The Day of Pentecost
Rev. Toh Nee Lim | On 26, Sep 2017
Scripture Reading: Acts 2:1-11; 13; 37-38; 3:19
And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marveled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galileans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.
But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:
Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.
There are three great Jewish festivals in which every male Jew living within 20 miles of Jerusalem was legally bound to come – the Passover, the Feast of Tabernacles and Pentecost. Pentecost means ‘The Fiftieth’. It was so called because it fell on the fiftieth day after the Passover. Let’s go back to the events that actually took place before Pentecost. Fifty days ago, during the Passover, Jesus was having his last supper with his 12 disciples. Then that night he was betrayed and crucified. Passover has been fulfilled in the death of Jesus Christ. But on the third day he was resurrected and for the next 40 days, he showed himself alive on numerous occasions and was seen by at least 500 people before he ascended to heaven. Feast of Tabernacles has been fulfilled in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Pentecost is the fulfillment of birth of the church. There was no church before Pentecost. 10 days after his ascension Pentecost took place. Pentecost, because it was an important festival, many came to the Feast of Pentecost as to the Passover. Now the 4 Gospels mentioned Jesus being always around or celebrating the Passovers and in the Book of Acts, the Apostle Paul being a missionary and travelling being a necessary part as a result of his ministry, too make it a point to be back in Jerusalem during the Passover. And now Pentecost is equally an important festival as the Passover. That explains the roll of countries mentioned in this chapter; never was there a more international crowd in Jerusalem than in the time of the Pentecost. What can we learn from this portion of scriptures?
1. The Significance of Pentecost
The feast of Pentecost has two main significances; firstly, it had an historical significance. It commemorated the giving of the Law of Moses in Mount Sinai. The Law of God is made known again at Pentecost so that His people can repent and be converted. Two words are frequently missing in today’s sermons; the Law and Repentance. We are living in the days where the Law has to be reminded so that people can repent. At the beginning of his ministry Jesus goes to the synagogue opened the book of Isaiah and said that the Spirit of the Lord is upon him to preach the acceptable year of the Lord; which is the favor or the grace of God. But the second part which is the year of vengeance or the Judgment of the Lord has been left out by Jesus intentionally. In Jesus’ first coming, he came as a Savior. In the Second Coming, Jesus is coming as a King to judge the world. Now we are on the threshold of the Last Days and this part of the Judgment of God, which is the Day of Vengeance mentioned in Isaiah 61 is about to be fulfilled. BBC, the number one respected news media recently coin a caption titled: ‘End of the World on September 23, 2017: Shock Bible prophecy warns The Rapture is COMING.’ BBC reports the end of the world is upon us and we are in the “end times” according to a growing number of Christian conspiracy theorists who believe codes in the Bible and signs in the heavens mean the Rapture will soon be upon us. Well September 23 which is yesterday has come and gone. Fox News, the favorite news station of Donald Trump followed up with this news with the caption: ‘Doomsday is not on Saturday after all, writer says after predicting end of the world.’ In it Fox News interviewed David Meade, who claimed the world is ending Saturday when a mysterious planet collides with Earth, is now backtracking on the calamitous claim. Meade said the world won’t end on Sept. 23 after all, but instead Saturday will only mark the beginning of a series of catastrophic events to occur over several weeks. “The world is not ending, but the world as we know it is ending,” he told the Washington Post. “A major part of the world will not be the same the beginning of October.” There are more false prophets than there are true prophets in this world. One way to prove whether you are a real prophet is your prophecy has to come to pass. To me out of 100 prophets in this world, I would say only 1 will be a true prophet. Whatever, I believed we are truly living in the Last Days.
In my Spirit I sensed that the Day of Vengeance, which Jesus intentionally left out, has arrived. Pentecost must happen with the emphasis on the Law of Moses and souls must repent. In the early church history, sermons have only two central theme; The Cross and His Coming. Salvation points to the Cross and thus the need for repentance. His coming refers to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. But today we have deviated from the purpose of Christ. The central messages of many churches today is on how to be a market place Christian, 7 steps to prosperity, Sexual intimacy in the Christian way, How to be a successful Christian, methods of successful leadership in the church, you are blessed because you are a child of God. Pentecost remembers honors and observes the Law of God. There is no more fear of God because there is no teaching of the Law of God. Some churches even shares that we should not be teaching on the fear of God. Pastor James is entering into a 60 days fasting and prayer and one of its purposes is for people to have the fear of God. Only Pentecost can bring back the Law of God.
Secondly it has an agricultural significance. At Pentecost two loaves were offered in gratitude for the ingathering of harvest. I believed we are baptized with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost for the ingathering of souls. One of the signs of the Last Days is there will be a end time Pentecost that will usher in the greatest harvest of soul the church has ever seen. That is why when Peter preached at the Day of Pentecost, 3000 souls were saved and later another 5000 at his second preaching. We are told after Pentecost, the multitudes were added daily to the church. This church needs Pentecost so that it will grow and multitudes are added to the church continually. Acts 2:46-47 says, ‘And they, continually daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.’ Acts 16:5 says ‘And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.’ As a result of Pentecost we will see the ingathering of souls.
