#321, 2nd June 2017
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Hi, Friend,
It's a special time of the year! Thank you for blessing us with your subscription to our newsletter. In this issue we are discussing the Day of Pentecost and trust it will bless and encourage you.

Happy Birthday, Church!

"And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place" (Acts 2:1 KJV). Pentecost (the word means fifty) was the Harvest feast in the Jewish calendar, and was always celebrated on the 50th day after the first Passover sabbath. This coming Sunday, June 4th, is Pentecost Sunday this year.

To the majority of Christians, Pentecost is the birthday of the church, and because of the momentous events of that day, one of which was the speaking in languages not learned, it cannot be ignored. It must be accepted or explained whatever church you might belong to. There are those who accept it literally and want to restore it, those who say its importance ceased when the scriptural canon was completed, and all kinds of variations in between.

"And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance" (Acts 2:4 ESV). Speaking in tongues is not the be-all and end-all of the Christian faith, it just came along with the package of power. Also on display that first day was the power to witness effectively (promised in Acts 1:8), when 3,000 people were saved. Then there was displayed the power to heal, to display signs and wonders, to demonstrate the boldness of the disciples of Jesus.

We all have memories that either bless or burn, and I can remember one sermon on Pentecost from my early denominational days that I'd rather not have preached. It was titled "Seven Steps to the Upper Room." The notes I used have disappeared and so I have no idea what the steps were, and obviously no idea how the "Upper Room" had anything to do with us today, as it was simply the place where the disciples "abode" or lived (Acts 1:13). The Holy Spirit descended on the 120 at the third hour, 9 a.m., when they were in the temple for prayers, as indicated by the "multitude" there (Acts 2:6) that could not have squeezed into an upper room.
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A problem of many Christians today is that they want to recreate the Day of Pentecost in their own lives, but base it on the teaching that insists that the lead-up to the Day of Pentecost needs to be repeated in every believer's life -- the waiting (tarrying of Luke 24:49), and the earnest prayers of supplication.

As a teenager I remember singing the song written by the founder of the denomination of my parents: "Thou Christ of burning, cleansing flame | Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire | Thy blood-bought gift today we claim | Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire | Look down and see this waiting host | Give us the promised Holy Ghost | We want another Pentecost | Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!"

mobile siteJesus told his disciples to "tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are clothed with power from on high" (Luke 24:49). "And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, 'you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.'" (Acts 1:4,5). That is specific and could only apply to the disciples alive at that time. And they did what the resurrected Jesus commanded. Jesus ascended into heaven on the fortieth day after the Passover, and so for 10 days they "tarried." The word means to be seated, to remain. They tarried "until" the "power from on high" was given, then they spread out and shared the truth they knew throughout Israel and to other nations.

It is also interesting that prior to the Day of Pentecost the term "baptize with the Holy Spirit" and "clothed with power" are used, but afterwards the term "the gift of the Holy Spirit" replaces it (Acts 2:38, 10:45; Hebrews 6:4 ). A gift is offered and has to be accepted.

On this anniversary we can observe that the revival in Azusa Street, Los Angeles, in April 1906, sent shockwaves through the church, and now the Pentecostals are the fastest growing segment of the church universal. It is believed there are more than 500 million Pentecostals and charismatics across the world.

Read through the historical record again in Acts chapter 1 to 4, and consider whether it would be good to see the same outcomes in the church today. Happy birthday, church! -- Peter Wade.
If you didn't open our previous newsletter on
"Go Tell How Much the Lord Has Done" [#320],
just click here to open it in your browser.
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