(June 1, 2017) Robert and Maureen McQuillan comment on some Pentecost realities…
Acts 2:2-4 Message records an amazing breakthrough that the frightened, uncertain early church experienced on the Day of Pentecost – ‘Without warning there was a sound like a strong wind, gale force—no one could tell where it came from. It filled the whole building. Then, like a wildfire, the Holy Spirit spread through their ranks, and they started speaking in a number of different languages as the Spirit prompted them.’
Wow! This was out of the blue! But it was something more than just worshipping God in new languages! It mightily changed those first disciples and they became daring men and women of faith who immediately witnessed the gospel and saw many converts genuinely repent of sin and turn to Jesus for salvation!
This Sunday, June 4 – is Pentecost Sunday this year and many churches ( not just Pentecostal) will be celebrating it as the…
- Fulfilment of Jesus’ promise to everyone who follows him (Luke 24:49 and Acts 1:45)
- Supernatural occurrences of how that promise was fulfilled – flames of fire resting on everyone and a mighty wind (Acts 2:2)
- Additional manifestation of the Spirit causing Jesus’ followers to speak in tongues that not only centred on declaring the wonderful works of God but so confounded unsaved people outside that it led to many salvations! (Acts 2:5-13)
- First ever public pronouncement of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead (Acts 2:31, 32, 36)
- Confirmation that the promise of the Holy Spirit is for every born-again believer, not just a chosen few or a particular church group or only leaders! (Acts 2:38b)
- Ground-breaking declaration that repentance is the only way to forgiveness of sin and to gaining salvation – not like many of today’s weak pleas of ‘All you have to do is just give your heart to Jesus, nothing else’! (Acts 2:38a).
Christians and churches love to celebrate!
Although it is not commanded in scripture, we choose Christmas Day to celebrate the birthday of our Saviour. Although no one knows the actual month, let alone the day, Jesus was born it’s okay to thankful for the supernatural coming of Jesus the Messiah – we needed this amazing gift of God! And all who know the real reason for the season rejoice accordingly.
We’ve just celebrated Easter – now here’s a great reason to celebrate as we rejoice that our Saviour who was torturously condemned to death on the cross didn’t remain in the grave but through the power of the Holy Spirit rose again! (Acts 2 above, Romans 8:11).
And many celebrate Pentecost Sunday as the initial coming of the Holy Spirit to baptise Christians with his power, his anointing, a new praise language.
Yet how often do we celebrate Pentecostal Sunday as the birth of the church?
The reality is that the Holy Spirit came to enable us to boldly go forth in that anointing and spiritual win the unsaved to Christ… and so grow the new-born church of Jesus Christ!
Eleven verses that changed believers and the world
Those first disciples who were so transformed that unique Day of Pentecost when the church was born immediately hit the streets! Oh they’d been having a good old-fashioned glory time in the upper room, praising God in their new tongues of worship. But they weren’t content with just praising God in tongues (glossolalia) on their own – they knew something special had happened to them, that they’d been touched by God’s Holy Spirit, that it was the fulfilment of the Father’s promise and his Son’s own word to them. And they wanted others to know!
And they knew who had made it all happen – Jesus! They just had to get out there into the streets and share the good news. And they did! They were evangelistically-minded.
The church had been born! And it was one of action – those commissioned Holy Spirit-baptised Christians wanted others to have what they had!
No wonder we now start reading that the new born church grew and grew! Acts is the book of Christians in action! In verses such as 5:14, 6:7, 9:1 and 21:20 we learn of such growth described simply as ‘So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly.’
And with a missionary spirit, those early disciples spread the gospel beyond Jerusalem! The whole world would be touched!
Acts 2:37-47 are eleven verses that speak of three major happenings – convictions, conversions and continuations.
Under conviction of sin, having heard the gospel message, men and women cried out, ‘What shall we do?’ (The unchurched and unsaved today need answers too).
The answer was simple but contain clear direction – ‘Repent and be baptised’ (genuine repentance is vital if one is to start a new life in Christ!).
This new life is one of continually going on – continuing daily in the faith, Bible meditation, prayer, fellowship and demonstrating trust and commitment.
Changed, charged, challenged, committed, commissioned
Back to the title of this article… five other ‘C’s linking with the baptism of the Holy Spirit in power that led to the incredible growth of the new church. Pentecost did five remarkable and outstanding things for the first disciples. They were –
- Changed– It’s been said that they were hiding upstairs, afraid of the religious rulers. If so, they were now bold evangelists! (‘The disciples went everywhere and preached’ Mark 16:20a NLT).
- Charged – Now supernaturally empowered they reached out in dynamic power and with signs and wonders (Mark 16:20b NLT: ‘The Lord worked through them, confirming what they said by many miraculous signs’).
- Challenged – No half measures! Theirs was the full gospel message to the whole world, one of authority and power! (‘With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all’ Acts 4:33). It would include healings and miracles, not just worshipping in tongues and moving in prophecy.
- Committed – These disciples were committed to the truth that sets one free (John 8:32), to Christ himself (Matthew 4:19, John 10:27).
- Commissioned – Previously Jesus had commanded that they only share among the local Jewish people (Matthew 10:5-6), now God’s salvation was open to everyone from every nation! The new church had a new commission – to Jesus’ great missionary commission (Matthew 28:18-20).
This is what happened to those first followers of Jesus Christ – it can be so today to every Christian who receives the infilling of the blessed Holy Spirit! The gift of speaking in tongues and praising God in a new flow of exaltation is incredible – but there’s more!
The baptism in the Spirit as happened to those first disciples is the gateway to moving powerfully in the Spirit and blessing the church – to knowing the Holy Spirit in a personal and meaningful way and to operating in his spiritual gifts (as outlined in 1 Corinthians 12)! These free gifts are known as manifestation gifts of the Spirit (v7)… ‘manifestation’ is phaneroris indicating a demonstration, expression, bestowment, revealing of the Spirit’s presence and power.
The moving of the Spirit is not for church leaders only but available to every believer willing to allow God to use them everywhere, anytime, any day he desires! Through the Holy Spirit we become active Christians available for kingdom service, not merely Sunday worshippers!
Our prayer is that this Sunday, many will discover (or rediscover) a new dimension in following Jesus as we celebrate Pentecost Sunday – something special that changes, charges, challenges, commits and commissions us to boldly follow Jesus and share the gospel with hurting, hungry people who are thirsting for a new way of life in today’s troubled world.
And who are such troubled, unsaved, unchurched people? People…
- You know
- Strangers you meet
The whole world that Jesus died for (John 3:16)!
(Scripture emphases ours) Links: Brian Bell’s https://connectingwithyou.net/2017/06/01/pentecostal-peter/ / Stuart Reynolds’ https://connectingwithyou.net/2017/06/01/the-pentecostal-baptist/ George Forbes’ https://connectingwithyou.net/2017/06/01/the-feast-that-never-ended/