2. The experience at Pentecost.
Pentecost is also an experience. Let’s describe the experience. Acts 2:2 says ‘suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.’ Notice that it was not a wind; it was the sound as of a wind. It sounded like a tornado and I believe that all of Jerusalem could hear it. Someone in Kansas went through the experience of a tornado. It did not destroy their home but came within two blocks of it. This person said, ‘the first thing we noticed was a sound like a thousand freight trains coming to town. Friend, that was a rushing mighty wind and all that was sound. It was that kind of sound that they heard on the Day of Pentecost.
What happened at Pentecost is that the disciples of Jesus Christ had an experience of the Power of the Holy Spirit flooding their beings such as they never had before. The Day of Pentecost was the coming of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit became incarnate, like Jesus became incarnate, but rested on the body of Christians. It tells the story of how the disciples suddenly acquired the gift of speaking in foreign languages. I personally believed that at the Day of Pentecost, all the 120 disciples were all speaking in different foreign languages. What happened was that the mob that gathered, for the first time in their lives they were hearing the Word of God in a way that struck straight home to their hearts and they could understand the message because it was in their mother tongue. The Power of the Holy Spirit was such that it had given these simple disciples a message that could reach every heart. Pastor James once invited a woman guest speaker from Indonesia to his church at Eagle’s nest. The presence of God was tangible and they were very thankful. The church members began in praying and worshipping in tongues. The next day, they thanked the woman of God for her ministry. She then spoke to Pastor Rosie, James’s wife. She said, ‘Yesterday, while we were all praying in tongues, your husband prayed in a tongue that I understood. Pastor Rosie said, ‘What was spoken?’ She said, ‘He spoke in Arabic and this is what he said:
‘Hear, hear, hear, O World
Hear, hear, hear, O World
Jesus is the Messiah
Will you believe in Him?
Jesus is the Messiah
Will you believe in Him?
Isn’t this is what the Muslims all over the Middle East need to hear today?
In another incident, Last June, Pastor James was praying for a brother in Christ. The brother was with his wife and daughter. Pastor James felt led to pray in tongues. The wife was standing beside him and heard all that was spoken. Then she told Pastor James that he prayed for the brother in Christ in Cantonese. Pastor James asked her what was spoken and she interpreted. The words were for his daughter. While his daughter was standing nearby, these are the words spoken to her; ‘she has the gifting of God but she was very passive in using them. The father then was in tears upon hearing the interpretation.
Later, speaking in tongue became a Church phenomenon. What happened was that someone in an ecstasy began to pour out a flood of unintelligible sounds in no known language. This was supposed to be directly inspired by the Holy Spirit of God and was a gift greatly coveted. The significance of Pentecost is important to every child of God. Jesus himself tells his disciples to tarry at Jerusalem until they be endued with power from on High. When Paul passed through the interior and came to Ephesus, he found some disciples and asked them, ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers? No, they answered, “we have not heard even there is a Holy Spirit”. And Paul baptized them with the Holy Spirit. This is a common recurring theme that the Apostles went about when preaching the Gospel; not only saving souls but baptizing them.
3. The Necessity of Pentecost
It is not enough to just receive salvation. We must go further than that experience. Immediately after his resurrection but just before his ascension, that is, within the 40 days after the Passover Jesus breathed on them the Holy Spirit. He said in John 20:22 ‘And when he had said this, he breathed on them and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.’ 10 days before Pentecost Jesus breathed on them the Holy Spirit. We learned last Tuesday that rulership and judging runs concurrently. When we have the responsibility to rule, then we have the authority to judge. When Jesus breathed on them the Holy Spirit, he empowered them and say, ‘If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.’ Of course we learn 10 days later that the power of the Holy Spirit fell on them. That is the double Pentecost. That is the double anointing. The first anointing was when Jesus breathed on them. The second anointing was when the power of the Holy Spirit filled them. But that is not all. Everywhere they go, preaching the Gospel, they make sure that the people received the Holy Spirit. In Acts 8:14-17, ‘Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: who, when they were come down, prayed for them that they might received the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. On another time Peter was preaching to the Gentiles, it says in Acts 10:44-46, ‘While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also were poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.’
After Paul (who was still called Saul at the time) received the vision on the road to Damacus and received Salvation by calling Jesus ‘Lord, Lord what will thou have me to do?’ he too need to be baptized before he commenced his ministry. Acts 9:17-18 says, ‘And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house, and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightiest received thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized (with the Holy Spirit).
Pentecost is necessary for unction, dreams, vision and prophesies Jesus said, ‘tarry in Jerusalem until be endued with power from on high. The word ‘Power’ is ‘dunamis’, dynamic power which comes from the heavenly. You have the power to remit and retain sin. Rulership and judging come upon you. Joel 2:28 is so clear. ‘And it shall come to pass afterward, (the last days) that I will pour my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Some became prophet but you will definitely have the gift of prophecy. You will experience open heaven and you will see signs and wonders and visions of the invisible and heavenly realm.
