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Pentecost and the Promise of the Father

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Pentecost and the Promise of the Father

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When I was a child living at home with my parents, a special family lived next-door whom we could truly depend upon. If my mother needed to borrow a cup of flour she would always ask Mrs. Swartz. If my father needed a little assistance with a home project, he could call upon Mr. Swartz. So the Swartzes assisted us and we did the same for them when they needed help. Our excellent, neighborly relationship was warm, mutually beneficial and greatly appreciated.

Perhaps you have such fine neighbors now as we did then. But let’s take it a step further. Imagine for a moment that Jesus Christ was still on earth and lived next door to you! If you had a problem, you could ring His doorbell and He would listen and miraculously help. If you were ill, He would come to your house and heal you instantly. If you needed advice, He would counsel you perfectly. Of course this is merely a fanciful notion because Jesus left earth long ago. Near the end of His 3½-year ministry He announced to His disciples, “I leave the world and go to the Father” (John 16:28 John 16:28I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.
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As His dedicated disciples today, we have access to all the spiritual energy and faith we need to fully pursue His way of life.

He is gone now. Today we worship and pray to our great Creator who we cannot physically see. Even though we may have a close relationship with Him, we may at times, have to wait for the fulfillment of our prayerful needs and requests (Psalms 27:14 Psalms 27:14Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.
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). Then, on some occasions, we may begin to wonder if He really hears our prayers or even cares about us. Of course, this tests our faith and patience especially when we are undergoing pain, distress and sorrow (James 1:2-4 James 1:2-4 2 My brothers, count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations; 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith works patience. 4 But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
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; 1 Peter 1:6 1 Peter 1:6Wherein you greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, you are in heaviness through manifold temptations:
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Jesus declared: “I go to My Father and you see Me no more” (John 16:10 John 16:10Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and you see me no more;
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). When Jesus’ original 12 disciples heard these words from Him they felt terribly distraught (John 16:6 John 16:6But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart.
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). But Christ also told them that they would benefit enormously by His leaving. He said, “I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away” (John 16:7 John 16:7Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send him to you.
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, emphasis added throughout). But how could it possibly be helpful to them or us today if He went away to be with His Father? He went on to state, “. . . for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him [it] to you” (John 16:7 John 16:7Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send him to you.
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The Promise of the Father

Immediately before Jesus ascended to heaven He told His disciples, “. . . not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father” (Acts 1:4 Acts 1:4And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, said he, you have heard of me.
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, 11). This is the most marvelous blessing of comfort and support that Christ’s followers could have ever heard! It far outpaces any human-made promise. It encompasses the unparalleled gift of God’s very own Spirit which Jesus would go to heaven to receive from His Father to send to His steadfast disciples (Acts 2:33 Acts 2:33Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he has shed forth this, which you now see and hear.
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). This priceless promise was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost in 31 AD when 120 disciples were infused with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4 Acts 2:4And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
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). For the first time in world history, the very essence of God’s divine nature was made available to more than a tiny number of people. Accompanied by extraordinary, miraculous signs, including a rushing mighty wind and tongues of fire, the bestowing of the Holy Spirit to those disciples marked the very beginning of the New Testament Church (Acts 2:1-4 Acts 2:1-4 1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared to them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat on each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
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So when Jesus ascended to be with His Father, He certainly didn’t desert His disciples. It was completely the opposite! He would actually be with them in a dramatically more powerful and vibrant manner. To be sure, this fulfilled Jesus’ earlier statement that their sorrow would be “turned into joy” (John 16:20 John 16:20Truly, truly, I say to you, That you shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and you shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.
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)! He exclaimed, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20 Matthew 28:20Teaching them to observe all things whatever I have commanded you: and, see, I am with you always, even to the end of the world. Amen.
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). Furthermore, He said, “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me” (John 14:18-19 John 14:18-19 18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while, and the world sees me no more; but you see me: because I live, you shall live also.
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). How would they see Him? Not only in the resurrection at His Second Coming but in their daily lives through the essence of God’s boundless power, guidance and wisdom dwelling in them—just as it did in Christ Himself (Romans 8:11 Romans 8:11But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwells in you.
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; John 14:10 John 14:10Believe you not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak to you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwells in me, he does the works.
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Confirmation of this awesome miracle was seen instantaneously on that Pentecost morning in the lives of Peter and the other 11 apostles. In fact, Peter exclaimed to an assembled crowd in Jerusalem that Jesus “. . . being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear” (Acts 2:33 Acts 2:33Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he has shed forth this, which you now see and hear.
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). Indeed, by means of Peter’s passionate, God-inspired preaching, 3,000 people repented, were baptized and received God’s Spirit on that very day (Acts 2:40-41 Acts 2:40-41 40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. 41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added to them about three thousand souls.
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So, the magnificent fulfillment of “the promise of the Father” occurred at that time but, it didn’t stop there! That was only the beginning. It has continued down through the centuries in all people who answer God’s call, are baptized, receive the amazing gift of His perfect Spirit and are diligently producing spiritual fruit throughout their lives (John 15:4-5 John 15:4-5 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can you, except you abide in me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches: He that stays in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing.
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Greater Works Will Be Accomplished

As we commemorate the giving of the Holy Spirit each year on the Holy Day of Pentecost we can be more than confident that the words of support and wellbeing Jesus expressed to His original disciples apply to us today. He declared, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father” (John 14:12 John 14:12Truly, truly, I say to you, He that believes on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to my Father.
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Those “greater works” could only have been demonstrated by converted men and women after Christ joined His Father on His throne. It is through the power of the Holy Spirit that He works mightily in and through converted individuals (Romans 8:11 Romans 8:11But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwells in you.
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). As His dedicated disciples today, we have access to all the spiritual energy and faith we need to fully pursue His way of life (Matthew 4:4 Matthew 4:4But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.
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; Romans 12:1-2 Romans 12:1-2 1 I beseech you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be you transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
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). We are incredibly blessed to have the very mind of Christ so we can love God, overcome sin, build holy, righteous character and serve others (Philippians 2:5 Philippians 2:5Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
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; Romans 8:28 Romans 8:28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
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; James 1:21-22 James 1:21-22 21 Why lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. 22 But be you doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
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; 1 Peter 4:10 1 Peter 4:10As every man has received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
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While having a warm and mutually beneficial relationship with a wonderful human next-door neighbor is certainly excellent, isn’t what we have with Jesus Christ far beyond any comparison? He said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5 Hebrews 13:5Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as you have: for he has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you.
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). Also, Jesus understands our needs and requests as we prayerfully and patiently wait for His ideal timing in response (Isaiah 65:24 Isaiah 65:24And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.
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; Psalms 27:14 Psalms 27:14Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.
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). With the tremendous power of God’s Holy Spirit working in us, we have the perfect assurance of help today and a wonderful and exciting future in God’s coming Kingdom (2 Corinthians 4:16-17 2 Corinthians 4:16-17 16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
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). Therefore, let us appreciate more than ever the wonderful fulfillment of the Promise of the Father which began on that first New Testament Pentecost. 

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