Tongues: Spread the Good News

41Those who accepted Peter’s message were baptized and about 3000 were added to the church that day. 42And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to fellowship, to breaking bread, and to prayers.        Acts 2:41-42 (HN)

– Henry Neufeld

I was doing my reading this morning from the Holy Spirit Encounter Bible (NLT), and there’s a little box just above this passage, one of their “Holy Spirit Encounter Moments.” Now the fact is that this puts the box quite a ways from the part that talks about tongues in Acts 2, and I was prepared to be annoyed with them. All of which shows that one shouldn’t be too hasty to judge!

Their little box, and my thought for this morning is based on Acts 2 as a whole. If you have time, just read the chapter and try to see the emphasis.

But I want to present you with the question that was asked in that Bible edition. First they note that those who came together on the day of Pentecost spoke in other languages, and that people from many countries heard the gospel spoken in their own language. As a result of this speaking and hearing, many people believed.

Our modern love of things to argue about often leads to us spending most of our time on the controversial aspects of this passage. Does the baptism of the Holy Spirit always result in speaking in tongues? Is there only one baptism, the one described here, or is it an individual experience for every Christian as well? Do you have to be baptized in order to be saved?

But none of that is the focus of the chapter. First the believers are together, then the Holy Spirit fills them, and all these people hear the message. Finally, 3,000 are baptized and join the church. It’s a time of rejoicing that the preaching of the gospel has been heard and received.

And the Bible I was reading presents just the right question:

Are you willing to surrender your tongue to the Spirit so that others might hear the gospel?

We all have our individual uses for various things. Many think of the gift of tongues as simply a sign that here is someone who has been baptized by the Spirit. Others wonder whether the people who speak in tongues are nuts. I don’t intend to try to solve this argument in a devotional, but to suggest there’s something more important here.

God wants to know whether your tongue is surrendered to him, so he can use it to present the gospel.

So what’s most important to you? Is your first question when you speak whether you have built up God’s kingdom? Is the most important thing to you whether the gospel has been proclaimed? It’s something to think about seriously.

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