Summary: This message seeks to show that the purpose of Pentecost was to mark the harvest of the church age.
The Power of Pentecost.
Introduction. A few weeks ago we began a series on Sunday mornings surrounding the Feasts of Israel. You will recall from Leviticus 23, how God has set out a plan of the ages, a great prophetic calendar whereby the history of the Jewish people from the time of Christ to the end has been predicted. The first four feasts, are the spring time feasts and these have been fulfilled in Christ’s first coming, the last three feasts the autumn feasts are yet to be fulfilled, but will be fulfilled as perfectly as the first four when Jesus Christ comes to earth a second time.
The last time we touched on this subject we considered the feast of first fruits or “Yom HaBikkurim” as the Jewish people call it and you will recall it speaks of a “promise to come”. In its simplest form the word “firstfruits” means “beginning”, the people were to bring before the Lord the beginnings of their harvest, understanding as they did so that there was more to come. But in Judaism there are actually two feasts of first fruits, the first is considered early firstfruits, and the second is considered latter firstfruits it occurs fifty days later than the first and is known as the “Feast of weeks” or “Pentecost.”
This morning we turn our attention to this final spring feast, Pentecost, the feast of weeks. We read in Acts 2 that the early church were gathered in the upper room on the day of Pentecost, praying. Did it ever occur to you why it was they were there at this specific point in time?
Well think about what we have learned so far. At the feast of Passover, Jesus died, during the feast of unleavened bread He was buried and on the feast of firstfruits he arose. Now the Jewish people would begin “counting the omer”, that is they would count the days until the time of the next feast, the latter first fruits which is Pentecost. Any thinking person would begin to put two and two together and realise that the events surrounding Christ’s life and ministry are paralleling with the feasts – celebration which Jews had been observing annually since the time of Moses. I think it was no accident that the church was gathered together, praying on the day of Pentecost, expectant that the promise Jesus gave them pertaining to the Comforter, the Holy Ghost might be fulfilled. And they were not to be disappointed.
Yet the events of Acts 2 have become a source of great consternation for many people & that’s a shame for the consequence of that is that we miss the whole purpose of the Day of Pentecost. The consequence is that we have all kinds of groups who uphold one aspect of this great day over another. Some only see the tongues, and others only see the church, and yet others only see a new dispensation. Now whilst all of these things are there none of them represent the central truth of the Day of Pentecost.
I. Pentecost Is Not About Tongues.
A. Tongues a side issue in this chapter.
1. Indeed in many ways tongues a side issue in the New Testament.
(a) Only mentioned in any detail in 3 places.
(i) Mark 16
(iii) 1 Corinthians 12-14.
B. The tongues mentioned in Acts 2 are only a small cog in a bigger mechanism.
1. Those brethren who push and push the issues of tongues in this passage are missing the whole point of Pentecost.
2. Those who say that tongues is the major thing, the hallmark of Spirit baptism and filling are emphasizing something the Scriptures give no emphasis too.
3. Certainly the tongues mentioned here (& throughout the N.T.) are unrelated to the present day phenomenon that is practiced on in many of the so-called Pentecostal churches.
(a) Tongues mentioned here are not some ecstatic supposed “heavenly” utterance, but a known intelligible earthly language.
(b) The Spirit of God goes to great lengths to point that fact out.
(i) Vs 5 - “devout men OUT OF EVERY NATION under heaven.
(ii) Vs 6 - “Every man heard them speak in HIS OWN LANGUAGE.”
(iii) Vs 7 & 8 - The miraculous thing was that the speakers were all Galileans, but every man heard them speak “IN OUR OWN TONGUE WHEREIN WE WERE BORN.”
(iv) Vss 9 & 10 then lists the foreign places these men had come from, and
(v) Vs 11 states again “we do hear them speak in OUR TONGUES the wonderful works of God.”
(vi) Four times does the Holy Spirit specifically record that these were intelligible human languages & yet we still have well meaning people today trying to fob off the Acts 2 experience as something mystical, incomprehensible, heavenly & angelic. Nonsense!