The Book Of Acts literally explodes with power.
Before Jesus ascended, He promised, " Ye shall receive power..." (Acts 1:8)
With every turn of the page in Acts there is an explosion of power.
One cannot read the Book Of Acts and deny the power of it.
It flows like a mighty river through every chapter.
The reality of the Holy Spirit is reflected not only in the dramatic and overwhelming manner of His coming,
but in the events which were to follow.
Luke is careful to give proper credit to the Spirit mentioning the "Holy Spirit,"
the "Holy Ghost," or the "Spirit" over 50 times in 28 chapters.
If you could take the Holy Spirit out of the Book Of Acts,
there would not be enough excitement to make a one column news story.
The time of waiting in Jerusalem proved to be exceedingly rewarding for the followers of Jesus.
The little band of disciples had been left the promise of the Father,
and with hearts opened with expectatant spirits calmed by Christ's ascension, they waited.
The ten days were full of expectation and prayer.
It was for them the beginning of a new relationship with God.
The Holy Spirit came with great power upon the waiting disciples on the day of Pentecost.
Without the coming of the Spirit, there would have been no Book Of Acts.
Not even the disciples would have had the power and the wisdom to give an effective witness without His coming.
They could recall many wonderful and miraculous things from the deeds and teachings of Jesus.
With the conviction and enthusiasm of eyewitnesses they could paint word pictures
of His tragic crucifixion, His triumphant resurrection, and His tremendous ascension.
They were bound to one another in one fellowship through their love for Christ and His love for them.
But Jesus knew that even these great lessons and experiences would not be sufficient
for the task to which He had called them.
Therefore, He promised them power from on high, an infilling of God's wisdom, strength, courage, and vision.
The Holy Spirit would be their Comforter, Teacher, Advocate, Guide, and Encourager.
With the echo of that promise of Christ's, the apostles left the scene of the Ascension with great joy and new hope.
United in mind and heart, they prayed for God's strength and guidance, for His courage and power.
They could not have imagined the unexpected outpouring of the Spirit on Pentecost.
It was just another day of waiting, of prayer, and of fellowship for them.
But they prayed for the Spirit and Christ's promise, and their prayers were filled full on the Day of Pentecost.
While they were gathered in that upper room before 9 a.m., a tremendous thing happened to them.
Suddenly, the Holy Spirit came upon them in great power.
These early Christians were living on the edge of a new era.
All that they had dimly glimpsed of the purposes of God were now becoming brilliantly clear in the light of a new dawn.
Pentecost was the next important event on the Jewish calendar after Passover.
Pentecost was the 50th day after Passover, when the loyal Jews celebrated the completion of the grain harvest.
Thus, it was a time of thanksgiving and joy, and Jews from all around the Mediterranean came to Jerusalem
to observe this feast.
It was also called the "Day of the Firstfruits," for it was a harvest festival,
and its observance included the presenting to the Lord two loaves made from the ripened wheat.
So, there could have been no more fitting time for the great gathering of converts into the Christian church.
Figuratively speaking, this Day of Pentecost has never ended, for by the same power
and by the preaching of the same message, souls are still being gathered into the garner of God.
Jerusalem was filled with Jews from all lands,
so this was a strategic time for the manifestation of God's power in the community of believers.
Luke presents the coming of the Holy Spirit in such a dramatic manner
that some have assumed that the Spirit came into being on that day.
Luke does not imply this at all.
In all ages the Holy Spirit has imparted life and guidance and strength and holiness to the people of God.
The Holy Spirit has always been.
He is not a new personality that just appears on the Day of Pentecost.
So, we must remember that this was not the first coming of the Holy Spirit into the world.
"When the Day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place."
The New Testament church was a powerful instrument in the hands of an Almighty God.
Her message was compelling, her testimony was radiant, and her growth was phenomenal.
The place was an upper room.
The disciples were all together with one accord in one place.
There was unity of Spirit.
Even the world could see this.
When these Christians received the gifts of heaven's choicest blessings, they were not split into dozens of factions.
They were not hostile to each other.
No one was striving to gain recognition for himself at the expense of putting others down.
The disciples had remembered the prayer of Jesus as He prayed to His Father that
"They may all be one; even as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee...
that the world may believe that Thou didst send Me."
There was visible unity among the followers of Christ.
There was love among them.
There was clarity of priorities among them.
All these qualities were expressed openly before a watchful world.
The state of the apostles and the blessing they received have an important message for us today.
What a contrast to our churches today.
What a pitiful, pathetic picture of the Christian church split in all kinds of factions and fissures.
The visible unity of the early church presented an argument to the world that the world could not debate nor deny.
Division in our churches today places a stumbling block before our world, and we are going to answer to God for it.
If we believe that millions are perishing without Christ - including our loved-ones and friends,
and if we believe that the preaching of the cross of Christ is the power of God unto salvation -
how can we live with ourselves when we compete, complain, and exhibit jealousy toward one another?
How wasteful! How sinful!
Within 150 years of the ascension of Jesus and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, a Christian writer wrote
that the Christian Church had permeated the whole Roman Empire to such an extent
that if the Christians would have abandoned the cities they would have been turned into howling deserts.
This triumphant march of Christianity was simply in accordance with the Saviour's promise.
The world saw that Christians loved one another, and the world was swayed by their Christ-like love.
But, when that primitive love cooled down, and divisions and sects in abundance sprang up
after the conversion of Constantine the Great, the progress of God's work gradually ceased.
North Africa, Egypt, and Asia Minor, which once had been strongholds of Christianity, fell to heathen gods.
This should speak to us today!
This should be a warning to us!
Surely, when we think of the many evils all around us and the lack of harmony and unity in our churches
and see the multitudes who still remain in darkness, how can we continue to bite and devour each other?
We must pray that Christ might through His Holy Spirit deliver us from splits, gossipings, bickerings,
back-biting, self-centeredness, pride, and everything else that would divide us.
We must pray that we would be united with the bonds of love and hope and faith.
May God Do For Us What He Did At Pentecost!
He took 120 people who were gathered together in one place and made one powerful body out of them.
Here were 120 isolated, opinionated, different individuals who had been living their lives separately,
held together only by a mutual interest in Jesus Christ.
Now they are baptized by the Spirit of God into one body.
The power of Pentecost gave a community of believers the power to break through social, racial,
and religious barriers to bring a message of light and life to all mankind.
They were filled with the Spirit, and they went forward with the Good News of Jesus
with unity and expectancy of God's continued blessings and power.
They were freed from the petty jealousies and personal rivalries that had at times disrupted their fellowship.
May we also know that kind of freedom!
When Christians will meet together in this spirit, we can always expect something wonderful to happen!
A question we should ask :
"What are we doing in our church that we could not possibly do without the power of the Holy Spirit?"
We might discover to our dismay that we not only could do many of the things that we are doing without His power,
but that we have been doing such things for years! How tragic!
It would be a tragedy for us to ever suppose that we could continue to do the work of God
without the supreme dynamic of the Holy Spirit of God!
The saddest observation of our ministries is that there seems to have everything - but His power!
We have beautiful, comfortable buildings, educational excellence, and enthusiasm,
and persuasive promotions and plans - that is obvious!
The sad truth is that the true power of the Holy Spirit is obviously absent!
The power of the Holy Spirit is our greatest need today!
This message is by Dr. Harold L. White.