"When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them."- Acts 2:1-4
Tongues of fire over their heads, speaking other languages, boom. That... doesn't happen very often.
The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit - the Trinity. One God. The Father and the Son are aspects of God that we have become pretty comfortable with; we more or less understand their role in the grand story God is writing. But if most people are somewhat like me, we're confused about the Holy Spirit, if we even think much about Him at all. I've learned so much about the Holy Spirit practically this week, and I know it will change my life.
Jesus said to His disciples, "It is for your good that I am going away.
Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will
send him to you." Wow. I have so longed for Jesus to come and just sit with me, walk right in front of me, be here physically with me. He was indeed with the people on earth for those 33 years at 0 A.D. His name was called Emmanuel - "God with us." God with us. That's incredible. But Jesus said it would be better for us if He left and sent the Spirit. Because as Pastor Davis in Canby pointed out this morning, the Holy Spirit isn't God with us, He's God in us. He is quite literally better than Jesus being here on earth. Now that's someone we should take seriously.
If you read about the things that happened in the early church just after Jesus had left, it's incredible. Before that, seeing Jesus work miracles was amazing but also understandable because He is God, after all. But after Jesus ascended into Heaven, it was the disciples, the apostles, and even others who simply followed Jesus that were doing these same works: healing the sick, opening blind eyes, even raising the dead. The Spirit of God Himself is what God has promised us through salvation. Yes please!
In our modern society, that sounds crazy. We think, "Yes, that was great, but that was a long time ago, and things are different now." Yes, things are different now, but I'd argue that it's not the Spirit that is different; it's our faith. Let's look at this logically:
1. Jesus promised the Holy Spirit...
John 14:16-17 - "And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you." Jesus said this to His disciples, and He makes this promise for His followers.
Matthew 28: 18-20 - "Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Jesus promised to be with us always, and He fulfills that promise through the Holy Spirit.
Ephesians 1:13-14 - "In him you also who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your
salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy
Spirit, which is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire
possession of it, to the praise of his glory."
2. ...to those who ask.
Luke 11:13 - "If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your
children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit
to those who ask him!"
if you are a follower of Jesus/God, you are being given the Holy
Spirit. The same Spirit that came to the disciples at Pentecost in
tongues of fire; the same Spirit who allowed Peter to heal the lame
beggar, the same Spirit that spoke prophecy through apostles, the same
Spirit that is working miracles in third-world countries every day -
that Spirit is in you. And I believe He is just waiting for us to listen
and wait for Him. Wait in faith and expectation. Invite the Holy Spirit
to be present and active in your life.
I attended a prayer training event through A Jesus Church; I almost
didn't go because I thought the idea of being "trained" to pray sounded
weird. But in those four hours I learned about how the Holy Spirit
works, and then I saw and heard Him speaking through the
people around me, and even through me. I know I am just beginning this
journey in understanding the Spirit that lives within me. I am just
beginning to realize the power that the Spirit wants to pour in and
through me. And I may sound far-out or mystical or weird, but I want to
believe Jesus and His Word, when He said in 2 Timothy 1:7, "For God gave us a Spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control." I'm just beginning this journey, but I'm ready for the Spirit to interrupt and revolutionize my life like I've never seen before.
What about you? Are you ready for more? Are you willing to stop, listen for the Spirit, and wait in real expectation? Because if we do, I believe He will come change our world through knowing Him. And that is what I want.