but peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “men of judea and all who dwell in jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. for these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. but this is what was uttered through the prophet joel:
“‘and in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams;
even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.’”
a new reality – the Spirit in every believer
what an incredible shift in peter! this man, who just weeks ago denied Christ as he was crucified, steps up in a big way. in the gospels we see a peter who is bold in his faith, yet often chokes on his words. peter has been a leader, yes, but an immature one. and here, we see him interpreting old testament prophecy to describe an event that shocked them all!
the difference in peter is the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit—whom all believers now experience! peter receives this not of his own merit, not because of his time following Jesus, not because of his loyalty, but because of the work of Christ on the cross. because Jesus died, we can live knowing God intimately through and in the Holy Spirit! and because he is in believers through no work of our own, no failure of ours can separate us from him! we can grow in walking in step with the Spirit, or quench the Spirit in disobedience, but he will not leave us or forsake us!
do you live life in recognition that the Holy Spirit is the third person of the trinity? it is easy to talk about him as an “it,” as a power source or holiness generator, but he is neither of those things. the intimacy with the Lord that was lost in the garden of eden is being restored in this life through the Holy Spirit; and the Holy Spirit testifies that intimacy with the Lord will be fully restored in eternity. the kingdom of heaven is at hand, and God’s sovereign rule comes directly to our hearts through the Holy Spirit, leading us into all truth, teaching us to know God’s voice, and empowering us to do and say things are our flesh couldn’t dream of.
if you haven’t experienced this relational intimacy with the Lord, just ask! if you are a believer the Holy Spirit already lives in you, and he wants to be known! we can know him more day by day the rest of our lives and never know all there is to know of him. he will bring scripture to light as it is relevant. he will teach you to discern what he is calling you to do. he will convict you of sin. he will apply doctrine so it resonates with your heart. he will help you to increasingly submit all of life to Christ. he will comfort you in times of distress!
at times, he will call you to do and say things that make you uncomfortable, or are risky. can you imagine how odd it would have been for those believers on pentecost to submit to the Spirit in speaking in languages they didn’t know? most of you would agree doing that today would be uncomfortable, even though we know God has done it before: they had no such knowledge! speaking in tongues was an unexpected and unforetold work of the Spirit, and yet he enabled believers to do it and submit to being used in that way. what an incredible miracle!
the Holy Spirit is the best gift we could ever be given, so good that Jesus said it was better for him to leave us so the Spirit could be sent!
praise the Lord, who writes the law on our hearts through his promised Spirit, who quickens us for obedience, convicts is of sin, and leads us daily into God’s sovereign will. Spirit teach us to know you intimately! teach us to increasingly submit to you daily! and teach us to pursue you not for what you can give us, but because of what you have already given us. thank you for wanting to be with us, and for paying the price of our sin to wash us clean so that our relationship can be restored. we love you, and we desire to serve you faithfully; please help us in our weakness!
~ stephen hall