This message was preached at Word Of Grace Church on June 5th 2022 by Colin D'Cruz. For the audio & video please click here. To listen to the worship please click here.
Today is a special day because it’s a celebration of the Christian feast – Pentecost. It is a great reminder of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that we find in the 2nd chapter of Acts that resulted in the birthing of the church and the subsequence spread of the gospel to all nations.
Remember, on the day of the Pentecost, there was an outpouring of the Holy Spirit, Peter preached and the gospel went forth. It’s important that we remember these great events in church history because they are so instructional for us. We are going to look at many different scriptures this morning.
Before that, I’m sure all of us have participated in a race. If you remember, just before the race begins, what are the words we hear? “On your mark! Get set go!” Can you believe that Jesus almost said this after His resurrection? He didn’t use the same words. But he says to His disciples, “Go to Jerusalem. Wait for the promise of the Father and go into the world”. It’s almost the same as “On your mark! Get set go!”
We are going to look at the 2nd chapter of Acts and see how Jesus’s disciples obeyed His commands.
Acts 1:12 - Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day’s walk[c] from the city. – On your marks!
Acts 1:13-14 - 13 When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. 14 They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers. – Get Set!
In Acts 2, as they were waiting there, the Holy Spirit comes upon them. As they were waiting, Jesus gave them this promise. Jesus rose from the dead after His death on the cross and for a period of 40 days, He met with the disciples. He gave them convincing proof saying He’s alive.
Acts 1:4-5 - 4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with[a] water, but in a few days you will be baptized with[b] the Holy Spirit.”
This verse “baptized in the Holy Spirit” is there in almost all the gospel lessons and in Acts. It is important. God‘s plan for each one of us is to get baptized. Without the Holy Spirit, we don’t have the power to do anything.
Acts 1:8 - But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Peter was afraid of a servant girl. When he was asked about Jesus, he was afraid and ran away. But that same Peter, boldly preaches the gospel. The difference was that he received power. Are you afraid to share the gospel with anyone? Especially these days wherein many states, you could be accused of forcibly converting somebody and be sent to jail. The Bible says that on our own we can’t do it. But when we are baptized in the Holy Spirit, we can overcome our fear and boldly preach the gospel.
Acts 2:1-4 - When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[a] as the Spirit enabled them.
They were not just playing video games but they were worshipping and praying.
Verse 2 says, “Suddenly”. They didn’t know when the Holy Spirit would come. But suddenly there was a sound like a violent wind filled the room and tongues of fire came upon each one of them. The first gift of the Holy Spirit we see here is “Speaking in tongues”. WE see it in verse 4.
Just to summarize what happens next is that there were other Jews who had come for this Pentecost and they heard the disciples speaking in different languages. AS they were wondering, Peter, stood up and proclaims the gospel as you can see in the verses -
Acts 2: 22-24 - 22 “Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23 This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men,[d] put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 24 But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.
Acts 2:38 - 38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 2: 40-41 - 40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.
So we see on the first Pentecost that Peter preached powerfully and 3000 were saved and added to the 120 disciples. And the church was birthed. And the rest of the Acts tells us how they started living.
We will cover that in the subsequent messages.
This morning, if you are here and you’ve not yet received forgiveness of your sins if you’ve not yet put your faith in Jesus if you have backslid in life, let me tell you, Jesus came, he died for the forgiveness of our sins on the cross and he rose from death. He has a plan and purpose for you on earth. But you’ve got to receive him into your life. And he says he will fill you with the Holy Spirit and give you power.
This morning, we are going to look at 3 things about the day of the Pentecost.
1. 1. It caused the reversal of the tower of Babel
In Genesis 11, we see that there was only one language in the whole earth and people moved together.
Gen 11:4 - 4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”
At that time people were united, they had one language and they had one goal – to build a tower to the heavens. They wanted to do this for 2 reasons –
· To make a name for themselves
· Not to get scattered across the earth
When God saw what was happening, this is what he thought –
Genesis 11:6 - 6 The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.
