Pastor Troy Martin
Text: Acts 2:1-21
Humans were made for meaning, and language is the economy of that meaning. When God constructed the world He did it by language. He gave humanity the ability to use language, and when humanity misused it, God scattered their language. That is the history of meaning. That is... until we come to Acts 2 where what was scattered at Babel is reunited in the gospel. Pentecost gives meaning to God’s Word, God’s worship, and our Witness...
v. 1-4 Pentecost is the Old Testament’s Feast of Weeks. Traditionally it celebrated the descent of the Law onto Sinai, but now God is not sending down his Holy Law, but rather, His Holy Spirit.
v. 5-8 The Spirit comes ‘lingulate’ - tongue-shaped - and gives people the linguistic skill to tell the gospel in every language. Like at Babel, it confounds people. Unlike Babel, it is because they understand one another.
v. 9-13 Just like in the story at Babel a table of nations is listed. Luke says it is every nation under heaven! Pentecost is a missionary event; the spread of the gospel to every tongue, tribe, and nation on earth.
v. 14-21 Yet, for all the words they do understand, they don’t understand the meaning. And so Peter opens with the first sermon ever given in the New Testament Church. God works through that sermon.
Meaning abounds at Pentecost. The Spirit gives meaning to the Word of God. Even though the Word is understood, the Spirit goes on to give the expanded meaning through the sermon of Peter. Ultimately, the Spirit gives meaning to the lives of everyone there, for he is giving the gospel. So let's look at each of the meanings given at that first Pentecost.
The Word ____________________________. Not all things in Scripture are obvious or easily translated 2 Pe 3:16. Yet, whatever needs to be known and believed for salvation is made clear by the Spirit so that every tribe, tongue, and soul will understand.
Worship _____________________________. In Acts 10, God could have saved Cornelius by His Spirit, or by the angel. Yet, the angel sends him to hear Peter’s sermon. From Pentecost on, the church grows through preaching. After Acts, every book in the Bible is a sermon.
Our Witness __________________________. Before Jesus’ ascension, he gives the Great Commission Mt 28:18-20. But before the Commission, the church celebrates Pentecost. Those fiery tongues do not promise to make our evangelism clever, just to make it meaningful.
Questions for Household Growth
How are the stories Pentecost and Babel related?
What does the perspicacity of Scripture mean?
Why is Pentecost important to the Christian?