Faith Column: Earth, wind and fire
OK, the title may have brought many back to the ’60s and ’70s with the band that has the same name. No, this column is not going to reminisce about a band in the past. The Christian church just celebrated one of the three major events in the history of the church, the other two being the birth of Jesus and his resurrection. Actually, many call it the birthday of the church. I’m referring to Pentecost, when the presence of God, through the Holy Spirit, became a reality in the lives of the apostles and other believers who were waiting for the promise Jesus made to ask the Father to send the Holy Spirit.
Three evidences of the arrival of the Holy Spirit are recorded in Acts 2. The first evidence was the “sound of a mighty wind.” This Tuesday evening, the wind blew powerfully right here in Craig and, more than likely, we all have experienced the power of wind. That’s what this sound represented, the power of the arrival of the Holy Spirit.
The second evidence is the sign of fire that appeared above each of the believers. Fire often is a symbol of the presence of God in the Bible. Moses was called by God in an obscure wilderness place when Moses saw a bush that was burning but was not burning up. God then spoke to Moses and called him to return to Egypt to lead the nation of Israel out of bondage. The prophet Elijah challenged King Ahab and his prophets of Baal to a fire showdown. The prophets of Baal built their altar and spent the majority of the day trying to get Baal to send fire to accept their sacrifice. Then Elijah decided that they had sufficient time and had his altar built and prayed a sixty-three word prayer (in one translation) and God sent fire down from heaven which consumed the sacrifice. The fire, which came down on each believer, symbolized the presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
The last evidence that Luke records in Acts 2 is that when the Holy Spirit filled the believers they began to “speak in tongues (languages) they had not learned.” This was the evidence that the Holy Spirit lived in the believers. In my title I refer to “earth” meaning the physical body. On Pentecost, God’s presence through the Holy Spirit came down to live inside a living temple, the believer. The believer has become the temple of the Holy Spirit. As to the believers speaking in languages they had not learned, they were speaking “the wonderful works of God.” I know that the “tongues” topic is controversial to many and I will not go there at this point; however, each believer is empowered by the Holy Spirit to tell others about the wonderful works of God and specifically about Jesus Christ who came to die on the cross to forgive all mankind from our sins. The coming of the Holy Spirit is one of the three most significant events in church history.
Tim Douglas is the pastor at Ridgeview Church of God in Craig.