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Why Pentecost Matters to Us

Notes & Transcripts

Why Pentecost Matters to Us

Acts 2:1-21 (Initial reading: vs. 1-4)

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - May 26, 2013

*Some days seem to matter a whole lot more than others:

June 6, 1944 -- The D-Day invasion in Normandy.

Nov. 22, 1963 -- The assassination of JFK.

July 21 1969 -- Neil Armstrong took that first step on the moon.

*February 14, 1975 -- Mary and I got married. What a difference a day makes! Pentecost in Acts 2 was one of those big, big days. In fact it was one of the most important days in the history of the world, only surpassed by the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

*God paved the way for Pentecost through the coming of Jesus Christ: No Christmas, no cross, no Easter, no Pentecost. Pentecost also could not happen until the Lord Jesus went home to be glorified in Heaven.

*Paul described this glorification of Jesus in Philippians 2:8-11. There the Apostle said this about Jesus:

8. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

9. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,

10. that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,

11. and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

*The Day of Pentecost matters greatly to God, and it matters to us.

1. Pentecost matters first of all, because it was a new dispensation in God's plan.

*In vs. 1-4, Luke tells us how this new dispensation began:

1. Now when the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

2. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.

3. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.

4. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

*The amazing, miraculous events above ushered in a new dispensation in God's plan. "Dispensation" is not a word we use very often. In fact, it's not a word I normally use at all. But the original word simply means the way a household or estate is administered or managed or taken care of.

*So in Ephesians 3:2, Paul talked about "the DISPENSATION of the grace of God which was given to me for you." And in Eph 1:10, Paul talked about God's purpose "that in the DISPENSATION of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth in Him."

*The Day of Pentecost in Acts 2 marked the beginning of a new dispensation:

-A new chapter in the way God would take care of His world.

-A new chapter in the way that God would work with men.

-On that day, God the Holy Spirit came in a way that He had never come before.

*The Lord Jesus told us about this event ahead of time. Listen to John 7:37-39:

37. On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.

38. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.''

39. But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

*Now in Acts 2, Jesus had already been crucified and was risen from the dead. Back in Acts 1:4, Jesus had commanded His disciples not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, "which,'' He said, "you have heard from Me."

*Jesus told them to wait in Jerusalem, and they did wait. Then came the Day of Pentecost. It was ten days after Jesus ascended to Heaven. It was fifty days after Jesus rose from the dead. And on this Day of Pentecost, the Lord's promise was fulfilled, as the Holy Spirit came in great power!

*The church was born. The world moved into the dispensation of grace. And we are still living in the age of grace today. Now the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ literally comes to live in everyone who receives Jesus as Lord and Savior.

*So Romans 8:9-10 says this to Christians:

9. . . You are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.

10. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

*Pentecost matters to us, because it was a new dispensation in God's plan.

2. But also because it was a great demonstration of God's power.

*Please listen again to vs. 2-3:

2. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.

3. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.

*That was a most unusual and great demonstration of God's power! God's Spirit was at work in an amazing way when the church was born. We must not lose sight of this truth, as we go through the week-to-week routine of church-life:

-Making coffee for Sunday School.

-Making copies for Children's Church.

-Rehearsing songs on Wednesday night.

-Changing diapers in the Nursery.

*As we go through the week-to-week routine of church-life, we must not forget that God's Spirit was at work in an amazing way when the church was born. That's why Melvin Newland said this about how the church started: "Sometimes we act as if we think Simon Peter called a meeting of the apostles. Peter told them, 'We are here today to talk about whether or not we ought to start a church.'

*They discuss that for a while. And then James makes a motion that they start a church. John seconds the motion. And they vote 10 to 2 to start a church. So they start a church in Jerusalem."

*Of course, it didn't happen that way! Verse 2 says: "And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind." Where did the sound come from? -- From Heaven!

