Acts 2 is one of the most amazing chapters in the Bible. It marks the beginning of a new era in world history—the era of the Holy Spirit. That new era came by the will of God, but at the same time, God willed it to come through the actions of His children.
First, they waited on God. They had to wait in order to learn that God’s plans are bigger and better than their own. They had to abandon their own expectations. They waited on God because God was waiting on them to adopt heart attitudes needed for receiving the Holy Spirit.
Up until now, most of the 120 who waited in the Upper Room expected Jesus to set up an earthly kingdom. They didn’t realize that such an earthly kingdom would become subject to the same forces that brought to ruin every other kingdom—the power of the devil.
Jesus’ plan was to completely rid the world of the devil’s power, and that depended upon the power of the Holy Spirit. Once their hearts were ready, the Holy Spirit came upon them with great power that shook the place and attracted thousands from the outside.
That day, Peter preached a short and simple message that went right to the point and pricked the hearts of those who heard it. There was nothing seeker-friendly about it, yet 3,000 people responded—a 2,600% increase in their number in less than 24 hours. All because the original group had gained expectant hearts to receive the Holy Spirit.
How many churches today expect great things from God through the power of the Holy Spirit? Today, too many churches depend upon seeker-friendly methods, intellectual powers of persuasion, social media and fancy programs, but the culture and influence of the church has continued to decline. Little is said in most churches about the Holy Spirit. In fact, there is much suspicion about the Holy Spirit. This must truly delight the devil!
Yes, we must establish a strong intellectual foundation for belief. But Peter was no intellectual. His blunt message to the crowd reflected his own “blue collar” background as a fisherman. His message demonstrates what the Holy Spirit can do through anyone who abandons his agenda and waits upon God with expectancy to do great and mighty things in his/her life.
A few years later, Paul came along and demonstrated his great intellectual powers in such works as his epistles to the Romans and the Ephesians. But even Paul knew that any intellectual arguments he used depended upon Holy Spirit power to truly transform lives.
Too many people treat Acts 2 as an isolated phenomenon. But Acts 2 lies at the heart of what Jesus introduced in John 14-16 regarding the Holy Spirit. In John 17, Jesus prayed not only for His disciples in their generation but all His people including our own generation and beyond. No, Acts 2 is not an isolated phenomenon but a model for every generation.
Like the 120 who waited for the coming of the Holy Spirit, we also must put aside our own expectations and wait upon God to work through us in Holy Spirit power to preach the gospel to all peoples. In the meantime, God waits for us…