Summary: This is our challenge. To offer a new beginning to others in Christ.
THE STORY CHAPTER 28 / ACTS 1-12
There is a book only 100 pages long, published by the Department of Justice, that can easily be downloaded and is a book that no parent wants to read. The title is “When Your Child is Missing.” Key bullet points and action steps are on the cover of the book, like, “You’re not alone,” “Hope is essential,” “Trust your feelings and share them with law enforcement officials,” “Distribute pictures,” “Keep your focus,” “Exercise caution,” and the final exhortation is “Never stop looking.” The book tells the stories of four year old Shelby Marie Cox and six year old Colleen Nick and the parents of Jacob Wetterling have been searching for him since 1989. They post messages saying, “We’re still searching for you and we will never quit.” Parents will spare no expense as with resolute passion they search for their missing children.
So does God. God has lost children, who have gone the wrong direction, lost their bearings, lost their place in this life, and lost their vision of the next life. God initiated a massive, three-phase search and rescue strategy to find His lost children. The first phase was Israel. We saw in the Old Testament that God wanted a nation through whom to show His character and to call people back to Himself. The second and very critical phase, which is the point of the Four Gospels in the beginning of the New Testament, was Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ declared, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). We are lost and Jesus is the way back home. By his death on the cross and His resurrection, we can be reunited to our Heavenly Father. The third phase is in The Story today in chapter 28—the church. We will be looking at the Book of Acts, beginning with Acts 1:8 which is a powerful theme for the entire third phase of God’s plan: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
READ ACTS 2:2-8
“Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. 5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: "Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language?”
We see with the burst of the Holy Spirit on the scene that the new beginning promised in the church began.
I. PENTECOST- THE AWAITED TURNING POINT
The Holy Spirit was something that was promised to the disciples. Jesus had spoken in John 14 and 15 about this Counselor that would come. Jesus promised that He would not leave these men alone, but that they would have a constant companion to aid them in all their efforts for God. Acts chapter 1 records that Jesus commanded the disciples to stay in Jerusalem and wait for this wonderful gift. Jesus promises the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Jesus promises these men “power” when the Holy Spirit is given to them and they will be powerful witnesses for Christ in Jerusalem and in the surrounding areas and in the entire world.
So, the disciples wait. It was the fiftieth day of these feasts and they were gathered together. It seems that for these Christians celebrating Pentecost together, the feasts would soon take on a whole new meaning. The Day of Pentecost would soon have new meaning to these people sitting there—they would be witnesses and participants to the birth of the Church movement… a new beginning. The Holy Spirit came so fantastically.
We find that the Holy Spirit came like a wind. The Holy Spirit has been associated with the wind before in Scripture hasn’t it? Jesus talks about the Spirit and wind in John 3:8. The Holy Spirit is like the wind. It goes wherever it pleases and you cannot see it. The Spirit, like the wind, is a powerful force… just ask anyone who’s ever had their roof torn off or a building blown down! The wind is powerful. So is the Spirit. The Spirit came in power this day of Pentecost and everyone heard it.