May 30, 2023
The Missing Ingredient – Pentecost Sunday Acts 2:37-41
On Pentecost Sunday, Pastor Jeff Laird from the EOND District shared a sermon entitled The Missing Ingredient found in Acts 2:37-41
Introduction of Pastor Jeff Laird
On May 28, 2023, Pastor Eric welcomed Pastor Jeff Laird, the new Assistant to the District Superintendent for ministries, and his wife, Helen, to New Beginning Church. Pastor Jeff is no stranger to the ministry, having served in various capacities for over 30 years. His experience includes working as a youth pastor, a worship pastor, and a lead pastor for numerous churches.
Pastor Jeff took the podium and greeted everyone. He then mentioned that he and his wife once pastored at Woodvale Pentecostal Church in Nepean, yet they had never seen our church building. Pastor Jeff emphasized how special it was for them to finally have the chance to see it, and how blessed we were that God had provided both our congregations with a new building. He reminded us to be thankful for all God had done and was still doing and to keep trusting in His provision. Pastor Jeff’s words were a reminder of how far we had come, and how much we had to be thankful for. It was truly a special moment for our congregation, and we were all grateful to have Pastor Jeff and Helen with us.
Pastor Jeff reminded us that how we came to purchase this building is nothing less than a miracle. It is a mere physical structure, yet the ministry, legacy, healing, and salvation that will come from it will be tremendous and truly a blessing from God. We are so grateful for all He has done. The building is a testament to His grace, and through its walls, we will be able to continue to do His work. We thank God for the opportunity He provided us with and all the goodness that will come from it.
Pastor Jeff then turned and addressed the congregation saying, “We have a duty to be God’s people in Rockland and the surrounding community. There are many people who need to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ. Let us be the ones to point them to Him. Let us be the light in this dark world.”
Pastor Jeff’s message titled The Missing Ingredient
The Missing Ingredient
Today is Pentecost Sunday. For some, it may be a mystery as to why this day is so important. Pentecost marks the giving of the Holy Spirit to the apostles. This is also the day when the Church was born as the apostles were sent out to spread the gospel.
Read Mark 16:15 and John 16:7, 13
There are three very important events that took place in the New Testament: the birth of Christ that we celebrate at Christmas; the death and resurrection of Jesus, which we celebrate at Easter; and the giving of the Spirit which takes place 50 days after Easter. The birth of Christ, one of the most important events in the New Testament, was the moment when God sent His Son to become a man and to save us from our sins. The death and resurrection of Jesus, which we celebrate on Good Friday and Easter Sunday are also very significant events. It was through His death and resurrection that Jesus redeemed us from our sins and opened the way to eternal life. The giving of the Spirit was the third significant event in the New Testament. This event took place 50 days after Easter, and is recorded in Acts, chapter 2. It was an incredibly important event, as Jesus had been pointing to it consistently throughout His ministry. The Spirit was bestowed upon the apostles and it changed their lives, empowering them to be witnesses for Jesus and to spread the gospel. These three events are all very important in the New Testament and in our faith as Christians. The birth of Christ is the beginning of our salvation, the death and resurrection of Jesus is the completion, and the giving of the Spirit is the ongoing presence of God in our lives.
The Holy Spirit was bestowed upon the apostles in Acts, chapter 2, an important event that Jesus had been preparing the disciples for. In the gospel of Mark, Jesus had instructed them to “go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone, everywhere (Mark 16:15). He also said to them that it would be
best for you that I go away, for if I don’t, the Comforter won’t come. If I do, he will – for I will send him to you. (John 16:7).
He went on to say that,
When the Holy Spirit, who is truth, comes, he shall guide you into all truth, for he will not be presenting his own ideas, but will be passing on to you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. (John 16:13).
Pastor Jeff encouraged us to attend church on Pentecost Sunday as it is the commemoration of the giving of the Holy Spirit. This joyous occasion takes place fifty days after the resurrection of Christ, and is remembered each year on the fiftieth day following Easter. The word ‘Pentecost’ itself means ‘fifty’, emphasizing the importance of this special day.
