A TRANSFORMED LIFE IN THE HOLY SPIRIT
Jesus knew His men much better than they knew themselves. He knew Judas was deceptive and Peter was rash. He knew Thomas struggled with doubt and that John was determined. He knew how petty and competitive they were… how selfish and fragile. He knew the final eleven thought of themselves as fiercely loyal, but when the chips were down, they would all slink into the shadows.
Therefore, when He promised “another Helper,” He was talking about One who would Transform them from the inside out; from the men they were to the men He needed. He knew that the only way they would ultimately do “greater things” than He had accomplished would be through the Holy Spirit’s presence and power. (John 14:12) (764)
When the Spirit of God made His way into the lives of those awaiting His arrival in that upstairs room somewhere in Jerusalem, His Transforming presence was immediately evident. Their human frailties were Transformed into supernatural gifts and abilities.
From the moment the Holy Spirit arrived, nothing about the disciples remained the same. When His power, His dynamic (the Greek term used here is Dunamis, from which we get dynamite), fell upon them, they even spoke in another language.
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, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance. (Acts 2: 1–4) (771)
A noise, an incredibly loud roar filled the house. A large “ball” of fire spontaneously separating into smaller flames, each in the shape of a tongue that came to rest upon each person in the room. Each of the individuals simultaneously “filled with the Holy Spirit”
This experience would completely Transform and revolutionize their way of thinking and their lives. Those who had been troubled and fearful no longer struggled with those feelings. The once frightened, unsure, confused, timid men never again evidenced such inadequacies. From that time on they were bold in faith and confident in their God. They had been truly Transformed.
Their fearful reluctance was Transformed into bold confidence.
And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language. They were amazed and astonished, saying, “Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born? … We hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God.” (Acts 2: 6–11) (771)
Sometimes I’m amazed when someone tells me they were so glad to hear something I had said in a sermon… and I did not remember having said it, or even thinking it. God is going to get His message out, despite our shortcomings.
As Saul entered the desert of Arabia and Paul returned to Damascus, the Holy Spirit was present in Paul in a powerful way. There is no way Paul could go forth preaching the Gospel of Christ, planting churches and leading thousands to Christ through his life in the Spirit without the power of the Holy Spirit in his life.
In his letter to the Romans in 12:1-2 Paul tells us: Therefore, I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be Transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (803)
Don’t miss the twofold command: “Do not be conformed…but be Transformed.” Are you allowing the Holy Spirit to Transform you? There are only two possible answers: Yes or No. If your answer is no, there are two possible reasons. Either you do not have the Holy Spirit within you, in other words, you are not a Christian, or He is there but you prefer to live life on your own. Looking around the world today I can’t imagine anyone wanting to live out there on their own without the help of God.
Jesus promised, before He left, that He would send us help through the Holy Spirit. “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:25-27) (764)
Paul knew, firsthand, the power of the presence of the Holy Spirit. He preached about those things the Holy Spirit has made available to us.
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. (Romans 5:1-5) (798)