When we hear the term “Last Days” it often conjures up travesty on the evening news, or perhaps some poorly made disaster film.
But if you look in context that’s not all there is, in fact the signifier of the “Last Days” is something different; In Acts chapter 2 we find Saint Peter speaking:
Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’
Saint Peter quotes the prophet Joel on the day of Pentecost 400 years after Joel spoke those words. Peter said The Holy Spirit being poured out is the signifier of the Last Days. Joel said Something is going to happen, God is going to do something in the last days… God is saying “I will pour out my spirit on all flesh” all who will receive I will pour out my spirit on sons & daughters, old & young… regardless of age, race, sex, color, background…
In the old testament the Holy Spirit “came upon” people at particular times for particular tasks: Gideon, David, Ezekiel, others. In the new testament, Joel foresaw and was prophecying, there will be a new ability to hear God, to prophecy, to have dreams and visions, this would not be limited but a great and new opportunity.
John the Baptist was the last old testament prophet proclaiming the coming of Jesus. He said “I baptize with water, but he baptizes with the Holy Spirit and with fire!” Jesus said “I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;” – John 14:6
Comforter, “paraclete” in Greek, means ”One called along side of.” Look at Saint Paul’s story: Knocked to the ground, he encountered Jesus then was filled with the spirit after being prayed for.
Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” – Acts 9:17
People encounter Jesus and then encounter the Holy Spirit, I love the fact that Ananias said “so that you may see again be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
So, in short there are 3 ideas for us to grab this week:
I) The Holy Spirit has been given
- Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit. -Acts 1:4-5
- The Samaritans in Acts 8:17 – Peter and John laid their hands upon these believers, and they received the Holy Spirit.
- Cornelius & Co. in Acts 10:44- Even as Peter was saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who were listening to the message.
II) The Holy Spirit teaches
- But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. –John 14:26
- But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you don’t need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true–it is not a lie. So just as he has taught you, remain in fellowship with Christ. – 1st John 2:27
III) The Holy Spirit enables and empowers
- Peter has a vision up on the roof –Acts ch 10:19-20 While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Simon, three men are looking for you. So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them.” The Spirit informed and empowered Saint Peter.
- The Spirit enables us, we do not direct the Spirit: ‘Prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” – 2 Peter 1:21
The Last Days have begun, God has poured out His Holy Spirit on daughters and sons, and We want to be “carried along” by HIS Spirit as we go.