Read Luke 24:34, 13-16, John 20:26-28, and Acts 2:1-4
Following His resurrection, Jesus spent 40 days appearing to His disciples. He appeared to Peter and the other disciples walking the road to Emmaus, and He appeared to Thomas when Thomas was still unsure about the resurrection. For forty days, Jesus made sporadic appearances before finally departing on the 40th day. He told His disciples to wait until the Holy Spirit came before beginning their mission. They went on to fulfill His command by gathering in the Upper Room and praying for the coming of the Holy Spirit. On the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descended and empowered the disciples to go out and spread the Good News to all the nations.
Pastor Jeff made a comparison between cooking or baking and having all the right ingredients in life. He said that if we leave something out, the outcome may still be good, but it will never as great as it could be with all the components included. Just like when we bake a cake and forget to add the sugar, the cake won’t taste as sweet. Similarly, if we are not baptized in the Holy Spirit, we won’t get the most out of our lives. We must strive to include all the necessary ingredients for a fulfilling life in order to reach our fullest potential.
Pastor Jeff is here to remind us that the Holy Spirit is the most important ingredient in our church life. Without Him, our lives are lacking. He is like the hot sauce on our eggs, or the apple in an apple pie. With the Holy Spirit, we can live more courageously, victoriously, and with greater freedom. We have more power, anointing and blessings when He is in our lives. We can experience a fuller and richer life when we embrace the Holy Spirit. He is the missing ingredient that we need in order to live a more meaningful and fulfilling life.
When we read through the book of Acts, there is a pattern that we can easily identify. The Holy Spirit arrives in Acts 2 and the disciples begin to be filled with His power. Peter then goes out and preaches an electrifying sermon, as a result, 3,000 people are saved. It is from this point of salvation that the Church is born. The pattern of the Holy Spirit coming and empowering the disciples to preach the gospel and see people saved continues throughout the book. There are many powerful examples of the Spirit’s work, including the conversion of Saul, the healing of Aeneas, and the conversion of the Ethiopian Eunuch. In each of these instances, the Spirit is at work, and through the efforts of the disciples, people are saved and come into the Church.
The disciples of Jesus Christ sought three things for those who followed Him. Firstly, they wanted people to be saved through embracing Jesus as their personal Saviour. This was the most important principle to the disciples and they wanted to spread the message of salvation to as many as possible. Secondly, they emphasized the importance of water baptism, believing it to be a public declaration of repentance and a commitment to follow Jesus. Lastly, they wanted people to be baptized in the Holy Spirit, which was a further step of commitment to Jesus. The disciples were determined to follow Christ and to ensure that those who followed Him understood the importance of these three steps.
Read Acts 2:37-41
This passage states,
These words of Peter’s moved them deeply, and they said to him and to the other apostles, ‘Brothers, what should we do?’ And Peter replied, ‘Each one of you must turn from sin, return to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; then you also shall receive this gift, the Holy Spirit. For Christ promised him to each one of you who has been called by the Lord our God, and to your children and even to those in distant lands!’ Then Peter preached a long sermon, talking about Jesus and strongly urging all his listeners to save themselves from the evils of their nation. And those who believed Peter were baptized – about three thousand in all!
Read Acts 1:4
The baptism of the Holy Spirit is an integral part of fulfilling God’s will, and Jesus made sure that His disciples understood this. As they were meeting together, Jesus gave them a commandment not to depart from Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit had come upon them – a promise that the Father had made to them. This was something that Christ had already discussed with them, and it was important that they remembered the importance of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Jesus wanted to make sure that His disciples were ready to receive the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit, and thus they remained in Jerusalem until the Spirit had come upon them.
The disciples were given an incredible responsibility from Jesus: to go into all the world and spread the Good News. However, Jesus also instructed them to wait. He wanted them to stay in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit came to empower them for their mission. So, the disciples waited, in obedience and anticipation, ready to leave when the right time came. They waited together, united in purpose, and they knew that when the Spirit arrived, they would be equipped to go and be witnesses of Jesus’ power and grace. By waiting, the disciples were able to receive the power of the Holy Spirit and begin their mission with confidence, knowing that they were fully equipped to do the work that God had called them to do.
