(June 3, 2022) Robert and Maureen McQuillan bring a challenge to both Christian leaders… and so-called ‘ordinary’ Christians.
Shavuot or Pentecost, the Hebrew celebration of the Festival of the Weeks, is here. As mentioned in Christian Pentecost-the Feast That Never Ended it was initially a special time of remembrance and celebration for Israel.
We Christians celebrate (or should) our Pentecost this Sunday! Our celebration is the good news that God’s love continued beyond that extraordinary Passover event we call Easter.
Our thoughtful God had a further free gift to giveto all who believe in His Son Jesus – the outpouring of His Holy Spirit! That powerful Acts 2 infilling of God’s Spirit as promised by Jesus meant (and still means)…
- Enablement – praising God in that special prayer language called tongues.
- Empowerment – serving Jesus in powerful ways and touch the world.
- Enthusiasm – caring for/generously sharing with fellow Christians, ministries and missionaries needs (See Pentecost Sunday-Shavuot).
Let’s look at what we’ll term The 5 C’s of Pentecost… Cenacle, Carpeting, Correction! Celebration and Challenge. Now ‘cenacle’ and ‘carpeting’ probably have you wondering!
When visiting Jerusalem one is taken to the ‘Cenacle’ – supposedly the actual large upper room where the 120 disciples met, prayed in expectation and the Spirit first fell. When there years ago the room had some un-railed steps to a higher level and one lady in our party climbed to the top.
On the ground level we were talking about the Holy Spirit’s upper room activities 2000 years ago. Just as we had boldly declared that He is the same powerhouse today, there was a ominous crack! The lady had fallen off the edge, crashing heavily on her head on the hard floor below.
Rushing to assist her, we called on that same powerhouse for help. He responded! We prayed in tongues, confident that the Spirit would do whatever was needed for our fellow traveller. Guess what? Our friend arose unhurt! In fact, she spoke of being elated, warmly touched by an unseen hand, even on-fire with the Spirit!
Inspired afresh, we left the cenacle challenged to take every Spirit-given opportunity to share God’s love!
Read Brian Bell’s ‘Upper Room’ Gatherings article, for we need on-fire Christians in on-fire ‘cenacle churches.’ Such ministries are those who will take faith steps to do whatever the Spirit challenges. Just like those first missio Dei disciples, immediately leaving the upper room blessings and hitting the streets to share Jesus.
Lack of interest in the reality of Pentecost matters has been around for years.
Reminds me (Robert) of decades years ago when AoG’s late Tommy Evans (right) – that unheralded pioneering pastor – came to see me in my editor’s office and quietly but very seriously said: ‘The church, Robert, even some Pentecostal ones, has forgotten what Pentecost is all about and doesn’t know how to celebrate Pentecostal Sunday.’ And with a tear in his eye, he added, ‘It’s sad. Keep on writing what you teach about the need to really know the Holy Spirit personally.’
Unfortunately, Tommy Evans’ concern has become more prominent since then! Various Pentecostal churches have wrongly, mistakenly swept fundamental Pentecostal beliefs especially speaking and worshipping in tongues out of the way ‘under the carpet.’
A current concern we’ve been hearing of late is that it seems that rites and regulations have become church standards, accepted without question. Such as the emphasis in some churches on excessively loud psychologically enhanced so-called ‘generational music’ and unquestioned non-biblical so-called teachings, and questionable demands for finance.
A wise saying goes this way: It’s been said that if you keep sweeping things under the carpet you’ll eventually trip up over the mess you made!
Three questions follow (which may not click with everyone!)…
Attend a Spirit-filled church? Apart from maybe no worshipping in tongues, Apart from maybe no worshipping in tongues, when was the last time you heard some Spirit-led believer speak out in tongues expecting an interpretation by another church attender (1 Corinthians 12:10)? It used to be that spiritual promptings brought great encouragement to the church and praises to God!
How many of your church’s younger generation know the Holy Spirit intimately and flow freely in His nine 1 Corinthians 12 supernatural ministry gifts… thus enabling them to strengthen your church today and foundation-lay for its tomorrows?
c) Very serious:
Major church leaders are encouraging congregants to share Jesus with the unsaved around ‘out there.’ But… do you feel uneasy, hesitating, even a little afraid, feeling that something is missing, that you’re not equipped, not able to move boldly and share your faith?
Regarding sharing, be encouraged to trust the Holy Spirit for His enabling! If you’re Spirit-filled and a God-given opportunity comes along ‘out there’ take it. And in sharing your faith dare to allow the Spirit to speak into people’s lives through you, prophetically and with words of knowledge. Yes, little ole you! After all, you’re on the scene, not your pastor! Dare too to pray for the sick and believe for miracles! ‘Out there’ is the marketplace of life – where the unsaved are!
Our prayer is that this Sunday will see an awakening and renewing in every Christian of the knowledge of all that is available to us from God’s Holy Spirit, promised us by Jesus (Acts 1:4)!
Don’t think that Pentecost is only all about speaking in tongues and was only ‘back then’ and that day is over! No way!
Christian Pentecost is definitely about more than glossolalia – tongue-speaking! Supernatural power was released that first Pentecost to anyone who would follow Christ and that includes 2022! Action-power in encouraging, others and especially in spreading the gospel.
