SERMON DATE AND TITLE: 20130519: "Pentecost: Tongues of Fire"

This page streams the audio-only sermon, when available, in downloadable SWF flash format. 

It begins playing shortly after opening this page

Want a download or CD copy?  Read this.

The sermon outline is below, when available.

PENTECOST: Tongues of Fire
          Power can be used in at least two ways: it can be unleashed, or it can be harnessed. The energy in ten gallons of gasoline, for instance, can be released explosively by dropping a lighted match into the can. Or it can be channeled through the engine of a Datsun in a controlled burn and used to transport a person 350 miles.
          Detonate an atomic bomb and just watch as raw power is unleashed or harness the power of the atom and it will produce energy to make enough electricity for entire states for years.
Explosions are spectacular, but controlled burns have lasting effect, staying power. The Holy Spirit works both ways. At Pentecost, he exploded on the scene; His presence was like "tongues of fire" (Acts 2:3).
          My personal Pentecost happened in July of 1972. There was instant explosive evidence of the Holy Spirit's life-transforming presence and at the same time, God began a "controlled burn" in my life that has lasted unto this present day.
          On the first Day of Pentecost, and the church was initially baptized with the Holy Spirit, the burst of God's power was evident by a rushing mighty wind, cloven tongues of fire, and all present were filled with the Holy Spirit as they spoke in known tongues (but not to themselves)to their hearers of the mighty works of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
          The controlled release of God's power that day caused the people of God to go great distances to share God's Good News, lay down their lives in the proclamation of the Kingdom of God and millions of lives were transformed and changed as the Holy Spirit's Pentecostal Power was manifest in them.
          I am one of many thousands in this country and world-wide whose lives were dramatically changed by the explosive, power of Pentecost that was evident through the "Neo-Pentecostal" renewal of the 60's and 70's. Although I did not initially speak in tongues, the Baptism of the Holy Spirit was a life changing, transformational  event for me.
Pastor Phil  <><<
Pentecost Sunday - May 18, 2013
Sheepfold Ministries - Pastor Phil Roland

PENTECOST: Tongues of Fire
ACTS 2:1-22

“Pentecost is a great event in the life of the New Testament Church.  Pentecost was necessary to empower the church into strength and action.  What about YOUR personal Pentecost?  Have you been to the ‘Place of Power,’ and experienced it for yourself?”                                         Pastor Phil

"Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.  For John Baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."            Acts 1:4b,5

"Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high." Luke 24:49

Four things happened to the church on the Day of Pentecost:
"And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting."
            A. Tornado's Awesome Force
                        1. Granbury, Texas tornado killed 6, 100 injured
                        2. More than 200 mph winds destroyed whole neighborhoods
            B. Jesus refers to the Born Again experience as the  wind - Jn. 3:7,8
            "Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' 8 The wind
             blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where
             it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit."
                    1. Gr. SPIRIT = πνεῦμα = PNEU-MA = Breath, Spirit, Wind
                        2. Jesus taught clearly about God's Spirit resembling Wind
"Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' 8 The
                         wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but
                         cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone
                         who is born of the Spirit."   John 3:7-8
            C. Three things prefaced the coming of the Holy Spirit - v. 1
            "When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord
             in one place."
                        1. They were all in One Accord
                        2. They were in One Place
                        3. They had just spent ten days in prayer
                                    a. From Jesus' Ascension to
                                    b. Pentecost - 50 Days after Jesus' Resurrection
                                    d. Hard to get today's Christians to pray 10 minutes




The 2nd  thing happened to the church on the Day of Pentecost:
"Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them."  NKJV
"They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them."    (NIV)
            A. The Fire of Pentecost Purges and Cleanses - John 15:6
             "If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered;
             and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned."
                        1. Unfruitful works of darkness/flesh purged by fire - Jn. 15:2
"Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and
                         every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit."   
                        2. God was cleansing and empowering His church
                                    a. Cauterizing is used as an Antiseptic
                                    b. To burn human tissue to stop bleeding, or
                                    c. To kill Spiritual Bacteria of Doubt, Anxiety and Fear
            B. God's Fire is like Refiner's Fire - Malachi 3:2
            "But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He
             appears? For He is like a refiner's fire And like launderer's soap."
1. Refiner's Fire Purges the Dross
                        2. Refiner's Fire Purifies Sinful Impurities

