The Age of the Holy Spirit

Andy Little | 5.1.22



Good morning Omni Fellowship. My name is Andy Little and I am honored to be preaching in this series on The Book of Acts. I used to preach quite a bit, but I’ve been out of the game for a little while so we might be a little rusty this morning. Earlier this week I was sharing with the staff that its been awhile since I’ve preached and Portia said something to me that was very encouraging. She said Omni is a warm, receptive church that is very gracious, and therefore Omni is a great place to come off the bench and get back into the game. I really appreciated her encouragement, and I appreciate you, Omni, for being such a warm, receptive, and gracious church. 

My assigned text for today is in the first chapter of the Book of Acts. We are going to pick up in verse four and read through to verse 11.  If you’re keeping score, we are going to tackle eight whole verses today.. in about half an hour, no less. That’s nearly triple the amount of verses Pastor Valentine covered last week. I’m just saying. 

But let me say a quick word of commendation about our beloved Pastor Valentine. Did you know there’s 1007 total verses in The Book of Acts. If we continued at the rate of 3 verses per Sunday, like last Sunday, we’ll be wrapping up this sermon series in about 6 and 1/2 years?… somewhere around Advent Season at the end of the year 2028. That may seem like a long time, but it is well within the 10 year window Pastor Valentine promised. Just wanted to let ya’ll know that there’s a lot of liars out there, but our pastor is not one of them, amen.

In our text today we have Jesus, post resurrection, in resurrected, earthly, bodily, form… meeting with the disciples and sharing with them his final words before he ascends to the heavens.

Acts 1:4-11 (ESV)

And while staying[a] with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, \which, he said,\\ 

“you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with[b] the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7

 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

So, again, here we have Jesus, after his crucifixion, and subsequent resurrection, meeting and eating with His disciples. These were the same disciples that had followed Jesus for most of his earthly ministry.  They saw him crucified. They saw him buried. They saw his tomb sealed with a stone. Now he’s alive… resurrected. He rose from the grave, and busted out of the tomb, and appeared to his disciples in the flesh… alive. And now He’s chopping it up with his disciples in a series of meetings. 

But these meetings had a very weighty agenda. Remember… these words we’re reading today represent the last recorded words of Jesus’ earthly ministry. Therefore, it’s no surprise Jesus would use his last words to speak of something significant… something substantial. And indeed He did. Jesus was trying to prepare them for a very special day, a day that would be coming very soon.  Jesus was talking about a day so historic that it would be known for millennia as the dawn of a New Era. Jesus was telling about a day that would be so powerful, so seismic, that it would alter the course of history for thousands and thousands of years. An event so monumental that we still experience its effects in our lives today, over two thousand years later. Jesus was telling them about the Day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit would come like a mighty rushing wind and fall like fire upon the people of God…  A day when the Holy Spirit of God would be thrust into a new kind of prominence. {Breathe}

It’s important to note that merely ten days after Jesus spoke these words, this promise was fulfilled. We’ll learn more about the incredible events that occurred on the Day of Pentecost in a couple of weeks when Pastor Valentine tackles Acts chapter 2. Today we’ll be setting the table. In a sense, that’s what Jesus was doing, too. He was setting the table, preparing the disciples, for this pivotal moment in history. 

Jesus was telling them look, I’m about to dip, and the Holy Spirit is about to tap in. I’ll be leaving for a minute. But I’m not leaving you alone. The Holy Spirit is coming like fire, and He’s coming in power and He’s about to put in work.

But the disciples… they weren’t really trying to hear it. You can tell that by their response. It’s like they didn’t even attempt to dignify Jesus’ prognostication. When Jesus said “Hey, ya’ll remember when I told you that you would be be baptized with the Holy Ghost? Yeah, that day is coming. Like… soon. Real soon.” 

And the disciples responded with a question that seemed to expose the fact that they were in a different head space. They responded by asking “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom of Israel?”.  Huh?Have you ever been trying to have a conversation with someone, and, though their eyes were looking at you, their words made it seem like they were having a whole separate conversation? Like… you thought you were vibin’, but the vibes quickly turned to confusion?

