Pentecost and Prophecy Today

Acts 2:1-21 ESV | Ps 104:24-35 ESV | Rom 8:14-17 ESV | John 14:8-17 ESV

Introduction

Last Sunday we read how just before Jesus ascended into heaven he promised his disciples he would send the Spirit to empower them to continue his mission (Acts 1:8 ESV).

Seated at the Father’s right hand as Lord of all1)See Biblical References Ps 110: 1-7 ESV; Acts 2:36 ESV; Acts 10:36 ESV he poured out the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost equipping the church to minister in the world.

The Spirit doesn’t send himself nor is he sent directly by the Father, but only at the request of Jesus2)See Biblical References John 14:16, 26 ESV; John 15:26 ESV; John 16:7 ESV cf. Matt 3:11 ESV; Mark 1:8 ESV; Luke 3:16 ESV; Acts 2:33 ESV; John 1:33 ESV.

The church is to do what the Spirit says as Jesus has always done what the Father says3)See Biblical References John 5:19 ESV; John 15:26-27 ESV; John 16:13 ESV.

This is why throughout Acts we read phrases like, “the Spirit said to Philip/Peter/the church in Antioch/Paul” and the obedience which follows always results in the advancement of the kingdom of God4)See Biblical References Acts 8:29 ESV; Acts 10:19 ESV; Acts 11:12, 28 ESV; Acts 13:2 ESV; Acts 20:23 ESV; Acts 21:4, 11 ESV.

Hearing and obeying the Spirit in his testimony to Jesus is the essence of prophecy. From the time of Abel on  (Luke 11:51 ESV), God has sealed his God-ness amongst his people through the Spirit inspiring prophets (Isa 40:13-14 ESV).

Not just men like Isaiah and Jeremiah, but Abraham, Moses, David, Miriam, Hannah are many others are registered as prophets5)See Biblical References Gen 20:3-4 ESV; Ex 15:20 ESV; Deut 18:18-20 ESV; 1 Sam 2:1-10 ESV; Heb 11:32 ESV.

It was Moses, the most important prophet under the old covenant who expressed the heartfelt wish, “ “Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets, that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!” ” (Num 11:29 ESV). And that is exactly what the heart of the Father at Pentecost.

The Pentecostal event is saturated with prophecy.

Prophecy at Pentecost

When the Spirit inspired all the 120 Spirit disciples in the upper room to declare “the mighty works of God” in all the languages “under heaven(Acts 2:5, 8 ESV) he was telling the world that Jesus is Lord of all (1 Cor 12:3 ESV), and that the long history of human confusion beginning at the Tower of Babel had ended.

Peter proclaims this supernatural speaking in languages as a fulfilment of Old Testament prophecy, vs.17But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel: “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; vs.18 even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.” ”  (Acts 2:17-18 ESV).

Since all God’s people are now “seated with him (Christ) in the heavenly places(Eph 2:6 ESV) all can hear from heaven and all can prophesy of the riches of God’s plan fulfilled in Christ6)See Biblical References Col 2:3 ESV cf. 1 Cor 12:8 ESV; Eph 3:10 ESV.

Peter expounds this truth plainly, vs.10As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: vs.11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God.(1 Pet 4:10-11 ESV).

The prophetic ability of all God’s people is a fruit of our intimate union with Christ.

In the ancient world, such as in the famous Delphic oracle or as in Islam, the prophet was a mere instrument of God through whom the Spirit of God moved like wind through a flute.

But New Testament prophecy is essentially relational. Paul said that “the love of God is poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit who is given to us7)See Biblical References Rom 5:5 ESV cf. Luke 11:13 ESV; Acts 5:31 ESV; Acts 15:8 ESV; 1 Thess 4:8 ESV, the Spirit is given in such a way in love so that we are moved to share in Jesus’ continuing mission in the world8)See Biblical References Luke 4:18 ESV ff; Acts 10:36 ESV.

With the Spirit living in us (cf. Col 1:8 ESV) we sense his flaming passion (Rom 12:8 ESV) to tell others about the great works of God in Jesus.

Our hearts share the Spirit’s desire and pour out words about our wonderful Lord and Saviour and we cannot be silent.

When the ruling Jewish council tried to stop Peter and John speaking about Jesus they replied “ “we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” ” (Acts 4:20 ESV). This impetus is what it means to be filled with the Spirit9)See Biblical References cf. Mic 3:8 ESV; Luke 1:67 ESV; Acts 4:8, 31 ESV; Eph 5:18-19 ESV etc..

