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The Advent of a New Era

Acts 2:2-4 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Without question, the book of Acts is one of the most exciting books of the New Testament, for it records the rapid spread of the Gospel from Jerusalem all the way to Rome within a matter of about thirty years! The only way such dramatic expansion could happen is by means of the Holy Spirit, the Third member of the Trinity. He is mentioned over 50 times. For this reason an appropriate title, suggested by many, is not the “Acts of the Apostles,” but the “Acts of the Holy Spirit.”

Here are just a few instances where He is mentioned:

Acts 2:17-18 "And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy."

Acts 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.

Acts 5:3-4 But Peter said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God."

Acts 8:29 Then the Spirit said to Philip, "Go near and overtake this chariot."

The work of the Holy Spirit permeates Acts, for He is able to take a group of ordinary, largely unschooled people and turn them into dynamos for the Lord Jesus. Only a few days earlier, they were cowering in fear behind locked doors, but now they are boldly proclaiming the Gospel in the very city their Lord was crucified. Not only so, but they were preaching to a large crowd of Diaspora Jews (Jews whose home was not Palestine where Aramaic was spoken, but those speaking a variety of languages from distant lands who had come to celebrate the Feast of Pentecost). Supernaturally, these men, who had never learned the languages in which they were speaking, were enabled by the Spirit to proclaim the Gospel to their listeners in an understandable way.

The coming of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost was the fulfillment of the Lord’s promise (Acts 1:4-5; see also John 14-16). It was an unrepeated event in history (even as the Lord’s death, resurrection, and ascension were one-time events), signifying the advent of the Church age, a brand new era in God’s redemptive plan, whereby both Jews and Gentiles would become equal members of the body of Christ, the universal church.

This true story reminds us that the church began supernaturally, and those who belong to the church by faith in Christ are to live supernaturally. The church is not a human organization or institution devoid of power. Properly understood, the church is a living organism made up of members who have been baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit and enabled by Him to live by means of His power. In these last days, the opportunities are unprecedented to show the world God’s greatness. If we step out of the way and let the Holy Spirit work in us and through us, we will witness His mighty works in our day.

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