Dear Friend in Christ:
I pray you are doing well. Soon, Christians worldwide will be celebrating the fulfillment of the promise of Jesus Christ to send His Holy Spirit to His followers. Pentecost occurs 50 days after the Resurrection of Jesus. The number 50 represents “Jubilee,” a time when captives are set free, and sins are forgiven. This coincides with the Jewish celebration of Shavuot when God gave the Torah to His people at Mt. Sinai.
In the Old Testament, it’s the time when God gave His Word and His Law. At Pentecost, He sent His power, grace, and wisdom to walk in His Word. In John 14 and John 16, and in other places, Jesus tells His disciples that He must go away, but that He will send His Holy Spirit to guide them into all truth.
This promise was not only to those few men, but to everyone, for all time, who have put their faith in Jesus Christ and committed to follow Him. After the Crucifixion, burial, and Resurrection of Jesus, He then spent 40 days teaching His followers about His Kingdom. Then, as He prepared to Ascend into Heaven, He gives His followers final and vital instructions, and sent them out into His mission.
We call this “The Great Commission,” where Jesus, in His full authority as King of kings, Savior, and Redeemer, sends His disciples out into the world to declare His Gospel. You can find His Commission in Matthew 28 and Mark 16, and it is given to everyone who is a follower of Jesus Christ.
“Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen” (Matthew 28:16-20).
Against all odds and great opposition, the disciples and the early Church took Christ’s Commission seriously. Because of that, and the faithfulness of subsequent generations, we are here today. What is the legacy that we will leave? They were faithful—will we be?
To His disciples, Jesus gave His purpose, His power, His authority, and the strength to persevere. He gave them His Holy Spirit! To live as His disciples today, we must receive His Commission and His Spirit as well.
This is what Pentecost is all about.
Let’s look at Acts 1, as Jesus gathers with His followers…
“And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, ‘which,’ He said, ‘you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’ Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, ‘Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?’ And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.’ Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him outof their sight.
And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven’”(Acts 1:4-11).
So, the disciples of Jesus waited together in Jerusalem, praying, and seeking God. They were not only together geographically, but their hearts and minds were joined together in covenant agreement. The Crucifixion,death, burial, and Resurrection of Jesus had changed them all. Pride, contention, and fear were replaced by faith, love, and humble hunger for what God would do next. Their ancestors had received the Law of God on tablets of stone, but now the Holy Spirit would write His law on their hearts.
When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:1-4).
Many have referred to Pentecost as “Graduation Day” for the Disciples. They had been taught and trained by Jesus. They had been tested and tried through great difficulty and even failure. They had been told by Jesus to wait in Jerusalem and seek to receive the Promise of the Holy Spirit. And there they were, at last, in one place, with one heart and mind.
Some folks say they want the outpouring of the Spirit but are not willing to obey the directions of Jesus, not willing to agree with Him, not willing to wait and seek, and not willing to come into unity and harmony with each other. God will not send His blessing upon disobedience and disunity. These disciples had been carnal, divided, selfish, and fearful. But Jesus had confronted them, and the fires of God were burning the impurities out of them.
They were willing to be purified and cleansed … their hearts were hungry.They received the anointing of the Holy Spirit. They had their marching orders – their purpose. And, they received His power to fulfill that purpose. The power of God is not divorced from the purpose of God. He does not equip us apart from direction and focus, nor does He give us a mission without the provision to fulfill that mission. To seek His power without a willingness to obey His purpose is a form of idolatry. To attempt obedience apart from His power and grace is drudgery and misery.
Remember also, He not only provides for us, but He Himself is our provision! God is not just a pointing God—“Go here, go there!” He promises to go before us and with us; to be our rear guard and to carry us through whatever we face, wherever He is leading us. His purpose is not only to carry us through, but also to strengthen us to lift up others. Jesus loves the world so much that when He looked out and saw lost, scattered, weary, and hurting people, He was moved with compassion (see Matthew 9). He called forth laborers to go out into the highways to minister in His grace and power.
In Matthew 10, He says, “As you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:7-8). What have we received from Him? Whatever we have received, we have the power by the Holy Spirit to give. Luke 12:48 tells us that unto whom much is given, much shall be required.
We have been given power from God in the Holy Spirit:
All the gifts of the Spirit are available to those who would believe and receive from Him. What are we doing with these gifts? Have you received the Holy Spirit? What is the evidence of the Spirit in your life? Is there love, joy, peace, kindness, patience, gentleness, and self-control active in your life and towards others? (See Galatians 5:22-23.)
If you have received the Spirit, then part of His move in your life will include an increased desire, opportunity, and power to share Him and His Gospel with others. The evidence of the Holy Spirit in your life is not just that you can shout louder or speak in tongues faster or wave your hands in the air like you just don’t care; it’s that you have a greater compassion for those who need Him, and a greater passion to reach them.
I do not denigrate speaking in tongues or worshipping wholeheartedly–I do those things every day. But part of wholehearted worship is listening to God, and if you listen to God very long, He’s saying, “Go into all the world, preach the Gospel, and make disciples!”
If you’re trying to go out in your own strength and motivation, you’ll burn out quickly. We must receive His power and anointing. And we need to not only be filled with the Spirit, but we need to continually stay filled with the Holy Spirit (see Ephesians 5:19).
Some teach that the gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit are limited only to Bible times. The Bible never teaches that and never indicates that the activities of the Spirit would cease. Jesus never said His Great Commission was limited to the first generation of believers. The Bible and history teach us that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Jesus promised to send us a Comforter and Friend who would guide us in all truth and fill us with His anointing, so that we could do even greater works than He did (see John 14; John 16). And He expects us to do this until He returns; He expects to find us still working in His Harvest field. We work with the Holy Spirit, in the Holy Spirit.
We need the present activity of the Holy Spirit in our lives today. We are facing some of the greatest challenges ever faced by mankind or by the Church. Nothing and no one else can heal and empower the Church for the mission. “’Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty” (Zechariah 4:6).
I pray we may all experience Pentecost power personally in these days. Seek Him. Gather with other believers in agreement together for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit. “Like it did on the day of Pentecost, rushing in like a mighty wind, fill us up with Your presence and Your power! Lord, do it again!” (from “Fire” by CeCe Winans, Kyle Lee, Dwan Hill, 2021).
Thank you for standing with us in your prayer and in your giving. Please continue to remember us this month. We’ve taken a major step of faith by re-launching our CSM Gatlinburg Leadership Conference, May 10-12, as well as the new One-to-One Magazine. We are continuing to stand with Ukrainians who have suffered so much as well as believers in other nations like the Philippines, and Costa Rica. For more information, visit us at csmpublishing.org.
STEPHEN SIMPSON is the Editor of One-to-One Magazine and the Director of CSM Publishing. In addition to publishing ministry, Stephen has served in leadership for churches and ministries in Costa Rica, Florida, Mississippi, Texas, and Michigan, as well as being the Senior Pastor of Covenant Church of Mobile (2004-2013). He continues to travel in ministry across North America and in other nations.