June 17, 2018 | Trey Gibson
Passage: Acts 2:1-13
It Is hard for me to read about the coming of the Holy Spirit without thinking about it’s work in my own life. A multitude of times throughout my life I can remember my Spirit filled mother’s wisdom coming to me out of the overflow of her heart. I remember seeing my Spirit filled father exemplifying service as the Spirit overflowed into the lives of so many through his servant heart.
However, it was not until my college years that I had a truly personal experience of the Spirit using others to speak to me. I was a sophomore in college, feeling discouraged because of a speech impediment I saw as a punishment on an extrovert who had had so much to say and give, but did not have the power to express it. I had a mentor point me to the way in which the Lord used Moses in spite of a lack of prolific public speaking abilities. This fell on deaf ears and a hard heart.
How often to we read about the Lord using broken people and then rationalize his inability to use us as well? I prayed “Lord, you gave Moses a burning bush moment, if you give me a burning bush moment I will listen.”
I showed up to work the next day, working on campus, and was buying a muffin before my shift. I stumbled over ordering my blueberry muffin, and the worker at the café said “You stutter too?!”
I said, “Obviously.” He then rolled up his sleeve and flexed, thinking I just confirmed that the only other person who stuttered in the world that I would meet is a weirdo, I was about to move away, when I noticed what he was showing me.
It was a tattoo of a shrub on fire, with Hebrew text under it. He explained that this was the verse in which Moses questions the Lord on whether he has really thought through making him the point person for the Exodus of the people of Israel. God replies “Who put that tongue in your mouth, who gave you that mouth?! (spoiler, it was me!) If I give you words to say you will be fine.”
Burning bush moment.
I was having waffles with some friends. We began talking about their callings to ministry, over the course of the conversation I apparently made some comments that made one of my friends ask me “Have you prayed about going into the ministry?” I said, no because I know what the answer will be, I left having promised to pray about it. I threw up what I would describe now as a “courtesy prayer” asking God for wisdom on whether to pursue vocational ministry.
The next day I received a phone call from a mentor, who asked if I had ever prayed about going into the ministry. Two days after that I received another call from David Crosby, asking if I could come down to New Orleans because he was convicted I should be praying about going into the ministry.
The Lord has used the overflow of the Holy Spirit in others throughout my life to point me to himself, and that is what we see happening for the first time in this passage.
Where do we find the Disciples?
Jesus had just ascended (Acts 1:9). The Angels chastised the disciples for simply staring into heaven, and kept them moving (Acts 1:11). The Disciples were doing one of the hardest things for anyone to do, wait. (Acts 1:14)
The Holy Spirit doesn’t have much regard for our personal timetable.
“and suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting” — Acts 2:2
Scripture is full of people learning lessons about God’s timing. Ecclesiastes 3 is either an incredibly encouraging verse for you, or an extremely frustrating verse, depending on how you read it.
- We have all either been the speaker or the recipient of the question “Are we there yet?” on a road trip. If I had a nickle for the number of times I heard the question as a driver, I would upgrade to an Iphone 10 right now. Twice.
This is a natural human phenomenon. We like to know a timetable.
God desires us to be ready for his timetable.
Look at the posture the disciples and others were in leading into Acts 2 “they were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers."
When the Spirit moves, you will respond much better if you are in a posture ready to receive.
- My family and close friends know that waking me up is not a fun task. I have gotten better, but there is a certain amount of time that is preferable for me to have in between the opening up of my eyes, and being asked to balance an algebra equation. The military trains its recruits to wake up ready for just about anything, they know that they can’t expect that to be a natural tendency.
“when the day of Pentecost arrived, they were together in one place.” They were ready, even if they didn’t know it, because they were putting themselves in the posture to receive." (Acts 2:2).
Don’t get caught Spiritually asleep, get caught awake and ready to act when the Holy Spirit moves...
Without the Holy Spirit, We Have No Power.
“and they were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance” — Acts 2:4
Jesus made it clear that they would receive the power when the Holy Spirit came, and that they would be his witnesses. Not without the Power.
The gathering of people witnessed a coming of the spirit that was “like a mighty rushing wind” and“tongues, as of fire” and while it might not have been a rushing wind or actual fire, the power of God was evident as the Spirit came.
The Spirit will make its presence known in our lives, unless we choose to rationalize it away. Christians don’t have a monopoly on the idea of an unseen helper providing guidance. The image of a tiny winged person standing on either shoulder having a debate of where a person should go or act is common in movies and books for everyone.
However, unlike a little morally driven cricket in your head, the Holy Spirit is the third part of a triune all-powerful God. When the Spirit moves, we need to act.
The Disciples would not have spoken and been understood, outside of the power of the Holy Spirit. The Youth who heard from God this week would not have I heard from him, outside of the moving of the Holy Spirit. The kids leaving for camp this week, will not have a quality encounter with God, outside of the moving of the Holy Spirit. The mission teams leaving this week will not be heard outside of the power of the Holy Spirit. Everyone in this room will not hear from God because of myself, Rick, or the band.....we hear from God when we allow the Holy Spirit to fills us up!
With the Holy Spirit, We Will Stand Out.
"but others mocking said, ‘They are filled with new wine.’” — Acts 2:13
When the Spirit came upon the believers, verse 6 says they were “bewildered, because each one was hearing in their own language.” This is a reversal of the curse at Babel where the people were“confused” because of their pride, the languages were made to divide.
Being a follower of Christ is weird. People look at us and think one of two things “That’s amazing! I want to know more.” or “Whatever weird thing they are drinking is obviously potent, I will stay away.”
However, we are called to be set apart, we are called to be weird.
Here’s the trick, standing out and being weird, is a natural overflow of the Holy Spirit. Weird is good, being a weird-o is where we run into trouble.
Be focused on letting the Holy Spirit live through you, instead of trying to be the Holy Spirit that is moving through others, that's when you start to be a weird-o.
Everybody is weird, and they are looking for people whose weirdness connects with their own.
- Dating is all about spending time comparing compatibility of weird profiles. Online dating is just a more organized way to make sure everybody is aware as much weirdness as possible up front.
"We are all a little weird and life's a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutual weirdness and call it love." — Dr. Seuss
When the Holy Spirit is speaking to someone, it will find them exactly where they are, and it will be weird, and that is ok. When you let the Holy Spirit fill you up to total overflow, and you spill out into others, that’s weird, and it is ok.
When you let the Holy Spirit fill you up and overflow out, people will mock. People will ask questions. And people will be saved. The same power that moved at Pentecost, is the same power that moves with you wherever you go.
For people in this room who have never received the Spirit, maybe this all sounds weird, that's alright, it is. Is the Spirit prompting you to make a move, and you don’t know what it means. Maybe the Spirit has been prompting you to make a decision for a long time and now, it is telling you to take the final step, and accept this Power. To have a personal relationship with Jesus.
I don’t know where you are on that spectrum, but regardless of where you are, the Spirit wants to move in your life. God wants all of his people to go through life knowing they are filled with a power that can't be matched.