Summary: When you think about it, this is not the first time that the church was told to shelter in place. In the days following the resurrection of Jesus Christ, he gathered his disciples together and prepared them for what was coming. Then, Jesus said, “I want you to shelter in place in Jerusalem.”
Pentecost Sunday 2020
Sheltered in Prayer, Released in Power
Dr. Marty Baker / May 31, 2020
Hello and welcome to Stevens Creek Church. I can’t tell you how much I have been waiting to say those words. I am so glad that you are here and isn’t this place beautiful?
It has been ten weeks since we have gathered in here for worship. During this time, we have all heard certain phrases over and over …. Phrases that I never care to hear again… like, Covid 19, Coronavirus, drive-through testing, social distancing, flattening the curve and the list goes on and on. There has been one phrase that we know personally whether we have been sick or remained healthy and that is the phrase: shelter in place.
In March, the governor issued a shelter in place order. Residents were not allowed to leave their homes except for essential supplies. It’s amazing how many essential supplies that Lowes and Home Depot carry. During this time, you could not get a haircut and you could not sit down at a restaurant, but for me the worst thing was that I could not worship in person with my church family.
When you think about it, this is not the first time that the church was told to shelter in place. In the days following the resurrection of Jesus Christ, he gathered his disciples together and prepared them for what was coming. Then, Jesus said, “I want you to shelter in place in Jerusalem.”
49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
We also see this in Acts chapter one.
4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.
For ten days, they prayed. This prayer meeting coincided with a holiday season. This holiday festival was called the Feast of Pentecost. It was a Jewish festival that celebrated the wheat harvest and it came fifty days after Passover. The feast of Pentecost was similar to our Thanksgiving season.
As the people in the community were enjoying a few days off, the disciples were praying and waiting for God to fulfill His promise.
4 … “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.
5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
They were sheltered in place for ten days. As they were praying, something happened. The Holy Spirit was released in that Upper Room. The wind of God began to blow. This was not a normal breeze; it was more than that. It was a spiritual wind that blew into the room and released a spiritual energy into the lives of those praying.
Not only wind, but what seemed like fire fell on them as they prayed. In the natural, fire is a source of energy that warms, purifies, and can provide direction. This was a spiritual type of fire that revolutionized these people as they prayed.
These disciples witnessed a page of history being written. Never before had God blown into a room with such spiritual intensity. Their lives were changed and they would never be the same. We pick up the story in Acts 2.
1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.
2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.
3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.
4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
Years ago, there was a NBC television series called A.D. based on the book of Acts. When I first learned of the series, I wondered how they would handle Acts 2. It was a quick scene, but here’s how they saw it. (YouTube)
A.D. Series Video: Pentecost | https://youtu.be/Gt16nVZ0qSQ
I love how they handled that: Now, we can leave this place. Now, we can spread his Word.
On that day, the Holy Spirit came upon a group of very ordinary people and gave them the power to spread his word … to take the message of Jesus all over the world. That same power is available today to all who believe!