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.