“and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost.”
“and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.”
“others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.”
They were all filled with the Holy Ghost!
Who is He?
Is He the Third Person of the great and exalted God?
Yes, but He was more.
He was the Holy Spirit such as He was given to Jesus Christ at His exaltation.
You see, there never before was such a Holy Ghost on earth as there came on that first day of Pentecost of the New Testament Church.
The Holy Ghost as the Third Person of the Trinity had always been on earth. And it is true that notwithstanding His marvelous and everywhere present work, He had never received the interest and notice from God’s people which He so richly deserved. And the reason is simple: His work is so mysterious and mostly hidden.
Oh, the works of the Holy Ghost are so many and glorious! He wrought the mysterious work of brooding upon the waters, upon the face of the deep. And after the work of God’s creation was established, it was that same Holy Ghost that stayed with all things and wrought again and again. I know but little of His work, but I marvel.
Think of it: it is through the ever present work of the Holy Ghost that as a little child you learn that the stove is hot, the marble hard, the carnation fragrant, and that the honey tastes sweet in your mouth. Through the Holy Ghost everyone that has sense learns that two times two makes four. And I know so little of this brooding Spirit!
But there is so much more!
When created things became filthy because of sin, God wrought another work, the work of redemption. And in the fullness of time, the Holy Ghost of God must come to brood again upon the work of God’s redemption.
And that time became full this day of Pentecost.
And that Holy Ghost is not anymore the same Holy Ghost that brooded in creation, or that brooded in providence, but He is the Holy Ghost as He was given to Jesus Christ in His exaltation at the Father’s right hand. When Acts 2:33 says that He received the promise of the Holy Ghost from the Father, then the meaning is that all the blessedness of God’s Covenant such as men are able to taste unto all eternity, was given to Christ in His reception of the Holy Ghost. At that moment in heaven Christ became filled with all the blessedness such as the whole new creation that is to come, and now is in principle in the saints, shall enjoy unto all eternity.
And this Christ, filled with that Holy Ghost of promise, came back in that same Holy Ghost to His church on this first day of the New Testament Pentecost. Does not Paul say that Christ is that Spirit?
I wrote above this meditation: Pentecostal Reaction. Well, you can plainly see the positive reaction. Christ came back to His church with untold blessedness, the blessedness of God’s eternal Covenant of grace, and they plainly showed it.
I ask you: what is the core of the blessed Covenant life such as we shall live it in perfection in heaven? John shall give us the answer in his book: they sing the hallelujahs before the throne of God!
Now look at those simple folk in the house of John Mark: they speak about nothing but the wonderful works of God. They sing in prose, but they sing nevertheless, and their theme is THEOLOGY. God is praised.
Oh yes, they were all filled with the Holy Ghost.
With the Holy Ghost of Christ.
That Spirit is brooding again. He is brooding on the work of redemption.
Glorious Pentecostal reaction.
They were all filled with the Holy Ghost.
And they have proved it.
It is peculiar to the Holy Ghost, both in His function in the Trinity and in the Church, to be the Conveyer of the love of God. He tells the Son that the Father loves Him; and He knows, for He searches the depths of the Father eternally. And returning, He tells the Father that the Son loves Him too, and He knows, for He searches the depths of the Son of God eternally.
And so He is the Harbinger of love, of love of God in God.
God is the loving Covenant God in Himself.
And so it is the Holy Ghost in His brooding work of redemption that brings love, the love of God to the church.
Paul speaks of it. Hope maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
Henceforth the church will love.
First, they will love God, His truth, His people, His cause in the world.
Second, they will prove that love: their whole life will be an anthem, singing of His marvelous works.
The church began this work already in the Old Testament. They left you their record, their psalms, their tears and blood. Yes, sometimes they were killed for their lovely endeavor.
They continued it on that glorious day when the Spirit came to brood, to brood on the work of God’s redemption.
And they will continue until time shall be no more, but then they shall love God and His world as never before. The new world shall be a monument to God, the God of our salvation.
It might be well at this juncture to see some of the proofs of the love of the Holy Ghost.
First, general proof. The Church showed a little bit of heaven: they sold their possessions and gave to the poor. No, it did not last long. Not because it was wrong, but because they lost the erstwhile quantity of grace and love and the Holy Ghost. It is left, but it is small, very small.
You see, in heaven, no one dare say anymore: that is mine; keep away from my possessions. Everything is of everyone; and everyone and everything is of God through Christ and in the Holy Ghost. Of course, that is true today, but we cannot live it, since we are still so evil and sinful.
But the Pentecostal church exhibited for a little while the heavenly life. Did you note how soon the devil interfered? Shades of Ananias and Sapphira!
They exhibited the life of the Covenant of love.
And now proof that is particular. I think it is the most beautiful proof of the whole Bible. Of course, excluding the love of God in Christ. Look upon that fallen man. His name is Stephen. He is being stoned to death. No, not for anything evil that he has done. He is stoned for the fact that he has too much of the Holy Ghost of love. And he shall prove it, just before the last stone breaks his skull. Once more he raises himself and looks on his tormentors; and then he looks toward the heavens. Be still, he prays: “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge!” And when he had said this, he fell asleep. Oh, you may be sure that the Holy Ghost was brooding, broodingupon the work of God’s salvation in Stephen.
Stephen was filled with the Holy Ghost of Christ.
And his reaction proved it.
An they were all filled with the Holy Ghost.
And they proved it.
For they loved.
But how can I know?
Paul says that no one can cry out: “Lord Jesus!” but by the Holy Ghost. That is the way you must read the text.
What does that mean?
It means this: when the Holy Ghost broods within you, He shows you the most wonderful work the Father ever did. And that most wonderful work of God is to go to hell for His church who were sinners like the others. And God went to hell for the church in the Person of the Son, united with our flesh and blood.
This is the love of God.
And now the Holy Ghost comes to you, and after regenerating and converting you, He shows you a picture of that love of God, that is, He shows you Jesus the Lord as He goes to hell for you. He shows Jesus to you in all His loveliness and attractive beauty.
And then that same Holy Ghost of Jesus Christ gives you an appreciation of such love and beauty as it is in Jesus Christ.
And then you cry out in ecstasy: Oh, Lord Jesus!
You really find the same thing in the Old Testament when the Bride of Christ says: “He is altogether lovely!”
When you say, through the Holy Ghost: Lord Jesus! then you cry out because of the great admiration for the wonders of grace and salvation which God has wrought through Him.
It really is the same thing as the eternal blessedness of heaven in the new kingdom.
Why did God determine in His counsel to have this Kingdom? In order to show how wonderful He is. That is the answer. And that is the wonder of our God: that He gave us Jesus. And that this Jesus took our curse and damnation away. For that you will sing unto all eternity.
For you are filled with the Holy Ghost.
They were all filled.
But not the whole multitude.
Some said, when they looked upon the wonders of God: they are drunk! Note the folly of the world: when they see something which they do not understand, they become unreasonable. Drunk? It was only the third hour of the day. You might seeone man in a drunken stupor at that hour, but surely not one hundred and twenty.
They show their wickedness.
I pity them.
But we will sing. For the Holy Spirit still broods upon the waters of grace. You sing: Thy Spirit, O God, makes life to abound! Yes, He does that every spring when He kisses the earth. And the grass and flowers blossom.
Thy Spirit, O Lord, makes life to abound.
He does that still in the church. He kisses the church, and the flowers of grace blossom in the church. And God delights Himself in His beautiful work of redemption.
Reactions of Pentecost! O God! give them!