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A Close Encounter Through The Great Day Of Pentecost

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Close Encounters Of The God Kind

A Close Encounter Through The Great Day Of Pentecost

Acts 2:1-47

Faith in UFO’s is often based upon highly debatable evidence, while faith in Jesus Christ is based upon the evidence and facts of the Word of God.  Nevertheless, no matter how much evidence and how many facts we have in the Word of God, faith in Jesus Christ still requires one to place his/her trust in the Person of Jesus Christ for salvation.  These and other similarities impressed to use the subject of UFOs as a launching pad for our biblical discussion of “Close Encounters Of The God Kind.”

        In the first three sermons in this series, we worked hard to develop a technical biblical, definition for a “Close Encounter Of The God Kind.”  That definition is

A “Close Encounter Of The God Kind” is a face-to-face meeting with God that cannot be totally explained, but which—when fully experienced—will bring about a response of genuine worship or celebration, which includes the remembrance of a redemptive past and/or the conviction of a liberated future that changes people forever; causing them to move and grow by over-recording the intuitive tapes of their core belief.

Those of us who have been here for the entire series should be able to see, by now, that this definition fits the pattern of any biblical encounter with God.

In the fourth message in this series, we explored how intellect can keep us from wholeheartedly worshipping God.

        We then began to explore twelve “Close Encounters Of The God Kind.”

We have explored God encountering Abraham, Jacob, Moses, the woman at the well, Peter, James, and John, the two Mary’s on resurrection morning, and the Children of Israel crossing the Jordan River.

(Today we move to our next “Close Encounter Of The God Kind.”  Please notice with me Acts 2:1-47.  I am going to take my speaking life into my own hands and read this entire passage of Scripture.)

Before we can move into this passage of Scripture, I must make a disclaimer.  Many preachers are afraid to do any teaching on this very important passage of Scripture, because of the controversy around the manifestations of the Spirit—particularly tongues.  But, this passage of Scripture is far too important to the beginning and history of the church to bypass, so I will spend more time on it in the future.  Therefore, please hear me!  Today, I will not be talking about anything Pentecostal, i.e. from the theological and denominational use of that word.  From the biblical use of the word, we are all Pentecostal!  Nevertheless, I will not be discussing anything having to do with spiritual manifestations—tongues in particular.  By way of contrast, I will be discussing this Great Day of Pentecost from a salvation/historical perspective.  In addition, I will be discussing this Great Day of Pentecost from a kingdom perspective.

(With that disclaimer, let’s use our definition and begin to explore this encounter.)

The two Mary’s were sent from the tomb to the eleven apostles to let them know that Jesus was still alive and going to meet them in Galilee.  The eleven proceeded to Galilee where Jesus gave them the Great Commission.  Over the next 40 days Jesus showed Himself alive by many convincing proofs.  Then he gathered the apostles together and gave them a wonderful commandment and promise.  Following the commandment of Jesus the disciples and their company, which numbered about 120, gathered in an upper room in Jerusalem to wait for the promise of the Father, the promise of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.  Ten days later, 50 days after the crucifixion, in keeping with the Jewish Feast of Pentecost, the promise was given.

        Can there be any doubt, in anyone’s mind, that what happened on this Great Day of Pentecost was a face-to-face meeting with God that cannot be fully explained?  If so, let’s look at a few details of this encounter.

·        A noise from heaven, like a violent rushing wind, filled the whole house where they were sitting.

·        Visible tongues of fire rested on each one of them.

·        They were all filled with the Holy Spirit.

·        They spoke in Spirit-inspired languages that they had never learned before.

God met this group of 120 people face-to-face in these details, and they certainly could not be fully explained!

        They could not be fully explained, but they were fully experienced!  What happened here, on the Great Day of Pentecost, was a dynamic experience with the Holy Spirit.

(What were the genuine responses of worship?)

