Acts 2:4 says: They . . . began to speak with different tongues, as the Spirit was giving them the ability to speak out. This seems to be a rather strange phenomenon, doesn’t it, but what does it mean? This is the question asked by the people on the street that day in Jerusalem who witnessed the hubbub. So, what does it mean and how does it apply to life in the 21st century?
Suppose that you died in the next few moments and suddenly found yourself standing before the Lord. Suppose that He asked you this question: Why should I let you into My heaven? What would be your reply? How would you answer?
Jesus faced the original cancel culture, a problematic person who needed to be silenced and even eliminated. In Acts 9 Saul broadened the cancel-culture to include anyone – man or woman – who happened to follow Christ. There have been and will always be those who want to cancel His followers. It has now become fashionable in this nation to criticize, scorn or shut-out those who name the name of Jesus Christ. Do not be shocked if America, in the not too distant future, becomes a killing field with believers as the prize. Are you ready?
For longer than 500 years the Jews had raised an impenetrable barrier between themselves and their northern neighbors, the Samaritans. They despised each other, did not speak to each other and had nothing to do with each other. Jesus, however, did not hold such hostilities in His heart. He loved and embraced the Samaritans. He even included the Samaritans in His last will and testament laid down in verse 8 of Acts 1: Don’t forget the Samaritans! When forced by tribulation to preach the gospel to the Samaritans, the walls of separation came crashing down. There were neither protests nor riots and no vigilantes from SLM (Samaritan Lives Matter) to make it happen. Perhaps America could use the model set forth in Acts 8. Perhaps we all could.
Do you know where you’re going? Do you have any idea about where you’d like to be when 2021 is concluded? After the passage of yet another year will you still be doing nothing more than merely riding it out; will you be doing anything more than just existing? What about when you reach 2023 or 2025 or 2030? The journey to someplace wonderful starts now. So does the journey to no place. Start the journey to someplace wonderful right now.
The beginning of each year is often used as a way of measuring progress, that is, where a person has been headed. In fact, the New Year is a terrific place for starting over. It is an occasion designed precisely for a renewal and/or a fresh start. I don’t know if Paul ever preached a New Year’s sermon, but I do know that two pithy phrases appear in Philippians 3:13 that give profound insight for any successful beginning or new renewal; phrases that are intensely significant for starting over.