In Lev. 23 – these are each called “CONVOCATIONS” – GATHERINGS
a. 3 A weekly sabbath
b. 4-8 Yearly Passover – 1st mo. Spring / Merged w/i 7 days of unleavened bread
c. 9-14 Yearly Firstfruits – 1st mo. Spring
d. 15-21 Yearly Weeks (Pentecost) – 50 days later @ harvest 3rd mo.
e. 23-25 Yearly Trumpets – 7th mo. Fall
f. 26-32 Day of Atonement – 7th mo. Fall
g. 33-36 Yearly Booths – 7th mo. Fall
In Jesus’ day – Weeks or Passover was associated with Moses having received the Law on Sinai about 50 days after the 1st Passover in Egypt.
Passover – Deliverance / Christ’s Death
Firstfruits – Red Sea / Christ’s resurrection
Pentecost – Sinai / The giving of the Holy Spirit
It is in fact this pouring out of the Spirit on Pentecost that is the great PROMISE Christ died to secure for us.
In His death, He atoned for our sins.
Forgiveness is to be proclaimed in His name, because by virtue of His substitutionary sacrifice, those who believe can be forgiven of their sins and declared righteous by God – without God violating His own holiness and justice.
In Christ, justice is served. Sin is made forgivable.
But it is the Spirit who is the agent whereby we are actually transformed into the image of the Son.
This is why Jesus places such emphasis upon the Spirit’s coming.
Apart from Him – the Spirit – we cannot live as Jesus lived in this world.
So in John 14:25-26 we read: “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to
John 15: 26-27 / “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.”
John 16:7-15 / “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.”
Which leads us to Acts 1:4-8 / 2:33
Pentecost was the time chosen for the ascended Christ, to pour out His Spirit upon the Church – that the Church may come into its full stride in carrying out the mission of God in the World.
Within ethnic Israel, God’s covenant people – the Church had existed as though it were in embryonic form.
There was ISRAEL as a whole, and then those within this group with whom God had made a covenant, who were also by faith – truly understanding that the Old Covenant were but types and shadows of the reality to be fulfilled one day by God’s Messiah.
Peter explains it this way in 1 Peter 1:10-12, ESV – “Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.”
Now – Pentecost has fully come.
Now, those who had believed Christ and followed Him, are about to be present as God pours out His Spirit for Believers – that we might live unto Him as witnesses of His incarnation, death, burial, resurrection and ascension – as surely as if we had all been there ourselves.
Just as Jesus died once, and Calvary is not repeated, but by faith each one participates in it to the salvation of their souls…
So Pentecost happens once, it is not repeated – but it is incumbent upon every Believer to participate in it by faith – and to be filled with the Spirit of Christ to live in constant, conscious, deliberate dependence upon Him while still in these old bodies of ours.
This was something the OT saint was never privy to.
It was the dawning of the new age – the inauguration of the New Covenant Church as a vital entity standing on its own apart from Israel – to carry out Christ’s mission in the world.
Empowerment to be the Gospel-bearers. Empowerment to live the Gospel!
So it is every Believer has a vested interest in Pentecost – and entering into it fully.
We are to be a people marked by living under the direct influence of the Spirit of Christ.
A people growing in Christ’s image – His character, by means of being always filled with His Spirit. – Eph. 5;18
Let’s then look at this momentous day, and see what lessons we can draw from it.
Fortunately, the passage divides itself up into 5 sections. We’ll take them one at a time.
I. 1-4 / The EVENT itself.
a. They were gathered in obedience to Christ’s instructions in Acts 1:4
b. The event occurred suddenly. They did not know what to expect. It was meant to be startling – both to them and those others who would be impacted by it.
c. There was a SOUND like a wind. Not a wind – but a sound like one.
d. Something like tongues of fire appeared and lighted on each of them. Something never repeated in Scripture or elsewhere. The uniqueness of this event is being noted for us.
e. ALL of them were filled. This is not something only for one class of Christians and then somehow restricted from others. It is for all who believe. More on that later.
f. All SPOKE as they were moved by the Spirit. As He gave them something to say.
