Pentecost the Hope of the World. People have no idea what Pentecost is actually about. Is it something emotional, extreme, a denominational movement, tongues? Or, is Pentecost the hope of the world?
Pentecost the Hope of the World
By Pastor Delbert Young
Scriptures: Acts 2:1-4, John 16:7-8, Acts 2:41-42, 44, 46-47
Pentecost the Hope of the World
Today is Pentecost Sunday. This means it is fifty days after Passover, forty-nine days after Resurrection Sunday, and ten days after the Ascension. What do you think when the word “Pentecost” is mentioned? The word Pentecost is one of the most misunderstood words in Christianity. Some folks don’t think and don’t care. Some folks equate it with “holy rollers,” and others equate it with emotional extremism. Furthermore, some view it as a denomination or movement. If people do recognize the word, they usually associate it with tongues. For the most part, people have no idea what Pentecost is really about. Is it something emotional, extreme, a denominational movement, tongues? Or, is it the hope of the world.
I want to talk for a few minutes about Pentecost. I want to try and make three points. Those points are: (1) The Event of Pentecost; (2) The Reason For Pentecost; (3) The Results of Pentecost, or what should be in our lives if we have had a Pentecost.
THE EVENT OF PENTECOST
It’s not difficult to find what happened on the Day of Pentecost. It was the day when the Holy Spirit came and the church actually began. We read about that event in Acts 2:1-4.
1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
That’s what happened on the day of Pentecost, but how does that relate to me today? How does that relate to my church today? Let’s began answering those questions by looking at some things that Jesus said about that day and about the coming of the Holy Spirit.
It was the time of what we call “the last supper.” It was Passover. Jesus would die on the cross for the sins of the world the next day. During that all important time, Jesus spoke about the coming and work of the Holy Spirit.
THE REASON FOR PENTECOST
John 16:7 But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.
John 16:8 When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment:
Jesus said the Holy Spirit can do something that nothing else can do. The Holy Spirit can convict the world of sin. If not convicted of sin, we would be left to our own ways. If left to our own ways, we will self-destruct and eventually find our ways to hell. Let’s process that passage just a minute.
I was at a conference this past week. Bill Hybels gave an illustration about two young boys he once encountered at an overseas airport. One boy was about eight years of age and the other was about six. The boys began arguing and then fighting. The eight-year-old slapped and then began hitting with his fist the six-year-old. Eventually the six-year-old fell to a tiled floor and the eight-year-old grabbed the six-year-old by the hair and began bashing the back of his head into the tiled floor. There were no adults with the boys, so at that point Bill Hybels broke them up and shortly afterwards boarded the his plane.
Bill said that event greatly disturbed him and he couldn’t get his mind off those boys no matter how he tried. He felt the Lord was telling him to process that event. As he did, he realized that if that little boy was that violent at eight years of age, there was no telling what he would be like at twenty. The trajectory of his life was heading south very fast. He would harm or kill someone. He would be incarcerated or executed. Then he realized that without the Holy Spirit, he would go to hell. The boy’s only hope was the Holy Spirit. Unless the Holy Spirit was allowed to convict that boy regarding sin, that boy would self-destruct and find his way to hell.
I see this all the time and so do you.
We know people, children and adults, men and women, boys and girls, who are headed for big trouble. We see it coming. I have loved ones and so do you that, without the hope of the Holy Spirit, the trajectory of their lives is heading for hell.
The truth of the matter is that without the conviction of the Holy Spirit, we would all find our ways to hell. I know that I would have. In fact, I would probably be there now. Pentecost and its bringing the Holy Spirit is the hope of the world. Pentecost is the day that the Holy Spirit came. But the reason for his coming was not so people could speak in tongues or, shake and jerk as they experience extreme emotion or, to begin a denominational movement called Pentecostal. We should all be Pentecostal. The Holy Spirit came to change the world.
I need to clarify so I will be properly received. I speak in tongues. Furthermore, I love to speak and sing in tongues. I love emotions. Also, I love people who say they are “Pentecostal,” but none of those issues were the purposes of Pentecost. We get so wacked out over tongues. If a person speaks in tongues, they have an issue with people who do not. If a person does not speak in tongues, they have an issue with people who do. It’s the same way with emotions and denominations. Jesus isn’t talking about tongues or emotion or denominations as he describes the coming of the Holy Spirit. He is talking about the hope of the world. The only thing that will change the world is the Holy Spirit.
I want to ask a question.
