Summary: Pentecost, the birth of the church, came while the disciples were gathered in a prayer meeting.
READ: Acts 1:12-14
The disciples returned to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, where they had just witnessed the most phenomenal event; right before their very eyes Jesus ascended into Heaven, to sit again at God the Father’s right hand in glory. But before He was taken up, He gave them instructions and a great commission. Their commission was to go into all the world and preach the good news, baptizing and teaching all nations in the Name of Jesus. That commission belongs to the Church – it’s for every Christian to obey. The instructions Jesus gave them were that they must go and wait in Jerusalem for the coming of the Comforter Jesus had promised them - the Holy Spirit. They must receive Him in all His fullness BEFORE attempting to carry out the great commission. Jesus had told them that the Holy Spirit would give them the power they needed to complete the task.
On this Pentecost Sunday we need to remind ourselves that the Church NEEDS the power of the Holy Spirit. Without Him we cannot be all God intended for us to be. The extent to which a person opens up their life to the empowering of the Holy Spirit is the extent to which God can use them in His purposes. Because “It’s not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit says the Lord.” What an awesome thing that the Holy Spirit is working through the Church right throughout the world today. The same Holy Spirit who revolutionized the early church and catapulted them into turning the world upside down with the good news of Jesus. He’s still in the Church today. No one denomination has a monopoly on Him … no one country or place … He moves as He wills, and wherever people are seeking to receive Him. The Bible says to you today, “Be being filled with the Holy Spirit!” (Ephesians 5:18)
So, the ascending Lord gave His disciples clear instructions, and they headed back into town. Arriving back in Jerusalem, they entered the Upper Room, and they PRAYED. THE SCENE IS NOW SET FOR ACTS CHAPTER 2 - THE COMING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
Would you mark this: the church was born in a prayer meeting! From this upper room where they met in concerted prayer, the river began to flow which spread throughout the whole world, even reaching to the island of Tasmania on the opposite side of the globe - IT WAS ALL BIRTHED IN PRAYER.
If we are ever going to see a spiritual awakening take place in our times - in the church of Jesus Christ, in our community of Devonport, in our state, in our nation - IT WILL ONLY COME ABOUT AS A RESULT OF PRAYER. The Bible conveys this message to us time and time again as we read countless stories of how God moved on behalf of His people, turned nations and situations around, in response to prayer. And He has declared forthrightly, so that no mistake can be made, "IF MY PEOPLE WHO ARE CALLED BY MY NAME WILL HUMBLE THEMSELVES, AND PRAY AND SEEK MY FACE, AND TURN FROM THEIR WICKED WAYS, THEN I WILL HEAR FROM HEAVEN, AND WILL FORGIVE THEIR SIN AND HEAL THEIR LAND.” (2 Chronicles 7:14.)
Let me remind you today, God is not waiting for the world to turn to Him in repentance; He’s not waiting for our leaders in parliament to seek His face; HE’S WAITING FOR THE CHURCH TO GET ON HER KNEES!
Here we read of those very first prayer meetings of the church. This morning, I want to point out several things about the prayer of the disciples as they waited in that upper room in Jerusalem:
1. They Prayed OBEDIENTLY.
As they gathered themselves in that upper room, they did so in obedience to Jesus’ command [Read 1:4].
They obeyed His instruction.
A. Their obedience was IMMEDIATE.
The pace of Acts chapter 1 is furious from verse 4 onwards. Jesus gives His final instructions, He straightaway ascends into heaven, no sooner is He out of sight than the angels appear and stir the disciples to action (v10-11), AND IMMEDIATELY THEY RETURN TO JERUSALEM, get themselves into the upper room and the prayer meeting IS ON! Jesus’ words were still ringing in their ears! The disciples obeyed IMMEDIATELY. Once the angels had shaken them out of their state of stunned shock, they responded by proceeding immediately to do what they had been told.
This is a great challenge, isn’t it?! Why is it that we as Christians are so often putting things off — we put God on hold. "I’ll get into praying one day very soon - I must do that.” It’s time, folks. Let’s not talk about what we’re going to do “one day” anymore — one day never comes! Let’s just do it.