Today we celebrate Pentecost. It is also known as the Feast of Weeks or Shavuot in Hebrew.
The Feast of Weeks in the Old Testament is when the first wheat harvest is gathered and when Israelites give grain offerings to God in thanksgiving. This is also the day of Pentecost when the first fruits of faith were gathered to receive the Holy Spirit 50 days after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension. This was the beginning of the New Testament church, which continues to grow till today. The last harvest will be at the 2nd Coming on the Judgment Day. (Romans 8:23,James 1:18)
The word “spirit” in Hebrew is Neshema and Ruach, and in Greek it is Pneuma, meaning breath, wind, spirit. The Holy Spirit refers to the holy spirit of God, and is God’s breath of life that gives us life.
1. Those who have received God’s Holy Spirit
(i) They are sons of God (Romans 8:14-17)
Verse 14 says that those who are ‘led by the Spirit” are the sons of God. The Holy Spirit testifies with our spirit so that we can cry out Abba Father. And it is only through the Holy Spirit that we are able to confess that Jesus Christ is our God (1 Corinthians 12:3). The whole creation ever since the fall of Adam, the loss of God’s son, is waiting for the revealing of the sons of God (Romans 8:19).
(ii) They are the living
When we have the Holy Spirit, God considers us ‘the living’. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, though physically dead were called the living by Jesus Himself. Romans 8:11 says if the Spirit of our Father who raised Jesus from the dead is in us, He will give life to our mortal bodies. It is only when we receive the Holy Spirit, that even our dying mortal bodies will be guided and led towards light and eternal life (Romans 8:12-13).
(iii) They become messengers of God who deliver God’s will (the Word of God)
It is not becoming preachers or pastors, but becoming the message of the gospel, the truth, and good news. We will be a blessing just like Abraham (1 Corinthians 2:10-16). When the Holy Spirit comes upon us, we will be able to understand the thoughts and depths of God’s heart. When this happens, we can become like David, a man after God’s heart, to be in line with the thoughts of God, and His will (John 3:34; Romans 8:26-28).
We will not only be living beings but life-giving spirits, like Christ (1 Corinthians 15:45-48), able to deliver the Word of eternal life that God is providing for all people.
2. Those who do not have God’s Holy Spirit
Ephesians 4:30-31 speaks of those who grieve the Holy Spirit. They will not be able to look forward to the day of redemption so let us put away all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamour and slander (Matthew 12:32; Mark 3:28-30; 1 Thessalonians 5:19).
Acts 5:3 records what happened to Ananias who deceived the Spirit and was stricken dead. When thoughts and deeds of the flesh become stronger than that of the Spirit, they cause us to deceive ourselves and eventually deceive the Holy Spirit.
3. What changes take place when we receive the Holy Spirit?
We are reborn through the Holy Spirit and water (John 3:5-8)
(ii) Proper worship
We will be able to meet God & worship Him properly. The Spirit is a person of the Trinity God. He enables us to worship God in spirit & truth because God is spirit (John 4:24).
(iii) True life
John 6:63 writes that when we receive Jesus’ word, we are also receiving the Spirit and life, which will lead us to the kingdom of God.
(iv) Water of life
We will receive the eternal water of life that will overflow out of our belly & we will never thirst again (John 7:38-39).
(v) We will receive the understanding of the truth
Through the Holy Spirit, we will receive true understanding (John 15:26; 16:12-13; 1 John 5:6). It is not about how intelligent or not we are. As the word is spiritual, only the Holy Spirit can help us understand the Word of God.
(vi) The task and calling to God’s work will be given (John 20:22; Acts 1:2)
(vii) We will know the things of the end and the vision of heaven
The Holy Spirit will show us the spiritual world of the kingdom of heaven, so that we may not lose hope and have a clear purpose and goal (Revelation 1:10; 17:3; 21:10). Apostle John saw the apocalypse, apocalypto – the revealing and opening up of the things of heaven, & of the things that will happen in the end times. May God give us the Holy Spirit to open up our eyes to see so we may know and follow in obedience the path according to God’s redemptive will.
How do we receive the Holy Spirit?
(i) We need to seek and wait for the Holy Spirit with prayer and endurance (Acts 1:4-5)
(ii) Holy Spirit comes upon us when we listen and receive the Word (Acts 10:44)
(iii) When Christ is in us (Romans 8:10; Galatians 2:20)
(iv) When we follow the thoughts of the Spirit (Romans 8:12-13)
The disciples all turned their backs on Jesus, but when they received the Holy Spirit, they became great apostles spreading the name of Jesus throughout the world and even gave up their lives to fulfil this great work of redemption. When we receive the Holy Spirit, such great change will also take place in us.
May the Holy Spirit work in our lives so we can overcome & gain victory!