(May 20, 2020) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, shares some great Pentecostal insights …
Let me share with you a few recent experiences.
- As I was typing this article on my computer today, it suddenly shut down in mid-sentence. That was a little frustrating but after I plugged in the charger, the computer reopened and enabled me to complete the article.
- A friend’s mobile phone, which she had had for a number of years, decided that it had worked long enough. It was out of energy! I helped her to buy a new phone and restored the information from her old one. Now she can confidently phone her friends – and play ‘Words with Friends’ – without the fear of a black screen suddenly appearing.
- A few weeks ago I got into my car, turned the ignition key – and nothing happened! No noise from the starter motor. No ignition lights on the dashboard. Nothing but silence! I had accidentally left my car door open a little for a couple of days and the battery had drained. Fortunately a friend came to my rescue with a battery charger and soon the car was on the road again.
Dynamite power source!
The similar factor in the above accounts is obvious – that my computer, my friend’s mobile phone and my car failed to work because their power source was missing!
Two thousand years ago in Jerusalem the disciples and members of the first church, about 120 people, met for worship in an upstairs room. They would have been well acquainted with the facts of the crucifixion of Jesus and his wonderful resurrection and most, if not all, of them would have met Jesus personally and possibly even have spoken to him both before his death and after his resurrection.
For 40 days Jesus demonstrated to his followers that he was truly alive and he spoke to them about the Kingdom of heaven. (Acts 1:3) Furthermore, before he gloriously ascended to heaven, he gave them the commission to proclaim the gospel and ‘make disciples of all nations’ (Matthew 28:19).
So, those early Christians were fully equipped to do what had he asked of them – apart from one thing! One indispensable thing! That is why Jesus told them wait in Jerusalem until they had received power ‘when the Holy Spirit comes on you’ (Acts 1:8). (The Greek word for ‘power’ that is used here is the one from which we get the English word ‘dynamite’).
Transforming power grows the church!
One week later, on the day of Pentecost, when that small group of faithful Christians met again, something happened that they did not expect.
God manifested his presence through the imagery of two power sources – wind and fire – as he supplied the required power to energise and enable the church to ‘start the engine’!
The one very important missing thing was now provided – and how undeniable and necessary and life transforming it was to that group of Christians.
The JB Phillips translation recounts the event in this way, ‘Suddenly there was a sound from heaven like the rushing of a violent wind, and it filled the whole house where they were seated. Before their eyes appeared tongues like flames which separated off and settled above the head of each one of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different languages as the Spirit gave them power to proclaim his message’ (Acts 2:2-4).
How spectacular were the results! That day the newly empowered church grew from 120 people to around 3000.
And from there the followers of Jesus, enabled and empowered by the Holy Spirit, through opposition, obstruction and violent persecution, boldly and effectively took the message of the Kingdom of God throughout the world. Apart from that ‘power source’ of the Holy Spirit the message of Jesus’ redemptive love would have remained in Jerusalem and died out before the close of the first century!
Undeniable and necessary power enables us to grow
We celebrate Pentecost Sunday, not only as an historic event in the life of the church but as a reminder of the on-going, vital need of God’s power source for all Christians in every age if we are to be effective in living the Christian life and in sharing the gospel of God’s grace.
Pentecost reminds us of the essential and equipping power of God who by his Holy Spirit enables us to grow into all that God’s has designed for us and to accomplish all that he has called us to do.
In Ephesians 3:20 Paul powerfully described this indispensable power source that is available to all Christians – ‘To him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us …’
That’s God’s promise. But… do we believe it?
Dr Jim McClure, author of several books such as the enlightening Grace Revisited and Bible study series, welcomes questions from Christians seeking enlightenment on biblical perspectives.
Grace Revisited is highly recommended – as are Looking for Answers in a Confusing World, Overview of the Old and New Testaments, Love, Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage, The Masonic Deception, Word of Life in the Old and New Testaments and Interpreting the Letter of James. All are available in electronic version in EPUB, Kindle and PDF formats with hyperlinks and offered free. Link for orders and questions: firstname.lastname@example.org