VIDEO of Acts 2:1-4
When Pentecost came it came with a mighty WIND a sign of transformation.
A rushing, mighty wind blew into the place where the believers had been gathered together, praying and waiting for the promised coming of the Holy Spirit. We are not talking gentle breeze. We are not talking refreshing gust. We are talking Holy Spirit Duratio that verse one says was violent. You weren’t going to miss it. If you were there, you were going to be impacted by this wind.
This was a fresh wind. This was a sign that God was birthing a new thing. Indeed, on Pentecost when the wind, the “ruach” of God which means “air in motion” was giving birth to the church. This was air in motion because this Wind was literally the breath of God! And let me tell you something, when God breathes worlds are created. When God breathes, man becomes a living soul. When God breathes, people are empowered to perform miracles. When God breathes, old things pass away and behold all things become new. (II Cor. 5:17) This is the power of Pentecost! The Wind of God, the Holy Spirit, makes the impossible possible.
No wonder (vs 17) that sons and daughters start to prophesy when God breathes! NO wonder young men see visions and old men dream dreams when God breathes. NO wonder men and women start to prophesy when God breathes. Because when God breathes He shares His power with His people. When God breathes everyone gathered will know it.
God breathing is literally a sign of creation. It is a sign of Him doing a new thing. Remember that it was when God breathed into Adam’s nostrils the breath of life that man became a living soul (Gen. 2:6-7). And now, on the other side of the Resurrection God sends a demonstration, He creates an experience, He reveals His purpose again for Jesus’ life, death, burial and resurrection. It is not only so that God can restore the breath that sin has sucked out of us, but it is also so that Creator God can remake every person who has been marred by sin which is all of us!
That is what it means to be born again. That is what it means to be born of the Spirit. It is an experience with the power of God that does not just blow us over or blow over our lives, but it is literally God breathing into us, remaking us in His image! On Pentecost, God was breathing His church into existence. Hallelujah! Have you experienced the Pentecostal power of the breath of God?
And it’s not just people who have never experienced the wind of God who need it. The infilling, empowering of the breath of God is something believers need every minute of every day. We are not talking about a one and done experience, but we are talking about asking for, receiving and counting on the Holy Spirit to breathe the life of Christ inside of you every day. Wind keeps us from getting stale. Wind keeps us moving in the right direction. Wind keeps us refreshed and ready for action as the church of God on His mission. Biologists may tell us we cannot survive without water and sunlight. They are correct, but one thing they haven’t considered is that as believers we also cannot survive without Wind! We are spiritually dead without the Spirit of God!
God was doing a new thing at Pentecost. It was a transforming thing. It was a reshaping of who they were from the inside out.
If you remember when Moses received the Ten Commandments and came down the mountain to give the Law to God’s people, they were busy worshipping a golden calf. They were busy breaking the first of the commandments. They knew better. As a result of their disobedience 3000 people died! What we see on the Day of Pentecost stands in stark contrast to that OT story where we saw man’s inability to keep God’s law. We can’t please God in our own strength and power, we can’t be good enough to get close to Him, but once again, as He descended in the person of Jesus Christ so we could become holy through the forgiveness of sins, so that we could “become good” if you will, He descended again on the Day of Pentecost to indwell us with the Holy Spirit to enable us to stay good! Hallelujah!
The new thing God was doing was what He had promised to do in Jeremiah 31:33. He was writing His law on people’s hearts so that they were moved to glorify Him from within rather than trying to conform from without because of a written law. Oh, I’m excited this morning! It wasn’t just a written law anymore, IT WAS A LIVING LAW breathed into their hearts by the Wind of the Spirit of God! Whereas 3000 people died the day the Law was received, 3000 people were born again on the Day of Pentecost when the Spirit was received! Look at Acts 2:41! Because God’s Laws were written on their hearts the whole book of Acts is filled with crazy, miraculous stuff the disciples did because of the Spirit’s direction and enabling. “Before Pentecost the disciples found it hard to do easy things; after Pentecost they found it easy to do hard things.”
A J Gordon
One more thing before I leave the Wind of the Spirit. Wind is something we don’t control. We are subject to its power. We move in the direction of its command. So it is to be as the Spirit of God controls our every move. When the Holy Spirit comes upon you, when God breathes into your life, you will be the recipient of what Jesus promised His disciples in Acts 1:8. You WILL receive power. You will become a witness that Jesus is alive and well and you will know it because He will be breathing on the inside of you!
When Pentecost came it came with many WONDERS, a sign of infiltration. Something was now moving not only on them but in them to enable them to do miraculous things.
