What is Pentecost?
This Sunday is Pentecost. We will hear Scripture read in different languages and focus our teaching on the person and work of the Holy Spirit from the Gospel of John. Pentecost is the time of the Christian year when we celebrate the day the Holy Spirit first indwelt believers in a permanent, continuous, abiding way. Read Acts 2:1-21 to see this amazing event. There are at least three aspects of Pentecost to celebrate:
1. God’s Spirit Indwells Believers. In the New Testament Jesus said that His Father would send His Spirit to be our Comforter and to point us to the truth (John 14:16-17; 26). At Pentecost we see that promise fulfilled as the Holy Spirit permanently indwells God’s people, even as Joel prophisied 850 years earlier (Joel 2:28). In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit frequently came upon the prophets intermittently with supernatural power. For example, after Samuel annointed David, “the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David from that day forward” (1 Samuel 16:13), but David still prayed “take not your Holy Spirit from me” (Psalm 51:11). In his prayer David was not afraid of losing his salvation; rather he knew that the Holy Spirit rested temporarily upon him. He treasured God’s nearness and did not want God’s Spirit to leave. A millenium later, fifty days after Jesus’ resurrection, the Holy Spirit came with power to take up permanent, continuous residence in God’s people (Acts 2:1-21). Christians today can now cry out “Abba! Father!” in power, love, security, and sustained intimacy with God. Because of this, give you best at worship today!!
2. God’s Great Unified Story Unfolds. Pentecost reminds us that God is making all things new through a new exodus and a new unity in Jesus Christ.
A New Exodus from Sin & Death. Pentecost, which means “fifty,” stretches all the way back to Leviticus 23:16, where God instructs his people to “count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath.” These fifty days followed the Exodus at Passover, which commemorated the climactic event of the Old Testament, the day God delivered his people from slavery. Today, fifty days after Easter we celebrate the Greater Passover Lamb, Jesus Christ, who rescues us from sin and death (Gal 1:4; Col 1:13; Eph 2).
The Reversal of Babel. In Genesis 11 the whole world had one language and joined together and build a tower to heaven to “make a name for themselves.” In response, God confused their language, scattering them over the entire earth. At Pentecost, God brought His people together, allowed them to hear in their own language, and they praised God’s name together “full of gladness with your presence” (Acts 2:28).
3. The Holy Spirit’s Power at Work Among Us. Trinity exists to show that grace changes everything in Jesus Christ by equipping you to rest in worship, grow in community and rediscover your calling. As we live out our vision, we are a snapshot to the world of God’s coming Kingdom! At the first Christian Pentecost, the apostles filled with the Spirit proclaimed the gospel in multiple languages, and by the end of the day a community of believers had been established, drawn from “every nation under heaven” (Acts 2:5). Today we minister in our respective spheres of influence as agents of God’s Spirit -- the church -- to extend the beauty of his redemption in the quality of our labor, devotion to our friends, witness to our neighbors, care for our families, sabbath rest, and everything else we set out to do (Col 3:17). As His counter-cultural comunity for the world, God’s Spirit changes the world through us in gradual yet significant ways for His glory and kingdom in Oklahoma.
Our prayer at Pentecost:
O Jesus, Fill me with your Spirit that I may be occupied with his presence. I am blind -- send him to make me see; dark -- let him say, “Let there be light!” May he give me faith to behold my name graven in your hand, my soul and body redeemed by your blood, my sinfulness covered by your life of pure obedience. Replentish me by his revealing grace, that I may realize my indissoluble union with you; that I may know that you have espoused yourself to me forever, in righteousness, love, mercy, faithfulness; that I am one with you, as a branch with it’s stock, as a building with its foundation. May his comforts cheer me in my sorrows, his strength sustain me in my trials, his blessings revive me in my weariness, his presence render me a fruitful tree of holiness, his might establish me in peace and joy, his incitements make me ceaseless in prayer, his animation kindle in my undying devotion. Send him as the searcher of my heart, to show me more of my corruption and helplessness, that I may flee to you, cling to you, rest on you, as the beginning and end of my salvation. May I never vex him by my indifference and waywardness, grieve him by my cold welcome, resist him by my hard rebellion. Anwer my prayers, O Lord, for your great name’s sake. Amen.