During Jesus earthly ministry He taught and demonstrated in love, truth and power the Kingdom of God on earth in this world damaged by evil. The Kingdom of God is His right to rule and reign.
Where His will is done on earth as it is in heaven.
God’s will and saving purpose planned before the beginning of time is to gather together in one all things in Jesus under His rule and reign. As a result, God in Jesus brings light and life into the darkness and death of this world. He restores peace and harmony, equality and respect to the entire universe, bringing the Kingdom of heaven here on earth into this world damaged by evil.
The complete fulfilment of His kingdom is a new heaven and new where evil is totally eradicated.
We live in a time where evil is defeated, yet it is not eradicated. Heaven did come down on earth in Jesus. Jesus defeated evil and the bondage of humanity’s selfish desires on the cross, however evil and our flesh still exists.
This world of darkness and death, chaos and dissension, inequality and shame cries out for salvation. The earth and oceans continually strives for the restoration of harmony and equilibrium. All creation groans for humanity to come to their place of oneness and intimacy with the divine. Where all who will come to Him will come to Him. That place where God’s will is done and His Kingdom is ruling and reigning in the hearts and minds of every disciple.
It is because of God’s great love that He gives every disciple a part in His healing mission, to reconcile, restore and renew all things to Himself.
Jesus gives His authority to His disciples, so that as they journey through this life, by His Spirit, they are witnesses of Him.
As we continue to live in this world damaged by evil, we are God’s ambassadors to this lost and dying world. In our surrender to the Father’s will, we carry His will and presence into every situation.
It is His Spirit upon us, around us and in us and the work He is doing within us that testifies of Jesus.
As a disciple of Jesus we are fully immersed in His identity being one with His death and resurrection. Through the continued heart and mind condition of surrender, by His Spirit, we are transformed from the inside out.
His transforming power is a surging, rushing, relentless river of new life. Continually being poured out from the throne room of God in heaven to us.
Each day is a new day for every disciple of Jesus to be immersed in the flow of His Spirit, living in the reality of God’s kingdom here on earth. Being transformed by His Spirit into a powerful witness of who God is, what He has done and will do.
So today let us go back to the time when the first disciples of Jesus came together, just as Jesus had instructed them to do, all those centuries ago. When they waited to receive power from on high to be His witnesses throughout the world. This is the first Pentecost after Jesus ascended into heaven.
Acts 2:1-4 'When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.'
The New Testament festival of Pentecost was about identity, power, authority, inheritance, freedom and celebration of every moment in Christ for all eternity.
The first disciples of Jesus have their identity in Him and are gathered together with one accord. They have the unity of His Spirit. Their one purpose is to receive power from the risen Lord, just as He told them they would. His power to be His witnesses wherever they go throughout all the earth.
So they waited expectant, not knowing what would happen.
Suddenly they heard a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind. This sound was so vast it filled the whole house. Every part of the room was full of the same sound and volume. A sound that could only come from heaven. From God the Father and Lord Jesus Christ.
Then they saw tongues as of fire, one sat on each of them. No one was excluded, all were included and all as individuals received. The fire of God’s presence was revealed as they all saw.
As a result of the outpouring of God’s Spirit, His presence in such a distinctive way on each individual, they began to speak in languages not known to them. Languages known to those gathered outside.
The fulfilment of Pentecost was the beginning of a continual outpouring of God’s Spirit. God’s gift of His presence revealing His will and empowering every disciple to be His witness throughout the ages, to the ends of the earth.
They heard, they saw, they spoke.
As a result of being filled with the Holy Spirit.
Filled is an action word, a work of the Holy Spirit and means to be soaked in, the continual state of being filled. It is important to understand that the Holy Spirit is doing the action of the filling. The disciples are simply receiving from Him.
The filling of the Spirit is to experience the living God, being immersed in His presence in body, mind and spirit. The purpose of this continual action of filling by the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God is to be a witness of Jesus. Therefore they were given the power to speak praises of God in languages that those gathered around could understand. They testified of who God is and all He has done.
