Jack Graham - Burning in My Soul
We're asking the fire to fall and we're expecting God to do beyond what we've seen in days gone by. People on fire, a church on fire is a mighty weapon in the hand of God. Because when revival comes and the fire gets started, the church goes. In fact, we're told in Acts chapter 1, verse 8, as we saw in last week's message, that the purpose of the filling of God's Spirit is that we would go as witnesses to the world. So the Spirit comes and the church goes. The Spirit comes that we might have revival; the church goes that we might have evangelism, bringing people to faith in Christ. So let the fire fall. Here's how it happens. In Acts chapter 2 beginning in verse 1, "When the day of Pentecost arrived".
Now Pentecost means fifty, and this was fifty days after the celebration of the Passover. Also let me relight your fire regarding what happened in the life of Jesus. He was born of a virgin, He lived, performed miracles, ministered to people and with His perfect life, the Lamb of God laid His life down upon the cross. He died on a cross, our substitute, taking the place for our sin. He died in order that we might live and have eternal life. Jesus died on the cross and gave Himself. Romans 5:8, "God demonstrated His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us".
And then, on the third day, after He was buried in a tomb and the stone was rolled in, the stone rolled away, and Jesus came out of that grave. And He spent, according to the Gospels and according to Acts chapter 1, He spent 40 days talking with His disciples, teaching His followers. And with many proofs, He demonstrated that He was alive. And then, having been alive for these 40 days on the earth, on the fortieth day He ascended into the presence of God and He now lives to pray for us and live in us and He said to His disciples, "You go to Jerusalem and you wait for the promise of the Father, you wait for the promise of the Spirit to come". He had given them many promises regarding the coming of the Holy Spirit and that the Holy Spirit would produce His life in them. He even made the bold claim that greater works than I have done will you do in the power of the Holy Spirit.
So the disciples were gathered on this feast day. And by the way, the Christian life is not a funeral; it is a feast, it is a celebration. And what we are about to see is the celebration of the birth of the church and the life of the church. So: "When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together (God's people, they were praying together, they were waiting together, they were worshiping together). And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire (like fire) appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were", watch this, "all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages or tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance".
We see and hear the promise of the Spirit fulfilled. And if you want a fire burning in your soul, receive and respond to the work of the dear Holy Spirit who lives in every believer. Let me remind you of the profile of the Holy Spirit. Don't be afraid of the Holy Spirit. I know because of some ex-isms, excesses and extremism some of you have seen some stuff that is crazy and bazaar all in the "name of the Holy Spirit" and you're saying, "If that's what it means to be filled with the Holy Spirit, count me out. I don't want any part of that kind of craziness". And I don't blame you. There's a lot of misunderstanding regarding who the Holy Spirit is. The Holy Spirit is not an "it"; the Holy Spirit is not an influence, but the third person of the Deity: God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. He is the person of Christ. He is the person of God. He is the presence of the Lord in the life of the believer.
Now the Holy Spirit has always existed. He didn't just begin to exist on the day of Pentecost. No! The Holy Spirit breathed on the waters at creation. The Holy Spirit moved throughout the history of God's people in the lives of Israel and appeared from time to time, but now this is all together different, all together different, because the Holy Spirit is now going to live in the lives of all believers. Sometimes people think what we need today is another Pentecost. No, we don't need another Pentecost. The Day of Pentecost was a day acted in history. We don't need another Pentecost anymore than we need another Bethlehem or another Calvary. What we need to do is to receive what God has given and the promise that is not only to us as Peter says in this passage, but to our children and to our children's children, and to all who call upon Him!
Bethlehem is God with us. Calvary, the cross is God for us. Pentecost is God in us! And the Holy Spirit resides in us, makes Christ real in us. The Holy Spirit comforts us. He's our Helper. There are various multiple names of the Holy Spirit given to us in Scriptures, and one of those is the Helper or the Comforter. The Holy Spirit is our prayer partner. Do you know the Holy Spirit enables you to pray even when you hurt so badly that you don't even know what to say or how to pray. The Holy Spirit, according to Acts chapter 8 enables you to pray and takes your feeble words and broken heart to the Lord. The Holy Spirit gifts His church with spiritual gifts so that we can serve Christ and do it effectively. The Holy Spirit comforts us in times of suffering. The Holy Spirit illuminates the Scriptures to us so that when we read God's word we begin to understand as the Spirit speaks to us. The Holy Spirit is the witness of our salvation, bringing us assurance of our salvation.
