happened after the Day of Pentecost?
The Day of Pentecost impacted Jerusalem.
Jesus’ enemies thought they were rid of Him. Suddenly their dreams were
shattered as the Holy Spirit brought a fresh revelation of a risen Lord.
Apostate religious leaders and
heathen government officials realized they had a new force on their hands.
An insignificant group of 120 suddenly grew to 3,120. All were declaring Jesus
Joel prophesied of the Spirit’s
ministry, “It shall come to pass” (Joel 3:18, KJV). Now it had
come to pass. Jesus promised, “When he is come” (John 16:8). Now
He had come. He had come to live in Christ’s followers, not merely to
empower them for a brief mission. “Another Comforter, that he may abide
with you for ever” — that is what Jesus said (John 14:16).
What adjective can do justice to
the events of those hours?
But what about the next day, the
day after Pentecost? Was everything over with the sunset? Did the revival
subside in a few hours? Was the tremendous spiritual surge followed by a receding
tide that never returned? No. The true quality of Pentecost was demonstrated
by what happened the next day, and the weeks, months and years following.
Let the record speak for itself:
“And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking
bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness
of heart, praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord
added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:46,47).
What value can be placed on a Pentecost
that has nothing left after the first thrill has subsided? Pentecost is not
a one-shot spiritual high. It is not a euphoria that exhausts itself without
leaving permanent effects.
What remains after the high makes
Pentecost what God intended it to be. As we follow the Early Church’s
ministry in the Book of Acts, qualities emerge that show the permanence of
the Pentecostal experience. What was true then is a pattern for the church
today. It must be if we are to fulfill our calling and mission.
in the Spirit
Frank M. Boyd
Holy Spirit in Action
Homer G. Rhea
Wigglesworth on the Holy Spirit
here or call
Pentecost brought a
level of spiritual life unattainable by human effort. Acts 9:31
says Jesus’ followers were “walking in the fear of
the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost.” This was
the norm now, not the exception. Spirit-filled believers found
a new way to walk. No longer did they strain to obey a Law inscribed
in stone. The Spirit brought the Law to the interior of every
life, and the world saw the results daily.
I remember the first Pentecostal
service I attended. I had been saved for several years, yet in that little
country congregation I felt spiritual vigor. I recognized the source of what
I felt was the uninhibited flow of the Spirit through those Christians.
People would speak of “being
in Pentecost.” Someone would ask, “How long have you been in Pentecost?”
The answer might be, “I’ve been in Pentecost 10 years,”
or “I’ve been in Pentecost nearly all my life.” Obviously
they weren’t talking about a denomination; they were describing a way
Pentecost brought the operation
of the spiritual gifts. These must not be confused with natural abilities
and talents. The Spirit’s gifts are His supernatural operations through
individuals to meet needs.
Paul compared the church to a human
body. Each part has a function to perform for the well-being of the whole.
Hands reach out to perform the activities. Feet provide mobility. Eyes and
ears gather information and transmit it to the brain for evaluation. These
members also detect danger.
The gifts of the Spirit have much
the same function in the church. The church needs knowledge and direction,
awareness of danger and protection from enemies. The church must distinguish
between what is deadly and what is wholesome, between the false and the true.
It must understand God’s plan and purpose.
Although we see manifestations
of gifts in the Old Testament (healings, miracles and prophecy), they were
usually associated with chosen individuals. Most were prophets.
Only after Pentecost did the whole
range of spiritual gifts begin to be exercised through all of God’s
people who were baptized in the Spirit. Paul said these manifestations are
“given to every man,” referring to every Spirit-filled believer
(1 Corinthians 12:7).
In the Book of Acts, we observe
needs arising in the church’s life after Pentecost. We also note how
the Spirit’s timely exercise of the appropriate gifts met those needs.
This is a vital part of the permanent effects of Pentecost. In these days
of fierce spiritual conflict they must be among the church’s weapons.
Pentecost energized the church
into a dynamic force. Christ’s followers did not merely react when the
world acted. The opposite was true. After Pentecost the world knew the church
was in town. Everyone was familiar with religion, but something new had burst
on the scene. The sharp distinction between the church and its surroundings
always stuck in the world’s face. They had a problem on their hands
too big to handle.
Someone has said the early Christians
preached like people who had just seen the risen Christ. A few of them had
seen Him; the majority had not. Yet the Spirit had made Him just as real to
Today’s society needs to
hear from Christians who live and speak as if they have just come from an
audience with the risen Lord. The Spirit’s presence and power will make
us a people who leave that kind of impression on the world.
Pentecost must become to all of
us more than just a past experience to which we pay lip service.
That experience must be an unbroken reality that intensifies rather
than fades with the passing of time. Then our world will know
the church is alive in this world.
D. Barney, an Assemblies of God minister, was adult editor in
the Sunday School Curriculum and Literature Department at the
Assemblies of God Headquarters before his retirement. He passed
away May 13, 2004.
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