26 May Pentecost
Sunday we celebrated the coming of the Holy Spirit to the church. What we call the day of Pentecost. If you go back and read the Old Testament, you will discover that Pentecost was one of the Jewish feast days. They didn’t call it Pentecost. That’s the Greek name. The Jews called it the feast of harvest or the feast of weeks. Pentecost came 50 days after Passover. In Acts chapter 1 just before the resurrected Jesus is taken up into heaven He tells the disciples about the fathers promised gift of the Holy Spirit, which will soon be given to them in the form of a powerful baptism. He tells them to wait in Jerusalem until they receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, which will empower them to go out into the world and be His witnesses. A few days later on the day of Pentecost, the disciples are all together when the sound of a mighty wind comes down from heaven, with tongues of fire resting on them. The Bible says, “all of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” The crowds observed this event and heard them speaking in different languages they were amazed and thought the disciples were drunk on wine. Peter got up and preached the good news of the kingdom and 3,000 people accepted the message of Christ. That same day they were baptized and added to the family of God.
What I have just described is a great event that gave birth to the church of the living God! I have to ask the question though, what we call Pentecost today, does it reflect what happened at Pentecost in Acts chapter 2? Before I go any further let me say this. I am Spirit filled! I speak with other tongues. But I am very saddened to look at what we call Pentecost today. For many as long as someone shouts, falls in the floor, or gives a message in tongues we call ourselves Pentecostal. However, when I read the event that took place in Acts chapter 2 the emphasis is on the 3,000 that were added to the church. It seems like in many churches that claim to be Pentecostal there is not a great number of people being added to the church. What seems to be happening is people are acting out in what they think are spiritual manifestations but are actually learned behaviors. I’ve seen it time and time again. Especially when I was on the evangelistic field traveling from church to church. Many times it seemed as if people did not care what I had to say. It was like they did not want to learn from the Word of God. They wanted me to work them up into a frenzy so they could walk away saying they felt something. Let’s remember the Word of God teaches us in 2 Corinthians 5:7 that we should not walk by what we feel but by faith. I think this is the mistake we have made in many so-called Pentecostal churches. People do not want to be accountable. They don’t want to study the word. They want to live their life like they want to live it, then come to church and be worked up into a frenzy and act out in what I call learned behavior but they say it’s being Pentecostal!
Why do we have so many labels anyways? I have stopped saying that I’m Pentecostal. When you put a label on yourself you limit yourself to only reach a certain group of people. For example if you say I’m Pentecostal, some people think you don’t believe in the Trinity. There are groups out there who say they are the real Pentecostals and they do not believe in the Father-Son-Holy Spirit as we do. Others think you may handle snakes. Then there are some who think you are just blooming idiots. Do you see how confusing this could be? Again I am not ashamed of the Holy Spirit. I am not a shamed of being Spirit filled or even operating in the gifts of the Holy Spirit as He wills. I am ashamed of the labels that we’ve given ourselves that do not adequately identify us with Christ. Let’s remember the church in the book of Acts that we are trying to identify ourselves with and say we are like, they never called themselves Pentecostals. As a matter of fact in Acts 11:26 it says that at Antioch they called the disciples Christians. Notice the disciples did not give themselves the title of Christians, the world around them took notice that they acted like Christ and gave them the name Christians. It is a form of pride to give yourselves titles. If you have to tell people what you are, that’s probably not who you are at all! If you have experienced the Holy Spirit then he will fill your life in such a way that everyone around you will know who and what you are. Get rid of the labels, hunger after God and He will fill you with His power like He did the early church. Being filled with the Spirit is to be filled with purpose, power to share Jesus with others, the comfort and strength we need in this life to live for Jesus. That is the real deal!
14 When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, 15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. 16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.