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Power of Pentecost

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It was the day of Pentecost. It was the time of the year when all good Jews would take part in a glorious time of celebration. Pentecost had been in existence for centuries and was a time when all Jews would come before God making their offerings of Thanksgiving for the harvest of the year. As the term Pente-cost would lead you to think, this celebration came to a climax fifty days after the Passover. People from all over the known world would journey to Jerusalem to take part in this great celebration. Pentecost to the Jew was like Thanksgiving Day to the American.
• A meeting to speak to each other about babies kicking and moving about
Let us allow ourselves to become a part of the festivities.
- About us we can see children running up and down the street playing and shouting as they go along.
• It’s more than a meeting to discuss the issues of pregnancy
• It’s more than a meeting to discuss how to deal with morning sickness
- A couple of boys are cutting in and out of the crowd as they play tag.
- Merchants are lining the streets, trying to peddle their goods. We can hear them call, "Get your lambs; buy your bullocks for the great sacrifice of thanksgiving. Get your fresh vegetables, fruits and grains at a good price."
• It’s more than a meeting to compare projected delivery dates
- We see women walking behind their husbands carrying their grain sacrifices. We marvel at both their strength and grace.
It is an amazing prophetic, Holy Spirit empowered declaration that Jesus Christ is the Messiah. Not only do we see Mary and Elizabeth coming together for fellowship and comfort but we see our Lord and John the Baptist meeting for the first time even before they’re born. In this meeting, or as it’s been called by the church through the centuries, THE VISITATION - we see the meeting of the Old Testament or Old Covenant with the New Covenant. This meeting by these two women is a PROVIDENTIAL coming together. Their meeting is a God ordained meeting. The angel practically extends the invitation for Mary to go see Elizabeth. Many things happen in these few verses.
• God is still placing people in our lives today
- Various carnival activities from all around the world are going on about us.
And perhaps what is most amazing is to hear all the different languages of the people who have traveled many miles away to make their sacrifices and their offerings unto the Lord.
• Let God strategically place people in your life
Down at the Temple long lines of people are waiting to offer their gifts to God.
• Ever met someone but it would be years later you became friends – God’s timing
Off to the side we see an old man with a long gray beard, and a scroll in hand. He is telling the story of how Moses went up into the mountain of Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments on the Day of Pentecost many centuries prior.
• We try to force people into our lives that should not be there
• Mess up our lives then we let them go
Then we hear the reading of the Law: Thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor; and the beat goes on.
As all of these exciting events are taking place we wonder how anyone could miss out on a happening such as this; this phenomenal experience with the saints, the Jews, the promised of God.
• God extends invitations and when He brings it together
It is then that we recall that not everyone is celebrating. Incidentally, down the street, a short distance away, a small group of Christian believes who had been with for 3 years have gathered in an upper room. They are waiting as Jesus had commanded them to.
Luke wants us to understand that in the days that Mary received the angel’s message she went IMMEDIATELY to see her cousin. Again, Mary’s faith is seen and shown to us as a model to be followed. She didn’t wait around; SHE AROSE AND WENT WITH HASTE.
Let us look in on this small gathering. We can tell that there is something unique about this group.
• How long does it normally take before you follow God’s Word and do what He has for you to do?
• Why do we spend so much time Waiting instead of Doing?
In we read: All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer.
It had been ten days since Jesus had ascended into heaven. Jesus had told them to go to Jerusalem and wait for the Holy Spirit to come.
• Why do we Hesitate when God tells us to Go?
For those ten days they spent their time in prayer/calling out to the Living God/laying prostrate before the Lord/seeking the will, way and word of God.
• Mary had a very strong and unwavering faith, one that believed God no matter what
We’re told Mary went to find Elizabeth. She traveled about 100 miles south to the HILL COUNTRY OF JUDAH. This would be about a FIVE DAY JOURNEY. This would also be an amazing trip for a young girl of 14-16 years of age.
Can you imagine spending ten straight days in doing nothing but praying?
• We miss our opportunities because we don’t like to be Inconvenienced
Some of those gathered had been with Jesus in the Garden of Getheseme and could not remain awake a few hours. Jesus has to continually awaken them.
• God does not always make it convenient for us
Yet this group was uniquely assembled in prayer. They wanted so much to be at one with Jesus, that they were willing to spend the time in continuous prayer.
• They must have understood that if they really wanted to experience a sure enough visitation from God—there had to be a break out of convenience and a willingness to move away from would typically they would do—and try it God’s way.
