Teaching from Paula’s book: The God of Timing
The Spirit Poured Out
Fifty days after Passover came the feast of Pentecost. It was the extravagant culmination of the harvesting season of grain. From the day that the set-apart barley sheaves were waved before the Lord, the Israelites were to count off seven weeks. These forty-nine days brought them to the wheat harvest, the more nourishing and valued grain. This festival has to do with Revelation and harvest.
The Lord specified that the people should give a free will offering in proportion to the blessings the Lord had given each one. This was a joyful festival of provision and harvest.
Luke reports, “And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God” (Luke 24:52-53). One hundred and twenty of them remained in prayer until the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) arrived, and when it did, they were gathered together, as we’ll talk about later (see Acts 1:14-15, 2:1).
I’ve saved Pentecost for the end because while most of the other feasts were about preparation, atonement, and blessing, this was the empowerment that enabled the early believers to actually do God’s work on the earth. What happened on the Day of Pentecost after Jesus was raised from the dead was the fulfillment of promises from the Old Testament, especially the promise from Joel that that God was going to pour out His Spirit upon all flesh.
But He didn’t do this just for fun or for their own edification; He did it to prepare them for the harvest. And He is still giving His Holy Spirit for that reason—to bless us, yes, but to empower the workers in the harvest so that He can draw all men to Himself.
The Day of Pentecost
God set a divine appointment with His people hundreds of years in advance—not just the feast of Pentecost, but the singular “Day of Pentecost” where the Holy Spirit descended upon those gathered in the upper room. We read the account of this in Acts:
When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And 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 2:1-4 NKJV)
Peter then gives us the spiritual context of what happened as he says,
But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams. And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; and they shall prophesy.
(Acts 2:16-18 NKJV)
The Day of Pentecost happened there in Acts, but just like all these feasts, we still celebrate the principles today—and we still experience the empowerment today! I want us to spend our time talking about Pentecost looking at a few important things, starting with the preparation and relationship that’s the vital foundation for walking in the Holy Spirit. God gives us His power—dunamis—which descended on the believers in the upper room. This empowerment was not limited to those gathered in the upper room only weeks after Jesus’ ascension into heaven, but the Holy Spirit isn’t just about the working of miracles—He’s about relationship.
The power that fell on them continues to fall on believers who are open to the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Trinity. The power they received is just waiting to be released in an intimate relationship we can all have with God the Holy Spirit.
But all too often, Christians are either frightened of the Holy Spirit because they’ve heard incorrect teaching, or they’re preoccupied with seeking power, gifts, and moves of the Spirit. Together, we’re going to see that God has a plan for how He pours out His Spirit—and like all His plans, it’s perfect.
The Person of Pentecost
Many people treat the Holy Spirit as though He’s this mystical “force,” an unpredictable spiritual energy that defies our understanding and is somehow less trustworthy and acceptable than God the Son and God the Father. Incorrect teaching within parts of the Church has cast the Holy Spirit into a negative light that the third Person of the Trinity does not deserve, and everyone who has received this teaching and has rejected or mistrusted the Holy Spirit is missing out on incredible blessing and power that God wishes us to experience.
The Holy Spirit is as much God—as trustworthy and worthy of our honor and reverence—as the Father and the Son, and He is a Person that we can know intimately and personally. His Person is the evidence of His presence in our lives, and together we’re going to look at what God intended for Pentecost, how it was fulfilled at the Day of Pentecost, and how that empowerment has not gone out of style but is available to enrich the life of every believer.
I want to start our talk of the Holy Spirit (the gift we received on the Day of Pentecost) with one of the most telling verses about Him in all of Scripture. Jesus is speaking, and He tells us, “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 depart, I will send Him to you” (John 16:7 NKJV).
We’re going to get back to this, but let’s quickly look at another statement Jesus made, this one from Acts: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth“ (Acts 1:8 NKJV).
Let’s just linger here with these Scriptures for one moment. Have you ever thought, consciously or subconsciously, that if only Jesus would show up in your living room and wave His hand over your life everything would be okay? I know of people who think this way—that all they needed was for Him to appear and touch their situation like He did in the gospels and it would all work out.
