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Sermon No: 2651-Pentecost



Gavin-Paynter/Pentecost.jpg

SERMON TOPIC: Pentecost

Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 24 May 2015

Topic Groups: HOLY SPIRIT, PENTECOST, GIFTS SPIRIT

Sermon synopsis: For Christians Pentecost is a day commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus Christ (120 in total), as described in Acts 2. It is celebrated fifty days (i.e. 49 days with the first day counted, seven weeks) after Easter Sunday, hence its name.

Pentecost is sometimes referred to by Christians as the “Birthday of the Church”. This is because the event in Acts 2 marks the first large-scale spreading of the Gospel after Jesus’ ascension. After receiving the Holy Spirit, Peter preaches to the crowd in Jerusalem, gathered from around the world to celebrate Pentecost, and some 3,000 people are saved and baptized.

Because of their belief that the baptism in the Holy Spirit is a unique experience which Christians can still have today, the Pentecostal movement derives its name from this New Testament event.
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SERMON OVERVIEW:

PENTECOST

Pentecost (“the fiftieth [day]”) is the ancient Greek name for the Feast of Weeks, a prominent feast in the calendar of ancient Israel celebrating the giving of the Law on Sinai. This feast is still celebrated in Judaism as Shavuot. 1

For Christians it is a day commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus Christ (120 in total), as described in Acts 2.

Pentecost is celebrated fifty days (i.e. 49 days with the first day counted, seven weeks) after Easter Sunday, hence its name. Pentecost falls on the tenth day after Ascension Thursday (which falls 40 days after Easter). 1

1 http:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Pentecost

INTRODUCTION

While John the Baptist’s main ministry was baptism in water, Jesus came to baptize with the Holy Spirit.

I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I… He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. (Matt 3:11)

Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 1:4-5)

Before he ascends to heaven, Jesus instructs the disciples…

Acts 2:1-42 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.

They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken.

Utterly amazed, they asked:

Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!

Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another…

What does this mean?

Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.” Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd:

Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning!

No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: “In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.”

God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear

Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.

When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles…

Brothers, what shall we do?

Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.

Save yourselves from this corrupt generation

With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them…

Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

Pentecost is sometimes referred to by Christians as the “Birthday of the Church”. This is because the event in Acts 2 marks the first large-scale spreading of the Gospel after Jesus’ ascension. After receiving the Holy Spirit, Peter preaches to the crowd in Jerusalem, gathered from around the world to celebrate Pentecost, and some 3,000 people are saved and baptized.

Because of their belief that the baptism in the Holy Spirit is a unique experience which Christians can still have today, the Pentecostal movement derives its name from this New Testament event.

INTRODUCTION

Power can be used in at least two ways: it can be unleashed, or it can be harnessed.

The energy in forty litres of petrol, for instance, can be released explosively by dropping a lighted match into the can.

Or it can be channelled through the engine of a car in a controlled burn and used to transport a person 600 kilometres.

PENTECOST

While explosions are spectacular, controlled burns have lasting effect, staying power. The Holy Spirit works in both ways.

At Pentecost, he exploded on the scene; His presence was like “tongues of fire” (Acts 2:3). Thousands were affected by one burst of God’s power.

But he also works through the church – which is the institution God began on the Day of Pentecost - to tap the Holy Spirit’s power for the long haul. Through ministry, worship, fellowship and service, Christians are provided with staying power.

PENTECOST

The general ministry of the Holy Spirit

Let’s look at the general ministry of the Holy Spirit.

a) Conviction of sin

The Holy Spirit brings conviction of sin to the sinner.

John 16:7-9 … Unless I go away, the Counsellor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me

He also brings conviction of sin to the Christian. He is a HOLY Spirit and is grieved when we sin:

Eph 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

MINISTRY OF THE SPIRIT

b) The Christian is sanctified (made holy) by the Spirit:

Rom 15:16 … so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.

Rom 8:13 For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live

2 Thess 2:13 … God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.

1 Pet 1:2 who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit

MINISTRY OF THE SPIRIT

The fruit of the Holy Spirit is evidenced by godly character:

Gal 5:16, 22-23So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh… But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

MINISTRY OF THE SPIRIT

c) Enables us to know God better – a deeper relationship:

Eph 1:7 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.

2 Cor 13:14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

Rom 8:14-15 because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”

MINISTRY OF THE SPIRIT

d) For our encouragement and comfort:

Acts 9:31 Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord.

