Glorious Results Of The Spirit’s Coming
Scripture Reading: Acts 2
The result of the Spirit coming as wind and fire, filling and giving utterance, was, first, in the hearers’ deep feeling. We are told that they were pricked in the heart (Acts 2:37). They had painful emotions. The Word struck at the center of their being – it pierced the vital point.
The objective of all true preaching is the heart – we aim at divorcing the heart from sin, and wedding it to Christ! Our ministry has failed, and has not the divine seal set upon it, unless it makes men tremble, makes them sad, and then brings them to Christ, and causes them to rejoice. Sermons are to be heard in thousands, and yet how little comes of them all, because the heart is not aimed at, or else the archers miss the mark. Alas, our hearers do not present their hearts as our target, but leave them at home, and bring us only their ears, or their heads. Here we need divine aid. Pray mightily that the Spirit of God may rest upon all who speak in God’s name, for then they will create deep feeling in their hearers!
Then followed an earnest enquiry. "They were pricked in their heart and they said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?" Emotion is of itself but a poor result unless it leads to practical action. To make men feel is well enough, but it must be a feeling which impels them to immediate movement, or at least to earnest enquiry as to what they shall do. O Spirit of God, if Thou wilt rest on me, even me, men shall not hear and go their way and forget what they have heard! They will arise and seek the Father, and taste His love.
This is what we need! We do not require new preachers, but we need a new anointing of the Spirit. We do not require novel forms of service, but we need the fire Spirit, the wind Spirit to work by us till everywhere men cry, "What must we do to be saved?"
Then came a grand reception of the Word. We are told that they gladly received the Word (v. 41). They were pricked to the heart from compunction on account of what they had done to Jesus – and they sorrowed after a godly sort, and repented of their sins. They also believed in Him whom they had slain and accepted Him as their Savior, then and there, without hesitancy. They trusted in Him whom God had set forth to be a Propitiation and thus they fully received the Word.
There was not merely this immediate confession, but, as a result of the Spirit of God, there was great steadfastness. "They continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine" (v. 42). We have had plenty of revivals of the human sort, and their results have been sadly disappointing. Under excitement nominal converts have been multiplied – but where are they after a little testing? I am sadly compelled to admit that, so far as I can observe, there has been much sown, and very little reaped that was worth reaping, from much of that which has been called revival. But where the Spirit of God is really at work the converts stand – they are well-rooted and grounded and, hence, they are not carried about by every wind of doctrine.
We see next there was abundant worship of God for they were steadfast not only in the apostles’ doctrine, but in breaking of bread, in prayer, and in fellowship (v. 42). There was no difficulty in getting a prayer meeting then, no difficulty in maintaining daily communion then, no want of holy fellowship then; for the Spirit of God was among them, and the ordinances were precious in their eyes. "Oh," say some, "if we could get this minister or that evangelist, we should do well." Brothers, if you had the Holy Spirit you would have everything else growing out of His presence!
Next to this there came striking generosity (vv. 44-45). Funds were not hard to raise – liberality overflowed its banks, for believers poured all that they had into the common fund. Then was it indeed seen to be true that the silver and the gold are the Lord’s. When the Spirit of God comes, those who have substance yield it to their Lord – those who have but little grow rich by giving of that little, and those who are already rich become happy by consecrating what they have. There is no need to rattle the box when the rushing mighty wind is heard, and the fire is dissolving all hearts in love.
Then came continual gladness. "They did eat their meat with gladness" (v. 46). They were not merely glad at prayer meetings and sermons, but glad at breakfast and at supper. They were full of gladness and that gladness showed itself in praising God (v. 47). I have no doubt they broke out, now and then, in the services with shouts of "Glory! Hallelujah!" I should not wonder but what all propriety was scattered to the winds. They were so glad, so exhilarated that they were ready to leap for joy. Of course we never say "Amen" or "Glory!" now. We have grown to be so frozenly proper that we never interrupt a service in any way, because, to tell the truth, we are not so particularly glad, we are not so specially full of praise that we want to do anything of the sort. Alas, we have lost much of the Spirit of God and much of the joy and gladness which attend His presence, and so we have settled into a decorous apathy!
May God send us a season of glorious disorder. Oh for a sweep of wind that will set the seas in motion and make our ironclad brethren now lying so quietly at anchor to roll from stem to stern. As for us, who are as the little ships, we will fly before the gale if it will but speed us to our desired haven. Oh for fire to fall again – fire which shall affect the most stolid! This is a sure remedy for indifference. When a flake of fire falls into a man’s bosom he knows it. And when the Word of God comes home to a man’s soul he knows it too. Oh that such fire might first sit upon the disciples, and then fall on all around!
For, to close, there was then a daily increase of the church – "The Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved" (v. 47). Conversion was going on perpetually; additions to the church were not events which happened once a year, but they were everyday matters, "so mightily grew the Word of God and prevailed" (Acts 19:20).
O Spirit of God, Thou art ready to work with us today even as Thou did then! Stay not, we beseech Thee, but work at once. Break down every barrier that hinders the incomings of Thy might! Overturn, overturn, O Sacred Wind! Consume all obstacles, O Heavenly Fire, and give us now both hearts of flame and tongues of fire to preach Thy reconciling Word, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Excerpted from the sermon "The Pentecostal Wind And Fire."