by Tad Lindley
It was the day of Pentecost about 29 AD. Fifty days prior Jesus had hung on the cross, been buried, and three days later rose from the dead. For forty days he was seen by many including 500 people at the same time (see I Corinthians 15:6). At the end of that forty day period, he ministered to his disciples some instructions. (Often people refer to these as the Great Commission, for more detail, see Matthew 28:16-20, Mark 16:14-18, Luke 24:44-49, Acts 1:4-8.) Jesus completed his instructions with this statement, But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. (Acts 1:8-9 NKJV)
Power poured out
For a week, a group of believers, which included Mary, the mother of Jesus, her other sons, and the disciples, met daily in an upper room in Jerusalem. They were waiting for the power that Jesus promised. When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:1-4)
What should we do?
You can read on in your own Bible about the details. People in that crowded city stopped to see what was going on, and within a short while Peter stood up before them to preach. His sermon was a hard cutting sermon that laid the death of Jesus squarely at the feet of the Jewish people. Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37 NKJV) They realized they had the blood of Jesus on their hands, and wanted to be saved from their sin.
Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38 NKJV) Thereby Peter, in one verse of scripture, encapsulates the conversion message of the Apostolic Church. He broke it down into three steps: 1) repent, 2) be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, and 3) receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Repent means to turn and go the other direction. When used in terms of salvation, it means to turn away from satisfying your own sinful desires and to turn toward a life that honors and pleases God. Jesus himself calls us to repent: Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. (Luke 13:3, 5) In II Peter 3:9 the Bible tells us, The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. God’s deep desire is our repentance. Have you repented lately?
Be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ
“Baptism” comes from a Greek word that means to be immersed or submerged. Therefore, when the Bible says, “Baptized”, it never means to be sprinkled. Furthermore, Peter was quite clear in Acts 2:38 that this baptism was to be performed in the name of Jesus Christ. A week earlier in the Great Commission Jesus had instructed them to baptize people in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost (Matthew 28:19). The disciples carried out this instruction like this: they baptized in that name, which is none other than Jesus. Read it for yourself in Acts 2:38, 8:16, 10:48, 19:5, 22:16, and Galatians 3:27). Have you been baptized in Jesus’ name for the forgiveness of sins?
Receive the gift of the Holy Ghost
When you go back up and reread Acts 2:38, it is clear that the natural progression of things is that one of the outcomes of repentance and baptism in Jesus’ name is that you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. If you read the entirety of Acts 2, you will see that the gift of the Holy Ghost is what happened at the beginning of the chapter when they were all filled with the Holy Ghost and began to speak in tongues as the spirit gave them utterance. And lest there be any doubters reading this who might have been told that the gift of the Holy Ghost was only for the people of 29 AD Jerusalem, read this: For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call. (Acts 2:39) I have underlined a very important part of that scripture. “All who are afar off”, includes you and me. Yes, even in 2018, God still wants to pour out his power upon us. In the immortal words of the Apostle Paul spoken in Acts 19:2, Have you received the Holy Ghost since you believed? Have you received the Holy Ghost?
Tad Lindley is a minister at the United Pentecostal Church in Bethel, Alaska.