Tom's Book

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Tom has recently published the book:  Holiness:  The Journey, The Joy, The Difference.

Do you feel dissatisfied with the way you are and long to be a better person?

Have you ever wanted to cry out to the Lord, "Lord, please change me?"

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When a believer has a personal Pentecost, what really happens in his or her life? What happened in the lives of the believers who were there in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost? This article examines the key effects of the infilling by the Holy Spirit in believers.

The scriptures do not record one conversion between the crucifixion of Christ and the Day of Pentecost. The followers of Christ were in a state of despair and inactivity following the crucifixion. It appears that for two solid months very little happened of spiritual significance. However, after they were filled with the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, they literally charged out from behind closed doors to boldly preach the resurrection of Christ. Not even the resurrection of Christ had this kind of effect on the early believers. It took the infilling with the Holy Spirit to break them out of their fear and timidity. Once they were filled with the Spirit, the two months of spiritual drought turned into a spiritual deluge. In one day three thousand people were converted. When the Spirit of God is allowed His rightful place in our lives, there will be vitality and power--not cheap, man-produced energy, but genuine spiritual power and vitality.

 

Historically, Pentecost will not be repeated. But personally and experientially it can be and must be repeated (Verse 39). Everything that the infilling with the Holy Spirit accomplished in the hearts of the believers on the Day of Pentecost is available to us today. There has not been any change in the ministry and power of the Spirit in today's world.

 

The greatest need in the Church today is to rediscover the power and purity of a fresh, up-to-date, personal Pentecost. This alone will revolutionize an institution that too often is sadly lacking in vision and effectiveness.

 

Study with me three effects that the infilling with the Holy Spirit had on the New Testament Church.

 

I.    It Affected Their Minds

 

Prior to being filled with the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, they were carnally and worldly minded. Once they received the infilling, they became spiritually minded. They were now blessed with the mind of Christ.

 

Prior to Pentecost, they were driven by the self-centered desire to occupy lofty positions of power in the kingdom. They were concerned about who would be seated on the right and the left hands of Christ. They were motivated by selfish ambition.

 

After Pentecost, there was a dramatic and dynamic change in their mind-set. Instead of being self-centered, they became Christ-centered. Their deepest desire was to lift up and exalt the name of Jesus. No longer were they driven to seek status and prestige: They were now concerned about the plight of perishing souls.

 

Carnal-mindedness is still an enormous problem in the church today. Paul said, "For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is emnity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be" (Romans 8:6-7).

 

Evidences of the carnal mind can be seen in people who are more interested in positions of power within the church than in the power of a Spirit-filled life.

Another evidence is the lack of passion for the evangelization of our world. When one has the mind of Christ, he will be concerned about the lost.

The rebellion against an unconditional surrender of one's all to Christ is another evidence of the carnal mind.

 

The good news is we can be changed. Just as those in the upper room were changed, we also can be changed. We must surrender our God-given rights back to Him and tarry until we have received the infilling with the Holy Spirit. Do not settle for a cheap substitute, but be filled with the Spirit. The result will be deliverance from a carnal mind and the receiving of the mind of Christ.

 


 

II.   It Affected Their Hearts

In Acts 15:8-9, when Peter talked about the Gentiles being filled with the Spirit, he declared that their hearts were "purified by faith."

 

One of the manifestations that accompanied the infilling with the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost was the sound of the mighty rushing wind. When the wind blows, it purifies the atmosphere. It drives away the smog and the heavy, polluted air.

 

Today, we desperately need the refreshing, cleansing winds of the Spirit to purify the atmosphere in our hearts and in our churches. Too many believers are still living under the bondage of bitterness and rebellion. Unholy attitudes fill their hearts with unbelief. They are in need of the deeper cleansing of the blood of Christ. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to bring about the cleansing that purifies our hearts by faith.

 

We hear a lot of talk today about the power of a Spirit-filled life. Unfortunately, we do not hear enough about the purity of a Spirit-filled life. It seems to me that the purity must precede the power. Allow the winds of the Spirit to bring purity to your heart.

 

 

III.   It Affected Their Speech

 

When those in the upper room were filled with the Spirit, they received a new power to proclaim the resurrection of Christ. From a weak, fearful, timid band of believers they became a dynamic force for God that could not be stopped by the world, the flesh, or the devil. They were beaten and thrown into prison, but only death could silence them. They had a message to proclaim. Through the enabling power of the Holy Spirit, they literally turned the world upside down. Christianity spread as if it were contagious.

 

We must be captured by this kind of internal motivation until we are willing to die for Christ rather than deny Him with our silence. Too often we fail to be the dynamic witnesses God

 

intends us to be because of the fear of rejection. We want the approval of others, and we want to always look good.

If we will empty ourselves and be filled with the Spirit, there is deliverance from a cowardly spirit. The Holy Spirit can give us the courage we need to be witnesses for Christ.

 

We have many beautiful churches and impressive programs, but until we have been filled with the Spirit, we are not equipped to do the work of God. The reason many have not been filled is because they do not have a passionate desire to be filled. The Word declares that they who hunger and thirst after righteousness shall be filled (Matthew 5:6).