Acts 1:8 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Acts 2:1-4 1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
Acts 5:41-42 41The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. 42 Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.
Today is Pentecost Sunday, the day in the liturgical calendar that we celebrate the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the church. The Holy Spirit is one of my favorite topics. None of us could experience new life in Christ without the Holy Spirit at work in our lives. You see, the Holy Spirit establishes our salvation through a new birth. The old spirit is replaced by a new Spirit, the Spirit of Christ. When we accept Christ’s work on the cross to pay the price for our sins and believe by faith that we can be made new by His Spirit, we experience salvation. Something else, however, happened on the Day of Pentecost which was different from the salvation experience.
In salvation the Spirit is at work in us because we have submitted to Christ. The Holy Spirit ESTABLISHES us in Christ. In sanctification or what we call being filled with the Spirit or baptized in the Spirit, however, the Spirit ENABLES us to do a specific work for Christ.
This idea of being empowered by the Holy Spirit for a specific purpose is seen even before Pentecost. In John 20, Jesus had died and the disciples were huddled in fear behind locked doors. Jesus appeared to them and they were overjoyed of course. After he gave a greeting of “peace,” he said, “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 This was just a prelude of what was to come when the Holy Spirit would be poured out on the day of Pentecost, but you can see the connection between being sent by God for a special purpose and being filled by the Spirit of God to accomplish that purpose.
Joshua was chosen to succeed Moses as the leader of the Israelites in Numbers 27 to take them into the Promised Land, and again the connection between doing something special for God and being filled with the Holy Spirit is seen. Numbers 27:18 18 So the LORD said to Moses, “Take Joshua son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay your hand on him. And then verse 22: 22 Moses did as the LORD commanded him. He took Joshua and had him stand before Eleazar the priest and the whole assembly. 23 Then he laid his hands on him and commissioned him, as the LORD instructed through Moses. There was a Holy Spirit enabling that made Joshua a successful leader.
Joseph also had an enabling from the Holy Spirit. In Genesis 41, Pharaoh had a dream that befuddled him. God had given Joseph a Holy Spirit enabling to interpret dreams, and so Joseph told the Pharaoh that his dream meant that Egypt would have seven years of abundance followed by seven years of famine. Pharaoh was advised to look for a discerning and wise man to put in charge of the land of Egypt in order to manage the seven years of abundance and the seven years of famine. That idea sounded good to the Pharaoh and he asked his advisers in verse 38 of Genesis 41, “Can we find anyone like this man, one in whom is the Spirit of God?” 39 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. 40 You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.” There was a connection to Joseph being enabled by the Spirit of God to have great wisdom which then gave him the opportunity to do something extraordinary for God.
Again in the Old Testament in Numbers 11, we read that Moses was overwhelmed with the responsibility of carrying the burden for so many people by himself. He asked God for help and the LORD said to Moses in verse 16, “Bring me seventy of Israel’s elders who are known to you as leaders and officials among the people. Have them come to the Tent of Meeting that they may stand there with you. 17 I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take of the Spirit that is on you and put the Spirit on them. They will help you carry the burden of the people so that you will not have to carry it alone. This group of people was Holy Spirit anointed to help carry the burdens of the people.
David was anointed with oil by Samuel in I Samuel 16 and Scripture says, “13 So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came upon David in power. Samuel then went to Ramah. David was Holy Spirit enabled to minister deliverance to Saul when he was being tormented by evil spirits through playing his harp. Through Holy Spirit enabling
David, even as a little boy, whipped the giant Goliath. Of course he eventually become the King of Israel.
We get to the Day of Pentecost and it seems things dramatically are ramped up. It’s not just a person here or there who is being supernaturally enabled for a period of time, but there is an outpouring of Holy Spirit enablement that is likened to the force and sound of a windstorm which isn’t just a temporary enabling, but it becomes an ongoing enabling for anyone who will yield to being filled with the Holy Spirit. Acts 2 says everyone in the Upper Room was enabled by this Wind. Everyone in the Upper Room was filled or baptized with the Spirit of God. Look at Acts 2:4 “4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” The rushing mighty wind affected all of them and none of them or anyone they came into contact with was ever going to be the same.
