When the disciples watched Jesus disappear into the sky, they must have felt abandoned, like their dreams for the future had vanished.
After all, they had dropped everything to follow Jesus, and now he was gone. Well, today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll teaches from Acts 2. In this passage, we see how Jesus fulfilled his promise to give the disciples a companion who would never leave their side. Let's resume the study that started last week in Acts 2.
Chuck titled his message, Essential Fuel for Fulfilling the Mission. So we're in the upper room, here are the disciples, 11 of them, and there were others that met with them. There were 120 believers all together in this room, large room, verse 1, on the day of Pentecost.
This came 50 days from the first Sunday after Passover. I find three evidences of the supernatural. First, I find an audible evidence. They are in the room, and there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm. So it sounded like a windstorm, but there was no wind.
Phenomenal. Supernatural. Second, there's a visible evidence of the supernatural.
The sound filled the house where they were sitting. Verse 3, then what looked like the flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. Now third, there is an oral evidence, and this is where confusion is really abounded. Observe verse 4, everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other, your Bible reads, tongues. And from this has come the whole teaching of tongues that has spread all around the world.
But observe what it says, other languages, not gibberish. What they spoke were languages they had never learned before. Verse 5, at that time there were devout Jews from every nation living in Jerusalem, and when they heard the loud noise, doesn't say they felt the wind, there was no wind. When they heard the noise, everyone came running, and they were bewildered to hear what? Their own language being spoken by the believers. They were completely amazed.
How can that be? They exclaimed. And then they add, these people are all from Galilee.
And why is that important? Because Galileans speak Aramaic. They don't speak the language of Rome. They don't speak the language of the Egyptians. They speak Aramaic. That's what Jesus spoke. And what were they hearing? Look at the end of verse 11. We all hear these people speaking in our own language.
It says again, it's Dr. Luke who writes this, writes it in such a way that it's almost redundant. They hear about Jesus who died for them and rose from the dead and paid the penalty for their sins. They hear that. They've never heard something like this before. They've come to practice their religion in coming at Passover, but they don't know Christ until they hear about him through their own language spoken through the tongue of Galileans, normally Aramaic-speaking people. They stood there amazed and perplexed.
What can this mean? They asked each other. What's interesting is that those who heard them, the cynics, verse 13, they ridiculed and said they're a bunch of drunks.
So that's a ridiculous response. In fact, that's the whole point of Peter's message as he begins, we're not drunk. It's nine o'clock in the morning.
People aren't drinking this early in the morning. We're telling you the wonderful works of God. I think Peter is as amazed as they are that his tongue is conveying a language that he wasn't trained in. Isn't it interesting that when missionaries go to the field and they're involved in a work in another country that's different from their own, what do they do first? They go to language school.
Why? Because that is the key that unlocks connecting with the people they're going to minister to. When we were in Israel in this recent trip, we were with people, mainly the native guides that were able to do this, who were fluent in several languages. They guide tours and we're very close friends with Samuel Smodja, nicknamed Shmuelik.
I was with Shmuelik one day and we were in a car. He was speaking to me, of course, in English because I'm so dumb, I only know one language. He has his buddy walk up and say something to him in Hebrew and he drops the window and he talks to him and communicates very clearly in Hebrew. He gets a phone call that comes from a group from Italy that wants to do a tour in Israel. He speaks to them in Italian.
Then he turns and talks to me back again in English. He's trained in those languages. He studied those languages. These men could speak those languages with no training. In fact, suddenly when the Spirit of God came upon them, not only was there the sound, not only was there the flame-like presence in the shape of tongues, interesting since their mouths and tongues would play a major role in carrying out Acts 1-8.
Remember what we just read? You shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem, that's my language, says an Aramaic-speaking person. And Judea, that's my language. In Samaria, some differences there.
How about in the ends of the earth? I need to be equipped with language. They've got it. And this kick starts the evangelism of the first century. These people now are equipped supernaturally with the ability to speak to whomever, in whatever setting, telling them of the wonderful works of God.
I get so excited about that, I can hardly stand it. I just think about how the Spirit of God came and brought something as practical as that. Isn't that marvelous how he would do that? And it's just the beginning.
You know what else he did? He brought to their remembrance everything that Christ had taught them while they were daydreaming or while they were afraid or while they were preoccupied with things of their own interest. When the Spirit of God came, he cleared the slate in all of that numbness of their past and he riveted into their minds the truth. Which brings me now to my final comments. Because you see, the Spirit of God is still at work.
Let me tell you how you can be sure of that. If you have learned anything today from the Word of God, you have the Spirit of God to thank. If he were not present, most of you would have walked out by now. Only a few of you have walked out.
A few of them have walked out for whatever reason. But you're here and you find yourself, I would hope, interested in what you're... You know why? The Spirit of God. He is igniting your mind so that you can compare spiritual things with spiritual truth and they blend together and make sense.
