Summary: The Holy Spirit is the power of Christ manifest in the Believer; how are you using that power?
American revivalist Charles Finney often spoke of how God gave him mighty infillings of the Holy Spirit. At one point, he wrote of infillings
…that went through me, as it seemed, body and soul. I immediately found myself endued with such power from on high that a few words dropped here and there to individuals were the means of their immediate conversion. My words seemed to fasten like barbed arrows in the souls of men. They cut like a sword. They broke the heart like a hammer. Multitudes can attest to this; sometimes I would find myself in a great measure empty of this power. I would go and visit, and find that I made no saving impression. I would exhort and pray with the same results. I would then set apart a day for private fasting and prayer…after humbling myself and crying out for help, the power would return upon me with all its freshness. This has been the experience of my life.”
[The Holy Spirit is the power of Christ manifest in the Believer; how are you using that power?]
1. Today is Pentecost Sunday—the day we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples; infilling and empowering them to carry out the work Christ gave them. It also marks the fulfillment of Jesus promise to all believers—including us.
2. This day should be as special as Christmas or Easter; yet, many church-going Christians overlook it completely. We may wonder, why? I have a theory on that; we will consider that a bit later.
3. Pentecost is so called because it falls on the fiftieth day after the presentation of the first barley sheaf of the harvest, i.e., fifty days from the first Sunday after Passover (pentekostos, Gk. for “fiftieth”)
4. Hebrew and Aramaic-speaking Jews know it as the “Feast of Weeks”, or “Day of First fruits”. Later, some reckoned it the anniversary of the giving of the law at Mt. Sinai (Ex. 19:1).
II. THE HOLY SPIRIT DESCENDS (2:1-4)
1. If you are a student of Scripture, you know that while the disciples believe in Jesus as their Savior, they are still confused about many different things.
2. They don’t fully understand Jesus’ mission, i.e., why he had come to earth. They still wonder if Jesus will be an earthly king. They are confused, and, as a result, they are timid: not confident in sharing the Gospel with others. How can they be, if they don’t fully understand?
3. Then something amazing happens. As they gather with about 120 other believers, the sound of a violent wind fills the house they are in (perhaps the upper room of last supper fame, but not sure).
A. Next, they see “tongues of fire” come on each of the apostles. Luke says the fire separates (implying a single mass of flame) and lights on each apostle, filling them with the HS and causing them to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enables them.
B. Those with them come from regions all over the known world, being scattered in the Diaspora (or dispersion) of native Jews in the Babylonian exile of 6th century BC.
C. Once allowed to return to their homeland, many Jews stay, living in the lands of their captors: probably because they are living comfortably and do not want to uproot and start again.