That’s how long the disciples had been locked in this room.
That’s how long it’d been since they visited their favorite coffee shop.
That’s how long it’d been since they visited anything.
That’s how long they had been scared.
That’s how long they had been terrified.
That’s how long they had been waiting.
Because 10 days ago, in a final, epic, marvelous miracle Jesus had lifted off the ground into the air, without coming down, hidden by cloud, taken to heaven. But before he had left, Jesus had given them one final task.
Share the Gospel with all nations.
It seemed impossible.
They were such a small group.
There were so many people.
So many people that hated them.
That’s why they were waiting.
Jesus had told them that he would send them a gift.
To help them in their new task.
Suddenly they heard a noise.
Quiet at first.
But it grew in volume.
The sound of a hurricane-type wind.
They ran to the window.
The streets seemed calm.
The flags were motionless.
When they put their heads outside to listen, it actually got quieter.
It was coming from within the room.
Then, something appeared over their heads.
It was orange.
Blue in the middle.
One of the disciples grabbed a blanket and threw it over his friend’s head.
“You’re on fire.”
But it wasn’t hot.
And when he removed the blanket, the flame was still there.
Then, the disciples began to speak.
Was sprachst du?
They looked at each other confused.
They were each debuting their efficiency in a different language.
Without ever having practice a bit of that language.
This was it.
This was the gift Jesus promised.
This was the Holy Spirit.
I. The Gift of the Holy Spirit
This is Pentecost.
The gift of the Holy Spirit.
Backtrack with me to the moment that Jesus made that promise to his disciples.
Jesus said, “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” (v.16-17)
I wonder what Jesus’ disciples expected when he first mentioned that gift?
Something that would make ministry easier?
A brand new Webcam to broadcast their message?
A subscription to Amazon Prime to get ministry materials more quickly?
A new iPhone to help them quickly and efficiently text whoever was on their church membership roster?
When it comes to ministry, there is no more important gift than the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Here are some reasons why:
The Holy Spirit is JESUS-SENT.
Amazon packages are fun. It’s always exciting to open up and see what’s inside. But the excitement level for receiving those packages varies depends greatly on what company is listed on the sender label.
If the package says it is coming from The Flying Butcher – Steak of the Month Club, you’re excited. Open it immediately and turn on the grill.
But if it says that it’s from “The Asparagus of the Month club?” Meh. Throw it on the counter.
The same thing happens with emails.
If it’s the email from your professor about how well, you did on the test? Click! Open.
But if it’s the seventh email from Josh, the Google AdWords guy, emailing to let you know that he’s been checking your webpage out recently and he can adjust your S.E.O to get more site visitors for the low, low price of a lot of money…you’re less excited.
The sender of the Holy Spirit…is Jesus.
He loves you more than you could ever love you.
He is more powerful than you’ll ever be.
He is wiser than all our brains combined.
He gave us the gift of forgiveness.
He gave us the gift of peace.
He gave us the gift of joy.
He gave us the gift of adoption into God’s family, the promise of eternal life and salvation.
Jesus has an history of giving good gifts.
This gift of the Holy Spirit is no different.
The Holy Spirit is a PARACLETE.
The original Greek word there is “paraclete”. It’s actually a legal term. It is used to describe a person helps another on legal matters. The helper could be a lawyer helping the accused speak to the judge or a legal counselor helping you present your best case to the jury in court.
The Holy Spirit Paracletes in a few ways.
(1) …by speaking on the Father’s behalf to us
When you receive an official communication from the president of the United States, you should probably be looking for more than just a text message that says, “Hey! It’s Joe.”
Officially communication of the United States comes with an official seal attached to it.
It has an eagle on it.
This seal is one of a kind.
It identifies and authenticates the message as coming from the desk of the President.
God has a seal too.
Ephesians 1:13 says, “When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.”
The Holy Spirit is God’s official seal.
He identifies and authenticates God’s message to you.
Only he doesn’t use a rubber stamp and fresh ink.
He uses a quill and ink that’s been dry for almost 2000 some years.
The Gospel is God’s officially sealed communication to you.
In it, God says that…
He loves you.
He died for you.
He rose for you.
He forgives you for all your sins.
And when the Holy Spirit gets this message to you,
He often seals that message within you.
He stamps your heart as…
But it doesn’t stop there…
(2) …by speaking on the Father’s behalf through us.
There’s a lady I know who had been feeling rather depressed. She had moved to this area and been feeling kind of alone.
She didn’t seem to be wanted by her husband.
She didn’t seem to be wanted by any new friends.
