This is the last of our weeks where we are are looking at post-resurrection experiences that people have with Jesus. This week is not so much an encounter with Jesus as it is the Holy Spirit. This week we are going to be looking at what happened on Pentecost and the giving of the Holy Spirit. We’ll be looking at Acts 2: 1-36. We won’t share the entire text here since it is so long, but you can read this passage by clicking here.
This week I want to do a couple of things. Yesterday we talked about Pentecost was, both for Christians, which is what we are more accustomed to, but also learned about the Jewish holiday that is Pentecost. Today we’re talking about the Holy Spirit.
I talked about this last Wednesday night in my Bible Study that you can join tomorrow night on St. Matthew’s Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/stmatthewsmadison/. What role does the Holy Spirit play in our lives? There’s an old joke that most of us non-charismatic Christians are afraid of the Holy Spirit. That’s not true, even though we don’t show it like other groups do. Here’s the thing about the Holy Spirit. You can’t be a Christian, you can’t profess Jesus as Lord apart from the work of the Spirit. If you’ve ever heard a preacher say the word grace, then you’ve heard the preacher talk about the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is the means by which we receive grace. The Spirit gives us grace that calls us into salvation – prevenient, grace that saves and converts us – justifying, and grace that grows us – sanctifying. The Holy Spirit is the means by which we know who God is, understand the scripture, are saved, and grow in holiness. We cannot be a Christian apart from the work of the Holy Spirit.
At Pentecost, the Spirit fell and came upon the Disciples and then upon all. The thing that happened at Pentecost is this, the Spirit is now flung out, far and wide, for all to receive it. As a Methodist, I believe in prevenient grace, that is the grace that goes before us and that calls us all into salvation. All of us. The Spirit is present all through scripture, but what changed at Pentecost was this. In the Old Testament, the Spirit was like a rifle shot, it came upon a specific person (the Spirit came upon so and so or such and such). After Pentecost, the Spirit was like a buckshot, it was spread out across all creation. No longer would it fall only on certain people, but all of us, each of us, have access to God’s Holy Spirit.
Today, you have access. If you aren’t a Christan, the Spirit is calling you into a relationship with Jesus. If you are a Christian, that Spirit is calling you to take that next step and grow closer to God and deeper in faith. Today, you are being called by the Spirit. Today, will you respond?
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