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Pentecost Sunday

H. Maurice Lednicky, president of Central Bible College in Springfield, Mo., for 20 years, spoke about the significance of Pentecost Sunday with Ken Horn, managing editor of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Evangel: What is Pentecost Sunday and what is its significance to the believer?

Lednicky: The Day of Pentecost was not an arbitrary date on the calendar. In the Old Testament, Pentecost was the second of three annual major festivals, and it came 50 days after Passover.

So, the Old Testament type, the Feast of Pentecost, was fulfilled on what we know as the Day of Pentecost. First, this is the birthday of the New Testament church. Second, it represents a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. And third, with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit came enduement of power to be witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Evangel: When someone is baptized in the Holy Spirit, what changes take place?

Lednicky: On the birthday of the Church, Peter indicated the Baptism is for all believers.

Speaking in other tongues is the initial physical evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit. And, it is also the continuing evidence. However, believers are not to seek "tongues," but rather the fullness of God’s presence and power.

The ministry of the Spirit is to exalt Jesus Christ. Jesus said, "He shall testify of me." When people are hungry for the Holy Spirit, they need to begin praising and magnifying Jesus Christ. They will soon recognize their vocabulary is limited and that it is impossible to ascribe to Him all the glory and praise that belongs to Him. In that moment, when human resource has been exhausted, the Holy Spirit comes and helps the believer exalt Christ.

The message of the Book of Acts was not the baptism in the Holy Spirit; rather that we will receive the Spirit’s power to be witnesses to the fact that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

Evangel: How does a believer walk in the Spirit?

Lednicky: Our lifestyles must glorify Almighty God, and that requires the work of the Spirit. There are several ways that is accomplished.

The Holy Spirit illuminates the truth of God’s Word. The Word deals in principle; the Holy Spirit applies the particulars to the individual believer. So when the Word of God is being illuminated by the Holy Spirit, then we have a solid foundation that produces a changed lifestyle.

The Holy Spirit gives personal correction or conviction. He simply nudges our hearts and says, "This isn’t the way," or "That was wrong," and we can repent and make restitution.

The Holy Spirit guides in our decision-making. When we walk closely and hear His voice, we will always be pleasing to God.

The Holy Spirit makes us sensitive to His leadership in spiritual matters. When we meet someone in the grocery store or sit next to someone on the airplane, God opens doors of opportunity to witness. Young people express it this way: "It’s 24-7" — 24 hours a day, seven days a week that we are to walk in the Spirit.

Evangel: What are your observations about our churches in the United States today?

Lednicky: Many of the students who come to this campus are first-generation Pentecostals. So we know people are being saved and filled with the Spirit in our churches. That is evidence of the work of the Spirit today.

But I wish there was a stronger emphasis on being filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will sustain and keep believers during inevitable trials and tests. Emotions vacillate. As soon as a person is born again, he or she should be led into the baptism in the Holy Spirit.

With the fire of the Holy Spirit within us, we will then be effective witnesses and evangelism will take place. That is what Pentecost is all about.

 

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