Let’s look at the book of Acts to try and understand just who the Holy Spirit is and what his purpose is. In our previous study, along with some confusion, we learned that the Holy Spirit is a being who Jesus referred to a “him” is not purely a spiritual presence. Ok, let’s go through some of the references to the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts. This time we will look at when the Holy Spirit came in a dramatic fashion
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.”
Of course these are the words of Jesus after his resurrection and he is referring to what we call today the Day of Pentecost. Jumping ahead for a few moments it was obvious that the apostles were very changed men after they received the Holy Spirit than they were before. You could say that the Holy Spirit finally gave them the incentive to loudly boast of the Lord. They obviously lacked this ability before the Pentecost.
Another thing worth noting about the above verse is that Jesus is somewhat minimizing the water baptism of John when comparing it to the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This is one of the reasons that Quakers, as we studied a few posts ago, put all the emphasis on the baptism of the Holy Spirit and do not really celebrate water baptism as they believe that water baptism is more of a ceremonial event in line with other previous Jewish traditions than an actual sacrament . The sacrament comes from the Holy Spirit not from the water event.
Ok, lets move on to another reference in the first chapter of Acts:
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.
I believe that I get messages from the Holy Spirit but never in such a dramatic fashion! It is obvious from the accounts after this one that the Holy Spirit was a force to be accounted with. The difference in the apostles was almost night/day. I know the “speaking in tongues” part many give special meaning to. I am not going there with this post. Maybe I will address it later but not now as I think it would only dilute the conversation at this point.
After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.
This is yet another bold demonstration of the Holy Spirit’s power. When they were filled with the Holy Spirit it seems that selfishness was washed out of them and they were indeed their brothers keeper. What an awesome display of Christ like attitudes.
In these passages we have studied it seems that there was little doubt as to when the Holy Spirit came to them. He came with: violent winds, shaking houses, fire, and total selflessness. Why shouldn’t we expect the same today?