“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance (KJV).”
I heard a story on time about a vacuum salesman out in rural Texas. He approached an old farm house. Knocked on the door, and he told a lady, "I’ve got the most exciting vacuum cleaner you have ever seen. It will clean your house from top to bottom."
And the lady said, "It sounds real good."
Then he said, "You see that big pile of dirt right there on the floor with all those fur balls and bugs and things? This vacuum cleaner will just pick up all those things up just like that, and if it don’t, I’ll eat it."
She replied, "well you might as well get your knife and fork, because we ain’t got power out here!" - The moral of the story is, you will be sucking up dirt the rest of your life if you do not have power.
Power is the one thing nations, politicians and the business world covet. But the power that we really need is not an earthly power. God has promised believers Spiritual power. Vance Havner once rightly said, “We are not going to move this world by criticism of it nor conformity to it, but by combustion within it of lives ignited by the Spirit of God.”
The early church had none of the things we think are so essential for success today: buildings, money, social status, technology, contemporary worship, and yet, the church won multitudes to Christ and saw many churches established throughout the Roman world. Why? Because the church had the power of the Holy Spirit energizing its ministry. They were a people ignited by the Spirit of God.
The church today needs to discover once again that we have an unchanging God. We need once again to discover the power of Pentecost. That same Holy Spirit power is available to us today to make us more effective witnesses for Christ. The better we understand His working at Pentecost, the better we will relate to Him and experience His power.
What is Pentecost? It is the fulfillment of God’s promise to His disciples, that they would receive power in order to accomplish His purpose to be witnesses. Today we have become too far removed from the Upper room. We need the upper room experience in 2017, just like they needed it on Azusa Street in 1906! What difference can Pentecost make to you and me, and our world today if we would just tarry, if the church could come together in one accord!
First, Pentecost provides PURPOSE. Pentecost is from the Greek word meaning 50th. It is referring to the 50th day after the Passover. The Passover was sacrificed on the 14th day of the first month of the year (Abib). The third day following that sacrifice a sheaf of barley harvest was offered to God. That sheaf was the first fruits of the harvest. (See Leviticus 23:15-17)
Why is all that important? Because the typology teaches us that Pentecost is about the harvest. Jesus established the connection in Acts 1:8. Any time the church loses sight of that connection she gets into trouble. The Holy Spirit was poured out on the Day of Pentecost for the harvest of souls. We are filled with the Holy Ghost, and empowered, to be a witness. That’s the express purpose of the baptism in the Holy Ghost. On that day 3000 were saved and filled with the Holy Ghost and then return as witnesses throughout the Roman world. When Pentecost comes, it will always align us with God’s purpose. His purpose is the HARVEST!
Second, Pentecost produces UNITY. One of the common criticisms concerning the baptism of the Holy Ghost, is that it is an experience that divides the church. Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is, nothing unites the church more than when the power and presence of Holy Ghost fills a church.
I have been in a lot of churches over the years, but the church I am a member of currently, is by far, the most unified. I have mentioned to my wife, or should I say asked her on more than one occasion, “have you ever heard anyone saying a bad thing about another person in our church family?” she always answers, “No, not once.”
I know that there are hypocrites in every church, even ours, but for the most part, the committed members of our church are filled with the Holy Ghost, and we pray for each other, cry for each other, and rejoice with each other! The power of the Holy Ghost produces unity, not division.
There has been a lot of misconceptions and errors when it comes to unity. To understand what this unity is about, you need to understand that this unity is not a contrived unity manipulated from within. Neither is it a controlled unity that is forced from outside the church. The word Luke uses, is the word ‘homothumadon’. It occurs 11 times in the book of Acts and once in Romans 15:6. It means ‘with one mind together.’ When it is used as an adjective, the word carries the thought of willingly and voluntarily choosing. No one forced these followers of Jesus to be together. They chose, of their own accord to be together, because they had a common cause, a common purpose and a common Savior and a common desire.
The important thing is this: the day they had been waiting for came! And when it came they were ready. They were all there together in one place doing exactly what Jesus had told them to do. They were praying and waiting for the promise Jesus had given.
Finally, we will never experience Pentecost until we understand how, Pentecost EMPOWERS ministry. The baptism in the Holy Spirit is the ‘primary empowering of God that every New Testament believer must experience. It is so important, that Jesus gave His followers 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." (Acts 1:4-5)
The Greek word for baptize means to be literally immersed or covered over. It does not mean to be lightly dipped or sprinkled. It means to be completely drenched, immersed, and saturated. This means that that the Lords desire to baptize you with in the Holy Ghost, Jesus wants to immerse you in HIMSELF!
Pentecost can be summed up in one word, CHANGE. This intimate immersion affected both their spiritual awareness and their physical senses. We find here three areas of change that the Holy Spirit brought: First, their hearing was influenced when the sound of a strong, gusting wind filled the house – They began to hear God inspired sound. Then came the appearance of fire that was seemingly magnetic in its attraction to each hungry seeker – they began to see God inspired sights. Not only were their hearing and sight affected, but fire then came to rest upon each one of them as they were all literally filled with the Holy Spirit. The verb which Luke uses for ‘filling’, is used to indicate the process of being anointed with the power of the Spirit for Divine service. The fire fell from Heaven, and separated to rest on each person – their entire existence was SATURATED by God.
There is only one source of power that the Christian can tap into, to overcome life’s difficulties. There is only one source of power that we can receive to live in a manner that brings glory to the name of Jesus. A believer that is filled with power, is a Christian who is living by the power and the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
Pentecost marked the introduction of a completely new way to live according to God’s standards. In the Old Testament, they relied on their own ability to follow a rigid set of standards to achieve a right relationship with God, to be “righteous.” Now, in the New Testament with the infilling, or baptism of the Holy Spirit the believer now had a source of power for righteous living that dwells within us and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year.
Every covenant with God is intended to be sealed in blood. In the OT God gave Moses the Law which laid out the rules for sprinkling the blood of animals over the sins of the people to restore them to fellowship with God. In the NT Jesus sealed the covenant with his own blood. His blood is the signature that life in the power of the Spirit is now available to every believer who wants it.
Every believer should be experiencing the power of a Holy Spirit filled Life. Jesus did not shed his blood just to save you from your sins. Yes, His blood cleanses you from your sin, but it also seals you into a life of covenant living. Because of this wonderful blood we have become joints heirs with Jesus, the seed of Abraham and children of the promises of God. The Magnificent blood of Jesus is the introduction of the believer into the life of the Spirit, or living.
Lev 14: Tells of the cleansing of the leper. First the blood of the guilt offering was applied to the unclean person’s body and then the priest would apply the oil. This is symbolic of how the blood prepares us for the anointing. How it must grieve the Lord, for us to stop short of what he paid so high a price for us to have. The will of God is that you be filled with the Spirit, so that we become the channels through which His Spirit flows through, that we become ministers of that anointing.
The greatest need in our country right now is not different leaders, it is not a better economy, what our country needs now more than anything else if for the Church of Jesus Christ to receive a fresh outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit and to be revisited with New Testament Power and Anointing.