By REV. LOU TISCIONE
Many Christians recently celebrated the feast of Pentecost, which is sometimes called Whitsunday. Pentecost as you may know was celebrated in the Old Testament. The Bible refers to it as the Feast of Weeks. It was ordained by God to be one of the three mandatory celebrations in Israel along with Passover and the Feast of Booths.
On the occasion of this feast the Apostle Peter’s delivered his famous sermon recorded in Acts 2:14ff. On that particular day, God poured out His Spirit on “all flesh” in fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy, Joel 2:28, which was also foreshadowed by God’s empowerment of elders recorded in Numbers 11.
God’s Spirit is given to all believers to accomplish God’s work of building the church of Jesus Christ. The church in the Old Testament had only a few select people upon whom the empowerment of the Holy Spirit was given by God. Namely, those who were anointed kings and fulfilled the office of a prophet were empowered with the Spirit of God.
At the ascension of Christ into heaven the Bible says, “He gave gifts to men.” (Ephesians 4:8) The ancient Creeds of the church profess that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son. Every believer called by God and regenerated by His Spirit is given the power of that same Spirit to accomplish the ministry given to him by God. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.” (1 Corinthians 12:4-6)
Apart from the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, we are powerless in terms of ministry. Jesus said that He would build His church and the gates of hell would not prevail against it, (Matthew 16:18). It is the Holy Spirit who regenerates, illumines our minds and empowers us for ministry in building the church.