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May
1
2016

Receive the Holy Spirit

RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT…JOHN 20;19-23

Introduction:  How was your week?  Sometimes hectic…busy…sometimes just hard.  This past week several of us spent a couple of days at a Seniors Retreat…it was good but of course that is a couple of days out of the weekly schedule and there are things to do and Friday I was really tired…I mentioned that to a friend on the phone..the response…so  a Seniors Retreat wore you out?  Friends can be rough…Saturday was a great day…packing food for refugees….about 170 participants…20 plus from FBC…pleased with the participation. 

How about you?  Busy?  Maybe even hard?  Maybe even troubled…work, relationships,  money, fears…relatives…life not always easy.

Look at the scriptures:  it was a tough week for the disciples…they had fled Christ…He was crucified…now they had gathered back together, no clue about what to do…hiding behind locked doors…afraid…afraid they might be next.  Mary had come and said she had seen the Lord…He is risen…but they are still behind locked doors…

Then Christ appeared to them…He simply appeared to them….and He said, peace be with you.  He showed them His hands and feet, and they recognized Him…and they were overjoyed.  PEACE BE WITH YOU…He said, and then He breathed on them…RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT.  And they did.  He breathed on them, receive the Holy Spirit…and that’s it…no special dance, no secret handshake, no ritual…no shouting in the spirit…just breathed.

  1. HE JUST BREATHED ON THEM.

    A.-Maybe they remembered Genesis 2…when God had formed man from the dust of the earth…He breathed in man’s nostrils the breath of life…and man became a living thing.  And clearly this passage is about receiving new life…about being a new person…maybe they realized that…Maybe.

b.  Maybe they remembered Jesus teaching them what is recorded in John 14…I am going away but I will send you the Counselor…who will be with you forever and will be the Spirit of Truth.  Maybe they thought, I have just received the Counselor that Jesus spoke of…For your good I am going away He said, and now he is saying receive the Spirit.

c.  Maybe they remembered Him saying, the world cannot accept Him…the Holy Spirit…because it neither sees Him, nor knows Him.  But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you…and Jesus said, receive the Holy Spirit to them.  And He breathed on them…

d.  Maybe they remembered the Hebrew word “ruach”  means breath, wind, spirit.  Or the Greek version…Pneuma…wind spirit.

e.  Maybe they thought of God’s Word…”dabar” the word is spoken…say it…when the word is spoken…wind spirit breath is needed for the Word to be spoken.

Maybe..Maybe not…Maybe they just felt the breath of Jesus…receive the Holy Spirit.

  1. WHEN I THINK OF THE SPIRIT COMING I THINK OF SOMETHING MORE GRANDEOUS.

Maybe they want something more grandeous.  You know not just breath but maybe the blowing of a violent wind from heaven…something more tornado like…and maybe with fire…and tongues of fire resting on them…maybe you could have someone…say Peter preaching…and others suddenly speaking in foreign languages and people understanding those languages and maybe people from all over the then known planet accepting Christ in their own language..maybe a thousand, or two, no three.  Some of you know I am referring to Acts 2…the birth of the Church-Pentecost…But that came later…that is when the sent out disciples actually go forth…but for the disciples the receiving of the Spirit simply comes when Jesus breathed on them…receive the Spirit.

Church:  believers I would tell you to receive the Spirit…but that is nonsense…for you already have.  You already have confessed Christ, you believe in Him…confessed with mouth…believed in Heart…Jesus Christ is Lord…and He has come into your life…You have really already been breathed on.  To anyone who is hesitant, who doesn’t know if he or she has accepted Christ, if you feel that tough of the heart…accept Him…believe in Him…get that settled…allow the Spirit of God to come into your life and be more and more part of your life. 

But Church…you already have the spirit of God living in you…maybe you remember being baptized…calling out Jesus is Lord…when you were baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…one of the first places in scripture, in the gospels where the trinitarian formula is apparent.  And when you accept Christ you are accepting the presence of Christ in your life, you have felt His presence…you are experiencing the presence of the Holy Spirit.

“I will come to you, before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me.  Because I live, you also will live.  On that day you will realize that I am in the Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.  John 14:18b-19.

