June 7, 2022



On June 5, 2022, the day of Pentecost, Pastor Eric continued the series he began last week on the Ark of the Covenant found in 1 Samuel, chapters 4 and 5. Pentecost has its roots in the Greek word pentecoste which means “50”. Pentecost or Shavuot, a Jewish holiday commemorating the revelation of the Torah to the Jewish people on Mount Sinai, occurs fifty days after Passover. In the New Testament, it is observed 50 days after Easter. This day 2,000 years ago marked the birth of the Church and the beginning of our ability to embody all that God has called us to be.

Read Luke 24:49 

One of the final statements Jesus made before His ascension was, “I will send you the power my Father has promised, but you must remain in Jerusalem until you receive that power from above.” Acts 1:8 conveys a similar message. It states that we will receive power when the Holy Spirit indwells us. The word power comes from the Greek word dunamis, which means strength, might, or power. The term can also be used to refer to physical strength, physical power, might, ability, efficacy, and energy.

Read Acts 1:8

How will we know that we have been granted power? Jesus said, “When the Holy Spirit has come upon you”. Power comes from the Holy Spirit. His presence is both a blessing and a gift. All we have to do is accept Him. When we do, the Holy Spirit will come upon us and provide us with dunamis power, which will enable us to be witnesses of Jesus Christ throughout the world! Christ is the Saviour of the world, and He has granted the Church the power to witness to every man and woman on the planet.

Pastor Eric believes it is impossible to be effective ambassadors of Christ without the Holy Spirit’s assistance. Although we may appear effective in the eyes of others, this is not necessarily true from the Lord’s standpoint. This is why He desires to empower us. God reminds us that at Pentecost He gave us the ability to accomplish the impossible.

Luke 24:49

Jesus told the apostles that He would send what the Father had promised, but they would need to wait in Jerusalem until they were given this power from above. God had entrusted them with an extremely important mission, yet the very first instruction He gave them was to wait. It would appear, therefore, that obtaining power is equally as important as completing the mission.

Read Acts 2:1-4

Unexpected events cannot be predicted in advance. It is impossible to know when a promise will be fulfilled. One can be filled or refilled with the Holy Spirit at any time. Sometimes, it just happens without warning, on a day we least expect it.

An incredible and powerful prayer meeting took place in the Upper Room. Nevertheless, many onlookers in the crowd were persuaded that the disciples of Christ were mentally ill. Others thought they were intoxicated. Peter then stood up and explained to the crowd that this was the fulfillment of a prophecy spoken by the prophet, Joel. He also shared the gospel with them. God had foretold that He would pour out His Spirit on all flesh. Upon hearing Peter’s message, their hearts were deeply moved and caused them to ask the most important question: “What must I do to be saved?” The power of the Holy Spirit penetrates even the hardest of hearts and inspires conviction.

Read Acts 2:37-39

Upon hearing this, the people were guilt-stricken and asked Peter and the other apostles what they should do. Peter encouraged them to change their hearts and lives and to be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and they would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. It is important to note that Peter did not state that baptism saves a person. Rather, baptism is simply an expression of a saved person’s commitment to follow Christ.

It is evident in verse 39 that the promise of power did not cease with the apostles. It remains applicable and available to us today!

Asked why he believed Christians should be continuously filled with the Holy Spirit, D.L. Moody replied, “Well,” he said, “I need a continual infilling because I leak!” That is part of our dependence on God. We must continue to pray for an outpouring of the Spirit of God in our lives.

Read Jeremiah 3:16-17 and Revelation 11:19

Pastor Eric then resumed his sermon on the Ark of the Covenant where he had left off last week.

The Ark of the Covenant is thought to have existed for a limited period of time. It was not intended to be used indefinitely. It is stated in Jeremiah 3, that there will come a time when the Ark will no longer be remembered, nor will another be made. It appears, therefore, that it existed only for a season and during that time, it symbolized the presence of God. The Ark, according to Revelation 11, will be seen once again in the New Jerusalem when the veil will no longer be present, allowing God’s people to experience His presence freely.

1 – The Ark of the Covenant was greatly valued.

Pastor Eric stated last week that the Ark of the Covenant was highly regarded by both the Israelites and the Philistines. The people of Israel believed it would enable them to defeat their enemies. The Philistines, however, considered the Ark a significant threat. Their apprehension stemmed from the fact that the Egyptians had suffered numerous plagues and they did not want to experience something similar. When the Ark of the Covenant was captured, several people died.

2 – The Ark of the Covenant cannot be manipulated.

