Picture of Pastor Gettys

Sermon delivered August 2, 2003 by Pastor Donald J. Gettys

McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church

McDonald, Tennessee

Biblical quotations are from the New International Version NIV unless otherwise noted. Divine pronouns and titles are capitalized.

The Coming of the Wind

Acts 2:1-13

Part 3 of "Catch the Wind"

Good morning. Today we are going to be speaking about Part 3 of the "Coming of the Wind." The wind represents the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is represented by many things and the "Wind" being one of those. The Holy Spirit is also represented by a dove. We have been searching for a dove. We had contacted pet shops and wedding supply places. We even called a magician, thinking they could pull one. But we finally got one. Bernie Thomkins and Judy have been looking for us and they went to a flea market and he was going along and a man pulled up and started to unload some things from his truck, and lo and behold, he had two doves. And Bernie bought them both. We couldn't have both here because the Holy Spirit is just one. So, we have our symbol of the Holy Spirit. And it is our prayer that the Holy Spirit will fall on you and light on you as He did on Jesus.

Let us pray before we begin.

Dear Father, We know that your Wind is beginning to blow. You Holy Spirit is falling and we pray that Your Holy Spirit will fall on us. Bless today in this Scripture, the sermon and in our hearing for I pray in Jesus' name, Amen.

I'd like to ask you a question: What is your greatest need? You may say that our greatest need is for more money. Or, more health. Or maybe it's peace at home. Or, maybe our greatest need is Jesus. Well, the disciples had Jesus. I would like to propose to you that, yes, we do need all those things, and certainly we need Jesus.

We need supernatural strength to live a supernatural life, a spiritual life. You see, we as Christians exist on the fringes of a divine miracle but never quite experience true Power. Our transgression stops our transformation. We need Power. And when we don't have that Power we become about as effective as a watch with a dead battery, not much count. Accurate maybe a couple times a day but that's about it.

If you want God's power in your life like the disciples got in their life at Pentecost, then you are sitting in the right pew today because it is our intention to connect you with the Power from on high.

How do you get that Power? They were all changed into brand new creatures. Do you want that? It starts with our desire. If you desire what they had, that's a great beginning. If you don't want the Holy Spirit then you probably won't ever get it. Our greatest need is for a modern-day Pentecost to happen to us. The Christian without the Holy Spirit is like a sundial by moonlight. It isn't going to tell you much.

So, let's come to Acts 2:1. When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. The twelve disciples knew Jesus but how do you go about telling the whole world about Jesus? How is this possible? You need special strength, you need some special wisdom. They didn't have time to go to the seminary. They needed to start right away. So, how do you do that? They needed enlightenment and power of the Holy Spirit. So, one Sunday, on the fiftieth day after the Passover Sabbath the one hundred twenty believers were all assembled together in their special room waiting for the promised power. Now, we don't know exactly which room they were in but they were assembled together, all of them in one place, all of them together. It says they were of one accord. They were at the right time and at the right place in Jerusalem wanting the right thing. They had been there ten days.

Now I think these believers were without a clue as to what was about to happen on that Pentecost. They didn't really know. They were praying for the Holy Spirit. "What's going to happen? Is a dove going to come and light on us like it did on Jesus at His baptism? Is that what 's going to happen?" They didn't really know.

This festival, Pentecost was not new. It was called "The Feast of Weeks." It had been celebrated 1500 times before, every year for fifteen hundred years. But this time was to be vastly different. It was always held 50 days after the Passover Sabbath, so it was always on a Sunday. Pentecost was also the yearly anniversary of the giving of the law at Sinai.

So, Pentecost always fell on the first day of the week. Now, why would it be on the first day of the week? It symbolized the end of God's Sabbath and the beginning something new, a brand new week, a brand new year. That's what Pentecost was. The Jews took wheat and ground it to meal and added oil and leaven to bake two loaves of bread. What did the oil represent? It represented the Holy Spirit! What did the leaven represent? Sin! The regular bread that was used on the Sabbath represented Jesus and it had no Leaven. Jesus is sin free. So, I can hear you asking question.