God, the trinity understood that if people work together in unity, then nothing is impossible. Unity is very important. But God wasn’t pleased with this unity and this goal because of 2 reasons –
i. Pride and arrogance – They wanted to build a tower to make a name for themselves.
ii. Against the command given to Noah – In Gen 9, God commanded Noah to multiply and fill the earth
God was not pleased with this and He caused confusion in the languages and that’s how different languages came to pass. Because they couldn’t understand one another, God forced them to spread out to different parts of the earth.
The people of Babel were cursed and their unity was broken.
How did Pentecost reverse this?
Acts 2:5 - 5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven.
When the Holy Spirit was poured out, the gift of tongues was given and they could understand what these people were saying in their own language. So one of the things the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the gift of tongues did was it reversed what happened there and it enabled a new unity to come for God’s glory.
So, unity is important and being filled with the Holy Spirit is important for that unity.
If we look at our country, we are proud to have diversity in culture, customs, outfits, traditions, languages etc. But in the church of Jesus Christ, there’s got to be unity where no matter you are from, we are ONE in Jesus Christ. And when we stay united and work in unity, nothing is impossible for us.
2. 2. The reversal of death due to the law
In Exodus, when Moses led the people of Israel out of slavery in Egypt into the promised land, he left the people there and went up to the mountain to meet with God and that’s where he got the ten commandments.
Exodus 24: 15-18 - 15 When Moses went up on the mountain, the cloud covered it, 16 and the glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai. For six days the cloud covered the mountain, and on the seventh day the Lord called to Moses from within the cloud. 17 To the Israelites the glory of the Lord looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain. 18 Then Moses entered the cloud as he went on up the mountain. And he stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights.
Moses was just with God for 40 days and 40 nights without eating or drinking anything. He just feasted and was sustained by the presence of God.
When we are in the presence of God, God’s presence can sustain us through whatever we are going through. While Moses was in God’s presence, there was something else happening down. The Israelites got tired of waiting for Moses and asked Aaron to make an golden calf. They went crazy dancing before this idol and God was not pleased with them.
Exodus 32:15-16 - 15 Moses turned and went down the mountain with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands. They were inscribed on both sides, front and back. 16 The tablets were the work of God; the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets.
Exodus 32:19 - 19 When Moses approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, his anger burned and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces at the foot of the mountain.
Exodus 32:25-28 - 25 Moses saw that the people were running wild and that Aaron had let them get out of control and so become a laughingstock to their enemies. 26 So he stood at the entrance to the camp and said, “Whoever is for the Lord, come to me.” And all the Levites rallied to him. 27 Then he said to them, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Each man strap a sword to his side. Go back and forth through the camp from one end to the other, each killing his brother and friend and neighbor.’” 28 The Levites did as Moses commanded, and that day about three thousand of the people died.
Do you see this coincidence in the numbers? When the law was given, those who sinned were judged and 3000 were killed.
But on the day of Pentecost, when the Spirit was poured out, 3000 were added. The law gives death and the Spirit gives life. Hallelujah! 3000 were given eternal life!
3. 3. Received a blueprint for the church
What is the purpose of the church? Who gets entry into the church? What are we called to do while we are waiting for Jesus to call us home?
The entry into the church is very clear in Acts 2.
Acts 2:37-38 - When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
· Faith in Jesus
· Repentance of sins
· Baptism in water
· Receive the Holy Spirit
Acts 2:41 - Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.
Acts 2: 42-47 - 42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
From verse 42, we see what they did after they were added to the church. They fellowshipped together, they met together at homes, in temple courts, ate together, praised God, prayed together, there was unity, shared their possessions and it speaks about Holy Spirit and unity. It’s only in the church of Jesus Christ we see this unity. In our country, people don’t even eat together because of caste and religious divisions. But in the church, we accept one another as Christ accepted us.
What are we here for?
It is not to meet here every Sunday. Our purpose is to scatter and proclaim the gospel wherever we are. Some are called to go out, to another place, and some will be here, but our purpose is to proclaim the gospel and to do good deeds to bring glory to our Father in heaven. Love one another, proclaim the gospel. Do good deeds.
This is just a summary of Pentecost and we will be covering it in detail in the coming weeks.
Let’s pray to God to fill us more with His Holy Spirit just as He did on the day of the Pentecost.
Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again), Spirit-filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that has people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service. Word of Grace is a part of a wider international family of Churches called RegionsBeyond.To know about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.