Archive for May 27th, 2015

All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he (the Holy Spirit) will take what is mine and declare it to you. St. John 16: 15

When was the last time you met Cappadocians, Elamites…Medes? Okay, you could have met Libyans and Egyptians, but they would not be the same as back at the time of Pentecost.  And Egyptian Christians have been around since the time of Pentecost.  My point is this:  Christians, baptized followers of Jesus have been around since Pentecost. Christians are in practically every nation under heaven…not Cappadocians and even Egyptians and Libyans.   It seems that Jesus was right when He said that the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church in spite of many to raise hell in the Church. 

Christians in so many nations hear true pastors, ministers and priests telling in their own tongues the mighty works of God.  They heard that forgiveness was won in Jesus Christ through His death and resurrection. Jesus commanded His apostles to baptize all nations under heaven.  The Apostles, the first being blue-collar fishermen, told the good news of Jesus Christ that God has acted in utter love and mercy to forgive the humanly unforgivable. 

Peter, some 53 days before had denied Jesus three times.  Earlier,  when Peter confessed Jesus is the Christ the Son of the living God, Jesus said that upon this confession I will build my Church.  The Lord then said this is  the way the foundation was to be laid:  He was to be crucified and die and on the third day rise. Peter said, no way and Jesus called Peter Satan.   Peter wanted to walk to Jesus on the water but when Peter saw the fierce waves he began to sink. Jesus grabbed Peter from the storm and chided, Ye of little faith.  Peter was sunk and now like Jonah out of the depths, there he was preaching the first Christian sermon. Peter and the disciples 50 days ago were hiding for fear of the religious authorities. What had changed? How could a Galilean fishermen, with so much baggage and no college education, be preaching Christ and face arrest, imprisonment, and even death?  Answer:  the news was so good, the Lord acted in the mighty deeds of the atonement for us and for our salvation.  All our strivings to walk on water, water down the truth in order to save ourselves do not compare to unconquerable love of God in Christ Jesus.  What had changed? More who had changed Peter?  Answer: the Holy Spirit, Pentecost, the descent of the Holy Spirit. Peter was sunk but the Lord is not.

So, who is the Holy Spirit? Answer:  The Lord.  Yet, we bandy about the word “spirit” a lot with out much understanding the word.  What is spirit? Then what are the characteristics of the Holy Spirit?

When the gathered crowd heard the disciples speaking in other tongues the mighty deeds of God, they said:  they are drunk.  Except Peter pointed out  it is only 9 in the morning!  The first understanding of “spirit” is indicated by  another name for alcohol:  spirits.  Yes, we get rather spirited when drinking.  Just a word about drinking:  it is clear in the Bible it is okay to drink, as in the Lord gave “…wine to gladden the heart of man” (Psalm 104:15), but it is not okay to get drunk.

The second understanding of “spirit” has to do with groups.  We speak of the spirit of a nation, a college, a school.  Note that “spirit” means 2 or more people.  In order to get a school up for a game, the school may have pep rally.  Even drinking implies 2 or more, say, in  a pub and as Billy Joel sang, “they’re drinking a drink called loneliness but it’s better than drinking alone”. Even then it is to get some “pep”, good feeling, going.

These are characteristics of “spirit”:

  • it is about raising spirits.
  • so, it is about “raising”, uplift, well, ascending.
  • it is about our feelings.
  • it is accomplished by us for us.
  • so, it is about us.

These are the characteristics of the Holy Spirit:

  • He does not ascend but descends as in Pentecost. We want to raise ourselves, but some things we can not raise ourselves from, like sin, death and the power of the devil. The dead can’t raise themselves. The Lord has and will. The Lord raises us from the death of sin in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, making us right with God by faith in Jesus through His perfect sacrifice who bore our sin as He is the Savior of the world (cf. John 4:42).
  • He is not a feeling, an emotion, but works through the Word of God, through the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ. Further,in the group, to raise the spirits, we are expected, required, even demanded to “go with the flow”.  This is mob mentality.  With the Holy Spirit, we do not go with the flow of our own passions, but are directed by the flow of the Holy Spirit to go with God, His ‘flow’, the flow of His Word of Law and Promise to show the wide and easy path (“flow”) that leads to destruction and the hard and narrow path, going with God that leads to life.
  • He teaches us the Word into heart, soul and mind, but our feelings by themselves teach us little or nothing. Feelings are not the cause but the result. The Holy Spirit works only through the Word and in a similar way a college works through words, and the most important building on a campus is the library!  The Holy Spirit works through the main textbook of His library: the Bible and through the Word, preached, taught and administered in the Sacraments. Now the Lord created us with emotions and so as in all His creation they are good, but the Old Adam in sin can easily make them bad.  So in the imbibing drinks, we reason two beers gladden the heart, then a six pack will really make us feel glad! But it does not work that way.  When we try to raise our spirits, more is never enough and we become spirit junkies, and this is confused as the Holy Spirit, but those spirits are not the Holy Spirit.
  • He made us and remade us in Christ Jesus.  We can not generate the Holy Spirit but too many confusing worship as  pep rally, thinks we are generating the ‘spirit’, as in the Holy Spirit but they are looking the wrong way: to the self.
  • He, with the Father and the Son, centers us on the Lord not ourselves. We are not the hub of the wheel, the Lord is so we can ride straight. Us centered on our feelings alone, our spirits is then easy prey for the unclean spirits, the demons and demonic idolatry. The result is chaos, the Tower of Babel but on Pentecost Babel is reversed as they the “mighty deeds of God” in their own language.
  • We “earn” our good spirits, but the Holy Spirit is never earned, but always given, ever learned.
  • We want to feel good but the Holy Spirit through the Word received in faith is to make us good. The Law shows the way to be good is love, and since we do not love as we ought, we are so loved in Jesus, He gives us our redemption as His good for our good.
  • Our good spirits cannot admit suffering, but the Holy Spirit makes us good through trial and error in His grace and peace, in the forgiveness won once and for all upon the Cross.

Man’s spirit is located in us, in a school, a nation, a bar but the Holy Spirit everywhere bringing us to Christ in all nations.  I have been on Facebook messaging with a Lutheran Pastor, David Ongwaye.  Pr. Ongwaye is a pastor of four congregations in western Kenya.  He recently wrote to me before Pentecost:  “God grant you and yours a very significant blessing. may it dawn to you a new revelation as you minister to them the Word that cometh from the Mouth of God!” The Word is all over the world, for the world to change the world, from the Mouth of God, the new revelation of His forgiveness in this dark world.  We speak the same language of Pentecost in the USA and Kenya!  The Holy Spirit speaks the language of the Gospel. He is with us. 

Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me. (Psalm 139) 

Vios con Dios:  go with God for He goes with you.

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