Sunday School Material 5-24-15: Gift of Language

(Acts 2:1-7, 12; I Cor. 14:13-19)

Introduction:A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is that tongues were given for the up building of the church. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to use whatever God has given us for the up building of the church.

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Read Acts 2:1-7, 12

I. Tongues at the Church’s Birth. The day of Pentecost had arrived, in the Sunday School material. There is a loud sound and what appears to be fire resting on each of the believers.

There is a speaking in the various languages of those who have assembled in Jerusalem. The people are amazed and wonder about the meaning of what they are experiencing.

Applications –

- Holidays. Notice in vs. 1 that the people were observing the day of Pentecost. The commentator does a good job of giving some historic context to this day (i.e., 50 days after the Passover to celebrate and dedicate the grain harvest of spring and God’s giving the Law to Moses 50 days after the exodus).

First, we should make time to remember how God has moved in the past and is moving today. Remembering His goodness should inspire our commitment to Him. Think about how this applies to our holidays today – Christmas, Resurrection Day, etc.

Second, the meaning of days are subject to evolve over time or take on multiple meanings. Given that we only have 365 days a year to work with, this should be expected and dealt with, instead of demonized.

Think about how this applies to gift giving at Christmas and Easter outfits for Resurrection Day.

Third, God works within our culture. In the midst of whatever Pentecost meant to the people, God showed up and minister to the diverse crowd. Think about how we can and should minister in the midst of our culture, instead of expecting our culture to comply with our church expectations.

Let’s work on appreciating what God has done so much that we make ourselves available for Him to use us today.

- Having the Holy Spirit. Notice in vss. 2-4 that there is an outpouring of the promised Holy Spirit. Wind and fire are associated with the Holy Spirit in several passages of the Bible.

As Baptists, we believe that every believer receives the same Holy Spirit mentioned in the Sunday School material, when we accept Jesus as our savior by faith.

We don’t have to tarry for Him, nor do we have to have some extravagant experience. The greatest concern that we should have is living in obedience to God’s spirit. Let’s live like we have the Holy Spirit.

Such living should be known for living by God’s word – love God with all that we have and love others, as we love ourselves.

- Communicating. Notice in vss. 4-7, 12 that the tongues of the text are actually the languages of those who have gathered in Jerusalem for the day of Pentecost. First, the tongues of the text, were understood by someone.

This is contrary to modern claims to speak in tongues where on too many occasions, only the speaker knows what they are saying, and sometimes they don’t even know.

Second, it is important to speak the language of those you are talking to. Think about how this applies to people who have been in church for the last 20 years communicating in the language of people who have never been in church.

Let’s work on learning how to speak to those we are ministering to, in a way that brings glory to God.

Read I Corinthians 14:13-19

II. Tongues in the Church’s Life. Paul talks about how if one has the gift of tongues in the corporate worship experience, there is a need for an interpreter. What is done in the cooperate worship is to be triangular – the worshipper, God, and the others in the worship.

In our Sunday School material, Paul talks about even though he may be gifted to speak in tongues that are not understood by others, he would rather speak in tongues that those around him can understand.

Applications –

- Gifts for the body. Notice in vss. 13-19 that if the tongue is not understood then it doesn’t edify or build up those in the worship service. First, the purpose of Spirit given gifts is to edify or build up the body/church.

The purpose is not so we can simply show off, in front of others. As with the worship service, the purpose of our gifts are triangular – God, ourselves, and others.

Second, there are too many people who behave as if they really don’t care about those around them. They are selfish worshippers.

Think about how people sit silently and non-demonstratively in worship services because it is comfortable to them and they want to exercise their right to worship in such a fashion.

Notice how it is all about them, not about those around them. Their silence is as uninterpretable as the uninterrupted tongues in the in our Sunday School material. Let’s work on using whatever God has given us for the good and edification of the body/church.

Think about how this applies to our singing, responding to worship, and the service rendered after the worship service.

- Informed feedback. Notice in vs. 16 that an informed “amen” is expected. There are too many who don’t say “amen” at all. And there are too many who say “amen” but don’t know what they are saying “amen” to. Let’s work on informed feedback in our worship services.

This calls for lyrics that make biblical sense and clear enunciation that is not drowned out by music or anything else.

Conclusion: Let’s work on using whatever God has given us for the up building of the church.  God has much for those who obey His will.

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