Come Holy Spirit

May 20th, 2018

As most of you know, on April 13th I adopted a dog from Just Animals.  Dinker is a very unique dog and I fell in love with him instantly.  But then I lost him on May 3rd.   He had always come when I called him.  “Dinker Doo come!” I would shout, and he would come running.  But not on that fateful morning.  However, thanks to the many prayers and watchful eyes of friends, family, and neighbors he was returned to me 10 days later.  It is a terrifying thing to lose a beloved pet, and heartbreaking as well when one passes from this life to the next, and we are left to live out our days here without them.  While I am very fortunate to have mine back with me, many pet owners are not so fortunate.  Any many people who would love to own a pet, cannot for a number of reasons.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone could not only have the cherished companionship of a dog or cat, but never ever have to part with them?  You are probably wondering by now what this has to do with the Holy Spirit…

Back in Old Testament times, only select prophets and people of God were given the gift of the Holy Spirit, and there was no guarantee He would remain with them throughout their lives.  In Psalm 51:11, King David prayed, “Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me”.  But today, as believers in Christ, we do not have to fear that the Holy Spirit will ever leave us.  So let’s back up a bit, and I will explain how and why we have this wonderful promise today…  

The Holy Spirit is at work throughout the Bible beginning with the very first chapter, where He hovered over the face of the waters during creation (Genesis 1:2), all the way to the last chapter of the Bible, where He invites all who are thirsty to come and drink freely of the water of life (Revelation 22:17).  But just as He has manifested in different forms throughout time – fire, wind, water, dove - His role in the lives of believers has also differed. 

In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit was with Joseph.  Genesis 41:38 says, “So Pharaoh asked his officials, ‘Can we find a man like Joseph, one in whom the Spirit of God is present?’”.  He was with Joshua.  Numbers 27:18 says, “The Lord replied to Moses, ‘Take Joshua son of Nun, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him’”.  He was also with Daniel and several others.  Isaiah 63 tells us that the Holy Spirit was with the entire nation of Israel when He brought them through the Red Sea out of captivity in Egypt, although He had a closer relationship with some, especially Moses.  For Moses himself said to Joshua, when Joshua showed concern that Eldad and Medad where prophesying through the power of the Holy Spirit (Number 11:26), “Are you jealous for me? I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets, that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!” (Numbers 11:29).  But the day was coming when all the Lord’s people would indeed have the Holy Spirit within them.  So now let’s move into the New Testament…

It was the Holy Spirit who impregnated the virgin Mary (Luke 1:35), who would then give birth to Jesus, the Son of God.  Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, was filled with the Holy Spirit when she met Mary, and baby John, still in the womb, recognized Jesus’ in Mary’s womb (Luke 1:41).  Thirty years later, when John the Baptist preached about Jesus who would appear soon, he said, “I baptize you with water for repentance, but after me will come One more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire” (Matthew 3:11).  When Jesus Himself began preaching He told Nicodemus, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life.  So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.” (John 3:5-8)  And then on the last day of the Feast of Booths in Jerusalem, He said in John 7:37-38, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me!  Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’” Verse 39 then states, “(When he said ‘living water,’ he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory)”.  So from that verse alone we can infer that Jesus’ had to enter into His glory - in other words, ascend into heaven after His resurrection from the dead - before the Holy Spirit would be given to all believers in Christ.

So that brings us to our Scripture readings from Acts 2 (vs. 1-21), the day of Pentecost, which in the Old Testament was called the Feast of Harvest or the Feast of Weeks.  It was a celebration of the early harvest that happened in May, or occasionally in early June.  The descent of the Holy Spirit on the gathered disciples on that Day of Pentecost in Acts 2 was indeed the ‘early harvest’ of new Christians, baptized in the Holy Spirit as Jesus had promised.  It followed 50 days after the Festival of First Fruits, which coincided in the New Testament with Easter, for Christ is indeed the first fruits of the resurrection according to 1 Corinthians 15:23.

Today the Holy Spirit lives in all true believers in Jesus Christ.  It is this indwelling of the Holy Spirit that unites us as the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13).  And He is our guarantee of salvation.  The apostle Paul said in Ephesians 1:13-14, “When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession - to the praise of his glory”.

And the Holy Spirit will never leave us.  We may acts in ways that upset Him, but He will never leave as He did in the Old Testament.  Paul said to the church in Ephesus “And do not bring sorrow to God's Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.” (Ephesians 4:30)  Notice that once again, he repeated God’s guarantee.  Praise God for this New Testament promise!  For in the Old Testament saints did not have this assurance.  The prophet Isaiah once wrote about Israel saying, “They rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit.  So he turned and became their enemy and he himself fought against them.”  (Isaiah 63:10)

Of course, if we grieve the Holy Spirit and live according to the flesh, we cannot produce spiritual fruit, nor can we shine the light of Jesus into the lost world.  And while God’s Spirit will not leave us, we will not enjoy his peace, and will leave ourselves open to the attacks of the enemy, for we have not allowed the Holy Spirit’s power to manifest in our lives.

So come, Holy Spirit, come and anoint us with your power.  Set our souls on fire!  Amen!

“Soul on Fire” (Third Day) 

Children's Message:

On Pentecost flames of fire appeared on top of the heads of the disciples that were gathered.  But their hair didn't burn!

Can you think of a time in the Old Testament when someone saw a fire that didn't burn what it was on?

There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a blazing fire from the middle of a bush. Moses stared in amazement. Though the bush was engulfed in flames, it didn’t burn up.  “This is amazing,” Moses said to himself. “Why isn’t that bush burning up? I must go see it.  ”When the LORD saw Moses coming to take a closer look, God called to him from the middle of the bush, “Moses! Moses!” “Here I am!” Moses replied.  “Do not come any closer,” the LORD warned. “Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground. I am the God of your father - the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” When Moses heard this, he covered his face because he was afraid to look at God.

Exodus 3:2-6