Pentecost Sunday is not only about worship and witness, but also about the spirit of giving.
When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.
5 Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6 And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. 7 And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, 11 both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” 12 And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.”
14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. 15 For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:
17 “ ‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; 18 even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy. 19 And I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke; 20 the sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day. 21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ 
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 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 2:1-21; 42-47 ESV)
The mission of the Church of Jesus Christ is a world-wide undertaking that can only be accomplished through supernatural power and supernatural unity.
Recently we have seen both major political parties in our nation seeking some kind of power to unify their base. However grand their vision, however well-crafted their platform, everyone recognizes there must be unity. The Bible says “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?”
You and I know this to be true in our workplaces, our favorite sport teams, our institutions, and our communities. But, the stakes are higher for unity in our families, in our marriages. How many come to me with this very need: seeking a power that could bring unity to move forward.
Yet, this is precisely what Pentecost was all about. Pentecost, one of the major festivals of the Jewish people, commanded by God to remember His mighty works in their midst and to prepare them for Messiah, was celebrated fifty days after Passover. Jesus had commanded the disciples to wait on His power that would send them to fulfill His Great Commission. And so on that day, when representatives from north, south, east, and west—a universal gathering—were in Jerusalem, God sent a one-time, unusual demonstration of His presence to empower and unify the Church to fulfill His mission in the world. That power was so strong that it sent the disciples out into all of the known world by the time the last disciple died. That power was so strong that the inertia propelled the Church with centrifugal force through the generations down to our own day. The empowering brought unity, reversing the curse of the Tower of Babel, and giving a supernatural ability to communicate the Gospel across national and tribal boundaries. The Gospel had gone global.
Peter’s sermon followed (Acts 2:14-41). His sermon was the first of millions of sermons that have been and continue to be proclaimed: believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved and your household. Repent, be baptized, in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Then, followed the organization of the saints into a blending of synagogue and temple forms that came to be known as the local church or parish. The response to Pentecost was four-fold: Apostolic teaching, fellowship, sacramental worship, and the spirit of giving.
Much has been written and preached about Pentecost and teaching, Pentecost and fellowship, and Pentecost and worship. But, today I want to lift forth God’s message to us today about the Pentecost blessing of the spirit of giving.
The Spirit of Giving is the supernatural response of the believer that empowers Christian living and energizes the Great Commission.[pullquote]The Spirit of Giving is the supernatural response of the believer that empowers Christian living and energizes the Great Commission.[/pullquote]
The passage centered in verses 44-47 shows us how this is so. The Spirit-inspired author, Dr. Luke, discloses three ways that the Spirit of Giving empowers living and energizes the Great Commission of Christ.
The first way is this:
The Spirit of Giving creates Generous Living.
There is a wonderful ministry run by a friend of mine in Chattanooga, Hugh O. McClellan, called “Generous Giving.” I believe that ministry is the premier ministry in providing resources for supporting Biblical stewardship based on changed hearts for Christ. But I prefer to call what I see here “Generous Living.” I think “Generous Living” includes “generous giving.” But it is much more.
Now something needs to be said about this passage, something that can be disturbing to twenty-first century readers. We might be tempted to see this as a sort of first-century attempt a Communism or Socialism. It was far from that. It was more akin to those ministries today that are seeking to respond to government overreach by pooling their resources to take care of each other’s medical care. Or, it was like L’Abri in the 1960s, when Francis and Edith Schaeffer led a Hostel for Youth off of Lake Geneva in Switzerland. There, youth could come to study and be mentored under Dr. Schaeffer at night, but work the fields or in the kitchens in the day, to support the mission. In other words, it is more like a Taizé community, a YWAM mission, or even an order like the Franciscans or the Jesuits, or a local AME congregation where there is a strong sense of mercy ministry for their own families.
At the root of this is a changed heart. The priorities have shifted from earning more and more for self to earning more and more, saving more and more, to give more and more to those in need in the Body of Christ, whether in the Church of to fund the mission of the Church to those who have never heard.
John Wesley’s motto comes to mind: “Earn as much as you can, save as much as you can, give away as much as you can.” This is generous living. Generous living is a comprehensive reordering of a person’s life where the will is transformed in its basic desire to give instead of get, to release instead of hold, to cherish instead of use. [pullquote]Generous living is a comprehensive reordering of a person’s life where the will is transformed in its basic desire to give instead of get, to release instead of hold, to cherish instead of use.[/pullquote] It touches money. It touches your gifts. It touches your time. It impacts your talents. It shapes your career choices. Generous living is the Spirit-empowered life that, like a new river of powerful water flowing from a great snowcapped mountain melting beneath the warmth of a new spring, comes down with power, cutting new pathways through old ground. This is an exciting, fresh, and thrilling way to live your life. It is available today for those who go to that mountain and meet with God. This is the power of Pentecost in the daily living of a believer.