Two personal examples…
Even though loudish ‘modern worship music’ was happening one Sunday, we and some other Christians around us were happily worshipping in tongues! (Not rebelliously: leadership actually permitted this).
A visitor approached us afterwards, congratulating us ‘seniors’ on our freedom in God to lift our hands high and worship in tongues despite ‘that droning music’ as he put it. In turn we shared an encouraging word of knowledge about him that blessed him meaningfully!
Yes, we had been worshipping in tongues just as those first Christians at Pentecost did… but we also moved in the Spirit to benefit/encourage that gentleman… as we do both inside and outside the church anytime opportunity arises!
Point: Worshipping Jesus doesn’t end when you become a ‘senior.’ Nor does moving in the gifts, or sharing Jesus for that matter!
b) ‘Outside the house’
One day when wandering through a shopping plaza we were Spirit-led to enter a certain shop. Chatting to the only consultant, suddenly she opened up, sharing personal problems. Gently interrupting her, we surprised her by speaking Holy Spirit-given words of knowledge on some deep issues. Amazed but comforted she wept, realising we, strangers, couldn’t possibly know about what we’d just shared! We took the opportunity, witnessed Jesus and led her to salvation.
Note: Initially we never mentioned we were ministers, or missionaries, but just took the opportunity to care! With the Holy Spirit’s assistance, any Christian can care, just not ministers. Pentecost is not all about worshipping God glossolalia-wise (as even some Pentecostals wrongly think!).
No, it’s the next step in our growth in Christianity after our salvation and our willingness to serve our Saviour. Pentecostals believe that tongues are an evidence that something supernatural has happened within! But we move on from that first experience, not disregarding it but enhancing it in our understanding and outworking!
Sure we can joyfully celebrate our Christian Pentecost… but being baptised in the Spirit as recorded in Acts 2 and released to worship in tongues is only the beginning. We all must forge on, moving in the gifts of the Spirit to share Christ, building His people and expanding His church!
Reminds us of when we were asked to preach at a Pentecostal church. After Maureen had shared, I commenced my sermon pointing out that the first disciples were so filled with the Holy Spirit that they broke into supernatural glossolalia worship. ‘Want to do likewise? Shall we celebrate?’ we challenged – and virtually everyone joined in spontaneously singing joyfully in tongues.
Then we asked if they wanted to do the next thing those early disciples did? The response was a resounding ‘Yes!’
‘Well, they immediately hit the streets and witnessed Jesus. Let’s do the same!’ I challenged, jumping off the platform and heading for the door… only to stop suddenly, turn and find only the pastor following me! No one else had moved to minister ‘outside!’
The congregation was a little shocked, but I didn’t chastise. I returned to teaching on the importance of recognising that Pentecost Sunday is not only a celebration of the gift of the Holy Spirit and of tongues, but of the birth of the church. And stressing that every Christian can move in supernatural enablement to boldly witness Christ, just not ministers!
Now we don’t mean that lost art of street preaching, rather taking one-on-one opportunities to personally share Jesus, to give your testimony (another lost art?).
Here we would mention yet another great reason to celebrate Pentecost. Being filled with the Holy Spirit is the gateway to operating in those supernatural ministry gifts that Paul mentions in 1 Corinthians 12. We’ve talked a little about this above: If you want to learn more, let’s have your questions.
If you haven’t already, we encourage you to get acquainted with the Holy Spirit in a deeply personal way. He’s that precious comforter Jesus spoke promise in John 14:16-17Mge, ‘I will talk to the Father, and He’ll provide you another Friend so that you will always have someone with you… the Spirit of truth.’
In today’s troubled times we need on-fire ‘Cenacle churches’ with on-fire Christians! Those who will take faith steps to do whatever the Spirit challenges to achieve. Just like those first missio Dei disciples, immediately leaving the upper room blessings and ‘hitting the streets’ to evangelise, to share Jesus and one’s testimony.
You don’t have to visit Jerusalem to be powerfully touched by the Holy Spirit! No, you can find Him anywhere – and you can freely witness and share Jesus anywhere, moving in the supernatural! Indeed it’s our duty so people may hear and believe!
We should value our local church, pray and believe for it to be Holy Spirit on-fire. We should recall this is the Great South Land of the Holy Spirit and with His assistance take God-given opportunities to reach people without Christ.
As the anointing – the power and presence of the Holy Spirit – always makes the difference in the believer’s and a church’s life, hopefully your church has something special planned this Sunday, and is open to the Spirit falling afresh. May the heart of that encouraging chorus Let the Fire Fall with those inviting lines Holy Spirit, Set my life on fire be heard afresh!
- Let’s be like that faithful Philadelphian church of Revelation 3:7-13… and have ears to ‘listen to the Spirit and understand what He is saying to the churches’ (v13).
- Empowered anew we can take our steps of faith to success for Jesus and go ‘out there’ to fulfill the great commission of Matthew 28:18-20.
Dr Robert and Maureen McQuillan’s links are OnlinerConnect@gmail.com and Facebook (Scripture/other emphases in this Onliner ours. Appreciated images/pics: various general sources available for reuse under creative commons have been used in good faith and not for profit). Links: ‘Upper Room’ Gatherings / Pentecost Sunday – Shavuot / Christian Pentecost-the Feast That Never Ended