1. This morning we want to share a history lesson. To this point in our study of the church, we have dealt with:
a. prophecy about the church --
(1) Christ promised to build His church, and He promised to use as the "foundation" for it the powerful confession of Simon Peter ( Matthew 16:13-19 );
(2) Upon commissioning His disciples, our Lord promised that He would neither leave nor forsake them "to the end of the age" ( Matthew 28:20 );
(3) Just before His ascension, Christ promised His disciples that that would receive the p __ __ __ __ necessary for them to fulfill their mission in the person of the H __ __ __
S __ __ __ __ __ ( Acts 1:8 );
b. the purpose of the church -- to equip the saints;
c. the function of the church --
(1) e __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __;
(2) e __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __;
(3) e __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __.
God's use of history should not be overlooked as we study the origins of the church. That three of the most significant events in the history of the cosmos -- Christ's crucifixion, His resurrection, and the birth of His church -- occurred within the confines of the most holy season of the Old Covenant must be seen as having been orchestrated by Divine Providence. As Christians look back upon the three primary holidays / feast days of the Hebrews -- ordained by God in Leviticus 23, we do so through the "lens" of the events recorded in the Gospels and the book of Acts. This allows us to exercise "theological hindsight" so that we can see those things to which the Old Covenant deliberately pointed.
a. P __ __ __ __ __ __ __ pictures the death of Christ, the perfect Lamb of God offered as a suitable sacrifice for the sins of all God's people. The Bible records that Jesus died on the cross between the Passover supper and the threshold of the holy day itself and that He was entombed during the Passover observance.
b. The Bible record indicates that Christ was resurrected first day after the Sabbath following Passover. Lost to many Christians is the significance of that day, so focused are we on seeing His "rising" as the fulfillment of the prophecy He had offered in John 2:13-22. The day we celebrate -- with chronological impudence -- as "Easter" was, in fact, the Jewish Feast Day of F __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __. The apostle Paul, reared, educated and deeply rooted in his Jewish faith, notes this in his passionate defense of the doctrine of the resurrection from the dead of all believers set forth in 1 Corinthians 15.
But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection from the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. ( 1 Corinthians 15:20-22 )
c. Fifty days after Passover Sabbath came the Feast Day of the H __ __ __ __ __ __, which came to be known as P __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ ( which means "fiftieth" ). It was initiated as a festival of thanksgiving for the harvest, but was also observed as an occasion to thank God as well for the giving of the L __ __ to Israel. Pentecost was seen as the culmination of a fifty-day celebration of God's goodness. It became a tradition among Jews dispersed all over the world to make pilgrimages to Jerusalem during this holiday season, and the Day of Pentecost there was always as Feast Day to remember! From a Christian perspective Pentecost is observed as the day God gave His Spirit to the church.