There is an old Gospel song that had a line in it which is very well suited to our celebration today. LORD, SEND DOWN THAT OLD TIME POWER, THAT PENTECOSTAL POWER. Suppose that we were to offer that prayer today and that God were to answer it? What would the results be?
I would not presume to predict all of the wonderful things that the Holy Spirit might accomplish in all of us. The first Pentecost was a profound event with far reaching results which no one could have guessed in advance. The same would, no doubt, be true with us. There are a few things that will always result when God steps in. Let’s take a good look at the practical power of Pentecost.
1 – ONE RESULT WOULD BE A SENSE OF PEACE. The disciples were anything other than at peace when Pentecost happened to them. They were behind locked doors, afraid of just about everyone and everything. The risen Christ walked into their midst, and with just a few words calmed them down. PEACE BE WITH YOU.
At that moment, the disciples needed to hear that more than anything. These were the men who Jesus had put in charge of spreading the Good News. But before they could do that, they had to get their act together. They had to overcome their fears. My goodness, they were afraid if the shutters on the windows rattled. They were afraid of their own shadow. So Jesus came to them and offered: PEACE BE WITH YOU.
You and I need that same experience. We are living in troubled times. Our country is in unending wars and the world is in a financial mess. People’s lives are falling apart all around us. But does that mean that you and I have to be troubled also? No, we have a choice in the matter.
God has not forsaken 0ur country nor any one of us individually. He has not lost control, He is with us and loves us as always. We can depend on Him and so there is no reason to despair. If we allow God to come into our lives and do His work, we will experience that same Peace that he offered to the disciples.
2 – THE SECOND EFFECT OF PENTECOSTAL POWER WILL BE THE FORGIVENESS OF GOD. After Jesus greeted the disciples, He breathed on them and said: RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT. IF YOU FORGIVE MEN’S SINS, THEY ARE FORGIVEN. IF YOU RETAIN THEM, THEY ARE RETAINED.
What did He mean? He was obviously not telling them to arbitrarily forgive one man and not another. He was simply putting them in the “forgiving” business. He was sending them into the world to forgive the sins of mankind. Sending them into a world that was full of guilt and grudges, with hurt and hatred. They were to forgive all of these sins.
We are also in the forgiving business. Just like the disciples. Our world need the messaged of God’s forgiveness just as much today as 2000 years ago. If we allow the Holy Spirit to work in us, we will never be able to carry a grudge or hate another person. The power of Pentecost and the habit of hatred cannot be there at the same time. When one comes in, the other goes out.
3 – THE THIRD PRACTICAL RESULT OF PENTECOST WILL BE A SPIRIT OF UNITY. All the people who heard Peter preach that Pentecost Sunday had a sense of “togetherness”. But at the same time they were all different. Unity that comes from God, always has diversity also.
Before my eyes this morning in this church I see great diversity. Each person here is unique. There is no one else in the world just like you. God must be very pleased with that. He made all of His children different. But at the same time, God wants us to live in unity. Paul compared us to the human body…each part is different than the other part, but all making up the whole. They are dependent on one another and only by working together can they really work at their best.
That lesson has been in the New Testament for a long time. We have yet to learn it. Our tendency is to work apart and individually. But if we allow God to work in our lives, then things can change. Be glad of your differences, but be willing to work together. That is the practical power of Pentecost.
So we pray that prayer of the gospel song: LORD, SEND DOWN THAT OLD TIME POWER, THAT PENTECOST POWER…THAT SINNERS BE CONVERTED AND YOUR NAME MAY BE GLORIFIED.