Summary: 6th and last in series on what Pentecost means. This contrasts Acts 2 with Exodus 19, showing that even though the fire was once only for Moses, it’s for all believers today.
Acts 2:1-4 – Fire Inside
Three ladies had a bible study and were talking about being refined by the fire. They did not understand about being refined in the fire like silver. One volunteered to go to the silversmith and see what that meant. When she went she did not tell the silversmith why she was really there. He proceeded to tell her about being sure the silver was put in to the hottest part of the fire. He explained that was so all the impurities would be burned away. He also said that he had to watch it all times to make sure it was not in there too long. If it were there too long, it would be ruined. The lady asked, “How do you know when it is done”? His answer was, “That’s easy: when I see my reflection.”
Today we are finishing our series on Pentecost. It’s been a great time seeing how God used the Acts 2 Pentecost to bring more meaning to the already-meaningful holiday which had been going on for centuries. On April 3, the week after Easter, we saw how Pentecosts were pilgrim festivals, how people were required to come to where God was. Acts 2 shows us that God came to us. The next week, BBC student Derrick Lareva shared his heart with us. Then, on April 17, we saw how the holiday was a memorial to God giving of the Law to Moses and the Israelites. Acts 2 showed us that the Law is now written on our hearts. On April 24, we noticed in Genesis 11 that the Tower of Babel was a judgement from God, and it separated people. The Acts 2 Pentecost united them again, and displayed God’s mercy. On May 1, we looked at the idea of firstfruits, the very best a person can give to God. And we also saw that since the Acts 2 Pentecost, we are God’s firstfruits, and we must offer ourselves. Last week, Mother’s Day, we saw the OT hero Ruth becoming a Jew, and needing a redeemer. We too need a Redeemer, someone who will buy us back and make us His own.
And today, I have one last Pentecost thought for you. It’s found in Exodus 19:1-19. Let me sum up this chapter. The Israelites, led by Moses, have escaped Egypt. They crossed the Red Sea by God’s hand, and they have arrived at Mt.Sinai, as Jewish scholars would point out, on the day that would come to be known as the Feast of Weeks, or the Feast of Harvest, or the Day of Firstfruits, or Pentecost. Here, at Mt.Sinai, God would reveal Himself in a way that He had never done before. He would give the Law, that bundle of commandments and rules that would guide His people to know Him better. And He first reveals Himself to Moses, the man of God. And this appearance would certainly be flamboyant.
Let’s look at v16-19 again, looking at the sights and sounds. There was a powerful storm, and a dense cloud. There was a blast from a ram’s horn. The whole mountain was covered with smoke like from a furnace, because the Lord was there in fire. The mountain shook violently, the sound grew louder, and finally the Lord’s voice was heard from the midst. The glorious presence of the Lord appeared on Mt.Sinai in full force, revealing to His people His power and purity.
Let’s skip ahead some 1300 or 1500 years. God had not just appeared on earth in a cloud, but rather, as a man. Jesus, God in the flesh, had lived as a teacher and preacher. He had been killed for His beliefs according to the Father’s plans, to make a way for us to be with Him forever. He had risen from the dead to give us a hope, and He had promised that He would not leave us alone. He promised another like Him, the Holy Spirit, who would live with Christians, and live in them too. Jesus had been lifted from the earth for 10 days, and the day of Pentecost had come. The believers were praying together in the Upper Room, the room where Jesus began the sacrament of the Last Supper, perhaps owned by Mark, aka John Mark. Let’s read Acts 2:1-4.
Once again the presence of God shows up, almost with the same effects. Jewish tradition had always associated storms, fire and a voice with the presence of God. And here they. A mighty wind like a storm, fire that looked like tongues resting upon each person there, and other languages, speaking God’s words to different people groups. Pentecost was an updated Mt.Sinai.
But it was also upgraded, too. You see, the fire on Mt.Sinai was only for Moses. Everyone else stood at a distance. Only Moses got the fire of God in His life. Only Moses got God’s power. Only Moses understood God’s presence. But not anymore. Now, since the Acts 2 Pentecost, God’s power, God’s purity, and God’s presence are for all believers.