Summary: The presence of God in His church makes the difference.
It was the day of Pentecost. It was the time of the year when all good Jews would take part in a glorious time of celebration. Pentecost had been in existence for centuries and was a time when all Jews would come before God making their offerings of Thanksgiving for the harvest of the year. As the term Pente-cost would lead you to think, this celebration came to a climax fifty days after the Passover. People from all over the known world would journey to Jerusalem to take part in this great celebration. Pentecost to the Jew was like Thanksgiving Day to the American.
Let us allow ourselves to become a part of the festivities.
- About us we can see children running up and down the street playing and shouting as they go along.
- A couple of boys are cutting in and out of the crowd as they play tag.
- Merchants are lining the streets, trying to peddle their goods. We can hear them call, "Get your lambs; buy your bullocks for the great sacrifice of thanksgiving. Get your fresh vegetables, fruits and grains at a good price."
- We see women walking behind their husbands carrying their grain sacrifices. We marvel at both their strength and grace.
- Various carnival activities from all around the world are going on about us.
And perhaps what is most amazing is to hear all the different languages of the people who have traveled many miles away to make their sacrifices and their offerings unto the Lord.
Down at the Temple long lines of people are waiting to offer their gifts to God.
Off to the side we see an old man with a long gray beard, and a scroll in hand. He is telling the story of how Moses went up into the mountain of Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments on the Day of Pentecost many centuries prior.
Then we hear the reading of the Law: Thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor; and the beat goes on.
As all of these exciting events are taking place we wonder how anyone could miss out on a happening such as this; this phenomenal experience with the saints, the Jews, the promised of God.
It is then that we recall that not everyone is celebrating. Incidentally, down the street, a short distance away, a small group of Christian believes who had been with for 3 years have gathered in an upper room. They are waiting as Jesus had commanded them to.
Let us look in on this small gathering. We can tell that there is something unique about this group.
In Acts 1:14 we read: All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer.
It had been ten days since Jesus had ascended into heaven. Jesus had told them to go to Jerusalem and wait for the Holy Spirit to come.
For those ten days they spent their time in prayer/calling out to the Living God/laying prostrate before the Lord/seeking the will, way and word of God.
Can you imagine spending ten straight days in doing nothing but praying?
Some of those gathered had been with Jesus in the Garden of Getheseme and could not remain awake a few hours. Jesus has to continually awaken them.
Yet this group was uniquely assembled in prayer. They wanted so much to be at one with Jesus, that they were willing to spend the time in continuous prayer.
• They must have understood that if they really wanted to experience a sure enough visitation from God—there had to be a break out of convenience and a willingness to move away from would typically they would do—and try it God’s way.
• A true manifestation of God’s presence and power is preceded by consecration of prayer and by community of people.
We find that this group was unique in that scripture says they were all assembled in one place.
That is why coming to church is so important. The Upper Room represents what happens when God’s people get together.
Going to church is so important because it is the place that God has designated as a place of:
- Corporate Prayer (Effectual, fervent prayers of the righteous availeth much)
- Fellowship with the Saints (How beautiful and pleasant it is for brothers and sisters to dwell together in unity)
- Where God moves in an extraordinary way in the lives of His people (Wherever two of three are gathered in my name…..
Now I know that there is somebody who is saying right now: preacher…it doesn’t take all of that. I am just as much a Christian believer at home as I am at a church. I would say to you that as it relates to being a DOER of the word of God—you are absolutely correct. For there are people who go to church but are not followers of Jesus Christ by precept and example. However, as it relates to growing in one’s relationship with Jesus Christ—going to church is very important to the progress of the Christian Believer and God does not want anything less. Why? Because God desires it, the Word commanded it and Jesus did it.