Pentecost Thoughts

Pentecost. Through the centuries there has been a lot of misunderstanding on the original Pentecost and what it means for today! Let’s clear some of the air.

  1. Pentecost is about God and His plan! It’s easy to make it about us, our plan, our ministry preference and our favorite giftings. We should make this season about God, not us and our preferences.
  2. Pentecost is about reuniting the divided nations! Early in Genesis we see the nations divided over language because they became enemies of God. In Pentecost, we see a gift of languages given to reunite what was divided long ago (Pentecost 2). This unique event brought the Gospel to numerous nations all at once who were present in Jerusalem for their large of religious festival.  
  3. Pentecost is about seeking God and not the gifts! One temptation Christians have had over the years is to seek the various gifts of God and not God himself. God gives gifts, but they are meant to point toward him. Let’s not get lost in the gifts, but in the Giver. 
  4. All Christians have the Holy Spirit! I have seen too many Christian Churches who claim to be “Holy Spirit churches” which have a sort of two-tiered caste system. Caste 1 – Christians who (supposedly) have the Holy Spirit (Spirit-filled) and Caste 2 – Christians who (supposedly) do not. I however reject this distinction. All Christians have the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). Certainly, various Christians have new and important realizations of God the Holy Spirit in their lives. But, this does not mean they did not previously have the Holy Spirit. “Realization” is a key word for us, because it highlights something in a greater way that is already in one’s life. Moreover, it means we are all still growing and have something to offer each other. 
  5. The Holy Spirit points us to Christ. This is often lost in discussion on the Holy Spirit these days. We talk about signs, wonders, miracles, and missions, but we seldom talk about Christ. There is something slightly off with this. The whole purpose of the Holy Spirit is to point us to Christ (See John 16-17) and then lead us on into Christ’s mission (Acts 1:8 and 2:14-47).  

Pastor Isaac

5 thoughts on “Pentecost Thoughts

  1. David Haupt says:

    In Acts 8:5-17, the scripture records there were believers in Samaria who had been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus but had not yet received the Holy Ghost. How did those people know that they had not yet received the Holy Ghost?
    The answer can be found in Acts chapter 10 as we read about the household of Cornelius receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. Acts 10:45&46 tell us that Peter recognized that the Gentiles had also received the Holy Ghost. The conclusive evidence was that as he (Peter) was preaching he heard them speak with tongues and magnify God, just like the day of Pentecost.
    Just as a new born babe gives a distinctive cry of life in the natural, so also there is a distinctive heavenly language which announces the new spiritual birth. (see John 3:8.)

  2. Pastor Isaac Fleming says:

    Hello David,

    I don’t think those examples in Acts are to be taken as normative for all Christians everywhere for all time. For instance, in the case of Acts 2, this was never before seen and was used as opportunity of reaching the nations for Christ. It was the reuniting of what had been divided at Babel. In Acts 10, we have similar example, although this time it is the entrance of the Gentiles into the church. We might say that they had the same signs as the Apostles, so Peter would be willing to accept a non-Jew (plenty of commentators make this point). I think sometimes in our zeal for the book of Acts church, we end up having a simplistic copying approach that was not meant. Again, these are descriptions not prescriptions. Thus, if God wants to move this way today he surely can. I am no cessationist, so I have often had to work hard and show that the gifts of the Spirit were not some passing entity.

    Yet, at the same time, I think that any simplistic copying approach was not meant by the apostles and creates other difficulties for our witness in the world. For instance, in Acts 2, they all held everything in common. Yet, later in the church life they were setting down rules for widows (1 Timothy 5:11) because of the generosity of others was being taken advantage of. Thus, there was a growth of the view of the church within Scripture itself. We find this same thing in reference to Corinthians. Paul does not let this church get away with all of their disordered worship services. Most certainly not in the name of God. He spends the whole letter dealing with their disorderliness and setting down guidelines for the leadership, headcoverings, communion, and spiritual gift usage. Thus, the Holy Spirit wants to bring order into the chaos of this world and the world church.. And, I think a simplistic copying approach of the Apostles does this wrongly.

    One can rightly affirm that God still acts today without claiming the same miracles that the Apostles themselves witnessed and participated in. There was a good article in Christianity Today recently that asked, “Do the Dead Still Rise” by Craig Keener. His own work on miracles is prolific and supports them today and documents them in one of his books. But, he offers some wised advice to all Christians on this topic as well. His point (and I think the New Testament’s as well) is that miracles take place to confirm God and Christ. If we keep this in mind, then we will look to Christ to keep guiding us according to his Word from long ago as we seek to live faithfully today.

    Thanks for the comment.

  3. David Haupt says:

    Jesus gives us his authoritative prescription for eternal life in John 3:5, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” In John 3:7, Jesus states very emphatically, “Ye must be born again.”
    The book of Acts records that the disciples obeyed the command of Jesus. They experienced the new birth and the record stands as the model for all generations till Jesus comes for his bride.
    Paul warns us in Col.2:8, “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
    Jude writes in verse three of his epistle, “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”
    John later writes in 1 John 1:4, “And we are now writing these things to you so that our joy [in seeing you included] may be full [and your joy may be complete] (AMP).

    • Pastor Isaac Fleming says:

      Hello David,

      I have not been talking about the “new birth.” Pentecost was not the new birth. It was the fulfillment of reversal of Babel and of Jesus’ promise to send the Holy Spirit. I think you are conflating the two. Again, my point about things that are descriptive versus things that are prescriptive.

      Next, Colossians 2:8…I am not entirely sure why you are quoting that or Jude either. The interesting thing about the Apostle Paul is that he was well aware of philosophy. When he was arguing against Jews he used the Scriptures. Greeks, he used Greek Literature. Romans, Roman categories (See Acts 17:2 / Acts 17:28 / Acts 26). Thus, he was widely read and used information to help his cause of reaching others. Therefore, Colossians 2:8 is not talking about philosophy in general.

      And Jude, that is a very interesting book. In fact, he quotes from the book of Enoch and possibly the assumption of Moses in that book. Neither one is canonical. Yet, he saw in them a purpose in reaching his audience. Moreover, he wrote to “contend for the faith.” He wanted to write about their common salvation, but in the end he wrote about defending the faith. So…I am not really sure why you quote either of these, but they don’t say anything against my points above, and in fact, to lite extent, undergird them.

  4. David Haupt says:

    Jesus taught the New Birth. (see John 3: 1-8.)
    The New Birth comes to life on the day of Pentecost as recorded in the second chapter of Acts.
    The day of Pentecost was the birthday of the New Testament church.
    Peter, preaching on that day, incorporates the salvation message of the New Birth. ( see Acts 2: 14-40.)
    Acts 2:41 tells us, ” Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.”
    Acts 2: 47 concludes with these words, (… And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (NKJV).

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