The Christian Church began on the day of Pentecost. Some believe this was a one-time occurrence. The power of the Holy Spirit fell on the apostles. They spoke in tongues. Peter prophesied and preached. But that was the age of the apostles. That age has ceased and we are left with the residue. Miracles no longer occur because God is not working that way anymore. This is the thinking within many “mainline” churches.
Let us examine the Book of Acts. The initial outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost is recorded in Chapter 2. The apostles were together in prayer, waiting with expectation for the promise which Jesus made to them before He ascended unto heaven. What about our day? What does the scripture say about our day?
When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Peter 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. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2:37-39)
The promise of Pentecost is for everyone. Unfortunately, this promise is rarely preached in many churches. Jesus preached this promise to the Samaritan woman at the well:
The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
The church needs living water. We need living water. What is it?
On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified. (John 7:37-39)
Jesus is the One who provides the living water. The living water is the Holy Spirit. Jesus purchased the Holy Spirit for us by His glorification through the cross and resurrection. He is also the One who baptizes us in the Holy Spirit. John the Baptist gave this testimony:
“I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. (Matthew 3:11)
We must understand who Jesus is, understand that the gift of the Holy Spirit is for us, and ask Jesus for this gift. That is what Jesus told the woman at the well and that is what He is saying to us today.
The experience at Pentecost was not a one-time occurrence for the apostles. The Spirit continually renewed the apostles and disciples of Christ. The Acts chapter two was repeated in chapter four:
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. (Acts 4:31)
We need to be continually renewed in the Spirit. Do we preach this today? Do we dare preach it in the evangelical church? How about the liturgical church? There is only one church and Jesus is the Head.
If we are to preach pentecostally, then we will need a continual infilling of the Spirit. In fact, we need that to preach fresh mana. Our congregations do not need our old, tired, and spiritually dry sermons.
For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake. For it is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:5=6)