Happy Pentecost Sunday!
This is the beginning of the in depth look at the Holy Spirit and how He has been poured out for the church today. In connection with Pentecost weekend I want to start with the middle of the account of the Holy Spirit outpouring on the Earth. In the following weeks I will explore: The Holy Spirit work in the Old Testament, The Holy Spirit work in the New Testament, and The Holy Spirit work today.
Pentecost is the day where we find a great out pouring of the Holy Spirit on the followers of Jesus in the upper room. This is what we are going to study today. This passage has caused many in the global church to argue. Some have the belief that this outpouring of the Holy Spirit is still happening today, while others believe it has stopped. I believe the outpouring of the Spirit is still happening today. I am not going to weight in on all of the theological and biblical defenses here, but I will spend the rest of this series identifying who the Holy Spirit is from the place of his current outpouring everyday to many people. I am also not suggesting some Christians have the Holy Spirit and some do not. I believe it is clear from Scripture that all born again, Christ following, Christians have the Holy Spirit living inside them. This is what I plan to examine today.
A.W. Tozer Wrote –
We receive Him by faith as we receive the Lord in salvation by faith. He comes as a gift of God to us in power. First He comes in some degree and measure when we are converted, otherwise we couldn’t be converted. Without Him we couldn’t be born again, because we are born of the Spirit. But I am talking about something different now, an advance over that. I am talking about His coming and possessing the full”
When looking at the events on that Pentecost in Acts 2 we must understand the difference between the words BY and WITH in relation to the Baptizer.
Before looking at the account in Acts 2, we must look at Matthew 3:11 when John the Baptist was speaking about Jesus Christ.
“I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He (Jesus) will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
John the Baptist prophesied Jesus would baptize people with the Holy Spirit and with fire. Then Paul writes when talking about unity and admission to the Body of Christ; he wrote.
For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body–whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free–and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
1 Corinthians 12:13
In these verses we see that there are three baptizers: John, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. This is important to understand what happened in Acts 2 and what happens in the lives of every believer today.
1. John the Baptist – physically baptized people in water as an act of faith and a repentance or turning away from their sins. Today we see this at churches all over the world. Ministers baptize people in water as a physical expression of their repentance and faith in Jesus Christ for salvation.
When this happens the person is baptized by the Minister/ Christian leader with physical water for the purpose of publicly sharing their commitment to Jesus Christ.
2. Holy Spirit – Baptizes people Spiritually into the body of Christ. By the Holy Spirit “ALL” or everyone made new. When a person repentance and puts their faith in the saving work of Jesus Christ the Holy Spirit baptizes them into the new birth of the family of God. At this point every believer receives the indwelling of the Holy Spirit
When this happens the person is baptized by the Holy Spirit with life spiritually for the purpose of salvation and ability to have communion with God.
3. Jesus Christ – John the Baptist said Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit. This means there is more than is more than baptize for repentance and faith as John was proclaiming he was doing. Jesus would perform a second spiritual baptism for those who would accept it.
When this happens a person is baptized by Jesus with the Holy Spirit for the purpose of power, spiritual fruits and gifts for witness.
When Jesus was still on earth He was not able to baptize with the Holy Spirit. This is clear from what He said in John
7 But very truly I tell you, 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. 8 When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 about sin, because people do not believe in me;
After His resurrection Jesus breathed on the Disciples saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” It is important that this was not the full baptism of Jesus into or with the Holy Spirit. This was the baptism by the Holy Spirit into salvation. This is when the Holy Spirit was able to reside inside of the Disciples. At this point we have seen there is a difference between the one who is baptizing the BY and what is person is being baptized with: New life (new Birth), water (proclamation of repentance), and the Holy Spirit (for an empowered life).
This third baptism by Jesus Christ with the Holy Spirit seems to be evident in Jesus’ last words in Acts 1:8
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the Earth.
Notice the words WILL, POWER, and ON. Jesus had already breathed on the disciples and said receive the Holy Spirit. They had already experienced the baptism for new life into the family of God, but there was another baptism that would be done ONLY after Jesus left. Jesus said, “Will Receive Power (not new birth, empowerment) when the Holy Spirit comes ON or upon (not in) you.”
Remember the idea of drinking water verse diving into water?
There is a powerful covering that comes AFTER you have been made new through salvation.
Now to that first Pentecost…
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.
The Disciples experienced the baptism WITH the Holy Spirit and Fire. The fire came to rest ON them. In this first experience of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit John the Baptist’s words were fulfilled. Then it says, “all of them were filled with.” The world Filled is πλήθω (Play’tho) meaning, “furnish, accomplish, fill, supply.” The idea of “to the max”
All of them were fully supplied for the powerful work of the kingdom. They began to experience some of the powerful benefits of the Holy Spirit!
Peter began preaching and the Holy Spirit began powerfully working through Peter and in the hearts and minds of those who were listening. Because the Holy Spirit was poured out Peter was filled with “power” to be a “witness” for Jesus Christ. He was fully equipped or furnished with power and authority through the Spirit on him.
I want to end with another example…
You have a beautiful house. It is new, the perfect size, and clean. When you look at it you think to yourself that this is a perfect home and you begin to feel like you should invite friends and family over for sharing it with them. It is so exciting to think about because you are so happy with your house, but there is a problem. You only have 1 chair sitting in the middle of house. No other furniture. If you have people over it would simply be a big empty house; still clean and beautiful. The way you fix this is furnish the house so it is ready for others to share.
This is how the Holy Spirit works in your life. Once you accept Him in you become new like the big empty house, but when you accept the baptism by Jesus with the Holy Spirit your Spiritual home becomes fully furnished. That is when you are better equipped to witness and experience the fullness God has for you and those around you.
“The Spirit-filled life is not a special, deluxe edition of Christianity. It is part and parcel of the total plan of God for His people.”
― A.W. Tozer
If you have not been furnished by Christ with the Holy Spirit you are not less than, but your beautiful home is empty and there is more God wants for you. All you have to do is ask and release self and let yourself be fully baptized by Christ; just as you have to release and allow salvation to come into you and allow a church leader baptize you in water. It is a dying to self and letting go fully of the strength you have.
If you have never experienced that new birth you simply have to follow what Peter said in Acts 2
38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
God Bless and Happy Pentecost!