Summary: The Pentecost event tells us of our great need of the Holy Spirit. We must be convinced of two truths: (1) Lives can only be changed with His help, and (2) we can witness effectively only by His power.
Today is Pentecost Sunday. We want to read about the birth of the church in Acts 2:1-8.
We celebrate the birth of Jesus, and everyone knows it is Christmas. We remember His resurrection, and most people recognise that Easter is a special day to the Christians. But when we talk about Pentecost – the event we read about in Acts 2 – the coming of the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus promised – few people realises it. Most felt that this day isn’t that important.
But the Scriptures tell us otherwise. Jesus asked the disciples to wait for this day. See John 16:7-8 “7 But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counsellor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment…”
The Holy Spirit has a specific task, and the world needs Him. Without Him, no one would know they are lost, and in need of a Saviour. No one would understand the Gospel, and know that there is a way out. The Bible says, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” 2 Cor 4:4.
1. Lives can only be changed with the help of the Holy Spirit
If we want to see a change in your life, or a change in someone lives, human efforts won’t do. No matter how sincere or diligent we may be. The problem is not with education. It has to do with our heart. We are all sinners, in need of God’s help. Only the Holy Spirit can convict man of his guilt and his need of Jesus.
And so we pray for our relatives and friends, that they will be open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit when they have the chance to hear the Gospel. He is in our world today, doing what He has come to do – to convict the world of guilt in regard to sin, righteousness and judgement (John 16:8). That is why we are told in the Bible not to “grieve the Holy Spirit of God” (Eph 4:30) or “put out the Spirit’s fire” [quench not the Holy Spirit] (1 Thess 5:19), because He is speaking today.
We see this change in the lives of the group of followers in Acts 2. Some were fishermen; we have among them former prostitutes, ex-religious leaders, and tax collectors. And God formed them into a united group, we called the church. Before Pentecost, they were afraid and weak. They lacked faith, and did not fully understand God’s plan.
But now that the Holy Spirit is with them, they become courageous leaders, passionate preachers of the Gospel. They were united as never before, even though they were all very different.
And so we see that after the ascension of Jesus, the disciples obeyed the Lord’s instruction and waited. They waited for ten days, and finally the Scriptures tells us the Holy Spirit came upon them on the day of Pentecost – “fiftieth”, the 50th day after the Passover.
This group, we called church, was born at Pentecost. So in a way, we’e all part of it. This day was also significant in the OT. The people of Israel celebrate a feast called the Feast of Pentecost (feast of weeks). It is a celebration for the harvest – the harvest of grain. But now, for the church, Pentecost signifies the harvest of souls.