On Pentecost Sunday we heard Olan bring the Lord’s message from Acts 2 : 1 – 12, explaining the events, and their significance, around the coming of the Holy Spirit. We are shortly after Jesus ascended to the Heavens, when the disciples returned to Jerusalem, gathered together in the upper room as “a sound like a mighty rushing wind” filled the entire house and “divided tongues of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them”.
The first thing to notice is that even though the descending of the Holy Spirit had been prophesied (Joel 2:28-29), it came in God’s sovereign timing, with nothing to announce it, or giving the ones gathered together time to “prepare” for it. Up to this moment, the disciples and their followers had read about God, had heard and maybe even met Jesus, but now they encounter the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, which would guide their faith for the rest of their lives. The Holy Spirit is the gift of God, to those who believe in His death and resurrection and have committed to follow Him faithfully. There is no way to earn it, deserve it, buy it, stumble upon it, borrow it or inherit it – it is God’s blessing upon the believer.
The next aspect to notice is that they “were all together in one place”. The Holy Spirit brings unity, and comes to the people who want to BE in unity with the Lord. In these first 12 verses of chapter 2, the words “they all”, “together”, “each one” or “each of us” appear 10 times. The spirit unites, and “attaches” the soul it dwells in, to the Body of Christ. This unity with in the Body brings gladness to the heart, joy to the tongue and hope to the person surrendering to this grace of God (Acts 2:26). Romans 8:4-9 makes a clear distinction between those who “live according to the flesh” and those who “live according to the Spirit”. Let us be one with those in the latter group.
An additional consequence of the Holy Spirit’s descending is that it empowers the believer to perform their calling, which is that of witnessing to the world (Acts 1:8). The Spirit speaks to us and if we lend our ear to its voice, it will guide our thinking, speaking and acting with the purpose of glorifying God through witnessing “to the end of the Earth”. The life of Jesus, His death on the cross and His resurrection – the basis and guarantee for our salvation – must be known by all of His creation, people all around the world, and the Spirit is leading us to them. We do not receive the Holy Spirit as a reward; we receive it with a purpose. Are we actively pursuing this purpose?
The Christian’s life is not merely a walk through a door (repentance) but also a walk on a path (living the faith). On this Pentecost, let us become more sensitive to the voice of the Holy Spirit, more aware of our calling and more united with the body of Christ, His church.