*God gave birth to the church. But why did He do it like this? Why did God send rushing, mighty wind and tongues of fire? (1)

[1] Church: It must have been partly because the Lord wanted us to have signs of the Holy Spirit's coming.

*He wanted His people to have sure evidence that the Holy Spirit had come into the world. The Lord wanted us to know that the coming of His Holy Spirit was not just some kind of spiritual symbolism or wishful thinking.

*The coming of the Holy Spirit was a profound reality. And God sent His Holy Spirit with compelling physical evidence on the Day of Pentecost, so that we would know He literally comes to us in a spiritual way when we trust in Jesus Christ.

*Why did the Holy Spirit come with a rushing, mighty wind, and tongues of fire? -- God wanted us to have signs of His coming.

[2] But He also wanted us to have more symbols of the Holy Spirit's character.

*God has given some symbols to help us know what the Holy Spirit is like. Of course one of those symbols is a dove. And we see this symbol in all four Gospels. For example in John's Gospel, John the Baptist said:

32. . . "I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him.

33. I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, 'Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.'" (John 1:32-33)

*God sent the Holy Spirit as a dove to show us that with all of His strength, He has a gentle, peaceful nature. The dove is a good symbol of the Holy Spirit, but here God used wind and fire.

*The Holy Spirit is like the wind:

-Independent -- We cannot control the wind!

-Invisible -- Most of the time God prefers to work behind the scenes.

-Powerful: The Holy Spirit came as "a rushing, mighty wind."

*But the Holy Spirit is also like fire to purify and give light. Jerry Shirley asked: "Why is the Holy Spirit symbolized by fire? Because one of His great ministries is to burn the impurities out of our lives! But first the fire shines the light on our sinfulness and brings us under conviction. This is the still, small voice inside of us that makes us uncomfortable when we sin.

*John R. Rice was a great pastor and preacher. After being saved for many years Dr. Rice was asked if he had gotten to the place where he no longer sinned. And Dr. Rice replied, 'No, but I've gotten to the place where I can't enjoy it!'

*True Christians cannot be content with known sin in our lives, because the Holy Spirit will bring us under conviction. That's part of the fire." (2)

*Andrew Clark talked about the tongues of fire and said: "Today we need an illuminating fire. We hope that people will see the light of Christ shining from us. It is amazing how much light the smallest of candle can give off in a dark room. When we have the Spirit of God in our lives, it should light up any room we enter. Our character should be attractive because we know God and he lives his life through us.

*Today we also need a spreading fire. Many people see the church as irrelevant to their lives today, not because it is irrelevant, but because so often the church has lost the fire that attracts people to us, and therefore spreads." (3)

*We need the transforming power of God's Spirit in our lives! The Holy Spirit certainly transformed the Apostles. As George Rennau said: "The Holy Spirit took a group of fisherman, former prostitutes, ex-religious leaders, tax collectors, and various family members of Jesus and the other disciples, and formed them into a united group we call the church. . .

*After the Pentecostal fire fell, they were united as never before. Nothing earlier had welded them into one united force. It took the fire of God's Spirit to do this." (4)

*God sent the Holy Spirit with a rushing, mighty wind, and tongues of fire. Why? -- Because He wanted us to have signs of the Holy Spirit's coming, and symbols of the Holy Spirit's character.

*The wind and the fire were great demonstrations of God's power. But there was more. We also see the church miraculously speaking in other languages. As Luke said in vs. 4: "They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance."

*Why did God send this miraculous speaking in other languages? It was a great sign of His care for the nations. Please look again starting in vs. 4:

4. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

5. Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven.

6. And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language.

7. Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, "Look, are not all these who speak Galileans?