The first response is seen in the individual response of Peter.  Peter preached a Spirit-filled sermon.  His sermon was about the identity of Jesus Christ.  He identified Him as both Lord and Christ.  He is the Lord, Master, i.e. God.  He is the one that you must call upon to be saved.  He is also, the Christ, this Greek word meant the Anointed One, and was used for the Hebrew word Messiah.  Jesus is the Messiah that the Jews had long waited for.  He is the divine Author of eternal salvation, who shall one-day reign from the literal throne of David.  His sermon was so powerful, that it pierced the hearts of those who were listening, and 3,000 people were saved.

        The response of worship gave Peter a conviction of a liberated future.  This response of worship changed him forever.  It over-recorded the intuitive tapes of his core belief.  53 days earlier, Peter had denied that he even knew Jesus Christ to two servant girls and some bystanders.  In addition he sealed that denial with profanity.  Now he is standing up before a great crowd and preaching with great power!


        There were also some corporate responses:

·        The first response was devotion.

¨      Devotion to the apostle’s teaching.

¨      Devotion to fellowship.

¨      Devotion to the Lord’s Supper.

¨      Devotion to prayer.

·        The second response was awe.

·        The third response was miracles.

·        The fourth response was koinonia, a oneness of minds and property.

·        The fifth response was eating together with gladness and sincerity of heart.

·        The six response was praising God.

·        The seventh response was having favor with all the people.

These responses brought about on-going evangelism.  People were constantly being saved.

        These responses brought about a conviction of a liberated future that changed the 120 forever.  It over-recorded the intuitive tapes of their core belief.  This group was changed from an apprehensive, hiding, waiting group of people, to a vibrant, worshipping, united, evangelizing group of people.

(How do we apply these truths to our situation?)

        This passage of Scripture is full of theological truths and anomalies, so I want to cover this passage from a very straightforward perspective.  It is almost universally acknowledged that this event is the birthday of the church, and this meant among many other things a new era and relationship with the Holy Spirit.  We know that in the Old Testament the Holy Spirit came upon men for service, but did not permanently indwell them.  We know, from study, that on this Great Day of Pentecost, it seems that all of the 120 were not only filled with the Holy Spirit, but were all permanently indwelt by Him.  But I don’t want to discuss all of that.  Today I want to discuss the obvious; I want to discuss what is stated.  They were all filled with the Holy Spirit.  They came into a new relationship and experience with the Holy Spirit.

        I’ve got good news for us.  God wants to encounter us, i.e. the New Testament church.  Just as He was bent on giving the filling of the Holy Spirit to the church in Acts, He wants to encounter us through the filling of the Holy Spirit today.  Somebody praise God!


        This is substantiated by Paul in

Ephesians 5:18, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.”

·        “Be filled” is in the imperative, meaning it is a command.[1]

It is God’s will that we be filled with the Holy Spirit, and God never exhorts us to seek something He is not willing to provide!

·        “Be filled” is a plural verb in the Greek, meaning we are all to be filled, that every follower of Christ is to be filled.[2]

·        “Be filled” is in the present tense, meaning we are all to be filled with the Holy Spirit right now and every now to follow, i.e. continuously in the present.[3]

·        “Be filled” is in the passive form meaning we do not do it, it must be done to us.

We do not fill ourselves with the Holy Spirit, we allow Him to fill us.[4]

        Being filled with the Spirit is an encounter with God that cannot be fully explained!

        It is my contention that saved people, in the modern church, have had a salvation encounter with the Holy Spirit, but have not maintained the filling of the Holy Spirit.  The filling of the Holy Spirit is maintained or regained through five important things:

1.      Ongoing repentance concerning revealed sin.[5]

Sin must be dealt with, or the Holy Spirit is restrained from doing His work!  The filling of the Holy Spirit is lost because of sin, but can be regained through confession and fresh appropriation.

