(CAC Friday Communique, April 30, 2010)
Welcome to a truly and deeply Pentecostal blog, by a Pentecostal pastor!
Acts 2:1-4 (KJV)
1And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
2And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
3And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
4And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
More than a denomination, a holiday, or an organization, Pentecost is an experience. As you may know, the book of Acts records the first impartation of the Holy Spirit upon humankind, which happened specifically on the “Day of Pentecost.” Until then, this Jewish national holiday was celebrated the seventh week after the Passover, in grateful recognition of the completed harvest. Ever since the book of Acts, it was a Christian feast on the seventh Sunday after Easter, commemorating the first descent of God’s Spirit as experienced by some 3,120 believers!
You can be certain that this was spiritually cataclysmic. (Cataclysm is defined as “an event that brings great changes.”) From that Pentecostal experience until the present, the means to right standing with God changed from the way it was just before it occurred. No longer were animal sacrifices required. No longer was Jerusalem the central point of worship. Jewish priests and rabbis were no longer the top of spiritual hierarchy. Suddenly, the defining characteristic of religion changed from the law of the Old Testament to the Spirit of the New. At the beginning of Acts 2, Jehovah of the Old Testament rolled out his better plan of saving, relating to, and touching humans. He sent down, “poured out upon all flesh” His very own Spirit into the hearts of the waiting, the lonely, the hungry, the tired, and thirsty!
Hebrews 7:19 (KJV)
19For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.
In the last 11 scriptures of Acts 2, genuine factors of greatness emerge from the hearts and lives of these newly Pentecostal people. From these verses we draw the following insights, giving us all foresight into what Pentecostal greatness, as originally experienced, is truly like.
To put it another way, it is possible to hear someone say, “I’m Pentecostal.” However, I hope in this message, to help you with your forensic testing. That’s right. Do a DNA test on their experience and see how closely their experience matches the Pentecostal experience where it first occurred. If not, they are Pentecostal in name only, and not in experience! They’re missing the best part of being Pentecostal! (Some of us may be missing the best part of it, assuming it’s simply a type of religion.) Let’s set the record straight and go back to the drawing board where the Church that Jesus called “His” Church was born. The first DNA strand of genuine Pentecostal greatness is…
A Great Pentecostal Is A Jesus-Name Regenerated Pentecostal
Acts 2:37-41 (KJV)
37Now 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?
38Then 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.
39For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
40And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.
41Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
A few months earlier, Jesus told us that rebirth involves both water and Spirit:
John 3:5 (KJV)
5Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
The same preacher of Acts 2 later wrote about the essentiality of baptism:
1 Peter 3:21 (KJV)
21The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
About Spirit rebirth, notice the end-of-life essentiality:
Romans 8:11 (KJV)
11But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
Whoa! Ready for this? The regenerate is reborn, and sinless! (Really!):
1 John 3:9 (KJV)
9Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
However, if we do slip, if we have failed, don’t give up!!
1 John 2:1 (KJV)
1My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
The second DNA strand of genuine Pentecostal greatness is…
A Great Pentecostal Is A Truth-Devoted Pentecostal
Acts 2:42 (KJV)
42And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
Previously, Jesus made this statement:
John 8:31-32 (KJV)
31Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
32And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
No matter how long we’ve known about Pentecost, we need to stay connected to the original experience!!
2 Timothy 3:14 (KJV)
14But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;
The third DNA strand of genuine Pentecostal greatness is…
A Great Pentecostal Is An Awe-filled Pentecostal
43And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.
This is not a fear as in “fear and loathing!” It is healthy, necessary and balanced by comfort! (Much like the awe of a child toward their parent, knowing the need to “stay in good standing!”) This balanced respect is very vital to growth, both individually and corporately:
Acts 9:31 (KJV)
31Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.
The fourth DNA strand of genuine Pentecostal greatness is…
A Great Pentecostal Is An Integrated Pentecostal
Acts 2:44 (KJV)
44And all that believed were together, and had all things common;
John 17:22 (KJV)
22And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
The fifth DNA strand of genuine Pentecostal greatness is…
A Great Pentecostal Is A Generous Pentecostal
45And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.
2 Corinthians 8:12-15 (The Message)
12Once the commitment is clear, you do what you can, not what you can’t. The heart regulates the hands.
13This isn’t so others can take it easy while you sweat it out. No, you’re shoulder to shoulder with them all the way,
14your surplus matching their deficit, their surplus matching your deficit. In the end you come out even.
15As it is written, Nothing left over to the one with the most, Nothing lacking to the one with the least. (Exo. 16:18)
The sixth DNA strand of genuine Pentecostal greatness is…
A Great Pentecostal Is A Joyously Worshipping Pentecostal
46And 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,
47Praising God, and having favour with all the people.
The seventh DNA strand of genuine Pentecostal greatness is…
A Great Pentecostal Is An Evangelistic Pentecostal
Acts 2:47b (KJV)
And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
Perhaps this listing of characteristic greatnesses resulting from the first genuine Pentecostal experience will fire us up to be greater Pentecostals ourselves! Lord help us to hang on tightly to the first Pentecostal teaching and experience, knowing it will produce power that extends beyond our spheres of influence, even into the next generation, just like it did in the New Testament.
“It’s for me, it’s for you, it’s for your children, and their children, too.
In Acts the second chapter you can read it for yourself,
You don’t have to ask anybody else,
It’s the Holy Ghost, and Jesus is giving it away!”
We invite you to move beyond the words, the reading, and the hoping: Make it your personal experience at Calvary Apostolic Church of Denver!