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Pentecost

Pentecost

 

Last week we celebrated Memorial Day; however, it was also an important date to celebrate in the Church—Pentecost. What is Pentecost? Why is it significant? Who is the Holy Spirit? To answer these questions, let’s look at what happened after Jesus was crucified and resurrected.

Acts 1:3-5 After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: "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."

Like many believers today, these disciples understood what water baptism was, but they did not understand what being baptized with the Holy Spirit meant. They had never experienced it, nor known anyone else other than Jesus who had. They didn’t know what to expect, but they faithfully did what Jesus told them to do and stayed in Jerusalem.

Acts 2:1-4 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

For Israel, Pentecost was a celebration about the harvest of grain. Jews from all over the Roman Empire were gathered in Jerusalem for the feast. For the Church, Pentecost became the great harvest of the Spirit.

Because of what happened at Pentecost, we have the ability to believe, God’s power to be a witness, the grace to be transformed, gifts to accomplish God’s will, and we have the presence of God.

Because of what happened at Pentecost, God, the Holy Spirit, is in us and among us. He brings conviction of sin and faith to believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. When we believe, repent, and are baptized, we are born again of the Holy Spirit. Immediately, we sense the Spirit’s joy, peace, and presence in our lives.

However, unlike the one-time event of being born again of the Spirit, being filled with the Holy Spirit is not a one-time event. As witnesses, we cannot afford to stop seeking to be filled with His power. As the Church, we cannot afford to remain the same, we need continual transformation. As His children, we cannot afford to ignore His immediate presence and forget God. For, without the Holy Spirit, we have no power to be witnesses of Jesus Christ.

Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

A lady went to a jeweler to have her watch fixed. The jeweler disappeared to the back and soon returned with it running perfectly. Surprised, she asked how he could fix it so soon. He told her it only needed a new battery. “Battery? Battery? Nobody said anything about a battery. I’ve been winding it every morning!”

Likewise, lot of Christians do not realize the presence of the Holy Spirit’s power to handle things. They think they must take matters into their own hands.

God’s power is available to us to complete the task before us in the harvest of souls, and He wants us to complete the task in His power and not by our ingenuity. God does not ask His people to do His work without giving them the ability to do it. This is why the disciples were asked to wait in Jerusalem until the gift from the Father descended upon them.

The message of Acts 1:8 is simple. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is essential. Apart from the power of the Holy Spirit, no one can share the Gospel as God wants them to do.

1 Cor. 2:4-5 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power.

Without the power of the Holy Spirit, the message of the Gospel rests in man’s wisdom, which is ineffective. Man’s wisdom can produce false conversions, based on man’s traditions and doctrines instead of a new birth of the Spirit.

2 Tim 3:5 says that in the last days there will be people who will have a form of godliness but deny its power. That is what happens when we forget the Holy Spirit. Paul tells us to have nothing to do with such people.

We, the First Christian Church of DeQueen, need to be like the first Christian Church of Jerusalem, who saw the baptism of the Holy Spirit as essential for empowering believers to preach the Gospel. They knew, as we should understand, that without Him we won’t make much of a difference in this world.

John the Baptist, in speaking about Jesus, said in Matthew 3:11 “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

  “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.”

The fire that appeared on the heads of each believer in the upper room has a connection to the Old Testament. When Moses was dedicating the tabernacle, this is what happened: Leviticus 9:24 Fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed the burnt offering and the fat portions on the altar. And when all the people saw it, they shouted for joy and fell facedown.

It happened again when Solomon was dedicating the temple, 2 Chron. 7:1-3 When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple. The priests could not enter the temple of the LORD because the glory of the LORD filled it. When all the Israelites saw the fire coming down and the glory of the LORD above the temple, they knelt on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave thanks to the LORD, saying, "He is good; his love endures forever."

At Pentecost, once again God sent His own fire to demonstrate that He would accept our "temple" as His dwelling place. Today, the believer in Jesus Christ is a "temple" of the Holy Spirit.

1 Cor. 6:19-20 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

As the temple of the Holy Spirit, we are not our own any longer. The life we live, we live for the glory of Jesus Christ. In fact, we are not alone any longer either.

Jesus said in John 14:16-17 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever--the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.

I thank God for the presence of the Holy Spirit in my life. I thank God for this intimate relationship with Him. However, unless I build and maintain my relationship, I can easily forget the Holy Spirit and grieve Him.

