Summary: What happened on Pentecost? How do you sum it up, and apply it to us today?
Acts 2:1-11: PENTECOST CAN BE SUMMED UP IN ONE WORD…
I think it’s generally true that people are always looking to improve, to change their lives for the better. That’s why there are so many commercials for diet and exercise products – lots of people out there trying to change their appearance for the better. I just saw recently how you can have something called botox injected into your face, and that will take away your wrinkles for awhile. People are always looking to improve, to change for the better. Isn’t that why people go to school? Isn’t that why people go to conferences and seminars? Isn’t that why people go to counselors and psychologists? People want to be changed for the better.
What is it about yourself that you would like to change? If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? Is it the way you look? Something to do with your health? Something to do with your level of expertise on a certain subject? If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
God is interested in change. He’s interested in changing you. Today is Pentecost Sunday, and as we take a look at what happened on Pentecost many years ago, we see that God changed many people’s lives. And as we learn about these things, we will see that God is also interested in changing you - there are certain things about you that God wants to change. What are those things? And how does God plan to do that? We will find the answers as we study God’s Word.
Two major changes took place on Pentecost. Change number one was what happened to the disciples. If you are familiar with the Scriptures, you know that the disciples believed in Jesus as their Savior, but they were still very confused about all kinds of different things. They still didn’t fully understand Jesus’ mission, why he had come to earth. They were still wondering if Jesus would be an earthly king. They were confused, and as a result, they were timid. They weren’t confident about sharing the Gospel with others. How could they be, if they didn’t fully understand it?
But then Pentecost came. The disciples were together, when the sound of a blowing wind came down from heaven. What seemed to be tongues of fire settled on their heads. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak in foreign languages they had never learned before. A crowd gathered, people from all over the world, and that crowd listened as the disciples preached the Gospel. The Apostle Peter stood up and addressed the crowd – he gave a beautiful sermon that God the Holy Spirit inspired him to preach, a sermon that converted 3000 people in one day.
Do you see the changes that took place on Pentecost? No longer were the disciples confused. Now they understood the plan of salvation completely. No longer were they timid. Now, they were confident, speaking publicly. Look at Peter – two months earlier he was so afraid that he denied Jesus three times. Now he was speaking to the crowd with confidence and understanding that he had never had before.
There was another change that took place on Pentecost, and you could argue that this change was more spectacular than what happened to the disciples. After Peter preached his sermon on Pentecost, 3000 people came to faith and were baptized. We don’t know much about these people. We do know that Jerusalem was packed with people, because of the Festival of Pentecost. Back then, Pentecost was an agricultural festival – God had told the Jews to gather in Jerusalem 50 days after Passover to celebrate the harvest. Jews from all over the Roman empire came. 3000 of them who were not Christians, who did not believe in Jesus Christ, were changed that day. Their whole way of looking at God, at themselves, at the world, at eternal life – everything had changed. The Holy Spirit was the one who converted those 3000 people that day. Now these people knew how to get to heaven. Now they knew that they were at peace with God. Now they knew that Jesus was their Savior.
Pentecost can be summed up in one word, and I believe that word is change. We see the change that took place in the disciples, and the change that took place in those 3000 people. Our world today needs change. There are so many people who do not believe in Jesus Christ, who do not know how to get to heaven. And there are so many Christians who are like those disciples were before Pentecost – confused, weak, timid. We need the Holy Spirit to come to us, and change us.