The purpose of the filling of the Holy Spirit is to motivate you for mission. This is why Christians would do well to gather, to cry out for the Spirit to fill us, to motivate us to mission, to outreach, to boldly preach the Good News, to fill us with a method of communicating the language of the people around us so we can tell them the story of Jesus. That’s right, we need to Spirit to help us speak in tongues!
But maybe you’re thinking, “Joel, everyone in America does or should speak English.” Or “The people in my community pretty much all speak English.” In other words, why would we need the Spirit to fill us and help us speak other languages? Here’s why:
First of all, our culture is becoming less and less Christian, meaning that there is a growing number of people that don’t know our Christian kind of talk, they don’t know the biblical stories, and it seems like we and they are talking different languages. So we have to learn to talk in a way that communicates the story of Jesus in terms they understand. Frankly, that will likely mean we spend most of our time listening and asking questions so we can learn where they are coming from. It will be like learning to speak in a different language. We can and should pray for the Spirit to help us.
Second, they might speak an actual different language. Our culture is so different than it was even 20 years ago. Where I live, the most recent stats from the school district newsletter say that our once nearly 100% white school district is now only 60% white, and 40 % persons of color! I asked the principal of the local elementary school, Smoketown, if she could tell me how many languages are spoken by the students and families there.
First of all, in Smoketown she said there are at least 20 languages represented, with a few that are different dialects. But second, she said that there are over 40 languages represented across the district.
Do you think English as a Second Language classes might be helpful? Faith Church is starting ESL classes in April! And could the people from Faith Church who lead ESL classes benefit from the empowerment of the Spirit to communicate? Yes!
As we continue looking at the revival in Acts 2, what happened next is amazing. Check back in tomorrow to see!