The fire of Pentecost – the first love
“So then, those who accepted his message were baptized; and on that day about 3,000 souls were added [to the body of believers]. They were continually and faithfully devoting themselves to the instruction of the apostles, and to fellowship, to eating meals together and to prayers.” Acts 2:41-42 (AMP).
The believers in the first church were united and came together day after day in the temple. They gathered in one spirit against all the spiritual forces of evil. The love for Jesus was burning in their hearts and was first and greatest in their lives. People had been destroyed by Satan for centuries, but now he had to draw back before this fire of Pentecost.
The wild beasts keep a distance from the fire
If you want to protect yourself in the wilderness from wild beasts, you light a fire. The wild beasts will watch from a safe distance, and whenever the fire burns higher, they draw back a few steps. But when the flames begin to die down, they come a little closer, and they continue to come closer, little by little, as the fire dies down. The people who are far away from the fire will be the first ones to be caught by the wild beasts. If the fire dies out completely, everyone will become their prey. This is a picture of what can happen in the church of the living God.
We read in Acts 6:1 that when there came more and more disciples, the Greek-speaking Jews started to complain about the Hebrews. Here we can see how quickly the “growling of the wild beasts” could be heard from among those who were on the “outer edge” of the first church. Paul says in Acts 20:28-29 (NIV), “Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock.”
Paul used strong words to remind and encourage the elders to watch over the flock which Jesus won with His own blood, and to protect them against these “savage wolves”. Nothing should be spared to protect God's flock. This is when we need to love Christ “more than these”. Read John 21:15-17.
The fire of Pentecost is always burning in the disciples
Satan could not do anything against the core of disciples in the first church; they were too powerful to overcome. The fire of Pentecost burned in each one of them until their last day on earth. Even in our days there are “wild and savage beasts” moving around the church of the living God, and sometimes you can hear them “growling and roaring” on the outer edges. But even now there is a core of disciples in whose hearts the fire of Pentecost is burning brightly, and Satan has no power over them. For this reason, everyone should be quick to come to the centre where the fire is hottest.
In the centre, this fire is kept alive by feeding it with our self-life – by not giving in to the sinful lusts and desires which come from within ourselves. The fire of Pentecost has died out in the hearts of people who have stopped admitting the truth about themselves to an ever deeper degree. When the fire dies out they are only left with these wonderful memories of when they were baptised with the Spirit, but with no power in their lives to resist the “wild beasts”. The “wild beasts” – dressed in sheep’s clothing – destroy such assemblies.
The fire of Pentecost must be kept burning. For this we need to have sincere prayer meetings. All evil and sin must stop with us. Let us watch out for anything that breaks our fellowship with God’s people because then we are drawn away from the centre and will be destroyed spiritually. Only together with God’s people can we grow up in all things to Him, who is the head. Only in the body of Christ can we experience the fullness of Christ. Let us be like the core of disciples in the first church who would rather die than sin.