One Comment to “Preparing for Pentecost”

  1. Donald McMahon
    June 10, 2019

    “Preparation for Pentecost” (Acts 1:1–14)(6.9.19)
    Acts 1:1–15 (NIV84)
    1 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3 After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
    6 So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
    7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
    9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
    10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
    12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day’s walk from the city. 13 When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. 14 They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.
    15 In those days Peter stood up among the believers (a group numbering about a hundred and twenty)
    The word of God for the people of God.
    Title: Preparation for Pentecost
    You may be wondering why I would preach to you about preparing for Pentecost. After all, it already happened right? That is why we sang Happy Birthday to the Church. That is why we had birthday cake. Two thousand years ago, the Holy Spirit came powerfully on the faithful followers of Jesus and about three thousand people were added to their number that day.
    Remembering what God has already done for us in the past is important. Not only is it important, but the Bible records over and over again the many mandates for us to remember what the Lord has done. It helps anchor us on the Rock of Christ and is the basis of our hope for the future.
    Originally, Pentecost was a Jewish festival. It was a harvest celebration and the name is derived from being 50 days after the Passover celebration. This explains why there were Jewish pilgrims from so many different nations present. It was no coincidence that the Lord Jesus commanded the disciples to return to Jerusalem to wait; to wait for the power of the Holy Spirit to come upon them. When the pilgrims returned to their homelands, they would carry the seed of the Gospel with them.
    Yes, God was doing a new thing. Salvation had come through the Jews in the Person of Jesus the Christ. But now, Jesus was seated at the right hand of the Father as our Advocate. Jesus had told the disciples that he must go so that the Holy Spirit could come. Even in his glorified body in his 40 days here, Jesus was limited; but, the Holy Spirit would come and dwell within every believer. Jesus had been with; but, the Holy Spirit would be IN. Then, Jesus promised, those baptized with the Holy Spirit would do greater things than He had done.
    So the Jewish Festival became the marker for the birth of the Christian Church, Pentecost. God had appropriated that harvest celebration for a new harvest; the harvest of eternal souls. The Church by its very nature was designed to grow. The Church was meant to multiply. The true Church can only do this through Pentecost Power.
    As it happened in that first generation of the Church, it must happen in every generation of the Church. When Churches grow through human methods, absent the Holy Spirit, there are problems. There is a lack of vitality. The Church becomes an institution that strives to overcome a sterility it does not understand.
    For instance: A church hires professional musicians and stage show technicians. They create and perform as well as commercial concerts. People come as consumers and because of the quality and the emotional appeal an artificial spiritual experience is substituted for the real thing. The praise and worship, a primary reason for gathering as church, is not participatory. Most of the congregation passively watch the performers.
    (Hear this disclaimer: I love great worship music, but professional performances must not displace congregational praise and worship. Surely the presence of the Lord must be in this place.)
    We must have Pentecost power. We must have it corporately. We must have it individually, personally. Notice in Acts 2, the Holy Spirit came upon the whole gathering, corporately, and upon each person. We must prepare for such an unction, Pentecost Power.
    Have you had a personal Pentecost? OK, let me clear up a potential point of confusion. Every believer that has believed in his heart and confessed with his mouth that Jesus is Lord has received God the Holy Spirit. Their bodies are the temple of God.
    Some have argued that the disciples were not “saved” until Pentecost; but, this is a mistake. If you read Jesus’ Farewell Discourse to his disciples in John chapters 14-17, it is clear that Jesus considers them in union with Him. It is clear to me that the baptism with the Holy Spirit is a supernatural power that is separate from our regeneration.
    Too many Christians are satisfied with a religion without the power. Other Christians are just resigned to a passive and powerless faith walk. NOT ME! I want ALL that being a Jesus follower is supposed to be. I want to see a Church of vim and vigor. I want to see this community transformed. I want to see people healed; relationships reconciled; addiction replaced with devotion to Jesus; lost souls saved. Almighty God, send Pentecost power.
    My friends, each of us needs to be revived. Emmaus Church needs to be revived. Smithville needs to be revived. Galloway needs to be revived. This whole region needs to be revived. O God, Lord Almighty, send your Pentecost power again.
    Samuel Chadwick wrote and preached,
    “In Jesus’ earthly ministry, He was led of the Spirit, taught of the Spirit, and strengthened in the Spirit. He never said “Perhaps,” balanced probabilities, never made a mistake. His sagacity never erred, neither did His power fail; and, for both, He was constantly dependent upon the Spirit that was given without measure. He was Spirit-prepared, Spirit-called, Spirit-equipped, and Spirit-sent.”
    His miracles were all wrought in the power of the Holy Ghost. Even His atoning death was by the grace of God and through the Eternal Spirit, and it was by the same Spirit of power that God raised Him from the dead. From the Incarnation to the Resurrection, the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, were lived and wrought in and through and by the power of the Spirit of the Father and the Son. The Spirit of Christ is the Spirit of God. In Christ the Spirit of God becomes the Spirit of Man in “the Word made Flesh.”
    “The Church is Christ’s Body indwelt by His Spirit, and sanctified for His service. It is called to be what Christ was and is. Every place where the Church is planted ought to be conscious of the presence of a living, healing, and saving Christ in its midst. The work of the Church is to live the Christ-life, teach His word, witness to His person and His work, reveal the character of God and declare the things to come, to the saving of the world.
