Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Pentecost Extraordinaire

"And when the day of Pentecost was fully come ... they were all amazed, and were perplexed, saying one to another, What meaneth this? ... This is that ..."
(Acts 2)

What made this Pentecost different from all others?

Something extraordinary was being fulfilled.

Devout Jewish men from every nation had gathered for generations at Jerusalem to celebrate this yearly feast. The eleven disciples with friends were no doubt gathered in the Upper Room as part of this festival, but with a greater purpose in view.

Suddenly - the skies gave no indication - a distant sound, growing ever louder, like a gathering windstorm, then a thunderous explosion as its epicenter struck the room where the 120 were gathered, sitting. This otherworldly wind filled the house profoundly affecting each person present. Bolts of fire distributed, settling upon everyone - young and old, men and women, regardless of status. This heavenly fire so infused their beings and captivated their powers of speech that they began speaking the very languages of the many gathered for Pentecost, declaring the wonders of God

The sound of the tornado-like wind and its effects upon nature and the 120 drew a bewildered crowd to this never-seen-before scene, asking:

"What Does This Mean?"

God the Holy Spirit had come!

God had come upon Mount Sinai.

God had come to the Tabernacle of Witness.

God had come to Solomon's Temple.

God had come to Bethlehem's Manger.

Now He had come in baptizing power upon the nucleus of the first early church, the Body of Christ on earth. 

The question awoke memories of something similar, to the days of Joshua, when a memorial of stones were set up of the crossing of the Jordan - a witness to God's deliverance to future generations (4:1-9). These many years later God's activity in their daily lives were all but a faded memory. They weren't expecting anything different from life than the normal. Thus the question held somewhat of a rebuke of the supernatural. Perhaps too to their tired faith and dreams it carried a breath of fresh hope.

Sweet Wine or This?

The Spirit-filled Peter responded to the fears, doubts, and hopes of the crowd by reminding them of ancient prophecies when God would once again visit and claim His desolate people, and that this time He would come with salvation to everyone who called upon the name of the Lord. No, this activity of speaking in tongues wasn't the result of sweet wine. This was God's time. God was taking this early morning opportunity, before man's inventions could mar it, to literally pour His Spirit upon men and women, with a promise of more to come.

When Peter quoted Joel 2 he did not say, 'this fulfills that spoken by the prophet Joel', as a past event, but rather, 'this is that' ... as a continual action, meaning that it will continue indefinitely.

Even today.

To “know Christ and the power of His resurrection”, we ask for the Holy Spirit.

To see what God can and will do through His Church, locally, we ask for the Holy Spirit.

To make a difference for God to reach a dying world and our communities, we ask for the Holy Spirit.

This Is That ....

* which helped Moses become the man and leader he was, led His people by fire and cloud, anointed David for kingship, inspired holy men to write the Holy Bible we have today
* likened as oil for anointing, water for life, wind for power, fire for purity, a dove for meekness
* a rest and refreshing for the weary, aids us in prayer and worship, a sign from God to the unbelieving, a means of edification and communication with God, extols the wonderful works of God
* gives wisdom, understanding, counsel, and might to people; lifting a standard against the kingdom of darkness
* fathered Jesus, anointed Him in life and for service, raised Him from death, gives life today
* the source of hope, miracles, boldness, purity, spirituals gifts and leadership roles
* gives access to God, strengthens our inner person; creates, illuminates truth, convicts of sin
* prophesied by the prophets, the Promise of the Father, commanded by Christ to receive
* "This is that" is God the Holy Spirit, ready to fill and empower us today

No Opportunity Wasted

Take the challenge. Face your greatest fears. Seize the day. See what the Holy Spirit can and will do through you. We can be ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

Through the Holy Spirit we can:

1. Speak the Kingdom of God into lives and situations (Acts 1:3,4).
2. Devote ourselves increasingly to prayer (Acts 1:14)
3. Be continually filled with His presence and power (Acts 2:17; Eph. 5:18).
4. Live in an atmosphere of repentance toward God (Acts 3:19).
5. Live as the reconciled (Acts 2:43-47).
6. Empower the coming generation (Acts 2:39a).
7. Be the voice and vision of God; no Spirit, no voice - no Spirit, no vision (Acts 2:39b)
8. Suffer for the glory of Jesus Christ (Acts 5:41)
9. Bring the healing Jesus to suffering humanity and a skeptical world (Acts 4:30)
10. Extend the blessing of Christ to the nations (Acts 3:25)
11. Elevate our praying into new dimensions through the gift of tongues (1 Cor. 14:14,15)

Father God, I want to be a difference in my world of influence; I ask for the Holy Spirit.


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