Pentecost Sunday - The Gift of God's Spirit Delivered
Scene 1: Power From On High
Our familiarity with the story of the coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost can blind us to the awesome power that was on display that day.
How would we have felt if one of our congregational gatherings was suddenly blown apart by the sound of a mighty wind, and what looked like tongues of fire were moving around in all directions?
Panic and confusion would be our most likely responses - we would instinctively recognise that we were in the presence of something much more powerful than us.
To a degree that’s an appropriate response.
On the day of Pentecost however it was someone rather than something that burst in on the disciples - the Holy Spirit.
As one of the Godhead, the Spirit is indeed to be feared - in the sense that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 1:7).
But the Spirit comes to those who have a proper fear of God.
He comes to equip them to live as God’s people.
This is power with a purpose.
Scene 2: Power With A Purpose
Luke makes it abundantly clear that the languages the Spirit enabled the disciples to speak on the day of Pentecost were the established languages of other parts of the ancient world.
Those visitors to Jerusalem from those different places recognised what the disciples were saying.
And what they were saying is crucial!
The crowd exclaimed that the disciples were telling the wonderful things that God had done (v 11)!
Already the Holy Spirit was equipping the disciples for their work of spreading the good news about Jesus.
This was the mission that Jesus had given them to do.
To preach the gospel to the whole world, and now they knew how they were going to do it.
Jesus had promised them a comforter.
One who would enable them to do greater things than they had ever imagined.
This was the baptism in the Holy Spirit that Jesus had said they would receive.
They had to wait for the Holy Spirit because of the unique situation they were in.
But for those who would follow his filling would be instantly available.
They were ready to go out and tell the nation about Jesus the Christ who is their Messiah.
And that is what they found themselves doing.
Proclaiming Jesus in languages they did not know.
As they spilled out into the streets a crowd gathered.
Some were amazed and wondered what God was doing, others were so rapped up in their own understanding and intellect that they made fun of them and said that they were drunk.
But that was not the case.
We today need to understand that the Bible speaks of such an experience for some.
Not for all.
Because he gives each one gifts according to His purpose.
No one gift is to be exalted over another, each and every one has a purpose.
In this case the purpose is clear from the context of the passage in verse 6 following.
It was a sign to declare the wonders of God in languages from all over the world.
It was an occurrence so that people would ask what does this mean.
Scene 3: Power Fortold
The coming of the Spirit gave Peter the opportunity to prove from scripture that God was completing a prophecy he had given 800 years ago to Joel.
Now something even more momentous was occurring.
In the book of Joel chapter 2 and beginning at verse 28 a prophecy was given 800 years before Jesus.
It is this prophecy, which the Holy Spirit's arrival fulfils.
Up until then the Holy Spirit had only come upon specific individuals for specific tasks.
For some it was an anointing to be a prophet, for some to be king.
For others it was to build the tabernacle of God.
And for most of these people it was an anointing for a limited period of time although for a few such as Elijah it was for life.
But now it is to be different.
In claiming the fulfilment of Joel's prophecy, Peter is saying the last days have begun.
Friends the last days began on the day of Pentecost.
We do not need to get rapped up in concerns for the last days.
It has been the last days for the past two thousand years.
Peter tells us the Holy Spirit has been poured out on all people.
All believers will receive the same Spirit.
For a specific purpose.
What is the purpose of dreams, visions, prophecy, signs and wonders.
There is only one purpose.
To give glory to God!!!!
That is why the Spirit has been given.
So that we, enabled by him, can share the good news of Jesus Christ and see people come to know the Lord and so give glory to him.
The Spirit is given to us that we might be empowered to fulfil God’s purposes for our lives and for his world.
Scene 4: Power To God’s People Today
We are living in the post-Pentecost era.
The same Holy Spirit is working in and through us.
It is the responsibility of each of us to open ourselves up to the transforming work of the Holy Spirit.
He may or may not come to us with the sound of wind and tongues of fire.
But he will undoubtedly change us and enable us to proclaim Jesus afresh to our generation.
The Holy Spirit is not asleep!
He has been given to us!
So that we can have the power required to share the gospel.
He has gifted some of us to tell it to others.
He has gifted some of us to share how God has been good to us.
He has gifted some of us to invite people to come and hear someone who can explain it better than we can.
The Holy Spirit has not been given so that we can have warm and fuzzy feelings about each other.
The Holy Spirit has been given so that we can be equipped for mission.
Mission in our own back yard!
It is the Spirit who:
Enlivens the word of God
Convicts and attracts –
It is He and only He who can make Jesus attractive
The Holy Spirit
Brings repentance and faith
Brings joy and new life.
In some way the Holy Spirit equips every believer for the work of ministry.
So you can be sure that he has equipped you with some gift to contribute towards the building up of the kingdom.