Sunday, May 11th, 2008 | Author:

Scripture: Acts 2:1-4

And when the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent, rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.[1]

When we’re at church, we hear quite a bit about God: His love, His sovereignty, His omniscience, His justice. And I think we hear even more about Jesus: how He healed the sick and raised the dead, His compassion for the poor and the lost, how He died to pay the penalty for our sins, then rose again, and went to prepare a place for us. We could talk about the character and deeds of God and Jesus forever and never run out of things to say.

There’s a third member of this Trinity, though, that I think gets the short end of the stick: The Holy Spirit. So, as Pentecost was the day He made Himself known to the first Christians, I am declaring today “Holy Spirit Day.”Like God and Jesus, the Holy Spirit has many attributes. I’m going to mention just a few. He is called The Teacher several times, but I’m going to share one of these from 1 Cor 2.

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.[2]

John refers to the Holy Spirit several times as the Spirit of Truth. Jesus is speaking.

But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.[3]

He’s also called the Comforter, or the Helper, depending on the translation, here again in the words of Jesus.

And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever.[4]

So the Holy Spirit is our Teacher, the Spirit of Truth, the Comforter, and the Helper. But the Holy Spirit has one job that is most closely associated with Pentecost, and that’s the one I’m going to focus on today: baptizing with power.First, we will look at the baptism of Jesus Himself, found in Luke 3.

Now it came about when all the people were baptized, that Jesus also was baptized, and while He was praying, heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, “Thou art My beloved Son, in Thee I am well-pleased.”[5]

Luke tells us the next thing that happened.

And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led about by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing during those days; and when they had ended, He became hungry.[6]

After Luke describes the temptations, He says this:

And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit; and news about Him spread through all the surrounding district. And He began teaching in their synagogues and was praised by all. And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read. And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book, and found the place where it was written, “THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR. HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES, AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND, TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE DOWNTRODDEN, TO PROCLAIM THE FAVORABLE YEAR OF THE LORD.” And He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed upon Him. And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”[7]

We know that Jesus went about fulfilling that prophecy, healing people and setting them free. We know that the power to do this came through the Spirit of the Lord, the Holy Spirit.

But Jesus didn’t keep this power to Himself. Right before He ascended, He promised to send His disciples that same Holy Spirit, that same power. Listen.

And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.[8]

And again in Acts 1:8

but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.[9]

And on the day of Pentecost, Jesus kept that promise, as He always does. A violent rushing wind and tongues of fire filled the house where they were. They began praising God in many languages. They began to boldly preach the word of God. They healed, they cast out demons, and they spread the gospel, just as Jesus said they would.

So where does that leave us? Well, I think too often we look at the Bible as a nice history book, about a nice man and His nice followers. That was then, this is now, so let’s get on with our lives. If we share the good news at all, we talk about what Jesus did back then. We don’t talk about what Jesus is doing today, because mostly? We don’t know. We don’t know because we don’t have the power of the Holy Spirit. And we don’t have the power of the Holy Spirit because we don’t ask for it! Listen to the words of our Lord and Savior from Luke 11:9-13:

And I say to you, ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it shall be opened. Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?[10]

“how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” Do you know anyone around here who could use a miraculous healing? Do you know anyone who is brokenhearted and just tired of fighting their way through life? Do you know anyone who might receive the gospel — if only someone had the boldness to share it with them? Listen to Jesus again, in Mark 16:15-18

And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it shall not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.[11]

Jesus got His power from the Holy Spirit. All the disciples got their power from the Holy Spirit. We can get our power from the Holy Spirit, too — because Jesus promised. Listen to John 14:12

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to the Father.[12]

We can get our power from the Holy Spirit — because God the Father also promised. Listen to Acts 2:17-18

AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,’ God says, ‘THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT UPON ALL MANKIND; AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS; EVEN UPON MY BONDSLAVES, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN, I WILL IN THOSE DAYS POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT And they shall prophesy.[13]

Do you know what the apostles and the rest of the 120 in the upper room were doing in Jerusalem, while they waited for the power of the Holy Spirit? Listen.

And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying; that is, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James. These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.[14]

They were continually devoting themselves to prayer, and I’m going to challenge all of you now to do the same while we listen to this next song. If you believe in Jesus Christ, if you have just a little measure of faith, I’m asking you to join me in boldly approaching the throne of grace, where we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need. Join me in asking God to pour our His Holy Spirit on us. Pray that He will send us the Teacher, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth. Ask Him to transform us into willing vessels, fit for the Master’s use. Ask the Lord for the power we need to boldly proclaim His gospel to a lost and dying world. Tell God about the people you know who need His miracles. Remind God that we are weak and powerless. Ask Jesus to keep His promise. Ask, seek, knock. In the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, let us pray.

____________

Benediction: Our gracious Father in heaven, You have heard the prayers of our hearts. Let it be done to us according to the measure of our faith. Amen.

[1] Acts 2:1-4
[2] 1 Corinthians 2:12-14
[3] John 16:13
[4] John 14:16
[5] Luke 3:21-22
[6] Luke 4:1-2
[7] Luke 4:14-21
[8] Luke 24:49
[9] Acts 1:8
[10] Luke 11:9-13
[11] Mark 16:15-18
[12] John 14:12
[13] Acts 2:17-18
[14] Acts 1:13-14

Share
Category: Christianity, sermon
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.