The power to tell others

Acts 2:1–12

Today is Pentecost. It’s the day on which the Holy Spirit was poured out on people who were united in prayer for God’s will.

Let’s have a quick recap of the story so far to remind ourselves what is going on.

There was a man two-thousand years ago who lived in Palestine and had a group of disciples who followed him around. He was an amazing holy man, and many people thought he might be Israel’s promised Messiah. He was killed by the authorities and buried. His name was John.

There was another man two-thousand years ago who also lived in Palestine and had a group of disciples who followed him around. He was an amazing holy man, and many people thought he might be Israel’s promised Messiah. He was killed by the authorities and buried. His name was Yeshua. Unlike John, Yeshua (or Jesus as we usually call him) came back from the dead after three days in a body that was solid. He met with his disciples during 40 days and then he went to heaven in this new body.

When he had gone his disciples gathered in an upstairs room in Jerusalem. For 10 days they met in this room to worship and pray together. They also attended the regular services of prayer and worship at the temple.

For 10 days, nothing at all happened. They waited. Perhaps not very patiently, but they waited.

And then on the 10th day, the day of Pentecost, which is today, something amazing happened.

There was a lot of noise. Roaring filled the house. There was visible fire, with flames on the people in the upstairs room. And everyone was talking. They were all talking in different languages that they didn’t know. It was such a racket that the foreigners outside in the street heard it. They heard people talking in their own languages.

Jesus had told them 10 days earlier, “In just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

Now it was really happening. Jesus had said that when they were baptised with the Holy Spirit they would also be filled with power. He said that this power was so that they could tell people about him to the ends of the earth. Those were his last words before leaving earth and going to heaven.

Immediately after being filled with power to tell people about Jesus, Peter gave the first sermon.

“So let everyone in Israel know for certain that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, to be both Lord and Messiah!” Peter’s words pierced their hearts.

“그러므로 여러분, 이 일을 분명히 아십시오. 여러분이 십자가에 못박아 죽인 이 예수님을 하나님께서는 주와 그리스도로 삼으셨습니다.” 사람들은 이 말을 듣고 마음에 찔려 베드로와 다른 사도들에게 “형제들, 우리가 어떻게 하면 좋겠소?” 하였다.

That day 3,000 people were baptised.

And then in verse 42 we are told what they did from that moment on.

All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.

그들은 계속 사도들의 가르침을 받고 서로 교제하며 성찬을 나누고 기도하는 일에 전적으로 힘썼다.

In Acts 1:14 the disciples of Jesus were constantly united in prayer.

Then the Holy Spirit came upon them and gave them power.

In Acts 2:42 the disciples of Jesus were devoted to prayer.

This is how Christianity started. It started as Judaism. It started with Jewish people following a Jewish messiah and devoting themselves to prayer. It got power from God as a result of prayer. This is a model for us.

Jesus prayed. He was very serious about going off and praying. The disciples prayed. We can learn from their example to also be very serious about prayer.

Jesus said in Matthew 6:6, “When you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.”

그러나 너는 기도할 때 골방에 들어가 문을 닫고 보이지 않는 데 계시는 네 아버지께 기도하여라. 그러면 은밀히 보시는 네 아버지께서 갚아 주실 것이다.

And in Matthew 18:19 he said, “I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you. For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.”

“내가 다시 말한다. 너희 중에 두 사람이 땅에서 마음을 같이하여 무엇이든지 구하면 하늘에 계신 내 아버지께서 이루어 주실 것이다. 두세 사람이 내 이름으로 모이는 곳에는 나도 그들 가운데 있다.”

Jesus teaches that prayer is a private activity. He taught against pubic prayer. Jesus never held prayer meetings on street corners. He would go into the hills in the early morning to pray.

Jesus would also pray with his disciples. He taught the importance of praying in agreement with each other, and how that brings rewards. Jesus didn’t like the way that some of the religious leaders of his day would pray on street corners with long sentences and fancy words.

His point here is that we should never pray in public to impress people. We should pray in private, but not on our own all the time. Clearly he wants us to pray in private in groups just as we see the disciples doing at Pentecost.

We are walking a path between extremes. We need some solitary prayer, we also need to pray in community. We need to be growing a deep relationship with God in heaven. At the same time we need to be growing a deep relationship with brothers and sisters on earth.

One of the marks of victorious prayer is agreement.

What do you suppose the first disciples were agreed on for 10 days of prayer in the upstairs room of that house in Jerusalem? Were they united in wanting Peter’s children to get good jobs, or John to have a big catch of fish so he could buy a bigger boat?

There has to be agreement in spirit and truth. Agreement of heart and mind.

Jesus prayed for himself, but only so he could do God’s will. Much of his prayer was for his disciples. He also prayed for his enemies.

In Matthew 6:19 Jesus tells us not to pray for things of this world but for things in heaven.

I think that probably what his disciples prayed for during those 10 days in the upstairs room was for the power of the spirit. I think they were praying for the promised spirit that would give them the power to tell people about Jesus. What do you think? When their prayer was answered, the answer was the power to tell people about Jesus.

What do you think we should be praying for in private on our own? Or in private when we meet together like this?

Prayer is a vital aspect of Christian living. We are told: “Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16–18).

항상 기뻐하십시오. 쉬지 말고 기도하십시오. 모든 일에 감사하십시오. 이것은 그리스도 예수님 안에서 여러분을 위한 하나님의 뜻입니다.

We should work toward a continual state of prayer – praying constantly and always being mentally prepared to pray. Furthermore: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done” (Philippians 4:6).

아무것도 염려하지 말고 모든 일에 기도와 간구로 여러분이 필요로 하는 것을 감사하는 마음으로 하나님께 말씀드리십시오.

We rely on God to meet all our needs. We have no reason to worry. God cares about his people.

We can pray anywhere, as long as we are praying for the right reasons. Praying for prideful reasons only receives earthly rewards. In everything we do, our focus should be on Jesus, not ourselves. We are told to seek his kingdom first.

Following the biblical example and looking toward heavenly things we see also that we should pray for unity among the disciples. We should pray for the Holy Spirit to give us the power to tell others about Jesus. Jesus taught us to pray to ‘our father in heaven’ to ‘forgive us our sins’.

The bond that unites us to our brothers and sisters is no less real and close than that which unites us to God. Grace renews our relation to God and to each other. We not only learn to say ‘my father’, but ‘our father’. Nothing is more unnatural than children in a family always meeting their father separately, and never being united in the sharing of love.

We are not only members of one family, but of one body. Each member of the body depends on the other, and the full action of the spirit dwelling in the body depends on the cooperation of all of us. We reach the full blessing God desires to give as we seek and receive it in fellowship with each other. It is in the union and fellowship of believers that the Holy Spirit can manifest his full power. It was to the 120 continuing in one place together, and praying with one accord, that the Holy Spirit came from our glorified Lord Jesus that first Pentecost Day.

Amen 아멘

About Pastor Simon

Pastor at Jinju International Christian Fellowship. Formerly of Eastbourne, East Sussex, UK. I am Simon Warner of Jinju Church. We speak English at Jinju Church, South Korea.
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