To be filled with His Spirit is to be immersed in His truth and a witness of Him. His truth that crosses all cultural boundaries, language divides and social economic status, transforming hearts and minds of all who willing.
There are a variety of ways God empowers with different gifts. The writer of the book of Acts uses the expression filled with the Holy Spirit eight times and in every case, the filling of the Holy Spirit enables the person to be a powerful witness of Jesus, testifying of Him and His kingdom. Giving gifts specifically for utterance. Whether it be testimony, praise, preaching or prophecy.
The signs and wonders and miracles that occur, continue to testify that Jesus is alive. They affirm the truth of what has been spoken.
His healing mission and the fulfilment of God’s kingdom on earth continues by the Holy Spirit through His disciples.
They heard, they saw, they spoke.
What was the response of the multitude?
Acts 2:6-11 And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language. Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born? Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.”
Peter responded to those observing, as they were confused, amazed and marvelled. Peter stated that what occurred was the fulfilment of a prophecy proclaimed many centuries ago.
Acts 2:14-21 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy. I will show wonders in heaven above And signs in the earth beneath: Blood and fire and vapor of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD. And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the LORD Shall be saved.’
The gift of prophecy in words, visions and dreams is given to sons and daughters of the Most High, both male and female, young and old, of all tribes and nations is to testify of God. To reach others, so that all who are willing may call on Him and be saved.
There is only One who delivers from judgement and Jesus is His name. When we are a disciple of Jesus we are free from judgement, death and darkness and transferred into His glorious kingdom of life and light.
On the first Pentecost after Jesus had ascended into heaven an extraordinary event occurred. It was the beginning of a continual pouring out of God’s Spirit upon all flesh, starting with those present.
Each subsequent expression of God and experience throughout the ages will be unique, but the purpose and will of God remains.
The Spirit of Christ is to reach all nations with the truth of who He is. The filling of the Spirit is directly related to the prophetic ministry of the church, that is every disciple throughout the ages.
From the Father through Jesus upon and in and through us the Spirit flows.
The result is an uncontrollable adoration for the living God, and a freedom to express that. When we live in a continual heart mind condition of being surrendered to the will of the Father, we are transformed from the inside out.
God continually pours out His Spirit giving gifts according to the will of our Father. The spiritual gifts given by God through Jesus are to witness of Him and reach all people with His truth. They are for the benefit of others, testifying of Him.
With our families, friends, workplace and our everyday life encounters, that is wherever we go, we carry His presence, His testimony, His witness.
There is no greater witness than a transformed heart and mind. It is the transforming power of the Holy Spirit that now defines the life and character of God's people.
The filling of the living waters is always available to us, but our realisation of it depends upon our cooperation with the Holy Spirit.
Ephesians 5:18 'And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God.'
Through the daily surrender of selfish desires to control others, dominate others and manipulate others to get what we want, as we spiritually drink the Living Waters, being soaked in His presence we are being continually filled and empowered.
Surrender of self or letting go of selfish desires and ambitions is to submit to one another.
The first Pentecost the disciples of Jesus experienced the living God and His transforming power.
They heard. By His Spirit God opens our ears, giving us new ways to hear His truth, His voice and be immersed in Him, all of which is His heart's desire of unconditional love.
They saw. God opens our eyes, giving us new ways to see His glory, His vision, His Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.
They spoke. God opens our mouth, giving us new ways to speak His Words, His will, His love story to all peoples.
They Heard, They saw, They Spoke.
He continues His work in and through every disciple as we continually be filled drinking His Living Waters daily surrendered to His will and totally immersed in Him.
Today as we have heard and have seen, by His Spirit may we speak His truth into this lost and dying world. Testifying of His greatness.
His will be done, His mission fulfilled. By His Spirit, in His name, to the glory of our Father. Amen.