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This was a sermon preached on Pentecost Sunday

The Potter’s House Church – Battle Creek, MI – March 29th, 2020

Apostolic Faith Tabernacle – Ferndale, MI – June 9th, 2019

Life Church – Roseville, MI – June 9th, 2019

and transcribed to text.

A year after my wife and I got married, we purchased our first home together. It was a Victorian-style home that was built over 100 years ago. As we were viewing the home for the first time, I noticed fire damage in the basement. The house was structurally sound, everything had been cleaned up, but you could still see the remnants of the fire. There were marrings on the walls and ceiling as a reminder that fire had been present. My father came from Arkansas and worked on our home for two months, and when he was finished, the home was beautiful. However, the markings in the basement remain. Fire always leaves a mark!

FIRE CHANGES EVERYTHING!

For hundreds of years before our firefighting efforts, there was no control for forest fires. They simply raged out of control and burned everything in their path and were only consumed once they burnt out. These forest fires ravaged and destroyed the landscape until nothing was left to burn. The forests were CHANGED forever! Now, when we think of that, there seems to be little or no good that could come out of such a baptism of fire.

Yet, now researchers are beginning to understand that perhaps there was something very productive in these massive forest fires that consumed thousands of acres.  What seemed to be such a negative thing, actually has positive elements. Now that fires are being suppressed and controlled, the problem with beetles and blight on trees has soared.  

The fire has been put out, but the disease on the trees has become magnified. The beetles and other bugs are now having a heyday among the leaves and soft, sweet timber. They are destroying the forest little by little.  

Forest rangers are having to resort to poisons that are either sprayed, spread, or powdered in the regions of contamination. Much to their dismay, the toxins are not killing the pests; the poisons are killing the forests simply because the fire is not allowed to do its cleansing work. 

What seems to be such a bad thing, is in reality, very necessary in the cleansing process, and in the process of keeping things healthy and robust.

New jack pine seedlings GROW well after a hot fire. Fire causes the cone of an older jack pine tree to open up and RELEASE SEEDS. Cones that need HEAT, such as the HEAT from fire, to open are called serotinous cones. When the HEAT causes the cones to open, SEEDS are released and fall to the ground.

FIRE CHANGES EVERYTHING!

Acts 2:1-4 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

PENTECOST

One of the Greatest Events in the History of Time Yet is so often overlooked by the world today is Pentecost—the Holy Spirit’s descent upon the Church. The reason that Pentecost is so essential to the Church is that without His presence and power, the Church would have died out long ago. It is He that gives us the anointing to accomplish that which is impossible in the flesh.

Zech 4:6 Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the Word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.

The literal meaning of Pentecost is “50 days.” In the Old Testament, it was positioned on the Jewish calendar seven weeks after the Passover. It was the Jewish Feast of Harvest and was equivalent to our Thanksgiving Day.

IT WAS A TIME TO CELEBRATE!

Listen to the words of Acts 1:14, “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication…” They were already believers. This 10-day prayer marathon must have witnessed the emptying of themselves so that they could receive the fullness of the Holy Ghost. This same total commitment is a part of the sanctifying work of the Holy Ghost in our personal lives. On that day, the Holy Ghost was poured out upon the 120 believers in an upper room in Jerusalem as they awaited the baptism.

Jesus had promised this event just before He ascended into heaven. He said in Acts 1:5, “For John truly baptized with water; but you shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.” Then in verse 8, it is repeated: “But you will receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

The first Christian Pentecost was the fulfillment of a prophetic promise. In Acts 2:16-18, 21, Peter left no doubt about it: “But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel: And it shall and it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh…

FIRE CHANGES EVERYTHING!

As we take a look at what happened on Pentecost many years ago, we see that God changed many people’s lives. And as we learn about these things, we will see that God is also interested in changing you – there are certain things about you that God wants to change.

THREE major changes took place on Pentecost:

1) THE DISCIPLES WERE CHANGED

The disciples were Loyal to Jesus, but they were still very confused about all kinds of different things. They didn’t fully understand Jesus’ mission, why he had come to earth. They were still wondering if Jesus would be an earthly king. They were confused, and as a result, they were timid. They weren’t confident about sharing the Gospel with others. 

