Delivered By
C.C. Risenhoover
Delivered On
July 23, 2017
Central Passage
Acts 2:41-42
Attached Document
Open Document
Description
When the Holy Spirit descended on a small group of believers on the day of Pentecost…enabling them to speak in other languages…Acts 2:12-13 tells us that those they witnessed to were “…in amazement and great perplexity, saying to on another, ‘What does this mean?’  But others were mocking and saying, ‘They are full of sweet wine’.”
 
If you haven’t been mocked for your Christian beliefs…chances are you probably haven’t shared them with many…if any…people.  Christians aren’t called every name in the book today…just by those names that are derogatory.  Disbelief in the God of the Bible is fashionable…especially by those who think they are intellectually superior to Christians.
 
 Try telling them that Mary was the mother of Jesus…and that His father was…and is the Holy Spirit…and you’ll be looked on with disdain and considered ignorant, if not stupid.  Unbelievers…those who consider themselves geniuses…can’t understand the Christian God.  And they never will.
 
 Yet some of these same self-professed intellectuals have bought into Islam…because it’s the politically correct thing to do.  They believe a goofy comic book character like Muhammad spoke with great wisdom…but they question the teachings of Jesus.  And they really question the presence of the Holy Spirit in the lives of Christians.
 
 But goofiness begets goofiness…and there will never be a cure for stupidity…so we need to quit searching for it.  We just need to keep doing what Jesus told us to do…and to truly accept the fact that only the Holy Spirit can convict a person of their sin.
 
 Because the world is in the mess it’s in…some people say we need revival.  I can’t argue with them…but maybe we need to revisit Pentecost for revival to be possible.
 
 Pentecost was and is every celebratory Christian day rolled into one…the very essence of what church and worship should be.  It was Independence and Emancipation Day for everyone who truly wanted to know God.  What happened at Pentecost couldn’t be contained in a building…and it couldn’t be relegated to one-hour.  It was like an out-of-control fire that swept across the entire known world.
 
Pentecost is, of course, a term meaning 50th…which applied to the 50th day after the Passover.  It was the culmination of the "feast of weeks" (Exodus 24:22; Deuteronomy. 16:10), which began on the third day after the Passover with the presentation of the first harvest sheaves to God…and which concluded with the offering of two loaves of unleavened bread…representing the first products of the harvest (Leviticus 23:17, 20; Deuteronomy. 16:9-10).
 
Prior to Jesus’ ascension into heaven…He instructed His disciples to remain in Jerusalem until they received power from on high.  As a group of 120 were praying in an upper room in Jerusalem 50 days after the crucifixion of Jesus…the Holy Spirit descended upon them with the sound of a great wind…and with tongues of fire that settled upon each one of them.  They began to speak with other languages and to preach boldly in the name of Christ…resulting in 3,000 people being converted.
 
This incredible manifestation of divine power marked the beginning of the church…which ever since has regarded Pentecost as its birthday.  Pentecost is the anniversary of the permanent coming of the Holy Spirit…not the beginning of Catholicism or a denomination…but the beginning of the one true church…a church bought with the blood of Christ…a church united by the indwelling Spirit…and a church taught with the inspired Word of God.
 
The world didn’t know or understand what happened at Pentecost…and still doesn’t.  The world didn’t know or understand that God had come to live within His people…and it still doesn’t.  Some still keep Him in a building.
 
The Holy Spirit is mentioned 41 times in the Book of Acts.  Luke begins the book with these words: “In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen” (Acts 1:1-2).
 
Prior to Pentecost, Jesus said to his apostles…recorded by Luke in Acts 1:5, “For John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now."
 
And, in Acts 1:7-8 Jesus…responding to his apostles’ question about whether he was going to restore the kingdom to Israel…said, “It is not for you to know the times and dates the Father has set by his own authority.  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.”  No one could escape from…or was safe from…Christian witness.
 
To the very end of the first earthly tenure of Jesus…the apostles were thinking politically…whereas Jesus was thinking about the salvation of souls.  Today Catholicism and many denominations think politically…but the true church thinks about the salvation of souls.
 
Peter…the same man who had denied Christ just prior to His crucifixion…stood up on the day of Pentecost and said, "Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through the mouth of David concerning Judas, who served as a guide to those who arrested Jesus…"(Acts 1:16).
 
When the Holy Spirit came with His conversion power to Pentecost…the entire world changed.  Acts 2:4 tells us, "And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance."
 
In a sermon that rocked the city of Jerusalem…resulting in an evangelistic effort that rocked the world…Peter said about Jesus, "Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear" (Acts 2:33).
 
Peter went on to say, "Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38).
 