The 3nd  thing happened to the church on the Day of Pentecost:
"And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other
tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance."
“Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.”  Eph 5:18
A. “Be Filled” is derived from the Greek Word, “PLE-RO-O”
                        1. In Greek Grammar this verb is in the “Present, Active,                                                    Indicative” mood
                        2. “Be completely, regularly, in an on-going way, filled with the                           Holy Spirit.”
3. One Baptism in the Holy Spirit, but many fillings
B. Unity of the church when "all were filled" is amazing
                        1. Hard to get Christian people to agree about anything
                        2. Church splits often happen over minutia, trivial events
C. One Initial Filling of the Holy Spirit
                        1. Many successive fillings required
                        2. "We leak!"
            D. Filling of the Holy Spirit empowered the early Church
            E. What can we do to facilitate the Spirit's initial filling or refilling?
                        1. Be Ready
                        2. Be Available
                        3. Be Submissive / Relinquished - Luke 1:38

"Then Mary said, "Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to
                         me according to your word." And the angel departed from her."

The 4th  thing happened to the church on the Day of Pentecost:
"And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other
tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance."
A. Gr. = glossa lalios = GLOS-SA LA-LIOS = Tongues Speaking
                        1. An Acts 2 Tongue is unknown to the Speaker
                        2. An Acts 2 Tongue is known to the Hearer
            B. The Apostle Paul explains tongues are a sign to the Unbeliever
            "In the law it is written: "With men of other tongues and other lips I will
             speak to this people; And yet, for all that, they will not hear Me," says the
             Lord. 22 Therefore tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to
             unbelievers; but prophesying is not for unbelievers but for those who
             believe."       1 Corinthians 14:21-22
1. Paul is quoting from Isaiah 28:11,12
                        “For with stammering lips and another tongue He will speak to this
                         people, To whom He said, "This is the rest with which You may
                         cause the weary to rest," And, "This is the refreshing"; Yet they
                         would not hear.”
                        2. The Prophet Zephaniah Prophesies this event - Zeph. 3:9
                        "For then I will restore to the peoples a pure language, That they all
                         may call on the name of the LORD, To serve Him with one accord.”
          C. Six Types of Tongues
                        1. Tongues of Men - 1 Cor. 13:a
                        2. Tongues of Angels - 1 Cor. 13:b
                        3. The Devil's Tongue - James 3:5,6
                        4. Acts 2 Tongue - Acts 2:3-11
                        5. Tongues w/Interpretation - 1 Cor. 14:27; 13
                        6. Intercessor's Tongue (Prayer Language) - 1 Cor. 14:18

PENTECOST: Tongues of Fire
Acts 2:1-21 (NKJV)
1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.
3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.
4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
5 And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven.
6 And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language.
7 Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, "Look, are not all these who speak Galileans?
8 And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born?
9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,
10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,
11 Cretans and Arabs--we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God."
12 So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, "Whatever could this mean?"
13 Others mocking said, "They are full of new wine."
14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, "Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words.
15 For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day.
16 But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
17 'And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams.
18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy.
19 I will show wonders in heaven above And signs in the earth beneath: Blood and fire and vapor of smoke.
20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD.
21 And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the LORD Shall be saved.'




The late Bill Bright used to tell this story. During the Depression, a field known as Yates Pool, was a sheep ranch owned by a man named Yates. Mr. Yates wasn’t able to make enough on his ranching operation to pay the principal and interest on the mortgage, so he was in danger of losing his ranch. With little money for clothes or food, his family (like many others) had to live on government subsidy.

Day after day, as he grazed his sheep over those rolling West Texas hills, he was no doubt greatly troubled about how he would pay his bills. Then a seismographic crew from an oil company came into the area and told him there might be oil on his land.
They asked permission to drill a wildcat well, and he signed a lease contract.

