Empowered by the Spirit

Key Verse: “Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost [Spirit].”
—Acts 2:38

Selected Scripture:
Acts 2:1-4, 37-47

LAST WEEK’S LESSON concerned the events prior to our Lord’s ascension before Pentecost. The apostles, who were witnesses to the occasion, had been informed that they were to be special representatives of the Lord, and that the Holy Spirit would soon be given to them for that great work of feeding the flock of new believers in Christ.

Now the apostles were waiting together in expectation and readiness for the promised gift of the Holy Spirit. They had not been told when this great event would occur. It is written, “Suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost [Spirit], and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”—Acts 2:2-4

The outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the consecrated believers at Pentecost was evidence that our Lord had appeared in the presence of the Heavenly Father after his ascension, and that he had offered the merit of his sacrifice, completed fifty days earlier, on behalf of his footstep followers. The giving of the Holy Spirit testifies to God’s acceptance of that sacrificed life. A new dispensation was beginning, and this manifestation of Divine providence gave Jesus’ followers a new standing before God. They were now accepted in the Beloved and counted as joint heirs with our Lord Jesus, even as the sons of the Most High. The Apostle John wrote, “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.”—John 1:12

The sound of wind, the appearance of cloven tongues of fire, and the ability to speak unknown languages serves to emphasize the great power of God that had been directed toward his people, and was now instrumental on their behalf. That power filled the whole house where the disciples were gathered. Wind is an apt illustration of the Holy Spirit because it is powerful and yet unseen. With this great event the apostles received the spirit of tongues and other miraculous gifts for the special purpose of preaching the Word of God. Outward demonstration and miraculous gifts were necessary to impress upon the apostles and other believers of this special calling and relationship with God. Although it was a faith class that was being instituted, there had to be assurance among the followers of Christ Jesus that they had been divinely accepted.

At the beginning of the Gospel Age these special manifestations of the Spirit were given for a limited time and purpose. They were not intended to be a permanent arrangement, and were not given to any others after the apostles finished their earthly courses in death. Those of this faith class during the present Gospel Age do not receive the Holy Spirit in this manner. We, and all others as members of his body, come under the influence of that Spirit because of our faith in him. By this marvelous arrangement we are begotten to the new spiritual nature and thus become participants in the blessed promises.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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