Summary: It is clear from our Jewish roots and the early church that Pentecost is about a new spiritual experience. It is about a promise and it is about how we are changed when we receive this promise of the Holy Spirit. It is also about a harvest.
The Divine Fire
We look back today at the first evidence of the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in the early days of the Christian Church. This movement by the Holy Spirit is a promise fulfilled by Jesus and a promise fulfilled by prophecy as St. Peter tells us from Joel Chapter 2
Jesus said in John Ch 16:vs 13, 15
13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you."
The record of Acts relates the supernatural way in which the Holy Spirit arrives. A violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house. 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.
It is clear from our Jewish roots and the early church that Pentecost is about a new spiritual experience. It is about something that is given to us by promise and it is about how we are changed when we receive this promise of the indwelling Holy Spirit. It is about a harvest, a harvest of souls.
At the First Pentecost we see the church swept away by the power of this Holy Spirit and possessed with the supernatural ability to speak in foreign tongues. It was at this time that the world of Jewish believers came to celebrate Shabuoth.
They came from all over the known world to worship in Jerusalem at the temple. It could be said that on this day the sons of Abraham were introduced to the Christian Church. Two previously separated groups are brought together by the Holy Spirit to experience the next step in Gods divine plan for the salvation of the world.
The Holy Spirit continues to this day to bring different groups together. Sometimes by supernatural expression and other times it is by spiritual conviction. The Holy Spirit is not only evidenced by the gift of tongues. The Holy Spirit is also evidenced by the gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12 NIV
7Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.
Our church, the body of Christ is built not upon one gift but all the gifts that Jesus has given us through the Holy Spirit. We need to honour them all equally and not favour one over the other. We need to prayerfully consider how Jesus wishes to build us up and use us as we are empowered with these various gifts.
All of you hear today who know Jesus as Lord are empowered with a gift from the Holy Spirit. Some of you know this well and you exercise your gift or gifts as God directs you. Others amongst you have yet to discover your gift but in Gods time he will reveal it to you as his need for you to exercise it is made clear.
We all share in this Holy fire this divine spark we call the Holy Spirit. But if we fail to exercise our gifts and or share our discovery of it we may limit our ability to be effective ambassadors for the Saviour.
What if everyone at Pentecost put their hands over their mouths in an effort to quiet the spirit within them? Three thousand Jewish pilgrims might not have been saved and added to the church and countless many more would not have shared their experience with their communities and families on their return to their homelands. It would have been a lost opportunity to build the church.
Have we lost opportunities to build our church? Have we stayed the Holy Spirit of God because of fear or doubt or because we have not exercised the gifts our God has given us?
Let us then look forward to a time and a day when we willingly surrender to the power and presence of the Holy Spirit as we too are filled with a divine fire to exercise our gifts in order to build up the church for a time when Christ will reap a great harvest amongst us.