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Pentecost: The Gift of the Spirit and Fire

It wasn’t a showroom or a showplace. It wasn’t even deemed a show-up, like when Solomon’s temple was dedicated and the glory came in so strongly that the priests could not enter to minister. And it sure wasn’t a showdown, like when Elijah confronted the prophets of Baal at Mount Carmel.

So, what did happen in the Upper Room on the Day of Pentecost, as the disciples waited on God and waited for God?

Just before Jesus was taken up to heaven, He commanded the disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the Promise of the Father.

Jerusalem would have been crowded because Pentecost was one of the three major feasts that Jewish males were required to attend. Initially, Pentecost was a Jewish feast also known as the Feast of Weeks, or the Day of Firstfruits. It was celebrated fifty days after Passover.

Jesus told His disciples, “you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now” (Acts 1:5). The disciples, along with certain women (including Jesus’ mother) and Jesus’ brothers, spent the next few days together in the Upper Room with one purpose, in one accord, and in prayer.

As they were together on that 50th day, “suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:2-4).

It was nine o’clock in the morning–the same time the morning sacrifice was being prepared and offered in the temple.

Oil was being refilled in the temple lamps after burning all night. The fires were being re-kindled in preparation for the daily sacrifices and burnt offerings.

But God had a different kind of fire in mind for His people that day.

The fire of God was the Promise of the Holy Spirit. What was this Promise? When John the Baptist was baptizing in water, he said, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I … He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Matthew 3:11). The Holy Spirit came on the Day of Pentecost with sound, wind, and fire–all representations of His character.

Jesus also referred to the Holy Spirit as the Comforter, Helper, the Spirit of truth, and the Promise of the Father. This Holy Spirit was not a hybrid, but a Holy Presence, the third Member of the Trinity.

If the Holy Spirit, along with His glory, “returned,” then when did He leave?

When was He originally there? That’s an important question. In the Old Testament, the glory cloud left the temple and the entire city of Jerusalem because of the disobedience and waywardness of the Jewish people.

Ezekiel related the sad story, saying, “Then the glory of the Lord went up from the cherub, and paused over the threshold of the temple; and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of the Lord’s glory. Then the glory of the Lord departed from the threshold” to the east gate and then “from the midst of the city” (Ezekiel 10:4, 18, 19; 11:23).

But on the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit–along with the glory of God–came back.

The Holy Spirit’s return was not to Solomon’s temple, but to His new temples of human bodies. We know this because the apostle Paul asked the Corinthians, “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you?”

Before Jesus’ crucifixion, He told His disciples that the Holy Spirit “dwells with you and will be in you” (John 14:17). This filling on the Day of Pentecost was not just a seasonal thing or even a one-time occurrence during a feast.

This was not a visitation, but a habitation of the Holy Spirit who would “abide with you forever.”

When the Spirit of God returned, He came in power and He came permanently! He came to DWELL. God fulfilled His promise that He would send the gift of God Himself–the Holy Spirit–not just on us, but deposited IN us – a permanent Resident inside our hearts and bodies.

So, when He came, did it make a difference?

Oh, yes it did! The many Jews who were in Jerusalem “heard them speak in his own language” (Acts 2:6). The crowd was amazed and perplexed. Some mocked what they heard.

What did they hear? The Bible calls it the “wonderful works of God” (Acts 2:11). The Greek word for “wonderful works” is megaleios, and it means “magnificent, splendid, majestic, grand, beautiful, excellent, or favorable.” Peter addressed the crowd, explaining that the disciples were not drunk; but that this occurrence was the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy regarding the pouring out of the Spirit on all flesh.

Peter also preached Christ to them that day. What was the impact?

  • Three thousand souls were saved that day;

  • Signs and wonders began to break out with the disciples; and

  • A few days later, another five thousand were saved.

The Gospel began spreading like wildfire, even going to the Gentiles when Cornelius and all those with him received the Holy Spirit. The gifts of the Spirit began to operate in the church also.

Let’s take a look at the gifts of the Spirit:

Paul wrote to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 12) and explained the ministry of the Holy Spirit with various manifestations or giftings. These include:

  • The word of wisdom – disclosing the mind, purpose, and way of God to be applied in a specific situation;

  • The word of knowledge – a supernatural revelation of information;

  • Faith – faith/belief that goes beyond natural or saving faith;

  • Gifts of healings – supernatural healings by the Spirit;

  • Working of miracles – a manifestation of power above and beyond natural laws;

  • Prophecy – a revelation, insight, or word of the Spirit for the moment;

  • Discerning of spirits – detecting or sensing true motives and/or their sources;

  • Tongues – speaking supernaturally in a language unknown to the individual; and

  • Interpretation of tongues – not a translation, but a transliteration or explanation of what was spoken.

Paul continued explaining the reason and the distribution of these manifestations, saying, “the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually, as He wills” (1 Corinthians 12:11). He wrote that the purpose of the gifts is for the profit or edification of all, for growth, and for exhortation.

In other words, the spiritual gifts stir up, build up, and cheer up.

These gifts are for every believer, not just for an elite few. Nevertheless, God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, so we must operate in our gifts in an orderly and decent manner. “We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us” (2 Corinthians 4:7).

People of God, let’s use our giftings that He has deposited in us for His purposes and for His glory! AHHHMENNN!!!!

Have you been baptized in the Holy Spirit and fire? If not, ask Jesus to baptize you in His Spirit right now, and ask Him to give you all 9 of the powerful gifts listed above!


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