Read 2 Corinthians 5:17
Jesus was very clear about the importance of the commandment, emphasizing that it was only through the supernatural work of God that supernatural work could be done. When someone is saved, it is nothing short of a miracle. The transformation that happens is so profound and life-changing that it can only be attributed to the power and work of the Holy Spirit. The old life is gone and the new is here, and with it comes the empowerment of the Spirit to live a life of holiness and righteousness. The supernatural touch of God is the only way that this miracle can be experienced.
Jesus was instructing His disciples not to rely on their own strength, wisdom, or teachings that they had heard from Him. He was cautioning them that without the Holy Spirit, all of their efforts would be fruitless. They had to wait until He descended upon them before they could go out and do anything. Until then, they were to remain in Jerusalem and wait for the moment when the Holy Spirit would come upon them. Only then would they be able to do the work that Jesus had called them to do. Without the Spirit, all of their efforts would be in vain.
Read Matthew 3:11
John the Baptist was the forerunner of Christ. He came and prepared the way for Jesus, proclaiming the Lord’s imminent arrival. In Matthew 3:11, he said, “With water I baptize those who repent of their sins; but someone else is coming, far greater than I am, so great that I am not worthy to carry his shoes! He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” John the Baptist knew there was something else coming, something far greater than himself. He knew that Jesus would bring a baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire, a baptism that would bring a spiritual renewal to the world. He also knew that Jesus’ message would have a lasting impact on the world, and that His life would be a sign of hope and redemption for all. Through his own ministry, John the Baptist had already prepared the way for Jesus, and he was eager to witness the arrival of the Messiah.
The disciples at Pentecost understood that Jesus had not only come to save them from their sins, but to empower them to go out and proclaim the Good News. They understood that faith was not just a matter of accepting Christ as their Saviour, but also of being filled with the Holy Spirit. They understood that the Spirit’s power was the key to taking the gospel to the ends of the earth. This power still remains for us today. He is still willing to come and fill us with His power so that we can step out in faith and proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ. This is why it is so important for us to not be satisfied with salvation and water baptism alone, but to go all the way to Pentecost for the power of the Holy Spirit. When we do this, we are able to really make a difference in the world. We are able to go out and proclaim the Good News of salvation through Jesus Christ with power. We are able to confidently share our faith with others and lead them to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. We are able to be used by God to do mighty things for His Kingdom. Let us not be satisfied with salvation and water baptism alone, but let us go all the way to Pentecost for the power of the Holy Spirit. Let us be filled with His power so that we can go out and proclaim the gospel with confidence. Let us step out in faith and be used by God to do mighty things for His Kingdom.
The early Church disciples saw the Holy Spirit as something that was essential and non-negotiable. They knew that salvation was only achieved through the Spirit and it was something that they never overlooked. Some individuals may believe that they are already filled with the Spirit simply because they are saved, but this was never the attitude of the disciples. Instead, they viewed salvation as a process. It started with being saved by the Father and then being filled with the Holy Spirit, which was the next step. This was something that was crucial and had to be done in order for the believer to experience the fullness of the Spirit. The disciples saw the importance of the Holy Spirit and they encouraged others to take the steps necessary to receive Him.
Pastor Jeff encouraged us to read through the book of Acts and think about how often the disciples emphasized the importance of salvation, water baptism, and the filling of the Spirit. Through the book of Acts, we can see how the disciples viewed these three things as essential and distinct, and how they shared that message with everyone they encountered.
Read Acts 2:39
Some people believe that the filling of the Spirit was exclusive to back then and not for now. But Peter’s words in Acts 2:39 should encourage us to think differently. He says, “For Christ promised him to each one of you who has been called by the Lord our God, and to your children and even to those in distant lands!” Jesus’ promise is for everyone, near and far. He desires to bring the power of His Spirit to all who are called. Jesus is for all people, no matter the time or place, and it is our responsibility to share this truth.