That gift of which Peter spoke was a conversion experience that his listeners had difficulty comprehending…because they had been immersed in a religious system that kept them from personal contact with God.  The Holy Spirit changed all that.
 
Unfortunately, many people are still immersed in religious systems that keep them from personal contact with God…which is why they can’t comprehend the work of the Holy Spirit.  The teachings, rituals and traditions of religions keep people from a personal encounter with Jesus and the Holy Spirit…and make no mistake about it…Catholicism and denominationalism are religions…not Christianity.
 
It’s important to understand what the people of Jesus were doing before the Holy Spirit descended on them.  They were praying.  In fact, Acts 1:14 says, "These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers."
 
Prayer is almost always a prerequisite to conversion and a visitation by the Holy Spirit.  The words "Pray," "Praying," and "Prayed” occur 29 times in Acts.  So, we need to devote ourselves to Paul’s admonition to pray without ceasing.
 
A visitation of the Holy Spirit is essential to the conversion of any person…and to the evangelistic efforts of the true church.  Acts 2:41 says, "Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day."
 
So, many who came for the feast did in Jerusalem did not know the truth of salvation…but 3,000 received the new birth after hearing Peter’s sermon.  The truth of God’s Word…along with a visitation by the Holy Spirit…changes spiritual darkness into spiritual light.
 
No matter where a person is in his or her life…the Holy Spirit can touch their heart and initiate a miraculous change.  Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost was a message of conviction.  It was about Jesus…a man accredited by God through miracles, wonders and signs that many had seen.  And, of course, we see His miracles, wonders and signs daily.  But, do we believe them?
 
When Jesus gave His disciples the Great Commission…I’m sure that many of them doubted that they could do what He was asking…but at the time they had not received the Holy Spirit.  Once they experienced Pentecost and saw how God could multiply witnesses to His grace…they understood that nothing was impossible for a true church guided by the Spirit
 
Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost was a message of the cross.  In Acts 2:23 Peter said, “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."
 
Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost was a message of the resurrection.  In Acts 2:24 he said, “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.”
 
And Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost was the gospel.  Please take note of this: When the gospel was given 3,000 were saved.  But, in Exodus 32…when Moses returned from the mountain of God to the people of Israel who had made the golden calf…he threw down the tablets of the 10
 
Commandments and 3,000 died.  So, when the law was given 3,000 perished.  When the gospel was given 3,000 were saved.
 
All real conversion is the work of the Holy Spirit.  In John 3:5, Jesus told Nicodemus that “...no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit."  And in Titus 3:5, Paul wrote: "He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.  He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit."
 
True conversion is the work of the Holy Spirit.  But, the Holy Spirit doesn’t stop there.  He continues to work in your life.  So, when the Holy Spirit works in you…there should be some form of public witness.  Acts 2:41 tells us, “…they were baptized…”
 
Salvation takes place in the heart…but a person is to confess Christ publicly.  And, obviously, baptism is a public witness…a public identification with Christ.  However, these converts did more than be baptized.  They became missionary witnesses of the saving power of Jesus Christ…not just in Jerusalem but wherever they lived.
 
If you confess Jesus today…chances are that some people will ridicule and ostracize you…but the atmosphere was much more hostile on the day of Pentecost.  The corrupt and evil Sadducees and Pharisees were in control of Jewish religion…and the harsh and cruel Roman government orchestrated the politics of the enslaved country.  So, standing up for Jesus in that day and time could get you killed.
 
When you become a Christian…the Holy Spirit continues to work in developing your Christian growth.  Acts 2:42 says: "They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer."  So, to what did they devote themselves?
 
First, to the teaching of the word…which is anointed by the Holy Spirit
 
Second, to fellowship with one another…which is sharing in the Holy Spirit
 
Third, to the breaking of bread or communion…which is the partaking of Christ's body through the experience of the Holy Spirit
 
And fourth, to prayer, which is guided by the Holy Spirit
 
As you hear the word…as you fellowship…as you break bread…and as you pray…the Holy Spirit leads you to higher ground.  He leads you to holiness…to fellowship…and to communion.  Simply put…He leads you to Jesus.
 
There are questions that you…and you alone…must answer.  How will you continue to respond to His indwelling…to His ministry?  How you respond determines how this body responds…whether as a true church of the Lord Jesus Christ or something less.
 
Will you stand for Jesus in public and in private?  Will you grow in the grace of Christ by trusting the Holy Spirit to warm your heart…illumine your mind…and bring you to fellowship with Christ?
 
To trust God is to trust His work “in you” through the Holy Spirit.  To trust the work of the Holy Spirit is to acknowledge and accept the blessings of the cross of Christ.  It is to continue to grow in Christ's church…to continue to grow in grace…and to recapture Pentecost.
 

      
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