But in the very words of Jesus Himself, He tells us that it’s better for us that He went away!
Stop and think about this for a moment: the Helper Jesus sent is so good, He is better than having the physical Jesus on the earth. Have you ever really grasped that idea? Have you ever let that sink into your spirit—that we have something better now than when Jesus walked the earth?
And the next passage tells us why: because when the Holy Spirit came, He gave believers access to His power—His dunamis—to do God’s will on the earth. This power, this dunamis, is power that’s capable of reproducing itself; it’s power to spread the Good News across the whole earth. We get our word “dynamite” from this word, because it is explosive power to do God’s will—not for our own gratification but to bring God glory.
Jesus, as impossibly amazing and wonderful as the Son of God given flesh was, was fully God…but also fully man. He was limited to one place in space and time, just like us. The Man, Jesus Christ, could not be with every single one of us all the time.
But that’s not true of the Holy Spirit—the Spirit is everywhere, all at once, doing God’s will and empowering believers with the dunamis to work God’s will all over this planet. He is within us, and we can all experience His power.
This power is what enables believers to lay their hands on the sick and see them recover. It’s what allows you to speak out a revelation or a prophetic word or a word of knowledge and see it change people’s lives. It’s what lets us walk in faith and literally change the world and bring God the glory!
Now, think on this: did the believers before the Day of Pentecost have Jesus in their hearts? Had they believed in Him? Yes! But Jesus Himself told them, “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before. John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:4-5 NLT).
If the first believers had everything they needed, why did Jesus tell them to wait to receive another gift from the Father? Because they needed power!
So if this promise of the Holy Spirit and His power was so important and significant that Jesus Himself tells us it’s better for us that He go away so the Helper can come, wouldn’t you say that it’s important for us to know who He is and what His role is in the life of believers? I’d say it’s very important, so let’s learn more about Him together.
The Holy Spirit Is A Gentleman
The first aspect of the Holy Spirit that I want you to know is that He never plays the role of a dictator in the life of a believer. The Holy Spirit never forces His way into a life, and He doesn’t force believers to do things as though He were manipulating a puppet.
I can’t tell you how many people I’ve talked to who are afraid that if they’re open to the Holy Spirit that He’ll make them do crazy things; that He’ll violate their control of their own bodies or something. This is simply foolish superstition, and nothing could be further from the truth.
It has been rightly said that the Holy Spirit is a Gentleman—He doesn’t force Himself on anyone. He offers His empowerment to witness and do God’s will to every Christian, but He doesn’t force it on anyone. Don’t be afraid that the Holy Spirit is going to make you do things against your will; that’s not scriptural.
What is scriptural is that He desires to be closer than a brother—to be our Helper, our Advocate, and our Counselor. Each of these relationships requires intimacy.
Hunger for Intimacy
Everything that the Holy Spirit does in our lives flows out of an intimate relationship with us. Every fruit that He produces in the life of the believer is a result of who He is, and this is another source of problems I see regarding believers and the Holy Spirit. Too often, I see people who are after the results of what He does, but they’re disinterested in who He is.
The Holy Spirit is not a force we direct or control like we’re on Star Wars. He is a Person whom we intimately encounter as part of a deepening walk with God.
If you are saved and hungering more for God, it is the Holy Spirit that you’re yearning for! Hunger for God shifts your atmosphere; it drives you to seek more of Him, to dive deeper. And when you go deeper, the Holy Spirit is who you’ll find.
If you are hungry for more of God, you must welcome the Holy Spirit into your life, because He is a Gentleman, and He will not force Himself upon you. You have to seek Him, welcome Him.
But I want to give you some good news—you don’t have to be anywhere special or get help from anyone to receive the Holy Spirit. You can welcome Him into your life at any stage of your Christian walk, and you will go from a believer who’s accepted Jesus and been transformed into a new creature into a powerhouse of God, radically supercharged with the dunamis of the Holy Spirit!
So remember what I said: you must understand who the Holy Spirit is in order to understand what He can do in your life. So as we look at what God set up with Pentecost and what He fulfilled at the Day of Pentecost when He sent the Holy Spirit, we’re going to learn more about who the Holy Spirit is so you can welcome more of His power into your life. So let’s learn some more together!
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