Some Questions on our Worship

Does our worship focus on this unfolding historical drama of the Triune God?  Are we being constantly directed outside of our inner experience and our own felt needs to the real newsmaker in history?  Are we perpetually drawn outside of ourselves, “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfector of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross,, despising the same, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God?” (Hebrews 12:2)?  Is our corporate and private worship centered on “human will or exertion” or “on God who has mercy,” (Romans 9:16)?  Is the main point trying to see how God fits into our existing plot or to hear God tell us how we fit into his unfolding drama of redemption?  Like the Old Testament feasts, the great events celebrated by Christians have to do with God’s mighty acts; the Son’s becoming flesh (Christmas), the crucifixion (Good Friday) and resurrection (Easter), Christ’s exaltation to the right hand of the Father (Ascension Day), and the sending of the Spirit (Pentecost).  There is no room in the Christian calendar for celebrating our own work.

– Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 29

They Knew It Had to Be God

When the Holy Spirit truly moves, God is the one praised.  Jesus is the one lifted up.  When the Spirit moved at Pentecost, people knew there was a power present that came from God.  That’s why they didn’t leave saying “John is amazing!  He learned a new language in a matter of seconds!”  They knew it had to be God.  Let’s pray that God would empower us so radically that we would get no glory.  That people would see our works glorify God.

– Chan, Francis; Forgotten God: Reversing the Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit; David C. Cook Publishers; Colorado Springs, CO; copyright 2009; p. 87

The Cross Confronts Us with the Cost of Discipleship

The Cross confronts us with the cost of discipleship, reminds us that there is no cheap Pentecost, and carries within it the living power to enable us to endure the inevitable humiliations, rejections, sacrifices, and loneliness that the journey to higher Christian consciousness imposes.

– Brennan Manning, The Importance of Being Foolish: How to Think Like Jesus, HarperOne, copyright 2005, page  170-171

What Pentecost Brought

The filling of the Spirit was promised for all the people of God, in contrast to the power of the Spirit given to a few in the Old Covenant.  Pentecost brought the distinction between the Old Covenant and the New not between ‘average’ Christians of the New Covenant and a spiritual elite.

– Edmund Clowney, The Church: Contours in Christian Theology, copyright 1988, page 238

The Gift of the Spirit Marks All Christians

In Acts, Luke traces the fulfillment of the prophecy of John the Baptist (Luke 3:16) and Jesus’ promise to baptize with the Spirit (Acts 1:4-5).  Through the Spirit Christ’s disciples would be witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and across the earth (Acts 1:8).  The Spirit fell on the whole company of Jewish believers at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4); on the Samaritans later (Acts 8:14-17); and on the Gentiles in Caesarea (Acts 10:44-48).  These  narratives do not describe a second-blessing experience that all these people received, but show the inclusion of Jews, Samaritans, and Gentiles in the new and true people of God.  The gift of the Spirit marks all Christians, not a separate class of ‘anointed’ Christians.  In each case, groups of people are baptized in the Spirit.

– Edmund Clowney, The Church: Contours in Christian Theology, copyright 1988, page 238-239