The Acts of the Apostles that ‘gives us an account of a Church destitute of the Spirit,’[1] begins with a missional promise. Jesus speaks His final words to His men before ascending to heaven. The missional key verse in the book of Acts is “Ye shall receive power” (Acts 1:8). Here, Luke does not relate the baptism in the Spirit to the first experience of personal spiritual salvation. Luke describes the Holy Spirit as senior partner, power that comes upon someone who is already a follower of Jesus Christ, then working within him or her to effectively communicate Christ’s message. In a church age of doctrine without experience, the lesson is that we need to know our missional responsibility towards the Holy Spirt and His responsibility towards us as Christian witnesses. Jesus points us to a need for a relationship, an experience between the Holy Spirit and Christian witnesses. In this relationship and experience, the Holy Spirit is the senior partner to the Christian witnesses (Amos 3:3). Using the words of Samuel Chadwick, Pentecost calls for a stop to preaching and theology of the Holy Spirit without living consciousness of His presence and power. The church today never lack strategy or policy whereas, ‘the real work of a church depends upon the power of the Spirit.’ Jesus’ purpose of sending the Holy Spirit is missional. The arrival of the Holy Spirit makes heaven’s power available to believers on earth and that power makes us witnesses (testifiers and proof producers). The sending of the Holy Spirit as senior partner to Christian witnesses is to help reach the missional climax of supernatural power display.

The primary work of the Holy Spirit as our senior partner in proclaiming and promoting the message of Jesus has to do with how he comes upon or “clothes” Christians with God’s power. The Holy Spirit as our senior partner is the one who convinces people of their need for God’s forgiveness and the truth of how Christ’s death and resurrection  makes spiritual salvation and a personal relationship with God possible (Acts 2:14-42). The Holy Spirit as our senior partner increases the effectiveness of the Christian’s personal testimony or witness through the strengthening and deepening of a person’s relationship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit that comes from being filled with the Spirit (Jn 14:26). Without the help of the Holy Spirit as preacher’s senior partner, the preacher would lack the power to communicate Christ’s message with great effectiveness. This include lack of the ability to convince people of their spiritual lostness.[2]

Not just mere followers anymore, Jesus’ disciples asked Jesus when His kingdom would come. In his response, Jesus communicates a vision about reaching the world and to do that, they need stay in Jerusalem until they received the power they needed, the Holy Spirit as their senior partner to lead them to witness. A witness in Greek, martus, is “one who testifies by actions or words to the truth.” Christian witnesses are those who confirm and testify to the spiritually and missional saving work of Jesus Christ by word, actions, lifestyle and, if necessary, even death. Christian witnessing is the responsibility of all followers of Jesus Christ (Acts 1:8, Matt 28:19-20). Christian witnesses are missionary-minded, determined to communicate the message of Jesus Christ to all people of all churches in all nations – to the ends of the earth. Christian witnesses speak mainly about the meaning of Christ’s life, death, resurrection, saving power and promised gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:32, 38-39, 1 Cor 15:1-8). Christian witnessing involves separation from the ungodly practices of the world (Acts 2:40). It stem from a life that follows God’s standards of right and wrong (Rom 14:17). Christian witnessing is prophetic in that it involves using one’s voice to honour God through the power and inspiration of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4).

There is tendency based on human pride and arrogance to rely so much on our ability, strategy, science, and reason while under-utilising the Helper, the Holy Spirit, our senior partner to help us accomplish the purpose of God for our lives, families, churches and nations. The primary purpose of Holy Spirit as our senior partner is to provide power and support to communicate the message of Jesus to others. Power in this context (dunamis) means more than strength or ability. This is missional power at work or in action. The missional power of the Holy Spirit as our senior partner included the authority to drive out evil spirits, that is to command them to release their control in people’s lives, and the anointing that is empowering, commissioning to heal the sick. It is the missional power and recognition of the Holy Spirit as our senior partner that empowers our ordination, theology and liturgy to makes people come to know, love, and honour Jesus as Lord (Matt 28:18-20, Lk 24:49, Jn 5:23).

The Holy Spirit as the senior partner to Christian witnesses is also the custodian of God’s agenda on the earth for now because He is God at work in the earth today. It is missionally worthwhile for us to repent and learn to obey and depend upon the Holy Spirit so God can be glorified in everything that we do (John 1:12; Romans 8:14; Gal 4:1-6; 1 Cor 2:10-16). Pentecost invites us to stop the tick off a task on our daily to-do list and just move on to the next. Pentecost summons us to a relationship, a personal experience with the Holy Spirit just as Paul’s summoned the Ephesians Christians who had not yet been filled or baptised with the Holy Spirit, “Have Ye received the Holy Spirit?” The literal translation of Paul’s question is, “Having believed, did you receive the Holy Spirit?,” the senior partner. Church doctrine without the baptism of the Holy Spirit deprives the church, preachers and members of the full benefits and power God intends to give His followers, Christian witnesses so they can communicate His message and serve His purpose with ultimate effectiveness.

[1] Chadwick, Samuel, The Way to Pentecost (Calver; Cliff Collge Publishing, 1996), p.15

[2] Okegbile, Deji, Methodist Pentecost! Wanted: 100 Preachers for Revival of Holiness (London: SADL, 2018), pp. 5-19