Summary: Pentecost. The promise of Pentecost is for all who will receive it today.
"This Promise is Still for You"
The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off – for all whom the Lord our God will call.
The promise of the Holy Spirit is for today. Scripture presents the promise of a personal Pentecost, not only as valid for today, but as the normal, almost expected, experience for all believers under the New Covenant. My sermon is simply, The promise is still for you...
I chose this verse because of the way it brings the Pentecostal experience to my address. I am glad to report to you to that Jesus still baptizes believers in the Holy Spirit!
The people in Acts 2 were eager to know more about this marvelous gift of God’s Spirit as they witnessed it’s manifestation. They asked Peter and the rest, "Brothers, what shall we do?" There was a longing for this gift, a yearning in their hearts. Peter stood before them and proclaimed, "the promise is for you." And if I may add one word for our time, "the promise is still for you."
Peter said, The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off – for all whom the Lord our God will call. When he says ... for all who are far off ... Peter was not referring to just distance of miles, as if speaking to those God-fearing Jews from all nations. (v:5) He is saying more than, "the promise is also for people in Egypt, Lybia, and Rome." Jesus addressed the issue of distance in Acts 1:8 when He said, we would be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, .. Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
By saying the promise is for those who are far off, Peter is speaking to those who live in far off, non-Jewish lands. He is saying the full-gospel is for the Gentiles in distant lands. BUT he is also talking about a time-line. The word for far off means both "‘far off’ in space and ‘long’ in time." (TDNT, emph. mine) In making this point Peter says the promise is for the descendants of those listening. He says, "The promise is for you AND YOUR CHILDREN and for all who are far off - for all whom the Lord our God will call."
It is a contradiction for non-Pentecostal groups to sing, "Give me that old-time religion..." and then when it comes to the baptism in the Holy Spirit to say, "Oh God doesn’t do that any more." It is wrong to tell a Sunday School class they can be saved just like Peter and Paul, but they can only have part of their experience.
Dispensationalists claim God does not do the same things today that He did in the days of the apostles, but Church history tells a different story.
1. Acts 2:4 speaks for the first century Church: All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
2. In his History of the Apostolic Church, Dr. Philip Schaff wrote, "The speaking in tongues, ... was not confined to the day of Pentecost. ... We find traces of it still in the second and third centuries." (Brumm, What Meaneth This?, p. 90)
3. 115-202 A.D. - Ireneus, a student of Polycarp the disciple of the apostle John, wrote, "In like manner do we also hear many brethern in the church who possess prophetic gifts, ..." (Ibid.)
4. Augustine, 4th century - "We still do what the apostles did when they laid hands on the Samaritans and called down the Holy Spirit on them by the laying on of hands. It is expected that converts should speak with new tongues." (Ibid., p. 91)
5. "The Encyclopedia Brittanica states that the glossalalia was present ‘among the mendicant friars of the 13th century.’" (Ibid. p. 92)
6. "The Encyclopedia Brittanica tells of tongues ‘among the Jensenites and early Quakers, the converts of Wesley and Whitfield, ...’" (Ibid.)
7. One opponent, Dr. Middleton wrote, "After the apostolic times, there is not, in all history, one instance either well attested, or even so much as mentioned, of any particular person who had ever experienced ...(tongues), or pretended to exercise it in any age or country whatever." John Wesley wrote in protest: ‘Sir, your memory fails you again. ... It has been heard of more than once, no further off than the valleys of Dauphin." (Ibid., p. 93)
8. The Rev. R. Boyd (Baptist) a very close friend of D. L. Moody, wrote of attending a YMCA meeting: "I found the meeting ‘on fire.’ The young men were speaking with tongues, prophesying. What did it mean? Only that Moody had been addressing them that afternoon!..." (Ibid., p. 94)