Tony Evans - The Wind and Fire
When Jesus Christ told his disciples to wait on the power from on high, little did they know it would show up on earth with wind and fire and it would ignite something that would not only begin in Jerusalem, but, with for centuries, engulf the planet. This entrance of the Holy Spirit to begin the church age, is expressed in the first four verses of Acts chapter 2. It reads as follows, "When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven, a noise like a violent rushing wind and it filled the whole house where they were sitting and there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves as they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking with other tongues as the Spirit was giving them utterance".
There you are, earth, wind, and fire. That heaven had brought down the entrance of the Spirit to begin the church 50 days from Passover, which is what Pentecost means, it's the 50th. It was the time in Israel's history when they celebrated and recognized the giving of the Ten Commandments to Moses, that God would use that time on the Jewish calendar, 50 days from remembering God's deliverance of Israel from Egypt through the Passover, to the giving of his law that would inaugurate the beginning of the church. And the church would be inaugurated by the third member of the Trinity. He would send the third member of the Trinity who would not be localized, but who would infiltrate this new reality called the church that would expand across the world with Jesus Christ expressing his presence through the Spirit in his people individually as well as collectively as the church was being birthed.
We are told that they had gathered together in one place, and we are told that suddenly out of nowhere, there came a hurricane, a thunderstorm, or tornado if you will. So powerful was this sudden wind rush, that the whole city became aware of it because it brought attention, so that even those who had gathered together for this occasion or who had stayed over from Pentecost, became aware that something was happening at this house. Now you can have fire without wind. You can have wind without fire, but if wind catches a hold of fire, you gotta runaway blaze that's hard to contain and control. You don't want fire with wind 'cause now you got something you can't handle. We're told that when the Spirit came, he came like a violent rushing wind, accompanied by fiery tongues that the whole city became aware of, we're told. So it was an unmistakable presence of God's reality, amidst God's people.
Now, please notice something. The beginning of the church was not tied to them building buildings, it wasn't tied to an elaborate programming, it wasn't tied to super personalities because most of these disciples had been afraid, scared. It wasn't tied to having bookstores or TV programs or radio broadcast because those didn't exist. It wasn't tied to the ability to put on a show, or a spiritual entertainment center. What caught the attention of God's people in a house, and what caught the attention of the people who were not yet believers outside of the house, was this supernatural invasion of the Holy Spirit. It is my contention that the Holy Spirit has unfortunately been replaced today with sophisticated 21st century Christianity. We celebrate our facilities more than the Holy Spirit, we celebrate human personalities more than the Holy Spirit, we celebrate notoriety more than the Holy Spirit, we celebrate and replaced him with entertainment, and we wonder why the church is not on fire and if the church isn't on fire, why should the world pay attention?
But they gonna pay attention here in Acts chapter 2, because we have a church that had gotten a blaze. Suddenly, out of heaven, igniting God's people that the world could not ignore. The supernatural entered the natural. Now let's remember, Jesus said in chapter 1, I'm gonna teach you about the kingdom. So he teaches them what the whole book of the Acts is about, which is about the inauguration of the kingdom of God in history through the mechanism of the Holy Spirit. But in spite of the teaching I give you, you're gonna need the power to go with it, because information without the power, is just that. Things for your brain that does not ignite your life. So no matter how biblio-centric and orthodox the preacher is, if there is no Spirit power in his life or in the lives of the listener, it becomes information soon forgotten and not transformation that ignites a life, a family, or a church, so that it can ignite the city in which it is gathered. It is supposed to be the transformational environment for the Spirit of God to affect, infect, and ignite the people of God because of the presence of God in their midst through the person of the Holy Spirit.
Now, please notice the context of wind and fire hitting earth, earth, wind and fire. Please notice the environment that it was established. First of all, the people were being obedient. Jesus told them to go and to spend time in God's presence. He said, "Go to Jerusalem and I want you there to wait in the room on the presence of the Holy Spirit". They had to wait in God's presence, they had to be in his presence that's why prayer was such an important part of the life of the first church. They spent time in his presence because they knew they needed wind and fire from on high. Not astrological earth, wind and fire, but I'm talking about heavenly, earth, wind and fire. Wind and fire that hit earth because the people gathered together in God's presence. They wanted his presence so that they could get his reality on earth.
Let's review something. The job of the Spirit of God, is to make the truth of God experiential in the life of people, in the life of the unbeliever to convict them of sin and lead them to salvation, and in the life of believers to transform us into the image of Christ, and into the life of the church so that we are infiltrating the culture with the presence and power of God. So if that's not happening, people aren't being saved, saints aren't being transformed, and the church is not making a statement in the culture. That's because our relationship to the Holy Spirit is so dumbed down and dull, that he's not free to do his thing. Now, let's look at this a little closer. What else was true of the people of God that brought about this sudden appearance of the Holy Spirit. It says that, "They were all together in one place". They were all together in one place.
