The significance of the Holy Spirit arriving on the Day of Pentecost is that He indwelled the believers, and gave them the boldness and courage needed to present the gospel. This is what Jesus spoke of just prior to His departure, telling the disciples of a sign for them to know that something special was happening and that God’s plan was succeeding and nothing could stop it.
The result of this Pentecostal visitation was that the apostle began to speak in other tongues and the people who happened to pass by could hear them speaking in their own language. These hearers knew that the apostles were simple people and should not have know all those different languages, so they were amazed and wonderstruck! So powerful was the Holy Spirit that over 3000 people became believers that day.
The conversions of the people hearing this new message presented by Peter and the others are central to God’s plan because they demonstrate, without a doubt, that anyone call be saved. Even the greatest enemy of the church at that time, Saul, became its greatest convert. It was made known that even the uncircumcised Gentiles were as loved by God as much as were the Hebrews. These conversions illustrated that God is truly the God of all, not just some.
The conversions on that day also showed that this new way to God was not ritualistic like Judaism was, but that anyone, at any time, could come to God through Jesus and be blessed with the baptism of the Holy Spirit. God was leading people to freedoms in Him that no one had known before, and it wasn’t just the Hebrews who were now free, but the Gentiles as well.
In order to include the Gentiles, the leaders of the early Christian church formed a council, prayed for the guidance of the Holy Spirit and had a meeting; the significance of this councils decisions were that they did not place any undue burdens on the Gentiles who wished to accept Jesus as their Savior. They did not hinder the work of God with man-made rules and regulations; they promoted the freedoms that God desired for all His children.
The implications for us today is that missionaries need to accept people as they are just as God does. Missionaries shouldn’t place denominational burdens on converts whose culture may not be the same as ours, and they need to allow people to remain comfortable in their culture as they began to live godly lives and to follow Christ.