Why did the loaves of Pentecost have leaven? I'm very glad you ask that question. I'd like to answer that question for you. Because these loaves did not symbolized Jesus, but they symbolized the church. And the church has never been free of sin. Have you ever attended a church that was free from sin? Is the McDonald Road church free from sin? No. I've never seen a perfect church because the church is made up of people and all people are sinners - Romans 3:23.

So, lets go to Acts 2:2. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.

They weren't kneeling at that particular moment, although they had spent a lot of time in prayer. They were sitting, waiting for the Holy Spirit. It had been ten days they had been waiting. Had they given up? You know, you never want to give up. And suddenly they heard a sound like a mighty tornado. A swooping down and filling the entire house where they were. This tremendous noise. Have you ever heard a tornado? They tell me it sounds like a freight train. The sound was not the noise of the wind itself. The Bible says it was similar to it. Imagine a hurricane in your house. That would be a noisy experience. I don't know how many decibels it would be, but it would be extremely loud. I could guess that the roaring sound of this tornado like gale could be heard all over town. "What's going on? This sounds terrible!" And so crowds started running toward the sound to see what was happening. Nothing had ever happened like this in Jerusalem before. So, the crowds gathered. What does the wind do? Well, it does a lot of neat things. It sweeps away the cobwebs. It blows away the dust. It blows away a ho- hum religious experience. Do you need your worldly chaff or your bad habits to be blown away? Do you need your bad habits removed? If so you must catch the wind.

When they heard this sound...Come over here to John 3... When they heard this sound like a mighty typhoon they came running. Romans 10:17 Faith cometh by hearing! The Word does not say they felt the wind. True religion is based on faith not feeling.

Jesus had said to Nicodemus in John 3:7,8 "You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit." So, Jesus connects the Holy Spirit with the Wind.

Now, I imagine that the day Nicodemus was told that night, Nicodemus thought about that and pondered that. And I believe that Nicodemus was there at Pentecost that day. Nicodemus was undoubtedly there. When the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples, Nicodemus was one of the hundred and twenty. He saw Jesus' promise literally fulfilled by this Wind.

Come to Ezekiel 37. I will propose to you that Wind brings life. Now, you may say that rain brings life, sunshine brings life. How does Wind bring life? Do you remember Ezekiel standing in that valley of the dry bones? Today the religion of many Christians is as parched as a dry bone in Death Valley. We are defeated and we are discouraged. We need the wind of God to blow on us because I'll tell you what the Wind of God does. Let's read it here in Ezekiel 37:9 KJV. Then said he to me, "Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, (Breath and wind are the same) and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. Why should he breathe on the slain? That they may live. God's Wind brought life to the Old Testament bones. And God's Wind in the New Testament brought life to the hundred and twenty in the Upper Room. They were quickened with real life. It happened.

The Fire came. The Fire was next. First the Wind and then the Fire. Suddenly the house seemed to also be on fire. And people thought, "This is bad; all this roaring of wind and now we see fire." I would guess that hoards of people were pouring in to see the sight of the house that seemed to be on fire but like the burning bush did not burn up. There on that June morning the outdoor crowds in Jerusalem probably saw a bright ball of fire come out of heaven and hover over the structure filled with believers. I don't know what they saw. That would be a possibility. Then it went inside and an intense bright light shown from every window of this place. And maybe even like God's presence on Mt. Sinai, of which this is the anniversary, maybe smoke probably billowed up from this place. Never had anything like this been seen before in Jerusalem. Almost everybody in town quickly had gathered around this phenomenon. "What was going on?"

Maybe some thought that the house and all inside were about to be burned up. It sounds like the fire started in one place and divided into 120 individual flames. Notice what the believers saw from inside the house. Now, this is what they saw. Acts 2:3. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. Bright flickering tongues of fire were seen coming down out of the overhead ball of flaming tongues, all the tongues separating from a single source and coming to rest on the heads of each of these hundred and twenty people.