Read Hebrews 13:8
God is unchanging. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He has not changed in His desire to save people, no matter what era we live in. This same desire to save is still present, just as it was 2,000 years ago. God’s desire to heal people is also the same – just as He healed those 2,000 years ago, he still wants to heal people today. He has not changed in His love for us, and He still wants to bring healing and wholeness into the lives of those He loves. The same is true for God’s Spirit. If God filled people with His Spirit back then, He still wants to fill people with His Spirit today. He is the same God who desires to bring the same presence and power to us now that He did to those 2,000 years ago. We need the same Spirit they had back then, and we can still be filled with the same power and joy they experienced. God’s desire to save, heal, and fill us with His Spirit is the same today as it was 2,000 years ago. He has not changed, and His love and power remain the same. We can trust in His faithfulness and depend on His love, knowing that He still wants to save, heal, and fill us with His Spirit.
Here are three examples:
Read Acts 8:14-17
In Acts 8, there was a great persecution of believers, so they scattered in different directions. Philip went to Samaria, which was a place that was not highly respected by the Jews. Despite this, the people there believed Philip’s message and accepted Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. They were then baptized in water, and Philip was amazed by the transformation. Meanwhile, Peter and John heard about the great things happening in Samaria and decided to go and check it out. As soon as they arrived, they began praying for these new Christians to receive the Holy Spirit. Then, they laid their hands on them and the believers received God’s Spirit. This amazing miracle was a sign to both Peter and John that the Gentiles were truly accepted into the Kingdom of God.
Read Acts 10:44-48
Cornelius is a Gentile Roman soldier in Acts 10, described as a good man who feared God and was generous. However, he did not yet know Jesus. This story is an example of all three of the steps of salvation. He was saved, filled with the Spirit, spoke in tongues, and was water baptized. These steps do not need to happen in the same order, but it is important to recognize all three. Through this story, Acts 10 reminds us of the importance of each of these steps.
Read Acts 19:1-7
In Acts 19, Paul arrived in Ephesus on his third missionary journey. He encountered a small group of people who had been baptized by John the Baptist but had yet to receive the gospel of Jesus Christ. He took it upon himself to explain the Good News of Jesus and the Holy Spirit to them. Paul shared with them that water baptism was not enough and that they needed to be baptized in the name of Jesus to receive the Holy Spirit. After hearing Paul’s words, the group was moved to receive baptism in the name of Jesus. Paul laid his hands on them, and the Holy Spirit came upon them. They were filled with the power and presence of the Spirit and spoke in tongues and prophesied. God had used Paul to bring these people to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and to fill them with the Spirit.
Read John 16:7
There are many believers today who are sincere; they are committed to Jesus, but they don’t prioritize the need for the Holy Spirit. He is available to us and Pastor Jeff reminded us that He is the secret ingredient. He is the one who makes life richer, fuller, deeper, more enjoyable, and more powerful. Jesus said it best when he said,
It is best for you that I go away, for if I don’t, the Comforter won’t come. If I do, he will – for I will send him to you. (John 16:7).
Read Acts 1:8
At salvation, we become a new person. We are released from the burden of our past actions and start a new life in Christ. When we are water baptized, we declare to the world that we have been changed. We have been given a new identity in Christ and are no longer bound by our old ways. This is a really important thing to do to show our faith and devotion to Jesus. But the Holy Spirit has come to give us the power to walk in the new life. He gives us the strength to overcome our old nature and to live out our faith. Now that we have been saved and water baptized, we declare that we are going to live for God. But we know that this is too great a task for us to do on our own strength. We may be able to manage for a time, but eventually, we will stumble, fall, and make mistakes. That is why Jesus said it was good that He go away; so that the Holy Spirit could come and guide us, helping us to stay on the right path. He will give us strength and courage when we need it, enabling us to live the life that God has called us to.
