Pentecost, 4th June 2017

Pentecost, 4th June 2017

Pentecost Sunday, June 4th 2017.

Acts 2:1-21, 1 Corinthians 12:4-11,

Also John 20:19-23

The Spirit is given. People are filled, as Acts 2 describes.

What does the Spirit do? Why should we seek his filling of our lives? What does he seek to do / will do within us?

A brief overview…

1. The Spirit brings new birth!

Could Annalyne and Bram, with Saralynn,

Stefan and Sophie with Seth, could you please stand up… new birth’s we have enjoyed as All Saints.

The Spirit brings New birth – Jesus said to Nicodemus:

“No one can enter the kingdom of God unless they born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.

As Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:17 – “if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here.”

The Spirit brings new birth…


2. The Spirit affirms we are sons and daughters of God…

Here at All Saints, if you are a son or daughter… please stand?

Of course we all are! Please sit!

Paul writes: “Those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God, For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of Adoption. And by him, we cry Abba Father, the Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. …” (Romans 8)

We are adopted into God’s family! What an incredible priviledge. Just like you are a son or daughter, God calls you, not only a Christians, but a son or daughter a child of God. And the Spirit affirms this deep within us that we can call God ‘Father’.

‘By the Spirit we cry Abba Father’ – Abba an Aramaic word – used by a child to their father – Jesus used it for his heavenly father and now it is offered to us. The Spirit enables us to call God our heavenly father and the Spirit affirms us, deep within, we are sons and daughters of God.

Have we forgotten that? Do we need the Spirit’s work afresh within?

The Spirit affirms we are sons and daughters of God…


3.  The Spirit helps Develop our Heavenly Relationship.

Mobile Phone – look at your own mobile phone…


All relationships grow by communication. We check our phones to see what is on Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp etc…Our heavenly relationship similarly grows as we communicate…

Romans again – “And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness we don’t know what to pray for, but the Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words…” (Romans 8)

The Holy Spirit helps us to pray, helps us in our communication with our Abba Father. And as Paul later reminds us in Ephesians – where he prays that believers would have ‘the Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation so we can know God better’ – the Spirit helps us to grow in our relationship with God, which includes understanding our God breathed Scriptures, by which he is primarily revealed…

The Spirit comes to develop our relationship with our Abba Father.


4. The Spirit forms us into the Family Likeness.

Callum and Thirza , Jolanda and me. Who looks more like who?

Kids are like us, the parents, in looks and mannerisms, and even in some of our interests… perhaps too much sometimes!When a child is born, we are told who the baby looks like. Then a few weeks later, the baby clearly looks like someone else, everyone tells us! Yet people see the family likeness.

Paul reminds us:

“We, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, which is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3).

So the Spirit comes to live within us,he wants to fill our lives, and he seeks to  bring about a new family likeness. Not only are we sons and daughters, but we will become more like Jesus – our brother as Hebrews reminds us. Paul reminds us in Romans 8, that is one of God’s goals for our lives, that we become like his son…

What does that look like particularly– Paul calls it, in Galatians 5the fruit of the Spirit, a fruit he can create over time despite the pains, wounds, suffering we have endured, we can be transformed by the Spirit, we can be formed increasingly into the likeness of Jesus…

The Spirit seeks to build us into the family likeness…


5. The Spirit brings unity within the family…

Look at the people around you?

“Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit.” (Ephesians 4)

As we recognise for ourselves that we have new life through the Spirit, as we are sons and daughters, as we see how the Spirit seeks to build our relationship with our heavenly father. As we are transformed into the family likeness, we see that goal and that work also in those around us – the Spirit has been given to them as well, and the Spirit works within them too… Unity is built…

And we look at other congregations, other denominations such as Protestant, Roman Catholic or Orthodox or Pentecostal and we too see the gift and person of the Spirit, in those Churches and in those Christians he too lives and is at work…

We are united by the gift of the Spirit to all as Joel prophesied.

6. The Holy Spirit helps the Family grow.

The Battery – the times our mobile phone crucially runs out, or a question we ask when we buy a new one, ‘how long does the battery last?’

