Have you heard of the Day of Pentecost? What does this day have to do with the church and with believers?
The church, in Jesus’ mind, has always existed, even before the Day of Pentecost, but of course, what God has ordained before is as good as done anyway, but regardless, Jesus came to build His church. He didn’t say, “You and I will build My church,” or “You can help me build My church.” No, Jesus is the Master Builder and He alone builds His church, but He can use us as a means to do so. The Apostle Peter declared of Jesus, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt 16:16), to which Jesus said, “you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt 16:18). Jesus referred to Peter’s statement that Jesus is the Son of God…the Christ, and upon Him He will the church be built. He is the Chief Cornerstone upon which everything else holds together (Eph 2:19-22). I cannot say that I am the pastor of “my church” at such and such a place, but I pastor a church in a certain town and am only an under-shepherd to the Head Shepherd. It is His church.
Hints of the Church
We don’t have to wait until the Book of Acts to hear about the church. Jesus mentioned the church to Peter early on (Matt 16:18), but when Jesus mentions the church again, this time He’s referring to church discipline. In particular, He says that a sinning brother or sister should be confronted with their clear and obvious sin. If that doesn’t help them turn from their sin, they are to bring this up before the church, and if that fails, the unrepentant sinner is to be disfellowshipped from the church (Matt 18:15-20).
The Day of Pentecost
The word Pentecost comes from the Greek word “pentekostos” which means “fifty” (50) or the “fiftieth” day. To the ancient Israelites, it was the “Feast of First Fruits,” called Shavuot. It was a great day of celebration because the early harvest came in and enabled Israel to survive until the greater fall harvest would come. Pentecost also became a traditional Jewish celebration of the giving of the Law at Mount Sinai. Even today, some churches still celebrate it as a holy day in the Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, Roman Catholic, and even a few Lutheran churches. It’s important to note that the counting starts on Passover Day and the 50th day after Passover is always on a Sunday, which happens to be the Lord’s Day. Most believers feel that the church was actually born on the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came upon believers. This is recorded in the Book of Acts where Luke writes, “When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place” (Acts 2:1), and the believers who were assembled “were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:4). These tongues or languages were languages they had never spoken before, but it was a supernatural sign that God has called people of all tongues and nations as a people for Himself and not limited only to the Jewish people.
The Early Church
The early church grew rapidly, so why did God bless the church so much? In the first place, “they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42), meaning the church devoted themselves to studying the apostles’ doctrine. The apostles’ doctrine were actually what Jesus taught them (Matt 28:18-20), so they were studying Jesus’ doctrines! Next, noticed that this church was unified as “all who believed were together and had all things in common” (Acts 2:44). One example was, “they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need” (Acts 2:45). They were generous people because they knew God would take care of their needs. This shows that Jesus’ teachings were getting through to them. The last thing they would have done was to forsake the assembling together as the Body of Christ as many do today (Heb 10:24-25). It’s obvious because they were “day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts” (Acts 2:46). This explains why the church grew so quickly (Acts 2:47).
God Grows the Church
I would venture to say that as a pastor, I’m not worried about filling the pews or the parking lot; my desire is to fill the Book of Life. It’s not about building church membership. It’s about building the Kingdom of God as God Himself calls people to Christ (John 6:44). God gives the increase, but we must be faithful to do what He has called the church to do, and that is to come to those who are sick, visit those in prison, clothe the naked, feed the poor, but preach the gospel while we’re at it (Matt 25:35-36). What the New Testament Church was doing is what I desire all churches to be doing, and what we should be doing is praising God. The first century church was only concerned with “praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47). When they did that; praise God even in their affliction, God added to their numbers, and that’s what we want. We want to add names/numbers to the Book of Life. You can fill a church very easily, but it might have more tares than wheat if we’re not faithful to preach the whole counsel of God. Like Jesus said; it’s about repenting and believing the Gospel (Mark 1:15).
If you have never trusted in Christ, today is your day of salvation (2 Cor 6:2). If you delay and the Lord comes today or you die before trusting in Christ, your judgment is worse than can be described (Rev 20:12-15), so please choose life and you can pillow your head in peace tonight.
Here is some related reading for you: What is Pentecost? A Bible Study 
Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: Study Bible: English standard version. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.