LESSON #1: The Spirit’s infilling of Believers, makes us a spectacle to the world in our COMPULSION to make glories of our Savior known to all.
It makes us – as Jesus said it would – WITNESSES.
We bear witness, as though we were there to witness it ourselves -
That Jesus Christ, is God robed in human flesh.
That He was born of a virgin and lived a sinless life.
That He displayed miracles of His mercy grace and power everywhere He went.
That He spoke as God to us.
That He suffered His death at Calvary by the hands of wicked men – dying for our sins according to God’s perfect plan of salvation.
That He was really and truly dead and buried.
That He rose again from the dead the 3rd day as the Scriptures said He would.
That He ascended to the right hand of the Father.
That He will one day come again to judge the living and the dead.
It is by virtue of the Spirit that we do not just believe these things – but KNOW them to be true, and that this Gospel must be preached to all men that they too might believe and be saved.
► The Spirit’s infilling of Believers, makes us a spectacle to the world in our COMPULSION to make glories of our Savior known to all.
II. 5-13 / The CROWD who observed this.
a. They were drawn by the sound of Believers DECLARING “THE MIGHTY WORKS OF GOD.” (vs. 11)
To date, there had been nothing even close to the work of God in Christ in making a propitiation for the sins of the world.
b. They were bewildered at hearing these things in their own languages.
This is what the Church does by the Spirit – we make the saving grace of Christ known to ALL PEOPLES. We’ll speak whatever languages are necessary – from natural languages, to philosophical languages to scientific languages to street languages.
The Spirit compels us and empowers us to reach those around us – whatever their culture, background, experience, ethnicity, interests or mindsets. We are ever seeking how to reach them.
c. They questioned how this could be?
NOTE that the disciples were all recognizable as Galileans. It was not their own voices which changed – but they communicated in ways others understood IN their own voices.
d. They came from 16 separate regions covering most of the known world at that time – and the two competing super-powers Rome & Parthia.
e. They were both Jews proper, and those who had adopted Judaism.
f. There were 2 chief responses: 1. Thoughtful – “What does this MEAN?”
2. Mocking – “They are drunk”
LESSON #2: Such a spectacle even of people compelled by the Holy Spirit to declare the mighty works of God will not immediately be understood by those who observe it. Even by those who will later believe.
There are rare exceptions this this to be sure – but their rarity establishes the rule.
We must be ready to explain ourselves – and thus not take offense at doubts and questions.
There are times that Christians grow indignant at others not being able to immediately grasp the importance of what we say in communicating the Gospel.
We can get easily exasperated.
NOTE – They all got the message – they could discern WHAT was being said – God’s mighty works were being announced – but they did not grasp the importance of it to their own souls.
We must be careful that such is the case for us. Whether or not they accept the message, let us be sure that we articulate the message clearly enough for people to know either what it is they are accepting or rejecting.
Its been observed that most people need to be invited to something like a Church service 7 times before they are willing to actually come.
Some need to hear the Gospel many more times before the seed taken in and watered begins to show sings of life.
Pentecost comes 50 days after Weeks – A harvest does not come over night.
And then too – some will simply reject our testimony out of hand.
For reasons locked inside their own fallen souls – they will look at our proclamation as coming from some place which is less than credible.
We should neither be hurt by that,
intimidated by it,
angered by it or
deterred by it.
We ought to see that on the day where the witness was so unmistakably miraculous, not everyone was willing to listen even then.
► Such a spectacle then, even of people compelled by the Holy Spirit to declare the mighty works of God will not immediately be understood by those who observe it. Even by those who will later believe.
1 Peter 2:9-10 / Beloved – we are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that we may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once we were not a people, but now we are God’s people; once we had not received mercy, but now we have received mercy.” And this calling can be fulfilled by nothing less than our BEING continually filled with Christ’s own Holy Spirit.