Tomorrow is Pentecost Sunday, oh that we could all meet in our churches, welcome one another, rejoice on this special day, and share in communion together. But we have to be wise and patient.
We have the love of God present with us wherever we are.
All four writers of the gospels are in agreement that the baptism that John the Baptist called those who came and received water baptism, and were those who recognised their need of forgiveness by repentance hear his words “I baptise you with water, but one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and with fire”. Mathew 3:11, Mark 1:7, Luke 3:15,John 1:26 And the fulfilment of this comes as we remember and celebrate the disciples during the 40 days between his resurrection and Ascension are now being fulfilled.
The Apostle Luke the writer of The Acts of the Apostles reminds us in Acts 1:4, of the words of Jesus “Do not leave Jerusalem but wait for the gift my Father has promised. For John baptised with water but in a few days you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit.” Vs 8 “ you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth”.
Acts 2 ‘When the day of Pentecost came they were together in prayer, both men and women. 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. At that time it being the festival of weeks there were devout Jews from at least 15 nations visiting ‘both Jews and converts to Judaism, “asking what does this mean?” for they all heard the disciples speaking in their own language.
V erse14 ‘Then Peter stood up’ and quotes from the prophet Joel:” In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.
Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.
A reminder of our Lords words in John 14:25 “I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Counsellor 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”. This comes in John 14 and from verse 15 we have his assurance that he will not leave us as orphans. If you have time it is such an encouragement to read all of John 14 & 15.
Acts19 1-8, Paul visiting Ephesus meets with some disciples and asks the question “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They answered “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit”. “So what baptism did you receive?”. So Paul asked, “What baptism did you receive?”. “John’s baptism”, they replied. Paul said “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. On hearing this they were baptised into the Name of Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.
I was brought up in the church that referred to the Holy Spirit as the Holy Ghost, what about you?
To me it was a sort of ethereal floating something. At the end of the psalms we sang Glory to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost. And as the doxology at the end of the service. I certainly did not think or know that Jesus was leaving us with his life giving Spirit, the power from on high, to empower us as we lived out our faith and belief. It was all striving on our part, and for many of us always a sense of failure.
I am sure we all have verses that comfort and encourage us. Written in Titus 3: beginning at verse 4, But when the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he had poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Saviour.
And lastly Romans 5:5. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom he has given us.
For me this was life transforming, life enriching, life enhancing, God’s power at work in us through the Holy Spirit, to see the world through the eyes of Christ, to have his love and compassion active in our hearts, minds and actions. How the world would be changed if we allowed God’s Spirit to reign fully in our churches. (sorry His churches)!
Have you ever wondered why when we say the Nicene creed in church there is no mention of two baptisms, we say “there is one baptism for the forgiveness of sins”, but no mention of second baptism? The baptism of the Holy Spirit? The Nicene creed was formulated in Nicaea in AD 325, and amended in 381 at the first council of Constantinople. Why did these council members decide that the baptism of the Spirit, the empowering of God should be denied, or left out in the churches statement of faith??
It’s a question to ponder.
Praise God for Luther, Wycliffe, and Tyndale who translated the Bible into English.
As we celebrate Pentecost again may we be filled afresh with all that God’s Spirit has to give us in our service to him. Come magnify the Lord with me, for Holy is his Name.