So this past month we took a change from our current series in 1 Timothy to look at Acts 2 in light of it being Pentecost Sunday. We did a bit of a spot quiz in house group to find out what the general consensus was. The question was, what is Pentecost about? Have a think for yourself, what would you say it was about? We discussed many aspects, the one thing, however, that everyone said it was about was… you guessed it, The Holy Spirit.
So, is this an accurate assumption? Firstly, we needed to establish whether this was in fact the norm. You will all know very well the first 4 verses of Acts 2. This is the exciting part, the whoosh of wind and the tongues that, at least appeared, to look like fire and then under the guidance of the Spirit, they started speaking in other languages. But, is this normal, can we expect this to happen today? Well a good principle in the Bible is always to consider how many times something is spoken about, the Bible interprets the Bible. The significant details are brought to our attention again and again, however, this incident is never mentioned again, we never see it happen again. So I would guess that we shouldn’t expect it to happen, it very much seems to be a one-off unique event. So if you haven’t experienced this… DON’T WORRY! You are no less of a Christian and those who would encourage this experience may be missing the point that the Spirit, who inspired this text, is pointing us to!
So, I hear you ask, what is this all about! I set a little challenge to our House group when looking at this passage. I asked each person to count three things that we see in the text. They needed to count how many times the Holy Spirit, God and Jesus was mentioned. Bearing in mind this text is about the Holy Spirit, right? Well, what do you think the answer was? When I did it earlier in the day in my NASB version of the Bible, I counted 6 times that the Holy Spirit was mentioned, 12 times for Jesus and 20 times for God.
The bulk of chapter two is Peter’s sermon and who was he talking about? God and Jesus! It would seem to me that the Holy Spirit turned up and pretty immediately jumped into the background, the result? The gospel was proclaimed clearly and with great boldness and thousands were added to their number that very day. So what was the reason for the Holy Spirit to come at this time? It seems clear to me that He came to provide a guidance to Peter and the other apostles that were gathered to proclaim the Messiah. In this passage he explains exactly why God did it. There is no glory given to the Holy Spirit here, the Holy Spirit wants all the focus on God and all glory given to Him.
So you might ask why is the Holy Spirit sent, well consider these words from Jesus Himself when he explains to His disciples.
7 But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. 8 And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment….. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that He will receive what He will make known to you.
Now please do go and read the whole passage, I have taken some parts out (due to space) and it is a majestic passage for understanding the role of the Holy Spirit. If I had asked you what the Holy Spirit was sent for, how many of you would have said to bring conviction? Not many, is my guess. But can you start to see how this passage perfectly reflects exactly what happens in Acts 2? The Holy Spirit is sent, it gives boldness to proclaim and glorify Christ, and by the end of the passage it has led to people being convicted or ‘cut to the heart’ v37, of their sin and being saved! So when we come to this common part of the Bible, let’s make sure we are putting it in its true light. Letting the Holy Spirit do the exact job that Jesus says He has been sent for, which is glorifying God! If we are indwelt with the Holy Spirit, our job is to be led in to all truth and to glorify God. This is because the Spirit has guided the writing of scripture and thus will enlighten it to us!