What is Pentecost?

 

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  • Pentecost is not just a holiday set 50 days after the resurrection of Jesus but it is a personal, powerful experience that we can experience in our lives daily.   Pentecostal experience did not die with the Apostles.  It wasn't  only for the Apostles-  thankfully the Pentecostal experience with the evidence of speaking in other tongues is for you and for me- it’s for anyone who will gladly receive it.

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  • If you have never received the Holy Ghost with evidence of speaking in tongues- there's great news.  Living Waters Ministries is a church that believes, teaches and encourages the gift of the Holy Ghost.   Pastor Robin would be glad to open the WORD of God with you.  The Pentecostal experience doesn’t come out of a manual or a written text book- it comes straight from the Bible.  If you don't live in Cumberland, let us know  where you live and we can refer someone to you. 

 

 

The two most important feasts (or celebrations) in the Old Testament were the Passover and Pentecost.

 

• The Passover, of course was that dreadful, howbeit wonderful night that resulted in the great Exodus out of Egypt.

 

•  Subsequently, the Hebrews were delivered by death and by blood.  And then separated by water, and Paul said these “were all baptized unto Moses   in   the cloud and in the sea.”

 

•  Fifty days after Passover at Mt. Sinai, God gave Moses the Law by which His people were to live – this was the first Pentecost.

 

• For the next 1,500 years this Law was to be the most important thing in their lives.  Notwithstanding their many failures.  It was their guidance.  It was their direction. It was their conscience.  It’s what they lived by.  It’s what separated them from every other nation.  It was the tether that connected them to Almighty God.

 

•   Passover and Pentecost  became more traditional than sacred.

 

•    But then came Calvary.  And the river of blood that had flowed through time paled in comparison to the Crimson Stream that flowed on that day.  This was Royal blood because this Lamb was also the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  It was Holy blood because the Bible tells us that, "God purchased the church with His own blood”!

 

•   Then, fifty days later, on the Day of Pentecost a phenomenon began that would rock the world for the next 2000 years!  It wasn’t the Law written on stone tablets, but rather it was Grace and Mercy written on the hearts of men and women!It was the Spirit of Almighty God filling willing vessels of flesh!

 

Acts 2:2-4

2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven like 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.

 

•   This was the introduction of the Holy Ghost!  It had never happened this way before!

 

•  It was the culmination of God’s divine plan to restore a lost relationship with humanity.   In the beginning, God spoke audibly with man; He spoke to men through their conscience; He spoke through the Law and the Prophets;  But on the Day of Pentecost, He added one more dimension – He began to fill the hearts of men with His own Spirit!

 

A summary of Acts 2

•             In verse 6, a crowd gathered around to see what this “new thing” was all about.

•             In verse 12, some were amazed and some were in doubt.

•             In verse 13, some accused them of being drunk.

•             In verse 14, the Apostle Peter found a makeshift platform and began to preach.

•             In verse 17, he began to quote an Old Testament prophet "in the last days saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh and said, “this is that”.

•             In the verses following, he preached to them that Jesus Christ, whom they crucified, was indeed the Messiah.  But, it had to happen in order for this to happen.  Because without the body dying, the Spirit could not be given.

•             In verse 37, the people were stirred in their hearts, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “men and brethren what must we do”?

•             In verse 38, Peter said, “repent and be baptized everyone of you in the Name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of your sins and you shall be filled with the gift of the Holy Ghost”.

•             In verse 39, he said, “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”.

  • they baptized 3,000 more before the day was over!  And thus begun the Phenomenon of Pentecost!   The Bible says, “the Lord added to the church daily”.

 

Summary of the Book of Acts

•             In chap. 4, five thousand more were saved.

•             In chap. 6, the church multiplied.

•             In chap. 8, Philip starts a church in Samaria.  He preaches Christ and obviously the message of Pentecost and many were baptized in Jesus’ Name and were filled with the Holy Ghost.

•             In chap. 10, Peter preaches to the Gentiles the message of Pentecost, and again many were baptized in Jesus’ Name and were filled with the Holy Ghost.

•             In chap. 11, the gospel is preached in many places.

•             In chap. 12, the church multiplied.

•             In chap. 13, more missionaries are sent.

•             In chap. 17, Paul starts the Thessalonian church.

•             In chap. 18 Paul starts the Corinthian church.

•             In chap. 19 disciples of John the Baptist were re-baptized in Jesus’ Name and were filled with the Holy Ghost.

 

•             Throughout the Book of Acts the experience of Pentecost grew at phenomenal proportions.  In fact, in chapter 17 someone accused them of turning the world upside down!

 

  • The book of Acts covers a span of about 30 years – from Christ’s death and ascension in 30 AD to Paul’s voyage to Rome in about 60 AD. 

