In his address for the preparation for the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, Pope John Paul said “the current year is particularly to the Holy Spirit. Continuing on the path marked out for the whole Church, and after concluding the Christological theme, today we begin a systematic reflection on the One who is “the Lord and Giver of life”. I have spoken extensively about the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity on various occasions. The imminent prospect of the Jubilee gives me the opportunity to reflect once again on the Holy Spirit, to examine with an adoring heart his action in the flow of time and history.”
Pope John Paul was delighted to reflect on the Holy Spirit at the turn of the 21st century. On this day of Pentecost it is appropriate for us as a church to reflect on the powerful person who gave birth to the universal Church on this day over 2000 year ago. While writing a book on the Holy Spirit Billy Graham noted, “I became concerned over the misunderstanding or even ignorance in some Christian circles concerning the third person of the Trinity.”
We are comfortable to talk about God, we even pray to Him in the name of Jesus. We hear the teachings and the miracles of Jesus and we even try to follow his commandments but seldom do we talk about the Holy Spirit, why such hesitancy or hostility? Is it because of lack of understanding or because of misunderstanding caused by certain believers in Christ? Is that a legitimate reason for us to neglect the third person of the Trinity? I believe it is imperative for all Christians to know and experience the power of the Holy Spirit. Let’s look at why and how this power was manifested on the day of Pentecost?
According to the Jewish religious calendar there were three most important festivals where all males were required to gather before the Lord. Deuteronomy 16:16 “Three times a year all your men must appear before the LORD your God at the place he will choose: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, (Passover) the Feast of Weeks and the Feast of Tabernacles.”
The feast of Passover reminded them of their great deliverance from slavery; the feast of Tabernacles reminded them of their journey during the Exodus from
I. THE PROMISE FULFILLED:
Many years ago a great Arctic explorer started on an expedition to the North Pole. After two long years in the lonely northland he wrote a short message, tied it under the wing of a carrier pigeon, and prepared to turn it loose to make the two thousand mile journey to
Likewise, the arrival of the Holy Spirit the heavenly dove on the day of Pentecost, proved to the weary disciples that Christ has indeed reached his heavenly home and sent another helper to be with them as he has promised before he ascended to heaven. Do you remember, that Jesus said, in John 14:16-18 “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever-- the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”
What comforting and caring words of farewell from Jesus to his disciples? Billy Graham in his Book “The Holy Spirit” contrasts His words with other religious leaders, “the founder of Buddhism was bidding his followers farewell he said, “You must be your own light.. With this light you can lead yourself to heaven” Or when Socrates was about to take that fatal cup, one of his disciples mourned that he was leaving them orphans. The leaders of the world’s religions and philosophies were unable to promise that they would never leave their followers
Jesus not only said he will come to his disciples again but he commanded them to wait for his arrival again, this time in the form of the Holy Spirit, Acts 1:4-5 “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."
According to his command a group of hundred and twenty disciples, and women including the mother of Jesus were gathered in the upper room in
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.” You may be wondering why the Holy Spirit came in the first place? What was the significance of the day of Pentecost? What is he here for? What has he come to accomplish? Isn’t the Holy Spirit only for the Pentecostals? What is this stuff about speaking in “Tongues”? Let me try to answer these questions.
II. THE BEGINNING OF A NEW ERA
Has the Holy Spirit always been there or has he only visited the earth on the day of Pentecost? If you are an ardent reader of the Bible you can not but notice the Holy Spirit in almost every page of the Bible, because “All scripture is inspired by God” 2 Tim 3:16. In other words from the beginning to the end of the Bible we see the work of the Holy Spirit. Genesis 1:1-2 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” Rev 22:17 “The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.”
If the Holy Spirit has always been there then what is the significance of him descending on the Day of Pentecost? Well there is a lot of significance to that day. Firstly, the day of Pentecost connects the OT and NT by fulfilling a prophecy in Joel 2:28-29, “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.” So this was the day of the fulfillment of God’s promise.
Secondly it brings an end to Christ’s physical presence on the earth. In the OT, God spoke to people mostly through his prophets and sometimes directly. In the last days He spoke through his Son Jesus Christ. Now God will communicate through His Spirit. Thirdly the day of Pentecost is the beginning of the first fruits of the ingathering of the harvest of souls which gave birth to the universal Church. This is the era of the Holy Spirit. What are the works of the Holy Spirit? In three areas we see the Holy Spirit is at work; the World, the Church and the believer.
III. HOLY SPIRIT’S WORK IN THE WORLD:
Jesus explained to us in John 16:8-11 “When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.” According to this scripture the work of the Holy Spirit is three fold in the world. He convicts the word in regards to sin, righteousness and Judgment. Let’s look at it one by one.
The Bible teaches that all have sinned and have fallen short of the Glory of God, (Rom. 3:23). It means without any exception all of us are born sinners. But how many of us realize that fact? David had this realization when he said, Psalm 51:5 “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” No matter who you are we all have inherited
He not only convicts people of sin, but also convicts them that Jesus is the righteousness of God. He shows them that Jesus is the way and the truth and the life and no one comes to the father except through Him. Romans 3:22 “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.” It is the work of the Holy Spirit to convict sinners of their own sinfulness by pointing them to Jesus Chris and his righteousness. He not only convicts the world of Sin and righteousness, but also in regards to judgment. Why judgment? Whether we realize or not every one in the world will be judged one day by a righteous judge. Whether you like it or not one day you will be brought before God for judgment. Several scriptures point to the fact that judgment on the world is coming sooner than you expect and no one will escape it.
Job 34:22-23 “There is no dark place, no deep shadow, where evildoers can hide. God has no need to examine men further, that they should come before him for judgment.”
Ecclesiastes 12:14 “For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.”
Romans 2:5-6 “But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God "will give to each person according to what he has done."
Hebrews 10:30-31 “For we know him who said, "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," and again, "The Lord will judge his people." It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Revelation 14:7 “He said in a loud voice, "Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water."
Thank God for the Holy Spirit. God did not leave us ignorant of what he is about to do to in this world. Who could stand before this righteous God without guilt? If it was not for the grace of God all of us would be condemned for ever. How could we escape the wrath of God and his dreadful judgment? We will have to again rely upon the work of the Holy Spirit.
IV. THE BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT
If you have attended a Catholic Church or a
The disciples of Jesus were already saved weren’t they? But they needed to be empowered by the Holy Spirit, which was what John the Baptist meant when he said, in Matthew 3:11 "I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” That was exactly what happened on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit baptized the disciples as he descended upon them in the form of fire and they were never the same again. This is also called the Baptism in the Holy Spirit which takes place after we are born again.
Another incident was where a group of people who were saved but hadn’t been Baptized in the Holy Spirit Acts 8:14-17 “When the apostles in
There is much more to be learned about the work of the Holy Spirit in the Church and in the believer’s life. For today it is enough to know that the Father loves to give this gift to his children. Luke 11:13 “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 the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"
If you haven't yet received the Holy Spirit, you may want to take time and ask your heavenly father to fill you with the Holy Spirit. Amen
 Billy Graham: The Holy Spirit Page8