Today, Pentecost Sunday, let us remember the Holy Spirit and not forget how he can help, guide, and strengthen us. He is the missing ingredient in our lives, the One we need for a deeper life. We must not be content to stay in the outer court when there is a richer life available to us through the Spirit. We must go to Calvary for forgiveness, but we must also press on to make it all the way to the inner court and be filled with the Holy Spirit. He is the One who will bring us closer to God and a fuller life.
The Holy Spirit is a gift to us all, no matter our race, culture, or wealth. He blesses us with the gift of baptism into Christ and intercedes for us, teaching us how to pray. He leads us to truth and guides us. He is the ultimate comforter for the hurting and broken, offering healing and hope to those who are addicted and suffering. He is a giver of all good gifts and anoints us with His power. The Holy Spirit is for everyone, and His love and grace are available to us all.
Read Zechariah 4:6 and Philippians 4:13
Zechariah 4:6 states,
…Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord Almighty – you will succeed because of my Spirit, though you are few and weak.
It is of utmost importance that we remember that without the Holy Spirit, we can do nothing. As Pentecostals, we open ourselves to His presence and invite Him into our lives. We leave church with good intentions, but in order to remain connected to the Spirit, we must remain committed to Him. We must strive to honour Him in every aspect of our lives and remember that He is always with us. He can be our strength and our guide in all that we do, and we can rely on Him for comfort and support. We must never forget that He is with us and that He will never leave us. We can do all things through Him who strengthens us.
Read Romans 8:14
In Romans 8:14, Paul reminds us that God’s Spirit leads us and makes us His children. We must be led and filled by the Spirit of God, or else we will be unable to fulfill our purpose. We must strive to remain in the Spirit’s guidance and not get lost in the world around us. We have a responsibility to do what is right and to stay true to the Word of God. We must be mindful of our actions and our words and always remain rooted in the Spirit of God. When we are led by the Spirit, we are better able to love, serve, and glorify God. We are empowered to live a life that reflects our heavenly Father and His perfect will.
Read Acts 2:1-4, 41, Matthew 26:56, and Luke 22:54-62
The disciples were filled with fear and disbelief when Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane. As Jesus was taken away, the disciples were filled with terror and ran away. Peter, who had proclaimed he would never leave Jesus, denied Him three times and then swore he did not know Him. In Acts 2, the disciples are gathered in the Upper Room with a sense of fear and uncertainty. Suddenly, the Holy Spirit descended upon them in a spectacular display of tongues of fire. This remarkable event filled the disciples with newfound courage and power. Led by the Spirit, Peter walked out of the Upper Room and boldly preached an unprepared sermon. His passion and conviction reached the hearts and minds of the listeners, and 3,000 people were saved that day. The arrival of the Holy Spirit and the power that came with it changed the disciples forever. It gave them the courage to go out and spread the message of the gospel. Nothing could stand in their way. Through their boldness, the disciples ultimately fulfilled the mission that Jesus had given them.
Read Acts 4:18-20
Peter had become like a superhero, bold and unstoppable. Nothing could keep him from his mission – preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. He was scared, but the Holy Spirit descended upon him and he walked back out to the crowd with such power, authority, and anointing. It was not just one sermon; he continued to preach and proclaim powerful words. Then, Peter and John saw the Lord heal a man who had been lame for 40 years. He was healed instantly, and Peter and John were arrested for it and threatened. But they did not back down, even when facing danger. This is documented in the book of Acts, which tells the story of Peter’s miraculous transformation and his courageous mission.
Pastor Jeff implores us not to stop at salvation. We are to get saved by God through Jesus Christ and become the new person, the better version of ourselves that the Lord has in store. Through Jesus, we can be better than we were ever before. He has something so new, so powerful, and so awesome for us that will change our lives. Not only should we get saved and water baptized, but we should also be filled with the Holy Spirit. Going all the way to Pentecost and beyond is a great way to embrace the fullness of God’s power and provision in our lives. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can become more than we ever imagined and experience a life of meaning and purpose. We are not to stop at salvation, but we are to take the necessary steps to become the person God desires us to be.