Filled with the Spirit
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Filled with the Spirit
How do you feel right now? Half full. A little below empty. Drained.
- When you are drained you don’t feel like you have anything to give to another.
- When we feel empty we feel like we can’t go anywhere or do anything.
- Depleted. Useless.
If you feel that way you will not accomplish much for God’s mission. God does not desire his people to feel that way. God sends his spirit to fill us up and to empower us to do the things he calls us to do.
We want to have a full tank so we can go out and endure. We want to overflow so we can give to others. The things in the world leaves us empty, but God promises his spirit to us and his Spirit fills us to overflowing with joy, gladness, boldness for his work.
Prop: God’s spirit empowers us with joy, gladness, and boldness,
and so we should seek the filling of the Spirit.
When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. 5 Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6 And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. 7 And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, 11 both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians–we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” 12 And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.” 14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. 15 For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel: 17 “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; 18 even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy. 19 And I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke; 20 the sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day. 21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ 22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know– 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. 25 For David says concerning him, “‘I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; 26 therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; my flesh also will dwell in hope. 27 For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption. 28 You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.‘ (Acts 2:1-28 ESV)
Pentecost was a feast in the Old Testament. It is called Pentecost because it was fifty days after the Passover sacrifice. The feast was also called the feast of weeks (7 weeks), or the feast of ingathering/harvest. It was the grain harvest. Crops have grown and been harvested and it is time to enjoy some of it.
In Acts it is now fifty days after Jesus has been resurrected. He has told his disciples to wait for the giving of the Holy Spirit. Now the enthroned Jesus, with his work complete, sends his spirit so his disciples can experience his work and be empowered to follow him.
- The Signs:
Jesus promised his spirit in Acts 1, and his people are waiting for it. How would you know if the spirit came. God makes it obvious. It touches all the senses.
Sound: they heard the spirit coming. Like a “mighty rushing wind.”
Sight: They see divided tongues of fire come and rest on them. They see the spirit come. This is a bit confusing, but as you understand some of the Old Testament events it becomes a little clearer. Tongues of fire coming and resting on people would probably be very encouraging to them as they have been called to testify to what Jesus has done. I think it is the equivalent of an army getting ready for battle and a flaming tank comes to lead the way. Our tongues are what we use to tell what God has done for us. We have a faith that is to be verbal. It is not complete when it just resides in us.
Jesus said it is better that he leave so that the Spirit will come. It is actually better now for us that the Spirit has come than that Jesus is right in front of us. It’s amazing to think about.
- The Effects
this event is encountered. The crowds, disciples, everyone knows something happened.
-joy. they are drunk: something is going on. It’s loud, there’s commotion, it’s fun, there is joy. Must be drunk. And in one of the great apologetic statements that meets the audience where they are Peter says, “no we are not drunk. It is too early in the morning for that.” Not sure if this was a well thought out response or off the cuff, but it is effective.
–declaring the praises of God.” they declare his mighty acts. This could be the works of God in history. What he has done to redeem people-Peter will explain the sacrifice of Christ and what it accomplished. It could be what God has done in their lives- their eyes were blind and now they see. This is what we should be doing. We should be sharing how God has worked in our lives, how his work impacts us each day. Tell people that. This is what I love about the discovery groups we are launching.
–uniting peoples together. v9 all the nations are being united. This is an amazing reversal. It shows God’s desire for the nations. It is not one nation. It is not a white nation. It is not a black nation. It is not a Jewish nation. It is a kingdom composed of all God’s people from all the nations. They look different, talk different, have different ideologies and convictions of government, etc. But they have experienced the power of the spirit in their lives and that means everything.
We also see this is a reversal of what happened in Gen 10 at Babel. At the tower of Babel humans decided to build in order to make a name for themselves, so as punishment God confused their languages. There is now a reversal of that. The gospel is moving forward. Barriers are being overcome. Sin separates and divides. Spirit joins and unites.
These nations represent the ends of the known world of the time. That is how far God’s reconciliation goes. Later we also see that the promise is for men and women, young and old, slave and free.
Our world is craving for something to unify it, and the only thing big enough for that is our God and creator. People are reconciled to each other as they gather around the throne of the lamb. That is where unity and healing are found. Hostility melts down.
–They are filled: you will see this over and over again with the spirit. When it comes people are filled. They overflow with gladness, hope, joy.
-gladness, hope, fullness. God relates to us by the spirit.
-Psalm 4:7 filled my heart with greater joy than when all their grain and new wine abound. It is the grain harvest they are celebrating. And it does not compare to what the Lord brings you. Stimulus check, tax refund, commission check.
God’s people are together, they are praying fervently, they are praying not for more of the world but for his Spirit. Have you experienced this? This is a powerful time.
What are you filling yourself with. Television, movies, alcohol. You don’t need a drink. Too often people worn out say things like “I need a drink.” You don’t need drink. You need the spirit of God. maybe instead of a glass of wine you get with some friends and pray. That will change you. The other is going to leave you empty.
-in awesome Alpharetta we have the incredible ability to fill our lives with all kinds of stuff. We can fill ourselves with the stuff the world has for us. Great food. Sad-feed yourself, gourmet burgers tonight. Drink-we have some of the best you can find. Vacations: got that too. Cruises, Hawaii, bungalow in the mountains or Carribean. You give yourself to that and come back empty. You went on a dream vacation and lay next to your spouse at night and feel miles apart inside. Those things are good, but we are not created for them, and if we are asking those to take the place of God, then you are asking them to do what they cannot do. Physical things cannot solve spiritual problems. Couple on vacation to Hawaii and one week after being back decided to get divorced. The trip didn’t heal them. It left them empty.