God's presence is often like fire isn't it. You can read that in many places: Psalm 97:3. Our God comes as a fire.

Why is fire also a good symbol of the Holy Spirit? Why would that be? Is this an appropriate symbol of the Holy Spirit? Well, what does fire do? Fire cleans things up. If you have a brush pile in your back yard, you've got a bunch of trash you need to get rid of. The simplest way is to light a match to it and it will all be gone. Fire cleans things up. Fire burns away anything within us that might limit our usefulness for God. It'll do that spiritually to you. God burns off all the evil that encumbers us and holds us down. Fire will do that. You know, we have a lot of things in our lives that prevent us from reaching the potential for our lives for God. And, the Holy Spirit will remove those things just like fire. Also, Fire warms up cold saints. Fire illuminates dark minds. Fire spreads. Have you ever caught the grass on fire and had to beat it out? I did that one time. I thought, "This is terrible." I ran around there beating that stuff. I finally got it out. It was scary. Fire spreads. What did the disciples need to happen? They needed the gospel to spread. This is a great symbol of the Holy Spirit. They needed the gospel to spread all around the world. And that's what happened.

Now, you all know as Seventh-day Adventist Christians, reading the Bible and being Bible students, that eternal fire is unquenchable by any human being. It goes out when it does its job, when it has burned up the flammable material. But it's unquenchable. Jerusalem was destroyed by eternal fire, but it's still there today. Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed with eternal fire, but Sodom and Gomorrah are not burning today. All the fire trucks in the world could not put the eternal fires out. Just so the fire that came from God on that day could not be quenched. No one could shush up these disciples. No beatings could stop them. No Jail bars could stop them. Ship wrecks could not stop them. Even snake bites could not stop them. Nothing could stop the fire.

That's the kind of fire we need. You need that Fire. You are not stuck in some rut that will cause you to miss heaven. You can break loose from that thing. You need that Fire in your life. You don't have to perpetuate the sins that you have. You can stop that through the power of the Holy Spirit. You can get the victory in your life. You don't have to continue on and on in sin. Let God fire you up with His Holy Spirit. The selfish backward disciples became warm and loving.

By the way, were these disciples warm loving people? Let me ask you a Question: Can you think of one verse in the entire four Gospels where any disciple ever came up to Jesus and said: "I Love You?" Jesus constantly told them of His love for them. But they could not do it!

Is there one? You may say, "Well, actually, maybe there was one, and that would be in John 21:15." That's where Jesus tried to pry those three words out of Peter, one of the disciples.

Jesus said to Peter, "Do you love Me?" And Peter said, "I like you." Do you remember the difference between phileo and agape? And Jesus again said, "Do you love (agape) Me?" And Peter said, "I like (phileo) you." He never could let the words come out of his mouth. Finally the third time, Jesus said, "Do you phileo Me?" "Yes, I phileo You. You're my friend. I like you."

They never ever told Jesus they loved Him as far as I could tell. But I will tell you that all this changed at Pentecost. How do we know that? Well, because, what is fruit of the Spirit? In John 21 Jesus tried to pry those three words out of the 12 disciples. Jesus said: Do you Love Me? Peter said we LIKE you. Jesus said: Do you Love (Agape) Me? Peter said, we like (Phileo) you. All this was changed at Pentecost when they got the Holy Spirit because the very first fruit of the Spirit is love (Agape Love). - Galatians 5:22.

Prior to Pentecost each disciple was running on a little Pilot light. Now the full flame lit up and burst forth and set each of them on Fire for God. It is amazing what a wind will do for a flame. When a wind whips a forest fire the flames can jump thousands of feet ahead of the main fire.

Acts 2:4. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit falls on you...you are filled! Each of the 120 were filled up to their capacity. Your capacity depends on your commitment. The filling is available to every Christian. You can be filled with the Holy Spirit.

