Many people are seeking a greater more committed spirituality. In the name of ‘going back to Pentecost’, Christians are trying to attain the supernatural intervention and power that was manifest to the Jewish believers in Acts 2. While there seems to be nothing wrong with a fervent desire to know God and experience his life-changing love, following the wrong example can lead us to doctrinal error and false emotionalism.
As we have before explained, the empowerment of Pentecost was a prophesied result of the institution of the New Covenant made with Israel (See ‘What Happened at Pentecost’, and ‘Did the Church begin at Pentecost’). Since that Pentecost, God has instituted a new dispensation that was not included in any prophesy since the beginning of the world. Paul says that the gospel given to him was,
“…the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began.” – Romans 16:25
Some time after the events of Pentecost, Paul claimed to have a special revelation from the Lord Jesus which had never been revealed since the world began.
“But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” – Gal 1:11-12
This hidden wisdom is separate and distinct from the prophetic message taught by Peter at Pentecost. In contrast, the Pentecostal message was the message which had already been spoken since the world began by the prophets, the disciples, and even Jesus during his earthly ministry.
“….which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” – Acts 3:21
But now, a new order is in place, and the instructions we are to obey and rejoice over were given to our apostle and pattern Paul.
“Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.” – 1 Tim 1:16
The Empowerment of Pentecost
The spirit-filled fervency and single mindedness of the disciples at Pentecost is to be admired, but it should be understood that they were supernaturally caused to live in such a manner by the contract of the New Covenant (Ezekiel 36:24-27, See also ‘Did God respond to Extreme Faith’)
While Paul also encourages us to be ‘fervent in spirit’ (Romans 12:11), and not to be ‘drunk with wine, but to be filled with the Spirit’ (Ephesians 5:18), the fervency of the disciples at Pentecost was not something that needed to be admonished it was natural!
Overnight these tepid followers of the Messiah were transformed through the ‘new spirit’ and ‘new heart’ placed within them to perform as those worthy of entering the kingdom.
As this natural result was expected from every true participant of the New Covenant law, there were extreme consequences for those who did not produce such fruit.
“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. “ – Hebrews 6:4-6
“Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” – 1 John 3:9
These New Covenant believers and their salvation was held in abeyance until the return of the Lord, and whomever did not endure until that time within the New Covenant empowerment was cut off from the inheritance.
“Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” – 1 Peter 1:5
“For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,” – Hebrews 10:25-26
The Dispensation of Grace
Contrarily, Paul describes a people who are not under any law or covenant (Romans 6:14, Gal 5:18). Today, God is not imputing trespasses to any man (2 Cor 5:19).
As a result, we obtain the righteousness of God by faith without the law, the old or the new (Romans 3:21-22).
Instead of waiting for a future salvation, when we place our faith in Christ, our souls have already been justified through the present atonement (Romans 5:1-11).
It is this message that Paul explains causes us to rejoice and to joy in God!
“And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” – Romans 5:12
Our inheritance is already secured by the Holy Ghost which has been freely given to us!
“Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” – Ephesians 1:14
Going Back to Pentecost
Going back to Pentecost would mean that we would be placing ourselves back under the law, as well as taking away our present appropriated atonement and justification. It would be great folly to pass up so great a salvation that we have today by grace in order to attain that which was achieved only in the future through a conditional covenant relationship with a respected nation Israel.
It is understandable to desire an intense and real manifestation of the knowledge and presence of God. However, trying to mimic the actions of Pentecost will only lead us into doctrinal error and spiritual confusion as we wrestle with our flesh in this dispensation.
Instead, only by seeking the knowledge of the glorious truth of grace given to Paul can we truly know God and our relationship with Him.
Paul prays that through the knowledge of the fellowship of the mystery we…
“May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” – Ephesians 3:18-19
It is this goal that we strive for as we continue to study as workmen that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Tim 2:15).