The Holy Spirit

Well, I wanted to challenge my self this week. I don’t know why, but I just felt I needed to do it. So I chose to speak, to all you beautiful people about the Holy Spirit.

Where do I begin. In preparing this, I was nearly overwhelmed with the amount of scripture, interpretations and information about the Holy spirit and the numerous tangents and opening doors you can trail off into and be distracted by. It is such a broad topic. I bet each one of us has a similar but yet different idea and experience of the Holy Spirt in our lives.

Yesterday. I actually received a phone call from my Dad in the morning. He was enquiring about my talk today, I said to him, its on the Holy Spirit. He replied, Is that a type of whisky, or Vodka. I replied instinctively, neither, but I can guarantee it will be the best drink you’ll ever have, and its free. And we both laughed.

I’d like to think we laughed in recognition that it was true, whilst a tiny little white mustard tree shoot popped out of its hard seed shell.

Any way, I hope this goes just as well. I’ll try keep it simple. What is the Holy Spirit. We’ll start at the beginning. The very beginning. Genesis 1. The beginning of the Bible and first mention of the Holy Spirit. God had just created the heavens and the earth picking up from Verse 2. “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the spirit of God was hovering over the water.”

In this one sentence of Scripture we see God present in our World. He is not watching from afar, he didn’t have worker bees or act like a foreman. He was present and He was present as the Spirit of God. Also known as the Holy Spirit .

Looking at the description we understand that the world was one of deep darkness, it was formless and it was empty. It was in disarray. There would be nothingness. Just a depth of blackness…imagine that for a second. Dare I say it would be scary, I would be. Alone, fearful of all around me. Yet, we understand that God is present here as the spirit.

He is a living God and is active, working in our world. We see the spirit of God, bring peace, light, order, comfort and beauty to this once briefly dark formless and empty world. This was not an accident, it was the spirt of God acting out a pre thought about plan.

Looking closer we discern that the spirit of God is a powerful force and has an intellect. An intellect far superior than our own to act out Gods will. 

You the Spirit of God is in fact God, just like my breath is my breath, even though you can’t see it. And The Spirit of God is the Holy Spirt. This description above of the spirit is reflected in the scriptures all through the bible. The only change form the Old Testament to the New Testament is that in the OT times, the presence of the Holy Spirit was rare and was not for all people to have, in fact it was only given to a select few, who were deemed worthy to be selected according to the God’s will and it could also be taken away from them.

briefly… 1 Samuel provides us with this understanding, where we read, about Saul having the spirit come on him by God changing his heart. Yet later in 1 Samuel, the holy Spirit leaves Saul and enters David. All part of Gods plan I remind you.

Now, we can start to understand that the Holy Spirit is God, active in our world. And to have it in you, was not only incredible it was an honor, privilege

In our first reading, John 14:15–31, We heard Ian read about the promise of the Holy spirit that will be given to us. It was a long reading, I apologize, but it is full of goodness. To set the scene, they are at the last super and Jesus knows his time has come. He has just predicted his betrayal and Peters 3 denials and identified himself as the way and the truth. In Jesus death and resurrection. It was promised to us as believers, disciples, that the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit would come and reside in us.

We heard Jesus describe the Holy spirit as the Spirit of truth, to be with us forever for the people who love him and obey his commandments.  

We heard him promise that he will not leave us as orphans.  We also heard some trinity references emphasizing, I am in my father, and you are in me and I am in you.’ and again stating, Anyone who loves me, will obey my teaching, My father will love them and we will come and make our home in them.

Further telling us that the Holy spirit is an advocate sent by the father in his name to teach us and remind us of Jesus and everything he has said… leaving us peace and not to have troubled hearts or to be afraid. To place our trust in him as he said, I am going away and I am coming back to you. If you loved me, you will be glad that I am going to the father, for the father is greater than I. Even with the warning that the prince of this world is coming (the devil) but reminding us that he has no hold over Jesus.

And this was all at the dinner table of the last super. But then he said, come let us leave.

As they left the upstairs dinner room and walked the streets of Old Jerusalem to the garden of gethsemane, he gave the vine and branches speech, John 15:5 stating, I am the vine, you are the branches, if you remain in me, you will bear much fruit, apart from me you can do nothing. And further informed his disciples in John 16:7 But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away the advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. Further stating in John 16:13 But when he, the spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. Jesus then gave them a hint that they will see him again soon for a short while after his gone

Now we can say the Holy Spirit could not come until Jesus had been crucified. We read in Luke 24:49 the risen Jesus told the disciples I am going to send to you what my father had promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.

Several days later, Pentecost.