Here we have Jesus about to ascend into the clouds, speaking his final words, and telling them about the coming of the Holy Spirit, about Spiritual things, and they responded by asking about earthly things. Man, I don’t think they were vibin’ with Jesus at all.

So in verse 8, Jesus begins to expound a bit on what they could expect when the Holy Spirit falls like fire from heaven. He says  “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” In our text today Jesus starts by telling the disciples to sit still, to stay where they are, and to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit. The first part of our text seems a little inactive, or boring. Sit, stay, wait. But then Jesus tells them you won’t be inactive for long.  When the Holy Spirit baptizes you he will endow you with such unbelievable power that you will be thrusted into action and you WILL BE my witnesses in Jerusalem. Not just Jerusalem, also in Judaea. Also in Samaria. And, get this, O’ ye who were sitting still… you are going to be my witnesses to the entire world… to the ends of the Earth. From North Pole to South pole and all the way around the equator… the whole world will be filled with the Lord’s renown. All nations will hear of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ the exalted King. ALL NATIONS! That’s right. Jesus was the original Mr Worldwide. Fireball.

And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.

Like I said before, these were the last words of Jesus during his earthly ministry. As soon as he spoke these words, he was scooped up into the clouds. Can you imagine being the disciples seeing all of this unfold? I was clowning on them earlier for asking what I thought was a dumb question, but who could blame them for having a difficult time wrapping their heads around what they were experiencing. They saw Jesus die. They saw him alive again. Now he’s telling them about the coming of the Holy Spirit. And then…. he’s gone. He ascends to heaven. Crazy, right? Well, they were certainly dumbfounded. They stood there, mouths agape, I’m sure, staring into the clouds that had just swallowed up their Lord probably wondering what the heck just happened? What in the world did we just witness?

And then two men appeared, presumably angels, wearing white robes,  11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way (he left).”    These two angels inform the disciples that someday that same Jesus will come back out of those very same clouds. 

Ok, verse 11 is where my assigned text ends today. As we consider these verses I want to spend just a little bit of time digging into two future events that were foretold to the disciples.

The First Was The Day of Pentecost – The Day They Would Be Baptized With the Holy Spirit 

So let’s talk about the Holy Spirit for a few minutes. Jesus told his disciples that shortly after he ascends to heaven the Holy Spirit would come. That it would baptize them. That this Holy Spirit would bring with Him such enormous power that it would fill the disciples and they would become super evangelists telling the whole world about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And guess what… it happened. A week and a half after Jesus spoke these words, on the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples like a mighty rushing wind. That very day roughly three thousand people repented of their sins, trusted in Jesus, and were baptized! But the work of the Holy Spirit did not stop there. It continues to this very day. 

Theologians speak of the events that we are talking about today as a passing of the baton between God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Others call it a Changing of an Age, or an ushering in of a new era. The Era of the Holy Spirit.  Jesus came as Emmanuel, God with us, and glorified the Father by living a perfectly holy life, dying an undeserved, yet sacrificial death, as an atonement for our sins and a propitiation of the wrath we deserved, and \\\ then \\ Jesus resurrected in power, conquering death, hell, and the grave, and is alive and is King forevermore. That, in a nutshell, wasJesus’s earthly ministry. That was the Era of God the Son. And what an Era it was. But Jesus tells his followers that a new era is coming, and has now arrived. The Era of the Holy Spirit. An Era where the Holy Spirit fills the children of God, comforts them, leads them in sanctification, and empowers their Christ-exalting efforts of gospel ministry. 

So if we are in the Era of the Holy Spirit, and, indeed, we are, then it would behoove us to understand as much as we can about this Holy Spirit. You bible heads already know this, but, in seminary, or in theology circles, the study of the Holy Spirit is called Pneumatology. I don’t have time this morning to explore the depths of Pnuematology, which is probably a good thing. Like I said before, I’ve been out the game for a minute. I’m not sure if I’m ready to swim in those deep waters just yet. For today, we’re gonna stay in the shallow end of that theology pool. 

