Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Outpouring of the Holy Spirit At Pentecost

"When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.    And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them.  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability" Acts 2:1-4 (NRSV).


What an awesome Sunday school lesson we had on Acts Chapter 2 on Sunday! The lesson was entitled, The Signature of the Holy Spirit. In this lesson we discussed the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.  A signature by definition is "the name of a person or a mark or sign representing his name, marked by himself or by an authorized deputy; 2. the act of signing one's name; 3.  a distinctive mark, characteristic, etc., that identifies a person or thing (freedictionary.com).  The signature of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost included distinguishing marks or characteristics, that gave evidence, effect, and explanation of His coming. Jesus tarried on the earth 40 days after His resurrection preparing the disciples for the promised new move of God, the Comforter, the Holy Spirit.  The bible says, "He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for the Father's promise.  This, He said, "is what you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now (Acts 1:4-5).  The Holy Spirit came suddenly. There was a source, from heaven. There was sound like a rushing wind. The was  sight, cloven tongues as of fire descending on each person. There was speaking, Galileans (uneducated people) in different languages they had not learned, and Peter speaking, explaining the event as what was prophesied by the prophet Joel.  The result of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and Peter's preaching repentance for the remission of sin was the Kingdom received an abundant harvest of souls as 3,000 received Christ, were baptized and were added to the church that day (v 41).
 
In this Acts 2, we see the birth of the early church.  The Holy Spirit showed up suddenly without expectation and invitation (Acts 2:1). No one had to invite Him to the Birthday celebration.  He hosted it Himself.   God is all knowing, all powerful, and everywhere simultaneously. He doesn't need to be "asked in," or "invited into this place," for David declared, "The earth is the Lord's and the fullness there of, the world any they that dwell therein" Psalm 24:1.  There is no where you can go, and God is not there.  Psalm 139:8 states, "If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there." It would do us good to take the Holy Spirit off our agendas, and get on His agenda.

The reason the Holy Spirit shows up and shows out with such fanfair, engaging miracle three of the five senses, sight, sound, and speech, was because God needed to get their attention.  He needed them to understand that there was about to be a radical shift in how they worshipped God and related to Him.   The outpouring of the Holy Spirit signaled  relocating of the manifest presence, Shekinah Glory of God from the temple in Jerusalem to the new temple in the believer.
 
We overlook all the ways God gives us "tongues," although not exactly like in the text. I studied intensive Spanish in high school and college but I didn't have the faith to stick with it. I know only a few words when I hear them and can speak even less. What happened at Pentecost was a move of God because the uneducated Galileans never learned the languages they spoke. What I am talking about are the ways we switch between "languages" at work, home, and church everyday without attributing that as a working of the Holy Spirit.
 
When I worked at Humana, I struggled to understand what they were talking about in some departments because I couldn't speak the "language. "The codes and terms used differed across departments. I had to know enough to communicate with everybody. We are blessed when we can understand people from different backgrounds, even the youth with their hip hop language.
 
I am certainly believe that our youth should get an education, but just because some of our youth don't speak the King's English doesn't mean they are not intelligent. We do our youth a disservice when we judge them too quickly by their cover, their appearance and their language without taking the time to get to know them and understand where they are coming from.
 
I love it when God opens the eyes of my understanding to see what was there all along! Oh, to see as God sees! Oh, to have a revelation, and be able to share it with others! It makes my heart happy, and my toes tingle! That is why Sunday school and regular bible study and word-based small groups are so important. People who go to church for worship alone don't grow as they could or should. We are praying for the manifest presence of God in our lives, a move of the Holy Spirit! Let us know the Lord and the power of His resurrection!  Jesus saves!

Jesus Saves Ministries
 

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