Summary: Pentecost is the inauguration of a new era: the era of the Spirit.
1. Does your walk with God get old? Are you spiritually tired?
2. If you have been faithfully serving God and God’s people, the church, year after year, it is easy to feel burned out or lose your creative enthusiasm.
3. Yet I have found that God can revive my soul time and time again as I spend time with Him and allow the Holy Spirit to massage my tired soul and re-establish His lordship in my life.
4. Many of you have a similar testimony; the Holy Spirit has reanimated your commitment to your marriage, restarted your prayer or devotional life, or simply strengthened you to survive an unbelievably hectic or stressful period of life. Many of these special works of the Holy Spirit are connected to Pentecost.
5. Today’s text deals with the Day of Pentecost, also known as the Feast of Weeks.
6. In Judaism, this was perhaps one of the more minor of the 7 feasts of Leviticus 23. The Spring Feasts were bundled together with an 8 day period: Passover, Unleavened Bread, and First Fruits. The Fall Feasts (high holy days) are Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles, are all within a 15 day period.
7. From our vantage points, looking at the feasts prophetically, the first three feasts have been fulfilled when Christ died and rose again; we live in the age of the 4th feast, and the final three are prophetic of the End Times.
8. But Pentecost is no minor festival. Its implications are enormous and relevant to every true believer.
Main Idea: Pentecost is the inauguration of a new era: the era of the Spirit.
I. The Holy Spirit Did Not Come DISCREETLY (1-4)
A. The significance of the date: PENTECOST (1)
1. What it was: a JEWISH holiday
50 days after First Fruits (Lev. 23:15)
Beginning of the main harvest season
2. The Day God gave the 10 COMMANDMENTS
The evidence in Scripture seems to indicate that God gave the Law to Moses on the Day of Pentecost, as the Jews believe. Many first century Jews believed that God made the Rainbow Covenant with Noah on this day as well. If so, we might think of Pentecost as "covenant initiation day."
God spoke in a loud, trumpet like voice that scared the people; the mountain shook and a giant fire descended in Exodus, chapters 19:16ff…
The Tongues of Fire
Philo: "Then from the midst of the fire that streamed from heaven there sounded forth to their utter amazement a voice, for the flame became articulate speech in the language familiar to the audience" (Decal. 46), quoted by Ben Witherington III in his commentary, The Acts of the Apostles.
We are not sure whether another Jewish belief goes back to the first century or not, but it very well may. It is the belief that when God gave the Law to Moses, God also spoke it in the 70 languages of the nations.
B. The PHENOMENON (2-4)
1. Like Loud WIND
2. Like Individual Tongues of FIRE
The poet William Blake wrote a poem about Pentecost. Part of the poem says:
Unless the eye catch fire, God will not be seen.
Unless the ear catch fire, God will not be heard.
Unless the tongue catch fire, God will not be named.
Unless the Heart catch fire, God will not be loved.
Unless the mind catch fire, God will not be known. [Sermoncentral]
3. The INVISIBLE filling of the Spirit
4. Speaking in UNLEARNED Foreign Languages
5. Evidence that God was moving in a new and great way…
C. The APPLICATIONS
1. A major Milestone: The Spirit and God’s Power is for All believers
It wasn’t just the apostles who were filled with the Holy Spirit
2. The Main Harvest Season in Here!
Although Firstfruits celebrated the beginning of the harvest of early crops, Pentecost represented the beginning of the main harvest season.
The fields are ripe to harvest, Jesus said; today’s great harvest fields include: South America, Asia, Africa, and a real change: The Middle East, especially Iran. That’s why missions matter. Like a mutual fund, a good church should be diversified in what it does for the Kingdom of God.
3. Power to make a difference. Vance Havner once said, "We are not going to move this world by criticism of it nor conformity to it, but by the combustion within it of lives ignited by the Spirit of God."
Although I would caution our understanding of "ignited" as referring to the fruit of the Spirit, I agree with Havner.
We have to stop trying to get lost people to act like Christians and to give up a goal of returning America to its past; instead, we need to make disciples who are well trained.