What is authentic Christianity? What is the church? What is its message? The Book of Acts gives a clear answer to these questions.
Do you realize that Pentecost did not originate with Pentecostals? Do you know that the first Pentecost was not the birthday of the church?
Pentecost was an ancient annual Israelite feast, full of prophetic meaning. It was celebrated centuries before the day we read about in the second chapter of the Book of Acts. In Leviticus 23 the annual Feast of Pentecost was also known as the Feast of Weeks, and marked the start of the ingathering of the wheat harvest. The priest lifted high two leavened loaves of bread and waved them before the Lord. Leaven speaks of sin, and the loaves represent Jews and Gentiles, presented faultless before the Lord by one saving act. The waving of the loaves represents the fact that the harvest has just begun and there is much more to come- from the north, east, south and west. He did this in conjunction with the traditional burnt offering, drink offering, meal offering, fellowship offering and sin offering representing Christ's perfect devotion, selflessness, purity, fellowship and His atoning sacrifice for sin. This symbolic act foreshadowed the fruit of the gospel, both Jews and Gentiles, being accepted as one new humanity before God, and made to sit in heavenly places in Christ on the basis of His perfect work of redemption (the five offerings of Leviticus 1-5).
It was on this day that Jesus was glorified (John 7:39; Acts 2:33, 36) and on this day that the gift of the Holy Spirit was given to believers in fulfillment of the Father's promise. It was on this day that believers were first joined to Christ and joined one to another through the gift of the Holy Spirit. This day was the birthday of the church as the body of Christ!
What does this mean for us? First, Pentecost is about Christ being glorified as He is presented as our representative at the right hand of the Father and glorified in us by the Indwelling Holy Spirit.
Secondly, Pentecost is about our being joined to Christ, the Head of this new humanity, as members of His body that are joined to one another.
1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.
Thirdly, it is about the Holy Spirit empowering the church for witness. When we come alive to God from faith in Christ, we are given the capacity to be continually filled with the Spirit.
What are the abiding elements of Pentecost? What were the meanings of the supernatural signs? Which of these supernatural happenings came and stayed? Which disappeared after they arrived?
Can we hope for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our lives? How can we experience all that the Father and the Son have promised? What are we to do to be filled with the Spirit?
Come join us at New Life Community Church for worship at 10:30 AM on Sunday mornings at the Umbrella for the Arts, 40 Stow Street in Concord, as we anticipate an experience with the Purposeful Power of Pentecost.