And when you leave, you're different. So the first benefit of the Spirit, the difference he makes, is how we think. He makes a difference in how we think. When he transforms you at the time of salvation, the Spirit of God invades your life, becomes a part of your existence. He changes the way you think. He alters your attitude. He removes so many of the things that worried you and worried you and troubled you. He releases you from fears that you've had all through your life because the Spirit of God doesn't work within us mentally. And how grateful we are for that.
Second, he makes a difference in what we do. We're no longer in life for ourselves. That comes from the Spirit of God. It doesn't come from the media. It doesn't come from just your buddies from college.
It comes from the living God who gets inside your life and alters you from within. He opens doors that had otherwise been closed and he closes doors that were otherwise open that you'd have been tempted to go into. But because he changes what we do, removing barriers as well as setting up points that are warnings to keep us from going there, he begins to do a work in the way we live our lives. Here's a third, he makes a difference in why we serve. It's no longer about us. It is no longer about feeding our own ego. I seldom refer to this, but I'm going to say this today.
It seems to fit. When Sunday morning comes, I am so excited, I just simply cannot sleep late. I normally don't. I'm an early riser. I'm an early riser, but I mean Sunday morning, we're talking three o'clock. Aren't you glad I don't call you?
Anyway, I'm always absolutely wide awake by four. Why? Because I am so motivated about the thrill of being able to set forth the truth from the Scriptures for those of you who want to get them. Knowing the difference they can make in your life. Knowing that if you really grasp what the Scripture says, you'll be different. You won't be as selfish as you have been. You won't hold the grudges that you've held most of your life. You will drop the prejudices that you have for all your years' head. The Spirit of God goes to work, and it will do a number on why we serve.
We serve for the sake of others. He will make it clear on who is important, and that's the living Lord. I heard the song today from the choir when they talked about, crown Him King, crown Him Lord. I was moved over that.
You know why? The Spirit of God. Given my own desire, I'm not interested in crowning anybody else king. I'm interested in crowning myself king. But when Christ doesn't work in your life, and the Spirit of God takes over, He's enthroned. And He shoves yourself off the throne and puts Christ there, and you can't wait to carry out His will. Which brings me to the final, I promise. He makes a difference in where you go.
Isn't that interesting? Do you realize all of these Galileans would have gone right back to Galilee and stayed right there in that little, that little terrain of Galilee the rest of their lives, because that's all they knew. We go back to the familiar. But none of them stayed there. They left. They went here, there, here, there, and they died martyrs for the cause of Christ, because they were willing to go where He led them to go.
I had a couple stop me after the first service, or they came by. I was standing down front, and I said, well, how's life in California? Because they had left here to move to California. They hated leaving here, but they were going to go to live in California. And they said, actually, we're in Florida.
I said, that's not at all like California. They said, now we know. But you know, it's funny how the Lord leads. Perfect example.
And they said, we were never thinking about it before this opportunity came, and the door flew open, and we said yes, and we've never been happier, going exactly where the Lord is leading. Now, I want to mess up some of your lives right now. I really am. Some of you need to go somewhere else. I probably didn't say that right, but you think you belong right here for the rest of your life. You got your house, and you got your stuff, and everything's rocking along.
Who says that? That's you talking. You know that rarely in all the moves I've made, I counted them up the other day, I think there were about six major moves, all but one, I had no interest in moving. In fact, I resisted, but I couldn't resist enough to keep from doing it. Then after the fact, looking back, I go, why on earth did I resist that? Look at what the Lord planned as he moved me here or there.
That's how it is. Many of you could testify that you never dreamed you would wind up where you are now, and here this preacher is up here today, and he's testifying that you never dreamed you would wind up where you are now. Here this preacher is up here telling you, you may not be here forever.
You know what else? Then again, you may be, because the same Spirit of God who moves also keeps and holds you right there. I'm not saying it's God's will that all of us move. That's not the plan. I'm saying that some, some of you are resisting, and you know who you are.
I don't need to hear from you or hear about it. I can't change any of that. I just would say it's a losing battle. If the Spirit of God is leading you elsewhere and you're not going, you're wasting your effort, because in the end, God wins. I found that no one is a match for the living God, and these disciples were about to have their whole little world expanded to a place that they never dreamed. I mean, after all, they now have the language.
They're now equipped, and that was for this time. Let me, let me add that just as a little, a little caveat. You, you, you don't, you, you don't need this very experience to be in the center of the will of God. That was then. This is in a transition period where all the things that where all this time, everything has been concentrated on the teachings of Jesus and a small band of people that were right there in Galilee and in Judea, and the Lord had plans to expand it to beyond as we read in Acts 1-8. Don't try to duplicate this and say, unless it's like that in my life, I'm not in the will of God.
