The Secret Of Pentecost

The Secret of Pentecost

Acts 1:8

"Ye shall receive power, when the Holy Spirit is come upon you:
and ye shall be my witnesses
."

These words were among the last spoken by Jesus before His ascension.
Then the disciples "returned to Jerusalem and were continually in the temple, praising God."
They also returned to the upper room and waited in obedience and in utter dependence
on their Lord's promise.
We see the eleven gathered with their risen Lord in Galilee, rejoicing in His resurrection,
but feeling as weak as men can feel and dreading the coming separation.
We see them again on the day of Pentecost powerfully proclaiming the mighty works of God,
and there were 3000 souls added to the church that day.

Think of it only seven weeks separated the resurrection from the coming of the Holy Spirit,
but what a tremendous change had taken place in these men!

  • The Holy Spirit came upon the early disciples and transformed them!
  • The Holy Spirit filled their lives with an unchanging and unbounded love like that of Jesus.
  • That love surged into their beings, sending them forth into a hostile world to proclaim
        the good news with fearlessness and power.
    Christ's promise was abundantly fulfilled, and through the power given to them,
    the church was launched in its world-transforming mission.

    There are four words which summarize the history of those wonderful days.
    The four words are: Promise, Prayer, Power and Praise.

    "Give me a fulcrum, "said Archimedes, "and I will move the world."
    A fulcrum is something on which the lever rests.
    Our fulcrum is the promise of God, and it is strong enough for whatever need arises.

    Many years ago when the Great Eastern, the largest boat that had been built up to that time,
    was ready for launching.
    There was no power that could lift it.
    Months and months and thousands of dollars were spent in vain trying to lift it.
    Then, the inventors of the hydraulic jack came and lifted the Great Eastern.

    When the promised Spirit came, there was unbelievable power.
    There is that same power today for us to lift a world to Christ.
    "Heaven and earth shall pass away," says Jesus, "but my word shall never pass away."
    The words of our text are the promise He gave to the eleven.

    There is a condition attached to this promise.
    "Ye shall be my witnesses."
    God gives us His Holy Spirit when we ask, not that we may feel good and be happy,
    but that we may spend time and strength in making Jesus known throughout the world.
    Christ needs witnesses today!
    He needs our surrendered lives!

    Prayer is the second word that explains the change in the disciples.
    "These all with one accord continued steadfastly in prayer."
    Jesus had given them the promise -- they saw His ascent -- they returned to Jerusalem
    to pray and wait until their prayers were answered.
    Ten days of praying continued.
    They would not cease praying until the answer came.

    If we strive in prayer with God, we shall not fail when we strive to be witnesses before men.
    If we are to be winning witnesses for Christ, we must empty ourselves.
    No one can bear witness to Christ and to himself at the same time.
    To receive the Spirit is to receive power.

    Dr. E. Stanley Jones says: "I have watched the peasants of India laboriously lifting water
    into their rice fields by a basket suspended on ropes. It is hard, slow work.
    But I have also watched the sunbeams come and quietly and gently lift the water
    and drop it down on the fields
    ."

    Pentecost gives to those who are struggling the gentle, but effectual power, of the Holy Spirit.
    Before we can witness to others, we must have experienced the power of the Spirit
    in our own lives, enabling us to overcome the sins that do so easily beset us.

    Last, is praise.

    When the bystanders solve a wonderful happiness of the disciples on this great day, they said:
    "We do hear them speak in our tongues the mighty works of God."
    The disciples had received power, but they did not speak of it.
    They spoke of Him Who gave it.
    This is when the power increased!

    Half the blessings God gives to us are lost for the lack of praise because we will not
    acknowledge His goodness.
    "Let the redeemed of the Lord say so!"
    Wherever you find real religion, the dominant note will be praise.
    Praise and service are duties that we owe to God, to our fellow men, and to our own souls.

    The Holy Spirit is not a spiritual luxury for the greatest of the saints.
    Christ provides the Holy Spirit to everyone in Christ.
    When they were gathered with one accord -- the Spirit came!
    He is here!
    He is knocking at your heart and mine.

    When Leslie Weatherhead of City Temple, London was to speak in Canada, he was
    persuaded to pass through the United States to address the ministers of New York City
    in the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church.
    His boat was late, so he was taken off by a tug, and then rushed up Fifth Avenue with a police escort.
    He arrived late and the church was filled with pastors.

    Dr. Weatherhead stood looking down into the faces of his fellow ministers for a long time,
    and then he said, "I want to ask one question."
    "Have you got it?"

    This is the all- important question that you and I must answer.

    Sermon by Dr. Harold L. White