The Work of the Spirit

by Stephen F. Olford

Text: "And when the day of Pentecost was fully come...they were all filled with the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:1, 4; read verses 1 through 4).

Thought:  This paragraph contains the story of the coming of the Holy Spirit and the formation of the Christian church. We cannot study these verses without being impressed with the ways of the Holy Spirit in His ministry.

I. He Works Spontaneously: "And suddenly there came a sound from heaven" (v. 2). The Holy Spirit's activities are self-motivated and self-originated. While there are certain spiritual laws which are said to determine His presence and power, it must be equally recognized that this blessed Person can never be bound nor restricted to our ideas of how He ought to work.

II. He Works Sovereignly: "A rushing mighty wind" (v. 2). The concept of the wind supremely illustrates the sovereignty of the Spirit's movements. This is the whole point of John 3:8, where Jesus declared: "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth." We cannot control His movements any more than we can determine the variations of the breezes in the treetops. Our duty is to see to it that the sails of our life are so set as to catch the first breeze that may come from heaven.

III.  He Works Significantly: "Tongues like as of fire" (v. 3). When the Holy Spirit speaks or works, there are always signs following. "Tongues" suggest His speaking ministry, whereas "fire" denotes His searching ministry. Observe the Holy Spirit move upon an audience or a single individual and there will be, first, the arresting of attention, because He speaks; and then secondly, the arousing of conviction because He searches.


                                   Holy Spirit, work in me,

                                       Your deep work of purity;

                                       Then endue me, sovereignly-

                                       To fulfill Your ministry.


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