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Why Should We Care About Pentecost?

Posted by on May 5, 2011 in scripture, spirit/holy spirit | 10 comments

Why Should We Care About Pentecost?

A few weeks ago, the church (and some who are not part of the church) celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Over the last few days, I’m published a few posts that deal with some of the events in Acts following his resurrection: “The Ascension of Jesus Christ,” “What is Pentecost,” and “The Day of Pentecost in the Upper Room.”

For many believers, it’s easy to understand the significance of the Jesus death, burial, and resurrection. But, why should we care about Pentecost?

About fifty days after Jesus was crucified and about 10 days after he ascended into heaven, God the Father sent the Holy Spirit to indwell his children. While the Spirit had been at work in the lives of people before that, that work seems to have always been temporary. But, in this case, the Spirit indwelled the people of God and remained with them.

On that first Pentecost (from a Christian perspective), the Spirit indwelled 120 followers of Jesus. They all began to demonstrate that the Spirit had indwelled them primarily by speaking in tongues. The people who witnessed this heard all of the people speaking in different language. But, it seems that everyone heard someone speaking their own language.

Some thought Jesus’ disciples were drunk. Peter explained to them that they were not drunk. Instead, he said, they were the recipients of the Spirit of God which had been promised by the prophets many, many years earlier. Peter briefly explained to them the significance of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, and called them to repentance. According to Luke, three thousand people repented, were baptized, and became part of God’s family that day.

This sounds amazing. This sounds wonderful. This is definitely a mighty work of the Holy Spirit.

But, if we begin to think that this alone is the importance of the Day of Pentecost, then we misunderstand the importance of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. God’s own Spirit lives within his children. He communicates with us through his Spirit. He strengthens and encourages us through his Spirit. He guides us through his Spirit. He gives us gifts for the benefit of the church through his Spirit. I could go on and on and on.

And, these are not one time occurrences. God is constantly with us and working in us and working through us and changing us and revealing to us and exhorting us and comforting us… all of these through his Spirit. This is the amazement and glory of Pentecost: not that the Spirit came down one day and did mighty works in and through Jesus’ followers, but that the Spirit remains with us every day and continues to do mighty works in and through Jesus’ followers.

All of the commands and examples and principles in Scripture would be impossible without the Spirit’s presence, empowerment, and enablement. But with God – that is, with his Spirit – we are able to live in manner that honors him, that brings him glory, and that is worthy of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Pentecost was amazing… and the ramifications of that day continue within us and continue to be amazing.


10 Comments

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  1. 5-5-2011

    I think a big difference in Christians today is how do we get the Holy Spirit. It’s available to all, some believe it’s at salvation some believe it’s a separate experience from salvation. Some say we have examples of people asking for the Holy Spirit after Pentecost, see Acts 8:14-16, Acts 9:17, and Acts 19:2. Can you clear this up? Thanks

  2. 5-5-2011

    The weak Old Covenant of external restraint has given way to the New and Better Covenant of internal motivation and divine enablement.

  3. 5-5-2011

    Nick,

    Yes, different Christians interpret those passages differently. I think another thing that compounds the problem is that we do see the Spirit working in different ways with different people in Acts. For me, I tend to see this passage from Romans as being very important to this discussion:

    You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. (Romans 8:9-11 ESV)

    In several ways, it seems that Paul is saying that those who have Christ have the Spirit and those who have the Spirit have Christ. You can’t have one without the other.

    Hutch,

    Yes, because we have the Spirit we now have the new heart that we read about in the OT Scriptures.

    -Alan

  4. 5-5-2011

    It’s unfortunate how so many seem to think that the work of the Spirit somehow stopped at the end of the book of Acts, so now we need a “man of God” to guide us into the truth.

  5. 5-5-2011

    The timing of this post is interesting to me since I was just reading Acts 2 today on my quiet time. I think we tend to overestimate the holy spirit and how much it works on in our lives in a daily basis. What happened on Pentecost changed the whole relationship between God and us.

  6. 5-5-2011

    Fred,

    True. He’s still alive and working today!

    Allie,

    Did you mean “underestimate” instead of “overestimate”? If so, I completely agree.

    -Alan

  7. 5-24-2012

    “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.”
    Joel 2:28

    “This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.”Heb. 10:16

    This is the gift that keeps on giving, giving insight into that which is central, supreme, and eternal Jesus the Christ, and in Him we move and have our being and have hope, faith, and life.

    Can you begin to imagine the thought, and passion that was conceived, and imparted on that day that the Helper came, and what joy there must have been as Father & Son rejoiced as this essential step in their grand design came to be actuality, and that joy continues here today.

    “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”
    Paul of Tarsus

  8. 5-25-2012

    Jim,

    Yes, that joy continues here today!

    -Alan

  9. 5-20-2013

    People sometimes debate about what is ‘descriptive’ versus ‘prescriptive,’ but I believe the history of the early church is largely both since it is Christ by His Spirit working through His people to provide us with an example to follow. And, as you have underscored, as Christ’s Spirit continues working through His body today, we should be alert to and heed what we can learn from His activity.

    More thoughts here:

    http://lambblood.com/ekklesia.html

    http://lambblood.com/the-church-that-christ-built.html

  10. 5-21-2013

    Rick,

    I agree. Luke definitely wrote Acts as history, but like all historians, he had to be selective. What he “selected” tells us alot about what’s important about the early church for his readers (and us).

    -Alan