BUT FIRE CHANGES EVERYTHING!

The disciples were together when the sound of a blowing wind came down from heaven. What seemed to be tongues of fire settled on their heads. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in foreign languages they had never learned before. A crowd gathered, people from all over the world, and that crowd listened as the disciples preached the Gospel. The Apostle Peter stood up and addressed the crowd – he gave a beautiful sermon that the Holy Ghost inspired him to preach, a sermon that converted 3,000 people in one day.

Do you see the changes that took place on Pentecost? 

No longer were the disciples confused. Now they understood the plan of salvation completely. No longer were they timid. Now, they were confident, speaking publicly. Look at Peter – two months earlier; he was so afraid that he denied Jesus three times. Now he was speaking to the crowd with confidence and understanding that he had never had before.

KEY TAKEAWAY: Once you are consumed with Holy Ghost fire, it will change YOU as a disciple!

2) THE CROWD WAS CHANGED

You could argue that this change was more spectacular than what happened to the disciples. After Peter preached his sermon on Pentecost, 3,000 people came to believe and were baptized. We don’t know much about these people. 

We do know that Jerusalem was packed with people because of the Festival of Pentecost. Back then, Pentecost was an agricultural festival – God had told the Jews to gather in Jerusalem 50 days after Passover to celebrate the harvest.

Jews from all over the Roman Empire came. Three thousand of them who were not Christians, who did not believe in Jesus Christ, were changed that day. Their whole way of looking at God, at themselves, at the world, at eternal life – everything had changed. The Holy Ghost was the one who converted those 3,000 people that day. 

KEY TAKEAWAY: Once YOU personally CHANGE, the change will flow out of you, and you will begin to change your surroundings!

3) OUR FUTURE WAS CHANGED. 

Once YOU are changed, and those AROUND YOU are changed, then your FUTURE will be changed. Pentecost was not a one-time occurrence. Peter said in Acts 2:39, “For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.”

He is calling today through His Word and His Spirit. The Holy Ghost will CHANGE you. He did that in a miraculous, unusual way on that first Pentecost. He wants to do it again today. He will change your ENTIRE FAMILY!

KEY TAKEAWAY: Once YOU are changed, and those AROUND YOU are changed, then your FUTURE will be changed!

CONCLUSION – FIRE CHANGES EVERYTHING!  

Every time you come into contact with the Word, fire enters your heart and burns away that selfishness and confusion. That fire becomes the fire of faith. Don’t question the fire. It’s doing productive work that we can’t even see!

Don’t question the fire! It’s the fire that purifies; It’s the fire that purges the poison and disease from your life, keeping you healthy and strong. 

Hebrews 12:29 tells us, “For our God is a consuming fire.” Disease grows in our hearts from time to time, and we don’t even realize it. To everyone else, we look fine, the trees are proud and tall, apparently standing strong, but inside, there is a root of bitterness, or carnality, or sin. We need the Holy Fire of God to consume us.

Numbers 31:23 Every thing that may abide the fire, ye shall make it go through the fire, and it shall be clean: nevertheless it shall be purified with the water of separation: and all that abideth not the fire ye shall make go through the water.

Your Spark can become a flame and change EVERYTHING. E.D. Nixon

MY PRAYER:

 SET A FIRE

JESUS CULTURE

Set a fire down in my soul
That I can’t contain, I can’t control
I want more of You, God
I want more of You, God

Set a fire down in my soul
That I can’t contain, I can’t control
‘Cause I want more of You, God
I want more of You, God

POWER FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT

Pastor Rob, Shara McKee & 
The Pentecostals of Katy Sanctuary Choir

Power filled with the Spirit.
Power filled with the Spirit.
Just like the day of Pentecost
When the Holy Ghost came they were all in one accord
Somebody said you ought to go out and Praise the Lord
The anointing fell they began to speak in tongues

Power filled with the Spirit
Power filled with the Spirit
And when that day was fully come
Cloven tongues like fire sat upon each one
Somebody said they’re not drunk as ye suppose
But that this is the Power of the Holy Ghost

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