• God is pushing us to get out of our Comfort Zone
• A true manifestation of God’s presence and power is preceded by consecration of prayer and by community of people.
• We miss the very movement of God because we don’t want to take the Journey
We find that this group was unique in that scripture says they were all assembled in one place.
Mary was serious about what God was birthing in her life. How serious are people today? God is trying to Birth so many things into the life of this Church. Many are not serious enough about what God is Birthing in You.
That is why coming to church is so important. The Upper Room represents what happens when God’s people get together.
• If it rains, people won't come to church
Going to church is so important because it is the place that God has designated as a place of:
• God forbid snow or cold, stay home for weeks
• We allow the least little ache or pain or problem to hinder what God is trying to birth in our lives
- Corporate Prayer (Effectual, fervent prayers of the righteous availeth much)
- Fellowship with the Saints (How beautiful and pleasant it is for brothers and sisters to dwell together in unity)
• Wonder, What have we missed?
• Adversary wants to Abort everything God is attempting to Birth in us
- Where God moves in an extraordinary way in the lives of His people (Wherever two of three are gathered in my name…..
Someone has said that being a Christian without being faithful to church is like:
As marvelous and miraculous as Elizabeth's conception of John was and as sufficient as just giving birth to a child would be, God wasn’t finished.
• He was about to transport Elizabeth from the realm of the natural world to the kingdom of supernatural power!
Someone has said that being a Christian without being faithful to church is like:
• He was about to fill Elizabeth with a divine energy that would make even her miraculous pregnancy pale in comparison
- A student who will not go to school
- A soldier who will not join the army
• The delivery agent of that jolt of the supernatural would be Elizabeth's cousin, Mary, but the source of that power would be the very Son of God Himself, conceived by the Holy Spirit, whom Mary now carried
- A citizen who will not vote
• God was now flesh in the womb of humanity and He was about to unleash all His omnipotent power through the tiny and gentle voice of a simple virgin
Mary now arrives at the home of her cousin. We don’t know whether Elizabeth saw Mary at first, or just heard her voice. She may have been working around the house or in another room when Mary gave her greeting. Hello, Elizabeth, it’s your cousin Mary are you home? But however it was, Luke tells us that Mary’s voice had an affect on the baby Elizabeth was carrying.
- A salesman without customers
- A seaman without a ship
As soon as Mary gave her greeting – A BOLT OF HEAVENLY POWER shot across the distance between her and Elizabeth. It entered Elizabeth's body with such force she was immediately filled with the Holy Spirit and, in her own words, "As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy."
- An author without readers
What was the purpose and mechanism of this action? What would cause the fetus within the womb of Elizabeth to leap at the presence of Mary in the house of Zacharias? THIS ACTION WAS NOT A NORMAL BIOLOGICAL MOVEMENT NOTED IN THE PHYSIOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE UNBORN. Something had to trigger this action for a purpose.
It is important we recognize why John the Baptist leaped for joy. It starts with the HOLY SPIRIT. The angel told Zechariah that John the Baptist would be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother's womb - ST. - Filled with the Holy Spirit, John the Baptist was leaping and kicking with joy because he knew the Messiah was present. At the same time as John the Baptist was kicking with joy, his mother Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and began to praise God for what was being done through Mary.
- A parent without a family
- A football player without a team
This leaping is a PROPHETIC LEAPING. It is something that God’s people had been waiting on for centuries. What do I mean?
• The last utterance by any prophet came from the mouth of Malachi
- A bee without a hive
You see while it may be possible to be a Christian without going to church, it is impossible to be a good Christian, a growing Christian, or a godly Christian without going to church.
• He was the last prophet before the 400 years of silence
R. A. Torrey said it well,
• There were 400 silent years between Malachi and the beginning of the NT
"There is nothing more important in the Christian life than beginning right. If we begin right, we can go on right. And, one way we begin right is by being faithful to the house of God."
• The people would have read this text and waited for an amazing event
• At the announcement and birth of Jesus there would be so much joy that God’s people would leap for joy like a calf comes out of the pen
The Bible says that they were all together in one place, praying and laying before God—and they were all together and in harmony.
God wants us to know this morning that we need to bring back this same sense of Joy in His House. There is no Prophetic Leaping in the Church because there is a lack of Joy. We no longer react to the voice of God.
This says something powerful about this group. These words go beyond just faithful church attendance. It demonstrates that these people needed each other. They needed the love and support that they could only get from another believer.
The text goes on to say that not only were they gathered in one place, they were gathered in unity.
