Thought for the Evening
WHEN DID GOD TURN IT OVER?
On the famed Day of Pentecost in Acts 2, Peter, stood up and preached about Jesus to the amazed multitude who were watching those followers of Jesus stagger under the power of God and speak in tongues. He said during his sermon, "This is that which was spoken of by the prophet Joel, 'And in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. And on my servants and on my handmaids will I pour out in those days of my Spirit, and they shall prophesy . . .' Therefore, [Jesus] being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear" (Acts 2:16-18, 33).
No sincere and sensible person thinks that it was the spirit of the Devil that was moving the disciples and others to speak in tongues on the Day of Pentecost, or in any of the other cases recorded in the New Testament. But a lot of people teach that if anyone speaks in tongues now, the Devil is making him do it. Speaking with a man who taught that, my father asked him when God turned it over to the Devil. That is still a good question to ask.
If Jesus suffered and died for his followers to have it, when did it become an evil thing? When the holy Ghost came on the disciples and caused them to speak in tongues, everybody understood that it was a holy blessing. A similar heavenly experience later was received by some Gentiles at Cornelius' house, by twelve Ephesian disciples when Paul laid his hands upon them, by Paul himself when Ananias laid hands on him, and years later, by Corinthian believers, as well as many, many other believers in many other places. Never was that experience seen as anything but a holy blessing. When, then, did God give that blessing, purchased for us by the blood of His Son, to the Devil?
The truth is, God never gave His Son's blessing to the Devil, and those who condemn speaking in tongues as being of the Devil now are only trying to hide from the light. To excuse the absence of the holy Ghost from their own lives, they condemn those who have it as being deluded by Satan. It is an old, old trick. The baptism of the holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues is the experience that God has given to every person on earth who has ever repented and believed the gospel of His Son.
Peter taught that (Acts 5:32), and the men to whom he was speaking immediately took counsel to kill him. Those men found it more to their liking to scheme to kill Peter than to simply repent and ask God for the remission of sins that comes when the holy Ghost baptism is given from on high. Young Stephen, speaking to some of these same elders, called them hypocrites for resisting the holy Ghost, and the truth about themselves made them so angry that they did kill him (Acts 7:51-60). The most dangerous thing you can tell a hypocrite is that he is one. If you call a man a hypocrite who is not one, he will search himself to see if it is true.
The absence of the holy Ghost in a person's life is a testimony against him, and that is the real reason that so many Christians and others condemn it. Just as Cain was provoked to envy and anger when God gave a witness that He had accepted Abel's offering but gave none to Cain, so evil men now are often made angry when the holy Ghost shows up in someone else. Something in their spirits tells them that there is a reason that God has not yet given that blessing to them, and many, many times, they find it more to their liking to condemn the experience than to repent and seek the mercies of God.