John 14:26 But the Comforter (Greek: paráklētos), even the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said unto you. (ASV)

‘Comforter or ‘paraclete’ comes from the Greek word paráklētos, that can signify “one who consoles or comforts, one who encourages or uplifts; hence refreshes, and/ or one who intercedes on our behalf as an advocate in court”. 1

1 http:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Paraclete

MINISTRY OF THE SPIRIT

e) The Holy Spirit is given for spiritual guidance:

John 14:26 But the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said unto you. (ASV)

So that we may be led by God:

Acts 15:28 “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements…”

MINISTRY OF THE SPIRIT

Philip is led by the Holy Spirit to minister to the first convert from Africa.

Acts 8:29 The Spirit told Philip “Go to that chariot and stay near it”.

LED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT

LED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT

The Spirit leads Peter to the first European convert.

Acts 10:19-20 While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Simon, three men are looking for you. So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them”.

The Holy Spirit moves the Antioch church to send out the church’s first missionaries:

While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them”. (Acts 13:2)

LED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT

The Holy Spirit will sometimes stop us going where we want to go:

Acts 16:6-7 Paul and his companions travelled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to.

And at other times lead us where we do not want to go:

Luke 4:1-2 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil.

The man with God’s spirit can make decisions based on “the mind of Christ” (1 Cor 2:12-16):

We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment: “For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

MINISTRY OF THE SPIRIT

f) In order that we may have spiritual liberty:

2 Cor 3:6 He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant - not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

2 Cor 3:17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

MINISTRY OF THE SPIRIT

g) To equip us to worship in the way God desires:

John 4:23-24 “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”

Phil 3:3 For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh

MINISTRY OF THE SPIRIT

h) To give us assurance of salvation:

1 John 3:24 Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.

Gal 4:6-7 Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.

Rom 8:14-16 because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.

MINISTRY OF THE SPIRIT

PARA, EN & EPI

There are 3 different Greek prepositions that describe our relationship with the Holy Spirit – ‘para’, ‘en’ and ‘epi.’

PARA (WITH YOU) - The Holy Spirit is with a person, even prior to conversion. He convicts them of sin, righteousness and judgement to come (John 16:7-9) - and convinces them that Jesus is the Saviour.

EN (IN YOU) - While ‘PARA’ is ‘with’ you (a coming alongside), ‘EN’ is ‘in’ you (living in you).

John 14:16-17 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate (paraklētos) to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with (PARA) you and will be in (EN) you.

PARA, EN & EPI

When anyone calls on God to be saved, the Holy Spirit then comes INTO that person’s life.

1 Cor 6:19-20 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in (EN) you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your body.

So every believer has the Holy Spirit in them, who begins a sanctifying work in us by transforming us into the image of Christ.

PARA, EN & EPI

EPI (UPON YOU) - But there is a third relationship that a believer can have which is separate and distinct from the first two. In Acts 1:8 Jesus promised:

“… but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon (EPI) you” (NASB)

The word ‘EPI’ in the Greek means ‘upon’ or ‘over’.

This ‘EPI’ experience (baptism with the Holy Spirit) is the empowering of the believer for service to God. It generates an outward flow of the Holy Spirit (John 7:37-39), visible by both service and victory.

PARA, EN & EPI

Greek

Relationship

Object

Purpose

PARA

WITH you

An unbeliever

Convicts of sin, draws to Christ

EN

IN you

A new believer

Comforts, sanctifies

EPI

UPON you

A believer baptized in the Holy Spirit

Anointing

Pentecostals maintain that the EPI experience (baptism in the Holy Spirit) is a unique experience, which is distinct from the EN experience (salvation).

PARA, EN & EPI

This ‘EPI’ (upon) experience or ‘anointing’ is associated with preaching, works of power and miraculous signs.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon (EPI) me, because he anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed… (Luke 4:18 NASB)

THE ANOINTING

The anointing imparts power to do good and destroy the works of the devil:

… how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him. (Acts 10:38)

THE ANOINTING

The anointing prevents us going into spiritual error (leads us into truth):

1 John 2:27 As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit -just as it has taught you, remain in him.

John 16:12-13 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.”

THE ANOINTING

With the anointing comes the gifts (1 Cor 12:8-10):

The word of wisdom

The word of knowledge

Faith

Gifts of healing

Miraculous powers

Prophecy

Distinguishing between spirits

Speaking in tongues

Interpretation of tongues

Q: For whose benefit are the gifts?

1 Cor 12:7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.

1 Cor 14:12 So it is with you. Since you are eager to have spiritual gifts, try to excel in gifts that build up the church.

THE ANOINTING

Remember that Jesus said that “streams of living water will flow from within him”:

So the anointing leads to our own spiritual satisfaction, but is an inner source of blessing flowing out to others. Others too can drink from that stream of living water that flows from within us – and be blessed.

THE ANOINTING

The Spirit enables us to pray in accordance with God’s will:

Jude 20 But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.

