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As I read the account of Pentecost from Acts 1 and 2, while no one could take credit for the powerful outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the miraculous ability to speak in languages that people hadn’t learned, and the 3000 souls that were saved except God Himself, I find some practices that were part of the Pentecost experience which set the stage for all that happened. Let’s look again at what took place and see what the disciples were doing on that day.

I want to point out first, that just before Pentecost, the followers of Christ were practicing obedience.  Before Jesus ascended into Heaven, He instructed His followers to go to Jerusalem.  He told them to wait there for the “gift” the Father had promised.  He was referring to the gift of the Holy Spirit. That’s Acts 1:4. The same was told to the disciples at the end of Luke.  When Jesus ascended into Heaven, they went to Jerusalem, and Luke 24:53 says they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.  They did as they were instructed to do.

I’ve met some believers who are interested in an experience with the Holy Spirit, but they are less interested in obedience to Christ when He speaks.  You can’t have one without the other.  Obeying Christ’s commands will set you up with an encounter with the Holy Spirit and disobedience to Christ will cause you to miss Divine appointments.

We are deceiving ourselves if we think we can serve the Lord in miraculous ways and disobey Him at the same time.  The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ.  The Holy Spirit won’t come in power upon people who choose disobedience over discipleship.  Being powerful disciples of Christ is about more than being in the right place at the right time.  It means obedient submission to God’s plans over ours.

Would you like to see the power of Pentecost fall on our community? Let’s make sure we aren’t hindering the Spirit’s outpouring by being disobedient to the commands of Christ.  Let’s practice obedience to the commands of Christ.

A second observation I will make is that the followers of Christ were practicing unity.  They were on the same team.  They were seeking the Lord together.  They were waiting for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit together. God dwells in power where His people dwell in unity. They were together for a reason.  God wanted to use them as a group.

One way they expressed their unity was through being united in prayer.  Listen to Acts 1:14, “They all joined together constantly in prayer.”  There is power in agreement.  When we agree with one another in prayer, when we express unity in prayer, we invite the Holy Spirit to move in power in our midst.

Notice as well that they all had an experience with the Holy Spirit. It wasn’t a few people who were filled with the Spirit while the rest watched and took notes.  No, there was unity in that moment.  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit.  Tongues of fire came and rested on each of them. For the rest of their lives, they would talk about the day the sound of a rushing wind filled the room where they had gathered and where they all felt the power of God infiltrate their beings. They had come together, and from their togetherness, as they obeyed the Lord’s instructions, something brand-new was born in them.

The power of Pentecost, the fire of Pentecost, will bring people together.  People from every nation were in Jerusalem and were brought into the experience through the miraculous gift of being able to hear about the Lord in their own language. There was incredible unity in the midst of the diversity of those languages being spoken.

Do you understand that Jesus has made it possible for us not only to be reconciled to God, but that through His Spirit, we can be reconciled to each other!  We become a Body.  We become one in Christ Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Oh, how we need another Pentecost.  We need the power of the Spirit to bond us together, especially when Satan is working overtime to try to create division everywhere we turn.

We also see the early Christ-followers practicing the proclamation of the Gospel.

When the Spirit has His way in people, they will begin to talk about Jesus. All of the believers began to declare the wonders of God. They talked about Jesus boldly as they allowed the Spirit to take over. This is what Jesus said would happen.  Jesus had told them in Acts 1:8, “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.”  Talk about a fast fulfillment of that prophecy.  They all began to speak about God in languages they had never learned because the Holy Spirit enabled them to do so. Can you picture the energy that would have been present? There was a whole lot of noise, but it wasn’t chaotic. The messages were clear to the hearer.  This is the power of Pentecost.  When we speak in the power of the Spirit, the message will be clear to all who hear.

As they proclaimed the Gospel on that day, I don’t sense any fear in the disciples on the Day of Pentecost.  No one was worried about offending anyone as they declared the wonders of God.  The entire book of Acts is marked by incredible, unprecedented boldness.  Brothers and Sisters, if we are afraid of the consequences for sharing about Jesus and His saving power, I wonder if we are walking in the power of Pentecost?  It would seem to me that when the mighty rushing wind of the Spirit filled the disciples in that upper room, any ounce of fear left them.  If we are scared to talk about Jesus, we need the power of Pentecost to proclaim the Gospel without fear.

Finally, as I evaluate what took place on that incredible day, I see the practice of receptivity to the Spirit.

After the messages were delivered in the multiple languages, Peter spoke and told everyone, from Scripture, why Jesus had come and what He had accomplished.  When he finished, there was an incredible receptivity to the move of the Spirit in their midst.  Look at verses 37 of chapter 2.

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?” 

They knew something dramatic had happened.  They understood that now that they had been given the truth, it called for a response.  They couldn’t see what they saw and hear what they heard and remain unchanged.  They weren’t indifferent.  This wasn’t a “So what” moment.  It was a “What now?” moment.  They were cut to the heart.  They were convicted of sin. They wanted it gone from their lives. They were convinced that Christ was the way to freedom.  They weren’t unaffected by the Pentecost experience.  They wanted to change.  They wanted the power of Pentecost to infiltrate their lives.

Church, when the power of God falls, that is the moment to respond.  That is the time to surrender to the work of the Spirit.  Don’t quench the Spirit’s power by walking away unchanged when God is speaking and moving by His Spirit. The outpouring of the Spirit wasn’t just for those who were given the messages in the multiple languages; it was for everyone who was gathered there.

We need another Pentecost.  We need to be passionate about cooperating with the Holy Spirit when God is moving in our midst. Future generations hang in the balance. Oh, God, give us a “What now” attitude, a “What now” heart.  Help us be responsive to the Spirit’s leading. Forgive us for the times when we have heard your Word, been cut to the heart, and the invitation has been given and our response has been, “So what” instead of “What now?”

Acts 2:41 says, “Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.”

You know what that verse tells me?  There were 3000 people who were responsive to the Holy Spirit, but there were some who weren’t.  I hate to think of what became of anyone who saw what they saw and heard what they heard and just said, “So what.”  Think about what they missed and think about where they were headed.  To see what they saw and to hear what they heard and to still have a “So what” response has to be the saddest response a person could render, but it happened, and it happens over and over again in worship gatherings today.

The Holy Spirit won’t impose Himself on us.  We have to invite Him to possess us and empower us.  Here’s the thing, when you gain the fullness of the Spirit, you not only gain boldness to witness, but you also gain the comfort you need in difficult times, you get the peace you need in turbulent times, you get the confidence you need in chaotic times, you get the discernment you need in times of decision, you get special insight that helps you to know how to navigate every circumstance.  In addition, you will have the power to be transformed and to become like Jesus.  The Holy Spirit will enable you to know the mind of Christ, to do the will of the Father, and to live your best possible life.

As I see it, we have a part to play in experiencing Pentecost.  We need to see men and women participating in obedience to Christ’s commands.  We need to see young and old engaged in worship and prayer, expressing our unity in Christ while also expressing our desire for the change the Spirit brings.  We need believers to step out and speak out about the love of Christ, to practice proclamation about the forgiveness of sin and the freedom Christ offers.  We need another Pentecost.  We need to become a people who desire to be Spirit-led.  We need to become people who are asking, “What now?”  “What do you want us to do now, God, to win our community to Christ?”  “What is our role in seeing families healed?”  “What is the part you want us to play in being shapers of the culture?”  “What can we do to offer people hope that helps them to see who Jesus is?”

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