Be Filled With the Spirit (Pentecost Sunday)

Scripture commands Christians to be filled with the Holy Spirit

This being Pentecost Sunday, the seventh Sunday after Easter, this lesson is about the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Bible declares that the gift of the Holy Spirit to the early church, as promised by Christ and the Prophets, came on the Jewish feast day called Pentecost. Because of the spiritual and historical significance of this event for the Church, Pentecost, along with Christmas and Easter are the three major holidays on the Christian calendar. On these three “holy days”, we celebrate the birth of Jesus, the incarnate son; the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead; and the coming of the Holy Spirit, poured out on the early church.

Filled With the Spirit

A. Gift of the Spirit Prefigured

The definition of prefigure is “to be an early indication or version of”. We are going to read a text from the Old Testament that symbolizes what is to come in the New Testament with being filled with the Spirit. It is important to remember, when reading this text, that at this time, the gift of the Spirit would not have been available to everyone. Today this gift is available to all believers. 

24 And Moses went out, and told the people the words of the Lord, and gathered the seventy men of the elders of the people, and set them round about the tabernacle.

25 And the Lord came down in a cloud, and spake unto him, and took of the spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders: and it came to pass, that, when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease.

26 But there remained two of the men in the camp, the name of the one was Eldad, and the name of the other Medad: and the spirit rested upon them; and they were of them that were written, but went not out unto the tabernacle: and they prophesied in the camp.

27 And there ran a young man, and told Moses, and said, Eldad and Medad do prophesy in the camp.

28 And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Moses, one of his young men, answered and said, My lord Moses, forbid them.

29 And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the Lord’S people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!

B. Coming of the Holy Spirit

2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

Christ had instructed these disciples that, after His ascension, they were to dwell in Jerusalem until the were endued with power. This is where we find them at this point in time. They had gathered together for the Day of Pentecost, which was a Jewish religious festival, and they are in on place with one accord. I know this has been preached over and over, but this is a huge key in allowing the Holy Ghost to move across a body of people. To be in one accord means to do something together or at the same time because you agree about what should be done. If we could have that mind set on a consistent basis my what power we could experience.

2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.

Suddenly- quickly and unexpectedly. What if they would have given up the day before? You may not realize how close you are to receiving your promise. These disciples had made up in their mind that they have been given a promise and that they were not giving up until they received that promise. Could you imagine the reaction when they began to hear that sound from Heaven? Then, not only could they hear it but they begin to feel it as it filled the house where they were.

3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.

Now, they have heard it, they have felt it and now they can see it as appeared a flame of fire that sat upon each of them. Again, this is why it was important that they where all with one accord. What if one of these disciples would have lost hope and decided to throw in the towel? Would just that one person have missed out or would it have hindered the Spirit from coming to each of them?

4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

2:16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;

17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:

On the Day of Pentecost, Peter and the other Apostles interpreted their reception of the gift of the Holy Spirit as the beginning of the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy about Gods’ abundant outpouring of His Spirit on His people. In the Old Testament era, prophesying and the interpretation of God-given visions and dreams were regarded as evidences a person had received the gift of the Holy Spirit. Peter and the Apostles obviously regarded their speaking with tongues by inspiration of the Holy Spirit to be of the same spiritual nature of the proposing and receiving revelatory dreams from God. 

Spirit Filled Living

A. Christian Community and Spiritual Worship

Acts 2:41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

As a result of being filled with the Spirit, Peter presented the gospel to those in attendance, and as a result we see the salvation of “about 3 thousand souls”. In these next few verses, we will see the signs of spirit filled believers. 

42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

The first Christians were deeply devoted to Christ’s message. For this reason, they paid close attention to those who had been directly commissioned by Jesus to deliver his original message and establish the church. As a result of their deep hunger for God’s Word, the early Christians were spiritually nourished and grew strong in their faith. They were a Word-centered church.

They were also committed to building open, honest, and spiritually encouraging relationships with God’s people. They spent much time together and depended on one another. They were unified in love and purpose. They were a relationship-building church. 

To break bread together could simply mean expressing thankfulness towards God and each other. They enjoyed each other’s company and were a caring and sharing community. They were a people of gratitude and hospitality.

Where there is much prayer, there is much activity of the Holy Spirit, and where there is much activity of the Holy Spirit, there is much prayer. They recognized prayer as a source of intimacy with God, which gave them sensitivity to His direction and allowed His power to work through them.

43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.

These signs and wonders came as a direct result of their steadfastness in the things mentioned in the previous verse. When the modern day church can return to a steadfast commitment of these things, we will begin to see the work of the Spirit in our lives. 

44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common;

45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.

The early church in Jerusalem experienced a sense of community and. Purpose that has been experienced by only a few people in the earth. They practiced selfless generosity by sharing their possessions and taking care of others practical needs. These actions showed their love and gratitude toward God.

46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,

47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

As a result of their commitment and being filled with the Spirit, in a time where idol worship was very prominent, these believers experienced the privilege of worshipping the one true God. Because of their joy, their giving, and their worship, the Lord added to the church daily. 

B. Bearing the fruit of the Spirit

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Jesus taught that we can distinguish who is truly good by their character and deeds, or the fruit of their lives. In keeping with this teaching of Jesus, the most compelling evidence that an individual is filled with the Holy Spirit is the fruit of the Spirit in his or her life. The “fruit” (produce, harvest) of the Spirit are those Christlike virtues the Holy Spirit produces in our lives as we submit to His holy influence. 

Spirit Filled Unity and Service

A. Of One Heart and One Soul

Acts 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.

Again, here we see the moving of the Spirit as a direct result of the people of God praying. It moves God when His people pray. As a result of being filled with the Spirit, they were able to proclaim the Word of God with boldness.

32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.

No different than in the initial outpouring of the Holy Ghost, here we see that those the received were operating in unity, and continued doing so as a result of being filled with the spirit of God. 

33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.

Because they had been filled with the Spirit, they were able to proclaim the gospel message with power. What a difference it make when the message of Christ is presented in the power of the Spirit. 

34 Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,

35 And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.

B. Serving by God’s Sufficiency

2 Corinthians 3:5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;

6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.

As is stated in these verses of Scripture, we are not sufficient of ourselves, either for living a Christlike life or for doing Christlike ministry. Both of these are spiritual endeavors, and our sufficiency for both must come to us from God by the agency of His Holy Spirit. Without the enablement by the Holy Spirit, we never become sufficient, and if we neglect to depend on the Holy Spirit for our sufficiency, we cease to be sufficient. Simply having the New Testament does not make us able ministers of the Gospel. The Holy Spirit makes us able ministers of the New Testament, which is the new covenant of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. All Christlike living is spiritual living, and all Christlike ministry is spiritual ministry, and we are not sufficient for these without sincere and continuing reliance on the Holy Spirit for our sufficiency.

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