As we finish this Lenten journey we know this is just the beginning. Yes this is part of the church calendar and yes tomorrow is Easter but that is not the end of the cycle. Many now prepare to do this journey all over again and wait for December to come and celebrate the birth of our saviour. This cycle needs to be broken. Our focus needs to turn to the Holy Spirit. On the calendar, Pentecost Sunday is 50 days from Easter, which represents the time after Jesus rose from the dead till the Holy Spirit was poured out at Pentecost. Pentecost is often overlooked because most believe this was a one-time event. This simply is not true because even in Acts the Spirit was poured out more than once. Acts 4:31 “After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.” Acts 10:44 “While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. 46 For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said, 47 “Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” Not only is Pentecost Sunday missing this represents the missing Holy Spirit. Just as Samson, Judges 16:20 “he did not know that the Lord had left him.” Before that we see that “He grew and the Lord blessed him, 25 and the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him.” We also saw Judges 14:6 “The Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon him so that he tore the lion apart with his bare hands as he might have torn a young goat.”
                Yes many still celebrate Pentecost but only with a form of godliness as they deny the power that is available. They follow through the calendar year after year not stopping to realize the liturgy is killing them. Even those who do not follow a calendar other than Christmas and Easter also follow only a form of godliness but have no power. They refuse to repent. Matthew 11:20 [ Woe on Unrepentant Towns ] “Then Jesus began to denounce the towns in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent.”  Over time the Holy Spirit has been rejected therefore God has turned his face from shining on us. All that is left are songs about the old, old stories. The church now sits in desolation denying the power of the Holy Spirit because it does not fit with our traditions, reasoning and experiences. The church is still filled with unbelief and absolutely refuses to listen to God’s word because it does not line up with our theology. People say I have never seen the wonders of God so it must not be possible instead of joining with Gideon and saying, Judges 6:13 “Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about?” Most Christians have become very content with a glimmer of light instead of the light of the world.
                Many Christians today are like the disciples who did not believe. They were told by Jesus himself, just as we are told. Mark 9:30 “They left that place and passed through Galilee. Jesus did not want anyone to know where they were, 31 because he was teaching his disciples. He said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise.” 32 But they did not understand what he meant and were afraid to ask him about it.” We have the same teaching they had. He also told them about the Holy Spirit. John 14:12 “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” We have the same teaching they had.  He then told the disciples to wait and be clothed with the Holy Spirit. Luke 24:48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” We have the same teaching they had. Just as the disciples did not believe, many today do not believe and we have it all written down. This is very dangerous to reject the Holy Spirit. Hebrews 10:29 “How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?” Paul tells the Thessalonians “Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit.” So many have rejected the instruction about the gospels and the Holy Spirit because they refuse to know the truth.
                Jesus appears to the two disciples walking in the wrong direction on the road to Emmaus. He said to them. “25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory? After Jesus talked to the disciples they returned Luke 24:33 “at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together 34 and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” 35 Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.” Mark 16:12 Afterward Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking in the country. 13 These returned and reported it to the rest; but they did not believe them either. 14 Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.”
                Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:2 “By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. 3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.” Acts 1:3 “After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” “8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Many heard but did not believe.
                Acts 1:15 “In those days Peter stood up among the believers (a group numbering about a hundred and twenty)” The questions for you and I are; Do you believe in the Holy Spirit and the power available to all who believe or do you believe just the form of godliness and deny His power? Many say they believe but they are deceived because they deny His words. Will you be in the upper room when the power falls once again or will you be with those who have fallen asleep? Will you WAIT as instructed? Will you be prepared?  Matthew 25:2 “Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3 The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4 The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5 The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. 6 “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ 7 “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ 9 “‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ 10 “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. 11 “Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ 12 “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’ 13 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.” Paul says Romans 13:11 [The Day Is Near] And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.
                Do not be known by your stubborn refusal to believe the truth! Yes this last passage was referring to meeting Jesus on Judgment day but do not be deceived, if you do not believe his power is available today, you have denied the word of God. 2 Kings 17:14 “But they would not listen and were as stiff-necked as their ancestors, who did not trust in the Lord their God. 15 They rejected his decrees and the covenant he had made with their ancestors and the statutes he had warned them to keep. They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless. They imitated the nations around them although the Lord had ordered them, “Do not do as they do.” 20 Therefore the Lord rejected all the people of Israel; he afflicted them and gave them into the hands of plunderers, until he thrust them from his presence. 40 They would not listen, however, but persisted in their former practices. 41 Even while these people were worshiping the Lord, they were serving their idols. To this day their children and grandchildren continue to do as their ancestors did.” This will still happen today.
                A few days ago we talked about running from those who were against God and shouting crucify him. You do not want to be part of this group. Hebrews 6:4 “It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age 6 and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. 7 Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. 8 But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.” These people are like the people Isaiah referred to when he said, Isaiah 48:4 For I knew how stubborn you were; your neck muscles were iron, your forehead was bronze.” Romans 2:5 “But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.
                Turn and run from these people. Hebrews 6:9 “Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are convinced of better things in your case.” If you are reading this as one who believes, then persevere and wait for the power to come. Do not give up as satan is trying to stop you. Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” 1 Chronicles 22:13 “Then you will have success if you are careful to observe the decrees and laws that the Lord gave Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged.”
                Before Joshua died he said, Joshua 23:4 “Now I am about to go the way of all the earth. You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed. 15 But just as all the good things the Lord your God has promised you have come to you, so he will bring on you all the evil things he has threatened, until the Lord your God has destroyed you from this good land he has given you. 16 If you violate the covenant of the Lord your God, which he commanded you, and go and serve other gods and bow down to them, the Lord’s anger will burn against you, and you will quickly perish from the good land he has given you.”
                Zechariah 1:1 (A Call to Return to the Lord) “In the eighth month of the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Zechariah son of Berekiah, the son of Iddo: 2 “The Lord was very angry with your ancestors. 3 Therefore tell the people: This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Return to me,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘and I will return to you,’ says the Lord Almighty. 4 Do not be like your ancestors, to whom the earlier prophets proclaimed: This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Turn from your evil ways and your evil practices.’ But they would not listen or pay attention to me, declares the Lord. 5 Where are your ancestors now? And the prophets, do they live forever? 6 But did not my words and my decrees, which I commanded my servants the prophets, overtake your ancestors? “Then they repented and said, ‘The Lord Almighty has done to us what our ways and practices deserve, just as he determined to do.” Repent for the kingdom of heaven is near.