“Then Peter said to them, Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who that are afar off, as many as the Lord our God shall call . . . Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them” (Acts 2:38,39,41).
The wonders that took place on that first Pentecost following Jesus’ ascension are amazing signs of the Spirit’s presence. While the signs were tremendous, an emphasis placed on the significance of certain signs can be overdone.
A Glorious Beginning
The Lord Jesus promised that certain signs would accompany the preaching of the apostles so that we might possess the assurance that their teachings were inspired and true. These signs were not a mark of true faith, but of true apostleship.
The signs of the tongues of fire and the speaking in tongues were not for emotional show, but for spiritual edification. These “tongues” were languages native to varying individuals in the crowd, spoken for their instruction.
These signs were used by the Spirit as He worked the greatest of His Pentecost miracles, the changing of unbelieving hearts of stone into believing hearts of flesh. Ezekiel’s prophecy was fulfilled: “Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statues and keep my judgment to do them; and they shall be my people, and I will be their God (Ezek. 11:19-20).
Yes, that was the greatest of the wonders of that Pentecost day! By the Spirit’s power working through the Word, faith was created in the hearts of about 3,000 people who were baptized in the name of Jesus for the remission of sins.
What an awesome power this is, this power of divine grace in the gospel!
The Miracle Continues!
The events of that Pentecost Day were a grand and glorious beginning of the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit, as He establishes the Lord’s church on earth. But as grand as the conversion of the 3,000 was, it was only the beginning of the Spirit’s powerful working in the hearts of men during this last age of the earth. According to the working of God’s grace, this work has been passed down to our feeble hands to continue spreading the good news of our crucified, risen, and ascended Lord.
Many who focus only on the “signs” associated with Pentecost miss this most marvelous truth, and its application to us, to our hearts, for our testimony.
The power of the Holy Spirit IS present with you in your heart and life. He has come to you through the gospel. It took the almighty power of the Spirit for your cold, dead, stony heart to be made warm and alive in Christ.
This miracle of God’s grace continues in your life as the Spirit works in you the will to do His good pleasure, that God may be glorified before the world through you.
As we testify to the truth of salvation that is found in Christ Jesus, we extend the invitation of the gospel to the sinners of this world. The Spirit’s power continues to abide with that gospel message just as powerfully as it did on that Pentecost Sunday in Jerusalem.
We realize that we cannot change a single heart. Our most persuasive arguments will not have sufficient power to convert a single soul. We realize our feebleness. Our confidence is not in self, but in the Pentecost power of the Holy Spirit.
That power which called us to faith will accompany the gospel message we declare and it shall perform wonders of life and salvation in as many as the Lord our God will call.
–Pastor Theodore Barthels