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Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

Youth Page

Written by Peter Langbroek
The sun was rising and warming the area around the temple of Jerusalem that morning. Many devout Jews had gathered there to bring the offering of the first barley sheaf which came from one of the fields of Israel. It was the ÒDay of Firstfruits,Ó called Pentecost in the Greek language.

The Jews had come from all over the Roman Empire, some as far as Mesopotamia, others as far as Arabia. In the temple the offerings and ceremonies were carried out as God told Moses they had to be done (see Leviticus 23:1-16; Deuteronomy 16:9-12; Exodus 23:16). Sacrifices and other sheaves of grain would be offered. Some grain was baked into bread and the priests ate the two loaves with the sacrifice of two lambs. The crowd celebrated Pentecost in the usual way. It was a joyful day, spent celebrating GodÕs blessings for giving Israel a good harvest.

Then É WhoooooshÉ The crowd was startled. It sounded like a powerful wind. ÒWhat happened?Ó many asked. ÒWhere did that noise come from?Ó The people moved toward the area where they heard the wind. Strange, they thought.

Then they saw something even stranger. In a house near the temple were men and women, and on top of their heads were what looked like forked flames of fire! What they heard was even stranger! These men and women were talking in many different languages, languages of the homelands of the Jews who had travelled from far to celebrate this feast! They were baffled when they heard the followers of Jesus speak of the marvellous works of God in their own language. They said to each other, ÒWhatÕs the meaning of this?!Ó

Boys and girls, do you know which Bible story I am telling you? ItÕs the story of Pentecost, which I suppose you will hear (or have heard) preached on Sunday, May 23, 1999.

What answer could you give this puzzled crowd? IÕll ask you a few questions before I explain its meaning. What were three very important acts of God in history? I will tell you. First, God created the world. Second, God sent His Son to this earth, born as a baby boy. Third, on Pentecost, 50 days after the Passover feast, the day Jesus died, and 10 days after He ascended into heaven, God sent His Holy Spirit to live in the hearts of His people, not for a short time as He did with certain people during the Old Testament period, but for all time.

What a grand coming this was! The fire was a sign of the holy, gracious coming of God into the hearts of the 120 disciples who were praying in Jerusalem after Jesus had gone to heaven. The wind showed the sudden heavenly power of God in their lives. The Holy Spirit helped them to be His witnesses, beginning at Jerusalem and from there into the whole world.

Since the tower of Babel we live in a world confused by many languages and dialects. But what a great work of God that we, so far away from Jerusalem, and almost 2,000 years after Pentecost, are being blessed by what happened then. For God is gathering His people, from many peoples, countries and languages, into one Church, the people of God.

No, we were not eye-witnesses to these happenings, and God will never show the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in this way again. But are your a faith-witness? Do you have faith worked in you by the Holy Spirit? Although the coming of the Holy Spirit into the hearts of GodÕs people will never be with the signs of fire as at Pentecost, it is just as real. The Holy Spirit lives in the hearts of believers as God in us. He teaches and comforts them by pointing and drawing their hearts to the Lord Jesus Christ.

He also prepares His people for the coming Ògreat and notable Day of the LordÓ when fearful signs in the sky will announce the coming again of the Lord Jesus. When Peter preached to the surprised crowd, the 3,000 who repented were given the promise that their sins were forgiven and they would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Peter told them and tells us, ÒThe promise is to you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall callÓ (Acts 2:39).

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