But I do want to explore some of the characteristics of the Holy Spirit. Who is He? What is He like? What does He do?  Let’s begin with answering the question of who is The Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the Third member of the Trinitarian godhead. The Holy Trinity is One God in three persons. We have God the Father, God the Son (Jesus), and God the Holy Spirit. We actually see all three members of the Trinitarian Godhead mentioned here in our text. We see the promises of God the Father in verses 4 & 5. We have God the Son speaking, ascending into the clouds, and then coming back someday. And then we have the promise of the Holy Spirit.  God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Three persons… one God. Now, If this sounds confusing to you, you’re not alone. We could spend 20 hours teaching about the rich doctrine of the Trinity, the triune God, and still not make a dent. 

One of the most popular quotes about the Trinity says something like “If you try to explain the Trinity, you may lose your mind, but if you try to explain it away, you may lose your soul”. And look, I’m not trying to do either of those. So let’s move on.

Beyond being the third member of the Trinity, and, as such, God, we also know from scripture that the Holy Spirit is wise and all-knowing. He is called The Comforter. He is the Spirit of Truth.  And there’s another word  used in association with The Holy Spirit over and over again. Power. The Holy Spirit is powerful. Like a mighty rushing wind. Like fire falling from heaven. In fact, Romans 8:11 credits the Holy Spirit with the most powerful work of all time… raising Jesus from the dead.  We’re talking about Resurrection Power! Romans 8:11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, then he who raised Christ from the dead will also bring your mortal bodies to life through[h] his Spirit who lives in you. It was the power of the Holy Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead. We’re talking about resurrection power. And here The Apostle Paul tells us that this same resurrection power can work in us to make us alive.  {CAN SHOW THIS ON SCREEN, BUT I’M ONLY GOING TO REFERENCE IT, NOT READ IT IN ITS ENTIRETY}

Last week I had the honor of baptizing my step-son, Nico,  and I also had the  privilege of reading Nico’s testimony to ya’ll. In his testimony Nico said “I was basically dead in my sins, like a zombie, but Jesus has saved me and made me fully alive. ” I love that sentiment. I was dead, like a Zombie, but Jesus has saved me and made me fully alive. And the text here in Romans says that its the Holy Spirit’s power that does that in us. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead breathes life into us, quickens us, and makes us fully alive… POWERFULLY alive unto Christ. 


So that is a brief overview of who The Holy Spirit is and a little bit of what The Holy Spirit does. Now let’s talk for a moment about a few ways in which we interact with the Spirit…

First, we receive it. The Bible says that those who are converted, or born-again, or saved, receive the Holy Spirit in that moment of conversion. The Bible also refers to this as being baptized with the Holy Spirit. And 1 Corinthians 12:13 confirms for us that this is a one-time event that happens at the beginning of Christian life. This is important to note, because, there are those who teach a second baptism of the Holy Spirit, subsequent to conversion, and they often associate it with the manifestation of the gift of tongues. I have an Uncle in Oklahoma who is a backwoods hillbilly Apostolic Pentecostal. And let me tell you this man loves Jesus. But I believe he is in grave error when he says that those who do not speak in tongues, or those who do not have this second baptism of the Holy Spirit, as he surmises, must not have a salvation that is fully complete. He would say that those who have not experienced this second baptism in the Spirit, indicated by their lack of tongues,  must not really… fully… know Jesus as Savior. 

Unfortunately, there are many, like my uncle, who speak of this second baptism in the Spirit in such terms. And though, in many cases, their sincerity should not be doubted, their theological accuracy most certainly should be doubted. 


We believe it is a misnomer, and highly inaccurate, to call this a second baptism. This is not to say that we deny that the Holy Spirit works, on occasion, in specifically powerful ways. There are moments when the power of the Holy Spirit is especially manifested in and through believers to such an extent that it might feel like a secondary experience, ////  but we believe the Bible calls this being filled with the Spirit. 