If the Holy Spirit is not the hope of the world, then what is? What is it that will stop this world from self destruction?
I want to take the thought just a little further and make it a little more applicable. The Bible says in Acts 2:1-4 that as the Holy Spirit came, it sounded like a mighty wind and it appeared as tongues of fire that sat upon each person. Let’s read that passage again.
(NIV) Acts 2:1-4
1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.
2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.
3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.
4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
God gave them an audio and a visual of this event. The flames of fire came over each person’s head. As Nat looked at the flame over his head, it was the same as the flame over Peter’s head. As Mary looked at her flame, it was like the flame over John’s head. Tom’s flame was the same as Bart’s flame. My point is that every believer can receive the same Holy Spirit. In the New Testament, because of the day of Pentecost, we can all become ministers.
We all become the hope of the world. People, we are the hope of every person we know who does not know Jesus. We are the hope of every eight-year-old kid that will find his or her way to hell unless they receive the Holy Spirit. Tell me. Do you believe that the Pentecost in you can change the trajectory of a life heading for hell?
I want to look at Acts 2:4 again.
Acts 2:4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
It used to be very important to me that people speak in tongues. There is an obvious connection between the “filled with the Holy Spirit” and the “began to speak in other tongues.” Anyone can see that, but is that the evidence of a Spirit filled life? I hope not. I have adjusted or matured or backslide or something on that issue. Furthermore, I have had so many horrible experiences with people that spoke in tongues that I said, “Man, if that’s what being filled with the Holy Spirit is then I don’t want it.” And that is what many people have said. I believe that Christians are the best witness for Christianity, but I also believe that Christians are the worst witness for Christianity.
Let me tell you what I believe the being filled with the Holy Spirit is, at least is to me. I believe that being filled with the Holy Spirit is a life that is controlled by the Holy Spirit. It is allowing the Holy Spirit to be in charge. A person can learn to talk in tongues. It’s true. I saw my niece do it when she lived with us. But the presence of the Holy Spirit is required when a person allows the Holy Spirit to be in charge. That is a personal Pentecost. The trajectory of that life has changed because the hope of the world has touched it.
THE RESULTS OF PENTECOST
I have been a believer and follower of Jesus Christ for twenty-four years. I don’t know how many times I have read and taught from Acts chapter two. Probably, I have taught it about twenty-four times. Every time I go through it, I see a fresh emphasis for me. As I looked at it this time, I noted that the emphasis was not tongues. Yes, tongues are a part of the chapter, but not the emphasis. Tongues are not the hope of the chapter. Again, I love tongues.
What is the emphasis of the chapter? The emphasis is the affect that Pentecost had on those people and upon that society. Off the bat, three thousand souls were saved and baptized.
Acts 2:41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
Acts 2:42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
The power of Pentecost is the power to change the composition of a human soul. I know of nothing else that can do that. That’s Pentecost.
These people who experienced Pentecost began doing something that was unheard of. They began forming what is called the church. A look at that church is somewhat different from most churches today. They began forming a community around correct teaching, fellowship, having meals together, and praying.
Acts 2:44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common;
They took care of one another. If a legitimate need in the community arose, it was met. It was so much like a family that they began to call each other brother and sister. They loved each other. This is the results of Pentecost.
Acts 2:46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
Acts 2:47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
They continued in this manner. They had large meetings where they gathered, and they were in the temple. Also, they had small meetings where they gathered. They were in the houses. They ate together, and they praised together. Also, they had favor with all people. They were not bad witnesses for Christianity. They were good witnesses. Then the Bible says, ” . . . the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” The trajectory of lives changed. The composition of souls changed. The hope of the world was working.
The results of Pentecost were a community of believers that so loved the Lord and loved one another that became contagious. They reached out to their friends and loved ones with the love and compassion of Jesus. Pentecost is far more than tongues, holy rollers, denominational movements, or emotionalism.
I want us to look at our lives. I want us to look at our church. How are we doing? How are you doing, and how am I doing? Am I showing up for small groups? Am I showing up for large groups? Furthermore, am I praising? Also, am I praying? Am I fellowshipping? Whom am I reaching and talking to about Jesus that is not already convinced? Have I had a Pentecost experience?
Pentecost was and is the hope of the world.
The Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost as the hope of the world. That same hope resides in you and me today and is still the hope of the world.
(We closed this message by having corporate communion. We made a fresh dedication to the Lord to be filled with his Spirit so we can be better hopes for the world.)
Pentecost the Hope of the World
Pentecost the Hope of the World
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