There are no coincidences where God is concerned. Christ was crucified the day that Passover would start at sundown. He rose from the grave three days later, on Resurrection Day (otherwise known as Easter – although Passover doesn’t always correlate to Easter). Fifty days from Passover is the Jewish holiday of Shavu’ot.
Shavu’ot celebrates the giving of the Torah, or the Law, by Moses to the Israelite people from God – many people believe that this was the start of the Jewish faith. Do you remember what Jesus said? “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them,” [Matthew 5:17]. Shavu’ot also corresponds with Pentecost.
Did you get that? Pentecost, the day in which the Holy Spirit was poured upon the early Church – the start of Christianity – was the anniversary of when the Law was given by God. I don’t believe there is a coincidence here, God giving His beloved Hebrew nation the Law and then, pouring out His Spirit upon the new covenant believers on the same holy day. The dawn of Grace appeared on the setting of the Law by a fulfillment of Jesus’ promise: “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever — the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you,” [John 14:16- 17].
The Spirit is often associated with fire (think burning bush) or wind – even breathing. When God formed Adam, He “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being,” [Genesis 2:7]. Conversely, after the Resurrection when Jesus appeared in the midst of the disciples, behind locked doors, He “breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit,’” [John 20:22]. It is not a coincidence that God breathed life into man the same way His Son breathed new life into His followers.
Just like Jesus promised, God poured out the Holy Spirit upon our faith ancestors, the early church, using the breath of wind. “Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them, [Acts 2:2-4]. We too have this power available to us, the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, just like the infant church. The difference is, they claimed the Holy Spirit and knew that God had given it to them.
Are we as the capital-c Church, the Bride of Christ, living up to that anointing? Pentecostal Christians (we’re not talking about the denomination) are believers who not only embrace the Holy Spirit in their lives but claim His presence. God has given us great power within the Counselor’s guidance. Jesus said about the Holy Spirit: “...The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you,” [John 14:26].
As an illustration of the power the Holy Spirit has, we need only to read the end of any of the Gospels and the beginning of Acts. We have Peter who stuck his foot in his mouth at every opportunity before the cross, and denied Christ three times during the trials. Then, after the Resurrection and after an early-morning breakfast in which Jesus told him three times to feed His sheep, Peter stood among the disciples and raised his voice, speaking with power and eloquence and a giftedness that he did not have only 50 days prior. Modern day has seen such evangelistic powerhouses as DL Moody, Corrie ten Boom, AW Tozer, and of course, Rev. Billy Graham, who through the power of the Holy Spirit has led millions to Christ. Was it those people alone? I believe they would be the first to say, without hesitation, no. Obedient followers of Christ, with the Holy Spirit powerfully working in and through them, have the God-given power to do incredible, kingdom-building work for the glory of God.
This is the power we have, believers in Christ. Jesus said in Luke 12:11-12, “When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”
Friends, the Holy Spirit will give us the words to say to witness to others about the Gospel of Jesus Christ – if only we would. It is the power of the Holy Spirit that allows Christians who are being executed by Islamic terrorists to sing to Jesus even as the knife cuts their throats. It is the power of the Holy Spirit that causes real change to happen in society – if only we as Christians would speak out in support of Godliness instead of institutionalized and government-sanctioned sin.
The church will not be Pentecostal and filled with the power of the Holy Spirit until she bows before her Husband-Redeemer, asks forgiveness and turns away from everything that comes between her and Christ. The Old Testament passage from 2 Chronicles 7:14 is not talking about the United States or any earthly country, but is addressing God’s people – first the Jewish nation (Law), then the Church (grace): “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
We hear on the news these days of so many churches approving of LGBT marriages, even holding same-sex weddings – standing before the congregation, the couple, and Holy God. God doesn’t condone sin, and homosexuality is sin. No wonder today’s Church has lost its way and find its numbers shrinking. When churches turn from what is politically correct, and stands on the authority and supremacy of God’s Holy Word, then the Church will be able to call on the power of the Holy Spirit – what a revival of lost souls we will see! What power!
We may even see Pentecost Part 2 happen. Would it not be phenomenal if the Church would turn to God and start preaching the Word, uninhibited by church-sanctioned sin – or by pastoral pride?
We are to be Pentecostal Christians – Christians dedicated to bold, daring, outspoken faith just like Peter, John, and Stephen had in the early Church. Christians not afraid to offend.
First Corinthians 1:18 states, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” The Gospel is offensive to those who are sinning and have no desire for the things of God; the Gospel is life for those who follow Christ and share Him abundantly. Paul wrote in Romans 5:5, “And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” When we are doing the Pentecostal work of God, we have no reason to be ashamed.
It is time the Church stopped worshiping the false god of public opinion and turned to worshiping and preaching the One True God, found only in Jesus Christ. The opinion of mankind has no reach to heaven. We should be only concerned with what God thinks of us, and His Church. What would you rather hear at the judgement seat? Well done, good and faithful servant? Or be gone from Me, I never knew you?
The same resurrection power that did not hold Christ in the tomb can free us to worship in His name and pray powerfully. Mighty works can be done in His name through the gift of the Holy Spirit abiding in us and working through us, but even mightier works can be accomplished if Christ’s Bride, the Church, turned away from seeking the false praise of mankind and towards seeking God’s face.
How? Pray. Flood the gates of heaven with petitions to be forgiven. Ask God to pour out His blessing and Spirit upon you and your church. Turn away from sanctioning sin in the pulpit and focus on what God deems right in His eyes – not society’s. Preach the Word. Live the Word. Immerse yourselves in living a Godly life with the focus on Jesus Christ. It is then the Holy Spirit will be poured out on the Church and no floodgate, dam, or legislation could stop it.
This post is an excerpt from Terrie Bentley McKee's new book, Token Faith: Moving from Fake to Real Faith in Jesus Christ. It's available at Park Road Books in Charlotte, NC and on Amazon [affiliate link].
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