  • During this time, the gospel was preached to the known world.  And Pentecost had become a phenomenon greater than Alexander the Great.

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  • All of the original apostles were martyred, with the exception of John who died in the late 90’s AD.  Paul was beheaded around 67 AD.

    So by the end of the 1st century, there were no original apostles.  In fact, their successors such as Timothy and Titus died before John and left very little written record.   So naturally, as the second century rolled by, the original apostolic doctrine began to wane (generally speaking), as diverse doctrines arose and caused divisions.

 

•             Prominent leaders mixed their own Biblical interpretations with Greek philosophy, which gave rise to false doctrines.

 

•             By the end of the third century, Tertullian had given birth to the Trinitarian doctrine, and many church leaders were baptizing in titles Father, Son and Holy Ghost rather than in the Name of Jesus Christ.

 

•     This trend continued for the next 18 centuries, and Pentecost took a seat at the back of the bus.

•     But it was still there!

 

•    The flames of Pentecost have burned in every century.  Every century has had someone who experienced Pentecost.  They may have been few in numbers, and lacking popularity, but they were there!     Hidden in obscurity? Yes.  Persecuted? Yes. Mocked and ridiculed? Yes.  But extinct? Never!

 

  • .  Admittedly by the 1800’s the flame of Pentecost had become little more than a burning ember.  The traces of this experience were few and far between. There were a few remnants of John Wesley’s evangelism efforts and there were some in the Holiness movement that were filled with the Holy Ghost but didn’t view it as essential to salvation.

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  • But as the 20th Century was being born, this changed.

 

•             On October 15, 1900 Charles Parham opened his Bible School in Topeka.  The first semester was dedicated to the study of the Biblical formula for salvation – repentance, water baptism and the in-filling of the Holy Ghost.  Parham wasn’t even sure, so he and the students of his new school embarked on a journey through the scriptures.

 

•             At the end of the semester they had concluded that according to the Book of Acts, the Biblical evidence that someone had received the Holy Ghost was by speaking in another language as the Spirit gave the utterance.

 

•             Parham began to conduct prayer meetings with his students, asking God to fill them with His Spirit.  Even though the school was officially closed for the holidays, the students stayed and prayed, desiring a move of God.

 

•             On January 1, 1901, Agnes Ozman a student at the Bible school, asked Parham to lay hands on her that she might receive the Holy Spirit. When he did, she began to speak in tongues. On January 3, Parham, his wife, and twelve students also received the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in another language.

 

•             Parham called his new group the Apostolic Faith movement.

 

•             They held meetings in Kansas and Missouri, but not until 1903 in Galena, KS did a real breakthrough come.

 

•             More than 800 were baptized in water, several hundred received the Holy Ghost, and at least one thousand people testified that they were healed.

 

•             A convert in this revival was Howard Goss who would become one of the founders of the Assemblies of God and later the first general superintendent of the United Pentecostal Church. He was an atheist when he visited Parham’s meeting. He testified, “This was my first contact . . . with Christianity of any sort . . .. I owe my conversion to Christianity to hearing people speak in other tongues.”

 

•             In 1905 Parham went to Houston, Texas with Howard Goss and other workers.  Revival spread almost immediately throughout the state.

 

•             From Parham’s revivals in Kansas and Texas, the Apostolic Faith movement grew to about 13,000 people in 1906.  By 1908, there were about 25,000 adherents under Parham’s leadership.

 

•             One of Parham’s students in Houston was William Seymour.

 

•             In early 1906, Seymour traveled to Los Angeles to preach in a small Holiness church there.

 

•             Seymour preached the Pentecostal message in Los Angeles. The leader of the church rejected this doctrine and locked Seymour out of the building.

 

•             He and a small group rented an old, two-story building on Azusa Street in downtown Los Angeles and began services on April 14.

 

•             The Azusa Street Mission held services daily for three years, from 1906 to 1909. Many miracles, healings, and baptisms of the Holy Spirit occurred. There were even documented accounts of the dead being raised.

 

•             While Parham and his students initiated the twentieth-century Pentecostal movement, it was the Azusa Street revival that spread the Pentecostal message throughout the world.

 

•             Missionaries, ministers, and lay members from across the United States and around the world flocked to Los Angeles, received the Holy Spirit, and carried the message everywhere.

 

•             Frank Bartleman wrote: “…There was no pride there.  The services ran almost continuously.  Seeking souls could be found under the power [of God] almost any hour, night and day.

 

•             “The place was never closed nor empty, the people came to meet God…

 

•             “When we would first reach the meeting, we would avoid as much as possible human contact and greeting.  We wanted to meet God first.”

 

•             In the early years, many of the leaders including Parham and Seymour and many others were baptized in Jesus’ Name as were the apostles in the book of Acts.

 

•             It wasn’t until 1913 that controversy arose concerning this formula for baptism.