Acts 2:5-8 (NIV) 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?
Tongues of fire appeared and rested on their heads. Not your typical every day experience, right? The tongues of fire symbolized an anointing, an unusual ability to speak a language they had never learned. You see, crowds were gathered in Jerusalem that day from every known part of the world to celebrate the Feast of Pentecost which had to do with the harvest. When the tongues of fire rested on them, the disciples started talking about God in languages they hadn’t learned but that each people group could understand.
Crazy, right? I couldn’t speak more than twenty-five words of French after an entire semester, and the words I knew could maybe help me ask someone where the bathroom was or help me order a hamburger. No joke. But the disciples, under Holy Spirit power, who never sat a day in Latin or Aramaic or Greek class or whatever languages were represented, were able to fluently speak and communicate with perfect accents and dialect the Good News of the Gospel.
Acts 2:12-13 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?” 13 Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.” Those gathered there had never seen anything like this before. They had nothing to compare it to. They had no earthly experience to help them interpret it. It was unlike anything they had encountered. They dipped into their earthly experience to make the only sense out of the situation they could and said the only possible explanation could be that they were drunk. Listen, you cannot use earthly experiences and reasoning to explain the miracle of God. It just is. It doesn’t need explained. It simply needs to be experienced.
When Pentecost comes you will do things you never imagined you would do or could do. Not one of those people who experienced the tongues of fire and spoke in a foreign language dreamed of that moment. It wasn’t even on their radar. But how did experiencing that moment change their lives? Do you know what they learned in that moment? They learned that because of the power of God they could do ANYTHING in His name! What a rush! What a life-changing experience! What a new reality for everyone there!
Another OT and NT stark contrast comes in reviewing the story of the Tower of Babel. The Tower of Babel was built by Noah’s great-grandson. The idea was to build a tower that would reach to the heavens, so that they could make a name for themselves in that place. God had told Noah’s descendants to scatter and populate the earth not to stay put and make a name for themselves. They were never to make a name for themselves. They were to being making God’s name known! It was arrogance, pride and idolatry wrapped around the worship of a pagan God at the Tower of Babel.
To force His command, God confused their languages at the Tower of Babel. They were all talking but no one knew what anyone was saying. Confused languages made them scatter. They couldn’t achieve their selfish goals because they could no longer work together.
But on the Day of Pentecost, when God enabled the speaking of different languages, people were able to understand what God had done for them. They were able to cooperate and work together to build not a tower on earth, but they were able to build the Kingdom of God! They were scattered at the Tower of Babel to learn to follow God and depend on Him rather than on themselves, and they were scattered on the Day of Pentecost in order to proliferate the Gospel message to the ends of the earth! What a brilliant strategy God had!
When Pentecost came it came with God’s WORD, a sign of proclamation.
Peter started quoting Scripture. Smart man. When people are confused, when people start looking to earthly fleshly experiences like being drunk with alcohol to explain the mysteries of God it is time break open the Word of God.
Peter quoted Joel. Look at Acts 2:16-21 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 17 “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. 18 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. 19 I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 20 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. 21 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’
The Kingdom of God was ushered in by the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. God’s Word about the Messiah’s mission was fulfilled in what Jesus accomplished. Everything that had been foretold had happened and was happening in their midst. God was confirming His Word before their very eyes.
God’s Word was quoted again Acts 2:25-35 (NIV) 25 David said about him: “‘I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. 26 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will live in hope, 27 because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.”
Peter was quoting Psalm 16, a Messianic Psalm about how Jesus wouldn’t be abandoned to the grave. Through Peter, God was proclaiming that what was prophesied through David about Jesus rising from the dead had come to pass. Jesus pointed everyone to the Father. The Spirit points everyone to Jesus and His finished work. The workings of the Spirit will always accompany a Word from God.
When Pentecost came it came with a WITNESS, a sign of determination!
Peter was going to make sure that he took the opportunity, the captive audience, and the momentum the Holy Spirit had just provided to make Jesus the SUBJECT! Look at Peter’s bold statements beginning with Acts 2:29-33 29 “Brothers, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. 30 But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. 31 Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay. 32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and (here it is in verse 32) we are all witnesses of the fact. 33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.
Peter was a first-hand eyewitness to Jesus’ resurrection. His testimony wasn’t wishy-washy. He said he was confident about his statement. He knew he was telling the truth. You and I are to be bold, confident witnesses. Jesus’ promised the disciples that when the Holy Spirit came (Acts 1:8) they would receive power to be His witnesses. It wasn’t any more popular with the religious officials or local authorities to talk about Jesus now than it was before Jesus’ crucifixion. Whereas Peter became a coward in the face of persecution and death, on this side of the Resurrection and Holy Spirit empowerment, He became bold and confident. Peter the Coward had become Peter the Confident!
