…because in this matter—you must have the Real Thing.
When I did street ministry in Long Beach, California, a Marine vet stepped forward to be my bodyguard so I could go anywhere in the city which had some mighty dark places. The ‘Duke of Earl’ had some sayings and gestures that were quite unique. The one that is apropos today has this context—when I asked him how he was doing entrusting all of himself to God, (because as he said, he was kinda like Jonah, always ready to run), he would turn and look at me, and then say, ‘Chris-teeeen, that is quite a pro-cess.’ Usually he said that as he gestured with his huge black hand, index finger and thumb swiping down his mustache past his chin, emphasizing the process.
Realizing the Holy Spirit in our lives is part of a divine process. Walk this way with me.
Perhaps this is new to some of you, so please read slowly. As Jesus promised, the Holy Spirit came with a fantastic show of sight and sound, making his presence known to Jesus’ followers after he ascended into Heaven.1 Sure enough, while Jesus had been with them, the Spirit would now be in them.2 Jesus told them he would not leave them alone and now they understood. Followers of Jesus Christ - never alone.
That was then. What about now?
In the last weeks I have presented to you that it is the Holy Spirit of God who is our Resource for hope, our comfort, and power for living . . . that he represents the very presence of God himself in our lives. Truth. Being the third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit has always been, the Bible describing him present at the time of Creation, hovering over the waters.3 Throughout the Old Testament, he empowered people of God for specific purposes…amazing things really! The Holy Spirit was active in Jesus’ birth4 and present in the form of a dove at his baptism in the Jordan River5, active in his ministry6, death7 and resurrection8. Which takes us up to the Day of Pentecost [in our last briefing: The Difference Maker Arrives on the Scene https://conta.cc/47pDk2w]
Inquiring minds want to know: with regard to the Holy Spirit, what happened the day after Pentecost up until today? Remember, the reason the Holy Spirit came and filled the Upper Room that day was because those people were followers of Jesus Christ, obeying what he told them to do. And so it is with you and me. In order to know and experience the Holy Spirit, we must be followers of Jesus. The ‘process,’ Friends?
When we recognize that Jesus Christ is the Son of God,
who alone is able to make us right with God the Father
because of his death on the cross…
that he will forgive us of our sins when we repent--
and when we invite him to lead our lives,
we become children of God.
At that moment, we receive the Holy Spirit of God
who dwells in us forever.
The ultimate process, Duke!
Paul describes it thus: For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. . . you have received the Spirit of adoption… The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.9
The Holy Spirit affirms us as Christians—he assures us we belong to God through his presence in us.
In one of my more recent airplane conversations, I asked my seatmate if he was a man of faith. He thought about it and then said, ‘well, I’m more spiritual than anything else.’ Hmmm. This is not an uncommon thought today. Many of us self-identify as ‘spiritual’ probably because it gives the impression that we are rather deep, perhaps wiser because of it, and more astute than the average Joe--oh, and we don't want anything to do with religion. I get that, but really? If being spiritual is not tied to the supernatural source of all truth and holiness, it is just that—an impression with no substance, meaning or power. I want the real thing, now and forever. And I pray that you do too, as we step a little closer to seeing how the Holy Spirit works in our lives...today!
"I Believe It!" Jon Reddick, listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-z1OK54Ae0
Holy Spirit #5
1 – Acts 2.1-4
2 – John 14.17
3 – Genesis 1.2
4 – Luke 1.35
5 - Luke 3.22
6 – Acts 10.37-38
7 - Hebrews 9.14
8 – Romans 8.11
9 - excerpted from Romans 8.14-16