What turned the disciples of Jesus from being those who denied Him and forsook Him at Calvary to those who were willing to preach Him before hostile peoples? Pentecost! Something quite amazing happened on the day of Pentecost that utterly transformed the disciples. It was on the day of Pentecost that the promised Holy Spirit was poured out on the church. For that reason Pentecost has often been called the “Birthday of the Christian church.” What made it such a special day for those early believers? What does it mean for us today?
1). The Promise Of The Holy Spirit In The Old Testament. It had been prophesied that God would do something new for His people. He would do it by His Spirit. These verses express that thought. God would, by His Spirit, make His people sensitive to Him. Eze_11:19 And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, Also Eze_36:26. His cure for His hard-hearted people would be to give them a heart more sensitive to Him by putting a new spirit in them.
God would give His people His own Spirit to indwell them. Ezek 36:27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. (Also Ezek 37:14). This adds to the previous verses the truth that His Spirit would motivate and empower them to do His will.
God would pour out His Spirit on all peoples. The promise of the Spirit is now extended to be poured out on “all flesh”. Joel 2:28 “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. 29 Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit. There would be no age, gender or class distinctions when the Spirit was poured out.
2). The Promise Of The Holy Spirit through John the Baptist. He prophesied that believers would be baptised by, or receive, the Holy Spirit. Mat 3:11 “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. AND Mark 1:8 I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
3). The Promise of the Spirit by Jesus. He promised His followers that they would receive the Spirit of God after His resurrection. John 7:39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. After His resurrection and before His ascension to heaven He promised His followers, Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
4). The promise of the gift of the Spirit was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost. On the day of Pentecost the Spirit came upon the disciples. Act_2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Peter’s explanation of the incident. The exalted Jesus received the gift of the Spirit and poured out the gift of the Spirit upon the church. Acts 2:33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he (Jesus) has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing.
5). How to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. By Asking God the Father for the gift. Luk_11:13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
Through repentance and trust in Jesus as Saviour and Lord. Acts 2:38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
For whom is it available? Acts 2:39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”
6). How does the Holy Spirit express His presence in the believer? The Fruit of the Spirit is the outward expression of the presence of the Holy Spirit in God’s people. Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
The on-going Christian walk. Living by the Spirit. Gal 5:25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. AND Rom_8:11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
7). Will believers ever “lose” the Holy Spirit? No, believers are sealed with the Spirit. 2Co_1:22 and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. Eph_1:13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, and Eph_4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Wrong behaviour by a believer might cause grief to the Holy Spirit but He will never be grieved into departing.
8). What does it mean to be “filled with the Holy Spirit?” That was God’s command through St Paul for His people to “be filled with the Spirit”, Eph 5:18. The verb for “be filled” is present continuous and means “keep on being filled” with the Holy Spirit. Some have suggested that “we leak” and so we need to be filled again and again (presumably with more of the Spirit). However the Holy Spirit is a person and so it is not always helpful to use that term. Rather it could mean that instead of relinquishing all of our lives to the control of the Lord, all the time, we take back control so that there are areas of our lives that are no longer under His control. To ask God to fill us with His Spirit means that we are placing everything in our lives under His control again. It’s a prayer we need to pray all the time.
9). What sort of prayer does one need to pray to be filled with the Spirit? God knows our hearts and desires, so our prayer can be as simple as this. “Heavenly Father, I thank You that Jesus Your Son died for me on the cross so that I could be forgiven. I thank You that when I asked Him into my life, You sealed me with Your Holy Spirit so that I belong to You forever. Fill every part of my life with Your Holy Spirit so that I can become more and more the person You want me to be, and do the things You want me to do. I ask this in Jesus’ name. AMEN”
Blog No.075. Jim Holbeck. Posted on Tuesday 22nd May 2012