Let me say that again. They were all together in one place. That brings up the biblical doctrine of unity. They were on the same page seeking the same thing, pointed in the same direction. Let me explain something. The church of Jesus Christ and we as individuals within it, will not see the full force of wind and fire on earth, if we are refusing to be biblically unified. Satan spends a lot of time dis-unifying us illegitimately. Now that is a legitimate basis for disunity. When we're disunity dis-unified over sin versus righteousness, over idolatry versus the true God, over false doctrine versus true doctrine, that's a biblical basis for disunity. But when we get dis-unified over race, class, culture, denominational affiliation over non-essentials, then we have illegitimate disunity and nothing will keep God's Spirit away from expressing itself in a violent, rushing wind and fire that is blowing up the place like not being together.
And so what the enemy has done, is dis-unified us along illegitimate lines, that's why the most important thing for a church to do, is to promote Ephesians 4:3, "Preserve the unity of the Spirit". Because if you don't preserve spiritual unity, you won't have spiritual presence and if you don't have spiritual presence, you won't experience spiritual power, if you don't experience spiritual power, you won't see transformation, you won't see impact, you won't see change, you won't see growth, you'll just have church. And I don't know about you, but I don't wanna just have church. Let me read what it says in Acts chapter 4. Peter had been intimidated, Peter and John, by the leaders because of their stance for Jesus Christ. Remember these guys used to be scared, these guys used to be afraid, these guys used to be intimidated but now, 'cause they now controlled by the Holy Spirit and so they're not, they're not scared anymore, so they're being threatened by the leaders. Verse 23 of Acts 4 says, "And when they had been released, they went to their own companions of the other church folk and reported all that the chief priest and the elders had said to them," trying to intimidate 'em. "And when they heard this they lifted their voices to God".
Here it is, "With one accord". See all of 'em talking the same thing, all of 'em speaking the same language with one accord, means in agreement on the same page, in unity. And they said, "O Lord, it is you who have made the heavens and the earth and the sea and all that is in them and by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of our father David, your servant said, 'Why did the Gentiles rage?' And the people devise futile things. The kings of the earth took their stand and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord and against his Christ. For truly in this city, they were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus whom you appointed both Herod and Pontius Pilate along with the gentiles and the people of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your purpose predestined to occur. And now Lord, take note of their threats and grant that your bond servant may speak your Word with all confidence while you extend your hand to heal, signs and wonders take place through the name of your holy servant Jesus. And when they had prayed", watch this, "The place where they were gathered together was shaken and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the Word with boldness".
Oh wait a minute, this is not Acts 2, this is Acts 4. The church has already been established but the same principle of unity, the same presence of the Holy Spirit shook things up where the place where they were gathered was shaken. Notice they did it while they all prayed on one accord based on the Word, and the Holy Spirit showed up, and took over the atmosphere. We've got a atmospheric problem today, and that is, we got well-conditioned buildings in the atmosphere, we got good heat in the atmosphere void of the Holy Ghost. And because we don't have enough Holy Spirit owning the atmosphere, we don't see stuff shaking, we don't see the supernatural intervening, we don't see the transformational work of God. Let me tell you what happens when wind and fire mix. You know, as Jesus told Nicodemus in John chapter 3, verse 8, he says, "The wind blows where it wills".
You know what he was telling him? "You don't know how the Holy Spirit's gonna show up, how he gonna shake things up, 'cause he's unpredictable" okay? 'Cause sometimes the wind blows east, west, north, south, sometimes in the middle of one direction, it'll come in another direction. So this is the thing about God, you can't predict what he's gonna do, how he's gonna do it, through whom he's gonna do it, when he is gonna do it, why he is gonna do it, how big he's gonna do it, how little he's gonna do it 'cause he's the wind, he is unpredictable. You know when wind blows fire and fire will jump over here, over there, and everywhere. You never know, that's why you gotta leave room for the Holy Spirit. So have a plan, but submit the plan to the Holy Spirit so the Holy Spirit has freedom to suddenly set things on fire, to shake up the room where you all are.
So it is he's unpredictable, he's uncontrollable, he's a power generating source for the Holy Spirit when the folks are on the same page. And then let me say a word about church 'cause you have a lot of Christians who say, I don't need church. Well, let me explain something to you. Oh, you need church a little bit more than you think because you can only get so much of the Holy Spirit as an isolated lone ranger Christian. It's our Father who art in heaven, not my daddy who is in heaven. You belong, the Bible says in Hebrews chapter 10, verse 24 and following, he says, "Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together". Any Christian who is not part of a local assembly of believers is living in sin. Yep, I said it. Any believer, I only said it 'cause God said it. You are living in sin but you say, "I don't need the church to go to heaven".
You're absolutely right, but you need the church for heaven to join you on earth and right now you're still on earth. Notice what it says, it says, "When the Holy Ghost came," it says, "They appeared to them," verse 2, "Tongues as of fire distributing themselves and they rested on each one of them". "Each one of them". So the individuals got hot, because they were tied to all of them being together. The tongues of fire is just resting on each one because they're rubbing off on each other. Who have you rubbed off on spiritually lately? Look at what happened. It says, "They were all," verse 4 of Acts 2, "Filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit had given them utterance".
