This Sunday, May 28, is Pentecost, which marks the day the church was born. Here are short excerpts from three essays about Pentecost.
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‘The Challenge of Pentecost’ (1929)
By Wm. E. Sweeney
Minister of Tabernacle Church, Columbus, Ind.
Oct. 19, 1929; p. 1
‘Before Pentecost everything was failure. After Pentecost was success. The explanation is given in this keynote address of the Canton Convention.”
(TEXT FROM ESSAY)
. . . It is my conviction that the day of Pentecost is the focal point in the history of the world, that all the lines of history before that time converge to that great day, and that all the lines of history since that time have diverged. Everything that goes before the day of Pentecost is just a preparation for that great event. I say it with great reverence [that] even the cross and that other sublime event which transpired in the garden of Joseph of Arimathea on the morning of the third day are just steps of the Almighty on the road to Pentecost.
I would like to see a course of instruction in Bible schools some day that would begin with the second chapter of Acts, and read forward and then read backward, and I believe the whole Book ought to be interpreted in connection with the things that took place on the day of Pentecost. . . .
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‘The Meaning of Pentecost’ (1935)
By A. T. DeGroot
Butler University, Indianapolis, Ind.
June 8, 1935; p. 9
It is a happy sign of these times that the high days of the Christian faith are coming to be three in number instead of two. Christmas and Easter are the common property of people in and out of the church, but a third time of celebration is being restored to widespread use as the principal day of the church itself. Like each of the other two anniversaries, Pentecost marks a profoundly significant event in God’s dealing with His people.
On Christmas Day we remember the birth of Jesus—the entrance of God into the world through His Son. At Easter time we stand with high hope before the empty tomb—the most important single event in human history. The work of Jesus Christ did not end, however, on that resurrection morning. One further stone was required to complete the arch of His earthly service. He showed the men of His own day how to live; by His victory over the grave He showed them how to die; on the day of Pentecost, however, He made provision for the perpetuation of this good news until the end of time: He founded His church. . . .
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‘The Birthday of the Church’ (1955)
By Kenneth T. Norris
Montague, P. E. I., Canada
May 28, 1955; p. 4
Sunday, May 29 is the 1,925th birthday anniversary of the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. . . . [T]his is the anniversary of the birth of the most important, the biggest, the most influential, the most benevolent organism upon the face of the earth. The church lives today because God ordained, Christ willed, and the Holy Spirit empowered and guided the birth of it almost two thousand years ago.
The church of Christ was born on the day of Pentecost, A.D. 30. Pentecost, one of the three annual feasts of the Jews which God had ordained, fell annually on the fiftieth day after the Sabbath of the Passover feast. In this year of A.D. 30, Jesus of Nazareth had been crucified in Jerusalem on the day before the Passover Sabbath and had arisen from the dead on the day after the Sabbath. He remained on the earth, showing Himself to the disciples for forty days, then He ascended to heaven from the Mount of Olives. Ten days later the church, which He had said He would build, was founded.
The church of Christ was born in Jerusalem. This was not because the apostles happened, by chance, to be there at the time. It was not because a committee from some world council decided Jerusalem would be the proper place. It was not because some men thought that city had some special advantages over all the other contending cities. It was established first in Jerusalem because God had ordained it and the prophets had been led to prophesy it. The law of Moses went forth first from Mount Sinai; but the New Covenant of grace went forth from Mt. Zion.
The second chapter of Acts is the authenticated, official record of the birth of the church. . . .
The church was born of the Holy Spirit and the preaching of the gospel. Never until this time had remission of sins been preached in the name of Jesus Christ. But now the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ was set forth for the salvation of mankind and the Christhood and Lordship of Jesus of Nazareth was proclaimed. Three thousand of the assembled throng believed these new things being preached and wanted to know what to do about them. Peter, the spokesman for the apostles, commanded them to “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” (Acts 2:38).
The church was born on the day when those three thousand individuals voluntarily accepted Jesus as their Christ and Lord, repented of their sins, and were immersed into Him. They assembled themselves together and “continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42).
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SURVEY: In brief, how is your church planning to celebrate Pentecost this weekend?
_ No plan
_ We will . . .
Please email your response to [email protected].