What Day Is This?
Acts 2: Acts 2:1-12 & Acts 2:36-42
- Do you like to celebrate? Do you like to have fun? Do you like to have birthdays?
- Guess where I celebrated my birthday? Chucky Cheese – have you ever been to Chucky Cheese? I am still working on getting my hearing back.
- There is great commercial out there about a woman who is talking to her phone to remind her to clean the house tomorrow but today we are going to dance then she tells her phone to play, shake, rattle and roll – she goes off dancing.
- Do you sing in the shower?
- Are you the one who leads happy birthday songs?
- Have you ever been around someone that glows with enthusiasm?
- It is amazing to me that so many people would rather be Winnie the Pooh’s friend Eeyore than his friend Tigger. Give me Tigger to be around – he is bouncy and full of life.
What is today? It is Pentecost. We celebrate Christmas, the birth of Jesus, even people who don’t believe in Christ celebrate the days off and even give and receive presents. We celebrate His resurrection, & most of the world recognizes Easter as a very special day on the calendar – if nothing else we get jelly beans and chocolate bunnies.
But today is Pentecost and hardly anyone realizes it. We are celebrating graduations and Memorial Day tomorrow. Pentecost should be celebrated – it is the birthday of the Church and God has given us the wonderful opportunity of being a part of it.
- The account of Pentecost is found in the 2nd chapter of the Book of Acts.
- The first chapter of Acts tells us of Jesus meeting with the apostles on the Mt. of Olives & telling them that they are to be His witnesses of Him to all the world.
- He also tells them that they are to wait in Jerusalem until they receive power from on high. Then He ascends out of their sight.
- So they go to Jerusalem to wait and to pray. Let’s look at the first 12 verses and then at verses 14-16.
Acts 2:1-12 (NIV)
1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. 5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: "Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs--we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!" 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, "What does this mean?"
Acts 2:22-24 (NIV)
22 "Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23 This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 24 But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.
Acts 2:36-41 (NIV)
36 "Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ." 37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?" 38 Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off--for all whom the Lord our God will call." 40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation." 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.
- Let’s spend a little time examining Acts chapters 1 & 2:
- In Chapter 1 prior to the ascension Jesus told His disciples that they needed go back to Jerusalem and wait – wait for what? They were to wait for the Holy Spirit to baptize / immerse them. Jesus tells them, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." Acts 1:8 (NIV). This verse tells us what the disciples were do and where they were to go.
- What they were to do and what we are to do is witness / confess. The disciples were to acknowledge that Jesus is Lord and Savior. We are called to talk about Christ.
- Where they were to go:
- Jerusalem = the place we worship and fellowship in – the church
- Judea = Home / the familiar / the network of influence we have. The people around us.
- Samaria = Samaria is the worst next door neighbor that you can imagine – that is a Samaritan. The guy who is always bumming money all the time.
- To the ends of the earth – anywhere where the Word has not been. Wesley thought that the world was our parish.
- Then they waited and I am certain they were not expecting what they got.
- Many people interpret this event as the coming of the Holy Spirit which is a miss-representation. Some people think this when the Holy Spirit came into existence.
- Not so God is eternal – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit from the very beginning. The Holy Spirit was part of the creation story – Genesis 1:2. In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit spoke to the prophets like Isaiah. The Holy Spirit spoke to David prophesying that one would portray the Lord that dips his hands into the same bowl (Acts 1:16, John 13:18 and Psalm 41:9)
- The Work of the Holy Spirit became the dominant reality in the life of the early Church and it should continue to be the dominant reality of the Church today:
- The Holy Spirit told the disciples what to do and where to go. Like Phillip was told to go near the chariot of the Ethiopian so that he could lead him to a full understanding of Christ. Paul was reliant on the directions of the Holy Spirit.
- All the leaders of the Church were men of the Spirit. Paul tells the Ephesians that it was the Holy Spirit that makes them overseers and shepherds of the Church (Acts 20:28)
- The Spirit was the source for day to day courage and power. When Peter spoke in front of the Sanhedrin it was with the power of the Holy Spirit. This is the same guy who denied Christ because he was afraid – not anymore he was empowered by the Holy Spirit.
- The other thing we need to notice in Acts is that the measure of the man or woman is determined by the reliance they have on the Holy Spirit. The person that is attempting to do the will of God will experience more and more the wonder of the Holy Spirit.
- It is hard to explain what happened that day – this we do know the Holy Spirit moved in powerful way. The disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit. The symbolism of the fire and wind used here, representing the Spirit, is important:
- Jesus said the Spirit is like the wind, blowing wherever it pleases.
