The three major Christian festivals are Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost. The first church community in the world, the Church of Jerusalem, was born at Pentecost. What Happened at Pentecost?
2 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[a] as the Spirit enabled them. 5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,[b] 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?” （Acts 2:1-12)
Pentecost was a major Jewish festival, a harvest festival in which the firstfruits of the harvest were offered to the God. Similarly, Pentecost can be said to symbolize the salvation of people, the beginning of the spiritual harvest, for the church. On this day the Holy Spirit, who is God, came down and the church was born.
Before Jesus ascended into heaven, the command given to his disciples was the Great Commission. ” Go out into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature ” (Mark 16:15) How did the disciples feel? They must have thought it was impossible. Certainly, it was impossible to do it with human power. But Jesus was giving a promise with his command. It is recorded in Acts 1:4,5. “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” 1:8 says But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
The disciples waited for the promises Jesus made, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and the power of the Holy Spirit. How did they wait? They had a prayer meeting (Acts 1:14). But after a week, the promise was not fulfilled and the Holy Spirit did not come down. There were no signs. They would want to give up. But they continued their prayer meetings (Acts 2:1). Then what do you think? On the tenth day of prayer, suddenly and without warning, the Holy Spirit came down. The Holy Spirit, who is God Himself, the Holy Spirit, who is the third Person of the Trinity, has been poured out. We must never stop praying. Because the Holy Spirit will come suddenly, and revival will come suddenly.
The Holy Spirit is invisible. But He may reveal himself with a sign. Such was the event at Pentecost 2000 years ago. The Bible describes the Holy Spirit in many ways. Dove, wine, oil, breath, rain, wind, fire, etc. But of course these are not the Holy Spirit. They are used in the Bible as symbols of the Holy Spirit. Let’s take a look at three today.
①Wind (verse 2)
We can’t see the wind, but we can hear it. The Holy Spirit is invisible, but we can recognize and know the existence of the Holy Spirit through various works. At Pentecost, a strong wind like a typhoon blew and made a loud noise. People gathered where the sound originated (2:6). The prophet Ezekiel prophesied, “Breath, come from all sides.” Pray for the wind of the Holy Spirit to blow. It is something that we can feel in our bodies as the presence of the Holy Spirit.
“ The wind blows wherever it pleases, ” says John 3:8. These are the words Jesus said to Nicodemus. Since the Holy Spirit has a personality, he has likes and dislikes. He blows where he pleases. The Holy Spirit, the wind from heaven, blows upon those who humble themselves, those who pray and seek God’s help.
②Fire (verse 3 )
The first sign of the Holy Spirit (the wind) was invisible, but the second sign was visible.
At this time they must have remembered what John the Baptist was prophesying about Jesus. “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”(Luke 3:16).
Fire also represented the presence of God in the Old Testament. The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night led the Israelites out of Egypt (Exodus chaper13).
Fire has the ability to illuminate. The Holy Spirit exposes our darkness, our hidden sins that we are unaware of. Ayako Miura writes , ” The essence of sin lies in not realizing it is sin .” We don’t realize that we are doing something wrong, but rather thinks we are right. Through conviction of sin, we are led to repentance. That is the work of the Holy Spirit.
Fire also has a refining effect, removing impurities within us. It seeks to destroy the ego that opposes the Spirit of God, and to burn up the minds and sins of the flesh.
And the flame of the Holy Spirit burns our cold hearts, our cold lukewarm faith life, our church life. We began to have a new passion for growing our faith, for Jesus, for the work of the church, for Japan and the world.
For the fire of the Holy Spirit to come down from heaven, it first needed the blood of the cross of Jesus Christ. Blood precedes fire. The sacrificial blood, the sacrificial offering comes first. This was the case with the Old Testament altar. First, the blood of animals was offered to God for human sin, and then fire came down from heaven in God’s response.
By the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the disciples spoke in foreign languages (tongues) (v. 4). Tongues were originally supernatural words given by God (gift of the Holy Spirit), but the tongues at this time became tongues and words used for world missions.
A great noise was caused by the wind of the Holy Spirit, and a great crowd was gathered, and they were amazed and when they heard the disciples of Jesus speaking in their own tongues (verse 6). And all the people were astonished and puzzled, and they said to each other, ” What’s does this mean? ” (verse 12).
We will be surprised, the church will be surprised, and the people in our community will be surprised. There may be no confusion if nothing special happens, but it’s never a good thing. Something has to happen In our lives, in the work of the church, in this country of Japan, and in the world. For that reason, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is important. Let us pray for the wind of the Holy Spirit to come, the fire of the Holy Spirit to come down, the gift of the Holy Spirit to be given, and the revival to take place.
Early rains and late rains in Israel. Autumn rain and spring rain. Peter explains this Pentecost (the outpouring of the Holy Spirit) in his sermon from verse 14, which he preached was a fulfillment of the prophecies of Joel (verse 16). Joel 2:23 says, For the Lord will give you the first rains (autumn rains), and the heavy rains, as before, the first rains and the latter (spring rains), for your righteousness. . The first rain was fulfilled at Pentecost 2000 years ago. The latter rain is from now on. Now, the work of the Holy Spirit has been restored rapidly, and the world mission is moving forward. I believe it’s starting to rain now. And from now on, the full-fledged “latter rain” will fall at the time of God. An overwhelming outpouring of the Holy Spirit comes. At that time there will be a great harvest of souls (salvation of the people) and the work of salvation in Israel.
I believe that in the future, by God’s mercy, Japan will receive an outpouring of the Holy Spirit similar to what is happening in other countries. Stay awake, humble ourself, never give up, pray, and have faith to seek the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and revival.