We can change the world by fulfilling our commission
by Deanne Baum
One particular day almost 2,000 years ago the world was turned upside down. The occasion — Pentecost. That day in Jerusalem, Simon Peter, the apostle, delivered an inspired sermon. This sermon cut through to the people’s very heart and core. All those who were present that day, about 3,000 people, were deeply moved and affected to heartfelt change.
Jesus Christ was crucified only a few weeks prior After His crucifixion Christ had shown Himself to the apostles and more than 500 others over a period of 40 days (1 Corinthians 15:3-6). It was during this time that Jesus told his apostles to wait for the promise of the Father. In Acts 1:5 Jesus states “for John truly baptized with water,
but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now”. He goes on to say “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witness to me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
The power of the Holy Spirit is given
Acts 2:2-4 contains the dramatic account of supernatural events occurring during the giving of God’s Spirit to all those present. Rushing mighty wind, which filled the whole house, forked tongues of fire hovering over people’s heads, all manner of languages spoken and understood by the giving of tongues. These forces or manifestations were absolute evidence of the great and awesome power of God who desired all those present to have His Spirit. It was only then that the people fully understood the enormity of what had just transpired only some 40 days prior — the killing of the Messiah — the One sent by God the Father to change people’s lives by turning the world upside down.
Imagine being present on this day! There would be great unity and delight in having God’s Spirit, and abundant joy to be led by His Spirit in earnestly desiring to repent and be baptized in order to share in salvation. Truly life changing events. What a great start the early church got off to. They would have probably felt like they could conquer the world and anything was possible.
The Mystery of The Ages Revealed
During Peter’s sermon he speaks about the patriarch David. The people would have all known about David being a man after God’s own heart. To learn that David had not been resurrected yet but would not be left in the grave, was heady knowledge (Acts 2:29-35). If David was not resurrected then that meant he was waiting a resurrection. A future promise of the hope that is within (Psalm 16:9-11). Like David, they too, would have this hope. No longer would life and death be looked upon as futile or finite. It would all mean something. They would live on into God’s Kingdom as part of the God family forevermore (1 Corinthians 15:50-58).
Lazarus was raised from the dead by Jesus before His crucifixion. Many people present had recently witnessed this miracle (John 11:38-44). How wonderful would it be for Lazarus to receive God’s Holy Spirit at Pentecost and share in this event with others who had been there at his tomb. Also, those raised from the dead when Jesus died (Matthew 27:51-53) may have been present to receive God’s Holy Spirit too. This truly would have magnified a spiritual concept and possibly have added a greater depth of understanding in a physical, tangible sense.
Living in an upside down back to front world
As Acts 2 concludes in the last verses of 40-47 we can read that not only did the people repent and become baptized, “they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers”. These people had true simplicity of heart. They praised God and gave thanks. They indeed lived as one. There was sharing, caring, giving, true unselfish fellowship which meant they had the deep abiding love, which came from the greatest source of all — God the Father (1 John 4:16).
As we live on in the end times, we have such an awesome responsibility to finish with zealous simplicity of heart. Our service to others is developed by looking daily at Jesus Christ’s examples throughout the Bible. We then put His example into practice by outgoing agape love to others. We may stumble and fall at times but we get up, shake ourselves off, go to God and repent and receive forgiveness. We live daily fearing God and proclaiming the gospel of the soon coming Kingdom of God whenever the opportunity presents itself.
Make each day count. Be ready with an answer (1 Peter 3:15, 2 Timothy 4:2). For to this we were called. We have a great commission to fulfill (Mark 16:15-16, Matthew 28:18 20). We may not have to overturn tables in the temple but we need to turn the world upside down by faithful obedience to God and this will show in our example to others. This can be a very powerful thing to behold. The vast majority of people may not even so much as acknowledge us but the example needs to be set; even if only one person is drawn to this way of life because we exhibit pure service then how marvelous that is to our awesome Father. We just need to be willing and allow His Spirit to lead us in our labor of love (Galatians 6:10).
So let us join as one united in our very faith by igniting or rekindling the flame of fire that lives inside us as we share in the momentous anniversary of Pentecost, celebrated for the very first time all those years ago when Christ’s church began.