The Promise of Pentecost

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The Promise of Pentecost
Text: Acts 2:1-40
Occasion: Pentecost
Audience: General
Theological Tradition: Wesleyan
Topic: Obedience
Author: George Lyons


Pentecost birthed the Church, and empowered the people to be the obedient people of God they could never be before.

How to Get There

  • Pentecost was a Jewish holiday, also called the Feast of Harvest or the Feast of Weeks. It was a time to remind the people of God's giving the law to Moses on Mount Sinai, and also a time of thankfulness for the winter harvest they just had.
  • The basic idea of the Jewish festival was that their ONE God, (as opposed to the dozens of nearby religions) supplied all their needs, and in fact is sovereign over all life. People came to the temple to give first fruits of their harvest. It was a promise of renewed obedience to God.
  • But as Stephen told the people, shockingly to them, Israel's entire history was one of regular disobedience, not obedience (Acts 7:51-53). The people kept falling away, and the Old Testament writers looked for a time when there really would be obedience and service to God (Jeremiah 31:31-24).
  • John the Baptist spoke to this promise too, that there would be a baptism with the Holy Spirit and fire in Luke 3:16. There would be a new people, and they would be harvested and purified into obedience like the grain they gathered in.
  • So when the Holy Spirit came on Pentecost, and the disciples were asked, “what does this mean” they had a reply. This is the beginning of a new era of obedience, this was an empowering to be who the people had always tried and always failed to be.
  • God began a new thing that day, but something promised long before. The Church was born, ready to obey and serve God, empowered by God to do so. What Jesus had commanded in Acts 1:8 was enabled, that we could be God's witnesses to all.
  • Pentecost means that we can be everything that we were meant to be. We can be obedient, we can be witnesses, we can be the people of God. But like the people surprised and excited at seeing the disciples, we have to decide what to do with Pentecost.
  • The movement is 2000 years old, but still strong if we move from watching Pentecost to being a participant in it. We can be the obedient people of God, Pentecost is how, but we must choose.

This message was originally written by Dr. George Lyons, converted to this format by Brian M.

Things to Watch For

  • This message focuses less on a specific passage and more on how this event as a whole fit into the narrative of God's actions among God's people.
  • Protestants normally focus on Easter and forget about Jesus' ascension or Pentecost. You will probably have to go over the sequence of events for your people for this event to make sense, so make sure you know them yourself.
  • The “feast of weeks” (Exodus 34:,16, 22, Deuteronomy 16:16) was an important Jewish holiday that occurred at the same time and was called Pentecost, so some knowledge of it is also needed.

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