Summary: If you are uncertain or afraid remember that we have received the gift of the Holy Spirit we do not walk this road alone.
The Gift of the Holy Spirit, Acts 2:14a, 36-41
Along our highways, well placed at appropriate locations, are official signs which give us direction and warn us of danger. Most of these are the reflector type; that is, they are designed to reflect the light of auto headlamps.
In darkness, they are invisible to anyone who travels without a light. But when our auto headlights are flashed upon these signs, they reflect back to us their message of guidance or caution. Their night-time aid to us depends upon the light we bring to them. They have no meaning for unlighted lamps.
God would like to guide us through the days and through the years of this life. His signs are out there – in all the appropriate places. But whether we see them will depend upon the light with which we approach them.
This morning, I want to talk to you about what is – apart from salvation and eternal life – the greatest of all gifts that God has given to His Church. This morning I want to talk about what it is which lights our way through the signs of this life; what it is that gives meaning, hope, comfort, and encouragement to us.
This morning I will talk to you about the great gift given to us; The Holy Spirit!
This week has been a difficult week for my family. In fact this message that I am presenting to you took shape in the midst of my personal need for its content.
It is always amazing to me the providence of God and how he uses circumstances in our lives to reveal Himself to us and even to allow us to be used in His plan of revealing Himself to others.
I encourage you never to believe the lie that God is the author of evil in your life. But I also encourage you to never forget that God is always at work redeeming the evil in your life for His glory. I had intended to go in quite a different direction this morning, but as my week and this sermon took shape, my life and our Lord had other plans.
The content of this message helped carry me through a challenging week and brought great encouragement to me. I trust that as we examine this material about the work of the Holy Spirit that it will bring the same encouragement to you.
In last week’s Scripture reading we saw the change that occurred inside of Peter as he went from a man who had denied Christ three times of the eve of Jesus arrest into a man who loudly and boldly proclaimed the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
In today’s Scripture reading we pick up where we left off in the life of the early Church. After Peter’s mighty sermon it says that “they who listened were pierced to the heart” and said to Peter and the other Apostles “what shall we do?”
Peter’s answer: "Repent, be baptized, and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."
The first principal that Peter shares concerning the receiving of the gift of the Holy Spirit is that of repentance. Peter is telling us that only those who have confessed their sinfulness to God and turned from a love of sin to obedience in Christ Jesus may receive the Holy Spirit.
Repentance is an often used though seldom understood word. The Webster’s dictionary of 1828 defines repentance this way;
In theology, the pain, regret or affliction which a person feels on account of his past conduct, because it exposes him to punishment. This sorrow proceeding merely from the fear of punishment, is called legal repentance, as being excited by the terrors of legal penalties, and it may exist without an amendment of life.
Real penitence; sorrow or deep contrition for sin, as an offense and dishonor to God, a violation of his holy law, and the basest ingratitude towards a Being of infinite benevolence. This is called evangelical repentance, and is accompanied and followed by amendment of life.
In the early 1920’s, then Governor Neff of the State of Texas received an invitation to speak at one of the penitentiaries in that state. He spoke to the assembled prisoners, and afterward said that he would be around for a while to listen to anything any of the convicts might wish to tell him.
He would take as much time as they wanted, and anything they would tell him would be kept in confidence. The convicts began to come, one at a time. One after another told him a story of how they had been unjustly sentenced, were innocent, and wished to get out.
Finally one man came through who said to him, "Governor Neff, I do not want to take much of your time. I only want to say that I really did what they convicted me of. But I have been here a number of years. I believe I have paid my debt to society, and that, if I were to be released, I would be able to live an upright life and show myself worthy of your mercy."