    That is our Mission: to realize Christ’s purpose in the world. We are in the world “instead of Christ,” called to do Christ’s work. Is the Mission being fulfilled? The Spirit has not failed, though there is much over which to mourn. Notwithstanding much that is pagan, it is the Church that holds the lamp of truth, the standard of righteousness, and the vision of God. Through the medium of His people, Christ by His Spirit is still the Teacher, Witness, and Revealer of God among men, to the salvation of the world.
    How can we prepare, individually and corporately for Pentecost? When I was in the Coast Guard, I worked for many years as an Aviation Electronics Technician. One of my duties was repairing electronic parts using various soldering techniques. The components to be soldered had to be thoroughly cleaned. There had to be a physical connection. I would carefully select the right size solder. Circuit boards required precision equipment. The soldering iron tip had to be prepared and just the right amount of heat had to be selected. With a steady hand, I skillfully applied the heat so that it caused the solder to flow over the components and create a new connection. Now, the radio or navigational equipment was restored fully to its designed and intended purpose.
    William Booth was a Methodist Circuit Rider preacher. He and his wife Catherine are the founders of the Salvation Army. Their theology was Wesleyan and they were huge on holiness. Catherine preached a series of sermons in London that were collected in a book entitled, “Aggressive Christianity: Practical Sermons.” Think about that. How often have you thought about aggressiveness in your faith? Does your Christianity have practical application in your life?
    Hear a few of her thoughts in the sermon, “Filled with the Spirit:”
    “I believe that religion is all or nothing. God is either first or He is nowhere with us, individually. The very essence and core of religion is, “God first,” and allegiance and obedience to Him first.”
    I told you last week that obedience to God was necessary to experience God’s presence and power. Were not the disciples obedient to Christ’s command tarry in Jerusalem until the power of the Holy Spirit came over them? Catherine Booth asks, “What if, after five days, they returned home?” We all know that we try to apply human logic and rationale to the things of God. It is easy to talk ourselves out of waiting, out of listening, out of obedience.
    Booth goes on: “Truly submissive and obedient souls only enter this kingdom. Anywhere He tells you to go, anything He tells you to sacrifice, or fly from, you will have to do. This is one of His choice gifts that He has reserved for His choice servants, those who serve Him with all their hearts. Obedient faith!”
    We are told that the 120 Jesus followers were meeting in the upper room. What were they doing? Not just praying; but they were constantly in prayer. Jesus says in Luke 11:13 (NIV84) If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
    Oswald Chambers expounds on this asking, ““Ask” means beg. Some people are poor enough to be interested in their poverty, and some of us are like that spiritually. A pauper does not ask from any other reason than the abject panging condition of his poverty, he is not ashamed to beg. Blessed are the paupers in spirit.”
    As mentioned earlier, we have a measure of the Holy Spirit because of our faith. In our preparation for the baptism of the Holy Spirit, we cannot experience Jesus directly as the early disciples did. We CAN experience Jesus through the scriptures. We have the same holy instructions Jesus gave them. We have the record of his miraculous life. We have the testimony of his death, resurrection, and ascension.
    Notice that Jesus not only gave proof that he was alive; not only proof, but convincing proof; not only convincing proof, but many convincing proofs (many). And, like the disciples, we have the angel’s testimony of Jesus’ second coming. Christians are a people of hope. We have the hope of Jesus’ return and the heavenly kingdom to come. We are forward focused.
    The past cannot weigh us down. Our scars, trials, and tribulations helped formed us; but, they don’t define us. God can use all things for good for those that love him. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. We are more than conquerors. Yes, as new creations in Christ, empowered by God the Holy Spirit, we will be used for kingdom work.
    Last month, Rev. Shane L. Bishop shared this in a blog: “In my first church job, a guy donated a brand new movie type popcorn popper and taught me how to use it. The only thing that I didn’t see coming was that you needed to add oil to the kettle with the un-popped kernels. The oil does two things; 1) It keeps the kernels from burning and 2) It super heats the kernels.
    Now let me tell you why popcorn pops. Inside the hull is a tiny amount of water. When the kernel is super-heated, the water turns to steam, builds up pressure and explodes. The explosion completely changes everything and turns a small “harder than a rock” kernel into something fluffy and entirely edible. In church tradition, anointing with oil has been an emblem of the Holy Spirit. To my way of thinking, the Holy Spirit super heats the Christian, pressurizes our baptismal water and takes us to a whole new level of Christian living.”
    In a book called “The Way to Pentecost,” the author describes God the Holy Spirit:
    The Holy Spirit is emphatically both Giver and Lord of the Life that is in Christ. “His action covers the whole life from first to last. He is the Spirit of Life for regeneration; the Spirit of Sonship for adoption; the Spirit of Holiness for sanctification; the Spirit of Glory for transfiguration; and the Spirit of Promise for resurrection.” The Believer is born of the Spirit, he believes in the Spirit, prays in the Spirit, and walks in the Spirit. From first to last he is sphered in the Presence of the Spirit, and the Spirit dwells in him; just as in his natural life he lives in the air, and the air dwells in him.
    Do you want a personal Pentecost? Do you want Emmaus Church to have the power of Pentecost? Let us prepare the fields for rain of God the Holy Spirit. Let us prime the pump of Pentecost so that our spirit may be overflowing with God the Holy Spirit. Be filled with praise and thanksgiving. Be a people of prayer. Be obedient to God’s leading. Come Holy Spirit come.
    Amen and amen. Let us pray.


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