Sunday 23 May 2021
Ps Ben Hooman
Welcome to this special service as we do not celebrate Pentecost as Jews did, but rather on what happened on that day that changed the course of the world forever.
“When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:1-4)
But what lead to this day? Jesus is risen and alive. Ten days before Pentecost He says to them to wait,
“And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, …” (Acts 1:4)
Now what? What are they waiting for? It has been three years, now what? Three years, building up to something devastating. They have seen the most miraculous acts of Jesus, the greatest teachings, the best example of how to do life walking with Jesus. The disciples heard every word Jesus spoke, saw crowds following Jesus, His love poured out. Three years hearing the voice of man who is God. All this just for Him to die?
And yet Jesus told them three times that that is the whole point of the story. “It is not going to be the way you think. I am going to Jerusalem to be killed. And after three days I am walking out of the grave”
Three years of the most ongoing training by Jesus Himself and now He says to them, ‘Wait! You are not prepared for it; you not been fully trained yet”. It is not about the information, it is not about the knowledge, wait. There is going to be a gift! This gift is about to rock the world. This gift is why you are here today.
The Holy Spirit is not a ‘what’ but a ‘Who’
The disciples waiting in Jerusalem to experience what they never experienced before. It is not a what they waiting for, it is who they waiting for! It is a ‘Who’!
Three thousand people are going to come to Christ! Can you imagine the stir in the city? The Roman empire and the Jews wanted to get rid of an irritating movement that they saw as a cult. How do you get rid of it? You kill the leader. But this leader walked for forty days among His people after they killed Him!
Persecution breaks out. Christians break out and it spreads. It spreads to Antioch, to Cyprus, to Galatia, to Tarsus, and back to Jerusalem. The disciples sitting in synagogues telling the Jews what happened. Like a veldfire it spreads – this Jesus is for everyone, not for the Jews only.
Then to Asia, and Macedonia, Thessalonica, Athens, Corinth, Ephesus, and back to Jerusalem. They saying, “You don’t know what happened! Every place we tell them about Jesus a church started – churches all over! And people’s hearts are being changed, everywhere amazing things are happening! And all we do is sharing the truth with them, the gospel of Christ!
Well, that’s great! You go again. And they start another trip all the way into Rome and back. The Christian Jews say to Paul, “But that is our Jesus”. And Paul says to them, “you must see what’s happening in their homes, in their marriages their finances, in their hearts and in their minds. Communities are changed!”
What do you do once you know the stories of Jesus? What do you do once you study the life of Jesus? You know some of His teachings, some of His miracles. And He says, “I don’t want you to do anything, wait until you got this”. Hand trained and walked with Jesus for three years. But Jesus says to them that He got something”.
What is this something?
How it all began
- What happened was the Church
Jesus says, “This is My plan, My plan to reach you and to reach the world”. What happened was the church! From Jerusalem, in all Judea, and Samaria, to the ends of the earth. Christianity had nothing going for them. It had no money, their Leader killed, no technological tools for propaganda to spread the gospel of Christ. The disciples faced great obstacles but they still took the world by faith, 32 countries, 52 cities, 99 islands!
If you understand the book of Acts, you understand the whole New Testament. The book of Galatians, Colossians, Ephesians, Philippians, and so forth. All letters written back to the churches they left. The is the New Testament, all one story about Jesus. 1 and 2 Timothy – he was left in Ephesus – how to be a pastor. What about Titus on the island of Crete? Every book hang on the book of Acts.
Jesus says to the disciples to wait. “but wait for the promise of the Father” (Acts1:4). You know the facts, you know the story, but you not ready for anything. Wait! Even when you a follower of Jesus, you not ready. Wait for the gift.
“So, when they had come together, they asked Him, ‘Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom of Israel?” (Acts1:6)
Jesus then gives them the real reason,
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
This is the verse of the entire book of Acts! How can we be famous? No! How can I put on display the Holy Spirit for financial gain? No! How can I chase after the Holy Spirit, now here then there, from meeting to another meeting as advertised on social media? No! “you are going to be My witnesses!”
And then Jesus ascended to be at the right hand of the Father. “Wait! You not ready yet. I am going to give you the Holy Spirit, the gift from the Father”.
