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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.
  • Spirit-Warned

    [Paul and his traveling companions] looked up the local disciples [in Tyre] and stayed with them seven days. Their message to Paul, from insight given by the Spirit, was "Don't go to Jerusalem."

    Acts 21:4 MESSAGE

    Key Thought

    Okay, I admit this is confusing. Paul is convicted that he must go to Jerusalem. At the same time, he knows hardship awaits him. Now this warning from the Spirit: "Don't go to Jerusalem!" I don't know any way to understand this situation other than one of two ways. One, Paul is disobeying the Spirit when he goes to Jerusalem. Two, this message is more of the Spirit alerting him that grief and hardship await him if he goes to Jerusalem than it is the Spirit instructing him not to go. Here's the bottom line: Either way, God uses this trip to Jerusalem to deliver the collection from the Gentile churches and to get Paul to Rome, where the good news of Jesus needed to be heard and where Paul was determined to go. Somewhere in the confusion we all face in trying to follow the Spirit's lead, we have to trust that God will get us where we need to be and doing what we need to do to honor him fully (Romans 8:28, 38-39). The question is whether we are willing to invest ourselves fully and trust in the Spirit leading us no matter what the short-term consequences of our commitment may be.

    Today's Prayer

    Gracious Father in heaven, I trust that you will use the Holy Spirit to lead me where I need to be to do the work you want me to do. I ask, dear Father, that my life glorifies you no matter where your leading takes me or what your leading entails. My deepest prayer, Lord, is that I never, ever, outlive my love for you and my trust in you. 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.

  • Spirit Appointed

    [Paul, to the Ephesian elders at Miletus:] "Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood."

    Acts 20:28 NIV

    Key Thought

    Paul reminds the Ephesian elders of three heavenly truths about leaders:

    1. Leaders are to watch, feed, protect and care for (or shepherd) the people of God.
    2. The Holy Spirit is involved in putting leaders into their leadership role.
    3. Those who lead must always realize that those they lead (called "the flock" and "the church of God" in today's verse) never belong to them but to God, who purchased them at such a high cost.
    These truths give leaders a powerful and sobering reminder of their call as leaders and give followers a reminder to follow. For each of us, these truths give us a reminder of just how precious the church is to God!

    Today's Prayer

    Almighty God, please be at work in our churches today through the Holy Spirit's calling those you want and we desperately need in leadership roles in your church. I ask forgiveness, dear Father, for not valuing your church more highly, and I pledge to cherish it as you do. In Jesus' name, I offer these petitions and this commitment. 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.

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