As Ron reminded us last week, (May 28th sermon), Jesus said in Acts – ‘you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you will be my witnesses…’

As we heard in our gospel, on Easter Sunday, Jesus says to his disciples, ‘as the Father send me, so I send you’ he breathes on them prophesying the coming of the Spirit. In doing so, he stresses their need for the Spirit in the work and service of God . Jesus looks at his followers and effectively says: ‘people will find out about me, through you – through what you do, and what you say, and for that you need the presence and power of the Spirit.’

In Acts 2, we see Peter witness to what he has seen and who is Jesus and we know what happened… Again, in Acts 4, before the Sandhedrin he and John witness boldly to their faith. They do this in the power of the Spirit.

It is through the power of the Spirit to help us witness, in fact it is almost like Jesus says – ‘don’t do this without the power if you want to be an effective witness.’

6.Holy Spirit brings gifts for all the members of the family.


‘All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak to them in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.’ (Acts 2).

And that gift of tongues, was not limited to Pentecost, but is repeated when the first Gentiles are converted, (Acts 10). And Paul, as we heard in 1 Corinthians, that God has not one gift but many spiritual gifts he gives to his followers – not the same gift for everyone but different ones. Paul in that chapter began by saying – pneumatika in the Greek. It means ‘Spiritual Things.’ Then in our reading and during next two chapters (13 &14), he uses the word: charismata – the first part of the word – charism – grace – gifts of grace. Grace we remember means – ‘we get what we do not deserve’ – we do not earn it, ‘all of these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each person as he determines.’ Spiritual gifts are given by the Holy Spirit, and it is he who chooses which gifts we receive – on grace – than on merit.

And Paul teaches us that a Christian community is like a body – each part of the human body has a role – so each person is gifted by the Lord and their gift or gifts are needed for this body to do all that God wants it to.

Every person gifted. Every person needed. The only criteria Paul points to, from us, to desire the gifts.

And can I say, what Paul writes in his final letters before martyrdom: “Do not neglect your gift which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders lay their hands on you.” “I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.”  (1 & 2 Timothy). In one regard Paul speaks to a young ordained leader, yet on another the more general principles that gifts can be fanned into flame – that they can developed, burn more brightly. And also that gifts can become like embers which need that fanned…

So we may seek the gifts the Spirit longs to give us, but we may also seek the Spirit to develop further such gifts, or even to fan into flame once more the gifts that perhaps, within us, for a variety of reasons, may have become embers…

The Spirit brings gifts to all the children of God’s family.


So… what work does the Spirit do, or will he do…

  • The Spirit brings new birth as Christians
  • The Spirit to confirm within us we are sons and daughters of God
  • The Spirit wants to develop our heavenly relationship
  • The Spirit wants to transform us into the family likeness, the likeness of Christ
  • The Spirit builds unity in the Christian family.
  • The Spirit wants to empower us to grow the family numerically
  • And the Spirit desires to give gifts for all the children of God.

Over the past weeks and on the Church Camp, we have taught briefly about the Spirit and we want to offer this morning an opportunity to be anointed with oil, as a sign for renewal, refreshment, perhaps to have your gifts fanned into flame again, to be filled or refilled afresh with the Spirit. Perhaps it is one of the points today mentioned today which you would long for the Spirit to work more deeply in you, or perhaps it was a point from something said before today by Ron, or Rik or myself.

You do not have to come forward – of course not – the Lord hears your heart’s desires whether you come forward or not. But sometimes a step forward can be – a physical step to say, ‘Lord, I want this…’

But in your own time, you are welcome to approach…

Response – Prayer for Personal Renewal  (which we can use)

As we wait in silence,

All fill us with your Spirit.

 As we listen to your word,

All fill us with your Spirit.

 As we worship you in majesty,

All fill us with your Spirit.

 As we long for your refreshing,

All fill us with your Spirit.

 As we long for your renewing,

All fill us with your Spirit.

 As we long for your equipping,

All fill us with your Spirit.

 As we long for your empowering,

All fill us with your Spirit.