WHAT IS PENTECOST?
singular focus toward a balance of Spirit and Truth. Jesus told the Samaritan woman in the Gospel of John chapter 4 that the Father desires worshippers to approach him in spirit and in truth. It is not an either/or proposition, but a delicate balance of pursuing the spiritual experiences found in the journey of faith and also searching the scripture to verify and authenticate those experiences. Let me answer a few questions I have heard many times over since coming into the ministry.
by Scott A. Phillips
What does Pentecost Mean?
Pentecost was/is a Jewish festival and feast that was celebrated every year. It was one of the three major holy days that revolved around the time of harvest. It was fifty days after the Passover. Its significance for a New Testament believer is what happened at Pentecost. If you read your Bible in Acts the first few chapters, you can verify what I am about to summarize to you. Jesus celebrated the Passover with his disciples. In that season, he was betrayed, crucified and died. Jesus was resurrected on the third day and for forty days gave instructions to his disciples. At the end of that forty days, Jesus ascended and just prior to this gave the Apostles his commission and told them, “Go to Jerusalem and wait.” “Wait for what?” you may ask. The answer is described in Acts 2. “ And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. (2) And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3) And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. (4) And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Act 2:1-4
“... how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” Luke 11:13
separate and individual experience of receiving the Holy Ghost. Don’t take my word for it. Read it for yourself, if you are hungry and sincere enough to search out the truth. Don’t take anyone’s word for it. Pick up your Bible and see if what is written here is verified in scripture. In Acts 2:38, converts were told for the first time the New Testament message of salvation after Jesus ascended. It consisted of Repentance, baptism in Jesus’ name and a separate experience of receiving the Baptism of the Holy Ghost. This message was repeated over and over again. In Acts 8, you see the Samaritan revival is detailed. Everyone in the city believed. Everyone in the city saw and experienced miracles and deliverance. Everyone had been baptized in Jesus’ Name. However, no one had received the Holy Ghost. Faith, Baptism, but no Holy Ghost. The Apostles came and prayed and something so notable happened that a confused man wanted to give money to have that same power to give people the Holy Ghost.
Acts 10, a prayerful and devout man had an angelic visitor that told him that he needed Peter to tell him what he needed to do. He sent for Peter, and he shared the message of Jesus Christ. You should read what happened while he preached. They received the Holy Ghost. Those that were with Peter were shocked that they received the Holy Ghost. How did they know? Go read it. “They received it just like we did.” How did they know? They heard them speak in tongues and prophesy. What did Peter tell them they needed to do? They already believed. They had already received the Gift of the Holy Ghost. Even Spoke in Tongues. What did Peter command them to do? Repeat a prayer? Sign a Card? He commanded them to be baptized in Jesus’ Name.
See that? Pentecost. Pentecost, when we say it, is a recognition of what happened on that day. When you hear “Pentecost”, it is not a “Denomination” that is being identified, but an experience! A spiritual experience of the Gift of the Holy Ghost being poured out on those who desire it.
Acts 19, Paul came across some believers. He asked them a pointed question. “Have you received the Holy Ghost in addition to your faith?” The response was shock, “We did not know there was anything else to get in addition to faith.” He asked them, “How were you baptized?” The Apostle Paul, the writer of a large percentage of the New Testament, re-baptized them in Jesus’ Name. What did he do next? He prayed for them to receive the Holy Ghost.
What is the difference?
So, what is Pentecost? Spirit and Truth.
Pentecost is not a denomination, rather identifying with an experience and the original salvation message preached by the Apostles to those who wanted to be saved. It is the message that was preached on what we refer to as the “birth or beginning” of the New Testament Church at Pentecost. Many people,when out of a honest desire, seek salvation, will go to church or pick up a tract or be told by a sincere person how to be saved. Surprisingly, the method of achieving salvation that is shared is often not what was shared by the Apostles of Jesus Christ to the converts in scripture. I am not going to discount or criticize the experience one has received already. In fact, I applaud every step a person takes in the journey of faith. However, from a scriptural standpoint, the fact is those that wanted to be saved in scripture were not given the many and varied answers one might receive today. Pray a prayer of profession. Accept Jesus as their personal savior. Join a Church. Attend a religious class. Repeat or read a short prayer. The above are all wonderful things and may very well be helpful in our journey, but the truth is, this was not the method used or shared to New Testament Christians.
Here is the question they asked the Apostles on the day of Pentecost. (Read Acts 2:37-38) “What do we do?” The response was very simple. It was not elaborate. It was not complicated. “Repent, be baptized in the Name of Jesus for forgiveness of sins and you will get the Holy Ghost.”
This message of repentance and baptism that brought forgiveness of sins was preached by John the Baptist and Jesus Christ and continued to be preached throughout the ministries of the Apostles after Pentecost. One major distinction that we teach to illustrate to those that are hungry for more of God, is to point them to a scriptural precedent dealing with the method utilized and message preached to those who wanted to be saved by the hand chosen spokesmen of Christ, the Apostles. Nowhere in scripture were they asked to walk an aisle or pray a repeated prayer. They were told emphatically, even commanded, and in one instance, were instructed to do it over to get it right. Repentance, Baptism in Jesus’ Name and the
Identifying with the blessing of water baptism in Jesus’ name and the separate and individual experience that is the Gift of the Holy Spirit, while declaring and pointing to the scriptural foundation of these experiences. This is not a Religious Custom or tradition, but a scripture mandate and pattern. Everyone in Scripture that was baptized by the Apostles was baptized in Jesus’ Name. Jews, Samaritans, Gentiles were all baptized in Jesus’ Name. No one was ever baptized in the formula of Matthew 28:19 in scripture. Not for the first two hundred years of Church History. How was Baptism experienced by ALL New Testament Christians? They were not sprinkled, or poured upon … but baptized… immersed in water in the Name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. This illustrates a fundamental shift away from traditional answers and mindset toward scripture. Tradition lauds the opinions of men while minimizing what the scripture says. We believe the Scripture emphatically and endeavor to obey it and follow it as close as we can. We do not see the Bible as just a book of nifty stories; rather it is the revealed Word of God. It teaches us how to live, interact with our world and how we should conduct ourselves. Some may scoff at the points listed above, but our reason is not to be critical, but to give an answer to the questions.
It is a Message. It is an Experience. It is a distinction of obeying and teaching specifically what the scripture says even when it is in contrast to what others have always heard. When Tradition and truth have conflict, we choose the scripture. We pray the Blessings of the Lord upon you as you consider and study this further.
Associate Pastor Michael Smith Join us on Sunday Morning @ 10:00 for Sunday School. Our Adult Sunday School is led by Rev. Michael Smith. This is an interactive Bible Class where you can ask questions and get answers from a Biblical perspective. SP3477
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