Peter is just one of those persons whose actions were recorded in the book of Acts after he had been “windblown” by the Spirit of God. He went from huddled with his friends in a locked room without hope and purpose to having a new vocation instantly after the Wind hit him. He preached a sermon in Acts 2 and 3000 people were saved. He healed a crippled man in chapter 3 which got some of the leaders stirred up and upset. In chapter four he was imprisoned for preaching the resurrection and 2000 more got saved in that process. We’re now up to five thousand converts in two chapters. In chapter four he told the religious leaders, those who were part of the crucifixion of the Lord that they needed to believe the truth of the resurrection and basically said in verse 12 that they needed to get saved. Sounds a bit bold, doesn’t it? Verse 13 says, “13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. 14 But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say. Oh, these religious leaders didn’t care for Peter’s makeover. They didn’t like the “windblown” look, but what could they say? The crippled man was standing there in the courtroom dancing a jig and waving to Peter to express his unending thanks.
Chapter 5 says it didn’t matter to the crowd that Peter was seen as a trouble maker by the law keepers. Verse 14 says more people were saved. The sick came to Peter hoping that just his shadow would fall on some of them as he passed by. Crowds of people came from everywhere bringing the sick and those who were demon possessed and verse 16 says ALL of them were healed. Peter was consistently preaching everywhere he went. It got him in to trouble. The Sadducees were jealous. They put Peter in jail, but during the night an angel let them out and said, 20 “Go, stand in the temple courts,” he said, “and tell the people the full message of this new life.” How many of you know most people who escape from prison don’t run to the middle of town and start talking. But Peter was as conspicuous as possible, showing off his new windblown look.
The religious leaders were hot. They went and brought them back before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest. Peter preached some more and after he finished preaching he said, “32 We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.” He wouldn’t shut up about the truth of the gospel. He didn’t mince words. He didn’t walk on egg shells. He didn’t try to be politically correct. He just kept on preaching and healing people which landed him back in jail in chapter 12 where he escaped again with the help of another angel. You couldn’t shut him up. You couldn’t lock him up. The experience with the wind of the Spirit made him a true force to be reckoned with. He couldn’t be stopped. You know why? Because you can’t stop the wind! You can’t control the Wind. John 3:8 says, “8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” Peter had been born of the Spirit and he was simply moving with the purposes of God for the proclamation of the Gospel and nothing could stop him.
People who experience the Wind of the Spirit get lots of attention. Acts 2:43 says, “Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the Apostles.” When you have the “Windblown Look” people take notice.
Peter’s Windblown Look tells me at least three things about the Wind of the Spirit.
First, it was a PURPOSEFUL Wind. Those who were huddled in the Upper Room were told that when the Wind blew they would receive power for the purpose of spreading the gospel. This wasn’t a random Wind. It wasn’t a funnel cloud of destruction that randomly hit the place where they were gathered, but it was a purposeful Wind sent to move them in a new direction. It was a wind sent to change their vocation.
The first followers of Christ must have wondered after Jesus ascended into heaven why they were still around. In Jesus, they’d glimpsed eternity and they wanted to be with Him. But here they were, stuck on a planet filled with people who would rather worship themselves, or possessions, or power, or prominence, rather than the God Who made them and died and rose for them. They were stuck living a life in which they would have to struggle and possibly suffer. But when the Holy Spirit came, He gave Jesus’ praying followers a purpose and reason for living as fully as they could. In short, the Holy Spirit gave them a new vocation. The Wind gave them a new purpose. They were no longer just followers of Christ. Now they were witnesses of Christ.
The wind blew and tongues of fire landed on each of them. Each one of them started preaching. What was amazing was that there were God-fearing Jews who were coming to the temple from countries in Europe, In Asia, In Africa and the Middle East and these God fearing Jews were saying, “These people are speaking in our language.” Look at them, they are bunch of uneducated Galileans, but they are proclaiming the wonders of God in our own languages from back home. They are witnesses to the power of God.
When a windstorm hits, you can’t see the wind, but you see the effects of it. It topples trees, tears down electric lines, carries away shingles. It leaves a wake of destruction in its path. Similarly, when the Wind of the Spirit comes into a person’s life, you may not see the “Wind of the Spirit” per say, but you see the effects of that Wind as that person finds new purpose and meaning and enthusiasm in being one of Christ’s witnesses.
