This Sunday is Pentecost Sunday. Its the traditional “birthday of the church,” as it was on that day 2,000 years ago that Jesus dispatched the Holy Spirit to the earth for semi-permanent residency. For 40 days following His resurrection, Christ had been teaching the disciples; about 500 that we know of. Jesus had been teaching them “what happens next.”
Jesus was going to ascend to heaven, and about 10 days after this the Holy Spirit would come. This promise of the Father was going to be a revolutionary event, because the Holy Spirit would take up residence into believers; soon to be called the church.
Psalm 90 begins, “Lord, you have been our dwelling place in every generation.” The word dwelling place is the same/similar word as tabernacle / house / residence. Psalm 90 is prophetic, in that God would be taking up residence in mankind; in every generation. Jesus had spoken of this, declaring that “He is the God of the living, and not the dead.” (Mark 12:27)
Just a few moments ago, one of our parents informed me that her son is ready to be baptized in water. He is fully aware that Christ has taken up residence, and is ready to “follow the Lord in baptism.” He is young enough to be my grandson, but he is my brother in Christ… the one generation called the church.
Psalm 90 goes on to mention the importance of the one generation church. 90:16 and 17 enumerate the specifics: 1. let your work appear to your servants, 2. Your glory to the children 3. the beauty of the Lord (holiness) upon us, 4. establish the work of our hands, (in the New Living Translation it reads, “make our efforts successful).
The Pentecostal church isn’t just the group that I identify. Every Christ-follower is part of the church established on the 50th day after Christ’s resurrection. Every man, woman, boy, and girl that calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved, (Acts 2:21). Its not just the idea of Pentecost, it is the heart and essence of Pentecost.
My parents took this call seriously. They raised four boys to serve the Lord. Hard work good citizenship, respect for adults and those in authority. Thrift. Honesty. Many values were instilled into us.
The primary call and mission they had was for us to know Christ personally, to call upon His name for salvation, and to follow Him all the days of our life.
When we examine the familial ideas of Psalm 90, we can be reminded of the Deuteronomy 6 admonition as well. Deuteronomy 6:4-9 reads, “Hear O Israel, The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
- teach them diligently – not casually to your children
- talk about Jesus in the home
- talk about Jesus in the vehicle / on the way to the store / school
- talk about Jesus when you get up the morning, when you go to bed at night
- make Jesus visible on your body
- make Jesus visible in your home
Were there excesses to religion when I grew up?
Hear me when I say this, because it is very popular now to “blame the church” for every negative thing in the world. The church is made of imperfect people, making every effort to serve a perfect God.
What was normal in my home growing up, Faith and I strove to make normal in our home, and our children have continued to carry out this mission. This is not to brag. We have no room to brag…we are utterly dependent upon the Lord!
Pray with your family when you get out of bed, before they leave the home for the day. Pray with your family and speak about Jesus in casual conversations during the day. Pray and worship with your family before bedtime. Live a holy life, as God reveals Himself in your home. Don’t let it be a mystery to your neighbors and extended family that you are a follower of Christ.
At the time of this writing, my parents are in poor health. I thank God every day for my godly heritage. Someone said that the church is only one generation away from extinction. Its true. Its up to me and everyone else that names the name of Christ, baby Christian or seasoned saint, to make His name glorious on the earth.
Happy birthday to the church; the church of the living God.