Connecting the Dots - The Holy Spirit - Preached at Sunset Canyon Baptist Church, Dripping Springs, Texas on May 15, 2016.
Prayer – Father God, we pray for Lonny Poe and his family, and Eric Johnson and his – bring strength and patience to them dealing with these physical trials. May the Holy Spirit to come and be a blessing through me to the body of Christ
Pentecost – the Coming of the Holy Spirit. We are at Pentecost in the liturgical calendar, a time when the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples in Jerusalem, and the start of what we know today as the church. I have a little time and a lot to say, so bear with me...let’s start with a little background.
Background – The Holy Spirit
One of the three persons of the Triune God, eternal (or above time), and part of the Bible from the beginning – Genesis 1:2 –
Genesis 1:2 (NIV)
2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
In the Old Testament:
Sampson – one of God’s great judges
Judges 14:6 (NIV)
6 The Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon him so that he tore the lion apart with his bare hands as he might have torn a young goat. But he told neither his father nor his mother what he had done.
King David - 1 Samuel 16:10-13 (NIV)
10 Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The Lord has not chosen these.” 11 So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?”
“There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.”
Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.”
12 So he sent for him and had him brought in. He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features.
Then the Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.”
13 So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David. Samuel then went to Ramah.
The New Testament
Mary, Mother of Jesus - Matthew 1:18 (NIV)
18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about[a]: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.
John the Baptist the cousin of Jesus, the herald that came and prophesied about the Word becoming flesh. Gabriel before his birth said to his father, Zechariah:
Luke 1:15 (NIV)
15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born.
Jesus - Matthew 3:13-17 (NIV)
The Baptism of Jesus
13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”
15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.
16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
Jesus’ Teaching: Jesus taught about the Holy Spirit and how He would empower the disciples. No one (besides the Triune God) knew exactly what that would look like, but Jesus tried to say – in human words – the concept to the 12 apostles. In John 14 – 16 Jesus gave a lesson so that the apostles would stand firm in the time to come. :
John 14:25-26 (NIV)
25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
John 16:8-11 (NIV)
8 When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 about sin, because people do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.
Jesus knew that He would ascend, and the Holy Spirit would be down here, with us, to guide us in this daily walk.
Pentecost – After Jesus ascended to Heaven, the disciples were in Jerusalem, in one upper room, and the Holy Spirit came and indwelt them.
Acts 2:1-4 (NIV)
The Holy Spirit Comes at Pentecost
2 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
This was a new concept to people that study the Bible, called the indwelling of the spirit. It was not like the Old Testament, or even the New Testament among humans till this day of Pentecost* (But See John 20:22 where Jesus gave it to His disciples after He was resurrected).
But what does this mean and what do we do with it?
How the Spirit indwells someone is its own sermon, so I will not deal with that today. But the Bible talks about signs that someone gives who is indwelt by the Holy Spirit:
Paul, in his letter to the churches in Galatia, said this:
Galatians 5:16-26 (NIV)
16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever[a] you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
Galatians 5:17 Or you do not do what
Today we have ordaining a Deacon, Colonel Robert Garland. “Deacon” comes from the Greek word diakonos ( διάκονος, οῦ, ὁ, ἡ ) , which means “servant.”
The 12 disciples (and the church) church originally called people who were known by believers to be “full of the spirit and wisdom,” servants. (Acts 6:3). And they chose seven people, the first of which is Stephen, which Acts 5 says “a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit.”
Stephen: How can we today tell that Stephen had the Holy Spirit: Look at his actions. In Acts 6-7, Stephen did “great wonders and miraculous signs among the people.” (Acts 8). And spoke with wisdom (Acts 9-10). So much so that he was brought up on charges before the Sanhedrin (which was made up of men who were the rulers of the Jewish people). When they asked him whether it was true what Stephen said about Moses and God (which was trumped up charges against him), he spoke from the heart and said the truth of Jesus and the sins of the Jews and specifically, the Sanhedrin and people before them, for not listening to the prophets and the Holy Spirit! But that was not all: He said to the Sanhedrin that they betrayed and murdered Jesus; “You who have received the law that was out put into effect through angels but have not obeyed it.” (Acts 2:53). For this they stoned Stephen.
But Stephen did not blame them:
Acts 7:59-60 (NIV)
59 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.
Signs of the Holy Spirit:
If Stephen is the example of a Deacon, I at least fall short! Even Colonel Garland, who survived a plane crash where he was ejected from a disabled fighter Jet at low altitude, did not have his parachute open, and crashed into the ground going at least 100 m.p.h., would say Stephen’s example is pretty high to aim for!
But let’s look at Paul’s letter to give us (or at least me) something to shoot for. Paul said: “22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control.”
Exegesis: Paul was – in letter form- speaking to the Galatians about how morally to act of the law was not their guide. In v. 16, Paul sets forth his own opposing view in the form of a thesis: “But I say [in distinction to what the Missionaries are saying] walk by the Spirit and you will never carry out the desire of the flesh.”
He goes on to talk about the desires of the flesh in verses 19-21, and says that the Spirit of God is the only thing that can battle these things in you.
In verse 22, Paul is not talking about the characteristics of individuals, but character traits of the community! Paul offers different lists of gifts and workings of the Spirit in Rom 12:6-8 and 1 Cor 12:7-11. Here in Galatians, his emphasis is on the peaceful and community-building character of the Spirit's work.
He begins with love. Love, produced by the Spirit, should set the tone for all that occurs in the community's life together (cf. 5:6, 13; 1 Corinthians 13:1). If you are ever in doubt about whether to acts, first think of love in the act (even if it’s hard, just love) before doing it.
Bring it home to the Congregation:
It is a hard task to put up Jesus, or even Stephen, and compare ourselves to it. Maybe we do a Paul taught us, and compare the life of a spirit-filled community. Do we as a church, have the fruits of the spirit? Do we have love that pours out of our doors and into the streets of the community at large? Do we, despite our sinfulness, give hope to a hopeless world? Do we present Jesus – as best we can – to a fallen world?
Maybe the Spirit of God that is within us will help us become a new creation, a life that looks like Paul’s picture in Galations 5:22. Maybe, if that’s too big a bate, we could start with Love, and go from there? Maybe????
I will bring Mr. Rogers (Fred Rogers), to close this out with. Did you know that Mr. Rodgers was seminary trained! He said that during seminary, he was taking a class that was on the art of preaching (homelitics). On day, on vacation, they we at a little church with friends, and he was ticking off mistakes as he heard the sermon. When the sermon ended, he turned to one of his friends, about to ridicule the pastor, and she – amidst tears running down her face – said “He said exactly what I needed to hear.” I hope that the Holy Spirit has done the same for at least some of you through my words.
Let us pray.
Father God, let us have the Holy Spirit indwelling in us, so that we can proclaim Your message to a fallen world. Your Word tells us that if we believe in Jesus, we have the Holy Spirit inside us – make us believe it and act on it. In Jesus’ name, Amen.