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hope for churches in stress

I Will Pour Out My Spirit

In the prophets and heroes of the Old Testament, we encounter the work of the Holy Spirit in surprising breadth and power. In Jesus, we see a human life completely suffused by the Spirit (John 3:34).

Still, the consistent witness of Scripture is that, one day, the Spirit will move in ways that “far exceed” the splendor of these initial manifestations (2 Corinthians 3:7-11).

The prophet Isaiah anticipated this startling difference in a vivid metaphor: when the Spirit is poured upon us, the wilderness will become a fruitful field, and the fruitful field will seem as lush as a forest (Isaiah 32:14-18).

Ezekiel prophesied that the new time would involve a heart transplant, trading a “heart of stone” for a “heart of flesh,” so that persons would willingly and joyously choose to observe God’s laws (Ezekiel 36:26-27).

Jesus told his disciples that a new era of the Spirit would be better than his remaining on earth in person. “Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away. . .” (John 16:7).

How could life in the Spirit surpass what we have seen in Old Testament prophets and heroes? Or in the magnificent life of Jesus? In just one way: to have the Holy Spirit moving among all believers, in all places, at all times.

God accomplished this by inaugurating a new epoch in which the Spirit was poured out “upon all flesh” (Acts 2:17).

And in the last days it shall be, God declares,

that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,

and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,

and your young men shall see visions,

and your old men shall dream dreams;

even on my male servants and female servants

in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.

Life in the Spirit is no longer an exceptional privilege, reserved for special people. All believers are eligible, young and old, male and female, rich and poor. This is the glory, the exponential potential, of the age of the Spirit in which we are now living.

This post continues a series, "Sketches of the Spirit." To advance to the next post, click on the title, "A New Beginning." To go to the beginning of the series, click on "Wind."

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