• The problem is joy is not a commodity that can be produced, bought, sold or stolen
• We can’t get joy on discount from J.C. Penny
What was the basis of their harmony? They were different in many ways. What enabled them to lay aside their differences and become one? We can identify at least five reasons?
• We can’t buy Joy in a Cup at 7-11
Just think of the lack of unity outside of that room. Most of the people in town were there for religious reasons, yet they hardly agreed about anything. The Sadducees were fighting with the Pharisees over resurrection. The religious lawyers were fighting over the intent of the law and on and on we could go. Outside that room people were in disagreement about everything. There was a lack of harmony. Yet the Bible emphasizes the fact that this small group were gathered in unity.
• We can’t Download Joy
What was the basis of their harmony? They were different in many ways. What enabled them to lay aside their differences and become one? We can identify at least five reasons?
You may want to look at your notes.
• We can’t lobby for Joy in Congress
1. They loved Jesus
• We can’t Legislate Joy
• We can’t Win Joy in a Lawsuit
2. They loved each other
• We can’t Seduce Joy
3. They had a desire to share the story of Jesus
• We can’t Turn it On with a Remote Control
4. They were willing to give every thing they had for the gospel, including their lives
• We can’t Earn Joy
5. They longed to see Jesus again.
• We can’t Inherit It
* When churches bicker and backbite it is because we have forgotten the main things and started dwelling on the non essentials!
So the question I ask this morning is - When we come into the Lord’s presence here in church, are we moved, like John the Baptist, to leap with Joy? We focus so much on the things that seem to Take the Joy From us. What is keeping you from Leaping with Joy this Morning? Is it something that’s bigger than the Lord Himself - It may look that way, but nothing is truly greater than He. And that in and of itself is reason to leap for Joy!
And the good news of the Gospel is that Jesus invites you to come in the ROOM!
--Joy comes from God and God alone.
And as they are waiting—SUDDENLY…SOMETHING HAPPENS
--Man cannot give us Joy and Man cannot take it away.
Here in this event there are 3 things that immediately arrest my attention…
I. When the Presence of the Lord is with us—The Lord Assumes Control!
--God is bringing back the Joy to His Worship Experience
--Just as John Began to Leap In the Womb
II. When the Presence of the Lord is with us—The Lord Administers Conviction!
--God is saying to us today that this is LEAP YEAR
III. When the Spirit of the Lord is with us—The Lord Affirms Commitment
I. When the Presence of the Lord is with us—The Lord Assumes Control!
--If we once again get excited about His Church
--If we once again get excited about the Voice of God
--God will make this our LEAP YEAR
- December 7, 1941. Japanese aircraft attacks Pearl Harbor, wiping out American air units, and World War II begins.
- July 16, 1942. At Los Alamos, New Mexico, a tremendous blast rushes out across the desert, a huge, mushroom-shaped cloud lifts heavenward; and, nuclear weaponry becomes a reality.
--Whatever Problems you have in your Life, God will cause you to Leap Over It
-Fifty days after the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, the most monumental day in church history took place. It was the day of Pentecost. It was the day when the Holy Spirit came to church, and when He did, He assumed control of the church.
--Whatever has kept you Bond – God will cause you to Leap Over It
--Whatever Addictions have Kept you from your Promotion in God – Leap Over It
-The word "Pentecost" means, "Fiftieth." Another name for Pentecost was "The Feast of Weeks." There were 3 great Jewish festivals which every male Jew, who lived within 20 miles of Jerusalem, was legally bound to attend: the Passover, the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) and the Feast of Tabernacles.
-The feast of Weeks (Pentecost) held 3 significant emphases. First, it held a historical significance. The day commemorated the giving of the law to Moses on Mt. Sinai. Second, it held an agricultural significance. At Pentecost, 2 loaves were offered to God in gratitude for the completed harvest. Finally, it held a spiritual significance. We read in :
--That Promotion you have been waiting for – Leap Over It
--God says this is our LEAP YEAR
[And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.]
--Bad Habits – Leap Over It
When Pentecost had fully come—
- When the manifestation of God’s power showed up in an unusual, extraordinary way
--Bad Decisions – Leap Over It
--Devil has had you down long enough
- When the supernatural, providential power of God was fully realized in the affairs of men
--Tell the Devil, this is my LEAP YEAR
- The perpendicular intersected with the infinitesimal; the supernatural invaded the natural; the extraordinary stepped onto the scene and declared an assault on the status quo and upon church as usual.
• The horizontal meets with the vertical.