Eph. 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 

When Christians are walking in the Spirit, they operate in His gifts and produce His fruit. This is the supernatural power of God that makes us a witness of Jesus Christ. With the Holy Spirit in control, we act like Jesus, not religious. His love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are what will shine and make a difference in this dark world during these last days.

Acts 2:38-39 Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off--for all whom the Lord our God will call."

In effect, Peter said this outpouring of the Spirit is not a special blessing for a special few in a special age. Some of us have allowed the Devil and religious tradition to rob us of the power of God. The promise of the Holy Spirit is for all people who believe and obey the call to repent and are baptized. Since God is still calling men to unto salvation, the promise is good today!

Although a Christian may not be able to describe the experience, he will know whether he has received the Spirit or not.

Romans 8:15-16 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, ""Abba," Father." The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children.

Ten days after Jesus ascended into Heaven, He sent the blessed promise of the Father, and the faithful ones who obeyed and waited in the Upper Room were filled with the Holy Spirit. The people outside thought those in the upper room were drunk, but Peter’s declared, “This is it!!!” This is the fulfillment of the promise!

He referenced Joel 2:28-29 "And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.

On the Day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was poured out, Peter boldly preached the Gospel and 3,000 souls got saved and came into the Kingdom. Because the disciples were given the gift to speak in other languages, every person, regardless of their nationality, were able to understand the Gospel.

That is the purpose of the Holy Spirit. God has not given us the Holy Spirit to enjoy alone while the world around us rushes on toward Hell. We dare not forget the Holy Spirit, nor the people God loves, the people Christ died for, the people Christ commanded us to evangelize. We need to WAKE UP, forget our religious games, and seek God the Holy Spirit with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. The Holy Spirit is God with us, our Emmanuel, today.

We must not ignore or forget God the Holy Spirit any longer. We need the power of the Holy Spirit today to have peace and joy during persecution and tribulation. We need the Holy Spirit in order to display God’s love to the lost souls around us through everything we do and say!

We need the Holy Spirit in order to worship God in Spirit and in Truth. Worship is not attending church, although church attendance is important. Real worship demands participation, not only in the church services, but also with everything we do and say.

Romans 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.

The Holy Spirit will help you to lift your soul in thanksgiving and praise to God, the Father, and to Jesus Christ, all day long, regardless of what you are doing.

When you are filled with the Holy Spirit, there will be a holy love within you to point people to Christ so they can be delivered and set free. The power of the Holy Spirit will give you boldness, confidence, and courage to witness for Christ and to share your faith with others. The Holy Spirit will make you naturally like Jesus so people can see the Spirit of Jesus abiding in you and know He is alive.

Peter said, “The Promise is unto you.” If you are a Christian, if you are saved, the gift of the Holy Spirit is for you! Jesus is God’s Gift for the world, for the Sinner. For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son…

The Holy Spirit is God’s Gift for the Christian. When Paul met new believers, he made sure they had been baptized in the Name of Jesus and received the Holy Spirit.

Acts 19:1-7 While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples and asked them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" They answered, "No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit." So Paul asked, "Then what baptism did you receive?" "John's baptism," they replied. Paul said, "John's baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus." On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. There were about twelve men in all.

Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed? The evidence is not a supernatural gift of the Spirit, but the supernatural fruit of the Spirit—the character of God. If you are not sure you have received the Holy Spirit, the solution is simple. Ask! By asking, you are not asking for an experience or a gift, you are asking for God to take residence in your body and take control of your life. I ask every day because I need Him every day.

Jesus said in Luke 11:13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!

God wants to be in us. He wants an intimate relationship with Him. He wants to transform us and empower us, but we must want these things, too. Let us not be satisfied with being a small group of believers in an upper room, hiding from the persecution of the world. Let us reach out with arms open wide in faith, and ask, “Father, fill me with the Holy Spirit!” so we can get on with fulfilling Jesus’ commission to us to “Go and make disciples”.

You cannot be filled with the Holy Spirit unless the Holy Spirit has first given you faith to believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, who died to atone for your sin. If you have that faith, repent of your sin and give your life to Jesus by dying to self in baptism. The promise is that you will be born again of the Holy Spirit and God will be in you, empowering you to live a new life.