This month we celebrate one of the most significant and yet one of the most neglected historical events of all time. After Jesus rose from the dead he told his disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they received power from on high. That happened on the day of Pentecost when they were gathered together in an upper room praying.
We read in Acts chapter 2: “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.”
Suddenly everything was changed. These men and women who had been so fearful and uncertain were filled with the Holy Spirit and were enabled to do in his strength what they could not do by themselves. A crowd was attracted by the ongoing commotion and Peter stood up and proclaimed the message of Christ’s death and resurrection with conviction and authority.
When the people heard the message they were “cut to the heart”. They were convicted by the Holy Spirit and saw their need for a Saviour. And so the church was born. And so the story continues through the book of Acts. It’s full title is “The Acts of the Apostles” but it could also be seen as the church was born. And so the story continues through the book of Acts. It’s full title is “The Acts of the Holy Spirit” as we see how he continues to empower God’s people to do what they could not do in their own strength.
The presence of the Holy Spirit was central to the growth of the church. The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy: “God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline.” (2 Tim 2:7) Throughout the centuries many believers have found that to be true as they have experienced the Holy Spirit touching their lives.
It is vital for the church that we take hold of that truth today, and invite the Holy Spirit to come upon us in power. While there is no substitute for sound doctrine we must understand that the Christian faith is far more than just a set of beliefs and values. It is God’s desire that we should each experience his touch upon our lives, that we should know his leading and empowering, that his love should shine through us touching others. Only when we operate in his strength rather than our own, only when we seek his glory rather than trying to meet our own needs will we see his blessing on the church and in our personal lives.
May we each experience what it means to be filled with his Spirit this Pentecost.
Colin A. Strong