On the day of Pentecost, 120 followers of Jesus began speaking in tongues. That is, they spoke in some other language besides the one or ones they knew. They spilled out into the street. Some foreigners in Jerusalem for the festival recognized their own native languages.
That strange sign caught people’s attention. Peter addressed the crowd and 3,000 of them believed in Jesus. The Christian church was born.
Speaking in tongues on that occasion began to reverse the confusion of languages God had inflicted on the builders of Babel. It brought a kind of unity where there had been division before.… Read the rest
. . . I do not want you to be ignorant (1 Corinthians 12:1). Despite Paul’s stated desire, most of the church is indeed ignorant, even fearful, of spiritual gifts. The New Testament described gifts in three passages: Romans 12, Ephesians 4, and 1 Corinthians 12-14.
Some years ago, my church at the time bought a course on spiritual gifts, which was available in a version for congregations that chose not to acknowledge tongues. Why would anyone censor any part of Scripture?
The authors noted that each of these passages has some gifts apparently in common with other passage, and some unique to itself.… Read the rest
There is a common teaching that God intended that there would be only 12 apostles. When Judas killed himself, Peter and the church chose Matthias to take his place, but later God overruled them and chose Paul. Then how come the New Testament names other men—and a woman—as apostles?
In order to believe the teaching that the appointment of Matthias was a mistake, it is necessary to believe that
Peter acted impulsively, having been misled in his prayer and meditation on the Word as described in Acts 1.
After Peter and the entire assembly prayed, the Holy Spirit allowed them to make a fundamental error and start the whole church on the wrong foot.
This past Sunday was Pentecost. It coincides with an ancient Hebrew festival, but the events of Acts 2 happened on a particular Pentecost right after Jesus rose from the dead. That Pentcost marks the birthday of the church.
Alas, the church today is divided into various Orthodox, Coptic, Catholic, Protestant, and Pentecostal denominations, but we all have but one birthday. And on that day, they all gathered in the same place.
“They,” probably means the same 120 believers mentioned in Acts 1:15. They gathered together in one place, and most certainly not for the first time. This group probably amounts to the first messianic synagogue.… Read the rest
Have you ever had to deal with a totally unreasonable person? What about some bosses you have had, or perhaps a neighbor or even family member? I know there are times in my life that, if I had Godlike powers, say, a thunderbolt to wipe someone off the face of the earth, I would have cheerfully used it. That’s the way of sinful humanity. We’re much more prone to exercising judgment than grace.
The Bible knows its share of tyrants. Daniel 2:1-13 introduces Nebuchadnezzar when he was about 25 years old. A seasoned military leader, he had only recently become king.… Read the rest