This is the next way we interact with the Spirit. We can be filled by the Holy Spirit – Believers who have received the Spirit at conversion, can also be Filled with the Spirit to varying levels. Though there may not be a second baptism, there is, most certainly, such a thing as believers being filled with the Holy Spirit.  ANNNDD… being imbued with power; the type of power that only The Holy Spirit holds, these Spirit-filled believers can do marvelous works of ministry. That happens. No doubt. And we like when that happens. We want that to happen. For the glory of God. For us to exult in the Exalted… PLEASE HOLY SPIRIT FILL US, WE PRAY.

In addition to being filled with The Spirit, the Bible also speaks of believers being LED by the Spirit… and GIFTED by The Spirit. Look, there are a lot of positive, incredible ways in which we see the Holy Spirit interacting with the people of God. 

But the Bible also speaks of some of our interactions with the Spirit in less than optimal ways…. in negative ways.  What are some of the ways that people negatively interact with the Spirit?  The Bible also says that we, as believers, as those who have received the Spirit, we can also grieve the Holy Spirit, or quench the Holy Spirit in our lives. 

So even though we who are regenerated, saved, we who are born-again, even though we have received the Spirit, we may not always be as full of the Spirit as we can be. Sometimes we grieve the Spirit. Sometimes we quench the Spirit. The word used for quench has a connotation of putting out a flame. So we understand that though we have the Holy Spirit, and, as having such, we have access to… and potential for… His great power to do wonderful works of ministry, we also have the potential to limit this power by grieving the Spirit within us through unconfessed sin, neglect of The Holy Spirit, and a general posture of self-reliance or self-sufficiency.

Remember, as we live and breath today, we are living in the Era of the Holy Spirit. This is the Age that Jesus was talking about. We are living it now. The Holy Spirit is putting in work all across the globe. 

But, I wonder, is he doing it, personally, in me? Is He working through me? I want to take a second for some introspection, for some Holy Spirit inventory, and I want to ask myself, and I’d ask you to join me in this exercise… I want to ask myself to what extent is the Holy Spirit working in me? 


Am I a person who is filled with the Holy Spirit? 

Does the power of the Holy Spirit often work in me to to make me more like Christ and to lead others to Jesus?

Are the fruits of the Holy Spirit evident in my life?

When people speak of me, do they say “that, there, is a Spirit-filled man”

And if the answer to any of those questions is less than satisfactory, and in my case they were, then we must ask ourselves… why not? Why am I not filled with the Holy Spirit? In what ways have I grieved the Holy Spirit?

As I was preparing for this sermon I came across an old quote from AW Tozer and it stopped me down… He said – If God were to take the Holy Spirit out of this world, much of what we’re doing in our churches would go right on and nobody would know the difference!…I do not believe in a repetition of Pentecost, but I do believe in a perpetuation of Pentecost—and there is a vast difference between the two. 

So Tozer is speaking in a hypothetical sense, and pondering if, were the Holy Spirit to be extracted from this world, if this were no longer the Era of the Holy Spirit, if the Holy Spirit were to give us the ol’ Irish goodbye, would anything about our lives be different? Man… Would they? Would anything even change?

And then Tozer says “I do not believe in a repetition of Pentecost (I’m not hoping for Pentecost the sequel), but I do believe in a perpetuation of Pentecost (a continuation of the work of the Holy Spirit since that day), and, he says, there is a vast difference between the two. In light of this quote, let me ask… ARE WE PERPETUATING PENTECOST?

I’ve only been around Omni for a few months. And there’s no way I would say that this body of believers is devoid of the Holy Spirit. That would be foolish. In the few months I’ve been here I’ve witnesssed the Holy Spirit work. I think of our gatherings on Sunday mornings, and our time of service and worship, when the Holy Spirit is undeniably present. 

I think of just last week and how West shared his powerful testimony. The Holy Spirit did that. 