In the reading my beautiful wife provided. Acts 2, 1-8. The Holy Spirit came onto the disciples and to all believers. It came into their hearts and made its home in them, to continue the teaching of Jesus and make disciples, the ability to speak in tongues was necessary to spread the word of Jesus and his message. The best thing is, as believers we have the Holy Spirit in us. It enters us as soon as we believe and have our faith in Christ.

At work, I always loose my black pen while sitting at the computer Desk. I pick up the key board, move papers around. Pick up the phone, look under my chair until I find it. Most times, it is right in front of my nose, but in my scramble I could not see it. I was blind. Guys, this is like our relationship with Holy Spirit. We can never lose it. We don’t even have to find it. It has us. We just need to stop and see. We need to reach out, just like when I find my pen and connect with it. Have a relationship with our God. Our God living inside of us, the Holy Spirit.

Now we know the Holy Spirit is God, in Me, in each one of us. We know he is there to be our helper and guide. We know we are to connect with it and allow it to work in our lives. Even during tough times. When we instinctively call on God for help. It doesn’t mean we don’t know what to do. It simply testifies and reminds us that we are a child of God, with a faith in the Holy Spirit.

For example, last Saturday, I got the work car stuck on a ledge with some people in it, I was supposed to be rescuing, I was reversing down a dirt track, and the back slid off the hill, I showed some of you guys the pictures. Anyway it was enough to make the heart pump, These two female passengers, Christian or not they both screamed, Oh God when we slid and started tipping.  I kept a brave face, but as I slowly got out of the car to see what I was going to do, I was already praying unaware. Please god, help me get out of this one, Please god.

Its funny I never thought asking god for help instinctively was an indictor that we have an internal desire for his help. Sometimes, we need prompting.

Being Given this gift, we need to nurture it and take care of it. Think about how hard it is to choose a gift for your wife, husband, friend, family members. It can be daunting and when you give it, you watch them with anticipation to see how they will react as you thought about this and chose it specifically for them. This is no different to God. He gave the Gift of the Holy Spirit to us. He could have given us anything. His God,…how special is it that God chose to give part of himself to live in us, so we can be apart of him. 

With the Holy Spirit, in us. Its important that we use it and try our hardest to bear the fruit of the Spirit as seen in Galatians 5:22-23 being, Love, Joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.

These are the fruits of the spirit compared to the acts of the flesh, sighted in Galatians 5:19 sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy, drunkenness, orgies. These flesh temptations are always ready to take advantage of us and sometimes, offer easy justifiable circumstances.

Mature in your faith and nurture the holy Spirit inside us, by giving thanks to our Lord and Savior.  Paul captures the moment beautifully, when he states, since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the spirit. Reach out and connect with the spirit, like a child crossing the road, reach out take the hand, except your the child of God and its Gods hand you are taking to guide you safely across the road.

Also, turn to your bible and read. Something anything. I did this when seeking how to feed the Holy spirit. I found the psalms useful,

Psalm 19:14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Side note, meditation, I instinctively associate with other religious faiths like Buddhism and Hinduism. I had some great discussions with Richard about this. And found mediation is used 23 times. In the bible and 19 times in the book of psalms alone. The Hebrew word for Meditation is translated as Haghah, meaning moan, murmur/mutter, meditate, muse, be absorbed in thought. No mention of religion specific. Next time you see the beauty of our creator, or are thankful, muse over him. Think about him deeply, and his love and goodness. Dare I say meditate on him and him alone, the holy spirit.

Don’t be foolish and succumb to sinful thoughts for self pride and pleasure. Understand God is in control and it is for Good. Speak to one another in hymns and psalms, make music from your heart with your voice. Doesn’t have to be a song. Doesn’t have to even be in tune. As long as it is done joyfully.

Remind yourself of the story of the 10 men with leprosy.  Luke 17:10-19. Jesus on his way to Jerusalem was asked by 10 men who all had leprosy to heal them. Jesus Did and told them to go show the priests. They all turned and walked off, except for one who came back and bowed at Jesus feet and said thank you. Don’t be in that group of 9. be that 1.   

Always giving thanks to God in Jesus name for everything. As a father, when I help my child do something and they thank me. It brings great joy to my heart.

Understand that the Holy Spirit in us, does not mean God is far away, watching. He is with us. We are already in a relationship with him inside us. Inside this room with all of us.

If you look hard enough you’ll see and or hear the Holy Spirit in a smile and a simple hello, a shaking of the hand, a cuddle, a patting of the back encouraging or comforting someone. In a conversation of struggle or a conversation of great joy. He is working in us already.

In Romans 5:5 Paul writes, Gods Love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

I want you all to leave here today with the challenge to start a conversation with the Holy Spirit that’s in you. Embrace the love, peace and guidance it has to offer you. Hand your life over to it asking for directions and opportunities to bear more fruit and to strengthen your branch attached to the tree, and in turn shinning your light and reflecting Gods love onto others.