Summary: What is the work of the Holy Spirit for us today? What does the Holy Spirit mean to you personally?
“The Vicar of Christ”
INTRODUCTION: While Jesus was here on earth the disciples would call Him aside at any time to answer a question or solve a problem. In the Upper Room, He wanted to prepare them for the time when He no longer would be personally present with them. He would be going back to heaven, would be at the right hand of God interceding for them, but He was going to leave Someone Else on earth for them and FOR US TODAY to turn to. This person is His VICAR or personal representative on earth--the Holy Spirit is the Vicar or representative of Christ.
In John 14:16, 17 Jesus made the promise, “And I will ask the Father and He will give you another Counselor (Comforter). (Parakletos) that he may be (abide) with you forever.” In this verse Jesus was looking forward to the day of Pentecost where the Holy Spirit would come in a different way from that in the Old Testament. It is true that the Holy Spirit was active in the Old Testament but He was more of a VISITOR. In Genesis 1:2 in the Creation, “the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” Prior to Pentecost the Holy Spirit would come UPON certain people to carry out some work on earth at a particular time. But the difference between then and now is that Jesus said the Holy Spirit was coming as a RESIDENT rather than as a VISITOR. Many references to the Spirit coming UPON people to perform certain tasks are mentioned in the Old Testament. For example in Judges 3:10 “...to JUDGE Israel.
Judges 13:25 “...Spirit of the Lord began to move [Samson] AT TIMES.
Zechariah 7:12 the spirit moved through the Old Testament prophets. The work of the Spirit was INTERMITTANT rather than CONTINUOUS.
John 14:16 says, “and I will pray the Father and he will give you another comforter that he may ABIDE WITH YOU FOREVER.”
On the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit would come to dwell or live WITHIN the believer.
In I Corinthians 6:19 Paul says the Spirit shall be IN you. Scripture says, “Don’t you know that your bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit who is IN you, whom you have received from God?”
What significance does the day of Pentecost have in our lives today? As believers in the year 2007 how does this link from the past affect us as Christians? Is it just a historic event that we read about in the book of Acts or does it personally affect our daily lives?
1. Linking the Old to the New: You might wonder why that God used the wind, fire, and tongues on the day of Pentecost to usher in the Holy Spirit. In Jewish tradition these three things were considered a sign of God’s presence, and it links the Old Covenant with the New Covenant. You will remember that Ezekiel spoke of the wind as the breath of God blowing upon the dry bones in Ezekiel (Ezk. 37:9-14). He prophesied that the breath of God would fill them with new life and they would rise as a powerful army. It was this wind of God’s Spirit that Judiasm looked forward to ushering in the final Messianic age. In the book of Acts one of the signs of the Spirit coming was the “sound of the mighty rushing wind that filled the whole house.” This symbolized to everyone there the presence of God’s Spirit among them in a way that was more personal and powerful than they had ever experienced before.
Another link between the Old Covenant and the New was the fire. Throughout the Old Testament the fire was also a symbol of the divine presence of God. First-century Jews could relate to this. The account of the Burning Bush in Exodus (3:2-5), the pillar of fire that guided Israel by night through the desert (Ex. 13:21), the consuming fire on Mt. Sinai (Ex. 24), and the fire that hovered over the wilderness tabernacle (Ex. 40:38) were all significant Old Testament events that spoke of God’s presence.
In the New Testament John the Baptist spoke of the coming of the Spirit with fire. He said in Matthew 3:11, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but he that cometh after me...he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with FIRE.” (See Luke 3:16). Luke, in Acts, speaks of “tongues of fire.” Tongues of fire here represents the FLAMES of Fire--the visible representation of the Spirit of God.
Another thing I found that I had never noticed before is that the tongues or flames of fire SEPARATED and came to rest on each of them. Verse 3 speaks of “cloven tongues” or “divided tongues”--the flame of fire separated and came to rest upon each one of them.