Church-the Holy Spirit lives in you.  God’s presence lives in you.  Sometimes we speak of the trinity…father-son-spirit.  I plan on talking more theologically one sermon on the Spirit, probably next week, but listen…here is the profundity of today:  God’s spirit lives in you.  This scripture speaks…Father-Son-believer.  That is the 3 in 1 of this passage….the spirit living in you.  When you are most alive, when you are most real, when you are truly being the person you were called to be…one with the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit.  Now the Holy Spirit is more than you…another sermon for another day…Believers:  God’s spirit lives in you….now some of us have done a good job of grieving the spirit…of ignoring the spirit…of trying to distance ourselves from the presence of God…but when you confess with your mouth and believe, His presence in you.

The Holy Spirit has been called the Cinderella of Western theology…you know asleep…Kiss Cinderella…Listen:  as believers Christ’s Spirit, God’s spirit…the Holy Spirit lives in you.

Romans 5:5…hope does not disappoint us because, God has poured out His love into our hearts, but the Holy Spirit which He has given us.

3 thoughts on the Holy Spirit from today’s scripture lesson:

  1.  TRUST HIS PEACE.

Learn to live in this peace.  Learn to trust Jesus…regardless of what life throws your way…hear Him say…peace be with you…trust in His love poured into your hearts.  Good days…hard days…trust Him.  Some moments as a pastor you probably will never forget. 

I remember one evening years ago I got a phone call from the emergency room…a woman had attended our congregation a few times…I had to think to even remember who she was…but now she was in the emergency room…and the hospital was calling me…will you come?  She had been involved in a car accident.  As best as we know…she was stopped at a stop sign…about to enter a busy street and she looked but she did not see the car coming and she entered into the lane…and on the passenger side a car slammed into her car…her young teenager daughter was sitting beside her…but the impact was to great…and now her teenager daughter was gone…and would you come?  I remember driving to the emergency room…Lord I don’t know what to say, what to do…I am clearly over my head…somehow Lord bring your comfort…I remember walking into the emergency room a room nearly filled, I remember going over and talking…and crying with that mom…on my knees…just holding her…swaying softly together…between the sobs and talking about even in the valley of the darkness….God somehow is there…somehow He loves us…I remember meeting her boyfriend that night…talking with the social worker and the doctor…and oh what a night…but it was more than just a night…after we spoke of guilt…of the pain…and the mother struggled…eventually I was able to perform a marriage ceremony…and a son came later into their life…but her life was never the same.  Jill had a terribly hard time coming to worship services…it so reminded her…those were dark dark days…but even though I walk through the valley of the shadow…you are with me.  Jill learned to trust His Spirit…to allow His love to be poured into her heart…she did not become bitter…she did not give up…trust His peace…trust the peace that passes understanding….Church…you have been breathed on.

  1. PEACE BE WITH YOU…AS THE FATHER HAS SENT ME…I AM SENDING YOU.

Church…His Spirit is not for your personal consumption.  His love has been poured into your hearts.  Share the love….share the gospel.  The early Church went on to share the gospel, and the early disciples turned the world upside down….they shared the love of Jesus with a world in need.  No Church buildings…no S.S. ,no set worship services…no unchangeable traditions, just the love of Jesus Christ poured into their hearts.  Church…you have that Spirit living in you.  Share the love.

  1.  LIVE IN FORGIVENESS…If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.             WOW.  This is not about judgment…this is about forgiveness….

    Learning to live in forgiveness….I am not God…still get to be a part of God…get to participate with God in forgiveness….I find this part of the passage intriguing…maybe the most powerful aspect of the Holy Spirit…learning to live in forgiveness…more powerful than speaking in tongues, more powerful than the wind…maybe the deepest aspect of knowing you are in the spirit:  forgiveness.

    MY PRAYER FOR THE CHURCH:

    Been a year now…hard to believe…my prayer for the Church…truly live together in the spirit.

    As I have been praying and thinking about this congregation…my prayers for this congregation…good people here…caring people…wish to see the spirit alive in this place…see people coming to Christ…growing in Christ…see this Church reaching out in the community…my prayer is that we will see God at work in the life of this congregation…not me…the Holy Spirit…realized that is wrong…my love for God’s Church…result of the Holy Spirit…not me or the spirit…the spirit lives in me…

    The spirit lives in  you…you have been breathed on  -  respond.

    Amen.

     

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