8. And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born?

9. Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,

10. Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,

11. Cretans and Arabs we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.''

*Because of the Jewish Feast of Pentecost, many thousands of Jews from all over the world were gathered in Jerusalem. And though they were all Jews, they spoke many different languages. Verse 5 tells us that they were reverent, religious men. They were good men, but everybody needs Jesus! Nobody is good enough to go to Heaven without trusting in the cross of Jesus Christ. And God did not want these men to miss the New Testament message of salvation. So He miraculously gave the early church this gift to speak in foreign languages.

*Now some of the Pentecostal churches have misinterpreted what happened on Pentecost. They teach that tongues are a sign of salvation, and that you are not saved unless you have the evidence of speaking in tongues. But the Bible doesn't say that the new Christians spoke in tongues here. (In vs. 7&8, they "speak," and "we hear.") So the real message of tongues on Pentecost is that God loves lost people! He loves people of every tongue and tribe and nation, so He wants everyone to hear about Jesus Christ.

*God loves us! And He proved it for all time when He died on the cross for our sins. But even this special gift of languages was a powerful demonstration of His love.

*Pentecost matters, because it was a great demonstration of God's power.

3. But also because it was a bold declaration of God's pardon.

*We see this truth in vs. 11-21. This was the first time the gospel was preached after Jesus went back to Heaven. Peter preached in power and as we go through this chapter we will see that 3,000 people were saved!

[1] But tonight, notice that it was a sensational message.

*In vs. 11, the amazed people said: "We hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.'' God has done many wonderful works in His Word, and in our lives! Today He wants us to talk about these wonderful works. Peter's sermon on the Day of Pentecost was a sensational message.

[2] And in vs. 12-15, it was also a sensible message.

12. So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, "Whatever could this mean?''

13. Others mocking said, "They are full of new wine.''

14. But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, "Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words.

15. For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day.

*The mockers were being illogical, because they refused to believe. The gospel always seems foolish to people like that. But when we listen with an open heart, nothing makes more sense than the good news about Jesus Christ! Peter's sermon was a sensible message.

[3] And in vs. 16-20, it was a Scriptural message.

*There Peter said:

16. "But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

17. 'And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams.

18. and on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; and they shall prophesy.

19. I will show wonders in heaven above and signs in the earth beneath: blood and fire and vapor of smoke.

20. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and notable day of the Lord.'"

*This quote from the Old Testament Book of Joel reminds us that God's prophecy will be fulfilled. If God says something is going to happen, it is going to happen! We can count on everything in the Word of God.

*But what about vs. 20? -- "'The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and notable day of the Lord.'" Well, the sun certainly was darkened on the day that Jesus died on the cross. And if the Lord wants to do it again, that would be easier for Him than for us to turn off a lamp in our house.

*Nothing is too hard for God! And if His Word says something is going to happen, it is going to happen! Peter's sermon was a Scriptural message.

[4] And in vs. 21, it was a saving message.

*"Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved!" Aren't you glad for the gospel! Listen to a few of the Scriptures that sum it up:

John 3:16 - "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."

1 Timothy 1:15 - This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.

Colossians 1:19-20

19. For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell,

20. and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.

1 Timothy 3:16 - And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up in glory.

*And here in Acts 2:21, "It shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved."

*This message is desperately needed today, just as much as it was on the Day of Pentecost 2,000 years ago. And God wants us to do everything we can to help spread the gospel of Jesus Christ.

CONCLUSION:

*Pentecost matters to us today, because it was:

-A new dispensation in God's plan.

-A great demonstration of God's power.

-And a bold declaration of God's pardon. "Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved!"

*Let's go to God in prayer.

(1) Adapted from SermonCentral sermon "It's Pentecost!" by Melvin Newland - Acts 2:1-13)

(2) Adapted from SermonCentral sermon "The Day of Pentecost - Part 3" by Jerry Shirley - Acts 2:1-4

(3) Adapted from SermonCentral sermon "Suddenly from Heaven Came" by Andrew Clark - Acts 2:1-8

(4) Adapted from SermonCentral sermon "Pentecostal Power" by George Rennau - Acts 2:1-4

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