(The filling of the Holy Spirit is maintained or regained through:)

2.      Obedience to the Word of God.[6]

Obedience to the commands of Jesus that are contained in the Word of God is not only indispensable, it is indicative of our love for Jesus.  He said in

John 14:15, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”


(The filling of the Holy Spirit is maintained or regained through:)

3.      Asking for the filling.[7]

Jesus said in

Luke 11:13, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”

Then the Bible says in

Acts 4:31, “And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak the word of God with boldness.”

(The filling of the Holy Spirit is maintained or regained through:)

4.      A real, intense desire to be filled with the Holy Spirit.[8]

The asking that we have just seen in the Bible springs from a real, intense desire to be filled.  We don’t ask or pray for things that we don’t desire.  And the more we desire them, the more earnestly we ask for them.  In Matthew’s account of Luke 11:13, we get a sense of the real, intense desire to be filled.  It reads in

Matthew 7:7, “Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you.”

The verbs “ask,” “seek,” “and “knock” are in the present tense and could be translated “keep asking,” “keep seeking,” and “keep knocking.”  A real, intense desire to be filled is manifest in a diligent pursuit.  And I want everything that God has for me.  I want to appropriate as much of the filling of the Holy Spirit as I can, as often as I can.

(The filling of the Holy Spirit is maintained or regained through:)

5.      Believing it by faith.[9]

Jesus said in

Mark 11:24, “Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they shall be granted you.”


Paul says in

Galatians 3:2-3, “This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?  Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?”

Praise God that the filling of the Holy Spirit, which is God’s empowering for ministry, is available today to every born again believer!!!

(Now where there is good news there is also bad news.)

When you are filled with the Spirit, there are three reactions that we can expect today.

1.                 Amazement.

People today will be amazed, when they perceive that we are really filled with the Holy Spirit.  The filling of the Spirit should be normal and this reactions should be normal, but today Christianity is far from normal.  So, most people are anesthetized by the brand of Christianity that they see in us.  They should be amazed.  I like what Vance Havner said; “Christianity has become so subnormal that those who are normal are thought to be abnormal!”

(The next reaction to the filling of the Holy Spirit will be:)

2.      Perplexity.

Even as they were perplexed in the first century, people today will be perplexed at the impact and manifestation of the Holy Spirit in our lives, whatever that happens to be for each one of us.  The impact and manifestation is going to be different, because—in one sense—everyone’s experience with the Lord is personal and unique.  “A Close Encounter of the God King” will perplex those who are looking on.

(The third reaction to the filling of the Holy Spirit will be:)

3.      Mocking.

People often mock that which they do not understand.  People often mock genuine experiences and manifestations of the Holy Spirit.  People often mock responses to the presence of the Holy Spirit that they disagree with. Judson Cornwall said, “Worship is a lot better for the participants than it is for the spectators!”  Remember that when David exuberantly whirled around before the Ark of the Covenant, his wife despised him in her heart.

(So, what is the response to being filled with the Spirit?)

        He will give us a conviction of a liberated future that will over-record the intuitive tapes of our core belief and give us courage and power to preach and witness concerning Jesus Christ.

        The individual response will be power to preach or witness!  We will see the Holy Spirit piercing the hearts of those we preach to and many will be saved.  There will be an increase in personal evangelism.

        It is often difficult to preach or witness to people.  It is difficult to witness to people one-on-one, and it is difficult to preach to crowds of people about Jesus Christ.

·        Do you think it is easy to get up in front of crowds of people, who are mostly judging you on their perceptions rather than the Word of God?

·        Do you think it is easy to stand up in front of crowds of people and speak, when the number one fear of American people is public speaking?

·        Do you think it is easy to stand up in American and preach, where a whole denomination is criticized for a statement that clearly comes from the Word of God?

But, praise God He has changed me.  He changed me from a chip-gatherer to a woodchopper.  You’re either going to be a woodchopper or a chip-gatherer.  I’m going to chop the wood and let the chips fall where they may.

