The Word is True
Q. Tongues was first heard in Jerusalem at Pentecost, but was it also heard when Phillip, Peter, and John ministered in Samaria?
Did you hear about Jerusalem and Samaria?
Telling someone about the Gift of the Holy Spirit who hasn’t experienced him is really like trying to tell someone about true love who has not experienced it. The problem is complex. Love is not first cognitional (of the mind), it is primarily experiential (we could say, of the heart).
Love must be experienced first hand to be known!
When the experience of love evades your listener, he will accept it on faith, reject it for lack of experience, or misinterpret it by identifying it with his own limited knowledge. In some cases, he will even build a defense of religious doctrine around himself to protect his unbelief.
But man’s doctrine never changes God’s reality.
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever (Heb 13:8 NIV).”
The unbeliever will find it difficult to identify the truth of love until he, too, experiences its reality. There is no true reality for him until he actually experiences it!
That is one reason God’s supreme command of love must first be lived by the believing disciple to some extent before he attempts to witness the gospel to the unbeliever.
Conviction, faith, and experience are the works of the Holy Spirit in man.
In turn, the believing disciple has no place to condemn the unbeliever for his ignorance. But for the grace of God he would be in the same condition. The witness must, therefore, exercise patience, a fruit of the Holy Spirit.
So it is with attempting to witness the true manifestations of the Holy Spirit.
But Peter and John replied, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:19 NIV).
What happened in Jerusalem?
In Jerusalem at Pentecost, the Holy Spirit poured himself on the church in tongues of fire to each of a 120 disciples assembled in prayer.
“All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them” (Acts 2:4 NIV).
A similar outpouring happened again to the Jerusalem believers a few days later.
“After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly” (Acts 4:31 NIV).
What happened in Samaria?
As the church began to spread, Peter and John followed Phillip into Samaria to minister this baptism of the Holy Spirit to the new converts there.
“Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit” (Acts 8:17 NIV).
As scripture theologians report, the amazing thing was the original language of the Bible implies that Simon the Sorcerer heard some kind of utterance that caused him enthusiastically and mistakenly to want to buy this gift with money. In verse 21, Peter rebukes him.
“You have no part or share in this ministry, (in this kind of utterance) because your heart is not right before God” (Acts 8:21 NIV).
The word for matter or ministry is the Greek “logos” meaning “word” or “kind of speaking” or “kind of utterance.” So Simon’s hearing of this “speaking” at the baptism of the Holy Spirit caused an enthusiastic response in this now former “clever magician.” And Simon, as a result, repented of his mercenary response.
At the coming of the Holy Spirit on these Samaritans, Simon, indeed, enthusiastically responded when he heard this utterance coming from his fellow believers. In fact, he was so intrigued by it, he was mistakenly ready to buy it with his money.
We fault Simon, but the truth appears, people today who hear tongues or see healings or miracles or other manifestations of the Holy Spirit seem no more moved to believe or to obtain them!
In fact, they surround themselves with protective doctrines so they won't have to.