You saw the effects in Peter’s life. 3000 in one day got saved. Many were healed and delivered and the number of people giving their lives to Christ grew exponentially. It was out of control crazy in a good way as Peter discovered a new purpose for living. Before Christ’s death, he had lived to follow Jesus. Now, because of Pentecost, he lived to take Jesus to everyone who had not yet met Him through the preaching of the Gospel.
Church, because of the Wind of Pentecost, the Spirit of God gives us meaning and purpose beyond just existing, beyond just waiting for heaven. Through the Wind of the Spirit each one of us becomes a witness. Those who were there are all filled with the Spirit. It wasn’t just for Peter. It wasn’t just for the 120 who were gathered there, but each one of us can experience the Wind in such a way that our day to day existence becomes a supernatural adventure as we will receive the courage of the Wind of the Spirit to be Christ’s witnesses. The Wind of Pentecost transformed the purpose of life.
You know, however, that just because the Wind of the Spirit makes a new vocation possible doesn’t mean you have to choose it. I’m here to tell you that even though God’s purpose for the church is the proclamation of the Gospel, you can either ride with the Wind or try to stand against it and just be knocked down, discouraged, and feel like a defeated Christian.
Life without Christ is defeating because there is something missing which is that relationship with God through Christ. Life without the Spirit, however, is still defeating for the Christian because there is something missing.
Christian, you might have a relationship with Jesus in that you have embraced Him as Savior, but if you aren’t partnering with Him by allowing the Holy Spirit to fill you and use you, you’re missing the joy and contentment that comes from fulfilling your God-given purpose to be a witness for Christ.
Jesus came that we might have abundant life! John 10:10. We weren’t created only to know God, but to serve Him. Relationship without purpose is friendship, but not partnership. Ephesians 5:18 says, “Be filled with the Holy Spirit.” The greatest need a sinner has is salvation, but the greatest need a Christian has is sanctification-that is to be filled with the Spirit. For it is the Holy Spirit that will give meaning and purpose to your life and set you on a course that will allow others to see the effects of your Windy walk with God. Your purpose is to help others see the effects of the Wind.
Second, I see in Peter’s life that he was hit by an EMPOWERING Wind. “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you.” In an instant God equipped them with the Holy Spirit to do exactly what He told them to do. They were being witnesses in Jerusalem, Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the earth. On Pentecost, they didn’t even have to go traveling to fulfill that purpose. God brought the people directly to them, so that the people could take back the message of Christ when they went home. The apostles were empowered by God to speak in languages they had never learned.
Acts 4:33 says, “33With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all.” They weren’t just talking. They weren’t just peddling a product or trying to persuade people by theatrics or through emotional an emotional sales pitch. When Peter and the others told the story, it was accompanied by the Spirit’s power.
When you look at the transformation of Peter in the book of Acts, you see that this powerful Wind was a courage giving power. I Timothy 1:7 says, “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” Peter didn’t even wait for strategic opportunities. He just talked about the resurrection everywhere we went.
The Wind of the Spirit absolutely gave them a convincing power. Paul said in I. Cor. 2:4 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power. There was an empowerment on these apostles that when people heard them speak, they weren’t hearing Peter or Paul, but God himself.
The power of the message was not only convincing, but it was also a convicting power. When people heard Peter on the Day of Pentecost, Acts 2:38 says they were “cut to the heart.” They not only knew the message Peter preached was true, but they were convinced that they needed to accept the message for themselves. They asked “What can we do in response to this news?”
It was also an inconceivable power as Peter experienced things like casting out demons and people being healed just because his shadow fell upon them. Ephesians 3:20 says 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, Through the Holy Spirit, God will empower you to do all kinds of things you never before imagined.
Church, I am telling you this Teays Valley needs some Holy Spirit Wind to blow through here. You and I need to be renewed by the Wind of God’s Spirit to be courageous in sharing the Gospel. We need to quit tiptoeing around the topic. We need to quit trying to be subtle. We need to quit trying to fit in, in order to earn the right to be heard. Church, we have a message that a dying and lost world needs to hear. It is like a cure for the cancer of sin. We can’t wait for people to try everything else and then ask us if we might have something that can cure their sin disease in the eleventh hour. We can’t make Jesus a last resort. We have to be aggressive, courageous and quit skirting the penetrating live changing conversation of the gospel just because we wouldn’t want to turn people off. I understand our need to be sensitive and grace giving, but the idea that we don’t want to push our agenda has become an excuse to do nothing. Oh, that God would breathe on us anew and afresh with courage and holy boldness to do His will!
