THE FULLNESS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
Last Sunday was the Christian holiday of Pentecost. This is the day we are called to remember and celebrate that the risen Jesus Christ, ascended to the right hand of the Father, poured out the Holy Spirit upon his people and gave birth to the church, beginning to apply the salvation that he accomplished for us through the cross and the empty tomb, when he died and then rose from the dead on our behalf.
Pentecost happens every year, seven weeks after Easter, but for whatever reason, Pentecost isn’t nearly as big a deal as Christmas or Easter. Maybe it’s because we don’t have a Pentecost Bunny or give and receive Pentecost gifts. Unfortunately, Pentecost isn’t a day we typically go out of our way to remember but Pentecost is just as necessary for our salvation and life with Jesus as Christmas or Easter. Not realizing this causes us to miss out on something very important for our lives as Christians.
On that original Pentecost after that original Easter, 120 believers were gathered together in a house having a prayer meeting. Before he ascended to the right hand of the Father, Jesus had promised to send the Holy Spirit upon his disciples so they could begin their mission of living for him and reaching this world for him. Those believers knew something that we too often miss and forget today — that when God gives us a promise, we need to pray for him to fulfill that promise. So those 120 believers were waiting upon God in prayer, and God answered their prayers in a dramatic, unmistakable way.
They began to hear the presence of God audibly through the sound of a mighty, rushing, violent wind. Just as the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters, bringing life to chaos in the act of creation, so now the Spirit of God moved upon God’s people, bringing life to the church, a living preview of God’s new creation. Those believers also saw the presence of God visibly through a vision of tongues like fire, with the white-hot glory of God resting upon each one of them, because the Spirit is for all of us as the church and each one of us who make up the church.
Having heard and seen the power of the Holy Spirit, those Spirit-filled believers went from that house an empowered, unified group. They began sharing the gospel to people from all over the world, in their own languages, empowered to not only serve one another, but to be a witness to the nations of the glorious good news that the crucified and risen Savior of humanity, Jesus Christ has come to rescue us all and to bring in his kingdom.
Pentecost is the original moment when Jesus poured the Holy Spirit upon us. It was here that believers first experienced what we call the baptism of the Holy Spirit, a full, permanent immersion in the Spirit. It was a unique, once-and-for-all, one-time moment that has ongoing ramifications for us, just like Jesus’ death and resurrection. Jesus died once and for all on the cross, and whenever someone turns to him in repentance and faith, they experience that death to sin for themselves. Jesus rose from the dead once and for all, and whenever someone turns to him in repentance and faith, they experience that resurrection for themselves, raised to walk in newness of life in anticipation of rising from the dead in the last day. Jesus poured out the Holy Spirit upon his people once and for all at Pentecost, and whenever someone turns to him in faith and repentance they also experience that baptism in the Spirit.
Every single person who believes in Jesus receives the fullness of the Holy Spirit the moment they believe. There is no further experience necessary where you will get more of the Spirit and there is no particular gift that you have to have if you’ve received the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Nothing more is needed to receive the Holy Spirit than to turn to Jesus. Every believer in Christ has been baptized in the Spirit.
First Corinthians 12:12–13 gives us some insight into why Jesus pours out his Holy Spirit upon us when we believe: “For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.”
The Holy Spirit brings us into the body of Christ, the church, unifying us to other believers, and then empowering us together to live for him as his witnesses and servants. The Holy Spirit fills us to display the character of Jesus and to do his will, all together in and through him. Let’s take some time this week to pray and ask God to help us live in the Spirit, to serve our body of Christ here at First Baptist, and to be a witness to the world of Christ’s love and grace. God loves to answer those prayers.