Does the Spirit of God still inspire prophecy today?

Is the Holy Spirit essentially a Spirit of prophecy?

A Prophetic Community Today

If you visit many churches it would be easy to say “No” because the people do not seem moved and empowered by the Spirit to speak to others about Jesus. But the Spirit who after Pentecost is called “the Spirit of Jesus(Acts 16:7 ESV) is by his very nature the vital link between the heavenly Lord and his earthly Church.

Very few, churches, including most charismatic/Pentecostal churches, are willing to embrace the consequences of this mighty truth.

The implication of the gift of the Spirit to “all flesh” at Pentecost, not just church leaders, is radical indeed.

Do we really believe Peter’s words that “sons and daughters” will “prophesy(Acts 2:17 ESV) as really; like anyone else?

Last week our family service emphasised children belong to the Church family just as much as adults do.

If we genuinely believe that, and as a denomination which practices infant baptism and admits kids to communion we must, we must also believe that children’s faith in Jesus qualifies them to receive the Spirit and to see, hear and speak things from God. Children can, and should, function in the gift of prophecy10)See Biblical References 1 Sam 3 ESV; Luke 2:46-47 ESV.

This reality is rarely prayed for and expressed because it’s a threat to the spiritual maturity of teachers, parents and whole congregations.

This is no shallow matter it’s a weighty matter we must understand in terms of the war Satan and his unclean spirits11)See Biblical References 1 Tim 4:1 ESV; Rev 16:13-14 ESV etc. constantly wage by setting false prophecy against the testimony of Jesus (Rev 19:10 ESV).

The Struggle for Prophecy Today

On the Day of Pentecost, the crowd testified of the 120 disciples, “we hear them telling in our own languages the mighty works of God.” ” (Acts 2:11 ESV). Spirit-inspired speech about God’s mighty works is the essence of prophecy.

Peter’s prophetic preaching at Pentecost (Acts 2:4, 14 ESV), highlights that King David was “a prophet(Acts 2:29-31 ESV cf. v.25) who “foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of Christ”.

Since the mightiest work of God is the death and resurrection of Jesus, anyone who shares the gospel in the power of the Spirit is engaged in a prophetic action. The prophetic character of the gospel is ceaselessly contested by clever people (1 Cor 1-2 ESV).

Sometimes we sing the song, “In Christ Alone” which contains the line, “on that cross, as Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied.”.

Since the Presbyterian Church (USA) doesn’t believe in God’s anger they wanted to change that line to “the love of God was magnified”.

When the songwriters didn’t give permission to alter it they dropped the song from their hymn book. Closer to home there has been a range article’s in The Messenger (magazine of the Anglican archdiocese of Perth) this year over the resurrection.

The former cathedral dean openly denies Jesus bodily rose; form the dead, he was then supported by the former archbishop, Peter Carnley, then Archbishop Kaye sort of “papered over” the controversy only to find David Seccombe writing that a bodiless resurrection is no resurrection at all!

To attack the bodily death-and-resurrection of Jesus is to attack Jesus personally and this is the dangerous character of false prophecy.

There are men and women in teaching positions in the diocese who deny that the Bible, in any meaningful sense, is the Word of God.

According to these clever people when Israel Falau quoted 1 Cor 6 about who was going to hell, he didn’t quote Spirit-inspired scripture.

Whereas many such opponents of the gospel are academics Peter and John are described in Acts as “uneducated, common men” who “had been with Jesus(Acts 4:13 ESV).

At Pentecost, the Spirit was intentionally poured out on ordinary people who couldn’t rely on the power of their intellect but would instead of the supernatural power of God that raised Jesus from the dead.

In this way, all the glory goes to God (1 Cor 1:26-31 ESV).

I was speaking to someone recently who mentioned a church which has a Down’s Syndrome drum player and how at times it is clearly visible that the anointing of the Lord is upon her as she plays with the liberty of the Spirit (2 Cor 3:17 ESV)

This is a spiritual realm impossible for naturally minded people cannot grasp (1 Cor 2:14 ESV).

One of the devil’s great successes in quenching the prophetic ministry of the Spirit (1 Thess 5:19- 20 ESV) was to erect the division between clergy and laity, between experts and amateurs. If the Reformation rediscovered the “priesthood of all believers” the contemporary Western Church must rediscover the “prophethood of all believers”.

