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Pentecost

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Pentecost

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“And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:4).

Rev. W.C. Lamain (1904-1984)

The Feast of Pentecost is the feast of fulfillment; on the day of Pentecost, the Feast of Pentecost is fulfilled. The Feast of Pentecost was celebrated already in the days of the Old Testament. Fifty days after the Feast of the Passover, Israel was assembled to observe this important event. It was the last of the feasts which God had given His old-covenant people to observe. At the Feast of the Passover, Israel was reminded of the “passing over” by the angel of destruction when he saw the blood on the two side posts and the lintel of the door. A lamb was always slain at the Feast of the Passover. This lamb pointed to Christ who would one day sacrifice Himself to satisfy the justice of God and to redeem His people. The Feast of Passover always lasted a whole week. Each day, after the morning sacrifice, a feast offering was brought and unleavened bread was eaten.

On the second day of the feast, a special event took place. On that day the first sheaf of the harvest was brought to the Lord in the temple. The sheaf was not burned upon the altar, but it was waved before the face of the Lord. This signified that the entire harvest was given to the Lord. Until that offering was brought, the people could eat neither bread nor parched corn prepared from the new harvest, according to the divine command of which we read in Leviticus 23:14. Seven weeks after the day on which the sheaf of the first fruits was brought to the priest, the Feast of Pentecost was held. At the feast, a new meat offering was brought to the Lord. This offering consisted of two loaves of bread made of two tenth parts of fine flour baked with leaven. These two loaves were the first fruits unto the Lord. The Feast of Pentecost was then the feast of completion, or termination, and was observed with great joy. It was the best attended of all of the feasts, especially after the captivity. On Christmas, the Church of God celebrates the birth of Christ Immanuel, God with us; on Easter, God for us; and on Pentecost, God in us.

Christ took upon Himself our human nature. In that human nature He lived, suffered, struggled, prayed, died, and was buried, but He also arose from the dead and obtained the victory. Christ healed the breach that existed between God and the sinner. He paid the debt and took away the curse. By His active and passive obedience Christ restored the broken communion between God and man. He was received into glory at the right hand of the Father, from there to send His Spirit to the end that His Spirit would enter into the heart of the elect. What would the life, suffering, dying, and resurrection of Christ profit us if the Holy Spirit would not apply and seal it unto our hearts? Surely we cannot receive anything except it be given from above. Are we not, by reason of Adam’s fall, in a state of death and separated from God? Have we not lost God’s image and glory? Are we not without power and ability to claim anything for our own use? The Spirit of God quickens the dead sinner and convinces him of sin, righteousness, and judgment. He also glorifies Christ in him as the only fountain of salvation. All that Christ has merited is applied to him by the Holy Spirit to the end that he may embrace Christ who was given for a covenant of the people. That Spirit will also remain with His people to all eternity. It is a wonder of God that we cannot comprehend.

On Christinas, the Church of God celebrates the birth of Christ Immanuel, God with us; on Easter, God for us; and on Pentecost, God in us.

The day of Pentecost is a most glorious day, and it is hallowed by the God of Israel. As Christ came to earth and was born in Bethlehem’s manger only once, so too, the Holy Spirit came down only once, and that on the day of Pentecost. Already on the first page of the Bible, we read concerning the Holy Spirit, “The Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters” (Genesis 1:2b). With the Father and the Son, He is true and eternal God. He has the same names, the same attributes; the same work is ascribed unto Him, and He receives the same honor.

The outpouring of the Holy Ghost was already foretold to the Church living under the promise as we read in Isaiah 44 and in Joel 2. Moses, the mediator of the Old Covenant, longed for the day of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Numbers 11:29). Christ had also promised the Holy Spirit to His disciples and His church after His resurrection. With joy the disciples had returned from the Mount of Olives. Things were so different from what they were at the time of His death. At the time of His death the disciples were sorrowful and dejected, and all of their hopes were gone, but now they rejoice. He had given them such precious and comforting promises.

