Alpha Program – Nicki Gumbel “How to be filled with the Holy Spirit”
5 Categories of People who were/are present where the Scripture is spoken.
1. Thirsty (Acts 2) Disciples waited expectantly for the Holy Spirit
waiting, in prayer, didn’t know what to expect, just waiting for Jesus’ promise.
As they gathered, the HS came, like a mighty wind, filled the place, tongues of fire appeared on their heads. They praised God in other tongues (languages).
Many gathered in Jerusalem at that time for Pentecost. They heard these disciples speaking in their own languages, they were shocked.
“What does this mean?”
Peter preached. “They aren’t drunk. But this was spoken by the prophet Joel – there will be signs and wonders. This is a fulfillment of prophecy…”
Peter also said, “This is because Jesus, whom you crucified, has been raised from the dead, and is reigning in heaven.”
Many were cut to the heart, they realized Jesus was the Messiah.
Peter said, repent, and you will also receive the promises.
3000+ added to the church IN ONE DAY.
(Acts 2 – Longing – thirsty)
2. Receptive (Acts 8) Philip evangelist was preaching, signs, wonders, healing. Many turned to the Lord. Simon the sorcerer wanted to buy the power with money…
Demonstration of power in Philip’s word to the people of Samaria. Peter and John came down, prayed for them, they were filled with the HS.
3. Hostile (Acts 9) – the conversion of Saul of Tarsus, Jew, Pharisee, ardent worshiper, perfect in keeping every law…
Yet, something must have troubled him.
He saw the first martyr, Steven – it must have touched his heart.
Yet, he still took Christians to prison. He was hostile to the move of God – didn’t believe it was of God.
On his way to Damascus, he met Jesus. “Why do you persecute me?” said Jesus. “Who are you?” It was Jesus.
He was blinded, led into Damascus, humbled, prayed for by Ananias, healed, changed completely.
From the biggest enemy of Christianity, to the biggest (evangelist) apostle to the Gentiles of Christianity.
4. Uninformed (not taught about the HS)
Disciples encountered many who were baptized by John’s baptism (water), they informed them of the baptism of the HS.
5. Unlikely ones (Gentiles)
First followers of Jesus were Jews. After Pentecost, preached to Jews. Yet, some in Samaria also believed.
Samaritans were like half-Jews, but probably fellowshiped in their own communities.
An Ethiopian also believed.
The first Jews worshiped in the temple. They didn’t really know what to do with the Gentiles who were being converted to Christianity.
How could the mix with them?
This (Acts 10) is the first real “test case” where God led them to mix with the Gentiles. Without this, the barriers, prejudices, and so on would be much more difficult to break down.
Cornelius was a good man, noble. He was accepted by the Jews, recommended by them.
He was not one who fully accepted the laws of the Jews (probably didn’t conform to all their laws) but he did go to their congregation, worship with them, was accepted by them. He had a vision.
He was afraid. The angel told him to go to Joppa to meet Peter and Simon the tanner – or send for him.
He sent for his devout servants. (God is orchestrating all of this).
Noon the following day, they were on their journey.
At the SAME TIME, Peter went up on the roof to pray. He was hungry, had a vision of a sheet coming down from heaven with ALL bunches of animals coming down from heaven.
“Rise Peter, kill, and eat.”
Is it kosher?…That’s a bit weird.
“Not so, Lord.”
Didn’t want to break his traditions.
“What I have cleansed, don’t call ‘unclean’”
This happened 3 times.
At the same time, the messengers from Cornelius are at the gate looking for him.
He went down to the gate to meet them. Probably surprised to see they are Gentiles: two servants and a soldier.
They told him “we were sent by a godly man to bring you back to Caesarea – you have a word for us.”
Here are 3 people…
The sheet had come down 3 times…
Connect the dots…
“Hmm, OK, come on in.”
The next day, they set out for Caesarea.
Cornelius fell down before him when he arrived – an angel had told him to get the guy, after all.
Cornelius had gathered everyone to hear from Peter.
Peter admits that, as a Jew, it wasn’t even lawful for him to GO IN to Cornelius’ house.
Jews hated Gentiles.
Gentiles hated Jews.
The Book of Common Jewish Prayer at that time:
“Thanks God I’m not a slave, not a woman, not a Gentile…”
That was a big step for Peter to go into that house.
Said, “Well, you probably know about Jesus, right? He was crucified, rose from the dead, commanded us to be witnesses to the fact that He is Lord of All.”
John 3:16 – think about that…
As he’s preaching, they are believing. The Spirit of God comes upon them. Wow! A Gentile Pentecost?
Peter had also brought Jews with him. When they saw and heard these Gentiles praising God IN THE SAME WAY that they had at Pentecost, they KNEW it was the same!
Peter said, “How can we refuse water to baptize these whom God has also saved?”
Cornelius then disappears from the Story. But this incident is repeated in Acts 11. The elders had heard that Peter had gone in to these Gentiles. They wanted to know what was up.
Peter let them know. Who was I to stop what God was doing?
Still took some decades for all the differences to be ironed out between the Jews and Gentiles.
Acts 15, controversy at Antioch.
How do we live together, worship together? No impositions should be put on Gentiles except those that would hinder their ability to fellowship together.
With this sheet, God shows that everyone is acceptable to Him.
So, what category are you in?
Longing, Receptive, Hostile, Uninformed, Unlikely?
Graveheart, Ontario, at a Rotary Club at breakfast, last time he preached on this.
Rotary Club was good, like Cornelius – helped people, gave to the poor, religious, but lacked SOMETHING essential.
“So even though you’re doing really good works…You still need Jesus.”
We are all somewhere in one of these categories.
Eph. 5:18 – Be continually filled with the HS.
Even for those who have it, leakage can occur, we need to be filled and refilled.