George H. Morrison - Devotional Sermons
The Pentecostal Blessing
Every man heard them speak in his own language--Act 2:6
The Power of Pentecost
Let us reverently try to understand what happened on that day of Pentecost. It is rightly called the birthday of the Church. Ten days before the Savior had ascended. He had passed into the presence of the Father. He had left His little band of faithful followers to be witnesses for Him And yet the strange thing is that though they trusted Him and were perfectly convinced that He was risen, they were not ready yet to be His witness-bearers of them believed in Jesus, but for witness-bearing something more was needed: some new power and fulness in their lives that would carry conviction to the world. And that is what the disciples got at Pentecost--that new power and fulness of the Spirit which changed them from convinced believers into equipped witnesses for Christ. Without it they would have returned to Galilee, "the world forgetting, and by the world forgot." Without it, in daily fellowship with Christ, they would quietly have lived and died. With it there was a spiritual power about them that was mightier than any argument. They were witness-bearers to the living Christ. The Pentecostal blessing was equipment. It was adequacy for vocation. It was endowment for the stupendous task of the evangelization of the world. And of all this the sound as of the wind and the appearance as of tongues of fire were but the vivid and evanescent symbols.
We may illustrate the day of Pentecost from the experience of the Lord Himself. He, too, born of the Holy Ghost, had to tarry for power from on high. For thirty years He lived at Nazareth. It was a life of the most perfect beauty. In every thought, in every word and deed, He was inspired and guided by the Spirit. And yet these years, so spiritually beautiful, were for the Redeemer waiting year. He was tarrying for power from on high. That was given at His baptism when the Holy Spirit descended like a dove. Then was He endowed with power from God for His stupendous vocation of redemption. And like that moment in the life of Jesus when the fulness of the equipping Spirit rested on Him was Pentecost to the earliest disciple. It was not the hour when they were born again. They were saved men long before that morning They would have won their crown and had their. welcome though the day of Pentecost had never dawned. Pentecost was power for witness-bearing. It was equipment for vocation. It was the needed and adequate endowment for the evangelizing of the world.
Pentecost--a Message for Every Man and Woman
It is thus we see the very deep significance of the first expression of that adequacy. They began to speak, we read, with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. Parthians, Medes, and Elamites were there, men from every country under heaven, of different languages and diverse cultures, separate as the East is from the West, and the first glorious effect of Pentecost was to make every man and woman know that here was something sent of Heaven for them. Somehow, through the power of God, they were listening to familiar accents The message was for them; they understood it; it broke its way through every racial barrier. Avenues were opened, ways cleared, entrances instantly discovered to hearts which before Pentecost were sealed Later on, in the letters of St. Paul, we read about another gift of tongues. I want you very carefully to notice that that was different from this of Pentecost. That was impassioned and ecstatic utterance which was unintelligible save for an interpreter, this was speaking to be understood. No need at Pentecost for an interpreter. The Holy Spirit Himself was the interpreter. He gathered an audience out of every country to typify the universal heart. And then He so inspired those earliest witnesses that everybody who heard them understood and felt that the message was for them.
Now I take it that in its literal form that miracle will never be repeated. I never heard of any foreign missionary receiving by sudden gift a foreign language. Yet I profoundly feel that whenever to the Church there comes a time of Pentecostal blessing, this evidence is manifestly present. Take an inspired man like Mr. Spurgeon. Think of the crowds in Mr. Spurgeon's tabernacle. What an infinitely varied audience drawn from every section of society. The rich and poor, the gentleman and beggar, the saint and the sinner--and yet everybody heard in his own tongue. Filled with the Holy Ghost he spoke his message, and God in His infinite wisdom did the rest, touching the message with some familiar chords for lives that were as separate as the poles. And whenever there comes to the Church a time of Pentecost, that is one seal of its appointed ministry--everybody hears in his own tongue. Men do not say "I cannot understand. The preacher's tongue is alien from mine." The witness-bearing breaks through every barrier, and deep begins calling unto deep. Clothed with grace, the universal Gospel is spoken in a universal language: "not by might nor power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord."
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