Faithlife Sermons

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*Acts 2:1-4*
*Lord, Do It Again!*
 
“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.”[1]
It was after the funeral of General Booth of the Salva­tion Army, after the great congregation had left the church that the sexton found one lone Methodist preacher on his knees at the altar.
Moved with what God had wrought through the mighty life and work of William Booth, this solitary preacher was praying from the depth of his soul, “Lord, do it again!
Lord, do it again!”
Whenever I read the account of the Day of Pentecost following Jesus’ ascension, I find myself crying out to God, “Lord, do it again!
Lord, do it again!”
I am convinced that Pentecost was meant to be a model of what God wants His people to be and to do.
The events surrounding the descent of the Spirit at Pentecost were recorded in order to encourage the churches of our Lord throughout all time.
What the disciples witnessed on that day should be a model for each church to create a desire to witness God’s Spirit at work even to this day.
Join me in exploring the account of the descent of the Spirit as recorded by Doctor Luke in *Acts 2:1-4*.
*Precursors to Pentecost* — “You will receive power,” promised the Master as He prepared for His ascension, “when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.”
The promise was but an iteration of a promise made earlier as He prepared for His Passion.
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him.
You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you” [*John 14:15-17*].
Long before this promise, God had instituted a festive observance for His ancient people, Israel.
Pentecost, known as the *Feast of Weeks* [see *Exodus 34:22*], or as the *Feast of Harvest* [*Exodus 23:16*], was essentially a harvest celebration.
The celebration is also referred to as the *Day of the Firstfruits* [*Numbers 28:26*].
The commemoration was observed for seven full weeks, or fifty days, after Passover.
Hence, it received the name *Pentecost*, referring to this period of fifty days.
For the purpose of this message, it is important that we remember Pentecost was a harvest festival.
The grain was all gathered in by the time of the festival.
Barley harvest began near the time of Passover, and wheat was harvested in the days immediately before Pentecost.
Therefore, the celebration was a joyous feast marked by thanksgiving for the blessing of God’s rich provision.
According to Jeremiah, the people were to acknowledge that God had richly given everything they enjoyed.
The people were responsible to say in their hearts,
 
“Let us fear the Lord our God,
who gives the rain in its season,
the autumn rain and the spring rain,
and keeps for us
the weeks appointed for the harvest.”
[*Jeremiah 5:24*]
 