Is this the same Peter who ran like a scared little girl when someone just asked if he was a disciple after Jesus was arrested? What a different picture of confidence, courage, conviction and dedication to be a witness! In Acts 4 Peter and John were confidently walking around and talking to people about the resurrection. They had just finished healing a crippled beggar. The religious officials didn’t like it. Jesus was “out of the picture” but that didn’t solve their problem. Now that His Spirit was inside of the disciples and a host of others because of Pentecost, His influence and power had just exponentially multiplied.
They actually threw Peter and John into prison and had a meeting to discuss how they were going to deal with the situation. One uptight cleric looked at another and said, “Now what are we going to do? Everyone in Jerusalem knows they are going around doing miracles. We can’t deny it.” They decided to do damage control. They decided to just threaten Peter and John. They told them to stop speaking to anyone in Jesus’ name. Well, that was like pouring fuel on the Pentecostal Fire! They commanded Peter and John to quit their Jesus talk, and courageous, confident, Spirit-filled Peter replied to them in verses 19 and 20 of chapter 4, “We’re obeying God, not men. We can’t help ourselves. We have to speak about what we have seen and heard!” That is what it means to be controlled by the Spirit of God! You can’t help but obey God!
Verse 13 is thrilling. It says, “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” When they saw their courage . . .Who sees your courage for Christ? You know what becomes an unstoppable powerhouse? Ordinary men and women who will be with Jesus and be filled with the Holy Spirit and have the courage to be used of God.
Why aren’t we bolder witnesses for Jesus? I came up up with two reasons. 1. We are more concerned about our reputation than Christ’s. Or 2. We haven’t been filled with the Holy Spirit.
If you have never told anyone the Gospel story about how Jesus lived a sinless life, paid the price for our sins on the cross, died and rose on the third day, then you are not a witness. You might be a believer, but you aren’t a witness. You might be a church goer, but you are not a witness. You might read your Bible and pray, but you are not a witness. The Power of Pentecost wasn’t just for those gathered there that day to become transformed into witnesses for Christ. It is for you and me today. God is still speaking by the power of the Spirit through His church. Have you yielded to Him? Does His story ever come through your lips?
Finally, when Pentecost came the Holy Spirit was WELCOMED, a sign of reception.
Peter preached that amazing Acts 2 sermon and God had spoken directly to those gathered there through his message. They were all a mess. They were broken-hearted. They were convicted. They were moved. Peter didn’t even give an altar call, but they desperately wanted to respond. Look at Acts 2:37-3937 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.
I don’t know what Peter expected when he finished speaking, but I don’t know that I have ever anticipated that at the end of the sermon people would start asking out loud how they could respond. Obviously they weren’t just mulling over the idea of following Jesus, but they were compelled in their hearts to take immediate action.
I don’t know why you came here today. Maybe you came because there wasn’t anything on TV you would rather watch. Maybe you came because your spouse nagged you or your parents made you come. Maybe you came because it is an opportunity to socialize. Maybe you came because you are in the habit of coming. Maybe you came because you thought God would be mad at you if you didn’t. Maybe you came so that other people in the community would see you and think well of you. Maybe you came because you have questions or are curious about the Christian faith.
The people who were in Jerusalem that day thought they were there to celebrate a Jewish Feast. But in an instant it became so much more. It was an event which changed their lives forever because that is what Pentecost does. Pentecost can change our lives forever.
The Holy Spirit is here today. We have experienced Him in this place. Have you opened yourself up to Him? Are you willing to welcome a change in your life? In John 20:22 Jesus told the disciples to receive the Holy Spirit, and then He breathed on them. That passage was a foreshadowing of what was to come on the day of Pentecost. What I want you to see if Jesus’ emphasis on what the disciples had to do. Receive. God makes the Spirit available. We only have to receive.
Has your heart been stirred? Do you desire an experience with the Holy Spirit? Are you ready for God to do something new in your life? Do you realize you need to be continually filled? Does it convict you when you hear me say that if you have never shared the Gospel with someone that you aren’t a witness for Christ? That you aren’t doing the very thing the Holy Spirit was imparted to enable us to do? Do you want God to do miracles in your life that will point people to Him? Are you open to having an experience of Pentecost? Your life will forever be changed because that is what happens when Pentecost comes.