On the Day of Pentecost, the rushing mighty wind and the cloven tongues as of fire especially emphasized, not the filling with the Spirit, but the baptizing into the unity of the Body, the inauguration of the Church. That is why you have the special phenomena. The cloven tongues of fire were never repeated. The walls were shaken on another occasion, but this particular sound, this noise, the gathering together of the special phenomena places a uniqueness upon the event of the Day of Pentecost that has never been repeated. The filling with the Spirit is something that can be, and often is, repeated, but that is not the vital thing that happened at Pentecost. What is emphasized at Pentecost is that the Church became Christ’s Body, and the Spirit was given to fill the Body. (MARTYN LLOYD-JONES)
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT TODAY
Pentecost is a really important day because the Holy Spirit is the Person of the Trinity most necessary for Christians to understand in these postmodern times.
For our times, the Holy Spirit is central. So, we’ve got to take every opportunity to help people understand who the Holy Spirit is, and why the Holy Spirit matters!
1. We need to let people inside and outside the Church see the authenticity of our faith. We need to live and talk as if God’s presence in our lives matters. And the Holy Spirit is God’s presence with us.
2. We need wisdom and guidance for ministry and mission. In the face of an increasingly secular culture and enormous social and political problems, we need to serve and love and minister in focused and effective ways. Only God, through the Holy Spirit, can guide us into the best ways to do that.
3. We need power. Problems are so complex and multifaceted, and it’s so easy to get overwhelmed and discouraged. We need power from beyond ourselves to address challenges, and that power comes to us through the Holy Spirit.
4. We need love. With people so polarized, with an influx of people from all around the world and with racial tensions escalating, love is more necessary than ever. Jesus’ love, poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, is essential.
The list could go on. I wonder what you would add to it. A dozen years ago, I was thinking mostly about authenticity and power. I see the world now as even more complex than it was then, with even greater needs. Therefore, God’s empowering presence, made possible by Jesus’ life, death and resurrection and the sending of the Holy Spirit, is more necessary than ever. (LYNNE BAAB)