How it all began? What happened was the church and,
- What happened was the Holy Spirit for us
It all was possible in and through the Holy Spirit. The acts (the book of Acts) of the Holy Spirit. And it happened for us to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit to go and make disciples of all people,
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
That is why it happened for us on that Pentecost day. That is why we are here today, why we are together at church. It happened in cities, now it is happening here today. and no one is going to stop it! We are the next chapter of Acts.
In church today we have so many different assumptions of the Holy Spirit. For some it is an experience to chase after. It needs to be poured out on people so prophetic utterings break out, miracles happen. Some of these are true, but do we miss the very simple definition!
“… but wait for the promise of the Father, which, He said, ‘you heard from Me;” (Acts 1:4)
To understand this, we need to know what Jesus spoke about. It is given to us in the book of John,
“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. You know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.” (John 14:15-17)
The Holy Spirit is going to teach you how to walk in My truth. He is going to be with you, in fact, He is going to be in you. He is going to guide you, lead you, and teach you.
But why do we as followers of Jesus Christ get the Holy Spirit and the world not?
“Whoever has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves Me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.’ Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, ‘Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?’ Jesus answered him, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, and my Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. Whoever does not love Me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not Mine but the Father who sent Me. ‘These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” (John 14:21-24)
Jesus says that by the Holy Spirit He and the Father will be in us. That must have confused the disciples, so Jesus draws them a picture of how it is like.
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:1-5)
Apart from the vine, the branch can do nothing. All you have to do is remain. You will go through life and will be pruned. But you abide, you remain and it makes you even healthier, to bear healthy fruit.
Jesus says to them, “Guys, you really get to understand how church is going to work. This is the garden, and I am the vine. My Father is the gardener, the One overseeing all. I am the vine and guess what you are? Good vine, no, you are the branches. What does a branch have to do to bear good fruit? Nothing, just remain in the vine. You stay in Me! Why? I just told you four times; if you obey Me, if you love Me, if you remain in My word, you will be in Me. If you don’t, you not in Me”.
“If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” (John 15:6-7)
Jesus says, ‘If you walk in Me, your heart and your desires going to be in the Spirit”. When you pray in the Spirit, the Spirit is going to produce what God wants for you. You not going to have these selfish prayers.
“By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be My disciples. As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:8-11)
When the Holy Spirit comes into your life, He is going to testify, He is going to reveal God to you, and you will be able to reveal God to others. That is the whole plan! That is what set up the disciples – 30 years, thousands of kilometres – that is what set the world on fire! And that we are still part of today.
“But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness about Me.” (John 15:26,27)
Jesus says that that is the big masterplan. Question then, what does the Holy Spirit do? Jesus says,
“Nevertheless, I tell you the truth; it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send Him to you.” (John 16:7)
Jesus says to the disciples, “that’s why I am dying on the cross. That is why I am going away. When I am here physically, I am at one place at a time. Once I go away, My Spirit can be in all places, in all of you at all the times. That is far better than having Me here now on earth”.
“But if I go, I will send Him to you. And when He comes, He will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth, for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak, and He will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take what is Mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is Mine; therefore, I said that He will take what is Mine and declare it to you.” (John 16:8-15)
Therefore, Jesus says to His disciples to wait. “Wait for the promise of the Father”. John chapters 14,15,16,17 – the last night of Jesus in the upper room, famous last words, four chapters and His entire story is: “I am in charge of this. Yes, I am going to die, yes, I will rise again.”
Why? “I am going to build our church! How am I going to do this? How am I going to build My church? Through the Holy Spirit. He is going to be in you, with you, and He is going to convict you of sin. Through the Holy Spirit you still going to see righteousness. He will help you to kill the power of sin in your life. He will transform you into My likeness”.
That was the plan of God by sending the Holy Spirit, explained in all four these chapters in the book of John. That is why Jesus said to His disciples to wait. They had to wait for the gift that the Father is giving, and that is the person of the Holy Spirit representing the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, God in us.