So I know the Holy Spirit is working here. But imagine if all of us, each as individuals, became more filled with the Holy Spirit? Imagine if all of us, collectively, confessed to the Lord our stubbornness, our distractions, our idolatry, our pride, our arrogance, our sins… And imagine if we were to repent of those things, and turn to Jesus and throw ourselves upon the mercies of God begging the Holy Spirit to fill us… and to fill us, and to fill us, and to fill us… even more. Can you imagine??

Ok, let’s close by talking quickly about the other future event mentioned in this passage. The two angels told the disciples that Jesus is coming back. The Era of the Holy Spirit won’t last forever. Jesus is coming back someday. Man, listen, do not sleep on the return of Jesus. He is coming back. 

When is he coming back? I don’t know. I think the answer is “soon”. The Bible always speaks about the return of Jesus with a sense of urgency, or imminence. But “soon”, I guess, is a little subjective. These disciples believed he would return in their lifetime, but they passed away without seeing it. You and I could also pass from this earth without seeing the return of Christ. But, also, he could come today. He could come tomorrow. So when is He coming? Soon… imminently

How is he coming back? According to the two dudes in white robes he’s coming back out of the same clouds that scooped him up. But this time he’s going to do it in reverse. He’s busting out of those clouds and coming back to reign. Revelation 19 tells us a little more about this…

11 Then I saw jheaven opened, and behold, ka white horse! The one sitting on it is called lFaithful and True, and min righteousness he judges and makes war.12 nHis eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are omany diadems, and he has pa name written that no one knows but himself.13 He is clothed in qa robe dipped in2 blood, and the name by which he is called is rThe Word of God.14 And the armies of heaven, sarrayed in fine linen, white and pure, twere following him on white horses.15 uFrom his mouth comes a sharp sword vwith which to strike down the nations, and whe will rule3 them with a rod of iron. xHe will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.16 On his robe and on his thigh yhe has a name written, zKing of kings and Lord of lords.

What is He going to do when He comes back? He’s going to judge his people. You know how people say “only god can judge me?”. He’s going to do that.  

Look, here’s what I know…  The imminent return of Jesus should give us a sense of urgency to make the most of this current Age, this Era of the Holy Spirit. Jesus is coming back, no doubt, but until He does it is time for God’s faithful to put in work. It’s time for the Holy Spirit to work through us. It’s time for believers to be filled with the Holy Spirit, and, with power, do the works of the Gospel ministry. 

So… With that in mind, let’s return to our previous exercise… our Holy Spirit inventory… and ask ourselves… “to what extent is the Holy Spirit working in us”?

Are we a body who is filled with the Holy Spirit?

Is the Holy Spirit working in us to make us more like Jesus?

Are our lives, and are our words, a powerful witness to the glory and Gospel of the Resurrected King Jesus?

Are we perpetuating Pentecost as Tozer said. Are we making the most of this Era of the Holy Spirit?

Or… or have we grieved the Spirit? 

Have we been negligent? Like the disciples, have we become too distracted by earthly things to be mindful of spiritual things? 

Has our sin, our pride, our greed, our lust, quenched the Holy Spirit?

Lastly, Have you ever received the Spirit? Have you been born-again? 

If the Holy Spirit is not evident in your life, it stands to reason that you have either never received the Spirit in conversion, or you have tremendously grieved the Holy Spirit. In any case, I want you to know that I’m not trying to beat you down. In fact, today, I’m trying to gas you up. I have some good news for you. Today could be your day.

About a year ago Pastor Valentine and I reconnected over lunch and I began to confess to him sin in my life and how I wasn’t walking as closely to the Lord as I previously had. I feared I had quenched the Holy Spirit in my life. And Valentine’s response to me was so good and so gracious. I was telling him “I dont think I can do this, or I can’t do that, because I’m too this or I’m too that”. You know what he said? With compassion he said The Holy Spirit is ready to work through you…  “it sounds like you’re just a repentance away”

I want you to know the same is true for you. I want you to know that the Holy Spirit is ready to fill you. He’s just a repentance away.

Holy Spirit fill us, we pray, AMEN.