How do I know that I'm saved? There are a number of reasons but one of the primary reasons that I know that I know that I know that I know that I'm going to heaven, not because of what I've done but because what Christ has done is because of the witness of the Holy Spirit. You say what is that? Well, deep within the life of the believer, I can't explain it, I can't describe it, but I know because of the Spirit's witness in me that I belong to Jesus Christ! That's one of the roles and responsibilities of the Holy Spirit. I could go on and on, but I hope that I'm making the point that the promise of the Father, the promise of the Spirit is for all of us, not just for some of us, but to all who have received the Lord Jesus Christ. What happened on that day at Pentecost was the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The Lord poured out His Spirit, baptized them with His Spirit and power on that day.
Now, check in right now, what is the baptism of the Holy Spirit? The baptism of the Holy Spirit is when we are placed into the body of Christ. We have this new identity now in Christ. Water baptism, is when we are submerged in water, immersed in water, placed underneath the water. It's actually a term baptizo which means to dip or submerge. It was used in New Testament days when they would take a piece of cloth and dye it and dip in the dye; it would come up another color. That's the idea here. The baptizo is the baptism, the immersion of the believer in water. Believer's baptism is a symbol of our spiritual baptism when we are placed into the body of Christ. When we go down into Christ and come up alive in Him. And you cannot be saved apart from the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
The baptism of the Spirit is not something that happens in addition to receiving Christ. It's not a second work of grace. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is not something that is subsequent after salvation. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is salvation! In fact, you cannot be saved apart from the work of the Holy Spirit. You say, how do you know that? Well, for one thing in Romans chapter 8, verse 9, Let me show you a scripture on the screen. "You, however, are not in the flesh, but in the spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Him". So if you belong to Jesus, you have the Holy Spirit. When Jesus came into your life, His Spirit indwelled you with His very presence. And so baptism of the spirit is for all believers.
Here's another scripture 1 Corinthians 12:13: "For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body (That's talking about the church), Jews, Greeks, slaves and free, (and how many?) all were made to drink of one Spirit". So we are in this body of Christ because of the baptism of the Holy Spirit and this produces spiritual power in our lives. Not only should you receive not only the promise of the Father, the promise of the Spirit, but respond to the power of the Spirit. What happened? Three things happened on that day. First, there were three miracles. First a mighty rushing wind. It was loud. I don't know if you've ever been in a tornado. I've been in a tornado and it's just like people say it is. It's like a freight train coming through your house. So it's hard to describe what happened that day, but whirling all around them was this mighty powerful rushing wind.
Did you know that the wind is a symbol, an illustration of the work of the Holy Spirit. In fact the Old Testament word for Spirit is ruwach which means breath or wind. Jesus talked about this when He referred to the new birth as the blowing of the Spirit, the birth of the Spirit in our lives. He said, you know the wind blows where it will. You can't control the wind. So there was the miracle of sound, they heard this mighty rushing wind, but there was also a miracle of sight because the fire fell. Fell on the altars of their lives as they were yielded to Christ. The fire came and danced on their heads.
And notice it said it was like a mighty rushing wind. It was like fire. These are symbols. We're not asking the Spirit to do what He did on the day of Pentecost. What we are asking the Spirit to do is to blow like wind through us and fall like fire upon us because the fire, the Spirit, when the fire falls the fire consumes us, it consumes the dross and the impurities of our lives. When fire moves in our hearts and in our lives it disturbs the status quo. Too many people in churches today, they don't want to be disturbed, they don't want to be bothered. But when the fire comes it ignites everything around us. That's what we're asking God to do is to ignite our fire, our lives together and like human candles let us light up the world for Jesus!
Are you an on-fire Christian? Would your family and friends describe you as a Christian ignited, on fire with the mission of Christ? Are we an on fire church? Inflago iglesias? (Just had to throw that in, I wanted to speak in tongues this morning.) Inflago, on fire! Well, once they were ignited by the Spirit of God, then it says they began to speak with other tongues. It's the word for languages. And they proclaimed the mighty works of God. These weren't unknown tongues, but known languages. This particular gift was a gift to proclaim the Gospel particularly, specifically to the unbelieving Jewish nation at that time. And what happened, when these Jews, the city was gorged for Pentecost with about a million Jews, and so when this commotion begins to take place in this upper room, when the commotion begins to take place then then people begin to run to see what was going on. And they said, "What does this mean? What's happening here"? They assumed that everybody was drunk.
Peter described to them in a message that we're going to look at next week what was really happening, but what was happening in effect was they were proclaiming the glory and the grace of God and everyone, it says in a few verses later, heard in their own language. Was it a miracle of speaking or was it a miracle of hearing? The answer is yes! I don't know exactly what was happening. Was Simon Peter standing up and speaking in Aramaic (his language) and everyone was hearing. You see people were there from all over the known world, all over the Middle East. They spoke different languages. They had different ethnicities. Jesus had told them to go into all the world and preach the Gospel. How were they going to do that? Well, God started the fire by bringing the world to them! You know the earth now is at click of your finger. You can spread the Gospel as we're doing, through the Internet! We can preach the Gospel around the world!