The Person of the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is not an “it’. The Holy Spirit is not some wearied force, not a movement we tap into. Not some strange thing we run after to get pieces of it. If you are running after such things, you are running from yourself. The Spirit of God is in every Christian that are born from above, being born again. The Holy Spirit is a Who and not a what!
This is what Jesus is teaching us. The Holy Spirit is given to help us. He will guide us in all truth. He will glorify Christ and what is Christ, He will declare to us.
We just have to remain, to abide in Christ. Remain in His word, remain in obedience. Jesus says, “I will remain in you. I will produce fruit in your life. I will change you and through you those around you. Apart from me you can do nothing!”
And the Holy Spirit is going to this new life work. With out the Spirit it is just striving, it is just toil. Without the Spirit it is just a big book of do and don’ts. without the Spirit we can never match up to it. We will only be covered with guilt and shame. With out the Spirit we can not do the Christian life.
We have to remain, remain, remain. Yes Ben, but you do not put enough emphasis on the manifestations of the Holy Spirit. All you talk about is obedience. Because every place Jesus talks about the Holy Spirit, He talks about obedience. And that is remaining in Christ. In that I will do all things. In that I will bear fruit. In that I will be changed.
Jesus says, “Remain in My words, if you love Me, you will obey Me, and We will make Our home with you!”
Did Jesus die on the cross to give me a better life? To make me a better person? No! My life wasn’t worth fixing. Jesus died to take this old life from me – to be dead to the old self, to be a new person in Christ.
Jesus took my life from me so that He can live His life in me. The cross forgave me so that the Spirit of God can live in Me. The cross change where I am going, heaven is my home. The empty tomb changes who I am. The cross change my destination, the risen Christ allows for me to be a new person, to be born again. The Holy Spirit now lives in me. It is not a big force or source in me, but the Spirit of Christ that brought the life of Christ in me.
The Holy Spirit changes me
The Holy Spirit convicts me of sin and produces righteousness in me. He brings the truth and testifies that Christ is real, and to share that with others. He produces the fruit of Him in me as I am obedient to God. He glorifies Christ in and through us.
You are God’s plan here and now. And he gives us the Holy Spirit to help us to be transformed more into Christ and to bring Christ to a lost world.
The Holy Spirit is not a it, but a person. Our choice is to walk in and with Him. I either walk with Him or I silence Him. What does it mean to walk in the Spirit? Remain, remain, remain! Jesus says: “If you love Me you will remain in Me, remain in My word, any one who loves Me will obey Me. If you don’t obey Me, you don’t love Me”.
The Holy Spirit is a gift of the Father, to work in and through you, to help you to bring Christ to and through you. The work of the Holy Spirit is to enhance the kingdom of God. He is not going to build your own kingdom.
The Holy Spirit is not an experience, but a whole new way of life. Experience comes from walking in and with the Spirit, and there are great experiences and manifestations. People chase after external experiences and atmospheres. The Holy Spirit is not into experiences for the experiences. No! The Holy Spirit says, “Walk with Me and you will experience what I want to do in and through you”.
Today many chases after the experience of the Holy Spirit without remaining in obedience with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is more a condition than an experience. More a relation and not a fixation. God express His work though His Church who you are. The Church is living. And the Church is moving, and we play a part in that.
Remain in Christ and the Spirit will work in and through you. The purpose why the Holy Spirit came, was to change the disciples and empower them to take Christ into the world.
When God gave the ten commandments, it was like a fire consuming the mountain and God empowered one man Moses to speak. At Pentecost God sent His Spirit like the sound of a mighty rushing wind, and divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them! And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.
On fire for Jesus! On fire for Jesus and not for self! Jesus, giving the church to take the gospel to many, so they can also receive Christ and live a life in Him. Off course other benefits came by the Person of the Holy Spirit in His power, signs, wonders, miracles, and gifts of the Spirit. All to enhance the kingdom of God here and now so many can come to the fulness of Christ.
Remain, remain, remain! First obedience and love, and that, so that Christ can use you to build His kingdom. Therefore, you receive power like the disciples to turn the world to Christ.
The Holy Spirit is not a commodity to be put on display. He is real and if you belong to Christ, He is in you and you can do all things for Christ through Christ that is in you. Abide in Him as He abides in you by His Spirit!