Scripture: Acts 2
Three Characteristics of the Spirit-Filled Church
I. The Spirit of God Abundantly Poured Out
"1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting" (Ac 2:1-2)
A. Renewal of the Physical Body
Wind: ruah (Hebrew) and pneuma (Greek)
- Both words mean wind or spirit depending on context
The wind [pneuma] blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit [pneuma]. (Jn 3:8)
Hebrew: ruah and nesama both can also mean "breath"
God … breathed into [man’s] nostrils the breath [nesama] of life, and the man became a living being. (Ge 2:7)
Taking in breath refreshes and renews our physical body. The ruah of God sustains us and renews our physical life.
B. Renewal of the Spiritual Life
In Jesus’ baptism account, the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus and empowered him for ministry.
Similarly, as the wind of the Spirit filled the upper room on the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples, they were baptized with the Holy Spirit and were empowered for ministry.
15 These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 17 “ ‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. 18 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. (Ac 2:15-18)
We must seek to be filled with the Holy Spirit every day of our lives. As we are filled with the Spirit, then we are refreshed, renewed and reinvigorated, physically, mentally and spiritually.
II. The Presence of God Tangibly Manifested
They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. (Ac 2:3)
Fire often used to represent the presence of God:
- The smoking firepot and blazing torch (Ge 15:17)
- Burning Bush (Ex 3)
- Pillar of Cloud and Pillar of Fire (Ex 13:21-22)
- Mt Sinai covered with fire and smoke (Ex 19:18)
- Ezekiel's description of God (Ez 1:27)
A. Centrality of God
In the Old Testament, God gave to Moses and the Israelites the Law so that God could be central among the Israelites, and the Israelites could live in community with God in the centre of their lives. On the day of Pentecost, the disciples were gathered together in one place, with one heart waiting for Jesus’ promised helper and as the presence of God filled the room, the Holy Spirit entered their hearts, and God became the centre not just in their community, but now in their very lives.
When we worship, we carry the presence of God and set the spiritual atmosphere to worship and engage with God!
B. Holiness of God
Fire often used for purification.
"8 … 'These are the regulations for the burnt offering: The burnt offering is to remain on the altar hearth throughout the night, till morning, and the fire must be kept burning on the altar ... 12 The fire on the altar must be kept burning; it must not go out. Every morning the priest is to add firewood and arrange the burnt offering on the fire and burn the fat of the fellowship offerings on it. 13 The fire must be kept burning on the altar continuously; it must not go out.” (Le 6:8,12-13)
Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu took their censers, put fire in them and added incense; and they offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, contrary to his command. 2 So fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord. (Lv 10:1-2)
“15 See, the LORD is coming with fire, and his chariots are like a whirlwind; he will bring down his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. 16 For with fire and with his sword the LORD will execute judgment on all people, and many will be those slain by the LORD. (Is 66:15-16)”
We must keep God in the centre of our lives, the centre of our church, and the centre of all that we do. Because God is at the centre of our lives, we need to remember to live pure and holy lives before God.
III. The Word of God Boldly Proclaimed
A. Spirit-Enabled Supernatural Tongues
4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. 5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. (Ac 2:4-6)
Baptism in the Holy Spirit is a distinct and separate experience from salvation.
44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. 46 For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said, 47 “Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” 48 So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days. (Ac 10:44-48)
B. Spirit-Empowered Natural Tongues
... you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses. (Ac 1:8)
37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” ... 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. (Ac 2:37, 41)
“As for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the Lord. “My Spirit, who is on you, will not depart from you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will always be on your lips, on the lips of your children and on the lips of their descendants—from this time on and forever,” says the Lord. (Is 59:21)
11 “When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, 12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.” (Lk 12:11-12)
We need the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to give us boldness and confidence as we proclaim with our voices and with our lives what God has done in our lives.
A Spirit-filled Church is one where the Holy Spirit enables and empowers us such that the Word of God, and the truth in the Word of God, is boldly proclaimed.
Conclusion and Challenge
A Spirit-Filled church is one where The Spirit of God is Abundantly Poured Out
- So, Receive the Holy Spirit.
A Spirit-Filled church is one where The Presence of God is Tangibly Manifested
- So, Seek first His Kingdom and His Righteousness.
A Spirit-Filled church is one where The Word of God is Boldly Proclaimed
- So, Abide in and Live by the Word of God.