And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.…
I. THE CONSECRATED HARVEST OF THE FIELD. It may seem somewhat singular that we should be talking of harvest on the first of June, but in Palestine the harvest is much earlier than where the climate is more severe. At the beginning of the barley harvest the first ripe ears were presented to the Lord in due order, but at the fuller festival they brought into God's house, not the ears of wheat, but two large loaves — the fruit of the earth actually prepared for human food. What did that mean?
1. That all came from God. We regard our bread as the fruit of our own labour; but who gives us strength to labour,, and gives the earth the power to bring forth her harvest? I fear in many houses bread is eaten and the Giver is forgotten. Let us by grateful offerings to the Lord express our thankfulness for all the comforts we enjoy.
2. That all our possessions need God's blessing upon them. Without a blessing from God His gifts become temptations, and bring with them care rather than refreshment. It was a joyous sight to see the loaves and the fishes multiplied; but the best part of it was that the Master looked up to heaven and blessed them. If thou hast little, yet if God has blessed thy little there is a flavour in it which the ungodly cannot know when they fill themselves with stalled oxen. If thou hast ample, yet if thou hast more blessing, thy riches shall not be a snare to thee.
3. That all we have we hold under God as His stewards. These two loaves were a kind of peppercorn rent acknowledging the superior landlord who was the true owner of the Holy Land. We farm our portions and gather the fruit as stewards for the Most High, and bring a part thereof to His altar in token that we would use the rest to His glory. Have we all done this with our substance? Where is that one talent of thine, O slothful servant? Where are those five talents, O thou man of influence and of wealth?
4. That they were afraid they might commit sin in the using of what God had given. The first thank-offering was of barley, fresh plucked from the field; but this second offering of the first-fruits was not wheat as God made it. Why was it ordained that they should present leaven to God? To show us that common life, with all its imperfections, may yet be used for God's glory. We may, through our Lord Jesus, be accepted in shop-life as well as in sanctuary-life, in market-dealing as well as in sacramental meditation. Yet do not fail to notice that they brought also a burnt-offering: so the precious blood of Christ's sacrifice must fall upon our leavened loaves, or they will be sour before the Lord. "He hath made us accepted in the Beloved." Nay, that was not all. In consideration of the loaf being leavened, they brought with it a sin-offering as well (Leviticus 23:19). Confessing, as each one of us must do, that however hearty our dedication to God, there is still a faultiness in our lives, we are glad to be cleansed by the blood of Jesus.
5. All this was done as an act of joy. A new meat-offering was offered unto the Lord with peace-offerings, which two always signify, among other things, a quiet, happy communion with God. In addition to all this they presented a drink-offering of wine, which expresses the joy of the offerer. Pentecost was not a fast, but a festival. When thou givest anything to God, give it not as though it were a tax, but freely; or it cannot be accepted. God loveth a cheerful giver. His service is perfect freedom; to give to Him is rapture; to live to Him is heaven.
II. THE CONSECRATED HARVEST OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, as taught by the events of the great Christian Pentecost. Our Lord is the greatest of all sowers, for He sowed Himself. "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground," etc. Had He not said, "The fields are white already to harvest"? and now, when the day of Pentecost was fully come, the fruit was seen of them, and joyfully gathered. Learn —
1. That the first harvest of our Lord Jesus Christ was through the Holy Ghost. There were no three thousand converts till first of all was heard the rushing of mighty wind. Till the cloven tongues had rested on the disciples there were no broken hearts among the crowd. Until the believers were all filled with the Holy Ghost the minds of their hearers were not filled with conviction. If you desire to save your class you must yourselves be endowed with the power of the Holy Ghost. You cannot burn a way for the truth into the heart of another unless the tongue of fire is given to you from on high.
2. That day may be considered to be the ordering of the Christian dispensation. It was exactly fifty days after the original Passover that the law was given on Mount Sinai. At the commencement of the New Testament dispensation the Lord gives the Spirit. Under the old covenant the command was given; but under the new the will and the power to obey are bestowed by the Holy Ghost. Moses on the mount can only tell us what to do, but Jesus ascended on high pours out the power to do it. Now we are not under the law, but under grace, and the Spirit is our guiding force.
3. This Pentecost was also the beginning of a great harvest of Jews and Gentiles. Were there not two loaves? Not only shall Israel be saved, but the multitude of the Gentiles shall be turned unto the Lord. If the first-fruits were so great, what will the ultimate harvest be?
(1) The filling of the apostles with the Holy Ghost was a part of the first-fruits. A man full of the Holy Ghost rejoices the heart of Christ.
(2) Still, the major part of the Pentecostal first-fruits will be found in the great number that were that day converted.
4. The Christian Pentecost is to us full of instruction.
(1) The disciples had to wait for it. "The husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth." Sow on: Pentecost will yet yield its loaves unto the Lord.
(2) They obtained nothing until they began preaching the gospel, and then in one day the Church was multiplied by twenty-five.
(3) Of all those people saved it was acknowledged that they belonged unto the Lord alone.
(4) Even if we should see three thousand converted in a day we must not reckon that such first-fruits would be absolutely perfect. In all our successes and additions there will sure to be a leaven. Do not wonder if some converts go back. It will always be so; tares grow with the wheat, and bad fish are taken in the same net with the good.
III. THE CONSECRATED HARVEST FROM EACH PARTICULAR PERSON. In Deuteronomy 26. you will find there a form of service which I pray may serve your turn to-day.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.