Pentecost Sunday 2012

Today we commemorate another great saving act of our risen and ascended Lord Jesus Christ – His gift of the Holy Spirit to His church corporately and to every elect believer personally. This glorious and precious gift He gave 50 days after He rose from the dead and 10 days after He ascended to heaven to sit at His Father’s right hand. This was according to the prophecy of Joel, the OT prophet (I include here the important context just before the promise of the Spirit – notice it too. cf. also Acts 2:16-21)):

21Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice: for the Lord will do great things. 22Be not afraid, ye beasts of the field: for the pastures of the wilderness do spring, for the tree beareth her fruit, the fig tree and the vine do yield their strength. 23Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month. 24And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the fats shall overflow with wine and oil. 25And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you. 26And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed. 27And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the Lord your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed.

28And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: 29And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. 30And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. 31The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come. 32And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call.

And, of course, this event was according to Christ’s own promise as recorded, e.g., in John 16:

7Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

12I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 13Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 14He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

And on the day when Pentecost was “fully come” (i.e., fulfilled) and the Spirit was poured out on all flesh (Acts 2:1-4), Peter pointed to its significance as an act of the glorified Christ:

29Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. 30Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; 31He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. 32This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. 33Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. 34For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, 35Until I make thy foes thy footstool. 36Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ (Acts 2).

Such a gift of Christ and such a wonder of God’s grace calls for our praise and thanks in worship this day and every day. Read all that the Scriptures teach about the Spirit’s work in the church corporately and in the believer personally  and you will discover that we would have nothing and would be able to do nothing without this Person of the Godhead.  All that we have for salvation and for our life as God’s children in this world is due to His presence and power in us and His gifts from Christ to us. So today let us thank the Father for exalting His Son and giving Him the Spirit; let us glorify our glorious Head for His abundant gift of the “Comforter”; and let us praise the Spirit as the One who bestows on us all that is in Christ and Who abides with us forever.

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