Believing in the Prophetic

From Pentecost on as he’s poured out on the Church, the Spirit of God goes through a sort of name change. As “the Spirit of Christ/Jesus Christ/God’s Son12)See Biblical References Rom 8:9 ESV; Gal 4:6 ESV; Phil 1:19 ESV he is always moulding us into Christ-likeness so that we might speak, live and love as Jesus did.

He is forming a prophetic community13)See Biblical References Acts 2:42- 47 ESV; Acts 4:32- 35 ESV. In this high calling, we must agree with the mind of the Spirit (Rom 8:5-6 ESV).

Those with a heart for families in Ashfield, the Mainly Music team, BGT, Coffee and Chat, Contemplation and Conversation, the Gospellers, Men’s Breakfast, MU, music, youth, Godly Play, Bible studies, Sunday services, we all are called to be Spirit-filled ministers of God (Rev 1:1 ESV).  

Paul gives a command which most of the Church most of the time disregards, “eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy(1 Cor 14:1 ESV).

We need to pray consistently and zealously to be people through whom the Spirit acts and speaks.

The Church and the world desperately need men, women and children giving a clear witness of Jesus (Rev 19:10 ESV). At St Mark’s we are called to be nothing less than “Pentecostal Anglicans”.

Conclusion

The Spirit longs to speak for Jesus (Rev 2: 7 ESV etc.) through all of us!

This is an essential part of the Pentecostal miracle.

In Christ, given his Spirit (Gal 3:2-5 ESV), the spirit of prophecy is ours now and forever14)See Biblical References 2 Cor 1:22 ESV; Eph 1:13 ESV; Eph 4:30 ESV.

Something tremendous has taken place in each Christian’s life, in revealing himself to us the Lord has made each of us a prophetic person so that in the Spirit’s power Jesus might be revealed to others.

I was out praying the other day and thinking “What do I really want to ask from the Lord?”, and my heart was bursting with one desire, that I might have more power, more intimacy more of the presence of the Spirit of the Lord to persuade others of just how wonderfully extraordinary Jesus is.

This is the Spirit of Pentecost.

MESSAGE, DELIVERED: 8th June 2019 Location: St Marks

Author: Dr. John Yates

MESSAGE
YouTube or PODCAST:

8th June, 2019.

References   [ + ]

1. See Biblical References Ps 110: 1-7 ESV; Acts 2:36 ESV; Acts 10:36 ESV
2. See Biblical References John 14:16, 26 ESV; John 15:26 ESV; John 16:7 ESV cf. Matt 3:11 ESV; Mark 1:8 ESV; Luke 3:16 ESV; Acts 2:33 ESV; John 1:33 ESV.
3. See Biblical References John 5:19 ESV; John 15:26-27 ESV; John 16:13 ESV.
4. See Biblical References Acts 8:29 ESV; Acts 10:19 ESV; Acts 11:12, 28 ESV; Acts 13:2 ESV; Acts 20:23 ESV; Acts 21:4, 11 ESV.
5. See Biblical References Gen 20:3-4 ESV; Ex 15:20 ESV; Deut 18:18-20 ESV; 1 Sam 2:1-10 ESV; Heb 11:32 ESV.
6. See Biblical References Col 2:3 ESV cf. 1 Cor 12:8 ESV; Eph 3:10 ESV
7. See Biblical References Rom 5:5 ESV cf. Luke 11:13 ESV; Acts 5:31 ESV; Acts 15:8 ESV; 1 Thess 4:8 ESV
8. See Biblical References Luke 4:18 ESV ff; Acts 10:36 ESV
9. See Biblical References cf. Mic 3:8 ESV; Luke 1:67 ESV; Acts 4:8, 31 ESV; Eph 5:18-19 ESV etc.
10. See Biblical References 1 Sam 3 ESV; Luke 2:46-47 ESV
11. See Biblical References 1 Tim 4:1 ESV; Rev 16:13-14 ESV etc.
12. See Biblical References Rom 8:9 ESV; Gal 4:6 ESV; Phil 1:19 ESV
13. See Biblical References Acts 2:42- 47 ESV; Acts 4:32- 35 ESV
14. See Biblical References 2 Cor 1:22 ESV; Eph 1:13 ESV; Eph 4:30 ESV