As best I can tell, I don't see this commanded in our lives today, that we have the same experience the early apostles had. In this era, it was necessary, but it could very well be if the Lord wants to use you in another language or in another place that requires language. You're left to go through language study. Chances are good you won't wake up in the morning speaking that language.
Chances are good you'll go through study and you'll learn the language and all that goes with it. Anyway, now that I've messed up your life, let me lead us in prayer. Bow with me, will you?
I was being facetious. I, I really haven't messed up your life. I've made you aware that you're not in charge of your life, which brings me to a very direct word to you who've never trusted in Christ. Some of the things I've said because you don't know the Lord sound like a lot of gibberish.
Some of you would have to say, I've never heard anything like this before. Well, there are a number of things you haven't heard before because you're on the throne of your own life and you are blinded to truth that would otherwise be available to you if you would simply trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. He died that you might live. He died that you might live. He took your place on the cross, even though you deserve to pay for your own sins in grace. He took your place and now he invites you to trust him with your sins forgiven.
He has a future for you that is exciting beyond words. You couldn't guess it if you tried, but it begins by your coming to the cross. You acknowledge that you're the sinner. He's the savior.
You're lost and he's willing to take you just as you are and to transform your life if you trust in him. You're surrounded by those who have done that. It's your turn.
Do that now. Thank you, Father, for the way you speak to us in terms we can understand. May we hear what you have written. May we understand it. Guard us against reading into it what other people think it says rather than what we see that it says. May we embrace the truth which sets us free. And may that freedom lead to a life of obedience to Christ, in whose name we pray, everyone said, amen.
Amen. Maybe you're sensing that God is nudging you to step forward and follow him. Let me point you to a dedicated webpage where you can learn more about your personal relationship with God. You'll find helpful articles and resources at insightworld.org slash how to know God. You're listening to Insight for Living, and our Bible teacher Chuck Swindoll is talking about essential fuel for fulfilling the mission.
In fact, Chuck is in the studio to share a closing comment with you, so please keep listening. And if you'd like to learn more about the ministry of Insight for Living, please visit us online at insightworld.org. And then I'd like to take a moment to remind you that Insight for Living produces a wide variety of resources that are perfectly suited for any occasion. So please take a few minutes to browse through the online store where you'll find a vast array of books such as the Swindoll Study Bible. In addition, you'll have access to the beautiful coffee table books on Christmas, Easter, and even the journeys of Paul.
For a more unique gift idea, you might consider our selection of whole bean coffees from around the world. All of this and more is found at insight.org slash store. Now you'll be pleased to know Chuck has written an in-depth commentary on the Gospel According to Matthew that comes in two hardbound volumes.
You'll find all the details for requesting a copy at insight.org slash store. Chuck. Thanks Dave. It was the revered pastor and author A.W. Tozer who made this brilliant observation many years ago. He wrote these words, what comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us. Now, stop and ponder that statement. To paraphrase A.W. Tozer, the most important thing about you is what you think about God. So here's the question. When you think of God, is he a big God with a capital G or a little God with a small g?
Oh, I'm not talking about the dimension. I'm referring to God's competence, his significance. What do you think about God? Well, at Insight for Living Ministries, we fully submit ourselves to the majesty and the magnitude of a big God with a capital G, of course, the God who does the impossible. Remember what the resurrected Lord said to his disciples when he was in Galilee? He said, go and make disciples of all nations.
Doesn't that sound a bit grandiose, maybe over the top, perhaps even audacious? Well, not if you're God. With God, you see, nothing is impossible. At Insight for Living Ministries, this accurate view of God is what shapes our entire mission. We're driven to pursue the impossible, and that is to make disciples of all the nations just as Jesus commanded. And gratefully, we have big-minded and generous friends like you who come alongside us and enable us to make that happen. As we come to the end of another year, I'm calling upon you to lock arms with us as we pursue an impossible, God-sized goal of reaching all 195 countries in this entire world with the good news of Jesus Christ.
Your special year-end donation will make all the difference, believe me. So, are you with us in this? Can I count on you to stand alongside us? Let's introduce people to the great God who says, behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh.
Is anything too difficult for me? So it's your move. Let's do this together, okay? Let's do this together.
Well, here's how to respond to Chuck Swindoll. Give us a call right now if you're listening in the United States. Dial 1-800-772-8888. Our phone number again is 1-800-772-8888. Or, if you prefer, it may be quicker to give online at insight.org slash donate. Thank you for generously supporting Insight for Living Ministries. I'm Dave Spiker, inviting you to join us when Chuck Swindoll gives what he calls an original snapshot of the first church, Tuesday on Insight for Living. The preceding message, Essential Fuel for Fulfilling the Mission, and the sound recording were copyrighted in 2018 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
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