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Pentecost — Presence, Power and Purity May 27, 2007

Posted by Kevin in Holiness, Pentecost, Power, Presence, Purity.
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There are many days that are celebrated because of their spiritual significance. Christmas – Good Friday – Easter and, in the evangelical holiness movement, Pentecost is of significance.

Consider the following:

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

Acts 2:1-4 NIV

There are a lot of things that speak to me out of this passage. I have hinted at some of them in the title of this post.

Presence
The presence of the Holy Spirit was undeniable. The Holy Spirit came in the form of a wind from Heaven and settled on those gathered in the form of little flames of fire.

Power
The Holy Spirit was manifested in the power and ability of those Apostles to communicate to the many gathered in Jerusalem in their own native language. And to do so without the prior training or learning of that language. But there is an even more impressive display of the Holy Spirit’s power. That power enabled Peter to rise above the denials and disappointing way that he had acted just a few short weeks ago on the night that Jesus was betrayed. Peter was empowered and emboldened to great things through the infilling of the Holy Spirit.

So what does this mean to me?

Purity
The presence and power of the Holy Spirit make it possible for our hearts to be purified. The Bible offers several passages that apply here.

Again, consider Peter the Apostle when he defended his visit to Cornelius’s house in Acts 15 7-9 in the NIV.

After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith.


Titus 2:11-15 offers us great hope and assurance that the Holy Spirit will purify our hearts in preparation for Jesus Christ’s return.

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self‑controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope–the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.

James 4:8 is a little more direct and commands us to purify our hearts.

Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double‑minded.

God would not command us to do something that His Holy Spirit will not empower us to be successful at. And that is good news! In fact, God himself wants offer the Holy Spirit to us. Jesus, in Matthew 7 and Luke 11 used parables in His teaching and He tries to describe the love of our Heavenly Father.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.“Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for[fn6] a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”


Holiness is what I want. And holiness is what my heavenly father wants for me. Hey, that would make great lyrics!

Holiness, holiness is what I long for
Holiness is what I need
Holiness, holiness is what You
want from me

Holiness, holiness is what I long for
Holiness is what I need
Holiness, holiness is what You
want from me

So, take my heart and form it
Take my mind and transform it
Take my will and conform it
To Yours, to Yours, oh, Lord

Faithfulness, faithfulness is what I long for
Faithfulness is what I need
Faithfulness, faithfulness is what
You want from me

Brokenness, brokenness is what I long for
Brokenness is what I need
Brokenness, brokenness is what
You want from me

Thank you Scott Underwood for writing that worship chorus that expresses my desire and God’s desire for me.

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Comments»

1. Scott - May 29, 2007

I couldn’t agree with this more. We are to be holy as He is holy and He would not ask us to do something that He Himself is not willing to do through us!

I think the part about the acts scripture that jumps out at me is that they were together in one place. They were not only “just” together, but they were together for one reason…..Jesus. They didn’t get together for causes that would lift themselves higher, they were together for Our Savior and of one accord in mind, body and spirit.

That makes me wonder how much “Power, Presence and Purity” we as a body may be missing, because we don’t get together in one place of one accord, for Him who provides the Power, Presence and Purity to us.

Blessngs
Scott

2. KJKEB - May 29, 2007

Not to say that a former General Superintendent missed a key point…

But I kept waiting for him to acknowledge that it is the “Power” of the Holy Spirit that enables us to live the life of holiness.

3. Scott - May 29, 2007

the word “holiness” seems to be an endangered species in sermons from my short experience. I hear it in songs, but sermons…..well, not so much.

4. Maryellen - May 31, 2007

Holiness and Purity – two things I really need to be considering these days as a new ministry opportunity seems to be openning up for us. And there is a lot of meat here for me to digest. When I was a baby Christian and going to a UMC, I was once told that the UMC didn’t believe in the Holy Spirit, which actually meant they didn’t believe in speaking in tongues are being “slain in the Spirit”. There is so much more depth to the third Person of the Trinity. Yes, and He does indeed compell us and enable us to live a life of Holiness. Recently someone tried to insult me by labeling me a holiness, arminian…as if Holiness were a bad thing…


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