And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.Acts 2:2(NASB)
There are some astonishing mysteries to discover and some wonderful truths to explore about the Person and work of the Holy Spirit, in the lives of all believers. The book of Acts gives us some great insights into the ministry of the Spirit, within the corporate body of Christ, as well as the lives of believers, individually. While the focus of the gospels is the Lord Jesus, it is the Holy Spirit Who is the central character in the book of Acts.
Acts is a book that transitions from the pre-cross era of Israel to the post-cross period of the Church. It details the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, and His multiple functions within the Body of Christ in the early years of Christendom. It highlights Pentecost as the beginning of a new dispensation in God's administrative work, and it shows Him moving from His pre-cross, redemptive work through Israel to His post-cross provision through the Church.
God put His redemptive work through Israel on hold... but continued to operate His salvation plan through the Body of Christ, which is the Church. And while Chapter 1 deals with Christ's transition from his earthly ministry into His role as our heavenly High Priest, the rest of Acts gives insight into the development of the early Church, the ongoing work of the Spirit in and through the Church and the postponement of God's dealings with Israel. It also helps to expand our understanding of the Spirit's ongoing ministry in the lives of all believers.
Chapter 2 marks the start of a new dispensation, with an outpouring of God's grace at Pentecost. It establishes the Holy Spirit as the channel through Whom God works, in the life of Christians, at the beginning of a Church dispensation. It identifies those who have trusted in Christ's finished work on the cross for salvation as the blessed benefactors of His amazing gifts and graces, and it lays many foundational principles for the Church and its unique role in God's eternal plan.
Before His crucifixion the Lord Jesus had told His disciples that His Father would send the Holy Spirit, to be with them and to take up permanent residence within their bodies.. and He would come at God's appointed time. He had told them the Holy Spirit would be their ever-present Comforter in time of need and would guide them into all truth. And Jesus explained that "unless I go, the Helper [i.e., the Holy Spirit] will not come to you".
Jesus had explained that He would ask the Father, to send the Holy Spirit to them... AFTER He left them. And moments before He ascended into heaven, Jesus commanded His disciples to wait for what the Father had promised - i.e. the Holy Spirit. He told them they would be baptised into the Body of Christ, by the Spirit, not many days from then. He explained that they would receive power from on high when the Spirit came upon them.. and that He would embolden them to be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the remotest part of the earth.
The disciples had been taught about the Person and work of the Holy Spirit, but I am sure they were filled with amazement on that first day of Pentecost when.."suddenly, there came a noise from heaven, that sounded like a violent rushing wind, which filled the whole house where they were sitting". The all-pervasive ministry of the Holy Spirit began in a small group of 120 disciples, who obeyed Christ's command to "remain in Jerusalem and wait for the Father to send the Comforter".
On that first Day of Pentecost these faithful followers were baptised into the body of Christ, in fulfilment of His own words... together with John the Baptist's stirring prophecy, "I baptise you with water, but One is coming Who is more powerful than I. I am not worthy to untie the strap of His sandals. He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire".
While those who believe are baptised with the Spirit and placed into the Body of Christ at salvation, those who do not believe remain under God's eternal condemnation and will one day be baptised with the terrible fires of God righteous judgement.
Christ has already been judged for our sin at Calvary's cross because we trust in Him. And on that first Day of Pentecost, those early disciples were not only baptised into the Body of Christ, by the Spirit.. as promised, but were also "filled with the Spirit" and endowed with spiritual gifts.. for they all spoke in different languages, proclaiming the wonderful works of God.. as the Spirit gave them utterance.
The ministry of the Spirit in the lives of believers covers both experiential and non-experiential work The Spirit's non-experiential work takes place at the point of salvation. It includes our regeneration or rebirth into the body of Christ and the indwelling ministry of the Spirit in the life of all believers.
Other 'non-experiential' work includes the baptism of the Spirit when we are placed once and forever into the Body of Christ and His sealing work where we are confirmed as God's children and indwelt by the Spirit. which is a down-payment of God's promise of redemption. Whether or not a new believer is aware of the non-experiential, transforming work within, does not negate its reality.
There are also many experiential ministries of which a Christian may be aware, such as the filling and giftings of the Spirit; His comfort and teaching ministries; His guidance and convicting work and His intercessory office... where He helps us in our weakness, and His chastening work... where we are being conformed into the image and likeness of Christ
On that first day of Pentecost, when there was a sudden noise from heaven like a violent rushing wind, which filled the whole house where the disciples were sitting, marked the day of transition... from the times of Israel to the birth of the Church and the dispensation of the grace of God.
How blessed we are to be recipients of the astonishing ministry of the Holy Spirit and beneficiaries of the mysteries that are ours in Christ Jesus - by grace through faith in Him. May we hold fast to the faith and grow in grace for His greater glory.
Heavenly Father, thank You that I am saved by grace through faith in Christ and have been born-anew and baptised into His mystical Body. Thank You for the amazing ministry of the Holy Spirit and His transforming work in my life. Fill me day by day with power from on high to work the works of God in my life, for Your praise and glory. Guide me along the path of life and transform me into the person You want me to be. May I decrease and Christ increase in every area of life, until I can say with Paul - It is NOT I that live, but Christ, Who lives me, for His name's sake, AMEN.