When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance. 5 Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6 And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language. 7 They were amazed and astonished, saying, “Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born? 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs—we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God.” 12 And they all continued in amazement and great perplexity, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others were mocking and saying, “They are full of sweet wine.” 14 But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: “Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem let this be known to you and give heed to my words. 15 For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day; 16 but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel: 17 ‘And it shall be in the last days,’ God says, ‘That I will pour forth of My Spirit on all mankind; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; 18 Even on My bondslaves, both men and women, I will in those days pour forth of My Spirit and they shall prophesy. 19 ‘And I will grant wonders in the sky above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke. 20 ‘The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, Before the great and glorious day of the Lord shall come. 21 ‘And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’”
I remember attending a mission’s conference in Atlanta sponsored by the North American Mission Board several years ago…
I don’t recall exactly which church was hosting it, but it was very large.
Walking into the sanctuary after the worship session had started, I heard the band playing the song, 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman.
- We’ve sung it here many times
My first thought was, “Hey, they’re doing a pretty good cover of the song.”
Then I realized…that’s Matt Redman singing.
Well…I got all-Pentecostal…started clapping and raising my arms.
Knowing the actual composer was singing made a difference to me.
My perception of what was happening changed.
- So did my response
I’d heard the song many times before but being the room with the person that composed it surprised me.
The disciples had heard about the Holy Spirit before.
Jesus told them a lot about Him.
- John 14 and 16
They were to expect Him to come after the Lord’s ascension.
- John 16:7, But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.
We can’t really know what they thought His arrival would be like…
But we can know that it was unlike anything they’d ever experienced before.
It’s different to hear about the Holy Spirit and encounter His presence.
We could spend weeks exploring what the Bible teaches on the third Person of the Trinity…the Holy Spirit.
I’m going to let this morning’s text drive our attention.
I want to answer the question…
What happens when the Holy Spirit is genuinely present.
- When the Holy Spirit’s in the House
It’s very important that we gain a biblical understanding of the answer.
Because there’s been so much distortion of the truth regarding Him peddled by pastors and churches over the years…
- Literally…spiritual abuse
We need the solid foundation for knowing the Holy Spirit provided by Luke’s portrait of the Day of Pentecost.
We’ll notice three phenomena that take place when the Holy Spirit’s in the house.
- When His presence is real…
One…there is a filling. (1-4)
Two…there is a feeling.(5-13)
Three…there is a fulfilling. (14-21)
When the Holy Spirit is present there is a filling. (1-4)
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.
Alright, let’s start by getting our contextual bearings.
- When the day of Pentecost had come….
The Day of Pentecost was a Jewish festival celebrating the first fruits of the spring wheat harvest.
The word Pentecost means the fiftieth part.
It took (takes) place 50 days after Passover.
So, what’s happened with the disciples up to this time?
And before these…30 years before the disciples were called…there’s the Incarnation of God.
Over the span of around 33 years there are these sweeping events in God’s salvation history.
Ten days after Jesus’ ascension comes another…
The impartation of the Holy Spirit igniting the inauguration of the church.
All these magnificent moves by God over such a compressed time frame!
By the way…what’s the next major event in His salvation history?
- Tribulation and rapture of the church or…
- The rapture of the church followed by the Tribulation
- Depending on your End time view
- Pre, mid, or post-Trib
So, here’re the disciples (120, 1:15) together on the Day of Pentecost.
- Waiting…for the Holy Spirit…doing as the Lord instructed
- What did Jesus say right before His ascension?
Acts 1:4-8, Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” 6 So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; 8 but you will 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.”
They’re waiting…waiting for the Holy Spirit to come.
And man…does He make an entrance into the room.
2:2-4, And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.
Can I state the obvious?
When the Spirit shows up…His presence is undeniable.
Now, this is clearly a one-time…never-to-be-repeated event.
There’s only one inauguration of the church by the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
But whether it’s a gathering like we read about here or His indwelling of an individual believer…
When the Holy Spirit shows up…He shows out.
Two ways He showed out in our text…
First, He filled the room.
- Physical perception
Second, the Spirit filled the believers…Jesus’ disciples.
- Spiritual transformation
One filling proclaimed the Holy Spirit’s presence.
The other proved the Lord’s promise to send Him.
No one in that place would mistake what happened as anything other than what Jesus promised.
- They weren’t like, “Gee, I wonder if this is it?”
The macro-event in the manifestation of the Holy Spirit at the start of the church….
It is lived out on the micro level every time someone is saved.
Ephesians 1:13-14, In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.
And when a new believer is filled with the Holy Spirit…they know it.
Are you kidding me…a person can’t have the Spirit in them and not know it.
They can quench Him and grieve Him…according to Scripture…
But they cannot deny His presence.
When the Holy Spirit’s present there is a filling.
When the Holy Spirit is present there is a feeling. (5-13)
Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6 And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language. 7 They were amazed and astonished, saying, “Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born? 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs—we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God.” 12 And they all continued in amazement and great perplexity, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others were mocking and saying, “They are full of sweet wine.”
