“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place” (Acts 2:1).
This is out of my character to ask the question, “Are you Pentecostal?” The reason it is not normally a question I ask is because I don’t like to use labels to describe factions of Christianity. Whenever a label is used to describe a particular brand of Christianity, it leaves with it the impression that there are other options to pick from. This, of course, causes great division in the body of Christ.
The early church had no options to pick from. The early church was Pentecostal. What do I mean by Pentecostal? Well, it doesn’t mean what many have made it out to be in this present day, by participating in many crazy antics that you don’t find in the Bible. There are false doctrines that have been connected with the term Pentecostal. It has even taken on a denominational identity. Real Pentecostal is a term used to describe those Christians who believe that the experience the early church had on the day of Pentecost, when she was filled with the Spirit and went out to change a world, is still available to the church today. They more than believe it, they have experienced it. They believe this is exactly what the Lord expects from His church. This is what I believe because I don’t have any other choice but to believe what the Bible clearly teaches about the true church. To be truly Pentecostal means to continue on in the same manner, same unity and the same power that those upper room saints had. It means to be a living demonstration today of what the early church was then. It means to duplicate, or in our case, reproduce in our day, what the early church was. Most of all, it means we too have to be filled with the Spirit.
There was no such thing back in the early church to not be in the Pentecostal church. I am sure they never used the term “Pentecostal” to describe themselves, because they did not need to make a distinction. It is just what the church was. If you weren’t in the Pentecostal church, then you weren’t in the church. Today, there are too many options. Even if there were only two options, it would be one too many. No one, no matter how many degrees they have, no matter how high on the church leadership ladder they are, has the authority to say that the church no longer has to exemplify the early church. No one has the right to say that the church does not have to fit the mold of the early church. The church in the Book of Acts is our pattern. How is it, that Christians don’t see that? They shouldn’t be so quick to spout off that if anyone takes away words from the Bible that they will be cut off. Don’t they see, they are doing that when they deny that power for this day? Don’t they see, especially when they are trusted teachers of the word of God, that they are giving believers permission to not believe some of the Bible? Sure they may believe it happened, but they don’t believe it for our day.
The Apostles were commissioned by Jesus to take the gospel to the whole world. However, they were by the same Jesus, forbidden to go until they received the promise of the Father. “And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith He, ye have heard of Me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence” (Acts 1:4-5). Jesus wasn’t wishy-washy, telling the disciples to go into all the world and then another time telling them to wait. The call of God for the disciples to make disciples out of all nations was still on them, but they just needed one more thing before they were fully authorized to go. They had the best training any Christian could ever want. They walked with Jesus daily for about three and a half years. They heard many things that He taught. They had seen many great things that He did. They had the privilege to ask Him, right to His face, many questions. There is no Bible College that could offer you such training. But this training was not sufficient. A head full of knowledge is not enough. They needed one more thing. They needed to be baptized in the Holy Ghost. They needed the baptism of fire. This is the mark of true Pentecost.
There is one main reason the term Pentecostal has been used as a name to be given to a certain sect of Christians. It is because the day of Pentecost was the day that one of the greatest events in all the history of the world took place. It was the day when God poured out His Spirit on the church in that upper room. It was the day that many teachers say was the day the church was birthed. I won’t argue with that teaching even though I believe it was birthed when Jesus breathed on the apostles on the day He rose from the dead and said, “Receive the Spirit.” I believe the day of Pentecost marked the day the church was completed by giving her the power to take the gospel to the world. The day of Pentecost was the day that the baptism or the filling of the Spirit was made available to all born again believers. After all, it fell on ALL of them who were in the upper room.
This outpouring of the Spirit, happening on the day of Pentecost, had a greater significance than some may realize. The day of Pentecost was a feast day that took place fifty days after the Passover. It was a festival where the first fruits from the first harvest were offered up to God. So God, who does everything for a reason, chose this specific day of harvest to be a symbol to the church that there is another harvest to gather. It is as if God was saying to them, “Today starts the day of a different harvest, from now on it will be a harvest of souls.” Then He poured out the Spirit on His church, and before the day was over they gathered a harvest of three thousand souls. Hallelujah! This harvest of souls on Pentecost has become a much more powerful festival, so much so that, “There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Because of Pentecost, heaven erupted with rejoicing.
Can you be saved and not be Pentecostal? Absolutely. We are saved by faith, not Pentecost. However, if we as a church want to continue with the Great Commission in our day, then we have no choice but to go forward in the power that was given on the day of Pentecost. To be in a church that rejects this power from on high is to be disobedient to the demands of God. This is why the church is in the mess she is in today. She has decided that her own wisdom, knowledge, ability and techniques are sufficient to impact this world. If they were, Jesus would have never said, “Wait for the promise of God.” Saints, don’t reject the promise of God. Don’t reject the Pentecostal power God has provided for you. The world needs more Pentecostals.