A Rushing Mighty Spirit

Acts 2:1-4  When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tonguesas the Spirit enabled them.

  1. Start with what we are doing – searching for truth in our Christian faith. We find the principal truths of our faith. Look at the bookmark card or turn to page 881 of our hymnal and read with me the Apostle’s creed.
  2. Here is how the Apostles Creed can guide and strengthen our faith: 
    1. The Apostles’ Creed centers us on God
      1. When we live our lives with God at the center, we remain grounded and balanced, whole, and holy.
    1. The Apostles’ Creed reminds us of the commitment undertaken in baptism
      1. By identifying what we believe, we are reminded of the commitment of our baptism.
    1. The Apostles’ Creed assures us of the guidance of the Holy Spirit
      1. The creed assures us that the Holy Spirit is with us on this journey as our advocate and steadfast guide. The Spirit is at work in the world and in our lives.
  3. Two weeks ago—we looked at “Is There a God” – our Christian faith pulls us to believe that there is a guiding force – an initiating hand behind all of creation – a divine spark — all of which gives us the assurance of the power of God in our lives.
  4. Last week we worked with trying to understanding just who is Jesus. We came away with the realization that according to the Bible – Jesus is God incarnate – God in human form.  It is through Jesus that we come to know just who God is and how unconditional love transforms us. Jesus shows us how to love our neighbor and to be able to share the love of God by how we live our lives. Jesus is the Christ – the Messiah.
  5. Today we will look at the Spirit! Adding to our understanding of just how God works in our lives —- God the Creator, Jesus the Savior, The Spirit the comforter! Three different understandings of the same God.
  6. As our Scripture that was read today, takes place in the Upper Room – 50 days after the crucifixion of Jesus and 10 days after the ascension of Jesus, says – suddenly there came a wind — like a violent storm in the room and — a tongues of flame rested on them and they heard each other speak in their native languages – and those who understood the language – understood what was being said – but the observers – who did not understand the languages — thought the disciples were drunk – so early in the morning. 
  7. The Disciples – confused — asked – the key question – “What does this mean?”
  8. As we read further in Acts — a dispirited group of ordinary, uneducated men – became empowered by the Holy Spirit. Note the word empowered — we are going to look at that further in a few moments.
    1. Wind and fire shook and transformed and filled these everyday people with the power of the divine Spirit of God. For them – their experiences with the Risen Christ and the coming of the Holy Spirit changed them into new people with a passion for abundant living to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with all the people.
    1. Ordinary men and women became full of faith and they were fearless.
  9. They became courageous witness to God’s mighty and saving acts.
  10. Weak and timid disciples became strong and powerful witness to the Good News of God’s saving acts to an unbelieving and self-absorbed world.
  11. Each disciple received comfort, assurance, and hope as the Holy Spirit now accompanied them – just as Jesus had promised.
  12. And they suffered for this faith— everyone was martyred for their faith.
  13. But there is more —- People of faith – people who pray – people who seek to draw close to Christ – also experience the Holy Spirit.
  14. The Spirit can emerge in subtle ways and the Spirit can emerge in dynamic ways.
    1. Little by little, as you hear, recognize, understand, and become aware of the Holy Spirit in different ways—through your thinking, correcting a thought with this voice of God, recognizing this voice in another, sharing this voice of God with a friend, — the Holy Spirit is brought into the world and given to each of God’s people.
  15. So, let’s look deeper into what Christians mean when they say with the Apostle’s Creed, “I believe in the Holy Spirit”?…
  16. The word “spirit” shows up hundreds of times in the Bible.
    1. The Hebrew and Greek words for “spirit” in the Bible have multiple meanings —–including breath, air, wind and of course, spirit….   
    1. John’s Gospel gives us several compelling images of the Spirit. – Advocate and Comforter. John 14: 17 — 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be[a] in you.
    1. It is a term that was used in some legal circles for an advocate who came alongside the accused, standing with them, so some translations translate the word as Advocate.
    1. It was also used to describe those who came alongside the hurting, holding them, and comforting them, hence it is sometimes translated as Comforter or even Helper.
  17. Jesus told his disciples that he would not leave them alone, but would send the Spirit.
    1. The Spirit is described as God’s presence working in and on us, to lead, guide and shape us.
    1. The Spirit does for us what the Spirit did for those of old:
      1. The Spirit empowers us.
        1. Show example of the power drill
      1. The Spirit infuses us with gifts and abilities to help others and to serve him.
      1. The Spirit leads and guides us.
      1. The Spirit uses us and speaks through us….   
  18. Most of us do not think of the Spirit very much. We can talk about God and Jesus, but we seldom mention the Spirit. The Spirit moves in and through us.
  19. The Spirit is that inner voice that causes us to respond to the nudging of God.
    1. We find it hard to hear the Spirit’s Voice, all we can hear are the other competing voices, beckoning us to live without regard for God’s will, to live for ourselves, to hold on to bitterness, to listen to the voice of the serpent, to give in to self-ish, self-absorbed lives whose primary purpose is our own happiness.
    1. CS Lewis suggests, for us, that inner voice that constantly pushes us to disregard God’s still small voice, is likened to a small red lizard that sits on our shoulder giving us conflicting messages to what God is calling us to do. CS Lewis says that lizard is the devil or Satan trying to influence us.
    1. The Spirit, is the countering voice that pulls us toward becoming dedicated followers of Jesus the Risen Christ.
    1. The secret to hearing the Spirit is to take time in our daily lives for some quiet time — be still — quiet – read scripture and pray — listen for the “still small voice’ which comes as a whisper. Listen for the voice that comes to us.
    1. Tell the story about “Trust Me” at Dayspring Retreat Center.  
  20. The Spirit comes to us in the quiet time of the day or night. The Spirit nudges us to a new direction. The Spirit gives us reassurance and most importantly, hope. 
  21. How different our life is if we continue to listen to the red lizard’s whispers to us than to listening to the life led by the Spirit. Listen to how Paul describes that life in Galatians 5:22-23: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”…   
  22. The Holy Spirit is God’s indwelling presence in you.
    1. How do we receive the Holy Spirit?
    1. The Spirit is already at work in you, but because the Spirit will not force itself upon you, your role is to invite and welcome the Spirit’s work in you.
  23. Today I want to invite you to welcome the Spirit’s work, and to listen. This is exactly what was happening as the disciples and their relatives and friends were in hiding from the Roman and Jewish authorities. Jesus had been crucified and 50 days before had been resurrected. It had been 10 days since Jesus ascended and left the disciples to face the future alone.
  24. And the Spirit came as promised! So! Listen quietly!
  25. Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of the faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.  Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created.  And you shall renew the face of the earth.  O God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and every enjoy Your comforts.  Through Christ our Lord.  Amen.