“And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as My Father promised. … the Holy Spirit fills you with power from heaven.” Luke 24:49 (NLT)
If you track the exponential growth of the church from Pentecost in the Book of Acts and throughout church history, it is nothing short of miraculous! It is what I call the transformational power of the Holy Spirit working in the lives of Christ followers. It began when three thousand new believers were baptized on the day of Pentecost! Wow! Imagine that baptismal celebration! Then, word quickly spread throughout the known world! Those new Christ followers returned home, completely changed from that Jewish feast in Jerusalem. They began to gather in homes where churches were planted throughout the Roman world, proclaiming the risen Christ! By the time the Apostle Paul finally got to Rome, a dynamic growing young church was already developing before he even arrived! Although the apostles planted many new churches in their missionary travels, the same was true in Colossae where Paul had never even visited. This is the transformational work of the Holy Spirit! It’s when God is moving in the hearts and lives of those who hear the good news about His Son and respond in simple faith, trusting Jesus as their Savior from sin and receiving His life in exchange for their old sinful life!
Dr. Luke, who wrote the Acts of the Holy Spirit as a sequel to his Gospel of Luke, chronicles this Holy Spirit momentum from the beginning in an upper room where 120 Christ followers gathered following the ascension of Christ. They were doing what Jesus told them to do when He left them. After His resurrection, Jesus told them,
“‘And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as My Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.’ Then Jesus led them to Bethany, and lifting His hands to heaven, He blessed them. While He was blessing them, He left them and was taken up to heaven. So they worshiped Him and then returned to Jerusalem filled with great joy.” (Luke 24:49-52 NLT)
Luke picks up the narrative in his second book, Acts, and tells us that these followers gathered in an upper room to pray and wait for the promise of the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit came, they were empowered and emboldened to proclaim the good news wherever they went! If you track this Holy Spirit momentum that Luke records, you’ll find what began with 120 believers in an upper room expanded to 3,000 new believers at Pentecost. Then from 3,000 at Pentecost in Acts 2 to over 5,000 in Acts 4:4. By Chapter Five, Luke says,
“Yet more and more people believed and were brought to the Lord – crowds of both men and women!” (Acts 5:14 NLT)
In Acts 6:1 he says that the believers “rapidly multiplied.” The math shifted from addition to multiplication! By this time, “… many of the Jewish priests were converted, too.” (Acts 6:7b)
I could go on and on. Even when persecution against the church in Jerusalem broke out, the church simply spread wherever Christ followers fled until the message of Christ reached the ends of the earth! Wow! You can’t stop the power of the Holy Spirit! I am so excited to see that same transformational power at work in so many lives today! It’s contagious! If you’ve been exposed to the transformational power of the Holy Spirit, you can’t help but share the good news!