“’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. And I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke; the sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.
And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’” (Acts 2:17-21).
When the Holy Spirit is being poured out from heaven, he does not enter quietly, he is accompanied by signs and wonders. When God poured out his Spirit on that first day of Pentecost, “…suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where [the 120 disciples] were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:2-4).
On the night of his crucifixion Jesus spoke to his disciples about the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, saying “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.
And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged” (John 16: 7-11).
These are the three convictions that are being manifested through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on all flesh in these last days. On the first day of the church age, the Holy Spirit came to breathe life into and empower the newborn Church. In these last days of the church age, the Holy Spirit is being poured out to convict the world of sin, the Church of righteousness, and the enemy of judgment.
The Greek verb for “to convict” is elegcho, which can mean to accuse or rebuke, but also means to tell or to expose. Before a behavior can be addressed, it must be exposed. One of the names of the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth. As Jesus said, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come” (John 16:13). The presence of the Holy Spirit exposes the truth of what has been hiding behind the scenes.
Jesus promised that he would send his Spirit to demonstrate the three convictions. First, the Holy Spirit convicts the world of the sin of unbelief – the sin from which all other sins arise. Next, he convicts the Church of righteousness – he reminds us to walk by faith and not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7), and that all of our righteousness comes through our faith in Christ by the grace of God (Romans 3:19-27). Finally, he convicts the enemy of judgment, because Satan, the obsolete, defeated prince of this world and all his demons are judged guilty in the presence of God (John 16:11).
The signs and wonders that were prophesied to accompany the outpouring of the Spirit by the prophet Joel in the Old Testament (Joel 2:28-32), and by the apostle Peter in the New Testament (Acts 2:16-21), are the evidence of the three convictions of the Holy Spirit that Jesus foretold would accompany the outpouring of the Spirit in the last days.
Therefore what we are witnessing playing itself out in the world at this time is not random or willy-nilly, but is in fact the evidence of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on all flesh – the sinful and the righteous – so that their works may be exposed.
As the works of the enemy become darker, the Church is meant to shine brighter and brighter to expel that darkness. Isaiah 59:19 says, “So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him” (KJV). The standard that the Spirit lifts up against the enemy is the righteousness of God in Christ as demonstrated through his Church.
This is the time for God’s people to shine the light of Christ into the world, and not be afraid. As Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet.
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:13-16).
God is not pouring out his Holy Spirit on all flesh because he wants to persecute people. He is pouring out his Spirit in order that the works of the enemy will be exposed, and the light of Christ will shine into that darkness and overcome it.
In the outpouring of the Holy Spirit there is great transforming power. On the first Pentecost of the church age, “…those who received his word were baptized, and there were added [to the church] that day about three thousand souls” (Acts 2:41). Peter and the prophet Joel both promised that at the outpouring of the Spirit, “…it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’” (Acts 2:21).
Romans 10:14 asks “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?”
But what kind of preaching are we to present to the world? Should we run out to the front lines of every crisis and hit people over the heads with our Bibles? By no means! And yet, we must not remain silent. As Jeanette has been asking in her series, “What Can the Righteous Do?”
Revelation 12:11 states that we overcome the enemy by the Blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 3:2 that it was the believers themselves who were his “letter of recommendation,” written in his heart and open to be read by everyone. And as Jesus instructed his disciples, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).
Beloved Friends, it is up to us as the Church and the Body of Christ on earth to present ourselves to the world as Christ’s letter of recommendation. To be his ambassadors, so that his will is done on earth as it is in heaven as we demonstrate the workings of his kingdom. As Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus:
“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:1-10).
Beloved, if you have received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, then you have been prepared by his Holy Spirit to carry out the good works that God designed for you from before the beginning of the world. And if you are alive on the earth right now, then this is your time to walk in them and to make plain your testimony as an overcomer in the name of Jesus by showing faith and love, hope and compassion to all people, whether they be red, yellow, black, white, old, young, man or woman, treating every person equally in Jesus' name.
As Mordecai the Jew said to his niece Esther the Queen of Persia, “…who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14b).
For more information on how the Holy Spirit is poured out at Pentecost, continue with parts five and six of our series, “Who is the Holy Spirit?” here:
Who is the Holy Spirit - Part Five: Pentecost the Breath of Life
Who is the Holy Spirit - Part Six: Pentecost the Holy Spirit and Fire
All scriptures are from the English Standard Version translation, unless otherwise noted.