At 1,115 feet they struck a huge oil reserve. The first well came in at 80,000 barrels a day. Many subsequent wells were more than twice as large. In fact, 30 years after the discovery, a government test of one of the wells showed it still had the potential flow of 125,000 barrels of oil a day.

And Mr. Yates owned it all. The day he purchased the land he had received the oil and mineral rights. Yet, he’d been living on relief. A multimillionaire living in poverty. The problem was that he didn’t know the oil was there, even though he owned it.


IT WAS PENTECOST SUNDAY. As the congregation filed into church, the ushers handed each person a bright red carnation to symbolize the festive spirit of the day. The people listened attentively to the reading of the Pentecost story from the Book of Acts about how the disciples had heard “what sounded like a powerful wind from heaven”; about how the Holy Spirit had appeared “like tongues of fire.” Then came the sermon: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon us,” the preacher began. “Like the powerful wind from heaven!” shouted a woman sitting in the first pew. Then she threw one of the red carnations toward the altar. The preacher began again: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon us.” The same woman’s voce rang out again, “Like the tongues of fire, the tongues of fire!” Again, she threw a red carnation toward the altar. The preacher looked straight at her and said, “Now throw your pocketbook.” To which the woman replied, “Preacher, you have just calmed the wind and put out the fire.”


One of the great preachers in U.S. history is D. L. Moody. He pastored in Chicago and there is still a wonderful Bible College there that bears his name and values. Mr. Moody was a successful minister, but by his own admission, he lacked the power in his ministry. One day two women came up to him after a service. They said, "We have been praying for you."

"Why don't you pray for the people?" he asked.

"Because you need the power of the Spirit," they said.

"I need the power! Why?" said Mr. Moody

In relating the incident years after he writes, "I thought I had power. I had the largest congregation in Chicago, and there were many conversions."

Moody also said that in a sense, he was satisfied. He was in a comfort zone. But these two praying women rocked the boat. They told him that they were praying for an anointing by the Holy Spirit. Mr. Moody could not get this off his mind and he wrote, "There came a great hunger in my soul. I did not know what it was and I began to cry out to God as never before. I felt I did not want to live if I could not have this power for service."

Rev. Moody began crying out for God to fill him. He withdrew, prayed, and sought it over a period of time. He writes the following: "Well, one day, in the city of New York -- oh, what a day! -- I cannot describe it, I seldom refer to it; it is almost too sacred an experience to name. Paul had an experience of which he never spoke for fourteen years. I can only say that God revealed Himself to me, and I had such an experience of His love that I had to ask Him to stay His hand. I went to preaching again. The sermons were not different; I did not present any new truths, and yet hundreds were converted. I would not now be placed back where I was before that blessed experience if you should give me all the world."

Carlyle Fielding Ste, How Long Will You Limp?: "Too many churches today are devoid of the Spirit of Pentecost because they are dry and stale, where people are in a stupor; where worship services are wooden and so scripted that they are hollow; where the preaching is dull and flat; where the singing is Geritol-tired and without the vim and vigor which speaks of a crucified, died and risen Lord; where if anyone taps his foot and says, "Amen", he is stared into silence, and if anyone shouts, "Thank you, Jesus" the people call the EMS or 911! Too many churches have become mausoleums for the dead rather than coliseums of praise for a living God. They have lost the spirit of Pentecost! They have lost their enthusiasm. They have lost their joy for Jesus and find themselves suffering from what William Willimon calls "Institutional and Spiritual Dry Rot." If the Church is to survive the next millennium it must recapture some of the praise and enthusiasm it had two millennia ago."


Bonsai Christians

"While I agree bonsai trees are both beautiful and treasured, still I find them to be profoundly sad. Trees are designed to be big! You climb in them, swing on their branches, or rest in the shade of their bushy canopies. The bonsai trees are too small for any of those activities. Mature trees will reach heights of 50 to 150 feet, but a mature bonsai tree will only reach 12 to 14 inches. Bonsai trees are not dwarfed by genetics. Instead, they are miniature by deliberate design. The blueprint locked inside the DNA of the young seedling promises a mighty giant, but that destiny is deliberately altered to create a bonsai. To grow a bonsai, the taproot is clipped, and the branches are pruned. Then, the developing seedling is planted in a shallow container. The bonsai reaches maturity, but it never reaches its potential. The miniature lives in a shallow dish, while its giant relative grows unconstrained outside. Locked inside every bonsai is the unfulfilled potential to kiss the sky.