The second way builds on the first:
The Spirit of Giving creates Generous Worship.
“And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people” (46-47).
The early Church, empowered by the Spirit and united by the Lord worshiped lavishly. The records of the early church show that their worship was clearly sacramental, that is, focused on liturgical readings of Scripture, a sermon or teaching, and the Eucharist, the Breaking of the Break. Yet, the record of St. Luke is to focus on how they worshipped within their hearts. They were glad. They were generous in their worship to God and with each other and, it seems, even with the outsiders.
The Church today need not look like the world. Indeed, we become more appealing when the mystery of Christ among us is offered in love to those who would come and inquire to see what this is that is changing our lives.
Lesslie Newbigin, the famous Bishop of South India and later inner city church planter in Post-World War II industrialized Britain, wrote that the greatest apologetic for the Gospel remains a congregation that demonstrates the love of Jesus Christ to each other and to the world.
Yet, even this cannot ever be programmed. It must be an organic response of the supernatural activity of the life of Jesus in the life of His people. This comes from His people repenting and calling for Him to dwell among them. He will always answer that prayer.
Finally, to quote a Flannery O’Connor title: “Everything that rises must converge,” and a third way unfolds:
The Spirit of Giving causes supernatural growth in the Church of Jesus Christ.
This is the how the early Church grew. Pentecost created amazing teaching, loving fellowship, powerful, intimate worship, but also the spirit of giving. And through that spirit of giving God brought about new life.
We must not ever think that our gifts to the Church are merely paying electric bills and paying the school auditorium rent. The Electric bills and the school rent are creating space that becomes the sanctuary of the living God where God’s people meet with Him to renew the Covenant of God each and every Lord’s Day; a place where every now and then a child hears and believes, an older person struggling with aging and failing health gets a glimpse of glory and feels hope, a place where a child receives the waters of baptism, or a place where old friends, long separated, are reconciled by the Word of the Lord, where silence in prayer and hallelujahs in musical chorus join together to express the joy of salvation, and sometimes a struggling faith that is whispering, “Lord, I believe. Help me in my unbelief.”
Yet, to give our gifts of time, talent, and treasure in this way is to open our hearts to the gift of the Holy Spirit. Though He goes where He will, when He wills, can we not expect His presence if we wait upon Him in humble prayer, giving of ourselves in worship like the early Church? [pullquote]Though He goes where He will, when He wills, can we not expect His presence if we wait upon Him in humble prayer, giving of ourselves in worship like the early Church?[/pullquote] Pentecost, as it happened fifty days after the Passover, Passion, and Crucifixion of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, will never happened again exactly that way. It was a historical event to propel the Church into the world. This is not to say that we do not pray for a great revival to come. Yet, there are “mini-bursts” of the Spirit that come to us when we wait, pray, and when we are prepared to go on the mission the Lord has for us. For His Spirit comes upon us for a purpose: to empower us and unite us for His mission in the world. That mission may be to go the ends of the earth. Or it may be to cross the living room and be reunited with your son or daughter or wife. Or it may be to be reunited to God. Take the time right now to make this day a historic day in your life when you committed to follow Jesus Christ as your resurrected Lord and Savior. Mark this Pentecost as the coming of the Spirit into your life by saying, “Come Holy Spirit. Use me, even me, to do Thy will, to publish the Good News of Jesus Christ. Make me a vessel through which Thy Word can reach the world.”
It is Pentecost Sunday. And we do each pray,in our own way, “O Lord, send Thy Holy Spirit upon us now, generously.”
In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
 Amos 3:3.
 Acts 16:31.
 See, e.g., John R. W. Stott, The Message of Acts: The Spirit, the Church & the World (Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994). See, also, Jr. Casper J. Kraemer, “Pliny and the Early Church Service: Fresh Light from an Old Source,” Classical Philology 29, no. 4 (October 01, 1934), accessed May 14, 2016, http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2307/264852?ref=search-gateway:8195cf65d6b7907f40414cbeac936466.
 See, e.g., Jonathan A. Draper, “Ritual Process and Ritual Symbol in “Didache” 7-10,” Vigiliae Christianae 54, no. 2 (January 01, 2000), accessed May 14, 2016, http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2307/1584865?ref=search-gateway:2efdf85c8f932f3a9d1e8c0b99207cf2. See, also, Hugh Thomson Kerr, “The Story of the Book of Common Worship,” Journal of the Presbyterian Historical Society (1943-1961) 29, no. 4 (December 01, 1951), accessed May 14, 2016, http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2307/23324745?ref=search-gateway:6b09a1f05fc2e00567250d53a25875b2.
 O’Connor, Flannery. Everything That Rises Must Converge. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1965.