4. The Aftermath of Pentecost
On Peter’s first sermon in Acts 2:37-38 it says, ‘Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? The message of Peter brought conviction. Then Peter said unto them, repent, and be baptized every one of you in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. And on Peter’s second sermon Peter says, ‘Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.’
We live in a day where there is no more conviction of sins. Only the Holy Spirit can convict people of sin. I have realized long ago that it is so difficult to convict people of sins, no matter how eloquent your message is or how powerful you think you are. It is so difficult to convict people of sin, actually impossible. When was the last time or has people ever come to you and say, ‘Sir/Madam, what must I do to be saved? No, but immediately after Pentecost on the first sermon the crowd says, ‘Sir, what must I do? Saul has to say, ‘Lord what will thou have me to do?’ There was tremendous conviction and submission. The heart is so hard today and rebellious. Only Pentecost can bring a heart to conviction and submission. Actually verse 37 says, ‘when the people heard this, they were cut to the heart.’ The term ‘cut to the heart’ speaks of genuine pain. It means to strike, prick violently, sting sharply, stun.’ The crowd was stunned. I remember when I was a very young Christian; I was always convicted by the messages in the church. But today, we hear people say, ‘the sermon is so boring’. When the word of God is being preached, it is time to take out the Smartphone and browse your facebook and chat in whatsapp. Why? Because the messages is just another intellectual or educational message that feeds the mind. And when a prophet points out your sins, you respond with, ‘I don’t understand what he is saying.’ There is such denial when it comes to sin. We come to church, attend services every Sunday but we continue to live in fornication, being dishonest and tell lies without the blink of the eye. Only Pentecost can bring about repentance. Observe the second sermon of Peter. The word converted was mentioned. This word is pre-eminently characteristic of the book of Acts, in which it occurs eleven times. Only Pentecost with the baptism of the Holy Spirit can bring about conversion. There was a transformation of lives. We truly need Pentecost. Notice another phrase, ‘the times of refreshing may come’. The word for ‘refreshing’ is not found elsewhere in the New Testament, but the cognate (similar) verb is seen in 2 Timothy 1:16 and Exodus 8:15. In the Greek Version it stands to mean ‘where we have respite’. You know the meaning of respite? It means relief, a temporary suspension of the execution of a person condemned to death. To grant delay in the carrying out of a punishment. There was a stay of God’s punishment of sin on your lives. The ‘times of refreshing’ are such that the souls of the weary would be quickened as by the fresh breeze of morning. This fresh breeze comes from the presence of God. It is heavenly. It is refreshing and renewing and restoring. Oh we need Pentecost. When a person did not repent, hatred and strife went on to the bitter end without refreshment. For every church, nation, or family or even an individual, those times of refreshing come as the sequel of a true conversion, and prepare the way for a more complete restoration.
Pentecost is not just about the Holy Spirit. It is an appointed time of double. That is the meaning of double Pentecost. Instead of shame, and dishonor in your life, you will enjoy a double share of honor. You will enjoy a double portion of prosperity in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours. Elisha asked of Elijah, ‘Let a double portion of your anointing be upon me.’ Pentecost is a time of double portion. I speak to you. What are you building? Perhaps God has placed dreams in your heart that are now on pause (the dream has stopped and nothing is coming out of it). They started but you can’t seem to see them completed. Then he said to me, “This is what the Lord says to Zerubbabel: It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. Nothing, not even a mighty mountain, will stand in Zerubbabel’s way; it will become a level plain before him! And when Zerubbabel sets the final stone of the Temple in place, the people will shout: ‘May God bless it! May God bless it!’” (Zechariah 4:6-7). This is the theme of our church banner. You have started but the church rebuilding physically has stalled. Then the word of God came and declared that restoration of the temple will be completed. At that time they will proclaim a double blessing. Receive the double blessings into your life. See double blessings upon the dreams in your heart. Perhaps things have been quite the opposite for you of late. It may seem as though instead of a double portion blessing, you have experienced a double portion curse. One thing after another. The battle is not over before another has begun. What is going on? But God did not call Israel out of bondage only to die in the desert. He drew the Egyptians out so they would. You see, what the Israelites thought to be a mass attack, was in fact God’s preparation for mass burial. If there is a problem you just can’t seem to shake, I have good news. If attacks have come with double intensity, get ready to rejoice. The double portion anointing of Pentecost will defeat your enemy once and for all. The bondage of the past will never be seen again. God has set up a mass burial for your enemies. It is time for the taking of Pentecost; for the taking in the double portion blessing.
This coming Friday we will be having the one day of prayer and fasting. Let’s pray for Pentecost. Pentecost is one of the sign that will occur before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The Bible says that when the Day of Pentecost was full come, they will all with one accord. There was unity in fellowship and purpose. The word ‘fully’ means it will be fulfilled. Let’s seek it. Declare it. Not by might, not by power, but by the Spirit.