The ministrations of the Spirit were present in Old Testament times, but under the law and in a very small measure, by drops as it were. Later the church was to sing:

A plenteous rain Thou sent, O Lord,
Thy weary people to afford
Strength in their tribulation.

The disciples, as Christ had charged them, were assembled in the upper room together with a group of about one hundred twenty people. That group in the upper room was the revelation of the true Church. It was not just a number of individuals, oh, no! They were united in heart and in mind. They were united in and through Christ by reason of the good pleasure of the Father. There was no strife among them as to who should be accounted the greatest, but in every heart was the prayer, “Oh that Thou wouldest rend the heavens, that Thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at Thy presence” (Isaiah 64:1).

They were given faith to plead upon that which God Himself had promised. They all had the same desires, namely, the fulfillment of the divine promises, the glorification of Christ, and the filling of their hearts. By grace they had enjoyed and experienced much. What they now lacked, however, was greater than what they had received and enjoyed. God Himself had discovered this lack unto them, and this discovery impelled them to seek for that which could supply their own need. There are very few of such assemblies in our day. Generally speaking, we do not need each other because we have so little need for God. The wanderings away from God are very evident, and there is such a complete satisfaction with what has been received on the part of the true Church of God. There are more converted than unconverted people. I hope you can understand what I mean by that statement. When we are honest, we need not search very far to find that condition. If only we were more unconverted, then the Lord could bestow something upon us, and we would live more to the honor of God. It would also edify and build up our neighbor. Oh, that God would yet pour out His Spirit.

Suddenly, there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing, mighty wind. Suddenly—hastily—God hastened to fulfill His promise. He is a surprising God unto them that long for Him in faith. He will deliver them speedily. Christ shall suddenly come to His temple (Malachi 3:1). In Song of Solomon 2:8, the Bride says, “The voice of my beloved! Behold, He cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills.” To such longing people the psalmist says,

Fear not, though help be long delayed, Still wait for God, for He will surely hear; Wait, and the Lord shall send thee aid; Put all thy trust in Him and do not fear.

It was a sound from heaven. Heaven had received the Mediator who with His own blood entered into the holy place. Now, upon the basis of His atonement, the Holy Ghost was sent from heaven. All that is essential to the honor of God and the salvation of our souls comes from heaven. When God comes, He fills our hearts with the joy of salvation. With nothing less than that which comes from heaven can we be saved and delivered. Only the work of God is important and of value for eternity. All those that seek to help themselves and to save themselves shall perish forever. God’s people are drawn to heaven. “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help” (Psalm 121:1).

It was a sound of a rushing mighty wind. That sign is in full accord with the great work of God. It points to the absolute sovereignty and undeniable power of the work of God. Not once, but again and again, the Spirit of God is likened unto wind. God is free in His ministrations and in the imparting of grace. According to His eternal good pleasure, He redeems whom He pleases to redeem, and whom He will He leaves in the fall and ruin wherein they have involved themselves by their own free and wanton act of separation from God. Out of every tongue, people, and nation God will call His own. In Christ shall all nations be blessed. God calls His elect out of the generations of Shem, Ham, and Japheth. He hath mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He will He hardeneth. God’s people shall be saved only because He wills them to be saved. All boasting by the creature is excluded. It was free grace that moved Him from all eternity. Oh, that our souls would praise Him who not only desired to glorify His justice but also His mercy.

Those who are included in the eternal purpose of God are, in the time of His good pleasure, called with a holy calling. By nature, no one seeks for God. We have all become enemies of God and have no desire for the knowledge of His ways. The one is drawn out of the slavery of sin and the other out of his state of self-righteousness. No matter how deeply rooted they are in sin or in a self-willed religion, when the wind of the Spirit begins to blow, they are stopped in their way, and God conquers them. They are all humbled and, as lost sinners, they bow before the Most High God and plead with their Judge for mercy.

