Summary: What can we learn from the experience of Pentecost in Acts 2
What can we learn from the Experience of Pentecost?
Story: Three ladies held a bible study on the
book of Malachi and in Chapter 3 they read
this about God
3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver.
They were puzzled about the process of
refining silver in the fire and so one of them
volunteered to go to the silversmith to ask.
When she arrived at the silversmiths’, she asked him about the process of refining.
He told her that it was necessary to put the silver 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 is kept in the furnace too long, it would be ruined.
The lady then asked him, “How do you know then when the process is complete”?
He replied “That’s easy: when I see my reflection, then the silver has been refined”
The fire we read of in Acts 2 reminds us that God is purifying His people.
God wants to refine us – like the silversmith does with the silver – so that God can see Jesus reflected in our lives
And the medium with which God refines us is his Holy Spirit- represented in our reading today by a sound
LIKE wind, a sight LIKE fire and a sound of different tongues. Something that appeals to all our senses
He immerses us (or baptises us) in the Holy Spirit.
And in our reading this morning St Luke records how
the Church was first baptised in Power the Holy Spirit
on the Day of Pentecost.
There are, in my opinion, only three major celebrations in the Church Year.
1. Christmas when we celebrate the Birth of Christ
2. Easter when we celebrate the Death and Resurrection of Christ and
3. Pentecost (or Whitsun - for the Anglicans!!) when we celebrate the birth of the Church as recorded in our reading this morning from the Acts of the Apostles
You might be wondering – how on earth can this spectacular Event have given birth to the Church?
So what was this event at Pentecost in AD 29 or 30 all about?
It might help to start with considering what PENTECOST was.
Pentecost was the second major festival of the Jewish year – after Passover.
And can you recall what significant event occurred at Passover in AD 29
Ans: The Death and Resurrection of Jesus)
The name Pentecost was derived from the Greek Pentecostos meaning 50 and was fifty days after the Passover.
It was the time of offering the first fruits of the Wheat Harvest to God.
Question: But you might still ask – well how does Acts 2 have anything to do with the birth of the Church?
Jesus gave his Church the Great Commission in
Mt. 28:19 and 20 just before he left this earth.
He told them
“Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations baptising them in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you till the end of the age”
When the first disciples first heard this – it must have been very daunting.
Yet Jesus gave them very clear instructions how they were to go about it. He didn’t allow them to just go off and do – he told them to wait
In Acts 1:8 Jesus said
But you shall receive Power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you shall be my witnessses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1 v.8)
In other words, Jesus himself would enable them to fulfill the Great Commission – how by giving them the Power of the Holy Spirit
You might be wondering – how on earth this spectacular Event in Acts 2 at Pentecost could have given birth to the Church?
So what was so special about Pentecost
It might help to start with considering what the Festival of PENTECOST was all about.
I came across this interesting quote to sum up Pentecost:
It is interesting to note that Pentecost as it is described in Leviticus 23:15-22, was primarily an agricultural festival and celebrated the end of the barley harvest and the beginning of the wheat harvest.
However, very early in Jewish history, it also took on an even greater significance.
The Rabbis determined that the timing of the Feast of Shavuot coincided with the great event in Jewish History of God giving His Torah to Moses on Mt. Sinai