Summary: Signs and wonders in nature are not to be taken lightly, because they are not given for trivial reasons. God’s power displayed by signs and wonders in nature in the last days will be unprecedented because it will serve to confirm and signify one of the gr
Spirit-Filled Church [Acts 2: 1-4; 13-21]
Opening illustration: During our ministry in the Middle-East at one of the underground churches a gentleman used to walk around 5 miles to attend that worship and fellowship. He had a lowly job at a remote construction site in the wilderness and could not afford to buy a conveyance for himself. He did not know any other languages other than his mother tongue and the local language of the country. Whenever he used to attend the meeting, it would be a powerful time for all of us. I believe, more than him, we would be blessed. He brought with him the right Spirit, his heart was in the right place and carried no guile or guilt upon his life. Whenever he would praise or pray, it would be in English which was foreign to him; apparently he had no clue or idea about. He did not know a word of English. After the worship service, we would spend time fellowshipping and I would communicate with him only in the local language as that was our common ground. What was happening there? Because there was no human intervention, I could sense and comprehend that it could only be the wonderful work of God.
Let us turn to our passage in Acts chapter 2 and understand what it means to see and experience the manifested act of God for the church then and even today.
Introduction: There were three great Jewish festivals to which every male Jew who lived within 20 miles of Jerusalem was legally bound to come – the Passover, Pentecost and the Feast of the Tabernacles. The name Pentecost means ‘The Fiftieth’ and it was also called the ‘The Feast of Weeks.” It was so called because it fell on the fiftieth day after the Passover. There was a lot of international crowd in Jerusalem as this was summer time and many people travelled to and fro during this period. The Feast had two main significances: (i) It had a historical significance. It commemorated the giving of the law to Moses on Mount Sinai. (ii) It had an agricultural significance. At the Passover the first omer of barely of crop was offered to God; and at Pentecost two loaves were offered in gratitude for the completed and the ingathered harvest. It had another unique significance – it was a holiday for all people. What follows here in Acts 2 has never completely passed away from the church … even 1 Corinthians 14 describes it. Paul goes on to tell us to desire more of the prophetic gift than tongues as that edifies God and the Body of Christ.
Signs and wonders in nature are not to be taken lightly, because they are not given for trivial reasons. Don’t expect God to show a sign in the heavens concerning which car you are supposed to buy. Fire fell from heaven and consumed Elijah’s sacrifice, the Red Sea parted, and a star led the wise men to Bethlehem. These were not insignificant events in the progress of God’s plan and purpose. God’s power displayed by signs and wonders in nature in the last days will be unprecedented because it will serve to confirm and signify one of the greatest events of all time - the last ingathering of souls and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The purpose of the outpouring of the Spirit, the increase of the prophetic ministry, and the signs and wonders in nature is to awaken the church to passionate Christianity and to bring people to salvation.
Many elements in this passage reveal how God started His church on the Day of Pentecost. I want to highlight three of these elements.
How will the church see and experience the manifested power of God?
1. God sent the "wind" of the Holy Spirit (v. 2)
• In Genesis 8: 1 after the great flood God’s Word says “And God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters subsided.”
• Exodus 14 tells us that God allowed a strong wind to separate the Red Sea so that the Israelites could pass through it.
• Numbers 11 tells us that God would blow the wind in the desert that brought quail for the Israelites every day.
• In 1 Kings 19: 11-12 tells us that God sent a powerful wind that shattered the rocks, then there was an earthquake and fire before He showed up to Elijah.
• All of Job’s children are killed by a strong wind.
• A great wind arose as Jonah slept on the ship to Tarshish whereas God had told him to go to Nineveh.
• Jesus even rebukes the wind on the Sea of Galilee and it ceased.
• Now the wind appears in Acts 2: 2 and enters and fills the whole house where the disciples and other believers were sitting.