Last week, Jason Jablonski encouraged us to fan into flame the spiritual gift of prophecy. He emphasized just how critically needed this gift is in the church in order to strengthen, encourage, and comfort others.
1 Corinthians 14:1-5
1 Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy. 2 For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to people but to God. Indeed, no one understands them; they utter mysteries by the Spirit. 3 But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort. 4 Anyone who speaks in a tongue edifies themselves, but the one who prophesies edifies the church. 5 I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be edified.
This morning, we’re continuing our message series based on NBC’s TV series, “AD.” In last week’s episode, we witnessed the event that enabled us to receive and use the gift of prophecy, along with every other spiritual gift, the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
After the resurrection of Jesus, His disciples were a bit confused and lost; uncertain of what was to happen next. However, Jesus appeared to them to give them clear directions.
4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 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.”
We find clear evidence here that they were still a bit confused, thinking that Jesus was going to begin His political reign in Jerusalem and overthrow the Roman rule of that time. However, all of this confusion was burned away shortly after!
1 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 tongues given to the disciples at this time were tongues of men as Jews from every nation were gathered for the Pentecost celebration and heard their own language being spoken. Some were amazed, some where perplexed, and some made fun of them supposing that they were drunk.
Peter, the same Peter who denied even knowing Jesus for fear of his life just days prior, now stood before everyone gathered and boldly proclaimed the fulfillment of the word of God that Jesus, whom they crucified, was the long awaited Messiah.
When the Holy Spirit was poured out into the lives of all believers seeking after it, their lives (and this world) were drastically changed forever! Their confusion was burned away and they clearly understood their purpose as a disciple of Jesus. They no longer waited for a political leader to follow, they knew that they were members of an eternal kingdom of power and followed the King of Kings! More than this, they brought the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth in a way that no one could deny!
This morning, we’re reminded of this Pentecost Power available to all who believe through the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
In the same way that you cannot see the wind, but know of the reality and of the presence of the wind by the effects that are generated by it, so is the Holy Spirit. No, we cannot see the Holy Spirit. However, we can clearly see the effects of the Holy Spirit. The baptism of the Holy Spirit was, and still is, a very visible, powerful, and undeniable event.
When the supernatural Spirit of the one, true, living God saturates my life and collides with my natural self, something ought to tangibly change. At Pentecost, there was the sound of a violent wind, visible fire, and the sound of different tongues being spoken. As we continue throughout the New Testament, we consistently see that when people received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, they began speaking in other tongues. Along with speaking in tongues, prophecy and worship also very often followed the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
As we continue reading the recorded history of the early church, there was no denying the clear evidence of change in the lives of those who followed Jesus and were filled with the Holy Spirit!
One of my favorite historical acts of the Holy Spirit was also seen in last week’s episode found here:
1 One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. 2 Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. 3 When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. 4 Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” 5 So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.6 Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” 7 Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. 8 He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. 9 When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
11 While the man held on to Peter and John, all the people were astonished and came running to them in the place called Solomon’s Colonnade. 12 When Peter saw this, he said to them: “Fellow Israelites, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? 13 The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. 14 You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. 15 You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. 16 By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see.
Just as the Holy Spirit moved through Peter and John, so He is able and willing to move through us. One of the roles of the Holy Spirit is to glorify and make Jesus known. A lame beggar from birth that was passed by every single day by these religious folks is now completely healed and no longer lame, but now walking, jumping, and praising God. What an incredible act of love that gave glory to Jesus in an undeniable way!
Of course, it seems that every time that the Holy Spirit moves in power, opposition also rises against it. Praise be to God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, we are an unstoppable force! Even in death, we win! Following this incredible act of compassion and kindness, Peter and John were arrested and put on trial. The priests, the captain of the temple guard, and the Sadducees heard that they were teaching the resurrection of the dead through Jesus following this miracle. Of course, that’s not before 5,000 men were saved by placing their faith in Jesus Christ! Tonight, we’ll see that trial.
* AD Episode 4 Clip *
This morning, we’re reminded of the Pentecost power available to all who have put their faith in Jesus through the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Baptism in the Greek is the word “Baptizo” which literally means, “to immerse or submerge.” We baptize people in water by immersion after they have placed their faith in Jesus symbolic that they have put to death the old person that they were and have been raised to life as the new creation that God created them to be.