The reality that there are bonsai Christians goes beyond sad to heartbreaking. A bonsai Christian is the result of unrealized and unleashed potential—God-implanted potential. God’s incorruptible seed was destined to produce believers who would be called “…trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified” (Isaiah 61:3KJV). You are called to be like a tall, magnificent tree, visually displaying the nature and glory of God. You are called to be like a giant sequoia, a tree of righteousness, so God can receive glory from your life. He doesn’t get glory when you live your life chained and defeated by sin or stunted with tiny faith and miniature results. Too many believers live satisfied and content as bonsai Christians instead of being the giants God intended.

The giant sequoias that grow in the Sierra Nevada Mountains are among the oldest and largest living things of the earth. The bark on these towering wonders is over 12 inches thick. A picture doesn’t capture the enormity of the sequoia. These supersized giants are spectacular, reaching heights of 250 feet.


The Day of Pentecost meant filling with the Holy Spirit.

Tongues of fire descending
During my research
During my research
During my research
During my research
They Speak With Other Tongues
During my research I was in correspondence with one of the few surviving eyewitnesses to the Azusa Street revival. He is Mr. Harvey McAlister of Springfield, Missouri, who wrote me that he had visited the Mission himself many times. He had one especially interesting incident to relate:
“My brother, Robert E. McAlister, now deceased, was in Los Angeles when the following incident took place and he reported it to me. The girl, whom I knew intimately, and I heard the incident also from her parents, was Kathleen Scott.
“This … took place in what is known as Old Azusa Street Mission. People traveled from every part of the world to investigate what was happening there. There was a large auditorium with an ‘Upper Room,’ upstairs. The place was open day and night for several years, with preaching services two or three times daily, and people in prayer in the Upper Room day and night. At the close of the preaching, crowds would retire to the Upper Room to pray. When time came for preaching, someone would ring a bell and all would come downstairs for the services.
“Kathleen was in the Upper Room, teenage, at this particular time. A man entered the building, the service now being in process, and hearing people pray, he ventured upstairs to the prayer room. The moment he entered, Kathleen, moved by the Spirit, arose and pointed to the man as he stood at the head of the stairway, and spoke in a language other than her own for several minutes.
“The ringing of the bell, calling the people to the preaching service, interrupted. All the people arose and made their way to the stairway. The man, as Kathleen approached the stairs, took her arm and directed her downstairs to the speaker’s desk and waited until order was restored in the auditorium. Then he spoke.
“ ‘I am a Jew, and I came to this city to investigate this speaking in tongues. No person in this city knows my first or my last name, as I am here under an assumed name. No one in this city knows my occupation, or anything about me. I go to hear preachers for the purpose of taking their sermons apart, and using them in lecturing against the Christian religion.
“ ‘This girl, as I entered the room, started speaking in the Hebrew language. She told me my first name and my last name, and she told me why I was in the city and what my occupation was in life, and then she called upon me to repent. She told me things about my life which it would be impossible for any person in this city to know.’
“Then [Mr. McAlister’s letter concludes], the man dropped to his knees and cried and prayed as though his heart would break.”
Harvey McAlister
1. From John L. Sherrill, They speak With Other Tongues (New York: McGraw Hill, 1964), 41,42








The Holy Spirit

He took the shapeless pieces
Of my life and made them whole,
And with exquisite tenderness,
He sanctified my soul.
 He burned into my senses all
He wished for me to be,
And took the perfume of His love
And poured it over me.
And I have come to know Him
In a way I can't explain;
He is my dear companion
Down this road I have begun,
At whose ending I will find
...The Father and the Son!
                                                                                                                Grace E. Easley
Tongues of fire descending