--Misunderstandings – Leap Over It
--Friends turned their back on you – Leap Over It
• Expectation moves to realization
--Leap over the Problem
-The word "fully come" mean that it was the fulfillment of the meaning and purpose for which it was given. It depicts the beginning of the New Testament church. Five minutes before the Holy Spirit came, there was no church. However, 5 minutes after He came, the church of the Lord Jesus Christ was birthed into existence, as we know today.
-Again, when the Holy Spirit came He assumed control of the church, which is demonstrated in 2 ways. First, we see:
--Leap over that Situation
A. His Presence Demands Authority!
--Leap over that Trial
-We read in verse 2,
--2012 is my LEAP YEAR
--This Year is my LEAP YEAR
[And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.]
-Luke vividly describes how the Holy Spirit came to church by describing the authority that He demanded when He came. He refers and describes His authority as "the sound from Heaven as a rushing mighty wind."
-The wind is a marvelous, mysterious and miraculous force of nature. We do not know much about it, except that we know when it is present. We can’t tell where it comes from, or where it is going. In fact, one of the most difficult tasks of a weather man, or meteorologist is to forecast the direction, or movement of the wind.
-Jesus said in that [the wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.] In other words, the wind blows wherever, however and whenever it wants to blow.
-Thus, the movement of the Spirit is likened to the movement of the wind. In other words, when the Spirit of God shows up, and moves in, His movement cannot be predicted. He will move when, where and how He chooses. He is the irresistible force of the divine nature.
-I have been a part of church long enough where we try to place God on the inside of the box. Every now and then He will move us out of the way so that He can have His way.
-I’ve often said that this place is not Burger King, ’where you have it your way.’ This is the House of the King, "where He is to have His way." And, when the Holy Spirit comes to church, He will assume control and take over with authority.
God says that when my presence comes in—I want to have complete control. I want to dominate. I’m Sovereign. I want access to the throne of your heart.
- I want all of you.
* I want your car and your keys
* I want your affections and your life
* I want your house and your family
* I want your heart and your praise
-Secondly, we consider:
B. His Presence Delivers Clarity!
-We read in verses 3-5:
[And there appeared to them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. [4]And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. [5] And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.]
-Most, if not all of the confusion over the day of Pentecost stems from these particular verses. Those who misunderstand what took place say that, when the Holy Spirit came, He delivered some type of ’unknown,’ Heavenly prayer language that enabled these people to pray in a mystical manner. Today, it is known, and referred to as ’speaking in tongues.’
-However, to properly study the passage, in its context, just the opposite is true. The miracle of the day of Pentecost had nothing to do what they said, but how they heard. It had nothing to do with their speaking, but with their hearing. The word "tongues" is the Greek word ’glossae," from which we derive our English word glossary." It always speaks of a known dialect or language.
-The phrase "other tongues" does not refer to ’unknown tongues.’ The phrase literally means, "tongues other than their own." It was not an unknown Heavenly prayer language, but the Holy Spirit became the divine interpreter and allowed each person to hear, and understand a language, or in a tongue, other than their own.
-Get the picture. Verse 5 states that there were people at Pentecost from "every nation under heaven." To be exact, there were 17 different nationalities of people present at Pentecost. However, the miracle was, again, in verse 6, that "every man heard them speak in his own language."
-Peter stood up to preach in his native Greek, or Aramaic language; however, the Holy Spirit interpreted so that every person, of every nationality, heard and understood in their "own language."
Tom Rees well commented:
"Whenever human society leaves God out, the result is always chaos and confusion. But, here, on the day of Pentecost, in a new way God came into human society and men from every nation, under heaven, heard the Spirit-filled disciples speak, in their own language, the wonderful words of God."
-Can you imagine the scene had not the Holy Spirit interpreted Peter’s sermon? It would have been another Tower of Babel episode. However, the Holy Spirit came to church, and instead of problems, there was peace; instead of turmoil, there was tranquility; and, instead of chaos, there was clarity. He assumed control of the church.
* The translator even right now is the Holy Spirit of God
- God can speak to someone who is in need of salvation and another who needs a healing and to someone else who needs provision—all in the same breath at the same time. But whenever God speaks—He is always clear.
I. When the Presence of the Lord is with us—The Lord Assumes Control!
II. When the Presence of the Lord is with us—The Lord Administers Conviction!
-I think of a preacher, who had finished one of his normal long, dry and boring messages. He announced that after the service there would be a "meeting of the board." Following the service, a first-time visitor was the first to meet the preacher. The pastor said, "I’m sorry sir, but you must have misunderstood my announcement. This is a meeting of the ’board.’ The man said, "No, I totally understood the announcement that this is a meeting of the ’board.’ And, if there is anyone here more ’bored’ than I am, I can’t wait to meet them."