- Fire represents the holy presence of God.
- The Holy Spirit, with the gift of tongues, broke the communication barrier so that everyone could hear the gospel in his own language.
- The people were amazed, astonished and perplexed when they saw these phenomena; something extraordinary had happened. Wouldn’t you be perplexed if I got up and spoke fluent Chinese – in fact I would be astonished, but that is exactly what happened; it was 2 miracles: one the speaking and 2 the hearing.
- Peter the coward of Holy Week gets up and preaches a sermon that cuts to hearts of those listening – they call out that they want what he has. He boldly tells them they must repent and be baptized. 3000 were added to the church on its birthday.
- That is the history – what does that mean for us?
- In the early church Christians were people who caused trouble in the world – (Acts 17:6 NIV "…These men who have caused trouble all over the world have now come here). They were changing the world around them for the better. Are we changing the world we live in?
- What kind of headlines would Pentecost have in the 21st century – would the disciples been arrested for terrorism? Would they have been fined for unlawful open air gathering?
- People would think we were nuts, crazy if we got up and spoke in a foreign language and led 3000 people to Christ. If we would allow the Holy Spirit to work in us the way the disciples did we would be unstopable.
- We would be changing the world.
- Paul puts it this way in Ephesians 5:15-20 (NIV) 15 Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery (dishonesty). Instead, be filled with the Spirit. 19 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
- The command to be filled with the Holy Spirit means to be continually filled with the Spirit.
- To live out the will of God today we must be filled on regular basis with the Holy Spirit.
- There are some similarities between being drunk with alcohol and being drunk or filled with the Spirit. The alcohol controls the person if they have even a moderate amount. The Spirit controls us if we are filled with it.
- Alcohol can change our personality, so can the Holy Spirit alter our personality.
- Many people who are drunk with alcohol become happy, hearty, fun loving, also sometimes obnoxious.
- If we are filled by the Holy Spirit we are then also joyful, hearty, fun loving, positive and also we can be obnoxious to those who are different than us.
- What does it mean to be filled with the Holy Spirit?
- First, we need to make a distinction between being filled with the Holy Spirit and being baptized with the Holy Spirit.
- Baptism with the Holy Spirit happens once at the time we are connected with Christ, at our spiritual birth. We are born of the Spirit – we are immersed with the Spirit. This is when spiritual birth happens.
- All of us have a need of this indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
- Everybody basically has an empty hole inside of them that they try to fill with money, drugs, alcohol, power – and none of the material stuff works.
- That empty hole can only be filled through Christ’s Spirit indwelling in us. That is what the initial spiritual birth – baptism fills. That void we have without Christ is now filled with Christ – the Holy Spirit.
- Being filled is something we are commanded to have happen all the time.
- The command is “be continually filled with the Holy Spirit”. Being filled is something that happens over and over again.
- To be filled means that we are controlled by Christ’s Spirit.
- We are commanded to be filled from the time we get up until we get up the next day. Even though we are never abandoned by the Spirit we need to be continually filled.
- So how do we get filled with the Holy Spirit? I have seen big books on this – let us not complicate this. I think being filled is a 4 step process:
- We must have an all consuming desire to be filled. A. W. Tozer: "Before we can be filled with the Spirit, the desire to be filled must be all-consuming. It must be for the time the biggest thing in the life, so acute, so intrusive as to crowd out everything else” Do we have that desire to be filled above all else?
- Clean inside and out. God is not going to put Himself into something that is dirty – the first step is get cleaned up. Ask for forgiveness and realize that we are forgiven.
- 1 John 1:9 (NIV) 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
- Count on that promise of being purified from all unrighteous
- Ask to be filled. We don’t have because we don’t ask. Luke 11:13 (NIV) 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"
- Allow the empowerment to happen: Trust that your filled and then live under the power of the Holy Spirit.
- Ever wonder why Christianity hasn’t made a big impact on our culture? We are impotent because we aren’t being filled with the Holy Spirit.
- We try to live on our own power but that doesn’t work. We need God’s power. The world sucks the power and witness for Christ right out of us.
- Ever notice if we go without eating for a while how our energy level diminishes? That is true with our spiritual lives as well. One of the reasons we need to be continually filled is because we give off so much spiritual energy if we are serious about following Christ. We need filled up.
Conclusion: Filler up Lord
Ephesians 5:15-20 (NIV)
15 Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery (dishonesty or corruption). Instead, be filled with the Spirit. 19 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Please click here for slides to accompany the sermon.