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October 13, 2017

The Power of Pentecost

by Mark Fulmer

When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and restedOr And tongues as of fire appeared to them, distributed among them, and rested on each one of them.

And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Acts 2:1-4 (https://pcpc.us1.list-manage.com/track/click?u=eba67192d3a27da52e93fefb8&id=b3b0885308&e=82a9a8f891)

It wasn’t even a complete sentence. Just a phrase, it would have been easy to miss. Who could blame them? In the last two months, they had shown up in Jerusalem at festival time, and the whole city turned out to meet them. But palm branches and the adoring shouts of Hosanna had given way to venomous cries for crucifixion. And in a kangaroo court in the middle of the night, their master had been condemned by his own people. Rome reluctantly complied. Keeping the peace was well worth the trouble of an afternoon execution of one innocent man.

Then for forty days, He kept showing up—alive! They had heard it from the women first, then seen it with their own eyes. Jesus had been raised from the dead. And He did what He had been doing from the beginning. He met with them, and He taught them about the Kingdom of God. Now it was time for Him to go.

That’s when He said it. Wedged between the commandment to stay put and the prophesy of their future witness, Jesus told them, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.”

And they were waiting. Together. Then suddenly, the Holy Spirit rushed in. The power had come, and it was impossible to ignore. Luke tells us of the Spirit’s arrival in a few short sentences packed with truth for all of those who believe in the Lord Jesus.

Holy Spirit power was received by the believers. They didn’t engender it in themselves or think up something new. It was a gift of grace from God Almighty.

Holy Spirit power was undeniably demonstrated. The power was audible and visible. This was not a moment of God’s “still small voice,” but a moment of God’s creative and resurrecting power making dead souls alive!

Holy Spirit power was observed. People from all over the world saw the change. The believers were different. They were empowered to continue the mission of Christ. They had become the church. The power of Pentecost had been poured out.

Dear friends, the same thing happens to us when our souls are made alive by Jesus. We receive His Spirit in us, by grace alone. And it changes us. That change is demonstrated in ways that can be seen and heard. And a watching world notices. The Spirit of God in us is observed by a world that desperately needs to see Jesus.

“Let all the house of Israel know for certain the God has made Him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified”(Acts 2:36).

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About the Author

Mark Fulmer
Elder
Park Cities Presbyterian Church

Mark Fulmer is an elder at Park Cities Presbyterian Church, and along with Steve Vanderhill, teaches the New Creations Sunday School class.

 

October 9, 2017

 

October 06, 2017

What We Need Most

by Kevin DeYoung

The biggest need in your life, and in mine, is to see the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

I'm convinced that more evangelism, more prayer, more fruitfulness, more holiness will flow from the fountain of our lives only when we start drinking more deeply of Christ.

*  If you want to be more merciful, look upon Jesus who cried out at the cross, "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do."

*  If you want to be more loving, look upon Jesus who ate with sinners and welcomed repentant prostitutes and tax collectors into the kingdom.

*  If you want to be purer, look upon Jesus whose eyes are like flames of fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze.

*  If you want more courage in the face of lies and injustice, look upon Jesus who drove out the money changers from the temple with a whip.

*  If you want to be stronger in the midst of suffering, look upon Jesus who did not revile when reviled and submitted himself wholly to the will of his Father.

*  If you want to grow in grace, look upon Jesus who reinstated Peter after he denied his Lord three times.

*  If you want more tenderness in your life, look upon Jesus who took the little children upon His lap and blessed them.

*  If you want to display the diverse excellencies of God, look upon Jesus who came from the Father full of grace and truth.

Our main problem is not lack of time or resources or the annoying people in our lives. Your main problem and my main problem is that we do not see enough the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. We are not amazed. We do not stand in awe. We are not rendered speechless in His presence.