 

•             On April 15, 1913 a meeting called The Worldwide Apostolic Camp Meeting convened at Arroyo Seco, California.  There were approximately 2000 in attendance.

 

•             Expectations were high and were fulfilled as 364 received the Holy Ghost and many notable miracles took place.

 

•             One of the speakers there was Robert E. McAlister, a Canadian preacher who had received the Holy Ghost at Azusa Street in 1906.

 

•             Speaking at a baptismal service, he explained that single immersion was the proper mode for baptism, not triple immersion as some people practiced.

 

•             As proof, he cited the baptismal accounts in the book of Acts.  The apostles baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ; they never baptized using the words “Father, Son, and Holy Ghost”, as triple immersion requires.

 

•             Immediately, a silence fell over the congregation.  A missionary to China named Frank Denny pulled McAlister to the side and asked him not to teach this doctrine.

 

•             But McAlister’s observation that the apostles always baptized in Jesus’ Name planted a seed in the minds of many people that day.

 

•             One man who was deeply impressed by McAlister’s message was Frank J. Ewart (“You-ert”).

 

•             Ewart had been studying the name and oneness of God for some time, so McAlister’s comments were especially intriguing to him.  Together, they began to discuss the name of Jesus in baptism and study the doctrine of God.

 

•             Ewart eventually decided that he needed to take a clear stand for water baptism in the name of Jesus Christ.

 

•             He concluded that the reason why there is such power when believers preach, pray, and baptize in Jesus’ name, is that the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Jesus.

 

•             Glen Cook – former business manager for Azusa Street – agreed with Ewart’s message and they decided to work together.

 

•             On April 15, 1914 — Ewart preached his first sermon on Acts 2:38.   He proclaimed that the full message of salvation consists of repentance, water baptism in Jesus’ name, and the baptism of the Holy Ghost, and he associated baptism in Jesus’ name with the oneness of God in Christ.

 

•             Then Ewart baptized Cook in the name of Jesus Christ, and Cook baptized Ewart. This action—the first rebaptisms in the name of Jesus Christ—was the decisive step in starting Oneness Pentecostalism as a distinct movement.

 

  • A great revival broke out under Ewart and Cook in the Los Angeles area.  One report said:       “All kinds of incurable diseases were healed in the Name of Jesus, and people were filled with the Holy Ghost, speaking in other tongues.   One of the greatest, most startling characteristics of that great revival was that the vast majority of the new converts were filled with the Holy Ghost after coming up out of the water.

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•             They would leave the tank speaking in other tongues. Many were healed when they were baptized.”

 

•             Many missionaries and preachers came to the meetings and were re-baptized in Jesus’ name.

 

•             Even more significantly, Ewart’s periodical, Meat in Due Season, carried the Jesus Name message and reports of the revival far and wide. Many more people were touched and converted by the paper than by the revival itself.

 

•             Missionaries to China, Japan, and India were soon baptized in Jesus’ name.

 

•             In 1919, when Ewart established a permanent church in the Los Angeles area, he would sometimes baptize as many as 50 people in one service.

 

•             He recorded 2000 names on the baptismal roll before he stopped counting for fear that God would not be pleased with his counting.

 

•             Glen Cook went to St. Louis and then Indianapolis and re-baptized Pentecostal leaders there including two influential pastors, L.V. Roberts and Elder G.T. Haywood.  They re-baptized their entire congregations.

 

•             In April of 1914, a meeting convened in Hot Springs, Arkansas at the request of Howard Goss, E. N. Bell, and D.C.O. Opperman.  Over 300 attended with 128 registering as ministers and missionaries.

 

•             It was at this meeting that a new organization was formed, called The Assemblies of God.

 

•             Almost immediately, the new organization faced the issue of water baptism in the name of Jesus Christ. Many prominent ministers were being baptized in Jesus’ name.

 

•             In July 1915, The Assemblies of God held a camp meeting in Jackson, TN.  The guest speaker was L.V. Roberts.

 

•             His first message was on Acts 2:38 and the leaders of The Assemblies of God were baptized in Jesus’ name.

 

•             At a thirty-day Bible conference in Elton, Louisiana, beginning December 15, 1915, Harvey Shearer and Howard Goss proclaimed the Oneness teaching in that state. All but one minister in attendance accepted Jesus Name baptism, including Robert LaFleur and Oliver Fauss. Today there are many oneness organizations and movements who believe in and adhere to the Book of Acts Pentecostal Experience.  Why not? It's Jesus living on the inside of us, empowering us to live and be like HIM for HIS glory.

 

  •  Pentecost has continued to be the fastest growing movement in  the world with estimated over  24 million Oneness Pentecostals in the world today,.

 

 

 

Pentecost Summary by Rev. C. Cody Thompson

The King James Bible

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