Empowered by the Holy Spirit
I'm so tired of seeing people (And believe me, it's not merely pew-sitting Christians, but also so-called preachers, teachers, evangelists and thought leaders) trying to make faith in Christ about anything else but the Gospel. Jesus taught the Gospel, from the foundation of the Church, it's always been about the Gospel, and anyone who follows Jesus in Spirit and Truth is all about the Gospel. What is more, this message isn't for a select people, as is popular to spout in politics these days, but is for the whole world, with the intent to restore all humanity to God. This morning, as I read through Acts, I saw that this has been the message preached from the very beginning. For the next few days, I want to break down this text, because sometimes our faith gets off course. Believers, we can stop relying on the Holy Spirit, we can try and draw people to church, but miss out on the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. "When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance." Acts 2:1-4
The Church (about 120 men and women, including the Apostles) waited on the Holy Spirit. He led the Church from their place of prayer to a place of evangelism.
"Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. And they were amazed and astonished, saying, 'Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.' And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, 'What does this mean?' But others mocking said, 'They are filled with new wine'" Acts 2:5-13
The Church, filled with the Holy Spirit, began to preach the Gospel, and on the Day of Pentecost, Jews and converts from all over the world heard them, each in his or her own language. Even though the original crowd was primarily Jewish, or invested in Judaism, the languages spoken were from all over the known world, showing what was to come when the Gospel would go beyond Jerusalem to the rest of the world. The people who heard were amazed by what they were hearing; how often do we try and do things on our own steam? But if we waited on the Holy Spirit, some would scoff, sure, but there would also be many who would be amazed! We should all be encourage and challenged by this message: through prayer and submission to God, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, we should be led to spread the good news of Jesus Christ, that He lived as one of us, that He died for our sin according to the Scriptures, that He was buried and rose again three days later according to the Scriptures, and He conquered death so that we can live the resurrection life now, and be raised with Him on the Last Day in accordance with the Scriptures! He is alive and glorified, sitting at the right hand of the Father, and some day He is returning to make all things new. And (we will see more tomorrow on this), that the way to get in on this good news is to Repent and Be Baptized in to Christ for the forgiveness of Sin and to receive the gift of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit! Pray, be empowered, and share the Good News everywhere!