“And suddently there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
. . . . we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.”
Filled with the Holy Spirit!
Oh, that makes all the difference. If you are the happy recipient of that Holy Spirit, you are filled with the love of God; you ark being purged of your sins; you are filled with the holy zeal of God; you are united to those that with you received like bounty; you are filled with rejoicing unto all eternity.
If not, you will mock at the holiest of all: you will say, they are full of sweet wine! Listen to Paul: Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His! How utterly terrible! If you have not that Spirit, you call Jesus a curse. If you have that Spirit, you cry out: Jesus the Lord!
Who are they?
They are the one hundred and twenty who stood gazing at the heavens, after the cloud took the Lover of their soul away from them. They are the same company of common fisher folk from Galilee who had followed Jesus from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are the witnesses of His resurrection. They are the church of the New Testament at its inception. They are all in heaven now where they continued their song of great rejoicing.
And they are waiting there for you.
But about two thousand years ago, this little company of plain, ordinary people were all with one accord in one place. No, I do not know where that was. I have vacillated with respect to the question from the house of John Mark to the temple. But at present I am inclined to think that they were in a large upper room in the temple, and for the same reason that they had to go to Jerusalem to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. God was going to connect the Old with the New. And since the New Testament church is the spiritual counterpart of the city of God, and that therefore they might not go to Galilee to receive the Spirit, so the temple at Jerusalem is the type of the temple of God which is fulfilled in the church of the New Testament. Which is the very reason that Paul addresses the church of his day, saying, Ye are the temple of the living God! God will connect the hallowed temple of old with the spiritual counterpart, the Church of the New Testament. The temple always said: God dwells with men! Well, this day, this hallowed day of Pentecost, the speech of the Temple of God will resound so that all hear it.
And there they are: the one hundred and twenty. They are still waiting for the promise, for the Holy Ghost, and at Jerusalem, and in the temple of God.
And suddenly, miraculously, they are being filled with the Holy Spirit.
Oh, that was an event of far reaching consequences. They were all filled with the Holy Ghost.
What does it mean?
No, it was not a limited and individual, event of the day and on those one hundred and twenty persons. It would have a broader significance than that. It would mean that the Holy Ghost was come to stay in the Church!
He came upon the promise of Jesus: I will send you another Comforter, and He shall abide with you! It is the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise: And lo I am with you alway, even to the end of the world.
Who is this Holy Ghost?
O, He is the same Holy Ghost that visited God’s people in the Old Testament, but there was a difference. The difference is so great that the Holy Spirit Himself said in John 7: “for the Holy Spirit was not yet given since Jesus was not yet glorified.”
It is the Third Person of the Holy Trinity, there can be no question of that. But He was more now. He brings with Him the very flavor of Jesus Christ. He was the Third Person as given to Jesus at His glorification at the right hand of God.
When He was poured out on this glorious Pentecostal day He brought with Him Jesus Christ in all His accomplished work up to and including His sitting at the right hand of God, filled with all the blessings of salvation.
Then too, He came also as far as the quantity is concerned to this first New Testament Church. It was an outpouring upon them, instead of a trickling as in the Old Testament. Drops of that Spirit were upon Moses and David and Isaiah, and all the prophets and Kings of God. But now it was as a flood: And it touched the whole church, person for person and head for head; that is the difference.
And therefore, He is the Holy Ghost of God as given to Jesus, and therefore called: the Spirit of Christ.
And He brought with Him reconciliation, forgiveness, adoption, resurrection-life, access within the inner sanctuary, knowledge and wisdom of the mysteries of God’s Kingdom, in short: the law written in our hearts. He was the entire realization of the great promise of God!
Study the signs which accompanied His coming and you will see the difference.
They suddenly hear a sound from heaven, and what a sound. It sounded like a mighty rushing wind.
But how strange that must have been: the sound of a tornado, but not a thing stirred. I think that God so directed the weather that on that morning all was still. There was not a breeze stirring. And that terrible sound concentrated itself in the house where they sat. Therefore the mighty multitude unerringly goes to the upper room.
And then that phenomenon of the thing that was not fire but looked like a great column of fire, darting downward in fiery tongues and resting upon the head of each of them.
And then they began to speak, all of them. That too is significant. And watch the multitude: they are in a flux, a strange flux. They mill around, they separate themselves in definite groups, surrounding a certain speaker for each of these groups. One says: what? I hear my own dialect. And all those of the country of Elam grouped themselves about Peter, or Thomas, or some other fisherman.
All of a sudden the people that knew not how to speak in those strange languages are fully conversant in those several tongues with the proper pronunciation, syntax, vocabulary, etc. You may safely believe that all these one hundred and twenty spoke fluently and easily, and with burning hearts, themselves wondering what was happening to them.
Oh yes, the Holy Spirit of Jesus was poured out. There is no doubt about that.
They were all filled with the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
But what was the meaning of these signs?
First, they all are from heaven. Make no mistake on that score. There is a humbling lesson in that. Learn that lesson and you are fortified against all heresy. It means that everything good and comely, everything holy and righteous, everything salutary (pick that word apart: the root of it means salvation) is from heaven. From that time until this evil day all salvation from the beginning to the end is wrapped up in the given Spirit of Christ.
Second, the sound of that tornado is the rushing God who is in a hurry to embrace His Church. The fullness of time had come when He would give Himself to His own people as never before. And then God is in a hurry. You see that same hurry when Jesus is taken back into heaven. Read it in that strange sign in heaven of the woman that gave birth to a man child. The devil stood ready to devour Him. But God snatched Him to heaven. God was in a hurry.
Why in a hurry? He loves you and me. Wind is irresistible: so is He.
A screaming and bleeding child is lying on the sidewalk: it is grievously hurt in great agony. The mother spies her crying and miserable child from afar. I ask you: is she going to saunter down to that dreadful spectacle? No, she will rush, she will run as fast, no, faster than she should run: she will overstrain herself.
God is in a hurry to enfold the church in, arms of love, even the love which the Spirit brings. Read Romans 5:5.
The spectacle of fire?
It is the fire that burns and burns in the heart of God. He is going to give the church the zeal of His own love.
Henceforth you will note that zeal, that burning zeal of God.
Watch Stephen: he will be killed for his God. But he blesses as he expires. It is because of this fire that burns and burns.
And the tongues?
National Israel was at an end. The confusion of Babylon is healed. It matters not that you stand with a Phrygian soul in Jerusalem. You are going to understand the Gospel. God will accommodate Himself. He will heal the confusion you created while Nimrod spewed forth his pride of life.
Oh those tongues, those tongues. They sing the sweet song to me that the Promise of God is to all the elect in all nations.
No, I have little more to say to you. My story is almost ended.
They all speak, the, whole New Testament speaks. And what a speech!
They all speak the wonderful works of God.
My dear reader: Do you want to know whether or not the Pentecostal blessings found you?
Attend to this: if and when you are touched by the Pentecostal Spirit of Christ, you conclude the whole story by saying: How wonderful is my God!
I know it, I know it: you will be interrupted and you will interrupt yourself in that musing. But you will say it repeatedly, and when you die you will say it again in heaven. It is set on melodious music there.
David had a foretaste of Pentecost. Listen to him: “Oh that man would praise the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!”