Living by faith requires more than charisma and talent. In Acts 2:1-13 the disciples and a group of believers are in Jerusalem waiting for the promised Holy Spirit.
When the Holy Spirit descended upon those believers, just as Jesus promised, the initial event was marked by three distinct characteristics that any devout Jewish man or woman would understand.
These specific symbols would not be repeated in tandem in any subsequent outpourings. These symbols were wind, fire, and languages.
“Suddenly, there came like a sound of a mighty rushing wind.”
This was a supernatural event. There was no build-up, but suddenly, the sound of wind filled the house they were seated in.
The Hebrew word for spirit is “ruakh,” and the Greek word is “pneuma,” and both are translated as wind.
The Bible also has several references to the power of the wind being under God’s control.
• Exodus 10:13 describes God as bringing in the East wind.
• 1 Kings 19:11 God tells the prophet, Elijah, that He is going to pass by him, and as a mighty wind tore the mountain apart.
“And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them.”
Fire is often associated with the presence of God in scripture.
• Exodus 3:2, God revealed Himself to Moses in the form of fire, within a burning bush.
• Exodus 13, God led the people by a pillar of fire at night during their departure from Egypt.
• Isaiah 10:17 describes God as a flame.
• Hebrews 12:29 says that Our God is a consuming fire.
“And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
This symbol was a redemptive act that points back to the tower of Babel. In Genesis 11, God saw how the pride of man was growing out of control and was becoming a rapidly destructive force. God gave each person his own language, that brought about humility as they can no longer communicate freely.
Here languages are redeemed by unifying people under the banner of Jesus Christ, as each heard the same message in their own language. The act of those being filled with the Holy Spirit, speaking other languages that people could understand, pointed back to the presence and work of God.
Two of these three occurrences were never repeated in later experiences but were given to those who first recipients so they would know that they received what God had promised. Subsequent fillings were all identified by some sort of intelligible or unintelligible sounds.
The word translated as tongues is “glossa” literally means an organ of the body. It is used metaphorically of words but refers to the sounds made by the tongue.
When the word “utterance” is paired with “glossa”, that referred to intelligible words.
Who can receive this gift from God?
Joel 2:28 informs us that God will pour out His spirit on all flesh. Every believer is a candidate to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
The timing is always up to God, but there are things we can do to help with that. There needs to be an openness and expectancy. The Holy Spirit is a gentleman and will not pry open the door of your heart.
Acts 2 says they were all together; this shows unity. Disunity will stop the work of God faster than anything. Unity is always a conduit for the power of God to flow through.
What were the effects on those who received this gift?
Immediately after this initial filling of the Holy Spirit, Peter stands up, faces the crowds that have taken notice of something going on, and begins to preach and 3,000 people confess Jesus Christ as their Savior.
The baptism of the Holy Spirit initiated an evangelistic crusade that spread the gospel, literally to the ends of the earth. Then in;
• Acts 3, as Peter and John are on their way to the temple, a crippled beggar is healed.
• Acts 4, the Holy Spirit filled them again, and they spoke the Word with boldness.
• Acts 5, people would lay the sick in the streets, hoping Peter’s shadow would fall on them and heal them.
Jesus told the disciples, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you,” Acts 1:8.
The Greek word for power is dunamis. It’s a dynamic word that means accomplishing power. It has the capability to do something. It is in opposition to weakness, the inability to do something.
This baptism will empower you to live for God and embolden your witness. God has supplied us with the filling of the Holy Spirit, which is a distinct act subsequent salvation to give you power, the capability to establish and advance the kingdom of God
This is a gift from God to you!