Summary: Dealing with a number of issues at EBC led me to a series by Pastor Jerry Shirley which God has graciously allowed me to revise and use to speak to our congregation.
“The Day the Holy Spirit Came” Acts 2: 1-4
D. L. Moody once said, “I believe firmly that the moment our hearts are emptied of pride and selfishness and ambition and everything that is contrary to God’s law, the Holy Spirit will fill every corner of our hearts.
But if we are full of pride and conceit and ambition and the world, there is no room for the Spirit of God. We must be emptied before we can be filled.”
Did you catch the last part of this? WE MUST BE EMPTIED BEFORE WE CAN BE FILLED!
I truly believe that is why Jesus left these 120 disciples alone for a few days before sending the Holy Spirit. I believe Jesus was giving these disciples an opportunity to empty themselves in order to be filled with His Spirit.
Is that what He is waiting for in my life? Is that what He is waiting for in your life? Is He waiting for us to empty ourselves of all that we are and desire, in order to fill us with His power and Spirit?
I want to begin this leg of our journey by examining the birth of and the growth process of the church. To do this we will need to begin at the day of Pentecost.
The day of Pentecost was an unbelievable day.
*It was the day that the Spirit of God came to fill the people of God, just as Jesus promised.
*It was the day the church was born.
*It was the corporate as well as the individual filling of the people of God by the Holy Spirit.
*This was the day that had been prophesied long ago:
In Acts chapter 2 Peter, beginning in verse 16, tells the people who hear the message that day what they are seeing and hearing is exactly what the prophet Joel spoke of.
[Joel 2:28-32 NKJV] 28 “And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions. 29 And also on [My] menservants and on [My] maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.
30 "And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: Blood and fire and pillars of smoke. 31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD. 32 And it shall come to pass [That] whoever calls on the name of the LORD Shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance, As the LORD has said, Among the remnant whom the LORD calls.”
I want you to understand something here. Peter was NOT an Old Testament scholar. He did not grow up under the leadership of the Scribes or the teachers of the law…
Charles Finney once said: “when the presence of God is in the church, the church will draw the world in…if the presence of God is not in the church, the world will draw the church out!”
Before we can fully understand what was happening here I think we need to understand the idea behind the celebrations.
Today, we are living in a day of energy, promotions, and programs. The church is trying to make up, with enthusiasm and organization, for what we do not have in Pentecostal power.
But let me tell you that all of the programs and excitement we can muster up, as good as it may be, is no substitute for real Holy Ghost power!
I have what we call in the auto repair industry a “jump box” which could be called “jumper cables in a box.” It’s used to start your engine when your battery dies in your vehicle. Our lawn mower battery will not hold a charge but I can jump it with the jump box and cut grass all day.
This may be fine but it is no substitute for a fully operational power source, which is a new battery.
We [and when I say we I mean the church] are operating on the power of our jump box and not really connected to our TRUE power source! We just want to get momentarily fired up. When the excitement is over, like that mower, we go back to being the dormant, powerless people we have become.
Several years ago Billy Graham went to visit a large, influential church. The pastor told him the sad story of how the church recently had to vote out a member for public drunkenness…church discipline didn’t result in repentance, so they had to ask him to leave.
Billy Graham said, “That’s sad, but when was the last time you voted someone out for not being filled with the Holy Spirit?” (Have you ever thought about what that would mean to the church?)