By: Frank G. Tunstall

God massively intervened in history in first century Israel in four sovereign acts of divine power that changed the course of history. The first was the incarnation of God’s Son conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary without a sexual union. God “became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood” (John 1:14 Msg). About thirty years later Jesus launched His three years of active ministry. The second, third and fourth interventions occurred in rapid succession over a period of fifty days at the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry.

The second was the death of Jesus on a cruel Roman cross and His glorious resurrection three days later. It was affirmed by many honorable eyewitnesses who provided the best kind of evidence, primary evidence. The third was Jesus’ ascension into heaven forty days after Passover as witnessed by a crowd of Jesus’ followers. The fourth, the gift of the Holy Spirit, occurred on the fiftieth day after Passover and was experienced by about 120 of His followers, including His disciples.

Each of these three is a very important subject in its own right. This article will address the fourth. In fact, the first three set the stage for the fourth to take place – the Father’s sending the Holy Spirit into the world at Jesus’ request.

For ten days after Jesus ascended, one hundred twenty followers of Jesus that included the disciples, spent their time praying in the temple and the Upper Room in Jerusalem. The prayer meeting continued for a week-and-a-half. Jesus’ promise was fulfilled in the Upper Room early in the morning on the tenth day that also began the Feast of Pentecost.

Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them (Acts 2:2-4 NIV).

A huge and historic paradigm shift occurred that morning. The 1500-year era of the dwelling place of God that had been the Most Holy Place of a man-made tabernacle or temple came to its end. The new dwelling place of the Spirit would henceforward be the hearts of Jesus’ followers, wherever they were in the earth (1 Corinthians 6:19-20; 2 Corinthians 6:16; Ephesians 2:19-21). Before sunset that day, some 3,000 people became Jesus’ disciples.

The Holy Spirit, the third Person in the Tri-Unity of God would henceforward dwell with and in Jesus’ followers. They became living temples, walking and talking dwelling-places of the Holy Spirit. It was an act of genius of the highest order, divine genius. It meant that everywhere these Spirit filled followers of Jesus went, the best of the temple in the Person of the Holy Spirit went with them.

Why wouldn’t anyone want to be filled with this Holy Spirit and become His temple!

In order for Jesus to grow His church worldwide, He was also compelled to launch a new communication system to stay in intimate relationship with His followers. The man Jesus of Nazareth while in flesh and blood would not be able to tend His flock everywhere in the world. His humanity necessarily limited Him in time and space. And, requiring His followers to go to Jerusalem for seven annual feast days would be a hopeless effort for a worldwide church.

The Holy Spirit changed all that too. The Spirit is the administrator of an awesomely powerful plan that all computers combined worldwide in the modern era cannot even approach. The Holy Spirit has the marvelous capability to be in a warm, personal relationship around the clock, simultaneously with each of the Lord’s multiplied millions of followers. Each and all at the same time know they actually have Jesus’ full and undivided attention. This is true wherever believers are, anywhere in the world. Jesus knows their names and never makes a mistake with a name. He fluently speaks their language with words that fit each person’s vocabulary. As the Holy Spirit ministers to Jesus’ followers, He knows just the words of Jesus to speak to give perfect guidance in the moment of the need, and no situation is ever too small or too big for His focused attention.

Why wouldn’t anyone want to be filled with this Holy Spirit and become His temple!

We live in a world in which communication moves at the speed of light. But no electronic system has ever been built that can match the capability of the Holy Spirit to make Jesus Christ known. A billion people and more, all at the same time, can be very aware of the Lord’s personal, one-on-one presence to bless them day and night, even the lonely hours after midnight. Jesus does it day-after- day-after-day; the Spirit “never slumbers nor sleeps” (Psalm 121:4). This reality guarantees loyalty so strong between Jesus and His followers that death itself cannot break it.

The Holy Spirit also makes it possible for Jesus to be present and felt in each and every worship service anywhere in the world, even if they are all meeting at the same hour. The Holy Spirit also goes with Jesus’ followers into the streets of life, and actually lives with them around the clock. This indescribable blessing of Jesus’ presence 24/7 continues to this day.

Why wouldn’t anyone want to be filled with this Holy Spirit and become His temple!

The Holy Spirit is a servant as Jesus is a servant, anywhere and everywhere. He is God the paraclete – Comforter, Counselor, and Intercessor – and each of these names embraces helping and serving others.  The Holy Spirit shows Himself time after time after time to be patient and powerful. He knows the hearts of men, discerns their needs to perfection, and never makes a mistake as the greatest counselor of all history.

Such an achievement can only be described as a work of God.

Yes, Jesus is always the Holy Spirit’s sole curriculum. This selflessness works because there has never been any egoism or competition in the Godhead – and never will be.

Why wouldn’t anyone want to be filled with this Holy Spirit and become His temple!

The Holy Spirit was a new revelation of omnipotent power that Roman government knew nothing about and was woefully unprepared to handle. Greeks and Romans, and even pagans in the outer reaches of the Empire, were motivated and drawn by the Holy Spirit. Many opened their hearts to the Son of God. Rome was powerless to stop the Spirit’s advance. Evil men in the twenty-first century cannot stop Him either.

The Holy Spirit is sovereign in His pastoral care for Jesus’ followers and is not limited by any national border or the control of any tyrannical dictator. Neither does the Spirit apply for a passport at the office of any secretary of state to visit and care for the citizens of His realm. Not even once in 2000 years has He done it; not once.

Why wouldn’t anyone want to be filled with this Holy Spirit and become His temple!

Many dictators throughout history have failed at waging wars of persecution against the people of the church in Jesus’ kingdom. They have made the mistake of trying to force their citizens to give an earthly king and his kingdom their first loyalty. Christians will give their king (or president), genuine honor and respect, and even pay their taxes. But Caesar’s plan also included an annual requirement to offer to Caesar in a pagan temple a pinch of incense and say “Kaiser Kurios” (“Caesar is Lord”), thus confessing Caesar as God.

The demand sounded so simple and innocent; it was just “two-words-and-a-pinch,” but the implications were huge. At the price of their lives, most of the early Christians refused to do it. Jesus alone is God, and He held first place in their hearts. Yes, Jesus built “a kingdom that cannot be shaken” (Hebrews 12:28).

Once their resounding “No” has been accepted, however, Christians have made model citizens of the earthly kingdom. They even pray faithfully for their rulers, seeing them as servants of the Lord for good.

Why wouldn’t anyone want to be filled with this Holy Spirit and become His temple!

Rome ruled the world with the sword and occupied conquered lands with the power of fear. Jesus won people’s hearts with His love demonstrated at Calvary. He lives with His followers and in them, and does it to this day in His church that is now global. Jesus’ followers know they are in the vine because the Holy Spirit makes them know it, and their fruit is visible in the church.

So, why in the world would any pastor or teacher put preaching and teaching people about the ministry of the Holy Spirit on the back burner of his ministry?

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