Day of Pentecost

Day of Pentecost       Day 50

When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear.  Exodus 20: 18 (NIV)  This was the very first “Pentecost” at Mount Sinai.

The disciples were sitting (a resting/waiting position) in the Upper Room when it filled with a loud noise and fire started resting on their heads.  The Holy Spirit had come to man to do His work here on earth.  Contrast this to Exodus when a man is fighting in his own power to get to God; then when they saw Him they really did not want to go to Him.  One thing is certain, God knows how to make an entrance, and get man’s attention.

The roll call of nations shows just how spread out the Jews had become and tells us where the message was about to go to when the Feast of Weeks was over.  1 Corinthians 14: 22 + 23 could have been written that morning; some said they were out of their minds while others believed that God was doing something powerful.

Peter, when he stood (position to work), was outside of the Temple and not confined to the rules of religion or paradigms that wanted “God their way.”  The Spirit met the disciples in a place of prayer where they were waiting for Him.

Peter’s sermon was a masterpiece.  He talked about current events, explained the Gospel and God’s purpose what had happened just fifty days before, and then brought in David and how God spoke through him. The message about David brought all of the events together.  David supposedly was born and died on Pentecost so he would have been on the minds of everyone in Jerusalem.

Today, I have asked myself why the Spirit came on this Feast day.  I guess the typology of the crops will have to do for today.  At Passover, the barley was brought in (symbolizes the Jews), the wheat crop was brought in for Pentecost (the Gentiles), and in the seventh month the figs and other fruit were harvested (the final revival).

http://clipart.christiansunite.com/

Please visit this blog to see more about figs.  http://ferrelljenkins.wordpress.com/2008/10/10/zaccheus-climbed-up-into-a-sycamore-tree/  The fig pic is from – http://www.raysfiginfo.com/graphics/sycamore04.jpg

Passover to Pentecost – Fruit of the Spirit

Passover to Pentecost – Fruit of the Spirit        Week 7 Day 5

For the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth. Ephesians 5: 9

The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever. Isaiah 32: 17

The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life. Proverb 11:20 (NIV)

Gifts are given; fruit has to grow and mature.  Galatians 5: 22 list the nine fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  Again we have a list that we get to prioritize or should we?  Personally, I had developed a teaching that for any given situation if you wanted to be effective in that situation you had to start with love and develop all nine gifts, in order, for that situation.  Then you get to start all over again, but at a higher level.  Then I realized that there were other list like the one 1 Timothy 6: 11.  Well, that took a lot of the edge off of my great teaching.  I am not sure that one of the fruits is more important than the next, we need all of them.

I suggest that you do a word study on the one you thinking you may be weak in and expect to be tested in it as you grow that fruit to maturity.

Observations:

  1. Hope is not in this list. Personally, I think the effects of all nine of the Fruits have a part in hope.
  2. The list that is in 1 Timothy 6: 11, that list six fruits, are for a church as a whole, while the list in Galatians is for an individual. (My interpretation.)

There are other lists that are worth including.  In 1 Corinthians 12: 28 Paul gives a numbered list of the parts of the body of Christ.  This starts with apostles and goes to those who speak in tongues. (This could be the prophetic gift of tongues or it is everyone else in the church that has asked for the power of the Holy Spirit.  I will go with the second one, because we all have a “numbered” place in Jesus.)  The second list is found in Ephesians 6: 14 and is known as the “Armor of God.”  If you try to rank or prioritize the armor as to most or least important I think you would soon find that life is out of balance.

Passover to Pentecost – Gifts from the Spirit

Passover to Pentecost – Gifts from the Spirit        Week 7 Day 4

We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. Romans 12: 6(NIV)    Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 1 Corinthians 12:7(NIV)

Jesus ascended so he could send the Holy Spirit.  The disciples probably had a good idea of the workings of the Spirit because of the many things He did in the Old Testament.  The gifts of the Spirit are mentioned frequently in the New Testament.  Gifts are given to people and in the case of spiritual gifts the person receiving them is supposed to use them for the Church of the Living God, who by the way does not change.

Paul was a great list writer and sometimes those lists seem to change form epistle to epistle.  The problem with list is how people handle them.  The first thing in the list is the best, or you will “receive” them in that order, or any number of things that can be turned into hard and fast rules.  I have used two different lists from Paul’s writings, both are list of gifts.  Paul just put the word spiritual in front of the ones to a more gifted Corinthian church.  Brother Joseph Prince groups the nine gifts into three groups in order to help you learn/remember them easier:

  • Vocal Gifts – Prophecy, Interpretation of Tongues, and Tongues (personal prayer language)
  • Knowledge Gifts – Words of Wisdom, Words of Knowledge, and Distinguishing of Spirits
  • Power Gifts – Faith (for special things), Healing, and Miraculous Powers

The gifts in Romans I divided into two groups:

  • Building Up Gifts – Prophesying, Teaching, Encouraging, and Showing Mercy
  • Building Out Gifts – Serving, Contributing, and Leadership

These gifts are for the Church.  In the Old Testament when the Holy Spirit “came upon” someone it was for the good of the Nation or God was protecting someone in the Nation.  The phrase “came upon” is translated from several different words that might suggest different levels of anointing. (I will study this topic out in a later post.)

