Just moments before His ascension Jesus gave His final message to His disciples. Since He knew these would be His last words we can conclude that they are of great importance.
He instructed them to remain in Jerusalem until they received the promise of the Father which was the gift of the Holy Spirit. He made it very clear to them that even after spending three years with Him they were not equipped to do ministry until they had been filled with the Holy Spirit. He pointed out to them that the power required for effective ministry comes from emptying ourselves and being filled with the Holy Spirit.
Jesus knew that if the Church was to survive and thrive it was absolutely essential for them to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
If it was essential for those trained and taught by Christ Himself, it is absolutely essential that all of us, today, must be filled with the Spirit of God. He is the one who enables us to live a holy life and to serve effectively.
Organizational structure, talented and trained personnel, well appointed buildings and great programs are all significant. However, the one essential above all else is for us to experience our own personal Pentecost.
We can celebrate the fact that these disciples were obedient to the command of Christ. They stayed in Jerusalem in constant prayer until they received the gift of the Holy Spirit.
This is a powerful reminder that there is no substitute for complete obedience to the known will of God. There is no personal Pentecost, no infilling without complete obedience to the will of God.
In Acts chapter two we read about the results of their obedience. "When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place and all of them were filled with the Holy Spirit." Acts 2:1
Peter informs us that when they were filled with the Holy Spirit, "Their hearts were purified by faith." Acts 15:9 Jesus said, "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God." Matthew 5:8
The truth is when one surrenders their all to Christ and experiences the infilling with the Holy Spirit, in sanctifying grace, their heart is cleansed from the very disposition of sin.
We hear a lot of talk about the power of a Spirit filled life but very little about the purity of a Spirit filled life. The purity must precede the power. The disposition of sin that we all inherited from Adam must be cleansed from our heart after we have been forgiven of the willful acts of sin that we have committed. You can be free from sin and through the power of the Holy Spirit you can live a holy life.
Another reason Jesus commanded His disciples to be filled with the Holy Spirit is given in Acts 1:8, "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
Once His followers were filled with the Holy Spirit they overcame their timidity and fear. They began to preach with great power and boldness. They literally turned the world upside down. Thousands were converted and the New Testament church was launched. Without any formal structure, money or buildings, through the power of the Holy Spirit they became dynamic witnesses.
If you will empty yourself and consecrate your all to God, you also can be filled with the Holy Spirit. You can have power over the world, the flesh and the devil. You can break away from your selfish ambitions and become a Christ-like disciple, bearing much fruit.
In this the season of Pentecost it is my prayer that each of you will experience the fullness of the Holy Spirit in your life. Jesus' last message needs to be embraced and proclaimed over and over again until a slumbering, barren church becomes alive with Pentecostal fire and fervor.