Summary: We need the Holy Spirit within us today so that we can be powerful witnesses for the Kingdom of Heaven. To understand more of who the Holy Spirit is today we will look at three biblical symbols of the Holy Spirit --- fire, water and wind.
Series: Holy Spirit Rises
Opening video illustration: Jim Cymbala Session 4 intro – The Holy Spirit as Water, Wind and Fire. The clip talks about the Brooklyn Bridge and what it symbolizes to New York.
Sermon: Symbols of the Holy Spirit – fire, wind and water
Visuals on table: Grill, candle, matches, and torch for fire, fan for wind and pitcher of water with glass.
Thesis: We need the Holy Spirit within us today so that we can be powerful witnesses for the Kingdom of Heaven. To understand more of who the Holy Spirit is today we will look at three biblical symbols of the Holy Spirit --- fire, water and wind.
Francis Chan stated, “You might think that calling the Holy Spirit the “forgotten God” is a bit extreme. Maybe you agree that the church has focused too much attention elsewhere but feel it is an exaggeration to say we have forgotten about the Spirit. I don’t think so. From my perspective, the Holy Spirit is tragically neglected and, for all practical purposes, forgotten. While no evangelical would deny His existence, I’m willing to bet there are millions of churchgoers across America who cannot confidently say they have experienced His presence or action in their lives over the past year. And many of them do not believe they can. The benchmark of success in church services has become more about attendance than the movement of the Holy Spirit. The “entertainment” model of church was largely adopted in the 1980s and ’90s, and while it alleviated some of our boredom for a couple of hours a week, it filled our churches with self-focused consumers rather than self-sacrificing servants attuned to the Holy Spirit. Perhaps we’re too familiar and comfortable with the current state of the church to feel the weight of the problem. But what if you grew up on a desert island with nothing but the Bible to read? Imagine being rescued after twenty years and then attending a typical evangelical church. Chances are you’d be shocked (for a whole lot of reasons, but that is another story). Having read the Scriptures outside the context of contemporary church culture, you would be convinced that the Holy Spirit is as essential to a believer’s existence as air is to staying alive. You would know that the Spirit led the first Christians to do unexplainable things, to live lives that didn’t make sense to the culture around them, and ultimately to spread the story of God’s grace around the world “ Chan, Francis (2009-09-01). Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit (Kindle Locations 142-148). David C Cook. Kindle Edition.
To help us understand more of who the Holy Spirit is we will be looking at some symbols of the Holy Spirit and learn what they mean in regards to the Holy Spirit and to us today in 2012.
Jack Hayford states the following about the symbolism of the Holy Spirit from http://www.jackhayford.org/articles1-412/SymbolsoftheHolySpirit: The Holy Spirit doesn’t seek to be mysterious, but He is the most mysterious of the Godhead. We can read in the Word about the Father, and we can read about the Son who came and walked among us. But Jesus tells us that when the Spirit comes, He will not speak of Himself; that “whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come” (John 16:13 KJV). The workings of the Holy Spirit are invisible, glorious, and gentle, and within them, He never tells us about Himself. He comes to glorify Jesus—helping us to see Jesus more, to understand Jesus better, to respond to Jesus more obediently, and to love Jesus with a deeper heart of commitment. So the symbols of the Holy Spirit become essential to our gaining an understanding of what He’s like, not only in an objective way of analyzing truth, but also in the subjective way that He comes to penetrate our lives—ways in which the reality of the invisible penetrate the visible. When we talk about the Holy Spirit as rain, for example, the purpose isn’t to think, “Oh, the Holy Spirit is like rain.” The purpose is to get wet.
From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symbolism: Symbolism is the practice of representing things by symbols, or of investing things with a symbolic meaning or character. A symbol is an object, action, or idea that represents something other than itself, often of a more abstract nature.
T.S. - So today we are going to look at 3 symbols of the Holy Spirit to help us get a better understanding of who He is and what He does.
Main Scripture Texts:
Matthew 3:11: The promise
11“I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”