In a moment we will be reading from Acts 2.
I dare say that most of you easily remember your birth date. And most of us who are married, with a little thought, can even remember our anniversary. How about Independence Day; Christmas; New Year’s Day; Valentine’s Day? Oh, here’s an easy one: Income Tax Day … (May 26)
We remember dates and anniversaries because they are important to us. God does the same thing. Jesus told His disciples and the Apostle Paul repeated to us how that when we partake of Holy Communion we ought to eat and drink the sacraments in remembrance of the way Christ gave His life for us. God marks many important events in history with feasts so that we, His children, will remember and celebrate. For example:
Seven weeks ago we celebrated the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus during the historical Feast of Passover. Last Sunday marked the anniversary of Christ’s ascension into heaven and today is Pentecost Sunday. For the past 3500 years the Jews have called this feast Shavout = The Feast of Weeks = Pentecost. The feasts vitally connect the Old Testament Jewish Messiah to the New Testament Christian Jesus.
It is reasonable that we remember and continue to celebrate what God did on that faithful Sunday morning near 2000 years ago in Jerusalem when He sent His Holy Spirit to live in and empower every Believer to be a witness to the world. That was not the first Holy Ghost revival. 1500 years earlier God showed up in fire and power during this same week.
God gave Torah to His Children at Mount Sinai on the Sinai Peninsula
· Torah refers to the First 5 Books of the Bible
o Genesis; Exodus; Leviticus; Numbers; & Deuteronomy
o History of Creation
o Journey of the Patriarchs
o Mosaic Law
· The Feast of Weeks Commemorates God Giving Torah
· The O.T. Feast of Weeks, (Shavout), = N.T. Day of Pentecost
The historical “Shavout”, Feast of Weeks, observed by the Jews each year remembers and celebrates God giving the “Torah” to the congregation through Moses on Mount Sinai 50 days after the first Passover and the Exodus from Egypt. In a narrow sense Torah refers to the first 5 books of the Bible and contains the history of creation, the journey of the Patriarchs and the Law of God given through Moses. The original account of the first Shavout can be found in Exodus 19. Suffice it to say that it was a memorable event … there were fireworks and everything!
17 And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain.
18 Now Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly.
19 And when the blast of the trumpet sounded long and became louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by voice.
Exodus 20 records God giving the Children of Israel His Ten Commandments. This dramatic event in history was a prophetic picture and ought to be remembered and celebrated. Thus God instituted the Feast of Weeks or Shavout all so that this event would be remembered.
The first Shavout was a time when God empowered Moses to publish the Word and make it known among the people. The Acts 2 Pentecost account did a similar thing in that it empowered followers united under the Apostle Peter’s leadership and they together published the Good News in the city streets resulting in 3000 Jews becoming believers in Jesus as Messiah.
On the day of Pentecost God descended once again with fire and fulfilled the prophecies of both Joel and John the Baptist. Believers in Jesus were baptized with the Holy Spirit and began declaring the wonderful works of Almighty God. Today is Pentecost Sunday and it is reasonable that we remember and further publish the Gospel message throughout the world.
Although it is important that we commemorate and celebrate these events God intends more. Our heavenly Father did not orchestrate such an event as the giving of the Ten Commandments or the outpouring of His Spirit at Pentecost only so that we might have something to remember. God has a greater continuing purpose in mind. We begin to discover God’s purpose as we survey the immediate impact this outpouring of the Holy Spirit had on those Believers in Jerusalem that first Pentecost Sunday morning.
What is the purpose of Pentecost … Pentecost is not a denomination, it is a feast to be remembered and celebrated by every Believer. Remembrance is not as much about what God did as it is about what He continues to do.
1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
You will notice there is a thread of unity among the Believers which weighs heavily throughout this chapter and continuing. This element of a committed togetherness is the earmark of a congregation ready to be filled with power from on high, ready for another move of the Spirit. I believe:
Anything is possible when God’s people come together in unity.
Be it a family crisis, financial need, business decision, Church affairs or matters of community or national concern – God’s people pulling together always find a way and always win … why … because God is with them.
Psalms 133 Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell in unity … for there the Lord commanded His blessings, even life forever more.
Matthew 18 If two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are together in Jesus’ name, He is present.
We know the account of Acts 2 and Pentecost. Those few believers who were praying that morning with one heart, one mind, in one accord, were suddenly and dramatically filled with the Spirit of God and immediately began witnessing with a dynamic power to a world of people who were lost, hurting and in need of help. Jesus was right there with them.
Although some onlookers didn’t understand what was happening, many did. And many responded and their lives were changed forever. The immediate impact was felt in personal lives, families, the Church, their communities and eventually the whole world. That which changed their lives was destined to change the world. Upon reflection we too should:
Refuse to be changed by something which can never change the world.
Pentecost changed the world and Pentecost continues changing lives today. The immediate impact of a Pentecostal experience produced a commonality among Believers. The later portion of Acts 2 gives account of the immediate impact of that Pentecostal Holy Ghost revival.
One of the results of Pentecost was that 3000 people were born again and this prayer group which had been meeting in a home suddenly became a Church with the largest congregation of Believers in the world. The Church in Jerusalem was birthed as a pattern example for every Church to follow. Let’s see how that Spirit filled revival changed lives forever.
42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.
43 Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.
44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common,
45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.
46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart,
47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.
So many Believers, scholars and even denominations debate the validity of revivals and the evidence of being filled with the Holy Spirit. Allow me to share the Biblical evidence of a life dynamically changed by God. You see Pentecost has the power to change lives – and – A changed life changes lives.
The Acts 2 account of Pentecost and the immediate results show lives changed. That first Holy Ghost led revival filled Believers with:
1. A desire to be instructed in the doctrines and duties of the Word of God accompanied by a hunger to attend the preaching of the gospel.
2. A draw to congregate with other Believers in open exchange without prejudice, bigotry, or social confines.
3. A sharing in common life experiences outside of structured time in Church.
4. A love for and a personal commitment to prayer.
“Then”, verse 43 says, “As a result of” these changes in the lives of individuals, the Church began to grow and function as one body – The Body of Christ, praising God and having favor with all people. And the Lord added to the Church daily those who were being saved
5. A daily witness that produced a daily harvest.
A true move of God is not a great Church service. A true move of God is a great life. We need not only be once filled, we need be continually filled. Many people can live a great and powerful witness for an hour in Church each week but it’s the other 167 hours God intends Pentecost to change.
We know we are full of the Holy Spirit when we long to be instructed in the doctrines and duties of the Word; hunger to attend the preaching of the gospel; have a draw to congregate with Believers from all nations, tribes, tongues, and social classes; share common life experiences with other Believers outside the 4 walls of the Church; demonstrate a personal commitment to prayer; and reap a daily harvest of souls by our continual witness of the Gospel. Now that’s the results of a move of God!
If we find we are coming up short, We must remember what Pentecost means … perhaps we need revival. Only a changed life can change lives … what are we waiting for … let’s bind ourselves together in unity and start praying for a revival of the Holy Spirit. Happy Pentecost!