Pastor Barry/ The Gathering:  POWER 1: FILLED To watch this video message and others go to thegatheringhg.com and click on the youtube link to subscribe.

PENTECOST & POWER Acts 2:1-13, 14-21  2 Timothy 3:1-5

Today we celebrate the birth of the church!  The coming of the power promised by Jesus as recorded in Acts 1:8 when He told His disciples: 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.”  Translated into the American Christian vernacular we could read: But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Hawaiian Gardens, and in all of California and the United States, and to the ends of the earth.”  Today we    celebrate God’s  people filled with the Holy Spirit.  Today we lift up a shout of victory For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7   Today we celebrate the open doors of the church to any who call upon the name of the Lord as the scripture says: for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Romans 10:13  Today we give thanks and praise to the Lord for This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24  Amen! 

One can clearly see through the reading of Acts 2:1-13 that something supernatural had occurred among those believers gathered in that upper room.  They heard and felt the mighty wind and saw for themselves flashes of fire swirling about the room and flickering upon them. Their worship of the Lord in Hebrew tongues intensified and broke out into the tongues of the many nations present in Jerusalem that day.  Every onlooker heard the praises of Jesus in his or her own native languages!  Many were amazed and perplexed (puzzled, utterly baffled) but others were just plain stupid and actually chided, “they’ve had too much wine”:  FAKE NEWS! Pagan pundits! Celebrity air heads! Aristocratic, self-important fools and apathetic masses— in the midst of a miracle but refusing to see God in it.  Friends, these foolish people are all around us today too—mocking the church and the moving of God’s Spirit.  Hating believers and the values we espouse— written in God’s mighty word.  Labeling the church non-essential—discounting the contributions of Jesus to this nation and to this world. Discounting His people’s voice, vote, prayer and praise.  The Apostle Paul warned Timothy of such people in 2 Timothy 3:1-4 and they are also among us now.

 Peter addressed these hecklers with a power he had never felt before (Acts 2: 14-21).  This man who once cowered in a crowd and denied he knew Jesus three times            (Matthew 26:69-75) rose up in boldness and perfectly quoted a prophecy once written by Joel (Joel 2:28-32). As in most prophetic writings its fulfillment covered more than one time period.  Joel’s prophecy was partially fulfilled in the first century birth of the church (as Peter quoted) but will have its total fulfillment in the “last days” of the Church on earth in you!  This prophecy is ours to own Church… God is pouring out His Spirit in these days!  Are you ready to stand up and be bold like Peter in the midst of haters?  Are you willing to be filled with the Holy Spirit to do the will of God in these “last days?” 

 A NEW LAW Romans 3:23-24, 5:1-2, Jeremiah 31:33, 2 Corinthians 3:2-3  

To the Jews, the yearly celebration of Pentecost was not what I just described. It was one of the three pilgrimage feasts of Israel during which each adult male was required to be present in Jerusalem (Exodus 23:14-17). The Jewish feast of  Pentecost or the Feast of Weeks (Shavuot shav-wote) was a thanksgiving for the first-fruits of the wheat harvest—a time where the Jews thanked God for bringing them into the promised land and vowed to give Him their very best. Later, Pentecost was associated with a remembrance of the Law given by God to Moses on Mount Sinai— once again, to give God one’s very best would be to keep His law which promised to lead Israel into God’s rest (Psalms 95:10-11; Hebrews 4:9-11).  Of course the Jews and all people have failed miserably to give God our very best at all— let alone to keep God’s law (Romans 3:23-24) —so   Jesus came to be a perfect sacrifice for our sin. It is now Christ who gave His best for our rest. Only in Christ we have peace with God (Romans 5:1-2). 

Pentecost was the perfect day for the Holy Spirit to come upon the church because to receive the Holy Spirit is to be filled with the promised peace (rest) of God!  For the Christian Pentecost celebrates what Jesus did to keep the law we broke, to be the perfect offering we neglected to bring, and to secure the peace with God that we do not deserve but is given by His grace to all who believe.  We see the giving of a new Law on Pentecost, the Holy Spirit, written “not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts” (Jeremiah 31:33, 2 Corinthians 3:2-3).  We are God’s letter, known and read by everyone, written by the Holy Spirit!  

“Be careful how you live. You may be the only Bible some person ever reads.”William J. Toms

BE FILLED! Acts 2:36-41, 1 John 2:15-17

Be Filled!  Be filled with the Holy Spirit!   This is not about your ability.  This is about His ability to accomplish His purpose in you for such a time as this.  You “rest” in Him while He “rests” on you!   Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord   Almighty (Zechariah 4:6).  He has done it and He will do it again!   When Peter   concluded that first Pentecost preaching people “were cut to the heart!”  He told them to “repent and be baptized” and they too would “receive the gift of the Holy Spirit”.  The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off— Do you hear God calling?  Then receive this message and “save yourself from this corrupt generation!”  Sinner be saved and Christian be filled to accomplish all that God desires in you. 

Be filled with the Holy Spirit and not full of the foolishness of this world — the world is passing away.  The Holy Spirit birthed the Church in the first century and He is empowering the Church again in these “last days.”  In the weeks ahead we will learn about this power ready to be unleashed in us…and we will practice it in these “last days”.



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