People Of The Spirit
Not only was the New Testament church born through a powerful experience of the Spirit (Acts 2v 1-4) but also it was a powerful, bold community that pulsated with the life of the Holy Spirit. In Acts 2, Peter explained that God’s intention for the church was a place where the Holy Spirit is welcome to have His way. Right up front, Peter said that things like tongues, prophecy, dreams and visions were to be “part & parcel” of church life (Acts 2v17). The book of Acts records repeated instances of people being filled with, and operating in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Paul reminded the Thessalonians that his gospel had come to them not in word only, but in power and in the Holy Spirit (1 Thes 1:5).
For the New Testament apostles, after Pentecost, the work of the Spirit was the central theme. Paul’s initial question to the believers at Ephesus was, ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?’ (Acts 19:2). Peter’s defence when rebuked for entering a Gentile’s home was this: ‘As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them as he had come on us’ Acts 11:18 records the other apostles’ response: ‘they had no further objections!; The ministry, friendship and fullness of the Spirit are to be the ‘normal’ experience for every believer. By enjoying the baptism of the Spirit believers overcome the horror of dutiful legalism, desiring inner power for sanctification and mission but struggling to achieve it. By contrast they can discover a fresh hunger for the things of God and display the fruits of the Spirit as an inevitable consequence.
It is this baptism of the Spirit that brings joy, courage and power to the church. We have truly received a great commission and it will be achieved as we understand the partnership we can enjoy with God through His Spirit. The post-Pentecost church was radically changed, not perfect by any means, but pulsating with power and life.