“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Acts 1:8 NKJV
Jesus knew that His going away was for the betterment of anyone who believes in Him. In John 16:7, He told His followers of more than three years that He would leave them soon.
He said “…It is for your benefit that I go away, because if I don’t go away the Counselor will not come to you. If I go, I will send Him to you.” – John 16:7 HCSB
They had left all and followed Him, yet He tells them He has to go away. How devastating a news could that be for them?
Yet in Jesus’ declaration, we see the importance of the coming of the Holy Spirit. In Luke 24:49, Jesus reminds the disciples thus: “And look, I am sending you what My Father promised. As for you, stay in the city until you are empowered from on high.”
By giving the Holy Spirit, Jesus empowered us. And when the Spirit came, He came into everyone who believed regardless of their status, character, story, knowledge etc. There was no bias.
Immediately He came into the disciples in the upper room, they burst forth praying in new tongues – a sign Jesus had earlier said will follow anyone who believes in His name (Mark 16:17).
While praying in tongues, they professed the wonders of God and were endued with boldness and power by the Spirit. Peter who once denied Jesus could look multitudes in the eye and accused them of killing Jesus. (Acts 2:22-24)
The disciples who once cowered in fear of the Roman Government publicly converted 3000 people to the gospel in one day (Acts 2:41). Men who had never left the shores of Galilee became world pilgrims. (Acts 8:2, 13:1-3)
They learnt to undermine their ethnocentric tendencies and associated with people from other races (Acts 8:27-30, 10). All these and more was made possible because of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
All of these reveals to us that whether or not a Christian should speak in tongues was never a problem for the early church. A study of the book of Acts will show us their issues were beyond that. Speaking in tongues was a no brainer!
If the Holy Ghost could override their deep racial biases, work miracles, transform fearful men into bold orators, convert the worst of all sinners, then speaking in tongues is a surely a matter too small for Him to handle.
Besides, He is the same Spirit behind all the gifts. And anyone who has Him is empowered with His abilities. (1 Corinthians 12:4, 7-11)
So next time anyone asks, “Why should I speak in tongues?” Respond with all you’ve learnt about the Holy Spirit this morning. Then ask them, “Why not?”