The gift of the Holy Spirit
Pentecost is not in the past
On Sunday the 9th of June, churches all over the world will celebrate Pentecost, the day when the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples of Jesus. It certainly was an incredible day, a fulfillment of the promise Jesus had given them while He was still with them in the flesh. “I will ask the Father,” He had said to them, “and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever – the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” (John 14:16-17)
All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit
They had no idea what was about to happen, what it would feel like and look like to have this “Spirit of truth” present with them, living in them. They only knew that Jesus had made a promise, and they knew Him. All they could do was trust and pray and wait. And when they were “all together in one place” that day:
“Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” (Acts 2:2-4 NIV)
It must have been an amazing experience for the believers! But this physical, visible, audible visitation of the Holy Spirit wasn’t only for them. There was such a great noise, that crowds of people from all over the known world were drawn to that place, astounded to hear the wonders of God spoken in their own languages. And then the disciples, filled with the power of God, began preaching and praying for the sick, causing a great commotion in Jerusalem as news of the miracles got around.
From fearful to fearless
These ordinary people, who just a short while ago had been practically hiding away, were suddenly everywhere. They fearlessly healed the sick and preached Jesus, the Son of God who takes away the sins of the world. When the rulers and elders took issue with them, they didn’t back down. Instead, they got together and lifted their voices to God:
“‘Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.’ After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.” (Acts 4:29-31 NIV)
Pentecost is not the past – it is our present!
Now, here’s a truth that is so exciting and life-altering for us, it takes my breath away. Pentecost is not just a date that we commemorate. It is not some historical event that lies in the past. Pentecost is happening right now. The promise that Jesus made to the disciples is the same promise He gives each one of us today. This is an event that has never stopped happening. This is our present reality, because Jesus is alive and His promises never change. To every person who calls on the name of the Lord and is saved, He gives the same rock-solid assurance – that He will send us His Holy Spirit, and that we will be given the power to preach and pray for the sick.
This is a truth that we can count on absolutely. And we need to, because we are no different from those very first believers. Without the Holy Spirit, we’re stuck trying to do things in our own strength, with our own ideas. With the Holy Spirit, we tap directly into the power of God. What an amazing God we serve, that He would offer us, his flawed human children, the very same Spirit that was in Jesus. This is how we can have the boldness to follow in Jesus’s footsteps, just as He said:
“Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12)
Holy Spirit Night – a vital part of every CfaN campaign
Preaching about the baptism in the Holy Spirit has been a significant part of every single CfaN Gospel Campaign since the earliest days of the ministry. Back in 1975, Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke (CfaN’s founder) felt the Lord tell him to book a 10,000-seater stadium for a city-wide evangelistic campaign in Gabarone, Botswana. It was a huge step of faith, and only 100 people turned up on the first night. But by the end of the week, word had spread so fast about the miracles happening there, that the stadium was filled to bursting point.
In the very last meeting, Reinhard clearly heard the Lord tell him to do something he had never done before – to speak about the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and to pray for everyone who wanted to receive this gift. In obedience, he gave the invitation, and over 1,000 people streamed to the front. From that day on, this has been the pattern for our evangelistic events. On the Saturday night of each campaign, after the salvation message, I preach about the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and we pray for God to pour out this blessing on all those who cry out for it.
Power to change the world
We are so privileged to have “golden circle seats” to witness this outpouring of the Holy Spirit time and time again. No matter where the event venue is, no matter what that field has been used for before we get there, in those moments we can truly say that “here is holy ground”. As literally tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands, of voices are lifted to God, a wave of sound explodes heavenward. No wonder the crowds gathered on the Day of Pentecost! There is no inhibition, no polite quiet, when the Holy Spirit sweeps in.
This is God in action, equipping believers with His power, so that they can grow in faith, preach the Gospel, and be witnesses to their generation in their nation.
Pentecost is your present
Wherever you are in the world as you read this letter, if you have not been filled with the Holy Spirit, then I encourage you right now to take hold of this great gift of God. Jesus’s promise is valid for you today and forever. He is literally offering you the Spirit of God to guide you, to comfort you, to fill you with power to do all the things He did and more. Doesn’t that fill your heart with wonder and thanksgiving?
Pentecost is not a day on the calendar. It is every day, every moment, every step we take, when we are filled with the Holy Spirit. It is how ordinary people become extraordinary, because the Holy Spirit takes us where we could never dare to go in our own strength. With the Holy Spirit, we can accomplish the unimaginable in Jesus’s name.
Together with you in Jesus,
Evangelist Daniel Kolenda
and the CfaN team