In a New Year’s Eve watch night service on December 31, 1900, a group of 40 Bible school students gathered in Topeka, Kansas to pray for God to fill them with the Holy Spirit as He did in the book of Acts. Dissatisfied with the powerless Christianity they had seen, they had concluded that there was no reason that God would not fill believers today in the same way He had done in the first century.
They were not disappointed; shortly after midnight on January 1, 1901, Agnes Ozman became the first person in the 20th century to be filled with the Holy Spirit and speak in tongues. Today, Pentecostalism has swept the globe and is the largest branch of Protestantism in the world. Why?
Read Acts 2:1-4
1. It was God’s Time
Read Joel 2:28; 29, Acts 2:16-18
A. Primary fulfillment in the apostolic age, but secondary fulfillment today
B. God had begun to move in the latter half of the 19th century; Alexander Dowie, et. al.; holiness movement was coming alive, America was hungry for God
C. When people hunger after God. He comes!
2. It dovetails with Scripture
A. Do away with the Pentecostal Experience and you’ve got a lot of “explaining away” that you have to do.
B. In John 14 Jesus promised to send a Comforter in His place
C. In Acts 2:39 Peter said that the promise was to “your children”, “to all that are afar off” and “all that the Lord calls.”
D. Many, many times in the New Testament, believers were filled with the Spirit and spoke in tongues; if this experience is not valid, how can we explain those instances?
E. Not one Scripture says that the experience died with the Apostles. We shouldn’t have to explain away Scripture; it says what it means and means what it says!
3. Re-introduces the Supernatural
A. The 19th Century introduced the idea of “scientific methodology” and “enlightenment” which tried to do away with the idea of the supernatural.
B. Christianity had become a dead institution with little to offer a hungry heart.
C. Mainline churches rejected the supernatural and soon ousted those who spoke in tongues. It did not fit into their “modernistic” theology.
D. Spirit-filled believers were now experiencing something that defied “scientific inquiry”; something truly supernatural
4. It Works
A. The powerless became powerful (note Apostle Peter)
B. People’s lives were being changed; set afire with power!
C. Look what the Scripture says will happen to a believer. (Comforts us: John 14:16; 6, Guides into truth: John 16:13, Teaches us: Luke 12:12. Reveals things: Acts 10:19, Stimulates our memory: Empowers to witness: Acts 1:8, John 14:26b, Confirms salvation: Romans 8:16, Lifts up Jesus: John 15:26 10. Gives life: Romans 8:11, Convicts of sin: John 16:8)
D. For a phenomenon to grow from one woman on January 1st to the largest Protestant force on earth in 100 years is a tribute to the power of God!
Since the Day of Pentecost, no-one has ever had to wait for the Holy Spirit. He has already come. You only have to receive.