Summary: TheHoly Spirit may arrive with great or little power, great or little noise, but He always transforms.
Acts 2:1-4, 14-19 QUIET POWER 30/5/04S&C
There is a story about a sunken ship that illustrates the quietness of the Spirit, but at the same time, His Power in our lives.
"Several years ago engineers building a new bridge over the East River in New York, discovered that the wrecked hull of a ship, sunk many years before, lay right where the center piers were to be built. Powerful machinery was brought in to remove the ship, but it would not budge.
Then one of the engineers had an unusual idea-why not have the tide raise the ship!! Some strong cables were attached to the hull when the tide was low. The other ends were fastened to the barge above. As the tide came in, the barge gradually lifted the sunken ship. It was then towed out into the ocean and sunk at a spot that would not cause future problems."
God’s Holy Spirit is sometimes like that tide; it comes quietly; it comes in slowly; but it comes to us with enough power to change us so that we might do the job God has called each of us to do.
For you see, the power of the Holy Spirit is not just for salvation, it is for transformation-- a process that could be immediate, or slow and gradual. The difference might look like this: you can release a tremendous amount of power and energy by just dropping a lighted match into ten gallons of gasoline; that would make a dramatic, one-time impact. But there is another way to release its energy. If you put it in the fuel tank of a Honda, the power in that gasoline could be used to take four people, and their luggage, over 400 miles. Explosions may be spectacular, but the sustained, controlled burn has a lasting impact. God doesn’t want us to be just a flash in the pan; He has invited us to join Him for the long haul, and to make a difference in this world on our journey.
As long as we think that Christianity is something that WE do, we are missing the point. It is not about what we do, but what God does in us. Being a Christian is not doing the right thing, or believing the right doctrines; it is knowing the right Person. It is not about being a member of the church or saying prayers. It is not about baptism or communion, although those are important parts of our life together. It is about surrendering my life, my body, my mind and my heart to Jesus Christ, and asking Him to come and live in me. It is about confessing my sin, and turning from it. It is about banking everything I am and have on God.
Many churches faithfully preach about salvation and the necessity of new birth. In fact, that is what you hear almost every Sunday. The scripture changes, but the message is basically the same: “You need to be born again.” And that is good as far as it goes. It is a necessary first step. But if our faith only consists of a single event where we repent of our sin and come to Christ, then it is an incomplete faith. What if a baby was born and we all celebrated the new life, but the baby never ate, never grew, and never developed. As wonderful as its birth was, it would not survive. Paediatricians call it “failure to thrive.”
If you think that the Christian life is only about being born again, think again. It is not just about salvation; it is about transformation. To hear some people talk you would think that once we come to Christ, we just wait around to go to Heaven. We are just putting in time until Jesus comes. If that is the way we think, we will never experience Pentecostal power. We will never understand that Jesus Christ has come to establish His Kingdom “on Earth, as it is in Heaven,” and we are His agents through whom He works to make that happen. We are to grow in holiness, and be salt and light in a tasteless and dark world. We are to become transformed on a daily basis, through the work of the Spirit in our own lives, and then become agents of transformation in the world.
We find in Exodus 3, that when God appeared to Moses in the burning bush—it meant that Moses was in the presence of God. It means the same thing here in Acts 2. The very Spirit of God was among them with His moving van, and was about to take up residence in their hearts. They actually saw the fire come to each of them. They saw that God was there, and was about to anoint them to do the work of the Church. The Spirit came in power on the Day of Pentecost, and everyone saw it.