Summary: What happened on the day of Pentecost.
A Study of the Book of Acts
Serrmon # 3
“The Day the Fire Fell!”
An accurate understanding of what happened on the day of Pentecost is essential to our understanding of the Book of Acts. Jesus had told the disciples to remain in Jerusalem and wait for the power to carry out the Great Commission of reaching the entire world for Christ. Jesus had promised them power from on high, power that would enable them to go to the ends of the earth, to continue to preach the gospel, to face persecution. And that is just what he did, this power was so great that a sorcerer later in the book of Acts would offer to buy the secret of this power from Peter.
Last week we saw the five ways in which the disciples prepared themselves as they waited for the promise of the coming of the Holy Spirit. They prepared by practicing simple obedience, by continuing in fellowship, by being constant in prayer, by study of God’s word and by the selection and development of godly leadership.
Today it is necessary that we begin with an understanding of why the Holy Spirit came.
First, The Holy Spirit came in fulfillment of a Promise.
The Holy Spirit came not because the believers prayed but because He had been promised (Luke 24:49). As Warren Wiersbe states, “We must not conclude that this ten-day prayer meeting brought about the miracles of Pentecost; or that we today may pray as they did and experience ‘another Pentecost.’ Like our Lord’s death at Calvary, Pentecost was a once-for-all-event that will not be repeated. The church may experience new fillings of the Spirit, and certainly patient prayer is an essential element of spiritual power, but we would not ask for another Pentecost any more than we would ask for another Calvary.”
Secondly, The Holy Spirit came to fulfill Prophecy.
In verse one is says, “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.”
There are in fact three fulfilled prophecies,
1. The feast of the Passover.
The Passover was an observance of God’s
mercy to Israel in Egypt, when God brought judgment on the land of the Egyptians to convince the Pharaoh to release the children of Israel. To escape the plague on the firstborn in Egypt, the Israelites had to kill a lamb ad put the blood on the door-post and the lintels of their houses, and thus were protected from God’s wrath. Down through the centuries Israel had commemorated this event with the feast of the Passover. According to God’s timing Christ was crucified on Passover as the complete sacrificial lamb, the once for all time sacrifice for sin. His blood protects us from God’s wrath.
2. Offering of First Fruits. On the day after the Sabbath following Passover, an offering was made to God of the first fruits of the coming harvest. In John 12: 24 Jesus says of himself, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.” (NKJV) In 1 Corinthians 15:20 Pauls says, “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” (NKJV)
3. Pentecost – Feast of the Harvest. Fifty days after the feast of the first fruits (thus the name Pentecost meaning fifty) came the feast of the Harvest. Pentecost also occurred on the first day of the week (Sunday). God chose this day to bring forth his church and to initiate the world wide harvest of souls.
Thirdly, The Holy Spirit came to provide Power.
The power promised by Jesus in Acts 1:8 and Luke 24:49 is an supernatural power. This promise that the disciples would receive power when the Holy Spirit came upon them (Acts 1:8) and that they would be clothed with power from on high (Luke 24:49) was a promise given to sustain the completion of world evangelization. It’s a shame that the term "Pentecostal power" has for many people become more associated with speaking in tongues than with the harvest of world evangelization. Since the task of world evangelization is not yet complete, then the promise of this extraordinary power to sustain and carry forth the work is still valid.
The lessons of history give a strong support for this in that crucial breakthroughs for the gospel have come because of periodic extraordinary outpourings of the Spirit.
From time to time, God has moved in extraordinary ways in the history of the Christian movement. He has poured out his Spirit in fresh, new, uncustomary, dramatic ways, these times have been called times of revival or awakening.
Pentecost was the first of these great outpourings on the Christian church, and until the task of world evangel-ization is completed, I believe it is our duty to pray for fresh seasons of the extraordinary outpouring of God’s Spirit -- to awaken and empower the church in reaching the world for Christ. So we come to our text this morning not with just a mere academic interest in some distant, unrepeatable event, but with the persuasion that we have much to gain for our day of widespread deadness and powerlessness from the Spirit’s present work.