Be filled with the Spirit – Our Counselor and Guide
Text: Acts 2:29-39
Life is made up of a series of decisions, in order to make the best decisions you need a guide, a counselor. What if I told you that you have available to you someone who knows you better than anyone else, someone who knows the future, someone who actually has a plan for your life, a plan to prosper you in all spheres of life and not to harm you.
I am talking about the Holy Spirit, our promised counselor and guide. When Jesus was preparing his disciples for his departure he promised them that he would send the Holy Spirit (John 16:7).
The departure of Jesus was necessary—though painful and difficult—for the disciples.
Before he ascended, Jesus told them to stay in Jerusalem, to stay and wait for the gift that the Father has promised (Acts 1:4). Can you imagine the fear and uncertainty of this group? The only thing holding them together was the promise of Jesus that a Counselor and advocate would come to them, and that they must simply wait. What faith that must have taken.
The tenth day after the ascension was the celebration on the Jewish calendar called the day of Pentecost (Leviticus 23). But for the disciples and the followers of Jesus the day started out just like the other nine that had gone before it. It was not their normal Pentecost celebration.
As they were all gathered together in that place suddenly the sound of a mighty wind came from heaven and filled the whole house. Then what seemed to be tongues of fire came and rested on each of their heads. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages. This is what Jesus had promised this is what John the Baptist had prophesied about. In an instant the church was born.
Suddenly they are filled with incredible boldness and began to declare the glories of God to those who were in the streets around them. They were so excited and filled with the presence of God that they worshipped God, told of his greatness, declared his praises. They were not preaching the Gospel, it was not a message of repentance rather it was a message declaring who God is to the people who had gathered in Jerusalem from all around the known world in order to celebrate the Pentecost festival. It is important to note that when the Holy Spirit came, he brought glory and honor to God the Father. Today when the Holy Spirit comes in a tangible and powerful way in meetings or a gathering of believers, it is not to bring glory to man or to emphasize the presence of the Holy Spirit, rather it is to bring Glory to God. The first indication of a true move of the Holy Spirit is the praise and worship of God.
But in Jerusalem on this day, there were people from 15 different regions as mentioned in Acts 2:9-11, and they each heard the praises of God in their own language. No doubt it created confusion and certainly some mocking as the Word says, but then Peter stands up and as he had already stood out as the group’s leader, he began to address the crowd. The account by Luke in the book of Acts goes on to say that the believers grew by about 3000 people that day. The church was born, the church of well over a billion people today and one that is still continuing to grow at an ever increasingly rapid rate as the day of our Lords return comes nearer. What a remarkable display of the power of God.
One of the primary roles of the Holy Spirit is to convict people of their sins (Acts 2:37). In all the great revivals in history and the great moves of the Holy Spirit, it starts with worship and acknowledging who God is, in all his glory and power, but then the Holy Spirit begins to convict of sin, because the Holiness of God cannot be found in the presence of sin. Repentance is the natural and following step leading to revival.
The remarkable thing to notice about the work of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was the unity of the believers. There was an unusual unity there that time, the church was founded on different nations, languages and cultures coming together in unity (see 1 Corinthians 12:13).
Today we like labels, it helps us understand the bias or viewpoint of others; Liberal, Conservative, Pentecostal, Evangelical, Charismatic, Reformed, Orthodox, protestant, Spirit filled, etc, the list goes on and unfortunately these classifications do not bring unity rather they have brought division and even incredibly bloody wars over the centuries.
The good news is that in heaven we won’t be known as Baptists, Methodists, Pentecostal or any other name we will simply be known as children of the living God. We as a church must become focused on the Word of God bringing unity in the greater body of Christ and getting about the task that Jesus gave us to do, that is to preach the Gospel to all the people groups of the world, starting with our community.
The Holy Spirit is a special gift from God. When you believe in Jesus Christ and you make him Lord of your life, you receive the Holy Spirit; a deposit and a seal of the promises of God (Ephesians 1:13). The Holy Spirit is a wonderful supernatural gift. In Matthew 13 Jesus speaking about the Kingdom, mentions a man who discovered a pearl of great price, he gave everything he had to buy this precious jewel. In the same way in order for us to gain the full benefit and blessing of the gift of the Holy Spirit, we need to give up everything in order to attain the prize. Every moment of our lives, every possession, every thought, the love of the world and the love of pleasure; we need to forsake all in order to allow the Holy Spirit to completely work in and through our lives.
In order to be completely led by the spirit as your counselor and guide, you need to release control of your life to God. Allowing him full access to your life, you will see and experience more of the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit does not simply invade your life and force you to become a super spiritual warrior who never sins. We will only feel and know the presence of the Holy Spirit as much as we submit to him in our lives.
The best life is one led by the Holy Spirit, abandoned to his will and plans for your life. You will find that as you live by the Holy Spirit, you will experience a life of adventure, peace and fulfillment unlike anything you could ever imagine.