By Dr. Ted Baehr
When we hear about Pentecost, we often hear about Pentecost power. Even so, Pentecost power may be totally different than what we expect.
Jesus opened up the way of eternal life. He opened it for you, me and everybody here. No matter where you are in the world, no matter who you are, no matter where you grew up, he opened the way of eternal life.
And, we’re empowered to let people know this is what happened.
Let’s look at the first scripture for today. Acts 2:1-21 says:
When the day of Pentecost had come, the disciples were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven, there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs — in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.”
But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:
`In the last days it will be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams.
Even upon my slaves, both men and women,
in those days I will pour out my Spirit;
and they shall prophesy.
And I will show portents in the heaven above
and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist.
The sun shall be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood,
before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day.
Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.'”
Acts 1:8 says, “You will receive power. The Holy Spirit comes on you and you’ll be my witnesses.” This is a tough saying. It doesn’t say you might be, or you could be: It says, “You will be.” This is something totally different than anybody expected at that time.
You want to proclaim through the mass media to the ends of the earth? You want His Holy Spirit and the guidelines in this Scripture for Pentecost.
In Acts 2, it says, “Pentecost power fulfills Joel.” How did it fulfill Joel? It reversed the curse of Babel. What was the curse of Babel? People couldn’t communicate. God confused their language. Pentecost power gave them the ability to communicate all over again. When the Holy Spirit came, it was infusing new life in those dead bones. It was tongues of fire, but nobody got burned. They were purified. It was power, but not like Batman, Superman, or Captain America. God gave each empowered person an ability often in languages they never studied, but their speech was so clear that people heard them clearly no matter what was their native language. When people were listening to them, many of them said, “This is great news! I want to get in on this.”
Moses manifested the Holy Spirit and said that everybody would reflect the glory of God. Joel prophesied and Peter declared that every believer, not just the rich and famous, but everyone who loves Jesus becomes a new creation. That creation is you, and you comprise the church which is made up of people all over the world.
They just want to tell people that they don’t have to be full of hate or envy, greed or meanness. They can be full of love.
Empowered, we want to tell people that they don’t have to be full of hate or envy, greed or meanness. They can be full of love.
Holy Spirit empowered Christians transformed the world. At the time the church started, they had the fleshpots outside the city gates, which was where they throw the babies and older people that weren’t wanted. Why did they call them fleshpots? Because people ate from them. What did the Christians do? They went out and saved the elderly and the babies. They had power that was beyond consideration, the power of love. They had the power of love for other people.
When I grew up, my parents were stars. My mother was a star with MGM and my father had won the Box Office Award in 1936 under his stage name, Robert Allen. He did about sixty movies and then did Broadway from 1946 to the mid 1980s. I was born when he starred in “Showboat” on Broadway.
I was pretty far into worldly pleasures and into self. My mother died when I was young, so I looked for love in all the wrong place to make up for that loss. I did a lot of things I shouldn’t have.
I was searching. You think that if you just take one more hit, one more drug, you’ll reach Nirvana. Then you take one more, hit but you don’t reach Nirvana. It’s a mirage that keeps disappearing in front of you. Finally, you’re lying in the middle of the desert, dying and dried out with nothing because you were looking at the mirage to provide water.
In the instant that you turn around and turn to God’s love, you find the water and the love of God. He breathes on you and gives you a new Holy Spirit filled life.
Out of lost people, He produces a new, resurrected army of love—an army that wants to give, share and to tell people the good news.
“All creation is dependent on the Holy Spirit.” He sustains life. The Holy Spirit gives life in the midst of decay.
As Romans 8:22-27 says:
We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now, hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But, if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
Let me put it this way: The Fertile Crescent used to be just that, fertile. Furthermore, North Africa used to be the breadbasket for the Roman Empire in Europe. Both areas have turned into deserts. Why? Because the people of those lands denied God! The Fertile Crescent is crying out: “I want to be born again. I want to have new life!”
This is your moment. As John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15 tells us:
Jesus said to his disciples, “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf. You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning.
“I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. But, now I am going to him who sent me; yet none of you asks me, `Where are you going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts. Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because they do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.
“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.”
You are going to use the mass media of entertainment to shout the Good News. God is going to help you.
This is power!
Ask your heavenly Father and it will be given to you. Just ask. Blessings are waiting for you if you stop chasing the mirage. Turn to Him and He will give you a new Spirit-filled life and Pentecost Power, which is beyond any power we can possibly imagine.