We have a ministry that we're working with called "Iran Alive" with PowerPoint. Did you know they're taking my message in English, they're translating it and their giving it to the people of Iran! The Gospel of Jesus Christ! And we're already getting a response! We're living in a day in which we can proclaim the Gospel in the language that God has given. I mean, we have to use technology and mechanism, I mean, I wish God would give me the ability to go to a foreign country and just speak their language. If God gives me the gift of languages, I want it to be Spanish. I keep saying that I want to learn how to speak Spanish and I'm tired of trying, inflago iglesias. Working on it. But I wish God would give me that gift but not some gibberish. That's not what this is about. This is about communicating the Gospel of Christ in languages where people heard.
I don't know if Peter was speaking in Aramaic and they heard in their language, or if these disciples were preaching in various kinds of languages, all of them. We're not told, but we're simply told that this was a miracle that took place on that day to ignite the church on their mission to the world! And in verse 4 we're told what it was all about; that they were filled with the Holy Spirit, they were filled with the Holy Spirit. You see that in verse four? "They were all filled with the Holy Spirit". They were all on fire. Not just the Apostles, but everybody in the room. The Holy Spirit is not just for the preachers and the prophets and the evangelists but for everybody in the room who knows Jesus. In fact, in Ephesians 5:18, Paul in explaining what the ministry of the Holy Spirit is about, he said, "Don't be drunk with wine; that's debauchery, but be filled with the Holy Spirit".
Let me say a couple of things about this counseling from Paul. First, it's a command. This is not optional equipment for believers. Oh, well, that Christian's a Spirit-filled believer but me I'm just a regular old believer. Ah-ah. God has commanded you and you and you and you and you and everyone of you, all of us who know Jesus to be filled with the Holy Spirit. It's commanded. And if I'm not filled with the Holy Spirit, I'm not right with God. If I'm not living and walking in the Spirit, I'm out of fellowship with God. It's a command! I'm told it's not proper to ask personal questions, but here's a personal question: Are you right now filled with God's Spirit? Meaning, are you under the control and the power and the domination of God's Spirit. It's a bit of a contrast... not a bit, it is a contrast here between being drunk with wine and being filled with the Spirit.
You know what it is, if you want to know what it is to be filled with the Spirit, just look at a person who's filled with alcohol or wine. They're controlled by the substance. And they do things that they normally wouldn't do. Maybe a quiet, shy person becomes boisterous and loud; or does things that they normally do if they weren't under the influence of the alcohol. So he says "don't do that", that's a command as well. But there's also this contrast. Don't be filled with wine; be filled with the Holy Spirit. Be under the control of the Holy Spirit. Be under the influence of the Holy Spirit. So to be filled with the Holy Spirit is not some cataclysmic, explosive event but it is a day by day yielding and giving our lives and asking the Spirit of God to fill us and use us for His glory. I pray most every day "Lord, I empty myself that You might fill me with Your Spirit. Renew my heart. Cleanse me and use me for Your glory".
Now don't get the idea that in order to be filled with the Holy Spirit you have to beat your head on the ground and pray and cry and plead and beg God to fill you. You don't. You simply need to allow Him to fill you, to permit Him. Not persuade Him, just permit Him to fill you with His Spirit! I used to have the wrong idea about how to be filled with the Holy Spirit. I used to think that the way to be filled with the Holy Spirit, if I would get right with God enough, if I would be pure enough and holy enough and strong enough and good enough and better enough, if I could just do enough, then God would fill me. That's totally backwards! That's totally upside down!
Galatians 5:25, "As you have received the Lord walk in Him". That's what Paul says in the book of Galatians. The way we receive the Lord is by grace through faith. The way we walk in Him is the same way that we have received Him and that is by grace through faith. We simply believe and receive what God has already given. You see, the Spirit of Jesus lives in you. Is He in control of you? You know, it's been said many times, it's well worn to say the Spirit is resident, but is He president? He's dormant in your life; is He dominant in you life. He's baptized you with His Spirit; are you filled with His Spirit? For it's commanded, contrasted, it's continual.
The tense of the New Testament language here in which we're told be filled with the Spirit. It's literally be being filled, be constantly always being filled with the Holy Spirit. And there's one baptism, many fillings. One baptism, many fillings! I've been baptized by the Spirit because of a gift on the day of Pentecost; I am now filled with the spirit each day and I need to be filled each day. You know why? Because I leak and so do you. And the fire wanes and my passion drizzles and I need to be engaged again and experience each day His presence, and therefore, His power! The way to be filled with the Holy Spirit is really simple. Dethrone self and enthrone Christ. Allow Christ to be the center of your life. The Spirit-filled life is a Christ centered life.