Death and Life

We read last week in Acts 2 about Pentecost, the day Christ-followers received the gift of the Holy Spirit, symbolized by tongues of fire.When we receive into our spirit the Spirit of God, He is enthroned at the center of our being. He takes control of all that we are, and at the heart of who we are is our tongue and the words we speak. An important symbol of the mission of the church and of a Christ-centered life is the tongue of fire.

Let us consider again the tongue. Human beings are unique in their ability to express thoughts through language. That ability has shaped and defined the course of human history. The tongue has a power all its own.

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits" (Proverbs 18:21).

There is a rich history of men and women, teachers and preachers, politicians and philosophers, who have influenced multitudes and turned the course of events through their ability to persuade. The power of a person who is a strong thinker, who has vigorous convictions, and who can communicate them so as to convince others can scarcely be estimated.

One of the major ways the Gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ, is shared throughout the world is with the tongue.

The tongue of praise sets forth God’s grace and glory . . . “Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness” Psalm 150:2).

The tongue of prayer speaks to the Father In intercession . . . “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (Proverbs 5:16).

The tongue of proclamation declares God’s message and reveals His will . . . “And he (Jesus) said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation" (Mark 16:15).

It is the business of every single individual that shares the Life of Jesus and thereby knows the thrill of His Spirit living in them . . . to TALK ABOUT HIM. Those who know and love Jesus, WANT to tell others about Him! By the baptism of the Holy Spirit, our tongues are fired to proclaim God’s goodness to the world. The tongue stands as both a symbol and a reminder that EACH ONE of us is to proclaim God’s love, God’s Word, and God’s plan.

“Then my tongue shall tell of your righteousness and of your praise all the day long” (Psalm 35:28).

In our own strength and by our own effort, our praise, our prayers, and our proclamation will amount to nothing at all. Our weakness is absolute. Yet, as born-again children of God, we are anointed with the Holy Spirit of God. As surely as He lives, He is living in us! Pentecost is operational today. Spiritual power is ours today. This is what it means to be a Christian.

“And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 13:52).

We do not often receive visible signs, but we do have the promise of Jesus and His presence and His power are always with us. He is here, our Advocate, our Comforter, our Teacher, and our Guide. As Christ followers, the Holy Spirit comes and cleanses our tongues with the fire of God. In this way, He will win victories and establish His kingdom in our lives, in our homes, in our churches, and in the world for all eternity.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION:

1. Could Christianity have survived without the coming of the Holy Spirit?

2. What meaning does His coming have for you as you go about living a Christian life?

3. Write down some of your thoughts about the power of your tongue. Give one example of how that power played out in your life this week.

BIBLE MEMORY VERSE:

“Then my tongue shall tell of your righteousness and of your praise all the day long” (Psalm 35:28).

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