The power of a re-imagined church.
23rd May 2021
George Methodist Church
With Peter Veysie
Historical and biblical background to Pentecost = Shavaot.
The Holy Spirit Comes at Pentecost Shavaot
If you go back and read the Old Testament, you will discover that Pentecost was one of the Jewish feast days. Only they didn’t call it Pentecost. That’s the Greek name. The Jews called it the Feast of Harvest or the Feast of Weeks – Shavaot. It is mentioned five places in the first five books — in Exodus 23, Exodus 24, Leviticus 16, Numbers 28, and Deuteronomy 16.
What is the Origin of Pentecost?
Pentecost was the celebration of the beginning of the early weeks of harvest and the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai. There were two harvests each year. The early harvest came during the months of May and June; the final harvest came in the Fall. Pentecost was the celebration of the beginning of the early wheat harvest, which meant that Pentecost always fell sometime during the middle of the month of May or sometimes in early June.
There were several festivals, celebrations, or observances that took place before Pentecost. There was Passover, there was Unleavened Bread, and there was the Feast of Firstfruits. The Feast of Firstfruits was the celebration of the beginning of the barley harvest. Here’s the way you figured out the date of Pentecost.
According to the Old Testament, you would go to the day of the celebration of Firstfruits, and beginning with that day, you would count off 50 days. The fiftieth day would be the Day of Pentecost. So Firstfruits is the beginning of the barley harvest and Pentecost the celebration of the beginning of the wheat harvest.
Since it was always 50 days after Firstfruits, and since 50 days equals seven weeks, it always came a “week of weeks” later. Therefore, they either called it the Feast of Harvest or the Feast of Weeks.
Read :Acts 2: 1-13
- They were gathered in one place. It seems to me that through this challenging time the Lord is truly gathering us into one place. What does that one place look like. We are at a pinnacle point of history where the Lord is once again gathering together those who worship Im in Spirit and in truth. Through COVID, we have learned new ways of gathering together. Fearful for thier lives the early church gathered together in the upper room.
2. The soundof the wind
Suddenly they heard the sound of a violent blast of wind rushing into the house from out of the heavenly realm. The roar of the wind was so overpowering it was all anyone could bear!
– creation – the Holy Spirit hovered, the Lord breathed into Adam and Eve,death and an earthquake and violent storm,now the birthing of the church in the breathe of Almighty God – King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Is the Lord breathing into the church again? Life renewal hope new vision and direction?
3. A pillar of fire 3 Then all at once a pillar of fire appeared before their eyes.[d] It separated into tongues of fire that engulfed[e] each one of them.
This is so profound to me because it was the one thing in the temple that represented the Presence of Almighty God and now again we see it here and it is seperating and engulfing each one of them. Romans 12:1-2 speaks about offering ourselves as a living sacrifice Holy and pleasing to the Lord and this again emphasises that worship had shifted from a stone temple into the hearts of the Living Temple of the Body of Christ – we are that temple and we become the sacrifice. Not little temples, but a united One temple gathered together to worship the Lord. If there is one thing that has been made clear to me during this time is that yes it is great to meet together and now with the restrictions lifting we will be tempted to run back to our ways, but I believe deep caution needs to be taken so that we don’t become the epicentre of the spread of the virus as the church. I have the Good News to spread and not the bad news. But remember that wherever you are and however isolated you may be you are still on FIRE as a witness to the risen and victorious Lord on this Pentecost Sunday.
4 They were all filled and equipped[f] with the Holy Spirit and were inspired to speak in tongues—empowered by the Spirit to speak in languages they had never learned! It is always intriguing to me as to how long this actually was. I know that Peter speaks to the crowd at 9am in the morning, but was this happening through the night and what was the duration? If the Holy Spirit was both empowering and equipping could it be that it would take a little longer than shorter. Most meetings that I have been to that have had a deep impact on my life have been longer than shorter. I believe that there is a need for us to make sure that our equipped is prepared and ready and that we know how to use it and it’s in good order. Illustration of the army inspection.
5. Cut to the heart
36 “Now everyone in Israel can know for certain that Jesus, whom you crucified, is the one God has made[ba] both Lord[bb] and the Messiah.”
The Crowd Responds to Peter’s Words
37 When they heard this they were crushed and realized what they had done to Jesus.Deeply moved, they said to Peter and the other apostles, “What do we need to do?”
38 Peter replied, “Repent and return to God, and each one of you must be baptized in the name of Jesus, the Anointed One,to have your sins removed. Then you may take hold of the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For God’s promise of the Holy Spirit is for you and your families, for those yet to be born and for everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”
Our experience is not just for us but for others to be really convicted and cut to the heart by observing our lives as radically transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit.
6. Holy Spirit Transformation is real when it takes into consideration others more than ourselves!!!
We see clearly from scripture that a community of believers gathered together and they were more concerned about each other than themselves. They did not live in fear but rather in fellowship and there were clear disciplines that they followed which radically transformed their lives and the religious life of the people was re-imagined by yht ePower of the Holy Spirit in the following way as: 40 Peter preached to them and warned them with these words: “Be rescued from the wayward and perverse culture of this world!”
41 Those who believed the word that day numbered three thousand.
First they were all baptized and added to the church.
The Community of Believers – people of The Way.
Second-, 42 Every believer was faithfully devoted to following the teachings of the apostles. Their hearts were mutually linked to one another, sharing communion and coming together regularly for prayer.
Third – 43 A deep sense of holy awe swept over everyone, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders.
Fourth- 44 All the believers were in fellowship as one body, and they shared with one another whatever they had.
Fifth- 45 Out of generosity they even sold their assets to distribute the proceeds to those who were in need among them.
Six -46 Daily they met together in the temple courts and in one another’s homes to celebrate communion.
Seven -They shared meals together with joyful hearts and tender humility.
Eight -47 They were continually filled with praises to God, enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord kept adding to their number daily those who were coming to life.
- What does Pentecost mean and how are our lives different because of it.
- What would it have felt like to be in that upper room?
- What did the tongues of fire and wind represent ? Romans 12:1 -2
- How did Pentecost transform the early community of believers and what does it mean for you to be “cut to the heart”?