrection of Christ takes center stage. Jesus is talked about with passion and purpose.
Every national revival in history is marked—not by mere fuzzy, wonderful feelings for the participants, but by the extraordinary boldness of believers to “gossip” the good news and the extended hand of God to save millions quickly. In fact, it can be clearly proven that every major mission movement in history has found its impetus in seasons of revival.
This has implications for your life today. It would not be a stretch to say that if you are not telling people about Jesus, you are probably not filled (controlled) by Him who lives inside of you.
Resolve today to let Him do through you the main thing He inhabits you to do in this age!