The Holy Spirit Comes
The expectation of the Holy Spirit brought excitement among early followers of Christ. After Jesus’ resurrection, He told the disciples that the Holy Spirit would come and empower them to witnesses in Jerusalem and all the world (Acts 1:4-8). They probably had no idea of the miraculous things that God would do through them with the Holy Spirit. God used them to reach many people; thus, leading many scholars have deemed this incredible event as the “birth of the Church.” In that regard, Dr. John MacArthur writes, “With the coming of the Spirit upon the followers of Christ, the church was born and immediately began to grow.”
Acts 2 begins with the detail that the disciples were all gathered together (most likely in the same place mentioned in Acts 1:13) when the day of Pentecost arrived. “As the apostles were gathered together in Jerusalem for the feast of Pentecost, the time had come for the fulfillment of Christ’s promise to send his Spirit completely and permanently upon all believers (Luke 24:49; John 14;16-17; 16:5-15)” (Life Application Commentary).
Pentecost was a festival that was celebrated fifty days after Passover (which was an annual feast where the nation went to Jerusalem). As they were all gathered together, “suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:1-4).
Mighty things happened through the Holy Spirit. Stanley Porter says, “One of the supernatural phenomena at Pentecost was speaking in different languages as the Holy Spirit gave the apostles the ability to do so.” Of course, there is disagreement among evangelicals and some denominations about what “speaking in tongues” is. One way to interpret it is “supernatural languages given specifically for the purpose of communicating with the people gathered from all over the Roman Empire…[or] human languages that were recognized by individuals from various lands, [or] the Greek language that was common to all people gathered throughout the Roman world…The second option seems to best fit the context” (Stanley Porter). In Stanley Porter’s view, those who recognized the different languages throughout the various Roman world best convey the passage’s context. In conclusion, it must be stated there are those, namely, strong evangelical believers, who disagree with Porter’s conclusion and have a different view of “speaking in tongues” as it relates to this passage.
The Holy Spirit
The Baptist Faith and Message, which is the statement of beliefs that Southern Baptists adhere to, says, “The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, fully divine.” He is God! According to Dr. John MacArthur, the Holy Spirit is “the divine agent who creates, sustains, and preserves spiritual life in those who place their trust in Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is not merely an influence or an impersonal power emanating from God. He is a person, the third member of the Trinity, equal in every way to God the Father and God the Son.” Similarly, Dr. John Frame states, “the Spirit is God, like the Father and the Son. He stands alongside them as an object of worship. We baptize people in the threefold divine name, which includes the Spirit (Matt. 28:19).” There can be no doubt that the Holy Spirit is God and that He desires to be active in the lives of believers.
What Does The Spirit Do?
The Holy Spirit’s work is vital. For example, “He enables men to understand truth. He exalts Christ. He convicts men of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. He calls men to the Saviour, and effects regeneration. At the moment of regeneration He baptizes every believer into the Body of Christ (Mark 1:10, John 14:16, John 15:26) (The Baptist Faith and Message).”
He is our Helper that we most definitely need. Moreover, The Holy Spirit is involved in all the works of God, for He is God (John Frame). Furthermore, the Holy Spirit is involved in helping believers grow in sanctification. For instance, “He cultivates Christian character, comforts believers, and bestows the spiritual gifts by which they serve God through His church…His presence in the Christian is the guarantee that God will bring the believer into the fullness of the stature of Christ” ( Acts 1:8, 2:1-4, Rom. 8:9-11, 1 Cor. 2: 10-14, Eph. 1:13-14, (The Baptist Faith and Message).
We Need The Holy Spirit
To live our lives for Christ, we need the Holy Spirit. “The same Holy Spirit power is available to us today to make us more effective witnesses for Christ. The better we understand His working at Pentecost, the better we will be able to relate to Him and experience His power” (Wiersbe). When believers yield their life to the Holy Spirit, He does incredible things in their life to honor God. Dr. Warren Wiersbe says, “The ministry of the Spirit is to glorify Christ in the life and witness of the believer (John 16:14).” May we yield to His work in our lives, be a bold witness for Jesus, and glorify and honor God with all He has given us.