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(Part 1)


On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came down on the disciples, empowering them for worldwide mission, and the Church was born. It was an awesome event, with a noise like a strong driving wind, tongues of fire, and speaking in tongues.

The pilgrims in Jerusalem were astounded and amazed, and they were confused and bewildered. We too should be astounded and amazed. But let us not be confused or bewildered.

This is what Peter said happened, in accordance with the prophecy of Joel.
“‘It will come to pass in the last days,’ God says, ‘that I will pour out a portion of my spirit upon all flesh. …. and it shall be that everyone shall be saved who calls on the name of the Lord.’” (Acts 2:17a,21)
Pentecost is the work of the Triune God. The Father pours out His Spirit on those who call on the Son, Jesus.

The plan of the Father

God raised Israel and entered into covenant with her, making the Israelites His very own people. God loved them and prospered them, but they were unfaithful. At some point, God allowed the chastisement of His people, with a terrible invasion of locusts ravaging Judah. The prophet Joel called for repentance and prayer for deliverance. God answered with a promise to bless them with peace and prosperity, including the pouring out of the spirit on all flesh.

With the outpouring of the spirit would come restoration, and with restoration would come the salvation of God.

God’s people eventually persisted in their infidelities and lost it all. But the plan of God for His people would continue. God then sent His Son into the world to win salvation for all.

The work of the Son

Jesus became man and went to the cross to save us from our sins. By his death and resurrection, Jesus won for us our salvation. This salvation is available to all, but one must accept the gift. Those who accept Jesus as Savior and Lord are saved (Rom 10:9).

However, for one to be able to call on the name of the Lord, they have to believe; in order to believe, they must first hear the good news; in order to hear, there must be those who proclaim the gospel; in order for there to be preachers, they must be sent (Rom 10:14-15a).

The power of the Spirit

Such evangelizers, human persons doing divine work, needed to be empowered from on high.

The Son spoke about the promise of the Father to send the Spirit (Acts 1:4-5). Jesus said, “But you will receive power when the holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8).

The Holy Spirit provides the empowerment for worldwide mission. The Spirit enables God’s people to become living witnesses to Jesus and his saving work.

God’s people

On the day of Pentecost, the Church, the new people of God, the new Israel, was born.

How does one appropriate the salvation won by the Son, participate in the plan of the Father, and be empowered by the Holy Spirit? Peter explained what God had done: “God raised this Jesus; …. he received the promise of the holy Spirit ….” (Acts 2:32-33). And so what is our proper response? Peter continues, “…. God has made him both Lord and Messiah, …. Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:36,38).

On the day of Pentecost, God fulfilled His promise. God poured out His Spirit on those who called on the Son.

On the day of Pentecost God raised the new Israel. It was an exciting event in salvation history, as God’s plan continued to unfold. The time of evangelization and mission had been launched.

We are privileged to be a part of it.

* * *

Discussion starter for household meetings:

In your acceptance of Jesus as Savior and Lord, do you believe you have received the Spirit? If so, you have been drafted as God’s evangelizer. How have you responded to the call to evangelize?

Pentecost Sunday
May 31, 2009

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On the Triune God - Part 1 [PDF]
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