Summary: One of the notable symbols of Pentecost is that of "fire." We remember that there was fire at the first Pentecost - the giving of the law to Moses 50 days after the crossing of the Red Sea as the Israelites departed Egypt. Here’s the description given to
Acts 2:1-4… On the day of Pentecost, seven weeks after Jesus’ resurrection, the believers were meeting together in one place. 2 Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm in the skies above them, and it filled the house where they were meeting. 3 Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. 4 And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability. NLT
One of the notable symbols of Pentecost is that of "fire." We remember that there was fire at the first Pentecost - the giving of the law to Moses 50 days after the crossing of the Red Sea as the Israelites departed Egypt. Here’s the description given to us by Moses:
Exodus 19:18 "Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the LORD descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, the whole mountain trembled violently."
According to Acts Chapter 2, on the New Testament Day of Pentecost 50 days after the Resurrection, fire appeared again.
The setting was where the faithful followers of Jesus met for 10 days of expectant prayer.
It is significant that at the Exodus Pentecost, the fire appeared above the entire nation, whereas on the Pentecost of Acts appeared as a fire positioned over each individual.
This symbolizes the first fire was for the people of God as a whole, but now the anointing of the Spirit was made available for every individual believer.
Luke’s description of this manifestation, as "tongues of fire" enabled the worshippers to speak in "tongues," later to be understood and interpreted by some of Jerusalem’s foreign visitors.
Acts 2:9-11 … "Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia; Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes." They all received the message.
The Holy Spirit brought to the believers:
• Freedom, Inspiration, Renewal, and Effectiveness
1. The Spirit Produces Freedom.
There are many kinds of freedom:
• freedom from prison, oppression, or tyranny,
• freedoms of speech
• freedoms of religion
• financial freedom
• Revolutionaries fight for political freedom;
• educators argue for intellectual freedom;
• theologians tell us we are "free moral agents";
• Freudian psychologists try to convince us that sexual freedom is the way to happiness.
In our Christian life, what comes to mind are two freedoms:
1. freedom from sin… The first freedom has to do with receiving salvation
Romans 6:18 … "You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness."
Does this mean we will never again sin? Of course not.
It does mean that we are no longer under the power of the sin nature. Instead of succumbing to the power of the evil one, which always produces destruction and death, we are free to serve God in righteousness.
2. freedom from fear … is about spreading the message of salvation.
Took place after the first persecution of the early Christians. When strictly told that they should no longer preach this message about Jesus, they called a prayer meeting.
Acts 4:31… "After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly." They we able to overcome their fear by the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit.
Paul later made a clear connection between the Spirit and freedom
II Corinthians 3:17… "Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom."
2. The Spirit Produces Inspiration.
ILL… We often refer to writers, artists or musicians as being "inspired" - they create their masterpieces while drawing from some form of inspiration.
However with the Holy Spirit we say there is inspiration so whenever we attempt to talk with someone about the most important matters, i.e., life, death, heaven, hell, peace with God - we can expect to be guided by the Holy Spirit.
At the end of the conversation we may remark, "Where did that come from?" Our awareness is that what we said did not represent something we had knowingly thought up - the words flowed easily, and came inspired by the Spirit.
Def… To speak with inspiration simply means to speak God’s Word with an anointing of the Spirit so that it accomplishes something of lasting value.
Isaiah 55:10 - 11… "As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater. So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it."