Yesterday was Pentecostal Sunday. Why do we celebrate this very important day in the Christian calendar? What happened at that first Pentecost? It seems that almost everyone now accepts this day as “the birthday of the church” – but that is so wrong! Pentecost was not to birth the church but to empower it! “Tarry in Jerusalem until you receive power…” Luke 24:49.
The church was already in existence BEFORE the day of Pentecost. The word church comes from ekklesia – ‘called out’ or ‘chosen ones’. Jesus told His disciples several times that he had chosen them (see John 13:18; 15:15; 15:19; Acts 10:40, 41) to be the superstructure of His church. They were given life when He breathed upon them in the upper room the day after His resurrection (John 20:22) but they had to wait until Pentecost to receive power. In that upper room, they received power (exousia) to ‘become the sons of God’ (John 1:12) but needed another power (dunamis) to enable them to operate in the giftings of the Spirit. Further, their names were already ‘written in heaven’ as Jesus told them in Luke 10:20.
Why is this important? Proponents of the ‘birthday’ heresy would have us believe that we are all included in the ‘baptism of Pentecost’ – a once-for-all experience, so we have everything Christ has purchased for us when we are ‘born again’. There is no more – no such thing as a ‘second blessing’ – no need to see an empowering of the Holy Spirit for our work in Christ. No wonder the church is impotent in so much of what she does! She has been paralyzed by this heresy! She no longer spends time in prayer seeking His empowerment, believing she already has it!
We desperately need another Pentecost! - a baptism of power upon the church. Yesterday I joined with others in praying for such, but was saddened to hear so many prayers for ‘a baptism of love’ to reach the lost; ‘a baptism of grace’ to reach the unlovely, etc. In other words, we want the Holy Spirit to produce more of His fruit in our lives – surely nothing wrong with that? But, yes there is – if we fail to understand it is He Himself and His power we need to come upon us– not His gifts or fruit which will then surely follow.