Speaker: Pastor Darin Browne
Acts 2:1-4 (ESV)
The Coming of the Holy Spirit
When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.
WHY WAS THE HOLY SPIRIT POURED OUT AT PENTECOST?
Pentecost comes fifty days after Passover in the Jewish calendar during a harvest celebration known as the Feast of Weeks. It is also associated with the giving of the law and the renewal of the covenant.
Jerusalem at this time, was crowded with Jewish visitors from abroad. A ragtag bunch of people who had seen their leader crucified gathered in an upper room. While the rest of the city celebrated harvest and covenant renewal, this small group of 120 were about to celebrate a new kind of harvest and covenant.
They were surrounded by people who were hostile to the believers and so they were scared, full of anguish and fear. That Pentecost wasn’t the first Pentecost, but it was the birth of the church, and the start of the greatest move of God the world has ever seen! So then, why was the Holy Spirit poured out on this day?
1. SOVEREIGN MOVE OF GOD
What happened that day was a sovereign move of God, prophesied centuries before by the prophet Joel
Acts 2:17-21 (ESV)
“‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.
And I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke; the sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day. And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’
It was prophesied, and it came to pass on that day. And it can still come to pass in this day! The day of Pentecost was unique, but the experience of Pentecost can and indeed must become a daily event for all of us.
2. SPIRIT INDWELLING
In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Godhead, would move upon men. Great men like King David, Gideon, Moses, Joshua and Samson were filled with the Spirit on a short term basis for a given task.
But from the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit moved from short term rental to permanent occupancy. For the first time, and from this time on, the Holy Spirit of God would live within those who accept Him.
Ezekiel 36:26-27 (ESV)
And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.
The first church was not a bunch of like-minded people in an organisation but a group of believers who were bound together by God’s indwelling Spirit.
1 Corinthians 3:16 (ESV)
Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?
3. SPIRIT EMPOWERMENT
Ephesians 3:19 (ESV)
to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Having God’s Holy Spirit living within us means that we have the fullness of God in us. We don’t have to wait for heaven, we have a slice of heaven in our hearts when we ask Jesus into our hearts as Lord and Saviour. So what is the fullness of God that dwells within us?
John 14:12-14 (ESV)
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.
The Holy Spirit indwells us and empowers us. We should be able to do all the things Jesus did. Heal the sick, cast out demons, miracles, and most of all, lay down our life. Today we need another Pentecost, but it will come at plenty cost. It’s not something you just stroll into, it’s an encounter you earnestly seek. Let’s look at the birth of the church and discover what it takes to position ourselves for another Pentecost, another world changing revival.
WHY DID PENTECOST HAPPEN TO THOSE GUYS?
Jews everywhere in the city, why would God send His Spirit to fill this lot. Remember, they had run away and denied their Lord, and even after the resurrection, they went back to fishing. They were confused, unsure of the future, and very scared of persecution. So why them?
1. THEY KNEW JESUS
A few chapters after Pentecost we read this…
Acts 4:13 (ESV)
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognised that they had been with Jesus.
Can people recognise that you’ve been with Jesus? If you were charged with being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you? We will never see true revival, another taste of Pentecost, until we truly know the Lord. That means spending time with Him in the Word every day (hence the Bible reading plan), praying, and coming to church, worshipping Him, learning more about Him, growing in Him, obeying His will.
1 John 2:3-5 (ESV)
And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected.
If you claim to be a Christian and you wilfully disobey Him, you’re fooling yourself, but you’re not fooling God. You don’t really know Him.
2. THEY WERE IN UNITY
Acts 2:1 (ESV)
When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place.
The people were together, in one place and in one accord. They might have been scared, confused, or depressed, but they were still together, warts and all.
If we want true revival happening in the church, it takes unity. That’s why I urge you to come to church, not to boost our numbers, not to finance our projects, but so you can be a part of what God is doing. I believe a new Pentecost, a new revival is coming, but we must be in unity together.
2 Corinthians 13:11 (ESV)
Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.
If you love any doctrine or belief more than you love Jesus, and His bride, you are in sin and blocking revival.
3. THEY WERE IN NEED
The disciples in the upper room were fearful and in desperate need. Earlier…
John 20:19 (ESV)
The doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
But just a few weeks later, there they were again in the upper room. Already persecution was rising, and they pulled together. They recognised their needs, and got together, no doubt to pray and worship and seek God.
John 14:26 (ESV)
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
If you are in need today, remember what God has done for you.
4. THEY WERE DESPERATELY HUNGRY
These disciples might have been fearful, but they were hungry. They were actively seeking God, meeting together, crying out to God for guidance. But even so, they never foresaw that the God of creation, the Christ, the Lord of all would do…fill us with His Spirit, actually live inside us! Perhaps they remembered…
Matthew 5:6 (ESV)
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
John 6:35 (ESV)
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.
