Sunday, May 31, 2020 – Pentecost Sunday
Pastor Troy Brewer, OpenDoor Church, Burleson, Texas
50 days after the Passover exactly 3333 years ago, God showed up on Mt. Sinai in the form of a cloud, and fire and smoke to give the beginning of the Torah that you and I would call the Ten Commandments.
The Christian holiday of Pentecost, which is celebrated the 49th day (the seventh Sunday) after Easter Sunday, commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus Christ while they were in Jerusalem celebrating the Feast of Weeks. It’s described in the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 2:1–31).
Acts 2:1-21 – When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.
3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
5 And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. 6 And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language.
7 Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born?
9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.”
12 So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “Whatever could this mean?”
13 Others mocking said, “They are full of new wine.”
14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words.
15 For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
17 ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God,
That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your young men shall see visions,
Your old men shall dream dreams.
18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days;
And they shall prophesy.
19 I will show wonders in heaven above
And signs in the earth beneath:
Blood and fire and vapor of smoke.
20 The sun shall be turned into darkness,
And the moon into blood,
Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.
21 And it shall come to pass
That whoever calls on the name of the Lord
Shall be saved.’
We had a very real Passover this year.
People worldwide were quarantined against the plague.
There’s no reason not to believe that we will will have anything other than a literal Pentecost.
A lot of people are very uncomfortable about us talking about God showing up and His Spirit falling upon us, or the Holy Spirit moving in a meeting, etc.
Often, as we get ready to minister to people, we will invite the Holy Spirit to come
The question is, “Why invite God to come when He is already here?” It’s a good question.
It makes no sense whatsoever to pray that way unless we understanding that there are different measures and dimensions of God’s Presence.
There is a difference between saying “God is everywhere,” and saying, “God is here.” The former is the default category for most Christians.
We talk about God’s presence being inescapable and that He is “everywhere present”
(Ps 139:5-12; 1 Kings 8:27).
But it seems Scripture is more concerned with His presence manifest in relationship and redemption.
Everywhere Presence vs. Manifest Presence
Omni-Presence or the On-Me Presence
When He is here, there is always more to come.
Isaiah 9:7 – Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
It’s important to hunger for and invite that increase. Isaiah had a perception of this reality, saying,
Isaiah 6:1-4 – In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. 2 Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!” 4 And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.
The word filling implies that His robe filled the temple, but then continued to fill it. He came, but He kept coming. There is always more!
People come to the ocean of the presence of God with a tiny thimble and it’s very unimpressive.
THERE ARE DIFFERENT MEASURES OF THE HOLY SPIRIT AND GOD’S FAVORITE IS FULLNESS OR “WITHOUT MEASURE”
Here is at least a partial list of these measures of His Presence; each one is an increase of the previous:
God first inhabits everything and holds all things together.
Colossians 1:17 – And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.
He is everywhere – the glue that holds His creation in place.
A second “Dimension of God’s Presence” is His Holy Spirit indwelling the lives of those who have been born again.
He specifically comes to make us His tabernacle.
And just like the earth, the Spirit of the Lord being in the life of every believer does not mean that He is manifest in ever believer
A third dimension is seen when believers gather in His name. As He promised, He is “there in their midst.” This is where the principle of exponential increase comes into play.
Matthew 18:20 – “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”
A fourth measure or dimension occurs when God’s people praise Him, for He says He “inhabits the praises of His people” (Ps. 22:3). He was already in our midst but has chosen to manifest Himself upon us more powerfully in that atmosphere.
A fifth measure is seen when the Temple of Solomon was dedicated: God came so profoundly that priests were incapacitated (see 1 Kings 8:10-1).
1 Kings 8:10-11 – And it came to pass, when the priests came out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the Lord, 11 so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord.
No one could even stand, let alone play instruments or sing. They were completely undone at that measure of Presence.
I mention these five levels, only as principles, in an effort to give a snapshot of how He longs to increase His manifestation upon His people. The day of Pentecost and the gift of the baptism in the Holy Spirit may, in fact, illustrate all of these principles combined as an entire city came under the influence of God’s manifest Presence.
These various measures of presence are recorded both in history and in Scripture. Reformation and revival history shows us what’s available. The responsibility for the measure of God’s Presence that we carry lies with us. We always have what we earnestly want.
We can’t be theologically lazy, biblically illiterate, or so primitive in our faith that we are unwilling to engage with God in the mere chance of more of His presence.
Matthew 5:8 – “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
Jeremiah 29:13 – You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.
Psalm 16:11 – “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
Times of refreshing come from the presence of the Lord
Living for One Thing
We are called into fellowship with God. In this process, He has made it possible for us not only to come to know Him, but also to have Him live inside us and even rest upon us. Everything we could ever want out of life flows from that one privilege. King David understood this concept better than most New Testament believers. He referred to it as “the one thing.”
Psalms 27:4 – One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple.
“All of life” gets reduced to “one thing”—how we steward the Presence of God.
How we make a big deal out of the Presence of the Lord in our life is indeed a big deal.
Stewarding the Presence of God – hosting the Presence – is the only way these impossible dreams can be accomplished.
We can’t be too impressed with inferior things.
We must be impressed with the presence of the Lord.
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