Acts 2 - the Spirit at work
During this fast season we are exploring - through what we read in a chapter a day of the Bible - who God is and what He is like.
1. Pray and read - preferably together
2. Pray and share
It is a dramatic and, perhaps, familiar story. But what do we learn about what God is like?
First, God is powerful and shows Himself sometimes as being like wind and fire. These things symbolise His power and unpredictability. It is not that He is capricious or changeable, just that He cannot be controlled by us nor can we confine Him to our concepts. We can know Him but cannot fully understand Him.
Second, God is patient in seeing His plans and purposes come about. Peter has revelation from scripture, the written Word, when inspired by the Spirit, and explains to the Jewish audience what is happening was foretold. God waited until Jesus’ disciples were ready to respond to His presence. He waited for generations for a time when it was appropriate to send the promised Spirit. He is now waiting for a generation of disciples who will respond to Him and fulfil the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20 and Mark 13:10).
Third, He cares about all people and wants all to be saved. In a dramatic reversal of the judgment on the tower of Babel in Genesis 11, God speaks to people of all languages gathered for the feast in Jerusalem. It is a foretaste of the time when the gospel will be proclaimed to all ethnic groups, all people groups and all sections of the communities on earth, so that the End may come (Mark 13:10).
Fourth, it is God Himself coming on us and living in us. Being filled or baptised with the Spirit is not just some nice, added spiritual presence that we enjoy as Christians. We might think or feel somehow we can live as “normal” people with an added spiritual extra. But in fact the Presence of God is awesome and transforming if we are open to Him.
He is a mighty wind and a fire. Wind moves us, literally. Fire can cleanse or destroy depending on the material it touches.
In 1 Cor 3:11-15 Paul explains how the day of judgment will be like a fire showing what we have really built in our lives. Everything we do that is mere human effort or has wrong motives will be burnt up. Everything we do that is the fruit of co-operating with the Holy Spirit, and allowing Him to lead us, will last and be shown for what it really is. These things are eternal because they are spiritual - that means they are more real that the physical world not less!
Those first disciples knew God had come upon them and as we read further in Acts we have a picture of church motivated and empowered by God Himself. Their experience of the Spirit seems deeper and stronger than we have yet experienced.
3. Pray and act
Lord, fill us with the Holy Spirit beyond our current experience and lead us, like those first disciples, to live naturally supernatural lives.