This coming Sunday will be Pentecost.
Just like Easter, Pentecost marks the occurrence of an unrepeatable event in salvation history, the pouring out of God’s Spirit on all of His people (Joel 2:28-32) marking the dawn of a new dispensation of the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:4-8). What happened at the beginning of the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-13) was an event that was part of the saving work of God in Jesus Christ. As Christ died for our sins only once and was raised for our transformation just once, so there is a similar “full, perfect and sufficient” quality to the pouring out of the Spirit on the first day of Pentecost 50 days after Easter. But after this first occurrence of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, the gift of the Holy Spirit to flowed to believers everywhere and always. This is what happened later on the day of Pentecost after Peter had preached the Gospel in the power of the Spirit for the first time and people believed and were baptized. They experienced forgiveness and they received the gift of the Holy Spirit themselves (Acts 2:37-39). It is the extension and renewal of this gift of the Holy Spirit that was poured out for the first time on the day of Pentecost 50 days after Jesus Christ was raised from the dead and 10 days after Christ’s exaltation at His Ascension that is available to us as we ask God to keep on filling us with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). This is the pattern of New Testament Christianity.
The happening of long ago is confirmed by present experience. The Christian receives first the account of something that happened in history and then experiences its effects in in the present. Experience does not provide a substitute for the documentary evidence, but it does confirm that evidence. The saving event no longer seems to the Christian to be merely a far-off thing. On the contrary, it is received into the Christian’s innermost soul, and every day and hour of the Christians’ life brings new conformation of its truth. (J. Gresham Machen, Christianity & Liberalism – 103, modified)
Following the pattern of the disciples in the book of Acts who spent the 9 days between the Ascension and Pentecost praying for the promised “power from on high” to provide both direction and momentum to their ministry (Luke24:49; Acts 2:8; 14), we have been observing a Pentecost Novena (from Latin: Novem, meaning Nine) at Northway praying “Come Holy Spirit, Come.” On the church’s Facebook page – “Northway Christian Church of Dallas” – you can find a daily Scripture, Thought and Prayer Guide for this Pentecost Novena and a short daily devotional video by one of the Northway ministry team members on what it might mean for us both as individual Christians and as a community of faith if we experienced a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
Pentecost is part of the saving work of God in Jesus Christ because Christianity simply doesn’t work in our own strength and by our own efforts (Galatians 3:1-5). E. Stanley Jones called the Holy Spirit “the adequate spiritual dynamic for the living of the Christian life,” and that’s what we are seeking when we pray “Come Holy Spirit, Come.”
Frank Viola, the provocative and insightful Christian author, in his book Jesus Now: Unveiling the Present-Day Ministry of Christ (David C. Cook – 2014), has helpfully written about the difference that the Holy Spirit makes in our lives and in the life of the church (http://www.christianpost.com). As we seek a fresh filling with the Holy Spirit this Pentecost, let what Frank has written stimulate in you a spiritual appetite for that “something more” that the Holy Spirit represents in the normal Christian life.
In some denominations and movements, the Holy Spirit is overemphasized, leading to a Christless Pentecost — putting the Spirit exclusively on the throne and losing Jesus in the temple. In other denominations and movements, the Spirit is but a footnote, an afterthought, even a stranger. What follows are 50 things the Holy Spirit does according to the New Testament. If you find this list helpful, share it on Facebook, Twitter, etc.
- The Spirit convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8).
- The Spirit guides us into all truth (John 16:13).
- The Spirit regenerates us (John 3:5-8; Titus 3:5).
- The Spirit glorifies and testifies of Christ (John 15:26; 16:14).
- The Spirit reveals Christ to us and in us (John 16:14-15).
- The Spirit leads us (Rom. 8:14; Gal. 5:18; Matt. 4:1; Luke 4:1).
- The Spirit sanctifies us (2 Thess. 2:13; 1 Pet. 1:2; Rom. 5:16).