Are you truly hungry for God? I’m not talking about interested in, or questioning, or wanting God on my terms. Are you really hungry for God?
I don’t really like oysters or Brussel sprouts. I’m not keen on balut either. However, if I was famish or if I was dying of hunger, I’d eat anything, including balut. When you’re hungry, you will eat and do anything for food.
Are you hungry for a move of God? Are you desperate enough to do anything? Will you forsake anything for a move of God in your life? Are you totally open to God.
SO WHAT HAPPENED AT PENTECOST?
They gathered and prayed, and God’s Spirit hit the joint causing signs.
1. RUSHING WIND
Acts 2:2 (ESV)
And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.
Jesus had said of the Holy Spirit…
John 3:8 (ESV)
The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
The word for “Spirit” (Greek pneuma) is related to the word translated “wind” here, and it also means breath. Both nouns – “spirit” and “wind” or “breath” – are from the Greek verb pnoē, “to blow, to breathe.” The sound was like the blowing of a violent wind from heaven, pointing to the power of the Holy Spirit and the fullness of His coming. I reckon it was the sound of a cyclone. Loud, howling, it symbolised a pouring out of the Spirit of God into the hearts of willing men and women.
Just as wind is invisible yet irresistible, so is the Spirit of God. We cannot control Him nor dictate how He will operate. But when the Spirit moves, things are forever different. When the wind of God blows on a church, the walls of resistance topple, and that church is well on its way to becoming great in the Kingdom. Today I’m asking you to be part of that church!
2. TONGUES OF FIRE
The tongues of fire portray the presence of God. Several times in the Old Testament God displayed Himself in the form of flames. John the Baptist said of the coming Messiah.
Luke 3:16 (ESV)
John answered them all, saying, “I baptise you with water…He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
The fire of the Holy Spirit cleanses and purifies the church (Exodus 3:2; Hebrews 12:29). His fire consumes the rags of unrighteousness, the dross of pride, and the stubble of doubt. Finally, fire conflagrates and produces more fire. The Spirit takes hold of us and makes us what He is – a burning flame.
No believer present that day was exempt from this experience, for the flames separated and came to rest on each of them. Every one of us, individually, can receive this fire. Are you willing to receive the fire of the Holy Spirit today?
3. TONGUES OF MEN
The third evidence of this Pentecostal outpouring was speaking in other tongues (Greek, HETERIAS GLOSSAIS). These were undoubtedly living, recognisable, human languages. In fact, the word used in verses six and eight is DIALEKTO, which means “language”, and so it is not ecstatic utterance.
People heard tongues and understood God proclaimed to them in their native language.
Acts 2:8 (ESV)
And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language?
Acts 2:11 (ESV)
we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.”
Let me address a controversial issue…are tongues known languages, or a heavenly language? Clearly, here it was known, human languages. In other instances, tongues is a heavenly, unknown on earth language. I’m not here to analyse whether your tongue is known or not. That’s God’s business, His spirit, not mine. Clearly both are valid, because Paul writes…
1 Corinthians 13:1 (ESV)
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
If you have a problem with tongues, please get over it. You’re not called to judge others’ tongues, and we are not here to jam it down your throat. Just accept their experience and be in unity with them. Tongues is a gift from God, and if you want it, ask God. If you don’t, just be in unity with those who do, and let’s seek God together.
THE RESULT OF PENTECOST
What happened immediately after what is recorded as the Pentecost revival?
Peter rose and started to preach the gospel. Three thousand people come to Christ. The fledgeling church began to multiply and spread. People were healed and demons got cast out. Lives were set free. The church was born, and already missions is in their heart – to spread the good news of Jesus across the known world.
This all started with 120 faithful men and women. They were scared and fearful of persecution, being excluded from their society (perhaps in the name of inclusion). However, they were faithful and in unity they sought God together.
WHY DID PENTECOST HAPPEN?
Pentecost took place because God wanted to do something in us. Historically, Pentecost occurred only once and has never repeated. It was experiential and personal. Now Pentecost is available to all of us.
Every Christian has the privilege of experiencing the presence of God’s Spirit in his or her life. But God also wants to do something through us. Being filled by the Spirit means that we can do what Jesus did, and even more!
Pentecost was just the beginning. The early church grew to an astounding one hundred thousand Christians within seven years!
We need some of that today, don’t we? That hunger to see the Spirit of God move in our community.
Do you hunger and thirst for righteousness? If you really want God to use you and if you truly desire a personal Pentecost, even at plenty cost, God promises that you shall be filled!