We find two expressed feelings in this portion of the passage.
One is confusion by the disciples and the other condemnation by detractors.
- Great perplexity
- But others were mocking….
As the Holy Spirit confirms His presence by this miraculous phenomenon of unified hearing…
- Comprehensive communication
Some felt confused…others felt entitled to condemn what they witnessed.
It’s often this way when there’s a movement of God….of the Spirit.
Because His sovereign timing and activities don’t comply with what people perceive as normal.
- By people I mean church members
This is a sad situation.
Shouldn’t divine activity be the ordinary condition of the church rather than the exception?
Again, this is a one-time event in the history of the church…
But if the Holy Spirit indwells every true believer…
That’s a whole lot of His presence for so rare occurrences of His activity.
Why don’t most churches experience His manifestations of continuous salvations…baptisms…ministry expansions…leadership development…
- Multiplication of disciples and new congregations
- In a word…revival
It’s because they still lack clarity.
We’re still confused…not by the Spirit’s Pentecost presence…
But the lack of it.
We’re not confused by His amazing presence…
But by His amazing absence.
What we need is the Pentecost presence of the Holy Spirit.
A profound manifestation which no one could question that it is Him.
What do we do?
Let me give you three observations from the text.
The first is that Pentecost happened according to God’s divine timetable.
There was nothing those 120 disciples could do to make the Holy Spirit move two or even one day earlier.
What am I saying?
Authentic movements of the Spirit are never manufactured by God’s people.
Let’s face it…if they were…if He responded to man’s spiritual formula…
All any church would have to do is repeat it again and again.
We can’t do anything to “make” the sovereign Spirit act.
This said, there were some things the disciples did that we should model.
I touched on this earlier and it’s worth repeating.
They were waiting for His appearance out of obedience to Jesus’ instruction.
See how every success of the church comes back to this simple truth.
- Obedience to the word of God
He told them to wait and they were waiting.
He’s told us to go.
Go reach the lost…
Go make disciples.
He told them to wait…then go.
Wait for the power of the Holy Spirit…
Then go be My witnesses both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.
They saw His movement in their waiting.
We will see it through our going.
The second simple observation is that they were all together.
I talked a lot on unity last Sunday, but chapter one of Acts gives us special insight about what they did while they were waiting.
Acts 1:12-14, Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away. 13 When they had entered the city, 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. 14 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.
They were praying together.
What were they praying for?
It makes sense that they were praying for the Holy Spirit to come.
- What we ought to pray for
- With similar expectation
Also, they were planning together.
Verses 15- 26 of chapter one recount how the original disciples of Jesus led to fill Judas’ vacancy.
What this tells me is they were planning for the Spirit’s empowerment.
They felt it important to be ready for the filling of His presence.
They were feeling an expectancy…anticipation of the Spirit’s presence and power.
Are we ready?
Are we spiritually and strategically ready for a move of the Holy Spirit?
When the Holy Spirit is present there is a fulfilling. (14-21)
When He is present there’s a filling…a feeling and a fulfilling.
As Peter begins to preach, he references Joel 2:28-32 in verses 17-21.
What he’s telling them is they were witnessing the fulfilling of prophecy…
- The inauguration of the church
Here’s my point…look at 2 Peter 1:21…
For no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.
Acts 1:16, Brethren, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit foretold by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus.
The Spirit who inspired Joel’s and David’s prophecy is the one fulfilling it.
Also, the prophecies not yet fulfilled will come about because He’s the one who inspired Paul, John, and others to write them.
When Holy Spirit is present…there’s a fulfilling of prophecy…
When the Holy Spirit’s present there’s a fulfilling of gospel preaching.
1 Peter 1:12, It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look.
Listen to this…
When the Holy Spirit inspires gospel preaching it is a phenomenon into which angels long to look.
The Greek verb translated long to look means to stoop over to look.
It implies a willingness to move in order to get a better view.
- Watching a live sporting event
The Bible says nothing about salvation for angels.
They learn about it from the church.
Look at Ephesians 3:8-10…Paul writes that salvation of the Gentiles wasn’t known to them until it was revealed through the church.
To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, 9 and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things; 10 so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.
Spirit-filled preaching of God’s word is such a glorious sign of His grace…
That the angels long to watch it happen.
The world rejects, marginalizes and minimizes what heavenly rulers and authorities consider must-see viewing.
When the Holy Spirit is present…gospel preaching is fulfilled.
He takes the imperfect words of the preacher and makes them perfect in the heart of the broken-down sinner.
The Spirit infuses sincere worship of Jesus with His divinity…
Rendering it worthy of our Lord and Savior.
A divine-human transaction takes place when the Holy Spirit’s in the house of God that transcends our understanding…
And transforms our hearts and minds.
What He does is so worthy of our praise and attention…
We should long for Him.
Do you long for the Holy Spirit’s presence today?
For His filling…feeling expectation…
And the fulfilling of the gospel.
Do you long for Him?