She didn’t seem to be wanted by any employers in the area.
More recently, she had heard me talking about God and the joy that he brings, but…
She didn’t think that was for her.
She used to be churchy, but not anymore.
She had been very unchurchy for decades.
According to her, God wouldn’t have anything to do with her.
What do you say?
Honestly, I didn’t know.
But the Holy Spirit did.
You are wanted.
You are wanted so badly God came to earth to live and die to bring you into his kingdom.
You are so wanted by God.
You are so loved by God.
You are so forgiven.
She said, “That was powerful.”
I said, “That was the Holy Spirit.”
Our gospel came to you not simply with words but…with the Holy Spirit. (1 Thessalonians 1:5)
That message I just shared was not something I made up.
It’s the Gospel infused with the power of the Holy Spirit.
The same power that the disciples experienced at Pentecost!
Power to sound like a hurricane without a hurricane.
Power to appear as a flame without the burning.
Power to be bilingual without the schooling.
That same powerful Holy Spirit is in your Gospel words.
(3) The Holy Spirit is EVERLASTING
Because sometimes helpers don’t last.
Your tutor only is with you until the end of the Semester.
Your subscription to tech support runs out in a month.
Your friend gets tired of responding to your messages.
Not the Holy Spirit.
His power lasts much longer.
Jesus said, …The Father will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever. (Jn. 14:17)
He is with you when you come to faith.
For some of you that might have been a while ago!
Get this: he hasn’t run out on you!
He is still powerful.
He is still pursuing you.
During a breakup.
During a financial hardship.
When you’re sick and in the hospital.
When you’re far from home.
When you get the medical results.
He stays powerfully with you.
The Holy Spirit is IN YOU.
Of course, this promise was originally made to the apostles.
The original 11 men who would be inside that locked room on Pentecost.
They had fire on their heads.
Most definitely they had the Holy Spirit.
How do you know?
How do you know that the Holy Spirit is with you?
Flames on head?
Feel happy all the time?
Never sin again?
I want you to know that no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:3)
Do you get it?
Belief in Jesus is not something you come to on your own.
It is something that the Holy Spirit works in you.
If you believe in Jesus,
You have the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit has you.
And is with you.
And is in you.
II. What Now?
What do we do with this incredible gift of the Holy Spirit?
(1) Don’t be Careless with this Gift
When I was young, I really wanted a dartboard.
I had seen my cool cousins playing darts and was convinced that all I needed to be cool was a dartboard.
(If only it were that easy.)
Still on the day of Christmas, I was so very excited to see a gift wrapped in the shape of a regulation sized dartboard circle.
I ripped off the paper.
I shouted “Cool!”
I wanted to set it up so that I could start playing immediately.
But there were more gifts.
One of those gifts was a piece of artwork from my Aunt. She wrote a nice note and described how she hoped her gift would go with me and guide me always. I opened the carefully wrapped and packaged gift. Inside was a beautiful frame with a Bible passage, Jeremiah 29:11, write on it. “I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm, you plans to give you a hope and a future.”
Oh…Can I go play darts?
Sometimes I think that’s how we treat the Holy Spirit.
Yep. Thanks for the faith, Holy Spirit!
And then we run to play with our shiny new dartboard.
Or something else that isn’t the faith producing Holy Spirit.
Faith is like a plant that needs water.
If you stop watering it…it dies.
Like a log on a fire.
If you stop adding logs to it….it dies.
If you stop fueling your faith with the Holy Spirit inspired word of God.
And maybe that’s been you over COVID.
You had a burning faith.
Now it’s just a flicker.
Thank God for the flicker.
Add some fuel to the fire.
(2) Fuel Your Faith
We just had a gas shortage.
Did you know at one point last Thursday, Raleigh was ranked as having the most number of gas stations without fuel?
People in lines…
Can’t wait to get in and refuel their car so that they can go and get a fancy “Nothing Bundt Cake!”
But on Sunday?
The line of cars isn’t like that.
If only we understood.
When we are in God’s Word, the Holy Spirit feeds our faith.
He adds a log of God’s love.
He fills us with the fuel of God’s forgiveness.
He pours out the petroleum of God’s power!
And our faith burns again.
In full Pentecostal glory!
Did you know that on Pentecost over 3000 people were baptized?
They became believers.
The Holy Spirit lit on fire on their hearts.
The flame still burns.
It burns in my heart.
It burns in yours.
May it burn so brightly that it lights another heart on fire.
Wherever it is that your light burns brightly.
May the Holy Spirit worked through your words.
That another light burns too.