I want you to think about this question, maybe even right down your answer: What are all the things you know about the Holy Spirit, or what the Holy Spirit does? Here’s a followup question: How much of your answer have you learned specifically from the first four chapters of Acts?
The reason I ask these questions is to reveal that we know much more about the Holy Spirit than the early Christians. Yes, the disciples heard from Jesus what the Holy Spirit will do among them, but for many new believers, they had to learn along the way.
So lets step into the first days, maybe even weeks of the early church, and look at what they are learning about the Holy Spirit up to this point. For them it was days and weeks, but for us it’s the first four chapters of Acts.
Observation #1: Speaking in Other Languages
In the midst of Pentecost, the apostles find themselves being overwhelmed by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.
The first evidence of the Holy Spirit was the ability to speak in other languages; but there’s also another important note about the Holy Spirit than can be missed if we’re not careful. Verse (4) indicates that only those present were filled with the Holy Spirit, which means that the Holy Spirit didn’t just fill everyone on earth at that moment. We can deduce then, at this point, that the Holy Spirit is selective in who it fills.
Observation #2: Perform Many Miraculous Signs and Wonders
As the believers were gathering together and beginning to make preparations to start a faith community, the scripture indicates that, “A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders (2:43, NLT).”
You may be surprised to learn that the phrase “deep sense of awe” is actually the Greek word phobos (fo’-bos), which means: fear, dread, or terror. Out of that healthy and respect filled fear, the apostles were able to be used by God, through the Holy Spirit, to perform many miraculous signs and wonders.
Although we don’t know specifically what the “signs and wonders” included, we see later in Acts 3:6 that Peter and John were used by the Holy Spirit to heal the crippled man outside the Temple gate.
Observation #3: The Spirit will Tell You What to Say
Today in Acts 4:8 we read, “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of our people…” I can only imagine in that moment Peter remembering the words of Jesus:
This must have been a confidence builder for Peter who I’m sure was a little concerned about what to say in those moments. I wonder if when he was finished talking he thought to himself, “where did that come from?”
Observation #4: Ordinary to Extraordinary
We see the results of Peter’s boldness, and willingness to be used by the Holy Spirit, in the response of the Temple leaders in Acts 4
This short little reference in Acts 4 that helps us to know that God, through the Holy Spirit, can use anyone for His glory and purpose. I don’t know about you, but I want to be recognized as a person who had been with Jesus!
Observation #5: You Will Be Given Boldness (4:31)
Although this is an example of the whole group being filled with the Spirit, this is also an example of God answering prayer. It’s important that we don’t forget the disciples asked to be filled with boldness.
Observation #6: Unity Among the Believers
There are multiple references between Acts 2 – 4 regarding the unity the apostles experienced while together. In Acts 2 we’re told that the apostles, “shared everything they had,” “sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need,” “worshiped together,” and “shared their meals with great joy and generosity.” We’re also told in Acts 4 that, “ALL the believers were united in heart and mind.”
It’s important to know that the only way ALL the believers could be united in heart and mind is through the power of the Holy Spirit.
As you make your way through your week, ask yourself, am I being led by the Holy Spirit? Where is it that I see the power of the Holy Spirit working in my life?
What we learn through Acts 2 -4 about the Holy Spirit should change the way we live:
- Do I speak in a language about God that people around me can understand?
- Am I participating in God’s miraculous power?
- Am I being led by the Spirit regarding what to say and when to say it?
- Do people see me as an ordinary person used by God in extraordinary ways?
- Am I praying and living boldly for Him?
- Do I help keep a Spirit of Unity with other believers around me?