What Meaneth This…This is That (Acts 2:12-16)

By | Jun 14, 2017

Pentecost is the most outstanding event which has taken place since the ascension of Christ. Jesus gave His disciples the following instructions and promise in Acts 1: 4-5 when He told them to, “wait for the promise of the Father….and ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.”  This promise gave hope and faith to the 120 as they waited in great anticipation for the promised gift of the Holy Spirit. The fulfillment of this promise would give further proof of the resurrection and ascension of Christ. It also validated all the prophecies of the Old Testament. The Christian religion is the only religion that places its confidence in prophecies made hundreds of years before their fulfillment. Joel 2:28 foretold of this event over five hundred years before it occured and Luke recorded its fulfillment in Acts 2: 17. The phrase “in the last days,” is referring to this Holy Ghost dispensation. The Father’s dispensation was revealed in the Old Testament; the Son’s dispensation took place during His earthly ministry and this last dispensation began at Pentecost and will continue until Jesus returns.

Pentecost means “fiftieth.” The Jews had three great feasts: 1. Feast of Passover which pointed to Christ’s death on the cross. 2. The feast of the Harvest which, with its first fruits offering, typified the resurrection. 3. Then the feast of Pentecost. On the Day of Pentecost God came, by way of the Holy Ghost, and clothed Himself with man. His presence came to indwell and abide in the hearts of His believers. In them He found a body and in Him they found the power of expression and execution. Jesus, who had been with His disciples 31/2 years, was now going to the cross. Before He left He gave them a promise. “I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter (Holy Spirit) will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you.” (John 16: 7) To the disciples Christ’s promise of the coming Holy Spirit became a beacon in the night. Jesus devoted much of His time in the closing days of His ministry on earth explaining and enlarging on this promise. Pentecost marks the day that the Holy Spirit came and, from that day until now, the hearts of men and women have been the dwelling place of His Presence.

When the question was asked, “what meaneth this?” It meant that the disciples’ hearts were purified by faith. He who is holy will not dwell in an unholy and unclean temple. John the Baptist prophesied , “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but He that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.” Jesus told His disciples in Acts 1: 5, “ John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.” That promise was consummated in Acts 2: 3-4, “And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost.” Having been forgiven of their individual sins, He now cleanses them from inbred sin by purifying their hearts by faith. Such an experience purges from all the dross of base desire in a manner desired by the poet when he prayed:

“Refining fire go through my heart,
Illuminate my soul;
Scatter thy life through every part,
and sanctify the whole.”

Pentecost gave them a power to be a holy witness and to do His will and work. He gives power to love, and serve. Only the fullness of the Holy Ghost can make us to be steadfast and enable us to stand in the face of adversity. Without the power of the Holy Spirit the church is nothing more than another social organization. The power of His purifying Presence is what makes the difference. When He fully possesses our lives He impassions our souls, quickens our obedience, empowers our praying, unctionizes our service, anoints our testimony and witness and will strengthen us in our suffering for Jesus sake.  “Behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry….until ye be endued with power from on high.” (Luke 24: 49)

On that inaugural day of Pentecost in Acts chapter 2 it was recorded that 17 different languages heard them speak in their own tongue the wonderful works of God. There was a time when the whole earth was of one language and the people tried to build a tower to reach heaven. “The Lord confounded their language so they did not understand one another’s speech and He scattered them abroad upon the face of all the earth.” The name of the place was Babel. One stated that on the day of Pentecost God “unraveled Babel” so all could hear and understand the miracle that God had wrought. In response to their question, “what meaneth this” Peter recounts the events that led up to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the upper room. Hearing his words they fell under conviction and asked, “men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Peter further stated that the promise of the Spirit was not only to them but to their children, “and to all that are afar off.” (Acts 2: 14-47) That includes every one Jesus died to redeem. The same day 3000 souls responded to God’s call.

We must be reminded that to reject our personal Pentecost is fatal to Christian experience. In Ephesians 4: 30 we are warned to “grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” In I Thessalonians 5: 19 we are told, “Quench not the Holy Spirit.” In Acts 7: 51 we are cautioned of the danger of “resisting the Holy Ghost.”

As it was on that day, so it is to us today. Every truly born again child of God is a candidate for the promise of God. Every believer can have carnality burned out of their hearts by His refining fire and be sanctified wholly. It is then that one becomes a holy vessel and made usable for God to reach a lost world. As the Spirit draws us to the exalted Christ for pardon and purity, let us tarry until our forgiveness is certain and our personal Day of Pentecost is fully come. Then our lives will be lived for His glory, Christ centered and Christ controlled.

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