Rom 8:26-27 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.

PRAYING IN THE SPIRIT

1) Baptism into the body of Christ

2) Baptism in water

3) Baptism in the Holy Spirit

Baptizer

Holy Spirit

A believer

Jesus

Candidate

A repentant sinner

A believer

A believer

Element

Body of Christ

Water

Holy Spirit

Pentecostals believe that the baptism in the Holy Spirit is an experience distinct from salvation. At salvation the Holy Spirit baptizes us into the body of Christ, but with this experience Jesus baptizes us with the Holy Spirit.

DISTINCT EXPERIENCE

You can have the ‘EN’ (in you) experience without having had the ‘EPI’ (upon you) experience.

Acts 8:14-16 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon (EPI) any of them; they had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus.

Jesus’ disciples were involved in ministry (he sent out the 12 and the 70) before they received the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

‘EN’ WITHOUT ‘EPI’

If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.

John 7:37-39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.

Jesus speaks of those who “believed in him” receiving the Spirit “later”. i.e. they were saved but had not received the anointing yet.

In Acts 19 the men Paul encounters in Ephesus were called disciples (v1), but hadn’t yet received the Holy Spirit baptism.

Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?

No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.

We see that the response of Paul was to give them instruction (vs 3-4), baptise them (v5) and then pray for them to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit (v6).

‘EN’ WITHOUT ‘EPI’

In 1871, Sarah Cooke and Mrs. Hawxhurst attended the church where 34-year-old D.L. Moody was pastor. Despite his earnestness and sincerity, these women were convinced that he lacked something important — spiritual power. So, they sat in the front row and prayed. At the close of services they would say to him: “We have been praying for you.” “Why don’t you pray for the people?” Mr. Moody would ask. “Because you need the power of the Spirit,” they would say. “I need the power! Why,” said Mr. Moody, in relating the incident years after, “I thought I had power. I had the largest congregation in Chicago, and there were many conversions. I was in a sense satisfied.” 1

1 SOURCE: http:// enrichmentjournal.ag.org/ 200702/ 200702_128_Moody.cfm "http:// www.wholesomewords.org/ biography/ biomoody4.html & William R. Moody, The Life of Dwight L. Moody

‘EN’ WITHOUT ‘EPI’

“But right along those two godly women kept praying for me, and their earnest talk about anointing for special service set me thinking. I asked them to come and talk with me, and they poured out their hearts in prayer that I might receive the filling of the Holy Spirit. There came a great hunger into my soul. I did not know what it was. I began to cry out as I never did before. I really felt that I did not want to live if I could not have this power for service.”

After his church was destroyed in the Chicago fire, Moody went East to New York City to collect funds for the sufferers from the Chicago fire, but his heart and soul were crying out for the power from on high. “My heart was not in the work of begging,” says he. “I could not appeal.” 1

1 Ibid

‘EN’ WITHOUT ‘EPI’

“I was crying all the time that God would fill me with His Spirit. One day, in the city of New York — oh, what a day! — I cannot describe it, I seldom refer to it; it is almost too sacred an experience to name. Paul had an experience of which he never spoke for 14 years. I can only say that God revealed himself to me, and I had such an experience of His love that I had to ask Him to stay His hand.” Moody was sure that if God did not lift His hand, he would die. After that when he preached; he noted that something had changed. “The sermons were not different. I did not present any new truths, and yet hundreds were converted. I would not now be placed back where I was before that blessed experience [New York] if you should give me all the world — it would be as the small dust of the balance.” 1

1 Ibid

‘EN’ WITHOUT ‘EPI’

In an article entitled “The baptism of the Holy Spirit for service”, D. L. Moody wrote, “In some sense, and to some extent, the Holy Spirit dwells with every believer; but there is another gift, which may be called the gift of the Holy Spirit for service. This gift, it strikes me, is entirely distinct and separate from conversion and assurance. God has a great many children that have no power, and the reason is, they have not the gift of the Holy Ghost for service. God doesn’t seem to work with them, and I believe it is because they have not sought this gift.” 1

1 Moody, “His Words, Work, and Workers”

‘EN’ WITHOUT ‘EPI’

We are led either by natural instincts or by the Spirit:

Jude 19 These are the men who divide you, who follow

mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.

We accomplish far more by God’s Spirit that we do in our own strength:

Zech 4:6 … ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.”

The PRIMARY purpose

of the baptism in

the Holy Spirit

Q: What is the primary purpose for the baptism in the Holy Spirit? Is it to speak in tongues or to perform miracles? Is it to get goosebumps and fall over?

