And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.…
(first sermon): —
I. Mark the very critical care of the Divine Head of the Church, in fixing SPECIAL TIMES FOR THE COMMUNICATION OF SPECIAL BLESSINGS. Here we have the largest possible opportunity which God Himself could have secured for the communication of His supreme gift. Pentecost was a harvest festival; about that time people could come with the least degree of danger from various outlying countries and districts. There are opportunities even in Divine providence. The days are not all alike to God. We bind Him down to one day, whereas is there in reality a single day in our life that He has not a lien upon? Does He not come in upon birthdays, days of deliverance, of surprise, of unusual sorrow and joy? God is not the God of one day only; He takes up the one day and specially holds it before us, but only symbolically. What He does with that He wants to do with all the others.
II. On this occasion we have THE LARGEST POSSIBLE UNION —
1. Of nationalities.
2. Of desire. Note the word "accord." The instruments were all in tune together, without mental distraction or moral discord. God has promised nothing to disunion; the man that creates disunion in the Church must instantly be put away — he is worse than an infidel.
3. They were also gathered in one place: that is the transient word. The place is nothing, the accord is everything. Neither in this mountain nor yet at Jerusalem will men worship the Father, but the accord, the rhythmic fellowship — this is the eternal quantity, and he who meddles with it is a violator within the very shadow of the altar. Yet who thinks of this? If a poor moral cripple should be caught suddenly in some moral fault, then is the imperfect and blind Church enraged with him, but the man who is speaking ungracious words, making unlovely statements, breathing a spirit of dissension in the Church — who takes note of him?
III. Then we have THE LARGEST POSSIBLE BESTOWMENT OF THE DIVINE GIFT. The word "all" includes the followers of Christ of every name and degree. We are not to suppose that popes, prelates, preachers, ministers, leaders, alone have this gift of the Holy Spirit. We must not imagine that a minister merely as such has greater spiritual privileges than a mechanic. We are all equally priests before God, our priesthood has no standing but in our holiness. As to the Church all meeting in one place, do not believe in a place-church. God's Church is everywhere. Many of you belong to God's Church and may not know it. What is your heart, what is your heart's desire, what is the sovereign purpose of your life? If you can say it is to know God's will and do it, then you are in the Church, whatever particular place you may occupy. Jesus Christ made a great promise to His disciples when they asked Him whether at that time He would restore the kingdom unto Israel. The very great-nero of the promise necessitates that the fulfilment of it shall be upon a scale proportioned to itself. Now how will He fulfil the promise of enduement with power from on high? That would be no commonplace realisation of that promise, nor was there one (vers. 1-4). Imagination says, "It is enough." God always takes care to satisfy the moral nature, and to call upon conscience to say, "It is right."
IV. We see from this revelation HOW HELPLESS WE ARE IN THE MATTER OF SPIRITUAL REVIVALS. What did the apostles do towards this demonstration of Divine power? They did nothing but wait, pray, hope, expect — what the world, so fond of action, would call nothing. That is all we can do. Have nothing to do with those persons who organise revivals, with any mechanised resurrection of spiritual life. We need to know the power of waiting. There are those who tell us we ought to be doing something practical, and they degrade that word into a kind of mechanical exercise. Is he doing nothing who continues steadfast in prayer? or he who speaks great words of wisdom, and who calms the heart in the midst of its searching trouble? To be practical is not to be demonstrative, to be building wood, hay, stone, and metal, it may be to give thought, to offer suggestion, to stimulate the mind, to check the ambition, to elevate the purpose of life. The disciples and apostles, previous to Pentecost, did everything by doing nothing.
V. We see HOW UNMISTAKABLE FIRE IS. The difference between one man and another is a difference of heat. The difference between one reader and another is a difference of fire; the difference between one musician and another is that one man is all fire, and the other man all ice. The difference between one preacher and another is a difference of fire.
(J. Parker, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.