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Monday, January 17, 2011

Pentecost - are you filled to overflowing?

1-4 When the Feast of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Without warning there was a sound like a strong wind, gale force—no one could tell where it came from. It filled the whole building. Then, like a wildfire, the Holy Spirit spread through their ranks, and they started speaking in a number of different languages as the Spirit prompted them.
(Acts 2:1-4)

We have been studying the Feast of Pentecost and the first Pentecost of the New Testament Church.  The Holy Spirit was given to the church on that day so many years ago - not to merely rest upon them, but to infill them.  All present in the room received the gift of the Holy Spirit.  There are some aspects of the infilling of the Holy Spirit that are important to the Christian's daily walk:
  • When we are filled with the Holy Spirit and continually renewed in his presence, the result will be that there will be less of "self" around to influence our decisions and to take our focus off of our Lord.
  • We will experience a hunger for the Word of God that goes well beyond what we have ever known before - because the Holy Spirit is sent to teach us the things of God.  He is our "tutor" in the things that relate to God's holiness, right living, and the love of our heavenly Father.
  • There is an opening of the Word to us like never before - we call this revelation.  Those things that we may have never seen in the Word previously will seemingly jump off the page at us.  There will be a revelation of Jesus to us and a revelation of Jesus in us.
The command Jesus gave to his disciples was to wait - waiting requires obedience.  The promise was that they would be filled.  The filling of the Holy Spirit brought them into a place where they would be witnesses of all God had done in them.  That is another thing we can count on the Holy Spirit to do in us - he makes us witnesses.  Not like the kind that stand on street corners and hand out Bible tracts (although there is nothing wrong with that).  He will help us to form relationships that allow us to freely express the love of God and then to show others God's graces through the demonstration of God's love in our lives.

In Ephesians 5, Paul directs the followers of Christ to be very careful how they live.  This "carefulness" about living involves being attentive to our choices, evaluative about who we choose to listen to (self or Christ), and responsiveness to the desires of our Lord.  In this same chapter, he tells us that we need to make the most of every opportunity we are given - this is also part of the work of the Holy Spirit.  He opens our eyes to opportunities that we may not have seen before.  He directs our attention to truth, brings light into darkness, and clearly shuts doors that will lead to our harm.

The events in that upper room those many years ago were prophesied by an Old Testament prophet named Joel.  (Joel 2)  His words, given to him by the Holy Spirit so many years before, promised that the Holy Spirit would be poured out on all flesh.  The promise included legal heirs (sons and daughters), people of all ages (young and old), and people without class distinction (servants and handmaidens).  The Holy Spirit has a unifying work, bringing together people like nothing else can do.  

These are but a few of the wonderful outcomes of being "filled" with the Holy Spirit.  There is a process of daily renewal that keeps our "cup overflowing".  Paul reminded us in Romans 12:1-2 to daily renew our minds by presenting ourselves before him, allowing him to transform us from the inside out.  It is when God is given the ordinary that he makes it extraordinary.  The Holy Spirit is given to us so that we might experience the extraordinary in God.

Have you been filled?  If not, ask God to fill you to overflowing with the power and anointing of his Holy Spirit.  It is a one-time experience with a continual benefit!