- The Spirit empowers us (Luke 4:14; 24:49; Rom. 15:19; Acts 1:8).
- The Spirit fills us (Eph. 5:18; Acts 2:4; 4:8, 31; 9:17).
- The Spirit teaches us to pray (Rom. 8:26-27; Jude 1:20).
- The Spirit bears witness in us that we are children of God (Rom. 8:16).
- The Spirit produces in us the fruit or evidence of His work and presence (Gal. 5:22-23).
- The Spirit distributes spiritual gifts and manifestations (the outshining) of His presence to and through the body (1 Cor. 12:4, 8-10; Heb. 2:4).
- The Spirit anoints us for ministry (Luke 4:18; Acts 10:38).
- The Spirit washes and renews us (Titus 3:5).
- The Spirit brings unity and oneness to the body (Eph. 4:3; 2:14-18). Here the Spirit plays the same role that He plays in the Godhead. The Spirit is the life that unites Father and Son. The Spirit plays the same role in the church. When the Spirit is operating in a group of people, He unites them in love. Therefore, a sure evidence of the Holy Spirit working in a group is Love and Unity. Not signs and wonders (those are seasonal and can be counterfeited).
- The Spirit is our guarantee and deposit of the future resurrection (2 Cor. 1:22; 2 Cor. 5:5).
- The Spirit seals us unto the day of redemption (Eph. 1:13; 4:30).
- The Spirit sets us free from the law of sin and death (Rom. 8:2).
- The Spirit quickens our mortal bodies (Rom. 8:11).
- The Spirit reveals the deep things of God to us (1 Cor. 2:10).
- The Spirit reveals what has been given to us from God (1 Cor. 2:12).
- The Spirit dwells in us (Rom. 8:9; 1 Cor. 3:16; 2 Tim. 1:14; John 14:17).
- The Spirit speaks to, in, and through us (1 Cor. 12:3; 1 Tim. 4:1; Rev. 2:11; Heb. 3:7; Matt. 10:20; Acts 2:4; 8:29; 10:19; 11:12, 28; 13:2; 16:6,7; 21:4,11).
- The Spirit is the agent by which we are baptized into the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13).
- The Spirit brings liberty (2 Cor. 3:17).
- The Spirit transforms us into the image of Christ (2 Cor. 3:18).
- The Spirit cries in our hearts, “Abba, Father” (Gal. 4:6).
- The Spirit enables us to wait (Gal. 5:5).
- The Spirit supplies us with Christ (Phil. 1:19, KJV).
- The Spirit grants everlasting life (Gal. 6:8).
- The Spirit gives us access to God the Father (Eph. 2:18).
- The Spirit makes us (corporately) God’s habitation (Eph. 2:22).
- The Spirit reveals the mystery of God to us (Eph. 3:5).
- The Spirit strengthens our spirits (Eph. 3:16).
- The Spirit enables us to obey the truth (1 Pet. 1:22).
- The Spirit enables us to know that Jesus abides in us (1 John 3:24; 4:13).
- The Spirit confesses that Jesus came in the flesh (1 John 4:2).
- The Spirit says “Come, Lord Jesus” along with the bride (Rev. 22:17).
- The Spirit dispenses God’s love into our hearts (Rom. 5:5).
- The Spirit bears witness to the truth in our conscience (Rom. 9:1).
- The Spirit teaches us (1 Cor. 2:13; John 14:26).
- The Spirit gives us joy (1 Thess. 1:6).
- The Spirit enables some to preach the gospel (1 Pet. 1:12).
- The Spirit moves us (2 Pet. 1:21).
- The Spirit knows the things of God (1 Cor. 2:11).
- The Spirit casts out demons (Matt. 12:28).
- The Spirit brings things to our remembrance (John 14:26).
- The Spirit comforts us (Acts 9:31).
- The Spirit makes some overseers in the church and sends some out to the work of church planting [through the body] (Acts 20:28; 13:2).
Come Holy Spirit, Come… DBS+