How long will you stay filled? Paul answers that question in Ephesians 5:18 ...be filled with the Spirit. "Filled" is the present continuous tense in the Greek. To stay filled up you have to be continually in contact with the Holy Spirit. This means you could be filled one moment but if you lose contact you could be empty the next moment. Jesus was continually full of the Spirit because Jesus was continually walking in the Spirit.

A city dweller moved to a farm and bought a milk cow. Shortly after he did, the cow went dry. He told a neighbor, and the farmer expressed surprise. The city man said: "I can't understand it either. I've been considerate of that cow. If I didn't need any milk, I didn't milk her. If I only needed a quart, I only took a quart." The farmer tried to explain that the only way to keep milk flowing is not to take as little as possible from the cow, but to take as much as possible. If you only come to God when you are in a jam you miss the real joy that flows from a daily infilling of His Spirit.

Acts 2:4ff. ...and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. When the Holy Spirit falls on you, you can't keep quiet. What then happened corresponds to the opposite of the tower of Babel. As the believers exited the house on every side they were surrounded with an eager audience. The numerous multitude represented every conceivable nation and language in the known world.

Acts 2:5,6. Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language.

Each one of the approximately 200,000 Jews heard and understood. This tells me that the voices of each speaker were amplified so you could tell that your particular dialect was being spoken over here or over there. The Greek word is dialektos. This was not an unknown tongue. Up to 50 or more different languages or local dialects were being clearly heard by the thronging host. The Aramaic speaking disciples started waxing eloquent in Greek, Latin and dozens of other languages. Their tongues were on fire. Their hearts ablaze.

Acts 2:7,8. Utterly amazed, they asked: "Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? Some of them were speaking Southern, different dialects maybe. And how can these Galileans do this?

Now, you have to remember that a Galilean was known as a low class of simple unintelligent type person. Imagine you are in a large group of sophisticated tourists from all over the world standing watching a humble band of street sweepers at their work. Suddenly these lowly men drop their brooms and each of you hear them begin speaking in the language of each tourist. You hear them talk with crisp diction and articulate meaningful spellbinding words. Their grammar is flawless. Their intelligent talk is so convincing that you hang on every word they say. Acts 2:9-11. Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs--we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!

Notice the sermon topic: The Wonders of God! That's what they declared: the wonders of God. What a wonderful thing. They were hearing the gospel. That's the most wonderful thing about God. They were hearing that Jesus came to this world. He lived the perfect life that we could not live. He died to pay for our sins. He rose again and He ascended and He is coming back. If you trust Him, if you believe in Him you will be saved. That's the gospel. And that's what they heard: The Gospel Story.

Acts 2:12. Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, "What does this mean?" The visitors were bewildered and dumfounded. God had provided awesome audio-visual effects to draw the crowd. God gave each speaker the message. You want to attend a church where God's message is preached in the power of the Spirit. Every person who comes to any church needs to pray for the speaker that he will not speak his words, but that you will hear God's message for you, preached in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 2:13. Some, however, made fun of them and said, "They have had too much wine." Well, there's always scoffers. Peter got up and said, "It's only 9 AM. We haven't even had breakfast and lunch won't be served till noon. We are not drunk. This is something different. You've all seen someone who is drunk. Their whole demeanor is changed when they become filled with an unholy alcoholic spirit. But when the Holy Spirit fills you, then you are transformed into a Christ-like person. You're new. And that's what happened to them."

Our greatest need today is for a modern Pentecost. We need to be filled like they were filled. We need the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Jesus received it. In Matthew 3:16. As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on Him. Do you want God's Spirit to light on you? God's Dove is waiting for you. God's Wind is blowing. Are you ready for the Wind? Let's catch the Wind.

Hymn of Praise: #630, Rise, My Soul, and Watch Thy Wings
Scripture: Acts 2:1-4
Hymn of Response: #569, Pass Me Not O Gentile Saviour

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