Summary: The revival at Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost is the greatest of all time. No revival has been so sudden, so tremendous in its immediate effects and none so lasting in its results.
ACTS 2: 1-47
THE REVIVAL OF PENTECOST
The revival at Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost is the greatest of all time. No revival has been so sudden, so tremendous in its immediate effects and none so lasting in its results. One hundred twenty disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ were suddenly immersed in the Holy Spirit. Their characters were wonderfully enriched. New bold gifts of speech, spiritual insight and spiritual understanding were conferred on them. A tremendous increase in zeal, love and devotion was conveyed to them. Within a few hours 3,000 men and women were converted. The New Testament Church was established. Every day conversions took place; some days scores, other days hundreds and even thousands were added to the ranks of the disciples. This event did not last for a season, but for years this gracious work continued in Jerusalem. It also spread abroad. The revival birthed missionaries who went out in all directions. These missionaries birthed revivals which lead to the formation of New Testament churches in other areas. Every city of importance in the Roman Empire experienced the influence of the movement of God during the years that followed. This outpouring not only began the spread of Christianity throughout the whole known earth, it’s influence has reached our own era as well. Such were the effects and results of the revival at Pentecost.
It is called the day of Pentecost because it occurred on the fiftieth (Gk, Pentekostos) day after Passover (Lev. 23:15f) or the day after the seventh Sabbath. The Holy Spirit came in a mighty downpour on the disciples on the first day of the week or Sunday. Though it was the Feast of Weeks also know as the Festival of First-fruits, the reason for the celebration was the anniversary of the giving of the Law at Mt. Sinai (Ex.19:1). It was one of the three great annual pilgrimage festivals when all Jewish males would assemble in Jerusalem to worship God. So Jews from all over the diaspora or scattering were present when the fulfillment of the promise suddenly happened.
Even though the Holy Spirit had been present and actively working during the O.T. era, He now comes with visible and unforgettable evidences of wind and fire. Wind is a sign of God’s Spirit as both the Greek and Hebrew words for spirit can also be translated depending on the context (Ezek. 37:9-14). Fire was also a symbol of the divine presence as seen in the numerous O.T. events such as the burning bush (Ex. 3:2-5), the pillar of cloud by day and fire by night that guided Israel in their wilderness journey (Ex. 13:21), the consuming fire on Mt. Sinai (Ex. 24:17), and the pillar of fire that rested over the tabernacle in the desert (Ex. 40:38). God once again is present among His people in a mighty way. [Walter Kaiser, Jr. Revive Us Again. Broadman & Holman Publ. Nashville, TN. 1999. pp. 186-188]
Four encouraging features of Pentecost provide preparation for the time when God sends a similar outpouring of the Holy Spirit to revival the church once again.
I. THE INDWELLING OF THE SPIRIT IS THE FULFILLMENT OF GOD’S PROMISE, 14-21.
II. THE INDWELLING OF THE SPIRIT BEARS WITNESS TO LIFE OVER DEATH, 22-36.
III. THE SPIRIT INDWELLS THROUGH REPENTANCE, 37-41.
IV. THE INDWELLING SPIRIT LEADS HIS CHURCH, 42-47.
After “the Holy Spirit” fell upon the prayers in the upper room they immediately began powerfully sharing Jesus with wonderful boldness. Many of the estimated million plus in Jerusalem for Pentecost scoffed at them or responded to the witness in their native language with questions of wonder. Peter turned 180 degrees from the intimidated, swearing and frightened disciple of less than two months ago at Jesus’ Passover to address the crowd in newborn boldness.
Peter thundered that the outspoken disciple’s flowing powerful witness was not the result of drink but were under the full influence and control of the Spirit of God. This event was a sign of the promised Spirit prophesied by Joel 800 years earlier (v. 16). What had God promised through His prophet Joel? There are three basic elements prophesied in Joel 2:28-32 quoted here in Acts: (1) the distinctiveness of this outpouring, (2) the extent of this out pouring and (3) the result of this outpouring.
While no yielded believer in the O.T. had been without the aid and work of the Holy Spirit, what happened at Pentecost was climactic and exuberant. This new, outward and mark coming of the Holy Spirit was extremely extravagant in comparison with what can now be regarded as a scarcity of His work and ministry. The word “pour out” in Hebrew readily depicts Jesus’ use of rivers of living waters, a veritable down pour or immersion of the Holy Spirit (Mt. 3:11, Mk. 1:8; Lk. 3:16-17). This down pouring of the Holy Spirit simultaneously baptized all living believers into the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13).