Now wait a minute, they're speaking in tongues. Now, in Acts chapter 2, the speaking in tongues was not aesthetic speech, it was speaking in human languages known to other people, because they were amazed that they could understand things in their own language. Verse 11 says, "We hear them in our own tongues". So they were speaking human languages, but languages they hadn't learned. In other words, the supernatural took over something that was not natural to them. They spoke in other foreign languages. Now this is not the time to get into how this relates to 1 Corinthians chapter 14, which talks about praying in tongues, and if you have a communication with God in your private time with God, that's between you and God. But we are talking about your public declaration now. And your public declaration needs to be understood by other members of the church, and by, that's why the Bible says in 1 Corinthians you need an interpreter and by non-believers who need to know what in the world you're talking about.
Why are we not doing more unnatural things, things that are not natural to us operating outside of the box of our regular Christianity and not experiencing super unleaded God? Why? Because we are not full of the Holy Spirit. God has disrupted the church 'cause he's after a divine reset. He says, "I don't want more programs and more personalities, I want more Holy Ghost operating in his church so that earth can have wind and fire from heaven". It says that, "They spoke and the impact was great". So here is the warning. It stated for us in 1 Thessalonians 5:19, it says, "Do not quench the Holy Spirit". You know what to quench is? It means to put out a fire. To quench is to pour water on a fire, to dull a flame. He's birthing something. He says, "Don't put it out".
He's stopping you from doing this. You have that throughout the book of Acts. It says, "When Paul was filled with the Holy Spirit," Acts chapter 9 verse 17 to 20, and Acts chapter 13 verse 9, it says, "He got full of the Holy Spirit and so he started being bold in his speech". We're told that Peter in Acts chapter 4, verse 8, "When he was full of the Holy Spirit, he was bold in his declaration". We're told that, "When that first deacons," in Acts chapter 6, verses 2 and 3, when they needed work to be done to solve the racial or the cultural problem between the Greek and the Hebrew speaking Jewish widows, and they had to solve the problem, they said, "We want some men who are filled with the Holy Spirit". Why? Because we got a big problem and we need big Holy Spirit, so we need some Spirit filled leaders.
I love what the author of Hebrew says in Hebrews 12:29. He says in verse 28 that, "We are part of an unshakeable kingdom". We belong to something that the world can't mess with, we're involved with something that secular politics can't invade, that secularism and socialism and communism and even capitalism can't mess with. He says, "Because you are part of an unshakable rule, and unshakeable kingdom". And then he closes in verse 29 with these words, "For our God is a consuming fire". Oh, he's a consuming fire. He's not just a fire, he's a fire that consumes, eats it up, takes it over. He's talking about the Old Testament sacrificial system. When they would put an animal on the altar to slay it for the temporary placating of God's wrath against sin, it was the Old Testament layaway plan until Jesus would come to be the permanent sacrifice. He put it on the altar, and then the fire of the altar would consume it. Now let's get something straight. Unless it was put on the altar, the fire had nothing to consume.
So if you are not on the altar, the fire of the Holy Spirit can't consume you. So you may not feel like going on the altar, you may not feel like being consumed by Holy Ghost fire but trust me, if you let the fire burn, the good news that's gonna come out of it, is a new experience with the presence of God individually in your home, most certainly in the church, so that we can set on fire the culture if Christ be not come. In Acts 2, the church look good because it was burning up with a fire that was being blown by the wind. The Holy Ghost is earth, wind, and fire, and he wants to give you a new song to sing. You'll be able to sing a song, you'll know what it is to be lit up by a Holy Ghost fire, you will be able to say, "Let's groove now spiritually in our impact". Because you'll be able to pronounce, "I finally got you into my life," because the Holy Spirit will have done his work in setting you as a believer, us as a church on fire, so that the culture will have to say, "What's the tornado going on over there"? Because the church has been filled with the Holy Spirit.
We're surrounded by force and strength. These rocks demonstrate that this is an impenetrable presence, but that's what the Holy Spirit does when he shows up. He brings the power of God with it. On the day of Pentecost, the wind and fire of God showed up, the power of heaven was made manifest by the Spirit's presence and guess where the Spirit is? He's inside of us so the rocky hearts, the rocky environments, the things that look like they can never be shattered in your life and in our world.
Once the power of the Spirit shows up, once he demonstrates he's in the vicinity, he can change stony hearts and stony circumstances, and he can build roads of progress in our lives in spite of how heavy the burden looks, and how strong the resistance appears to be. The power of God can cut through anything that you're facing when the wind and fire show up, and when the Holy Ghost makes his presence known because we've waited on him, called on him, trusted on him, and looked to heaven for him, and he will demonstrate. He can build a road in the wilderness of our existence so that none of the power around us can stop us from making the progress he's called us to make in the world.