Pentecost-Church-Holy-SepulchreThe word Pentecost has special meaning for more than 500 million Christian believers worldwide. They not only joyfully tell the story of Acts 2 (called by some "the most-read chapter in the Bible"); they also experience the Holy Spirit just as the early disciples did.

Fifty days after Jesus' crucifixion, on the annual Jewish festival of Pentecost in Jerusalem, God launched the church of Jesus Christ with a mighty outpouring of His Holy Spirit. Here's how the Bible describes the event:

"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).

This marvelous personal encounter is known as "the baptism with the Holy Spirit," and it is accompanied by the miracle of "speaking in tongues." It wasn't for the disciples alone; you too can have this experience—your very own Pentecost.

Before the feast of Pentecost, Jesus' disciples had been praying in Jerusalem for 10 days. They realized their situation was tenuous because Jesus had been crucified there a month and a half before. However, they also remembered that, on the night before He died, Jesus had announced His departure and promised to send them the Holy Spirit as His replacement.

Forty days later (10 days before the day of Pentecost), the resurrected Jesus appeared for the last time and affirmed His pledge. "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'"(Acts 1:4-5). Then they watched, dumbfounded, as He physically ascended into the heavens.

Pentecost Then and Now
As the small band of Galileans continued their prayer vigil "continually in the temple praising and blessing God" (Luke 24:53), a great tide of festive, boisterous pilgrims pressed into the swollen city, happy to meet with friends and worship at the glorious hub of Hebrew religion. Thousands began gathering into the courtyards of the great Temple, a massive structure that could accommodate 210,000 persons. Early Pentecost morning, 120 disciples were already praying in Solomon's Porch (or possibly the Court of the Women).

Suddenly three miracles commanded attention. The Spirit arrived—accompanied by a howling wind, a blazing fire and miraculous tongues.

Imagine a wind of hurricane proportions, heard but not felt. "Suddenly" means that God was moving and nothing could stop Him. The ruah, the "breath" of God promised by Jesus, had arrived (see John 3:8; Ezek. 37).

With it came a sheet of fire that descended over the disciples. Quickly the fiery mass divided into small flames that danced through the air, coming to rest on the head of each one of the 120 followers of Jesus. This was not literal fire, but "as of" or "like" fire, meaning it was absolutely real but also uniquely divine.

The third miracle was an explosion of sound. The unscholarly Galileans began speaking in more than a dozen known languages—although they had not learned them—as if they were expert linguists. This was the first manifestation of "speaking in tongues," the phenomenon that Jesus said would occur among His followers.

The disciples were not preaching in tongues but rather offering prophetic worship. The people said, "'We hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God'" (Acts 2:11). These worship acclamations not only glorified God but also softened hearts for Peter's subsequent message (like a plow breaking up hard ground).

After the ruckus had somewhat subsided, Peter began to preach the good news of Christ to the gathered crowd (probably in Aramaic, the common language). Midway into his sermon, he proclaimed a classic Christian concept in simple 1-2-3 style: "'Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit'" (Acts 2:38). Peter also had words for our generation: "'For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off [the Gentiles], as many as the Lord our God will call'" (v. 39).

The pattern Peter laid out in his message is a solid foundation for incorporation into the body of Christ:

1. Be born again by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
2. Be water baptized.
3. Be baptized with the Holy Spirit.

Each of these three phases has a vital objective, and the Holy Spirit is very much involved in each. Taken together as a whole they make up the introductory essentials for serving the Lord: salvation, sanctification and equipping for service. It is the last phase that is our current focus.

The wonderful experience of Spirit baptism is for those who already have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord. Conversion is, without a doubt, accomplished by the power and presence of the Holy Spirit; but the baptism with the Holy Spirit is a distinct infilling or empowering for service that is subsequent to conversion.

The word "baptism" refers to immersion and is best illustrated by what happens when a person is water baptized by dunking. "Spirit baptism" means that a person is engulfed by, immersed in and filled with the Holy Spirit—like an empty glass plunged into a tub of water.

Spirit baptism is a meaningful encounter with Christ that bonds the believer to the same Spirit, experience and church that was birthed at Pentecost—and helps him relate more deeply with Christ Himself. It accomplishes seven things in his life: It makes Jesus more real, increases his spiritual sensitivity, illuminates the Scriptures, provides the capability of praying "in the Spirit," brings sanctification, and allows for dynamic testimony and spiritual gift manifestation.

Best Magazine Deal. Subscribe now and get 3 magazines for the price of 1. Get Charisma, SpiritLed Woman and Ministry Today, all for $24. YES - I want this deal!

3 Reasons Why you should read Life in the Spirit. 1) Get to know the Holy Spirit. 2) Learn to enter God's presence 3) Hear God's voice clearly! Click Here to draw closer to God!

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
View/Add Comments
  • Roadblock

    6 Roadblocks That Will Stop Your Spiritual Growth

    God wants you to grow in your faith, but many of us get stuck along the way.

  • Bishop Eddie Long died at 63.

    Bishop Eddie Long Dead at 63

    "Although his transition leaves a void for those of us who loved him dearly, we can celebrate ...

  • Inner Healing Is the Fruit of the Spirit

    Inner Healing Is the Fruit of the Spirit

    I have been puzzled about the subject of inner healing for some time.

  • 2017 is the year that swords will clash.

    Prophetic Word: 2017 Will Bring a Clashing of Heaven and Hell

    "This is a time to cross over and not pull back."

  • The devil will try to silence you in any way he can. Don't give him the satisfaction.

    Satan's 2 Most Potent Lies to Render You Ineffective

    There's something in you so powerful that Satan doesn't want it out. Kyle Winkler reveals ...

  • Cindy Jacobs

    2017: Year of the Breakthrough

    "There will be a significant increase in miracles and signs and wonders."

  • Foot washing

    Shaking the Gates of Hell With a Basin of Water and a Towel

    "When I saw His foot, I knew He had come to take back territory the enemy had stolen from His ...

  • Growing relationship

    2017 Prophetic Word: The Supernatural Key to Growing Your Relationship With God

    It's vital that we understand what comes from God and what comes from the devil.

  • Are you willing to volunteer for God's offensive army?

    Prophetic Word: Preparing for God's World War 3

    God is searching for soldiers of the cross who are willing to volunteer for His offensive army.

  • Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Follow God on the most fulfilling journey of your life with Encounter the Holy Spirit! Break away from past hurts and press into the One who wants a personal encounter with you.

  • Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Reach your full potential and be led by His Spirit. In His Presence takes you to a deeper understanding of who God is and how he communicates with us.

  • Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Receive the power and gifts that come through the Holy Spirit Baptism. Don’t go empty-handed; accept all that He has for you! His power is available to those who ask.

  • Put on the Full Armor of God

    Put on the Full Armor of God

    Break every stronghold with the power of the Holy Spirit. Use the power of your tongue to declare and decree the Word of God. Witness heaven move on your behalf.

Use Desktop Layout
Charisma Magazine — Empowering believers for life in the Spirit