When people were being water baptized by John the Baptist and were eagerly waiting and believing that he was the long awaited savior,
John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
Baptism is an act that we choose to receive following our decision to put our faith in Jesus. This is true both of water baptism as well as the baptism of the Holy Spirit. We see this being the case today, but also throughout the early church history.
John and Peter in Samaria (Acts 8:14-17)
Peter in Caesarea at the gentile, Cornelius’s house (Acts 10:33-47)
Paul at Ephesus (Acts 19:1-7)
1 While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples 2 and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”
They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”
3 So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?”
“John’s baptism,” they replied.
4 Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. 7 There were about twelve men in all.
Receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit, clearly evident by speaking in tongues, is just the mere beginning of living a Spirt-filled life. As we choose to remain filled with and walking with the Spirit, the evidence should be clear in our lives. If it is not, then we have fallen back into the old self that we used to be and have begun living by our flesh instead of the Spirit. We see these evidences in the lives of the Spirit-filled believers and should still see them today.
1. Truth Boldly Proclaimed
The Holy Spirit enabled the disciples to move from cowering in fear for their lives to boldly preaching the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus before those who threatened to take their life. They were not ashamed of the good news of the resurrection of Jesus, but were proud to proclaim this truth. No persecution nor threat could shut them up or hold them back from sharing this good news with everyone! Even with their lives on the line, they chose to boldly proclaim God’s truth and refused to keep quiet about Jesus.
2. Miraculous Signs
One of the greatest evidences of a Spirit-filled life are the miraculous signs brought about by the gifts of the Holy Spirit that tangibly manifest the love of God to others. It could be demonic bondages broken, sickness and disease healed, wisdom given, a word of knowledge, a prophetic word of encouragement, or any other act of the Holy Spirit. These miraculous signs resulted in thousands of individuals and even entire cities placing their faith in Jesus throughout the book of Acts and they still are happening today. In fact, Jesus said:
Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
3. Unified Community
The early church was as diverse of a group of people that you could imagine. They came from different cultures, languages, regions, traditions, religions, and both social and economic statuses. The Holy Spirit was given to any who put their faith in Jesus and was willing to accept Him. The Holy Spirit was the uniting factor in the midst of the vast diversity of the church. Despite their many differences, here is how the church was described and should still be described today:
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
4. Transformed Life
Following their Pentecostal experience, the disciples had a renewed clarity of purpose for their lives. They simply lived differently. Their priority was God’s kingdom first, everything else secondary. However, their sacrifice unlocked the resources of Heaven itself as they experienced the miraculous firsthand on a regular basis and rarely experienced lack.
They embodied this reality made possible by the empowerment and working of the Holy Spirit:
2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
This morning, we can also experience this Pentecost power in our own lives! The only requirement is that we put our faith in Jesus and are willing to lay down our own lives to follow Him on the adventure that He calls us to.
We don’t need to be afraid when receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Yes, we’ll be enabled to speak in other tongues that we don’t understand and that is out of the ordinary. However, we don’t need to be afraid of it. If we ask Jesus to baptize us in the Holy Spirit, that’s what He’ll do. He won’t send us a demon. He won’t turn us away. He won’t force us to speak. He won’t force us to do anything strange. In fact, Jesus said:
9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 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 good gifts to those who ask him!
This morning, if you have struggled on your own trying to live a godly life, your striving can cease right now!
Ecclesiastes 10:10 (NKJV)
If the ax is dull,
And one does not sharpen the edge,
Then he must use more strength;
But wisdom brings success.
What we can’t do by our own might or power, the Holy Spirit is willing and able to do!
‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.
At this time, if you want more of God’s presence and power moving in and through your life, please come forward. There’s no need to be shy, we’re all brothers and sisters in Christ here. Even if you’ve already been baptized in the Holy Spirit, but want more or need refreshed, come forward. This infilling was never intended to be a one time event, but rather a continuous need in our lives as we walk in the Spirit.
We’re going to pray together and believe that when we ask Jesus to give us the Holy Spirit, He’ll fill our lives with that same Pentecost power that filled the church following the resurrection of Jesus on that day of Pentecost.