-Rest assured, when the Holy Spirit comes to church, it will not be a meeting of the ’bored.’ He will not only assume control of the church, but He will administer conviction to the church.
A. Conviction was WROUGHT by the PREACHED Word!
-In we find one of the greatest sermons ever preached. The pulpiteer was none other than Simon Peter. He stood up, obeyed the Spirit of God, and 3000 were saved, as a result.
-The sermon consisted of 431 words, 225 of which were devoted to the actual words of scripture. The topic of the sermon was the Lord Jesus Christ, crucified, buried and raised again. When Peter finished preaching, we read in verse 37,
[Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said to Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?]
-The word "pricked" is a medical term. It speaks of cutting to the bone. In other words, Peter stood up to preach, the Holy Spirit came to church, and He wrought conviction by the preached Word of God to the point that He cut these men to the bone of their heart.
-I think of a preacher who once again succeeded in putting an elderly man asleep by his sermon. In the midst of his sermon he shouted, "Those who want to go to hell, stand up!" The old man, dead asleep, only heard the words, "Stand up," and so he did. He looked around with a puzzled look on his face and said, "Preacher, I don’t know what we’re voting on; but, it looks like you and me are the only ones for it!"
-From the day of Pentecost until today, the tool God uses to wrought conviction in the hearts of people is the preaching of His Word. There are no substitutes, no replacements and no artificial sweeteners.
-Not only notice how conviction was wrought by the preached Word, but:
B. Conviction was BROUGHT through the PERSUASIVE Word!
-When Peter stepped up to preach He was equipped, empowered and enabled by the anointing of the Holy Spirit. As a result, the preached Word became the persuasive Word. Notice the question that was asked in verse 37 to the disciples,
[Men and brethren, what shall we do?]
-Those that heard the Word of God immediately saw their need, and sought a remedy for their need. They fell under the conviction of the Spirit of God and were persuaded to believe. As a result, we read in 41:
[Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added to them about three thousand souls.]
I. When the Presence of the Lord is with us—The Lord Assumes Control!
II. When the Presence of the Lord is with us—The Lord Administers Conviction!
III. When the Spirit of the Lord is with us—The Lord Affirms Commitment
-I have a little book in my study called, "The Spiritual Fingerprints of the Visible Church." The book lists several characteristics of a legitimate church. They are marks that the average church member might not know what to look for, because it has nothing to do with location, facilities or programs.
-When the Holy Spirit came to church, on the day of Pentecost, He left some ’fingerprints’ as well. One of the fingerprints was the commitment that was affirmed in this church. We see that they became committed to:
-We read in verse 42:
[And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.]
-The spiritual fingerprint of a church, to which the Holy Spirit comes, is not the height of the steeple or the sound of the bell. It is not whether the pulpit is stationed in the middle, or on the side. The spiritual fingerprint is the truth that is preached, practiced and proclaimed.
-When the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost these early believers, disciples and apostles re-affirmed their commitment to Bible teaching, doctrine and the matter of Lordship. Next, we see that they became committed to:
-We read in verse 45:
[And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.]
-They not only became a growing church, but a giving church. They loosened their grip on material possessions, and tightened their grip on spiritual power. They became less concerned about their own needs and more concerned about the needs of others.
-When the Presence of the Lord is here, this preacher, or any preacher will not have to beg people to tithe, give or contribute. Not only will there be a desire to give to God what belongs to God; but, there will be a desire to help meet the needs of the needy.
Finally, we learn that they became committed to:
-We read in verse 42 that they were involved in "fellowship and in breaking of bread." In verse 44 we find that:
[all that believed were together, and had all things common.]
-Finally, at the end of the day of Pentecost, verse 46 tell us that:
[they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart.]
-The Holy Spirit came in and the presence of the Lord was there and where there had once been division, there was devotion. Instead of fighting, fussing and feuding, there was fellowship. There was a common bond, and unity among the people of God. They loved one another, served one another, encouraged one another and helped one another.
-Sadly enough, in a lot of churches, whenever someone speaks of being in "one accord," somebody goes and buys a Honda. However, when the Holy Spirit comes to church He will affirm a commitment to Lordship, stewardship and fellowship. It will no longer be about what I like, dislike, want and don’t want. It will only be about what will please, honor and glorify the Lord Jesus.
-When God shows up and the Holy Spirit shows up, He will assume control, administer conviction and affirm commitment. When the Holy Spirit comes to church, rest assured, you will not leave out the same way you came in.
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