Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
- Luke 24:45-49
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[a] as the Spirit enabled them.
- Acts 2:1-4
“The Holy Spirit’s influence and power were at work before Pentecost, but He was not here. Once our Lord was glorified in His ascension, the Holy Spirit came into the world, and He has been here ever since. We have to receive the revealed truth that He is here. The attitude of receiving and welcoming the Holy Spirit into our lives is to be the continual attitude of a believer. When we receive the Holy Spirit, we receive reviving life from our ascended Lord.”
- Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest
The eleven had to wait. Jesus had ascended, but the Holy Spirit had not yet come to stay.
Our church is singing a three-verse song after the offering has been dedicated, Father I adore thee, lay my life before thee, how I love thee. The second verse replaces Father with Jesus, then with Spirit in the third verse.
This past week, I was laughing while singing the last verse. How few in the congregation know the Holy Spirit? And to think, the Holy Spirit enters into us when we accept Jesus as our savior. It’s like being afraid of our liver. Our liver is essential for life, but in being afraid of it, are we afraid of our own existence?
Now, the Pentecostal denominations do not have any problem with the Holy Spirit, but most of the others do. Yet, if we believe in a triune God, the Holy Spirit is a part of that Trinity. They cannot be separated.
But maybe our fear of the Holy Spirit is that the Holy Spirit might place a burden on our hearts that could cost us. In some cases, we might be told to go where people die due to persecution of Christians. That seems distasteful. But it may simply be that the Holy Spirit urges us to give our testimony. People who have glossophobia, a fear of public speaking, would not like that. I can attest that God can conquer that fear.
But we should embrace the Holy Spirit that is within us. We do not need, at least most of us would never have the need, for speaking in tongues and some other overt manifestations of the Holy Spirit. But, if you cannot embrace the Holy Spirit, you cannot hear God’s Voice speaking to you.
God promises to be with us to the end of the age, but that does us little good if we cannot hear His Voice.
As I told the pastor recently, I think that the first lesson that a new Christian needs to know is how to listen for God to speak to them. This requires a lot of Bible Study, but I feel that I have done a lot of stupid things in my life by going off half-cocked, as they say. I didn’t know how to listen, so I didn’t.
As for how? Tozer quoted another preacher in saying, “Pray til you pray.” In other words, after you are finished praying, stay in your quiet place and keep going. In time, with a lot of practice and patience, you will learn to hear God. Note the patience. Maybe that is what the eleven learned when they went to Jerusalem and waited.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.