The Pentecost Series: Pentecost Defined

 

“In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)”
John 7:37-39

There is a great need for the Church to be filled with the Holy Ghost. Many seem to ignore this, but it is true. Pentecost is a necessity, we cannot fulfill God’s will apart from God’s Spirit.

James 2:26 …the body without the spirit is dead

In this article, I will attempt to give some spiritual parameters for Pentecost, define it if you will. Pentecost is difficult to sum-up in a phrase, but I’ve heard it eloquently said…

“The message of Pentecost is: God the Father, through God the Holy Ghost, revealing God the Son, through the vehicle called the Church.”
-B.H. Clendennon

No doubt, it would be difficult to improve on this statement, but perhaps we can search the Scriptures for elaboration, allowing the Bible to be our spiritual dictionary.

It is important for us to understand, the Baptism of the Holy Ghost is individual, while Pentecost is corporate. On the day of Pentecost God filled each of the 120 and thereby filled the entire local church at Jerusalem (incidentally, all spake w/tongues). We cannot have Pentecost without experiencing the Baptism of the Holy Ghost. On the other hand, I believe we can experience the Baptism of the Holy Ghost without having Pentecost. The Baptism of the Holy Ghost produces revivalist. Pentecost is revival. God is not just after an anointed preacher, but an anointed body.

“The work of God in time and the purpose of God in eternity demand a human instrument for their fulfillment.”

Thus, we will never truly understand Pentecost if we fail to comprehend the divine end of salvation. God’s ultimate aim is to apprehend and fashion a vessel suitable for habitation whereby Christ can be glorified.

2 Thes. 2:14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The first century Church, born in the fires of Pentecost, understood this principle. Today’s gospel emphasizes the individual and thereby fosters independence. The early Church focused on Jesus Himself and promoted the necessity of a unified, self-sacrificing, pure vessel.

Romans 1:7 …beloved of God, called to be saints

This spiritual tone created an atmosphere of interdependence charged with the keen sense that everyone has a place and must contribute.

Ephes. 4:16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

The early church recognized that if the body was out of order, the gospel would suffer irreparable damage. They knew if they failed to BE and to GIVE according to their individual calling they were sinning against the body. Do we have such a keen vision of our moral and spiritual obligation to the Body? We are all individual vessels who are contributing something, either edifying or grievous, to the corporate vessel. If we don’t bring Holy Ghost, we bring some other spirit to the local assembly.

So, we see, God’s end is to have believers, planted in a local church, united in their holy callings so as to provide a pure vessel to the glory of Christ. Hence, in the simplest of terms: Pentecost can be defined as the Church truly “born of, filled with, led by, and thereby empowered with the Holy Ghost.” There are several grand and lofty theological implications expressed in such a statement…

I. BORN OF THE SPIRIT.

John 7:38a He that believeth on me…

Only those that believe are granted the privilege of being filled.

Acts 2:39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

A Pentecostal church/move of God will always be made up of genuine blood bought, Spirit-birthed believers. This is something we almost overlook, or take for granted. Nevertheless, in this hour of easy believism, the Church would do well to once again consider this unchanging truth: “ye must be born-again.”

Acts 1:4 And, being assembled together with them (Jesus assembled with believers), commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.

Note the following…l

Jesus is the model of a faithful shepherd, or pastor. He was a holy example. He preached the truth and He was the truth He preached. He purified the corporate body by forcing the hypocrites to make a decision (when He said to Judas, “what thou doest…”). And He prepared the eleven for leadership.

Moreover, every last one of the 120 were born of God. There was no Sunday-morning crowd.
There was no element that skipped the prayer meeting or refused to pay tithes. The entire flock of 120 hungered and thirsted after righteousness.

Again, the aim is not merely to see people “join up” but for God to have a collective people suitable for His purposes. God’s end is a pure, holy vessel. Any generation without a genuine Church will see very little blessing. We must realize everys generation relies upon the gateway of the church for a revelation of God. Today’s professing Church is blinded by an unquenchable lust for numbers. The church-growth madness deals a death blow to Pentecost/revival because it de-emphasizes or redefines Biblical conversion. Their unspoken philosophy is…

“Just get’em in, regardless of the method, if they come every once in a while and say the right thing we call’em saved.”

When men succumb to this twisted parody of evangelism they defile God’s vessel of blessing while believing they’re doing God a favor. One of the greatest spiritual road blocks to Pentecost in this hour is the multitude of unsaved folks in our ranks. Today, many will readily admit, “certainly there are lost among us, but if revival comes, it will solve all.” That’s not the Biblical pattern for Pentecost. All 120 were right before the Holy Ghost fell. For revival to come to the modern church, it would be necessary to cleanse her of the hypocrites.. Pentecost was born in the midst of holiness and as long as they walked with Jesus, God maintained the purity…

Acts 5:1 But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife…

What would the unconverted hypocrites say if God began killing the liars in churches? Regeneration is the first and necessary step in God’s apprehension of the vessel. He must have a suitable vehicle to display His holy and pure Son through. For example, there is a vast difference between collecting cans to sell, and desperately searching for a vessel I can drink life-giving water from.

II. FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT.

John 7:38b …out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

That which is born of the Spirit is destined to be filled with the Spirit. You will remember at the marriage of Cana, Jesus performed His first miracle. In this supernatural work we see the heavenly pattern.
There was the Word of The Lord…

John 2:5 His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.

The servant/evangelist does just this, He compels men to hear the gospel and submit to Jesus. Next, the servants obediently brought vessels.

John 2:6 And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews…

Note two things [1] The verse declares “many,” not just “one” as Pentecost is corporate, [2] The vessels were purified after the manner of Jews (law).

Romans 8:4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Glory to God, every vessel brought WAS FILLED…

John 2:7 Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim.

Notice, Jesus commanded the servants to fill the vessels with water. Water is a type of the Word, teaching us that if there is little or no Word there will be little or no Pentecost. When the five-fold ministry fills the church with “Thus saith the Lord,” then Jesus will turn the water/Word into wine/Spirit.
Wine, or grape juice, is nothing more than water that carries the life and essence of the grape. And likewise, the Spirit displays the life and essence of Jesus Christ. Once their was a filling and a supernatural miracle Jesus commanded a display…

John 2:8 And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it.

Others were blessed by the divine supply. And finally, the end of this miracle was a manifestation of the glory of Christ.

John 2:11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.

Note, this was the first miracle of Jesus and at Pentecost, the outpouring of the Holy Ghost was the first miracle of the newly birthed Body of Christ. Likewise, the miracle of Pentecost fostered faith.

Acts 2:47 …and the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

We must understand: the vessel of the Church must be filled if Christ is to truly be glorified. However, we must likewise realize that God fills His people for the sole purpose of showing His Son, Jesus Christ.

Joel 2:29-30 …in those days will I pour out my spirit. 30And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth

This is why we are filled and this alone. If we fail to surrender to this fact we grieve God’s Spirit.

John 16:14 He shall glorify me…

We won’t have Him unless we unify with His purpose. We read in John 7 that the Holy Ghost was not yet given because Christ was not glorified. The same holds true today, when Christ is not lifted up, the Holy Ghost will always be withheld. It is a glorious thing when a bride is fully submitted to her bridegroom, takes upon herself his spirit. The Bible says of the virtuous woman that…

Proverbs 31:23 Her husband is known in the gates…

There can be no manifestation of Christ apart from the Spirit of Christ, we must be filled.

III. LED BY THE SPIRIT.

Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

We must be willing to be led by God’s Spirit if we are to be his vessel.

John 7:38c …flow rivers of living water.

Now, in Scripture, water is often typical of God’s Spirit. Living water, or running water, is the unrestricted, unhindered, flow of water with the natural course of a riverbed.

Matthew 7:14 …narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Moving water is considered living water. Meaning it has the capacity to refresh, invigorate, and sustain life. Water that fails to move is in danger of becoming stagnant. Stagnant water is dangerous and deadly, filled with poisonous, disease producing bacteria. The implications are obvious: are we willing to move with the river of God’s Spirit? Being led of the Spirit speaks of a commitment of unquestionable obedience to His promptings. God always blesses obedience but withdraws from unbelieving disobedience.

Ephes. 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God…

IV. AND THEREBY, EMPOWERED IN THE SPIRIT.

Luke 24:49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of
Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.

Who will believe for the promise of the Father? Who will be willing to tarry or wait? So many today are impatient and are satisfied with less than Pentecost. Only those who are born of, those who long to be filled with, and led by the Spirit. Those who walk with God know their own inadequacy. They realize it is impossible to preach, live, and communicate the gospel apart from a divine empowering. And they know that this begins personally with them, they also know the pattern cannot be violated. As Jesus told the Syrophenician woman…

Mark 7:27 But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled…

Remember, if the Gentiles are to be blessed God must first find a Jewish vessel.

Romans 11:11 …through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles

There can be no Acts 10 unless there was first Acts 2.

Some might ask, “didn’t Israel reject Christ?” Yes, but God found His vessel, a remnant. All twelve disciples were Jews. All of the 120 in the upper room were Jews. Likewise, the Church must be filled with the Holy Ghost before the heathen can ever be blessed with an accurate revelation of God.

May we hunger and thirst after righteousness that we might be filled…

-B.W.