Erico Tadeu Xavier is a pastor at the South Brazilian Union.

What happened at Pentecost (Acts 2) cannot stay only in history’s pages. The powerful outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, with its extraordinary results, may still be repeated today. Times have changed and so have customs, but the God who operated through the Holy Spirit in Jerusalem is the same God who operates today. The manifestation of the Holy Spirit in Jerusalem is circumstantial to the moment it happened, but the results pointed out in Acts 2:42-47, may be experienced by today’s church.

Doctrinal strength. “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teachings.” A church filled with the Holy Spirit does not follow men’s doctrines or human traditions, but it takes the Word of God seriously; it clings to eternal truths. When the church deviates from the Bible, it easily falls into legalism. Some believers begin to act against the church with criticism and accusations. Others, taken by emotionalism, run after dreams, visions, and new doctrines or interpretations. Ellen White wrote: “It is not a conclusive evidence that a man is a Christian because he manifests spiritual ecstasy under extraordinary circumstances. Holiness is not rapture.”1 Someone said, “Revival without the apostolic doctrine is human agitation, it is fire without heat, it is a shot without a bullet, it is a thunder without rain, it is a tree without roots and fruits, and it is useless effort.”

Deep communion. “And they devoted themselves . . . in the fellowship . . . in the breaking of bread . . . and all who believed were together.” A church filled with the Holy Spirit knows what it means to have only one soul, to be united in thought and have the communion of the Holy Spirit. In a church like this, quarrels cease, dissension and discord disappear, forgiveness is practiced, wounds are cured, and relationships are restored. There’s no room for divisions. By the act of the Holy Spirit, the wall comes down. When “oil runs down” (Ps. 133), the brethren live in unity.

The worship service of a church revived by the Holy Spirit becomes a moment of pleasure and power in the presence of the Lord.

Perseverance in prayer. “And persevering . . . in prayers.” The disciples remained in the upper room for 10 days in prayer and communion with God. Pentecost came and they kept praying. Throughout the book of Acts, we see the church always in prayer. All the problems of the primitive church were solved through prayer. The believers depended on their communion with God. They prayed at the election of Mathias (Acts 1:23, 24); they prayed when electing the deacons (Acts 6:1-7); they prayed for the Holy Spirit (1:14; 2:1; 4:31; 8:15); they prayed for the sick (Acts 9:40; 28:8); and when persecuted, they appealed to prayer (Acts 12:1-12; 16:24-26). Someone said: “When Elijah prayed, fire came from Heaven; when Paul prayed, the prison collapsed; when the apostolic church prayed, the ground shook; when Jesus prayed, the dead rose; when we pray, people die.” How many prayers are empty, without color, without life? We need to learn how to pray like the men and women of the Bible.

Fear of God. “And fear came upon every soul.” We live in a world where God’s things are mocked; they are the subject of jokes. God’s name is used in vain. Unfortunately, many believers have lost their fear of God; many play with God. We do not respect God, and this lack of reverence can be seen even by the style of some music performed in church. The attire of some who profess faith is shameful and disrespectful. The lack of fear has taken many to restaurants after Sabbath’s worship service. Adultery and fornication among the church members today are almost normal. A revival is needed in the Lord’s church, a revival that produces holiness. “Strive for . . . holiness without which no one will see the Lord” (Heb. 12:40).

The presence of the extraordinary. “And many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.” Miracles happen throughout the book of Acts: Peter and John at the Beautiful Gate (Acts 3); Phillip in Samaria (Acts 8); Peter in Joppa (Acts 9); and Paul in Malta (Acts 28) are some examples. Signs and wonders were not forgotten in the past. Today’s church may witness these wonders. Ellen White prophesied, “Servants of God, with their faces lighted up and shining with holy consecration, will hasten from place to place to proclaim the message from heaven. By thousands of voices all over the earth, the warning will be given. Miracles will be wrought, the sick will be healed, and signs and wonders will follow the believers!”2 If today we don’t witness more signs and wonders, it is probably because we are not involved in the proclamation of the gospel or because we don’t believe in God’s power.

Help to the needy. “And all who believe . . . had all things in common; and they sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all, as any had need.” The apostolic church gives us an extraordinary example of love in practice. Practical love became so real that the book of Acts tells us that “there was not a needy person among them” (Acts 4:34). Each believer cared about helping the needy, feeding the hungry, dressing the naked, and building homes for the homeless; it wasn’t a job exclusively for ADRA. The presence of the Holy Spirit made the apostolic church a caring church. A good example was Barnabas. The Bible talks about him, saying: “Barnabas . . . sold a field which belonged to him, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet” (Acts 4:37). A church filled with the Holy Spirit cares for the needy and helps them.

Present in God’s house. “And day by day, attending the temple together.” The worship service of a church, revived by the Holy Spirit, becomes a moment of pleasure and power in the presence of the Lord. The believer does not complain about fatigue or weariness. The watch is forgotten. The revived believers come to church early. The church trembles with the congregational singing. Sinners are attracted and converted. Going to the house of the Lord is a reason for joy (Psalms 122:1).

Joy and simplicity of heart. “. . . they partook of food with glad and generous hearts . . .” A church filled with the Holy Spirit is a church filled with joy. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22). It is impressive that even when the apostles were persecuted and imprisoned, they did not lose their joy (Acts 5:40-42; 16:22- 25); the disciples overflowed with joy (13:52). The joy of those first disciples was probably very contagious. Noth - ing could take from their hearts “the joy of the Lord.” They understood that “the joy of the LORD is your strength” (Neh. 8:10).

Praise to God. “. . . praising God . . .” Praise is the result of the presence of the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit that in - spires perfect praise. Joy and praise are features of a church filled with the Holy Spirit. Wherever there is praise, there is no room for murmur and complaint. A church guided and controlled by the Holy Spirit does not sing for entertain - ment or to please tastes and preferences, but to praise the Lord. The purpose of praise and worship is not to demonstrate talents or for personal promotion; it ex - ists solely to praise and exalt the Great and Sovereign God.

Sympathy with the non-convert. “. . . having favor with all the people . . .” The way the believers lived aroused the curiosity of the people who saw in them some - thing different. There was love among them. They lived in peace. They were not legalists. They were not reserved, cold, or indifferent. They were happy and nice. They were “the good perfume of Christ.” The church lifestyle made a strong im - pact on the community. The community was attracted by the good example and lifestyle of the church members. The church was not converted by the world, the world was converted by the testimony of the church! How we need this kind of testimony today.

Numeric growth. “And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” It is the life testimony that makes the church grow. The testi - mony of the primitive church was not only through words but through lives. The church was well fed. And a well-fed church produces fruit. Wherever there is growth in quality, God gives growth in quantity. The book of Acts gives us an impressive picture of the growth of the apostolic church. The first group was comprised of 120 people (Acts 1:15). Soon, 3,000 more were baptized, just in one day (Acts 2:41); and then the number grew to 5,000 (Acts 4:4). Afterwards, a multitude joined the church (Acts 5:14); a little later, the number of disciples was multiplied (Acts 6:17). Thus the gospel was spread beyond Jerusalem, through Judea, Galilee, and Samaria (Acts 9:13), and finally to the entire world (Acts 16:5).

A church filled with the Holy Spirit is committed to God’s Word and His mission. It is a church that attracted mul - titudes to Christ. The apostolic church experienced a powerful outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and the results were extraordinary. Today’s church will be able to experience the same power and contemplate the same results! The God of the apostolic church is the same God of the last days’ church.

1. Ellen G. White, Acts of the Apostles, p. 51.
2. Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, p. 612.

Erico Tadeu Xavier
District pastor in Brazil