On June 7th, Europe Olivet Center offered the first Sunday service of the new month to God. Pastor Andrew Clark delivered a message from Acts 2:36-41 titled, “Repent, Be Baptized and Receive the Holy Spirit”.
Apostle Peter delivers a sermon on Pentecost and 3000 people were saved and added to their number. This is an amazing miracle, how could this take place? It tells us that Peter’s words cut the listeners to their heart. Usually the people of this world are stubborn, arrogant, and prideful, and often it is even difficult to change someone’s mind, let alone to the depths of their hearts. But here Peter’s words have a profound effect and from their very hearts these people are changed.
This is the core of our mission and evangelism; we must change people in the depths of their hearts, and only then can they truly change. That means we cannot win them over with our intelligence or our own strength and skills, but this kind of change in the heart can only be performed with the power from above.
So what is at the core of Peter’s words in his sermon? It’s that he is exhorting the truth. He is not holding back, but filled with the power of the Holy Spirit – the Spirit of Truth – he boldly and without hindrance is telling the listeners clearly the truth of the Gospel, of Jesus the Messiah, and ultimately the love of the God. We must realize again and again, our commissions are not the ones that can be fulfilled by man’s power, but only by the power of God through the Holy Spirit.
So reliance on the power of the Holy Spirit is key. But thankfully, this is not something that the Lord withholds from us at all. With Pentecost, a new era has commenced. Jesus ascended to heaven, and God does not leave us like orphans in this sinful world, but He sends us the Holy Spirit, which will lead us into all truth, and guide us in all our battles. It will grant us wisdom when we seek it, and it will give us comfort and strength when we need it. Now, anyone who comes to call on the name of the Lord by faith can receive the Holy Spirit. This was the era that has been opened up to us through Jesus Christ. The era of abundance.
So firstly, we need to realize deeply the love of God, through Jesus Christ and the cross and resurrection. This is the truth. The cross was not a failure, or shameful, but it was a victory of love, and it was redemption for us. When we come to realize this love of the cross, then in the face of this truth we see our sins laid bare – we come to repent! Peter and Paul, the main apostles recorded in the book of Acts, were both people who had this deep realization of their sins, and they lived with deep repentance. Ultimately this leads them to realize the grace of God to a larger extent, and guides them to a great revelation of the love of Christ. This is the truth they came to realize!
So in the same way, we need to realize this truth and the love of God more deeply. To those who have this realization, they come to call on the name of the Lord, and they will receive the Holy Spirit. Then what remains? We must become witnesses of this truth, and of what we have realized. To those whom He has called, He also wishes to send – the purpose of our calling is that we are to be sent, and we are to give witness and testify to what we have seen, heard and realized.
Peter, who had realized his own sins deeply in the face of the love of the Lord, received the Holy Spirit, and then gave great witness to those who gathered to them on Pentecost. The truth cuts them to their hearts, and he guides them to repent, be reborn and receive the Holy Spirit.
This miracle is a reflection of the amazing miracle that Jesus also performed in feeding the 5,000. The Lord fed them with 5 barley loaves and 2 fish. Jesus Himself declared that He was the bread of life. He was the truth – He came with the truth, He declared the truth with every breath, and His very life was the truth. What was the life of Jesus? Ultimately it was the path of the cross – this is the greatest revelation of the love of God! We must let this love enter us and become life for us. Then the 2 fish are the witnesses. In the Old Testament the pillars were Moses and Elijah, and throughout the history we see the image of 2 witnesses going together to fulfill the purpose of God. That day 5,000 were fed by the fruitful witness of God, and in the same way, on the day of Pentecost, Peter – fulfilling this commission as a fruitful witness – feeds 3,000.
Let us meditate on the deep love of the Lord again and again. Through the deep realization of the love of God we ripen as fruit of love, and the Holy Spirit will empower us and we can give joy to the Father as His fruitful witnesses to the ends of the earth.
First, we need to know the truth and love of God deeply. Then with repentant hearts we come to call on His name and receive the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of Truth will allow us to realize the purpose and meaning of our lives and our commission, and we can step forward boldly as the witnesses of God’s love in this era.
Everyone was reminded to meditate on the love of God and deeply realize it. The focus of each person’s life should be to bear fruit and to become the witness. The motive of all our works is to save one more soul. May Europe sow the new seeds with tears, that we may be able to reap the harvest with joy.