Summary: How Pentecost introduced the Holy Spirit to the Church. First in a series of sermons on the Holy Spirit titled: May I Introduce You to the Holy Spirit.
SERIES: May I Introduce You to THE HOLY SPIRIT
A UNIQUE ASSEMBLY
It was the day was 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.
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. 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." "Sir? Sir? Wouldn’t this colorful fabric make a beautiful shawl for your wife?"
We see women walking behind their husbands carrying their grain sacrifices on their head. We marvel at both their strength and grace. Various carnival activities from all around the world are going on about us. Perhaps what is most amazing is to hear all the different languages of the people who have traveled many miles to make their sacrifices.
Down at the Temple long lines of people are waiting to offer their gifts to God. 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 to receive the Ten Commandments on the Day of Pentecost many centuries prior. Then we hear the reading of the Law: Thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor; and the list goes on.
As all these exciting events are taking place we wonder how anyone could miss out on a happening such as this. It is then that we recall that not everyone is celebrating. Down the street, a short distance, a small group of Christians have gathered in a upper room. They are waiting as Jesus had commanded them. We know that something glorious is about to happen.
Let us look in on this small gathering. We can tell that there is something unique about this group.
In Acts 1:14 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. For those ten days they spent their time in prayer. Can you imagine spending ten straight days in doing nothing but praying?
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.
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.
Then we find that this group was unique in that scripture says they were all assembled in one place.
Can you imagine what it would be like to come to church one Sunday and discover that every church member was present? 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 the other believers could give.
The text goes on to say that not only were they gathered in one place, they were gathered in unity.
That reminds me, I may have asked you this before, but do you know what kind of car these apostles drove? (pause) It was a Honda. I thought you folks knew your Bible. The KJV version says they were all assembled in one accord!
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.
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?