Coming Of The Holy Spirit
2 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. 5. And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven.
The Holy Spirit is our power source for when God wants to do the impossible through us. It all began with a promise Jesus left His disciples right before He ascended back to heaven. You’ll find it in the chapter before today’s reading.
On one occasion, while He was eating with them, [Jesus] gave them this command, “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized in water, but in a few days you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit. ... You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Today we separate what happened about 50 days after that first Passover, a holiday the ancient Jews called Pentecost. Instead of celebrating a harvest of crops, the early church would come to know this as a harvest of souls. Overnight, the church would be born. Not a brick and mortar church, but a church of people who had trusted their lives to Christ. The story is in Acts ch.2
I want to share today three observations of this original Pentecost experience. These three happenings are as true for us today as they were for the original disciples. Starting with,
Pentecost is all about the mysterious power of God. Verse 2 describes the “rushing mighty wind”, in another translation, “blowing of a violent wind” filling the house where these disciples were sitting. Imagine a tornado blowing through your house, on the inside! Power, potentially destructive power, humbling power. The Greek word for power here is “dunamos,” from which we get “dynamite!”
This is the kind of power undoubtedly experienced by the nation of Israel when they were led in the wilderness by a pillar of smoke by day and fire by night. And they saw smoke and experienced earthquakes from Mount Sinai as Moses met with God. Or the prophet Isaiah when he experienced a vision of angels singing, temple doorposts shaking as in a violent earthquake, and smoke filling the space around him.
To demonstrate to the disciples and to the unbelieving world that the Spirit had come in power on the church in a new way, every believer in the upper room began to speak in languages they had never learned. It was The Gift, The Holy Spirit.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes, I’ll admit, I take God for granted. I know He loves me, and nothing will ever stop that love. On the other hand, I forget that “His ways are not my ways, His thoughts not my thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9), that He is so much higher and greater and grander and smarter and stronger than I am, that there is no real comparison between God and I… God is God...and I am not.
Pentecost is about recognizing the power of God. It’s about having your world shaken to the core, having your life turned upside down, and realizing God is God...and we are not.
The early believers would know about myths and legends surrounding seemingly powerful gods. Remember the Greek and Roman gods you studied in school? They were powerful. They were even downright mean at times, messing around with human lives as if they were nothing. Yet, there is something different about this one true God. He is all powerful and yet, He is all loving as well. Notice that even in the midst of all of this potentially destructive power.
Did you catch that in the reading? There is the blowing of a violent wind, and then what seemed like tongues of fire. Both of those things would send my mind sailing in fear! I would be looking for exits out of the building, for fire alarms to pull, for my cell to put in a quick 911 call. I would be thinking, “Escape at all costs!” But notice what happens next. Those tongues of fire separate. They originate out of one source, which we will learn is the Holy Spirit, the very Spirit of God himself. And then they separate, and they come to “rest” on each of the believers (v3).
What an interesting term. God does not forcefully invade the believers, like some alien in a sci-fi movie. No, He comes down to gently rest on each one. What a beautiful picture of the mercy of God! He who is so much stronger than any of us, so much more powerful, so much wiser, so much more in control, this God of all that is created...lovingly comes to rest on His creation.
The Israelites in the desert discovered a God of power and glory and mystery on Mount Sanai, but they also discovered a God who wanted to personally communicate to them through Moses, to guide them and feed them, and bring them into a land full of milk and honey. Isaiah met a God who thought so highly of this one human being, that He sent an angel to touch him and make him righteous and holy (Isaiah 6:7). The people in the upper room at Pentecost found a powerful and mysterious God who came to rest gently on each one of them. And we find that same God… when we humble ourselves and wait for His presence.
Sometimes we think, It would be a lot simpler to know God if I could have been in that upper room with a rushing wind and tongues of fire coming down to rest on my head! That wouldn’t require so much faith. I want my own tornado and fire experience! But maybe God doesn’t change as much from Bible times as we think He does. Maybe this same God works in much the same way today. Maybe, as the author of Hebrews says, Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).
Maybe our problem is, we don’t get quiet enough in the upper room to clearly hear from God. I know I have a lot of clutter in my own life. Busy, busy, busy. I think, “God, why don’t you come in a louder way?” And God may answer, “I am, but you’re not quiet or still enough to hear it!” Speak, Lord, your servant is hearing. Come, Holy Spirit, come. And then the third most amazing thing happens at Pentecost...
3. The presence of God enables us.
That’s what the Holy Spirit is all about. This mysterious third person of the Trinity that is so hard to nail down, He comes to enable us to do what we could never do on our own. The power worship God. To love one another. Believe me when I say this, those two miracles that I had mention would not be possible if it were not for the Holy Spirit. We will not worship God or love one another.
The Holy Spirit arrived on the Day of Pentecost, accompanied by extraordinary manifestation of His presence. These manifestations were sign oriented, not character oriented. In other words, the Bible doesn’t say that after being filled with the Holy Spirit in the upper room, they went out with great patience, kindness, gentleness, and so on. Rather it says they immediately began speaking in other tongues. That is how the unbelievers who heard then knew that something/someone, supernatural had taken place.
Sure, there will always be doubters. As there was it that time. Some in this Pentecost crowd mocked them, “You’ve just had too much to drink!” They thought they were drunk. But others, oh, their lives were turned around forever. Peter preached with a newfound boldness. Yes, this same Peter who had denied even knowing Jesus just weeks before. Now he is a new person. And he cuts right to the chase. “Your sins put Jesus on the cross!” (Which is true for each of us as well, by the way.) And they say, “What can we do?” He tells them to turn away from their sin and receive the risen Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior. And they do, as 3,000 people are added to the church that day! That is how the church/not a building. A body of new, born again believers were born. All by the power of God, through His Spirit.
Are you ready for God to give you super-natural abilities? The right words when you need them? The right presence of love and forgiveness and truth when you need it? Pentecost is not reserved to the original 120 believers. It is for you and for me. This same God still speaks, still moves like a tornado, still rests on us like tongues of fire, still fills us to do the impossible. Our part… to wait, to watch, to listen, to yield.
Pastor Richard Santos
Audio copies of previously delivered messages are now available in CD. Requests can be made on the 'Contacts' tab.
Video message is now available in YouTube as of Jan. 2020