JESUS, AND THE BEGINNING OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH
Dr. William L Sheals of Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church in Norcross, GA shares the history of the Christian church and what Pentecostal praise truly means, on Pentecost Sunday at West Angeles Church of God In Christ, May 15, 2016.
All churches should be Pentecostal, because the church was born on the Day of Pentecost. It was born after the power of the Holy Spirit manifested, as told in Acts 2:1-4.
Jesus spoke the church into existence supernaturally on Caesarea Philippi when He quizzed His disciples
asking, “Who do men say that I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Christ; Son of the living God.” Then Jesus answered him, “Yes, and upon that truth I build my church.” (Matthew 16:13-18)
Although Jesus spoke the church supernaturally into existence, she didn’t come into the manifestation until the day Pentecost had fully come. She was birthed after she received power and that power was the power of the Holy Spirit. When He came in, like a mighty rushing wind, tongues of fire set upon their heads and filled the house and filled everybody in the house and they were filled with power.
Let’s revisit that day, 2000 years ago:
Acts 2:1-4 (NKJV) Coming of the Holy Spirit – 2 When the Day of Pentecost had 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 the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
When we’re filled with the Holy Spirit, some of us quench the spirit, and that’s a sin. But for those of us who release Him, there’s power that permeates our very being, and you can’t keep it on the inside. That’s what happened to the 120 disciples who came out of the upper room that day.
There were also people from other nations who had gathered in Jerusalem at that time:
Acts 2:12-13 12 So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “Whatever could this mean?” 13 Others mocking said, “They are full of new wine.”
There’s a difference between Pentecostal praise, and what we call “praise” in the 21st century. We call “making noise” praise. But when it’s Pentecostal praise, it comes from the Holy Spirit. We cannot praise God in the flesh. We must come out of self, and the Holy Spirit within us will please God in the praise, if we release Him to do so.
WHAT IS PENTECOST?
Pentecost means ’50th.’ It refers to the Jewish feast celebrated 50 days after the 2nd day of Passover. It was called “Feast of Weeks” in Exodus 34:22 and Deuteronomy 16:10, and “Feast of the Harvest” in Exodus 23:16.
Pentecost, a day of thanksgiving to mark the end of the grain harvest, is a Holy Sabbath Day. On the day of Pentecost in Acts 1-3, Jesus was with the disciples for 40 days, then ascended back to heaven. We celebrate Pentecost 10 days after His ascension, on the 50th day after Jesus had risen from the dead. On that day, the words of Joel (v. 3:18) and John the Baptist (Matthew 3:11) were fulfilled.
On this day set aside to praise the Lord for giving His people a great harvest, the Lord began to harvest the lost souls of this world, through His church. The church, and the people who made up the church, would never be the same.
THE CHURCH, AND PENTECOSTAL PRAISE
Since those times, we have changed the format and the meaning of why we really come together. We come together as sacred assembly – we are the church – but when we do, it ought to be Pentecost Sunday every Sunday. We cannot duplicate the events of Pentecost; we cannot go to Jerusalem, enter the Upper Room and wait to be filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Ghost has already come and baptized every person who is saved (Corinthians 12:13). In Ephesians 5:18, the Lord says,
Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess, but be filled with My Spirit.
We cannot duplicate the miracles of that day: they are God’s doing (and we are foolish if we spend our time seeking the spectacular)! However, we can duplicate the conditions which existed among the people of God in that day.
The revival in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost is the greatest of all times. No revival has ever been so celebrated, nor so tremendous in its immediate effects and none has been so lasting in its result. The 120 disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ were suddenly immersed in the Holy Spirit. Their character changed, the way that they spoke changed, they spoke in different languages, the church was birthed on fire. We need another Pentecost experience.
SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES: Acts 1-3, Chronicles 4:1, Matthew 16:13-19, Exodus 34:22, Deuteronomy 16:10, Exodus 23:16, Joel 3:18, Matthew 3:11, Corinthians 12:13, Ephesians 5:18
Adapted from the sermon, “Pentecostal Praise – Part I,” by Dr. William L. Sheals. West Angeles Church of God In Christ on Pentecost Sunday, May 15, 2016.
Photos, courtesy Studium Biblicum Franciscanum.
Dr. William L. Sheals is Senior Pastor of Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church in Norcross, CA, also known as “The City of Hope.” Hopewell Baptist is built on what was originally a junkyard. It takes lives which had once been wrecks, and turns them into vehicles of praise for the glory and honor of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. As the accomplished author of seven books, including “Walking In Authority: Biblical Examples for Modern Times” and “Live in the Spirit for Life,” Bishop Sheals is an ambassador of Reconciliation and Goodwill for Israel, and spokesman for the Global Peace Movement. He is also in an independent film producer with his own production company, “End Touch Movies.” Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr. preached at Hopewell “Bapticostal” Church, as it is affectionately known, in honor of Dr. Sheals’ 36th anniversary as pastor there.
Get the entire series Pentecostal Praise Parts I, II, & III HERE on West Angeles Gospel on Demand. Look for PENTECOSTAL PRAISE, PART II, coming soon to Westa.org.