Summary: sermon on the Holy Spirit and our relationship to God through him. Includes a personal testamony and some back ground on the day of Pentecost.
This week we celebrate Pentecost, the time when the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples as they were gathered together in one place in Jerusalem. You may wonder why the dove in the power point, in Matthew 3;16 we read; “As soon as Jesus was baptised, he went up out of the water. At that moment he saw heaven opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him.” This is one of the ways the Holy Spirit is described in scripture.
A little history in the Jewish and Christian calendars Pentecost occurs fifty days after the Passover week Sabbath.
There is some historical significance to this as Passover was celebrated to remember Israel’s deliverance from the bondage that they were in, as a nation in Egypt, when God had passed over the houses of the people who had taken the blood of a lamb and put it on their outside door frames, during the plague of the first born, this may all sound a bit grizzly. Remember this is the same time of the year 1480ish years later when the Lamb of God, Jesus was sacrificed for the release from bondage and sin of all mankind. There is a direct relationship between the old and the new testaments. Jesus died on the Friday before the Passover Sabbath, again a time of people being set free by the blood of a Lamb, though this time the Lamb of God who came to set people free from their sins.
So what then is the parallel between the Pentecost day and what occurred in Acts 2:1-41? Traditionally this was the celebration of the completion of the barley harvest, and a wave offering of the barley was made by the Temple Priests to God, and the next day was traditionally the “day of the first fruits” again we see that at Pentecost, at the time of the disciples a harvest began. After the Holy Spirit descended like tongues of fire upon disciples and they were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in other tongues. Let’s listen to what the disciple Peter had to say about this. Show (Acts DVD). Acts 2:14-41.
What I want to address here today is that we are still living in a corrupt generation and that there is still something be saved from, and that God is still willing to have a relationship with us through His Holy Spirit, that just like in the time of the disciples we can be filled with The Holy Spirit, like those who were added to their number that day, three thousand of them, we too can be saved, and we to can encounter the power of God in our lives, sometimes this occurs as it did with the disciples; at other times in a quiet yet powerful way. I know that you can experience the Holy Spirit at work in your life as your encourager, comforter, helper and friend. That in his strength God through our relationship with Jesus and by the power of his Spirit can turn your life around and can impact you in an amazing way.
This is the story of one persons encounter with The Holy Spirit; the date is not remembered apart from it being a Friday in 1979. After a long time of searching and making his parents christening of him sixteen years earlier his own, this through the ‘conformation of his faith’ at the Stoke Methodist Church, and being welcomed as “a member” this young man realised through his Bible reading that something was missing. Jesus had worked miracles; his followers had done amazing things in Jesus name. Something though, did not quite weigh up in his understanding of ‘the word‘, and this young man’s reality current reality.
In this young blokes imagination he had walked the Holy Land with Jesus, he had seen Jesus kick over the tables in the Gentile Courts, heal the lame, the blind and release the demon possessed, teach the masses and he had seen Jesus suffer and die and triumphed at Jesus resurrection, for he was not short on feeling or imagery.
He also knew that he was out of sorts with God, for something was not quite right. He believed but he had still not experienced ‘the witness of God’.
That Friday night when he attended a Y-One Youth for Christ rally at the Nelson Boys College hall, God impacted him in a way that he could not deny and that was real but mysterious almost beyond belief.
He had enjoyed the evening but what was to follow took him by surprise, in the words of an author he would read some years later C.S Lewis, he was “surprised by joy” but also so much else. The question went out, who would respond, who would be saved by giving their life over to Jesus?