Acts 2:39, “The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off —for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
When Peter preached today’s passage at Pentecost, he did so with total confidence believing that God would keep His promise. He, along with the prophet Joel, believed that the Father was going to keep baptizing and empowering Jesus’ disciples with the Holy Spirit, until He came back to establish His kingdom upon the earth. God’s promise started being fulfilled in the book of Acts and continued through the New Testament.
At the same time, even with all this biblical evidence of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, skeptics still ask, “Where have the spiritual gifts been since the Bible times?” They wrongly believe that since they haven’t seen miracles or the operation of the spiritual gifts that they’re not happening anywhere. This over simplistic view basically believes that if they’re not seeing something supernatural, then it cannot be happening.
I personally love to answer this question because it brings to light the beauty of discipleship and how in every generation since Jesus, there have been Christians filled with the Holy Spirit and operating in the power of God! Here is just a brief outline of the church’s interaction with the gifts of the Holy Spirit for the last 2,000 years; (1) The Apostolic Church (33-100 AD): The church of the first disciples operated in the gifts of the Spirit as a norm as seen in the book of Acts, (2) The Ante-Nicene Church (100-325 AD): The church before the Council of Nicaea, reported, “women and men who possess the gifts of the Holy Spirit,” as noted by Justin Martyr.
(3) The Roman Catholic & Orthodox Churches (325-1517 AD): The churches that unified most of the churches for 1,000 years reported amazing miracles by their missionaries, monks and leaders, (4) The Reformed Church (1517-1900’s): The Protestants that broke away from the Church of Rome which had many groups such as the Huguenots, Quakers and the Moravians who operated in the gifts of the Spirit.
(5) The Spirit-Filled Church (1900’s-Present Day): The largest group of Protestant Christians today, numbering over 600 million and have the largest churches in the world, over half of which (around 300 million) have testified to seeing the miraculous. We are continually receiving reports of signs and wonders from places such as Africa, India, China, Latin America and all throughout the U.S.
Not only is it clear that in “Bible Times” the gifts were active, but also it is just as obvious in “Present Times” that the Holy Spirit is still giving His gifts to whomever the Lord our God will call!
Do you believe God is still doing the miraculous today?
- Describe a time you witnessed a spiritual gift in action.
- Ask the Lord to use you like He used the Spirit-filled disciples throughout history!
- For further study read, 2000 Years of Charismatic Christianity, by Dr. Eddie L. Hyatt.