The Israelites believed they lost the previous battle because the Ark of the Covenant was not with them. Since the Ark would certainly be decisive in their victory, it was decided to bring it along. Their loud ecstatic shout reverberated throughout Israel and caused the ground to shake, terrifying the enemy’s camp. Despite the Ark’s presence, Israel was once again defeated since the problem was not a result of the Ark but stemmed from sin. This serves as an example for us as well. Being a Christian is not merely a question of how many Scriptures we read or how often we attend church. If our hearts are not pure, God’s Word will be of no use to us. In keeping with the principle that obedience is superior to sacrifice, we are required to repent of our sins. It is vital that our hearts be aligned with the Lord because the Ark of the Covenant’s presence cannot be manipulated.

3 – There is no room for idols in the presence of the Lord

Read 1 Samuel 5:1-2

Who was Dagon? Dagon, the father of Baal, who was half human and half fish, was one of the many gods that were worshipped by the Philistines. He was considered to be the god who gave them victory over the Jews and their God. In the Temple, the Philistines placed the Ark of the Covenant alongside their idol.

Read 1 Samuel 5:3-4

Can you imagine the priest entering the Temple and seeing his god face down before the Ark of the Covenant? The Philistines were faced with a dilemma. Dagon was lying in the doorway with its limbs and head severed. Their idol was bowing before the Ark of the Covenant. Rather than acknowledging that their god was not as powerful as the God of the Jews, they sought to restore their idol to its original state.

Read 1 Samuel 4:11-20 and Luke 19:40

It is also apparent from the passage in 1 Samuel 5:3-4 that regardless of the fact that Israel lost its glory, God retained His. It is also stated in Luke 19:40 that the stones will worship Jesus if you and I fail to do so.

It is important to understand the difference between the Ark of the Covenant and the idol. A distinction exists between the presence of God and false representations of Him, given that His presence is unique. It cannot be duplicated. His presence is invisible, yet clearly discernible in the lives of believers. An individual who walks daily in the presence of the Lord is markedly different than those who do not. Religions that are dry, rigid, and dead lack the presence of God. God’s presence is both unique and distinctive.

Some claim the Philistines brought the Ark into the Temple of their god, Dagon, to honour the Ark of the Covenant. However, if this interpretation is true, we must conclude that God will not be honoured in this manner, as He destroyed their idol. Hence, our sovereign God cannot be worshipped in conjunction with any other god or idol. To worship God, we must rid ourselves of our idols. Unlike the Philistines, the Israelites worshipped only one God. He is holy and distinct from anyone and anything in the world. Consequently, idols cannot exist in His presence.

What is an idol? Simply put, an idol is anything or anyone we desire more than God. Pastor Eric desired to see the altar filled with idols thrown out and smashed today, as we all yearn to love God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength. As Christians, we do not wish to give someone or something the kind of affection reserved for God alone.

4 – The Ark of the Covenant brings with it both blessings and chaos.

Read 1 Samuel 5:6-7

The Lord afflicted the people of Ashdod with tumours and caused them to suffer. In view of what was transpiring, they came to the conclusion that the Ark could not remain with them because they and Dagon were receiving punishment from God.

The people of Ashdod justified their situation. Their primary motivation was to exclude God from their lives. In light of all the evidence, one would expect that they would make Him their God. On the contrary, they sought to remove the Ark.

Read Matthew 9:32-33 and Mark 5:1-20

The gospel of Matthew states that Jesus healed a mute who had been plagued with a demon. Immediately following the expulsion of the demon from his body, the man was able to speak. Jesus’ intervention stunned the crowd because the people had never witnessed anything like this before.

Mark’s gospel records another instance in which Jesus commanded the evil spirit to leave an individual’s body. Jesus asked the spirit his name. He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” Jesus expelled them from the man’s body. Thus, the demonic spirits pleaded with Jesus to send them into the pigs that were feeding on the hillside. He granted their request. As the evil spirits left the man’s body and entered the pigs, the herd of nearly 2,000 rushed down the steep slope into the lake and drowned.

It is evident from the stories above that darkness is a powerful force that should not be underestimated. Evil spirits are always looking for opportunities to steal, kill, and destroy. Conversely, Jesus casts out demons. He is not an ordinary individual: He is the Son of God, endowed with all power and authority. The Philistines wanted to remove the Messiah from their city! God is harder to accept than to reject. As the Ark of the Covenant was causing them problems, they decided to remove Him from their midst. They felt the hand of the Lord heavily upon them. This serves as a reminder that the Bible and the promises it contains are ineffective unless our hearts are in tune with God. Those who live a dual life will see their worship rejected. As long as our hearts are not in harmony with God, our service and prayers will be an abomination to Him.

Read Proverbs 15:8

Chaos will reign in a home devoid of the presence of God, while a home filled with God’s presence will bring blessings.

Read 2 Samuel 6:11-15

Are you aware that when a Christian is blessed, his or her entire household is as well? The blessings a devout follower of Christ receives ripple out to his or her entire household. If you live with a god-fearing individual, but you do not yet belong to God, some of the blessings that person receives spill over to you. However, this does not suffice, as it does not satisfy the need for salvation. You must personally accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour.

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