Too many of us are toying around with gimmicks and looking for quick fixes and miracle cures. Too many of us are digging deep inside ourselves for the change we want. Too many of us spend all our time tinkering with sports and the internet and home repairs while neglecting the one thing that is most needful – to sit at the feet of Jesus, to see Him in the preaching of the Word, to gaze upon Him in the Scriptures, to slowly meditate upon the pages of the Bible, to spend uninterrupted, unhurried time with the Lord. This is what we need.

Let us plead with God that we might behold His glory in the face of Jesus Christ. Implore Him for eyes to see. Pray persistently and passionately to know Him more.

Because there is no growing apart from gazing, and no becoming like Christ without beholding Him in His glory.

About the Author

Kevin DeYoung
Senior Pastor
Christ Covenant Church

Kevin DeYoung is the senior pastor at Christ Covenant Church in Matthews, North Carolina. He is chairman of the board of The Gospel Coalition, assistant professor of systematic theology at Reformed Theological Seminary (Charlotte), and a PhD candidate at the University of Leicester. Kevin and his wife, Trisha, have seven children.

 


God's Holy Fire from Heartlight

God's Holy Fire is a daily devotional about the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
  • Who Can Argue with These Qualities?

    For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God, and others will approve of you, too.

    Romans 14:17-18 NLT

    Key Thought

    Who can argue with goodness, peace, and joy? These three virtues are not obtained just by human effort. Yes, a passion to possess these godly qualities is necessary, but the source of these qualities is the Holy Spirit alive in us. Goodness, peace, and joy have their source in God's nature and are made real in us through the work of the Holy Spirit. As we invite the Holy Spirit to reign over our inner being, our character is transformed to be more and more like Jesus (2 Corinthians 3:17-18). So let's yearn for the Holy Spirit to transform us to be ever more like Christ and trust that the Spirit's influence will be displayed in our lives through goodness, peace, and joy.

    Today's Prayer

    Father, don't let me be distracted by, or addicted to, food or drink. I want to be sustained and fed spiritually and emotionally by the presence of your Holy Spirit within me. I specifically pray that your goodness, peace, and joy will become more and more apparent in my life as I seek to honor Christ and yield myself to the influence of your Spirit. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.


    Ⓒ 1996-2018 Heartlight, Inc. This material may not be reproduced in part or whole for commercial use without written consent. The Thoughts and Prayer for God's Holy Fire are written by Phil Ware.

    Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

    Scripture quotations marked MESSAGE are taken from THE MESSAGE, copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

  • Confirmation

    I speak the truth in Christ — I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit...

    Romans 9:1 NIV

    Key Thought

    We often use hyperbole to make an emphatic point about something that is important to us. Hyperbole is an overstatement meant to get other people's attention. The words of hyperbole can even be jarring to help others understand the emotions behind the words spoken. Paul is about to make an incredibly shocking statement about being willing to be cut off from Christ if it would mean that his own people, the Jews, would know Jesus as their Messiah and Lord (Romans 9:1-5). But, Paul has done his own spiritual inventory: What he says is NOT hyperbole or exaggeration. He means it with all of his heart, and the Holy Spirit confirms it. As The Message puts it, "I'm not exaggerating — Christ and the Holy Spirit are my witnesses." Since the Holy Spirit lives within us and works with our consciences to convict us of sin, to help us discern God's truth when it is proclaimed, and to confirm God's truth within us, Paul can speak with assurance that what he says is the truth. We might stretch the truth to each other, but we cannot lie to the Spirit who lives within us.

    Today's Prayer

    Heavenly Father, I want to speak the truth in love. I know that I need the convicting, comforting, and confirming Holy Spirit to be at work in my heart so that my words are true and redemptive. I ask for this grace in Jesus' name. Amen.


    Ⓒ 1996-2018 Heartlight, Inc. This material may not be reproduced in part or whole for commercial use without written consent. The Thoughts and Prayer for God's Holy Fire are written by Phil Ware.

    Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

    Scripture quotations marked MESSAGE are taken from THE MESSAGE, copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.