By the operation of the blessed Spirit proceeding from the Father and the Son, they are stripped of all that is of self to find their salvation only in Christ. No one has the ability or the power to release his hold on any one thing of which he must be rid. Neither can anyone, including God’s servants and children, rid us of anything harmful or unprofitable. It is the work of the Spirit of judgment and of burning who causes us to look away from self and casts down within us all the high places that exalt themselves against the knowledge of Christ. It is He who exalts within us the riches of God’s grace in Christ so that we glory in naught else but the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Spirit filled all the house where they were sitting. Not only was the house filled but also the hearts of those who were present. Christ is glorified in them as the ordained of the Father and as the Surety of the Covenant. He is the fullness of Him that filleth all in all. On the one hand the Spirit empties the heart, and on the other hand the Spirit fills the heart. The elect people of God are emptied of all that is of self so they may be filled with the fullness of God. They are ministered unto out of the well-spring of Israel, and with joy they draw water out of the wells of salvation. Oh, it is an ocean of grace that flows out of Christ. Its fullness makes the maidens cheerful and is in them a well of water, springing up into everlasting life. In principle, they are already satisfied with the goodness of God’s house, even His holy temple. One day it shall be an eternal fullness. Who would not be filled with a longing desire for that day of fulfillment?

The Holy Spirit works as fire, water, and wind. Cloven tongues like as of fire were seen and sat upon each of them. By the Spirit of God His elect people are not only cleansed and sanctified but also warmed and enlightened. Christ was given by the Father not only unto wisdom but also unto righteousness, sanctification, and complete redemption. They were all filled with the Holy Ghost. Not one of them was excluded. They all were aroused, the one more, the other less.

Each one that fears Him, whether great or small, Shares His salvation and favors all. He shall make them to flourish.

They all receive a share in Christ, and all are partakers of this inheritance of the saints in light. The Spirit of God entered their hearts to remain forever. He will never forsake His Church. The disciples were now enabled to perform the important work unto which they were called. They would go forth and, in all tongues, proclaim the wonderful works of God. Salvation was no longer limited to the Jewish church, but the Gentiles would share in it also. The sound of the gospel would go into all the earth and would resound in the hearts of the Philistines and the Ethiopians. There shall one day be a multitude out of every tongue, people, and nation. The kings of the earth shall bring their glory into the New Jerusalem.

When God pours out His Spirit into the hearts of His people, then they, too, begin to speak a different language. They at once speak well of God. They proclaim the glory of the eternal good pleasure of God, the beauty of His virtues, and also the riches of God’s grace revealed in Christ. Yea, they begin to tell what God has done in their souls. It is a language which the world does not understand and which the nominal Christian does not comprehend, but it meets with a response by all those who have learned the language of Canaan. Oh, how great and good is God. There are moments when their heart is so full that they cannot remain silent. They do not speak about themselves but about God. They speak of eternal things. They do not seek their own glory, but God is glorified, Christ is exalted, and the Holy Ghost is praised. In eternity it shall be perfect, and at times their souls long for that day. Oh, that God’s church, our homes, and our hearts would be filled with His precious Spirit!

But join with those toward God inclined; It could be you would Jesus find.

By nature we do not possess that Spirit, and of ourselves we cannot lay hold on Him. May it yet come to pass as it is written in John 3:8, “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit,” so that the Spirit of life might be poured out in many hearts unto quickening from death unto life—that the dead might hear the voice of the Son of God and they who hear it shall live. Then the honor and virtues of God would be important above all else, and exalting them would become the highest purpose in our life.

Oh, that the Spirit of God would revive what He has quickened. God’s people can sink so very low. David entreated the Lord most earnestly for that revival by the Spirit of God. Oh, if only something of that would yet be seen and enjoyed by the true Zion of God—that Christ may be formed in them and they rooted and grounded in love. If only the children of God would be more humble in their hearts; yea, may the Spirit of God grant them true liberty and secure for them their portion in God and Christ. May there be found not only a knowledge of the ministration of the Spirit but, above all a knowledge of the Holy Spirit as a Person, as true and eternal God. Then hearts and mouths would be filled with praise for the Lord of lords. Then they would not be silent, but their testimony would be heard also by the world that lies in wickedness. When the disciples began to speak with other tongues, it had a great restraining effect upon the people. To be sure, some mocked, but others were pricked in their hearts.

