Summary: What can we learn from Pentecost?
What can we learn from the Experience of Pentecost?
Story: The son of a wealthy man expected to receive a sports car for his graduation.
Instead his Dad called him into his study told him that he loved him and handed him a wrapped-up present.
When he opened it, he found it to be a box containing leather bound Bible, with his name inscribed on the spine.
Angrily the young man tossed the box on his father’s desk and stormed out saying: with “With all your money, all you can give me is a Bible!”
And they never spoke again, despite the fact that the young man’s father tried hard to contact him.
Years later, he got a call to say his Dad had died, leaving him everything.
As he was going through his father’s belongings, he found that Bible still in its box.
Curious, he took the Bible out of the box and opened it. The page fell open at a passage his father had marked. And as he looked at the page, he noticed that his Dad had underlined Mt. 7:11,
“ If you then being evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father give what is good to those who ask Him. “
And as he read it, a car key fell from inside the Bible.
It had a tag with the dealer’s name on it – for the sports car that he had wanted years earlier.
On the tag beside his graduation date we the words: “Paid in full love Dad.” (Word for Today sat Sept. 7th 2002).
Pentecost is the season when we remember God’s great gift to us following the death of his Son in our place on the Cross. It is the Gift of the Holy Spirit.
Yet so many Christians reject the gift of the Holy Spirit – for fear often of being “happy clappy” - missing out on a wonderful gift from God himself to invigorate our lives and our ministry.
But the power of the Holy Spirit, given to the Church at Pentecost is more than simply an emotional form of Worship. It is the power given to the Church to fulfil the Great Commission
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 us 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 you will recall what significant event occurred at Passover that year – the Death and Resuurection of Jesus)
The name 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”
It must have been very daunting to the disciples.
Yet Jesus gave them very clear instructions how they were to go about it. In Acts 1 He 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 fulfil the Great Commission – how by giving them the Power of the Holy Spirit
In our reading from the Book of Acts, we can see three principles for success in growing the Church.
1. The disciples obeyed Jesus
2. They needed the Power from on high
3. They earthed their message in God’s word
1. The first principle for success was that the disciples obeyed Jesus
Why, in Acts 1:8 were they told to wait before bearing witness to the Resurrection of Jesus? Simply because Jesus said so.
If we are going to be servants of Christ, we have to learn to do WHAT he tells us to do.