Summary: After Pentecost, when the early church was filled with the Holy Spirit, they did five important things. This message directs you what those five things are after you are filled with the Holy Spirit.
“After Pentecost - Then What?”
September 1, 2007
After Jesus was crucified, He hung around for forty more days teaching his much loved disciples many things. John wrote about a few of the things He did, then said,
“Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” John 21:25
I don’t know what He said and did, but it changed the lives of those men. Before the forty days - they were cowards. After the 40 days - they were courageous. Before the 40 days - they were selfish. After the 40 days they were spiritual. Before the forty days - their lives were frustrating and chaotic. After the 40 days their lives were focused and centered. Before the 40 days - they were saved. After the 40 days they were sanctified. Before the 40 days - they had the Savior. After the 40 days - they had the Spirit.
What made the difference? It was the Holy Spirit. Before Jesus ascended into heaven He said,
“…wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. …in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 1:3
They did and they were spectacularly filled. So there could be no doubt -the Holy Spirit came with the sound of a great rushing wind; a ball of fire descended into the room and separated into tongues of fire that came to rest on each of them. Then they began to speak in other languages. Languages they had never learned. What did it all mean. Here’s what I think it meant.
The sound of the rushing wind, or as the NIV puts it, “a violent wind” - represented the ‘power’ of the Holy Spirit. The fire represented the purifying nature of the Holy Spirit. The miracle of speaking in unknown languages represented the universality of the gift. In other words, the Holy Spirit is a gift for all people, not just the Jews. All who believe, by faith, may receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
These people in the upper room met the criteria of receiving the Holy Spirit. They believed. They repented and had been baptized. (Acts 2:38) And they were living in obedience. (Acts 5:32) You see, the gift of the Holy Spirit is for believers. More than that - it is for ‘obedient’ believers. I think the Holy Spirit works in each one of our lives - even before we are saved - to a certain extent. He convicts us of sin. He leads us to righteousness. After we accept Jesus as our Savior, the Holy Spirit teaches us and reveals God’s will to us. But you will never receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit until you surrender completely to Him. You will never know the fullness of the Gift until you come into total obedience to His known will in your life.
The Holy Spirit’s purpose is to teach us and guide us. If you are unteachable; if you won’t follow Him - how can He do His job? He can’t. So until you rid yourself of all selfishness and rebellion - you quench the Spirit. You hinder the Holy Spirit from doing His work in your life. You cheat yourself out of this heavenly Gift. So, before you can possess this Gift - the Gift has to possess YOU! You have to be teachable and coachable and willing to follow anywhere and obey anything He asks you to do. If you are willing to do that - then you may receive this Gift for power to do His will and for purifying your life.
And that brings me to the point of this message. After Pentecost - THEN what? After your surrender to the Holy Spirit - THEN what?
I am going to assume that you have surrendered your life to the Holy Spirit. I am going to assume that you desire to walk in obedience to God. If you are not there - then you need to get there. The rest of what I am going to tell you really doesn’t matter- if you aren‘t there. Receiving the Holy Spirit is the big need in your life. Totally consecrating your life to God is the big need. Ridding your life of all rebellion to God is the big need. You can’t go further until you get past this point. You need to pray for the infilling of the Holy Spirit. You need to pray for the strength to surrender everything in your heart and make Jesus truly the Lord of your life. Preceding Pentecost, after Jesus ascended up into heaven, the disciples locked themselves into an upper room and began to pray. They didn’t witness; they didn’t preach; they didn’t teach; they didn’t do anything but pray. And if you have not received the Holy Spirit - that is what you need to do. Pray until you have emptied yourself - of yourself. Pray until all of you is surrendered totally to God. Pray until the Holy Spirit falls on you. You will know it when it happens.