And we are going to see these things don’t come by praying a certain prayer, or doing it just the right way. There is fullness of joy with Jesus but you have to follow his path of life. Many want Jesus to come with them and the path they have chosen for their life. You want a little Jesus in your life, just enough to say you have it but not enough to really inconvenience your life.
This filling of the spirit makes us ask what you pray about for your friends/kids. What do you long for? Worldly stuff or the spirit of God. We don’t need other things. Do you want a successful surgery or do you want the power of the spirit of God to rest on you.
–what are you desperate for. By and large the church is largely indifferent to the mission Jesus gave to us. Where are the powers, the mighty acts, people declaring what God has done for us, Most people are bored with church and a big reason is they are not really that interested in Jesus, so why seek after that in radical ways.
Peter is now doing what Jesus said would happen when the Spirit comes. Peter stands up in the midst of a confusing situation and starts explaining.
Christ is the source of this filing. Christocentric explanation.
He says this event is what the Old Testament pointed to. In the last days God will pour out his spirit. If it was the last days then, it is the last days now. You don’t need Antifa or white nationalist rallies to make you think we are in the end times. We have been there and continue to be there. But Peter also says this empowerment of the spirit comes through Jesus.
16 But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:
-24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.
-In Jesus all the things that hold us in bondage are broken. Death is the greatest and if death is broken so are all the others. Death. Fear of Death. Fear of losing comfort. Fear of being out of control. Where there was fear there can be peace. Anxiety turned to joy. Guilt to forgiveness.
This is what the church needs to be about. We are not trying to entertain people. We are not trying to make people better. We are not trying to get people to think more highly of themselves. We are trying to get people to know and to experience the life Jesus has for them. And the only way we are going to build a church is when people see that Jesus meets them in unique ways when they are in the presence of others.
People have knowledge of Jesus, but do you know the joy, hope, and power of his Spirit. Too many people can tell you things about God but know nothing of him experientially. Very little sacrifice in their walk with Jesus.
Modern Day Expectation.
People have been in two camps on this: continuationists and cessationists. Cessationists see that these gifts happened on time in history, it is to validate the apostles and now it is over. Continuationists see these gifts are to continue today and that what happened to the apostles can happen to us. I think cessationist see the significance of the initial outpouring of the Spirit. And I think continuations see that God did this not just to empower the apostles then but to empower his church today, in the last days.
There are unique things here. You don’t see the spirit move in such a dramatic way even in the rest of the book of Acts. People will receive the spirit by believing in Jesus. His Spirit leads you to trust in Christ.
But Scripture also commands us to be filled with the spirit (1 Thess 5:), don’t quench the spirit, fan into flame the gift of God. We are to seek the spirit, pray for it, seek it, etc.
Similar to Exodus. Does the exodus tell you how God used Moses in mighty ways and you should listen to him, or does it tell you God cares for you, is powerful, and that you should trust him to deliver you from the troubles you are in. Both. When we rightly apply that passage we see both of those. We see the uniqueness of what the Israelites experienced but we also see God is able to deliver us.
So also with Pentecost, we need to see this is a unique outpouring of God. But it also opens up how we can expect to experience God. He calls us to testify, he calls us to live boldly, and he empowers us for that task.
We need to make room for this Spirit. Some people have tried to cram so much stuff into their cup the Spirit can’t find room. Get rid of stuff, make time. Concerned with him alone.
There is no substitute for a spiritual appetite. I heard this week that hunger is the best cook. Isn’t that right! When you are on an eight hour hike and you get to the top of the mountain that pack of peanut butter crackers is amazing! You don’t critique like, man they should have used the organic oil and they should have . Are we thirsty for the spirit of God? People come in critiquing music, or this or that. And yes, I believe God calls us to do excellence. But if I could choose between excellence and desperation I would take desperation everytime. Desperation can lead to excellence. But I don’t see excellence leading to desperation. Are we desperate for God to move and work? Do we believe he can fill us? Do we believe he is with us to empower and enable.
Expectation that God can move. Want to live like this can happen. Expect that God can fill you with joy. But we are in a pandemic! Even in a pandemic. But my income has been cut in half and I can’t buy my kids all the stuff they want. Even then you can find joy. But we can’t do the vacations we want to do. God’s spirit is greater than a vacation. Perhaps God is using Corona to recalibrate his church. Perhaps he is using Corona to change you! Perhaps God is saying if you won’t change I will do it for you. Will you humble yourself?
Seeking the filling of God’s spirit is another way of saying Jesus I want you and nothing else. I need your spirit and that’s all. He may send his spirit in loud obvious shouts or even in quiet resolve.
God fill me. Take away the other desires,
Fill me with you. I don’t need anything else.
It’s not a one time deal. It’s a lifestyle. Walk in his paths. Like salvation, walking the isle only means
Start a new path of resting in, being filled with the spirit, lift your hands and ask the Lord to fill you, commit to praying and reading God’s word. If starting a new path, do something different right now.
Spirit give me strength. Help me testify. Help me not be afraid. Help me think of others. Rebuilding your life. Everything you need is in him.