“When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 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 2:1-4 NIV
“I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant. I will establish them and increase their numbers, and I will put my sanctuary among them forever. My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people. Then the nations will know that I the LORD make Israel holy, when my sanctuary is among them forever.” Ezekiel 37:26-28. NIV
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20 NIV
Jesus’ promise in Matthew 28:20 to be with the believers forever is incredible. The coming of the Holy Spirit to the believers – recorded in Acts 2:2-4 – is the fulfillment of this promise. God had made a similar promise to the people of Israel in Ezekiel 36 & 37. What is the Holy Spirit’s role in the life of a believer? Paul tells us in I Corinthians 2:10, “these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.” The Holy Spirit’s job is to teach us, to reveal to us, the deep things of God.
How does this occur? In Ezekiel 36:25-29a God promises, “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God. I will save you from all your uncleanness.” This is an Old Testament promise to the nation of Israel – given at the time of their exile from the land. But this promise is for us as well. Look closely at these verses. Who is doing the work of cleansing, the work of transforming their hearts from hard unyielding stone into pliable, teachable flesh? Who will put his Spirit into teachable hearts? Who moves those hearts to obey God?
If you notice, God says “I will, I gave, I will save”. God does the transforming work in our hearts. But first Ezekiel says, “then you will remember your evil ways and wicked deeds, and you will loathe yourselves for your sins and detestable practices,” Ezekiel 36:31. Acknowledgement of our sin and our inability to save ourselves, and repentance, turning away from those detestable practices must come first. Then our hearts can hear, and apply what the Spirit says.
Is your heart teachable? Ask the Holy Spirit to teach, to reveal to you what you need to know, what you need to confess, what you need to share with others.
By Grace Hunter