Summary: A look at Pentecost
120 YR Anniversary
How many here enjoy having birthdays and growing another year older? I'm not even going to ask who the oldest person is. Just think about all of the changes that have taken place in our lifetime. Do you realize NASA had less computing power when they landed man on the moon than what is found in the cheapest available cell phone today? More specifically, the U.S. Governments' first computer was 8 feet high, 3 feet deep, and 80 feet long. It contained 20,000 vacuum tubes, 70,000 resistors, 10,000 capacitors and approximately 5,000,000 hand-soldered joints. It weighed nearly 30 tons. Compared to a turn-of the century clam-shell phone with only texting & a MP3 player, the phone is 40 million times smaller but 1,300 times more powerful. (The ENIAC vs. The Cell Phone; Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer)
How many people remember having a party-line phone service? I do. There was always an old women that would listen in while we talked. Now, my wifes car answers the phone while we drive & it will even read aloud the text messages through the speakers. The car does not even have a key, everything is electronic. I have no idea what I'm supposed to do if the battery dies & the doors are locked. I can't get in to pull the hood latch.
This morning we are gathered here to celebrate this church's 120 year anniversary. This community & this building, built in 1907, have witnessed many changes through the years. Since the church founding in 1898, the United States has had 21 different presidents and hosted the Olympics 8 times. There have been countless advances in technology and healthcare. Our society has undergone drastic transformations in clothing styles, ethics, morals, laws and so many other things.
Through all of this passage of time, there is one thing that has not changed and it has stood the test of time; that is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Gospel, the Bible, the Word of GOD is the same yesterday, today, & tomorrow. Malachi 3:6 states “...I am the Lord, I do not change...”.
While we are mindful today of the history of this church, I think we should go back a little further in time and witness the beginning of THE CHURCH. We will be reading Acts chapter 2, if you'll start turning to it in your Bibles.
Some background before we begin. The events described in this chapter of Acts occur 50 days following the Jewish Passover when Jesus was crucified on a Friday. This was already a Jewish festival that brought the Jews back to Jerusalem. In the Old Testament it is referred to as the Feast of Weeks or the Feast of First-fruits. The Sabbath was a Saturday and Leviticus (23:16) refers to this day as “seven sabbaths plus a day”, or 50 days, making this Sunday. During the N.T. Period, Greek was the primary language so although the date & purpose remained the same, the name changed to Pentecost (pente=5 Greek penteecostee=50).
The 11 disciples were on an emotional roller coaster. In under two months time, they had seen Jesus enter Jerusalem triumphantly during the Palm Sunday parade. Then they witnessed the trial and death of Jesus. Many of them left town disappointed, thinking they had believed in a false hope. Three days later, they saw a resurrected Jesus & their faith was restored. They looked forward to a coming kingdom of GOD as they stayed with Jesus another 40 days. But then Jesus ascended into heaven promising to send a comforter, the Holy Spirit.
Now they were back in Jerusalem, scared for their lives, hiding together in most likely the same room that the Last Supper was taken. The Roman and Jewish officials were still very much aware of the recent events of the Passover. They were undoubtedly being watched by both parties to make sure that no other disturbances took place. All together, including the 11 disciples, there were about 120 friends & family members who believed that Jesus was the promised Messiah.
Acts 2 verse 1) When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. Verse 4) And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. Verses 5-6) And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language.
Verse 14) But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. Verses 22-24) “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know—Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it. Verse 36) Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ. Verses 40-42) And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.