Summary: And I want us to look through this chapter together and see three things that I believe come when the Spirit is here.
This evening I want us to look at Acts 2. We’re going to read a passage of Scripture that has started a movement. For it’s in this passage where we find the story of the day of Pentecost. Probably one of the most divisive issues within the general church today is the topic of tongues. Now, I want you to be put at ease right now. I’m not going to even attempt to jump into that debate this evening. There are people who are far more qualified than I to get into what was meant when the Bible tells us that one of the spiritual gifts is speaking in tongues. And for another thing, I don’t think that it’s really what this passage is all about. One of my pet peeves, if you will, in the church today is the tendency of many people to get caught up in things that are not so important and missing the main issues. I don’t want to do that this evening. I want to try to talk to you about what I feel the main message of this passage really is. Let’s read the chapter together.
This evening I want to talk with you about something that has been weighing on my mind for a while now. Through a couple books I’m reading, as well as a series of messages that Pastor Keaton has preached recently, the Lord has been speaking to me about the importance of the presence of the Holy Spirit. I don’t know about you this evening, but I am desperate for the presence of the Holy Spirit. I need His presence in my ministry. You don’t know how hard it is to get through a worship service when it doesn’t really seem like I’ve sought the presence of the Spirit. It is so difficult to do ministry when you leave the presence of the Holy Spirit behind. Equally as important, I am needful of His presence in my home and in every aspect of my life. Is anyone with me? We need His presence.
And tonight I feel like Acts 2 shows us in a powerful way exactly why we need the presence of the Spirit. And I want us to look through this chapter together and see three things that I believe come when the Spirit is here. Let’s look at them together.
I. Where the Spirit is there is Power
You know, one thing I love about Jesus is the fact that He takes ordinary men and women and uses them in extraordinary ways. Looking back through the Gospels you don’t find Jesus probing through the resumes of Peter, James, and John looking for which priest they were fortunate enough to study under. You don’t find Him drilling them about their knowledge of theology. You don’t see Jesus putting out want ads for those who were well educated or gifted orators or men of high social status. He didn’t look for the rabbi or the scholar. No, Jesus chose lowly fishermen, a hated tax collector, and even a former political fanatic as His closest followers. Jesus chose ordinary men. You would think that if Jesus really understood the crucial responsibility these men would have in the near future of leading His church, we would have chosen a little more wisely. These would be the last people you would think of picking to launch a religious movement. But somehow, these men were here as the core group of believers on the day of Pentecost.
Do you ever wonder why Jesus chose these ordinary men to be the leaders during such an important time in the life of the church? Do you ever wonder why it was to them that He said, “Go and teach all nations, baptizing them and teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you”? I think I have an idea. I think Jesus knew that it would be extremely difficult for these men to depend upon their own human ability to fulfill the calling He had given them. Instead, they would have to reach out to His command and the promise that went along with it, to “tarry in the city of Jerusalem, until they be endued with power from on high.” Because of their ordinariness these men would have to depend completely upon the power of the Holy Spirit.
One thing that I think we can learn in this chapter is that where the Spirit is there is power. For the verses of that chapter tell us that these men were filled with the Holy Spirit and they were filled with His power. They began to speak in languages they did not know. The immediate result of their infilling with the Spirit was that they began to do something they couldn’t normally do. God, by His Spirit, enabled ordinary people to do and say things far beyond their natural abilities. Later, in verse 14 we see Peter, a man who just a little time before had denied that he knew Jesus, a man who had cursed enthusiastically in order to prove that he was not a friend of the Lord; but we see him stand up now and boldly preach the word of God and as a result the church grew from 120 members to over 3000 members. What made the difference? What was it that caused such a drastic change? It was the infilling of the Holy Spirit that empowered Peter to do what he did. God, the Holy Spirit filled an ordinary Peter with an extraordinary power. For where the Spirit is there is power.