Thus, God was credited with giving rain and the fertility assuring a bountiful harvest.
Pentecost speaks of a harvest.
Pentecost was a celebration of firstfruits, a bountiful harvest with the promise of yet more to come because of the goodness of the Lord God.
Therefore, when the Risen Son of God prepared His disciples for what was coming, He spoke not solely of immediate blessing, but also of the necessity of labouring in anticipation of a continuing harvest.
This is the meaning of His words in *Acts 1:8*, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Whatever would happen when the Holy Spirit came upon those first disciples was but a harbinger of God’s intention to bless His people throughout this present dispensation.
Moreover, those first disciples understood that when they had received the Holy Spirit in power, they were responsible to serve Christ as witnesses wherever man would be found.
The Spirit of God was to be given specifically to empower the followers of the Lord Jesus for the service to which He had appointed them.
It is my contention that though Pentecost was indeed a unique event, the presence of the Spirit of God is promised to reside with the people of God for the duration of this Church Age.
All who become Christians through faith in the Living Son of God receive the Holy Spirit.
This was the promise Peter made under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit as he responded to the inquiries prompted by the message he delivered at Pentecost.
Cut to the heart, the Jews who were convicted by the work of the Spirit asked, “Brothers, what shall we do?”  Peter’s pointed response was, “Repent and be baptised every one of you in the Name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” [*Acts 2:37, 38*].
The language Peter used makes it obvious that his hearers would have understood that the gift was the Holy Spirit Himself.
As the NET Bible states in its notes, “The genitive (*/toû hagíou pneúmatos/*) is a genitive of apposition; the gift consists of the Holy Spirit.”[2]
Faith in the Son of God ensures that the one believing is thereafter indwelt by the Spirit of God.
Jesus had promised that those who believed in Him would receive the Holy Spirit.
Perhaps you recall the account recorded in John’s Gospel when Jesus spoke at the Feast of Tabernacles.
“On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.
Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, “Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”’
Now this He said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified’ [*John 7:37-39*].
Notice in particular *verse 39*.
“This He said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive.”
The Spirit of God lives within each child of God.
He is assigned the task of being a divine advocate with the people of God, working in our lives to guide us into all truth [*John 16:13*], glorifying the Lord Jesus [*John 16:14*].
The Holy Spirit reveals to the people of God the mind of the Lord Jesus, teaching us what is necessary to do the work that Jesus wills [*John 14:26*].
As He guides and teaches us, He works to “convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgement” [*John 16:8*].
In brief, the Spirit of God is given to each Christian to empower the believer to do what Christ has commanded.
What a blessed promise Jesus gave as He prepared His disciples for His departure.
“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” [*John 14:12*].
One cannot read the Gospels without coming to the conclusion that Jesus indeed “came to seek and to save the lost” [*Luke 19:10*].
His final command to His disciples was that they “make disciples of all nations” [*Matthew 28:19*].
People become disciples when the Spirit of God works in power through Christians, enabling them to bear witness to what they know to be true.
If I am controlled by the Spirit of Christ, I will seek to make disciples to Christ.
If I have the spirit of this age, I will try to make myself comfortable.
If I am led by the Spirit of Christ, I will seek unity in the Faith, endeavouring to build my fellow worshippers through building them up, through encouraging them, and through consoling them [see *1 Corinthians 14:3*].
If I am imbued with the spirit of this age, I will seek to promote my own interests.
I will want to feel good about myself.
If I am walking in the Spirit of Christ, my labours in the Faith will bring me joy because I seek what pleases the Lord, honouring Him.
If I am under the spirit of this age, I will be disappointed in what I attempt because I seek the approval of men.
If I have the Spirit of Christ, I want to know more about the Lord Jesus.
If I have the spirit of this age, I want to know about myself.
The Spirit of God is always at work in the children of God, exalting Jesus as Lord and building the fellowship where He has placed them.
Those under the control of the Spirit of God seek unity in the Faith, knowing that harmony glorifies the Saviour.
Walking in the Spirit ensures the fruit of the Spirit will be produced—“love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” [*Galatians 5:22, 23*].
This is the reason Scripture attests that “those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” [*Galatians 5:24*].
Above all else, the Spirit of God works in us to bring many others to faith in the Son of God.
Where the preaching of the Word is sacrificed for entertainment, the Spirit of God is excluded.
Though there may be a crowd, there will be no growth, no souls saved, and ultimately no life.
Though an individual may feel good that he or she has shouted and sang, there will be no transformation into the image of Christ.
The Spirit of God will guide our steps, making us effective in our labours for the sake of the Saviour.
*Preparing for Pentecost* — “When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place.”
We have become so accustomed to hearing or reading the first verse of our text that we may pass over it too quickly.
The brief assertion Doctor Luke makes speaks of necessary precursors to the presence of the Spirit in power.
As He prepared to ascend into the Glory, Jesus commanded His disciples to remain in Jerusalem, waiting for empowerment by the promised Spirit of God [*Acts 1:4*].
That they would need the power of the Spirit should not have been surprising to them.
After all, Jesus Himself had been endued with the Spirit as He initiated His ministry.
Luke describes how the Spirit “descended in bodily form, like a dove” [*Luke 3:22*], after which Jesus began His ministry, “full of the Holy Spirit” [*Luke 4:1*].
After the descent of the Spirit, Jesus is said to have been “led by the Spirit” [*Matthew 3:16*; *4:1*], or driven by the Spirit [*Mark 1:12*].
What is apparent is that Jesus modelled for us the need for the power and the presence of the Spirit in order to fulfil the work of God.
After Jesus’ ascension, 120 disciples gathered in the Upper Room where for ten days they devoted themselves to prayer [*Acts 1:14*].
The Word of God demonstrates that this was not merely the recitation of prayers, but that it was the spontaneous expression of hearts that valued unity and subsumed personal interests to seeking the glory of God through seeking harmony with one another.
This becomes evident when Luke when we read that the disciples “with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer” [*Acts 1:14*].
What should seize our attention is that though the disciples had received the Master’s promise that they would be endued with power when the Spirit was given, yet they committed themselves to seek unity of mind and dedicated themselves to praying.
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