“When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 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 tongue as the Spirit enabled them”. –Acts 2:1-4 (NIV)
June 12 is Pentecost Sunday. It is the birthday of church.
Acts 2:1-21 tells the events that have transpired that day when the Holy Spirit of God has come down on the apostles like tongues of fire.
It has been the Jewish Feast of Weeks. It is a special day for the Jews as they celebrate the giving of the Ten Commandments at Mt. Sinai and celebrate a good harvest with thanksgiving. That explains why there have been so many people in Jerusalem that day.
Suddenly, the apostles have received the power to speak in tongues and proclaim the message from God. The people have been astonished to hear Jews speak foreign languages. The power of the Spirit has come to the apostles and Peter has spoken to the people with boldness. On that day, three thousand have given their lives to the Lord Jesus to the glory of the Father.
As modern day church, we look back at the history of our beginning and we see how God has moved mightily in the lives and faith of the apostles. Now, what difference does it make for all of us?
Here are some insights:
1. The Spirit has brought about radical change.
We can see the apostles’ transformation from fear into boldness. Love has moved in their hearts both for God and the lost in a manner that cannot contain and they reach out to people to share the message of God’s love.
How do we see ourselves? As believers in Christ, do we bear the same fire? Is Christ at the center of our hearts so much, so that we love at a radical measure? Is it something we do not just say but we express? Will people notice that fire?
2. The Spirit makes it easy for us to comprehend His message.
God has given a new tongue, and a new blessed way of listening to His voice by the power of the Spirit. It is like God speaking the language of heaven in our own language.
Beyond the gift of speaking in tongues, when we speak the message of love and comfort to people, most especially those who are looking for God in their lives, we are also speaking the language of heaven. Whenever we speak about the grace of God in Christ, the forgiveness of sin and salvation as a gift of God by faith in Christ alone, we are speaking in the language of God and we can expect the Spirit of God to dwell in those words to make them understand.
3. The Spirit makes ordinary people extra-ordinary.
The apostles are ordinary men like each one of us. Like them, we do not need to have special skills in order for God to move and speak through us. If we will only make ourselves available for God, He will use mightily wherever we are and whatever we are doing to touch other people lives. We can become extra-ordinary people because God makes wonders through us.
Digested from a sermon by: Rev. Orlino Veron, Administrative Pastor, Lagro, United Methodist Church, June 12, 2011- Pentecost Sunday
Image above courtesy of: http://new.gbgm-umc.org/resources/annual/pentecost/