ACTS 2:1-21                                                                                    FEBRUARY 22, 2015


Have you ever been asked by a child where the wind comes from? It is difficult to explain how the wind works. We can feel the breeze that cools us. We can see the trees being moved by the force of the winds.  Yet, I struggle to explain how it works and where the winds come from. Whenever I think of the Holy Spirit I think of the wind as it can be difficult to fully explain how the Spirit works. Jesus made a comparison of the Spirit with the wind. John 3:8 (NIV) 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” I have found many Christians who do not have an adequate understanding of the work of the Holy Spirit and how the Spirit helps us in our weaknesses. Today I want to present an overview of the Holy Spirit and hopefully clear up any confusion you might have.

The Holy Spirit is identified in the Westminster Confession of Faith as “the third person in the Trinity, proceeding from the Father and the Son, of the same substance and equal in power and glory, is, together with the Father and the Son, to be believed in, loved, obeyed, and worshiped throughout all ages.” (Chapter 34) The scriptures refer to the Holy Spirit as being God. Jesus spoke of the coming of the Holy Spirit when he spoke to his disciples. John 15:26 (NIV) 26 “When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me.”

Jesus often spoke of the work of the Spirit. John 3:5-8 (NIV) 5 Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” When we are born we are born of a woman when the water breaks. Our second birth is when we are born of the Holy Spirit.

Remember that we are separated from God by our sinful human nature. When Christ works in our heart and we come to faith, we are then born in the Spirit. This is part of the work of the Holy Spirit. Jesus indicated that the Spirit would be the one to convict us of our sinfulness. John 16:7-11 (NIV) 7 But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; 10 in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.”

Only when we are convinced that we are lost and miserable apart from God, that the Spirit then leads us to the truth of Jesus. We are lost and do not know the way. John 16:13 (NIV) 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.” After the resurrection appearances of Jesus he told them to wait in Jerusalem for the promised Holy Spirit. The last words of Jesus were about the coming of the Holy Spirit. Acts 1:8 (NIV) 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” This was both a promise and a command.

On the day of Pentecost all the followers of Jesus were in one place worshipping the Lord. Acts 2:1-4 (NIV) 1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”Peter spoke to the crowds in Jerusalem who had gathered to discover the cause of the disciples speaking in foreign languages. Peter told them that this was the fulfillment of the prophecy in Joel where the Spirit would be poured out on God’s people. When the people listening were convicted of their sins by the Holy Spirit, they asked Peter what they should do. Acts 2:38-39 (NIV) 38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off–for all whom the Lord our God will call. Every Christian has been given the Holy Spirit.

The work of the Spirit does not end after leading us to accept Christ. Paul told the Ephesian Christians what the Sprit was doing in their hearts. Ephesians 1:13-14 (NIV) 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession–to the praise of his glory.” God has placed his stamp of ownership upon us. We are now his children. We carry his name, the name of his Son, our Savior. It is the Lord God who has done this.

The Spirit continues to work in us until the day God calls us home. Philippians 1:6 (NIV) 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” This verse has always brought me comfort as God does not give up on us, no matter how awful we fall into sin. Knowing that God does not give up on me encourages me to not give up. This promise should lead us to praise and thank God. 2 Thessalonians 2:13 (NIV) 13 But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.” The Spirit continues to remind us that we belong to God and that we should be living a life honoring our Father. Romans 8:16 (NIV) 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.”

There are many times in our lives that we may feel defeated or helpless and we don’t even know how to pray.  Listen to what the Holy Spirit does for us at these times. Romans 8:26-27 (NIV) 26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.” Is that not awesome?

Years ago I felt helpless when our daughter died. I was angry at God and did not know how to pray. I held on to these promises in the Scripture that I have recited today and God carried me through that dark night of the soul. God is present and will help us when we need him most. This is God’s promise to us and He can be trusted to keep his word!

There will also be times when we want to give in to the desires of the flesh. The Holy Spirit will be present to remind us to not give in to the temptations. Ephesians 4:30 (NIV) 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” Do you understand that God grieves when we ignore him and choose to follow our old sinful nature? Paul tells us that the presence of the Holy Spirit in us transforms us into a temple belonging to God. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NIV) 19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

The Holy Spirit is at work in us. May we not quench the Spirit by giving in to the desires of the flesh and the fiery darts of Satan! May we ask to be filled with the Holy Spirit so that we may please our God by doing His will!

Let us pray.

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