Summary: The Holy Spirit baptizes and works in every aspect of our lives.
(NOTE: This sermon series is based on the book Living in the Spirit by Dr. George Wood, General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God).
The church is a unique and special organism. It has ties to both the past and the future while active in the present. We are reminded to look back at how God has worked in and through His people. But we are also challenged to move forward into the future by engaging in the work God is doing presently.
This is true in the life of all believers. Your faith and salvation is built upon a person who gave His life more than 2000 years ago. Yet, your faith is not 2000 years old it is new and present in this moment of history because the Holy Spirit is actively working in you now.
In other words, faith is dynamic. That is, faith is not constrained by the events of the past but relies on them as fuel for an energetic future.
I want to look back to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, as well as, the present experience of believers in order to build a bridge between the past and present. I want us to consider that the experience of Pentecost 2000+ years ago cannot be constrained to that moment of time. Instead the outpouring of the Holy Spirit must be allowed to flow freely in the present.
Let’s look at Acts 2:1-4 today.
1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
Some here this morning may be familiar with this passage, others may not. Let me take just a moment and set the context surrounding the Scriptures we just read.
It is around 30A.D. The Jewish people are celebrating what is called “The Feast of Pentecost.” This is the third of three feasts celebrated in the Jewish sacred calendar. The feast was celebrated in the month of Sivan (our June). But this feast has a few other names as well – Feast of Weeks, Day of Firstfruits or Feast of Harvests.
The reason it is called Pentecost is because Pentecost means 50th. There were 50 days between the Feast of Passover (celebrating Israel’s deliverance from Egyptian slavery) and the Feast of Pentecost (celebrating the harvest God had provided and to remember God giving the 10 Commandments).
During the Feat of Pentecost Jewish priests would offer to God 2 loaves of unleavened bread made from the freshly harvested grain. The people were then asked to offer unto God the first of their harvest as a gift of thanks.
It was not uncommon for Jewish people from what the Bible calls “every nation under heaven” to come to Jerusalem for this Feast. They came to give their offerings and celebrate with their brothers and sisters of faith.
Needless to say it was a pretty big time in Jerusalem. Lots of visitors and lots of celebrating – and this is the scene into which we come in the text we read earlier.
But there were others in Jerusalem for a very different purpose. 120 people had gathered in an upper room because Jesus had told them to do so. They were praying and waiting for a wonderful promise.
Sometime earlier Jesus had told His followers that when He went away He was going to send the Holy Spirit. Luke 24:49 records His words…
“I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city [Jerusalem] until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
The promise of the Father is that believers would not be left orphaned when Jesus went back to heaven. He promised to send THE comforter – the Holy Spirit. He promised that believers would be BAPTIZED IN THE HOLY SPIRIT.
Imagine the scene. 120 believers are gathered in an upper room of a building in Jerusalem. Down below people from all over the world are celebrating the goodness of God. The believers are praying and waiting for the promise of the Father to come.
Suddenly the sound of a rushing and mighty wind filled every part of the room where the 120 were sitting and praying. Then out of nowhere there appeared a flame that separated and rested on the heads of each person in the room. And EACH person in the room was FILLED with the Holy Spirit and spoke in a language they had not learned as the Holy Spirit gave them the ability to do so.