The judges Othniel, Gideon, Jephthah, and Samson are noted for having the Spirit “come upon” them so they could lead the Nation in times of trouble.  Several people are sited for prophesying because of the Spirit.  Moses operated in several gifts in the course of leading and freeing the People.  Bezalel is “filled” with knowledge for doing the Ark.  David also has several gifts: leadership, knowledge (plans for the Temple), and prophesy.  Yes, spiritual gifts are real and should be part of the believer’s life as well as part of the church service.

I have heard many positive and negative things about the gifts over the last forty years.  But I will go back to the words of Jesus in Luke 11 where He is teaching on prayer.  In verses 11 to 13 He makes the point that if you are asking the Father for something He will not give you a snake if you are asking for an egg.  He ends the session with, “How much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11: 13b (NIV)

In both Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12 Paul shares about spiritual gifts and workings and then follows with a teaching/reminder on love.  I think the point is clear; love God and your neighbor, and part of that will be by using the gifts the Holy Spirit gives you for good.

Passover to Pentecost – Pray

Passover to Pentecost – Pray        Week 7 Day 2

“Lord, teach us to pray.” Luke 11: 1 (NIV)

These five words in Luke 11 are nestled in between two powerful pieces of information and are at the beginning of thirteen verses about prayer.  This example of how to pray is also found in Matthew 6: 5 – 15 that gives us another layer of facts about prayer.  The fact that the disciples choose to spend their time of waiting in Jerusalem in prayer is the natural extension of what they saw Jesus doing as He ministered.  The first fact in verse one is Jesus had finished praying when He was asked to teach them.  The second one is that these ex-disciples of John saw the need for teaching on this subject.

Many of the references in Luke to Jesus praying mention a quiet place or Him being alone or with a small group; Matthew records Him telling people to pray in private.  So when we read that the disciples are “hidden” in the Upper Room praying that makes sense.

What were they praying about?  A possible topic of pray for the 120 saints in the Upper Room may have been forgiveness.  I might guess that the period of ten days may have been pretty intense.  Jesus was killed, and then He was alive just too ascended, and be gone one more time.  He promised them to send a Counselor to them to walk with them as they spread His message.  Okay, why forgiveness?  Matthew records in 6:15 as Jesus taught about pray that if you do not forgive the Father will not forgive you; then John in 20: 22 + 23 that as Jesus breathed on them the Holy Spirit He mentioned about the forgiving sins.  These verses do make forgiving people a priority.

I will jump to Paul as he is teaching the Corinthians about things of the Spirit, chapter 12 is on spiritual gifts and how the Body is joined and related.  He ends that chapter by saying here is the most “excellent way.”  (For those you dismiss 1 Corinthians chapters 12 and 14 as not for this time.  Why would Paul/ the Holy Spirit bother to include it at all?)  Paul knew that you needed to use spiritual things in love in order to fulfill the Great Commission.

Forgiveness is something that we have to choose to do.  I am finding out that many times it is more important to the one doing the forgiving than the offending party.  In that highly charged atmosphere that they had just been in for two months forgiveness may have been on their minds; because to spread the message of the kingdom effectively you should not be harboring forgiveness.

Passover to Pentecost – The Second Coming

Passover to Pentecost – The Second Coming         Week 6 Day 7

At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Luke 21:27 (NIV)

Acts 1:6, the disciples are asking when Israel will get the kingdom back.  They are talking earthly kingdom, but Jesus answers with two things that went way past their question.  His first answer is about the spiritual kingdom and His second coming.  The second answer goes outside of Israel and carries them to the whole world.  It seems that the disciples were not ready to preach to the Gentiles, maybe that is why He had to blind Paul and get his attention.

Jesus spoke about His second coming many times.  I will use Luke 21 because it is in the Passover time frame and because it covers the major topics.  The day here is Tuesday of Holy Week and the Jews should have been tending the lambs for the sacrifice/meal.  Jesus replies to the disciples’ amazement about the Temple.  As with most prophecies, there is a “soon” part and an “in the future” part.  Some of what He tells them will happen when Rome destroys Jerusalem in about forty years.  But infused into His teaching is information about His second coming.

If you join Jesus’ last words to His disciples with the warnings and signs in Luke 21 you can see what He thought was important.  Luke 21 starts with the widow and her two pennies, the giving heart is more important than money.  From verse 8 to 28 it is pretty easy to see that it will be a time of darkness.  The Old Testament prophets starting with Isaiah refer to “the day.” (See the post The Day)  Jesus paints a somber picture in these verses, but the parable from verse 29 to 36 again pulls us back to what is important for Jesus: that we know He is coming again and that the kingdom of God is near, that His words and promises will not pass away, and that we need to live a life that will allow us to stand before Him.

In the Old Testament, many of the prophets connect “the Day” with valleys.  I did a study on the valleys in the Book of Joel.  There are different types of them and they refer to our attitudes and the judgment that is coming, please go to that post.

One thing for sure that will happen at His coming – every knee will bow.  The references in the New Testament are Romans 14:11 and Philippians 2: 10.  These come from the thoughts and warnings in Isaiah 45: 23 and one that connects back to the Counting of the Omer time period in Exodus – Psalms 95: 6 -8.  Again, in this Psalm, the important thing is your life and how you live it before Him.  See Him for the great God He is, acknowledge His working in your life, and do not harden your heart.