Oh, that we might have Pentecost in our hearts. Then the fear of God would flourish, the righteousness of Christ would shine forth, and holiness would spread its luster abroad. May God remember His people over the length and breadth of the earth. May He gladden their hearts by His Spirit and comfort their souls out of the wounds of Christ. May He gird His servants and give them to speak in demonstration of the Spirit and of power; may He bless their ministry to the end that His kingdom is established and extended and that God may glorify His name in all tongues, nations, and tribes. May God strengthen the lonely and the sick and comfort those that mourn. May the Spirit of God fill our hearts. It is God’s own work to fill the heart with the Holy Ghost. So it was on the day of Pentecost at Jerusalem, and so it is today. Times may change, but God remains the same. The way of salvation and the way to salvation shall never change. In the preaching and writings of our day, generally speaking, we get the impression that the outpouring of the Spirit is no longer needed. Actually, the state of death of man is denied, as is the ministration of the Holy Ghost. We live in a time when men simply believe and accept Jesus without any evidence of the irresistible work of the Holy Ghost.

In our day, people are happy without ever having been unhappy. They are full without ever having been made empty by God. They are people who are rich without ever having been poor, and converted without ever having been unconverted before God. Oh, what a sad deception for that awful eternity. They count on heaven and have never made acquaintance with hell. What an awakening it shall be when the day of death dawns for them, and their lamps, with those of the foolish, will have gone out forever. It shall be terrible to die with an open conscience and so to meet God. In their lives they resisted the Holy Ghost and refused to bend their knee to God. It shall be more terrible still, however, to perish after having expected to enter heaven.

My beloved reader, value highly the privilege of living under the means of pure grace, under a ministry that does not mislead you but presents the true way of salvation. The things which are necessary for you to know so that you may live and die happily are often and clearly set before you. Although the ministry comes short, yet, in all of its defects you are convinced that you are not being blindfolded for eternity. God’s sovereignty in election and reprobation is proclaimed unto you. The state of death by reason of Adam’s fall is made known unto you, but you are also taught that there is salvation for a poor lost and guilty sinner in Christ and His righteousness. You are taught that the Holy Spirit must make His abode in your hearts to the end that He may apply personally the things merited by Christ. We cannot simply accept them and apply them to ourselves. A supernatural work of God’s grace must be glorified in our souls. We must be severed from Adam and implanted into Christ. We must be born again and be united by the Holy Spirit.

My unconverted traveler to the great eternity; whereas you are now without the Spirit of God, may Pentecost yet take place in your heart. It is not yet hopeless for either old or young. The day of grace is not yet past. You are still living in the accepted time, in the precious day of salvation. The times are critical, and the future looks dark, but God still sends out His servants and causes His Word to be proclaimed. Harden not your hearts against the summons sent to you from heaven. Oh, that also in your heart might be heard that sound from heaven and that as a lost sinner you might find a place at the feet of the Lord Jesus. Help is laid upon One that is mighty to save. Christ is able to save to the uttermost those who come unto God by Him.

May the Spirit of God bring about conviction and discovery so the riches of God’s grace may yet shine forth in many hearts. The world is so poor and empty, but in God, through Christ, there is an eternal fullness. The Holy Spirit glorifies Christ in the hearts of the elect. Oh, could it be that we might yet see something of it. God Triune would be glorified, the church would be gladdened, and your souls would rejoice. Your tongue, now silent, would proclaim the praise of the Lord who favored you with His grace, to the end that one day you shall eternally glorify the God of whom, through whom, and to whom are all things.

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Bekijk de hele uitgave van vrijdag 1 mei 2009

The Banner of Truth | 24 Pagina's

Pentecost

Bekijk de hele uitgave van vrijdag 1 mei 2009

The Banner of Truth | 24 Pagina's

PDF Bekijken