Waiting for the Wind
“And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.” (Acts 24:49)
“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.” (Acts 2:1-2)
According to Acts 1:9, Jesus ascended into heaven. “And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.” While the disciples watched as a cloud received Christ out of their sight.
As Jesus left, holy angels came and promised those who were watching, with their mouth gaping wide open in astonishment, that one day the Lord would return in like manner as He just went away: slowly, visibly, and bodily (Acts 1:10).
One day Jesus will return, the second time for all who believe (Heb.9:28). Before Jesus left He gave to His disciples the promise of the coming in power of the Holy Spirit. The Lord gave a specific commandment to tarry, or stay in Jerusalem until there was power from on high.
The Bible says that the disciples were obedient to the will of the Lord. Whatever zeal they possessed, whatever longing to tell the world the good news of the gospel was suppressed, until the anointing of the Holy Spirit came.
It was not easy to wait. People are by nature impatient. People are creatures of impulse. The disciples of Jesus had the greatest news since the dawning of creation, and they were told to wait before sharing it.They were told to linger in Jerusalem until they were empowered from on high.
The days must have passed slowly. The disciples, no doubt, often asked one another, “When will the power come?”
“What do you think is going to happen?”
No one knew for certain.
One week passed and then another. Nothing happened. The counting continued, and so did the waiting. Finally, fifty days after the death of Christ the promise of Jesus was fulfilled.
The Holy Spirit came, and He came on a day called Pentecost. The Jews were very familiar with Pentecost. It was one of three great feast days for the followers of Judaism. Pentecost celebrated the end of the spring harvest. People who lived in the remote regions of the Roman Empire would return to Jerusalem to worship, and give thanks for the harvest (Acts 20:16). Now it was clear why the disciples were told to tarry. God the Father had waited patiently for many Jews to gather themselves together. There was going to be a great spiritual harvest. When the right time came, God spoke in heaven.
The Father said, as it were, to the Holy Spirit, “Go! Go fill my disciples. Fill them with power from on high! Let the spiritual harvest begin!” From heaven to earth the Holy Spirit rushed like a mighty wind. A sound of fury filled the special house in Jerusalem where devout men and women were sitting. Cloven, or divided flames of fire rested upon the disciples, and they were filled with the Holy Spirit.
The word “filled” is a very important word because there is a difference in the Bible between being indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and being filled with the Spirit. The indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit is the privileged possession of every child of God. Once a person is born again, once a person has been regenerated by the Holy Spirit, there is a permanent abiding of the Spirit.
This abiding of the Spirit is called the “baptism of the Spirit” in Romans 6:3. “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death.” At the moment of salvation every Christian is identified with the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ by the Holy Spirit. Every Christian is indwelt by the Spirit. But to be filled with the Spirit for the purpose of spiritual power, that is something far different and should be eagerly sought after, and waited for.
The Bible commands the Christian to be filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18). This verse implies that there is a measure of fullness to be enjoyed. It has been observed that all Christians possess the Holy Spirit, but the Holy Spirit does not fully fill, or possess, all Christians.
Why not? There are several reasons.
First, a Christian may sin against the Holy Spirit in specific ways. According to Acts 5:1-9, it is possible to lie to the Spirit as Ananias did with his wife Sapphira. Again, a Christian may sin against the Holy Spirit by grieving Him (Eph. 4:30). The Spirit is grieved when there is open rebellion against God. This is reflected in the life of Jonah, who did not want to preach the gospel to the people in Nineveh.
The people there were cruel. They were the enemies of the Jew. For Jonah to go to Ninevah and preach the gospel of God’s forgiving grace for sins would be like sending a survivor of Auschwitz, in Poland, to the guards of that German death camp. It would be hard for a victim of brutality to do that.
An individual who was on the Bataan death march might not want to return to Japan with the gospel of divine redemption.
Someone imprisoned in Cuba, after the Bay of Pigs incident might not be ready to show mercy to merciless dictator.
A person who endured the horrors of the tiger gages in the Hanoi Hotel of North Vietnam might prefer to flee like Jonah did, if told to return to that tropical country of cruelty and offer God’s grace and forgiveness.
So it was that Jonah fled from going to Ninevah, but in doing so, Jonah grieved the Holy Spirit. He moved geographically out of the will of the Lord. He grieved the Spirit until he was brought back to the place of Divine direction.
Then third, a Christian may sin against the Holy Spirit by quenching Him (1 Thess. 5:19). The Holy Spirit is quenched, or drowned when known sin is continued because the heart is not longer sensitive to conviction and instruction in righteousness.
Some people quench the Spirit by harboring hatred in the heart. A root of bitterness, or jealousy, finds fertile soil. Though the secret hostile may only break forth from time to time in acts of verbal aggression, the work of the Spirit is still quenched.
There are other reasons why the Holy Spirit does not fully possess a Christian. It is possible that a Christian is not aware of the fact that there is such a thing as a special filling of the Holy Spirit.
Because of doctrinal ignorance, many a life remains barren and broken. The Lord must awaken the soul to the fact there is a way to have spiritual power from on high which enables the Christian to live out the ethics of the Christian life.
But in order to know something about this spiritual power, a measure of gospel obedience must be manifested. Several years ago a movie was made, called, Field Of Dreams. A farmer heard a voice tell him, “If you will build it, they will come.”
From somewhere beyond this world, the farmer received the distinct impression that he was to build a baseball field, and in obedience to the heavenly voice, he did. His neighbors thought he was crazy, but the farmer built the baseball field, and “they” came. From out of the past the greatest baseball players from the 1920’s Chicago Black Soxs came, and they played baseball each evening once again on a Field of Dreams.
There are some Christians who would like to know something of having a spiritual Field of Dreams. They have heard the true heavenly voice saying, “Behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.”