Summary: A Pentecost sermon with context and Great Commission
Bringing The Harvest
United Presbyterian Church of Terra Bella June 12, 2011
The Passover sacrifice remembers Israel’s day of deliverance from Egypt. The “ Pentecost” – the 50th day after Passover – remembers the day Israel received the Ten Commandments – God’s Law. That day Israel was established as a nation.
The Passover sacrifice is observed on the 14th day of the first month of the year. That day is called “Abib” – which means “the barley is ripe”. This is The Feast of Harvest. The third day following Passover – a sheaf of barley was offered up to God.
• That sheaf of barley was the first fruits of Israel’s harvest.
• The resurrection of Jesus was also on the 3rd day after the Passover sacrifice.
1 Corinthians 15:20 says, “Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.” Just as the sheaf of barley was offered to God for Israel’s liberation, on that third day, Christ himself liberated us from death – on that third day.
After the resurrection, Jesus appeared to his disciples many times during the next forty days. During that time, He commanded His disciples to stay in Jerusalem and wait to be “baptized by the Holy Spirit.”
And so the disciples waited. Then, on the 50th day after the resurrection – the day also known as “The Day of First Fruits of the Wheat Harvest” – the disciples received the baptism Jesus had promised. This became the first day of God’s church among us. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, believers spread out into Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth preaching the message of salvation through Jesus Christ.
All of these events, beginning with Israel’s liberation from Egypt and culminating in the establishment of Christ’s church, were each the perfect will and design of our Heavenly Father. In Christ, there are no coincidences.
Today, many of our churches are bogged down somewhere between Calvary and Pentecost. As Rev. Dr. Jerry Vines puts it:
I. We’ve been to Calvary for pardon, but we haven’t been to Pentecost for power.
The message of Bethlehem is “God with us”.
The message of Calvary is “God for us”.
But Pentecost means “God in us”.
Consider what the Ephesians said when the Apostle Paul came to them in Acts 19:2. Paul asked them – “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” Today our churches have heard of the Holy Spirit, but many of them still don’t KNOW the Holy Spirit. Without a working relationship with the Holy Spirit, churches lack the gifts to grow in wisdom and power.
Many Christians do not understand the role of the Holy Spirit, and being intimidated by what they don’t understand, they’re not willing to pray for its power in their own personal lives. But God knew what those disciples needed, and He knows what we need today.
I want you to think about God’s perfect timing at Pentecost. The events in Acts 2 were perfectly timed for when the city would literally bulge with people. Those people would witness the outpouring of the Spirit. In one day, 3000 would be saved and filled with God’s Spirit. Then they would return to their homes bearing witness throughout the world. God’s timing is always perfect.
To those told to wait in Jerusalem, Jesus didn’t explain His full intentions. Nor did He give them comforting details. He simply told them what to do, and they were obedient to Him. So I ask you, “Has God told you to do something lately without explaining why or how? How about helping with Sunday School, VBS, or being a Lay Reader? (Did you like how I got in those plugs? Pretty sneaky, eh?)
But it’s true that God often works that way – calling us to obey without giving us all the details. He shows us what needs to be done, but He doesn’t always tell us how we’re supposed to do it. As it’s written, “The just shall live by faith.” Sometimes we simply have to obey Him and see what happens.
Acts 2:1 says, “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.” We’re not told all the specifics as to where they were. We do know that at some point they were in the temple court where Peter preached his sermon.
The important thing is that the day they’d been waiting for came! And when it came, they were ready. God has made sovereign plans for our lives, but to be blessed by His plans, we must obey Him. If you are faithful to obey, good things will happen in your life because we serve a good and awesome God.