Summary: As we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost we appreciate the ministry of the Holy Spirit, without Whose presence in it, this church, every church, would only be a gathering of people.
SERMON – Every church a Pentecostal church
Today is Pentecost, which some people call Whitsun or White Sunday,
because priests and ministers used to wear white robes
to symbolise the Holy Spirit
who came down on Jesus in the form of a dove
immediately after he had been baptized by Jordan in the river Jordan.
The preaching tabs that some ministers wear
symbolise the Holy Spirit’s influence or anointing on the sermons they preach.
Although most people and church members included,
consider Christmas and Easter to be the most important Christian festivals,
Whitsun or Pentecost should be given more honour
because the Church was born when the Holy Spirit,
the Third Person of the Holy Trinity,
came down on the first disciples and followers of Jesus
and filled them with dunamis power - Holy Dynamite -
on the Jewish festival of Pentecost.
Today, we should say ‘Happy birthday, Church,
you are 1,978 years old’ (in 2012).
The “religious” meaning of Christmas has diminished much over recent years
and has been commercialized almost out of recognition.
Anyone would be forgiven for thinking it was Santa Claus' birthday,
At Easter most people celebrate the coming of Spring
rather than the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
and most children think of chocolate eggs
rather than the stone that rolled away from the entrance to Jesus’ grave.
More children think of the Easter Bunny than the risen Son of God.
So far Pentecost has not been commercialized,
so it remains predominantly a Christian festival,
and today we remember the Holy Spirit
and thank Him for empowering the first disciples
and for being our Comforter and our Advocate before the Father.
The word Pentecost actually means Fifty Days
and originally referred to the Jewish Feast of Weeks
which always falls 50 days after Pesach or Passover,
which for us marks the death of Jesus.
Pentecost, the Feast of Weeks, was the time when Jews thanked God
of the first fruits of the harvest,
and in Hebrew the Feast is called “Yom Habbik-kurum”
which literally means “Day of the First Fruits”.
On this day Jews remember that it is God who is responsible
for providing them with homes and livelihood,
health, possessions and everything that we see around us.,
and thank Him for it.
The first Christians were Jews and did not celebrate Christmas or Easter
but we know that they celebrated the Passover and Pentecost,
for in Acts 20 v. 16 it says Paul sailed past Ephesus,
which he very much wanted to visit,
because he was anxious to be in Jerusalem for the Feast of Weeks.
The early Christians celebrated Pentecost for 2 reasons:
1. because they were Jews and it was Yom Kabbik-kurum, and
2. to remember and celebrate the time when the Holy Spirit fell
on the 120 Christian men and women
who were gathered in the Upper Room,
and filled the timorous and cowering believers with the Holy Boldness
to go out in the streets and convert of thousands of new believers.
God does not do things without a plan and a purpose
so the day that He chose for his Holy Spirit to fall on those early believers,
the first Christians,
was no accident or coincidence.
The church was born on that particular day
because those 120 people were the First Fruits of Jesus’ Harvest of Souls.
Acts 2 reminds us that the Church was born in a blaze of glory.
The Holy Spirit came down in the form of a mighty wind and tongues of fire.
The first Christians were hiding, afraid of being rounded up and killed,
by the Jews or the Romans,
but after the Holy Spirit fell on them
they were filled with power from on high
and boldly went where they would not have gone only 10 minutes before,
and so the Church was born
and over centuries the Gospel has been taken to every part of the world,
by word-of-mouth, radio, TV, and now via the Internet
and Satellite, such as the God Channel..
We are challenged by this fact of Church history
and have to ask ourselves:
if the Church was glorious, strong and growing daily in times past,
then why is it not like that now, (at least here in Scotland),
and what can we do about it.
The Holy Spirit can bring revival, power and life and growth today,
He has not changed,
and He will, I believe, bring about another Pentecost,
another movement of God,
another downpouring of Dunamis power,
that will bring growth and blessing to God’s church,
and to us as individual believers,
individual members of God's church and family,
if we pray enough for this.
He might fall on us with tongues of fire or with the sound of a mighty wind,
as He did in Acts 2,