(The corporate response is also very important.)

What will happen to the church that is full of people who have been encountered by God through the power of filling of the Holy Spirit?  There will be the seven responses that we already touched on:

·        The first response will be devotion.

¨      Devotion to the apostle’s teaching.

Attendance at services, Sunday School, Logos, and other venues where the Word of God is taught, will increase.

¨      Devotion to fellowship.

ü      Christians will get together in discipleship and social gathers.

ü      People will come to church.

ü      People will stay on Wednesday nights, because they understand the importance of fellowship.

¨      Devotion to the Lord’s Supper.

Attendance and worship for the Lord’s Supper will increase.

¨      Devotion to prayer.

Individual prayer will become a priority corporate prayer gatherings will be well attended.

·        The second response will be awe.

There will be a sense of the awesomeness of God that pervades everything that goes on.


·        The third response will be miracles.

Praise God that He still works miracles.  If God doesn’t still work miracles and our local churches experience no miracles, then what separates us from any ordinary social club?

·        The fourth response will be koinonia, a oneness of minds and property.

The Greek word koinonia signifies a joint-participation or sharing in everything in life.  This was seen by members sharing their material with the church and those who were in need.  Are you aware of the fact that early on, we have a member give us a house, similar to what happened in the book of Acts?  When the Holy Spirit has filled the church, we will all give under His leading.

·        The fifth response will be eating together with gladness and sincerity of heart.

The atmosphere of the church will be changed when the majority of its members are filled with the Holy Spirit.  There will be eating together, with a gladness, and sincerity of heart that will do away with hypocrisy.

·        The six response will be praising God.

When the majority of the members of the church are filled with the Holy Spirit, the praise will be widespread and glorious.  There will not be patches of praise, but corporate praise.

·        The seventh response will be having favor with all the people.

People will be gracious towards the church, because they respect what God is doing there.

These responses will bring about on-going evangelism.

        These responses will bring about a conviction of a liberated future that will change us forever.  It will over-record the intuitive tapes of their core belief, and change us from an apprehensive, cringing, timid, waiting group of people, to a vibrant, worshipping, united, evangelizing group of people.

Pentecost was the end of an old age, but the beginning of a whole, new, exciting, vibrant age of the Holy Spirit!

I thank God that He decreed before the foundation of the world that he would save us and give us the filling of the Holy Spirit.  I thank God for following me through generations—all the way from African—that He might place me in this new age and give me the filling of the Holy Spirit.

(Now is the Day of Salvation.  Come to Jesus, Now!)

Invitation

Call to Discipleship


----

[1] E Stanley Ott, “Building One Another,” A Letter of Encouragement, May, 1998, Volume X Number 4, The Holy Spirit, The Vital Churches Institute, Inc., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

[2] E Stanley Ott, “Building One Another,” A Letter of Encouragement, May, 1998, Volume X Number 4, The Holy Spirit, The Vital Churches Institute, Inc., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

[3] E Stanley Ott, “Building One Another,” A Letter of Encouragement, May, 1998, Volume X Number 4, The Holy Spirit, The Vital Churches Institute, Inc., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

[4] E Stanley Ott, “Building One Another,” A Letter of Encouragement, May, 1998, Volume X Number 4, The Holy Spirit, The Vital Churches Institute, Inc., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

[5] R. A. Torrey, The Baptism With The Holy Spirit, Bethany House Publishers, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1972, p. 41.

[6] R. A. Torrey, The Baptism With The Holy Spirit, Bethany House Publishers, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1972, pp. 43-44.

[7] R. A. Torrey, The Baptism With The Holy Spirit, Bethany House Publishers, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1972, p. 51.

[8] R. A. Torrey, The Baptism With The Holy Spirit, Bethany House Publishers, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1972, p. 47.

[9] R. A. Torrey, The Baptism With The Holy Spirit, Bethany House Publishers, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1972, p. 54.

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