A: NO – Jesus gave his disciples the reason. Shortly before his ascension he instructed the disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the promised baptism in the Holy Spirit:

Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

So the primary reason for the baptism in the Holy Spirit is that we may receive power to be witnesses worldwide i.e. evangelism and missions.

PURPOSE OF THE BAPTISM

The Holy Spirit is a witness (within us) to the resurrection:

Acts 5:32 “We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”

John 15:26-27 “When the Counsellor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.”

POWER TO WITNESS

The Holy Spirit equips us to witness effectively:

He teaches us what to say:

Luke 12:11-12 “When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”

POWER TO WITNESS

He emboldens us:

And so on the Day of Pentecost we see Peter who previously denied the Lord to a servant girl, boldly proclaiming the gospel even to those who crucified Jesus.

Acts 4:31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

2 Tim 1:6-8 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord

POWER TO WITNESS

And so Jesus says that the Holy Spirit is given that “you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

And so it’s not surprising that we’ve seen a phenomenal growth in Christianity corresponding to the Pentecostal and Charismatic resurgence.

Rise & phenomenal

growth of Pentecostalism

God said that in the last days, “I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh” (Joel 2:28).

On November 9, 2003, St. Petersburg Times writer Sharon Tubbs stated in an article entitled Fiery Pentecostal Spirit Spreads into Mainstream Christianity that Pentecostalism is the world’s fastest-growing Christian movement. 1

From only one million in AD 1900, Pentecostals / Charismatics / Neocharismatics have mushroomed to 524 million affiliated (with unaffiliated believers, 602 million). It is, after Roman Catholicism, the largest Christian tradition.

Missions expert David Barrett estimated in a Christianity Today article that the Pentecostal and charismatic church is growing by 19 million per year. 1

1 Wikipedia 2 "http:// www.southasianconnection.com

PHENOMENAL GROWTH

It is said that Pentecostalism has probably been the most influential social movement of the twentieth century. 2

While communism and fascism have died or are dying out, Pentecostals are growing at an unprecedented rate and will eventually make up the majority of all Christians worldwide. 2

From the late 1950s onwards, the Charismatic movement, which was to a large extent inspired and influenced by Pentecostalism, began to flourish in the mainline Protestant denominations, as well as the Roman Catholic church. 1

1 Wikipedia 2 "http:// www.southasianconnection.com

PHENOMENAL GROWTH

CONVERSION RATES: 1990-2000

“An Overview of the World by Religious Adherents” from the Mission Frontiers June 2000 edition.

The World Assemblies of God Fellowship… is the world’s largest Pentecostal denomination, with over 283,413 churches and outstations in over 110 countries … and approximately 60 million adherents worldwide. It is the fourth largest international body of Christians. 1

A/ G leaders credit their church’s rapid and continuing growth (20.4% in U.S. adherents in the decade between 1989-99) to its acceptance of the NT as a model for the present-day church. Brazil has the largest number of A/ G adherents with over 15 million.

In 1990, the A/ G Church in Nigeria had 3,682 churches with 707,782 members. By 1999 the number of churches increased to 7,726 with 1,811,396 members. 2

1 Wikipedia 2 SOURCE: www.ad2000.org/ celebrate/ ezemandu.htm

PHENOMENAL GROWTH

HOW TO RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT

Q: Does God want me to have the gift of the Holy Spirit?

A: Yes! Remember what Peter said on the Day of Pentecost:

Acts 2:38-39 “… And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

“…for all whom the Lord our God will call” - That includes you and me!

IS IT FOR ME?

Jesus told us it’s a good gift and our heavenly Father wants us to have good gifts, in the same way an earthly father wishes to bless his children.

Matt 11:10-13 “For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

Q: How do I receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit?

A: Jesus told us - you ask for it.

IS IT FOR ME?

Q: How do you receive the gift of the Holy Spirit?

A: The practice of laying on of hands for the receiving of a spiritual gift from God is mentioned in the following verses:

1 Tim 4:14 Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you.

2 Tim 1:6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.

The practice of laying on of hands for the receiving of the Holy Spirit is specifically mentioned in the following passages:

HOW DO I RECEIVE IT?

Acts 8:17 Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

Acts 8:18-19 When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money…

Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.

Acts 9:17 Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said…

Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus … has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.

When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. (Acts 19:6)

Like Paul did when he encountered the disciples in Ephesus, we need to teach about the importance of the baptism in the Holy Spirit. People need to know that they should not stop at the ‘EN’ experience, but also seek the ‘EPI’ anointing.

We need to preach the same message that Peter gave on the day of Pentecost when the people asked “Brothers, what shall we do?”. He replied:

“Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38)

CONCLUSION

COPYRIGHT INFORMATION

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are taken from the NIV:

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. (http:// www.Lockman.org)


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