We need a fresh Wind of the Spirit to provide convincing evidence that Jesus is alive, heaven is real and extreme joy-filled abundant life is possible right now. Is there anyone here who would like to have some of that convincing power so that your witnessing efforts won’t fall on deaf ears?
We need some Holy Spirit Wind to give us convicting power so that when we talk, people hear directly from God. We need to be so filled with the Holy Spirit that people will by-pass us and be convicted by the Holy Spirit and ask, “What must we do to be saved?”
I’m telling you, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has in store” for people who will consider that in the power of the Spirit, anything is possible.
Romans 8:11 says, “The same spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells in you.” When you are filled with the Wind of the Spirit, you are walking around with resurrection power! What an amazing resource! What would it take to get us all to exercise our faith and actually use it?
There is a story about a vacuum salesman down in Tennessee. He was out in rural Tennessee. He had his vacuum cleaner and all of this tools and everything, and he went out there and he told a lady, “I’ve got the most exciting vacuum cleaner you have ever seen. It will clean your house from top to bottom…you only have to pay so much down.” And the lady said, “It sounds real good.” He said, “You see that big pile of dirt right there on the floor with all those fur balls and bugs and things.” He said, “My vacuum cleaner will just pick up all those things up just like that and if they don’t, I’ll eat it.” She said, “Well you might as well get your knife and fork, because we do not have any electricity out here!” You will be sucking up dirt the rest of your life if you do not have the power.
Church, we don’t have to live without power. The Holy Spirit’s power is available to all of us who desire to be filled by it.
The third thing I see about the Windblown Look that Peter was sporting was that it can be a PERPETUAL Wind.
Even though Peter went through persecution and prison and was no doubt physically and at times mentally exhausted, he didn’t quit. Acts 5:42 says “Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.” Why? Because Peter moved with the Wind of the Spirit, not just on the day of Pentecost, but he did what Ephesians 5:18 describes in the original language. He was continually being filled with the Spirit.
We know in Acts 2:4, it says, “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit.” But then we see in Acts 4:29, Peter and some of the others prayed and were filled again with the power of the Wind. 29 “Lord, pay attention to their threats now, and allow us to speak your word boldly. 30 Show your power by healing, performing miracles, and doing amazing things through the power and the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31 When the apostles had finished praying, their meeting place shook. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God boldly.
They received another filling, a replenishment — presumably another of many replenishments of the Spirit. The refilling came as they prayed to God for MORE. If they had been content to rest in their initial, Acts 2:4 Holy Spirit anointing, they would not have asked, they would not have received — “You have not because you ask not” (James 4:2). Jesus said, “Believers, you will do the works I do.” Well, these first-century believers did those works! How? — They understood their need to stay full of the Holy Spirit.
John 14:12, 16-17a I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father…. (16) And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever — (17) the Spirit of truth.
If you think you’re going to live a successful Christian life just because you prayed one time in 1978 to be filled with the Spirit and that’s the only filling you need to get you through, you’ll be frustrated, without joy and wonder why others seem to be making spiritual progress and you are stuck. Without the power of the Wind, your boat won’t go anywhere. You need a continual filling to be able to run the race with endurance. It’s available to you as the Holy Spirit is with us forever according to John 14. We just need to know how to tap into the Spirit’s power.
A preacher was going to preach on the wind being a symbol of God and went to talk to an old sea captain he knew. He went and asked him, “What do you know about the wind?” The man answered, “I’ll tell you the truth. I don’t know much about the wind because it’s so mysterious, but I’ll tell you what I do know. I know how to set my sails!
Praying to be filled daily with the Holy Spirit’s enduring Wind is the way we set our sails. Church, we need to be a body of believers who are asking God to daily blow through our lives that we’ll have purpose, that we’ll have power and that we’ll have endurance to make it to the end.