Day of Pentecost: Acts 2:1-21 (or Numbers 11:24-30); Psalm 104:24-34, 35b; 1 Corinthians 12:3b-13 (or Acts 2:1-21); John 20:19-23 (or John 7:37-39)
The Holy Spirit glorifies Jesus Christ.
‘No one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit’ (1 Corinthians 12:3). ‘In Jerusalem’, on ‘the day of Pentecost’ there are ‘Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven’ (Acts 2:1, 5). They are ‘amazed’ at what they hear - ‘we hear them telling in our own tongue the mighty works of God’ (Acts 2:7-11). The Holy Spirit glorifies Jesus Christ (John 16:14). ‘To God be the glory! Great things He hath done!’ (Church Hymnary, 374). Speaking ‘as the Spirit gave them utterance’, the apostles pave the way for Peter’s bold proclamation: ‘God has made Him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified’ (Acts 2:36). Empowered ‘by the Holy Spirit’, this message - ‘Jesus is Lord’- is still God’s way of bringing people to Himself. Preach Christ. Pray for the Spirit’s power. Look to God for His blessing (Acts 2:41-47).
The Holy Spirit leads us in the way of obedience and blessing.
God is at work among His people, teaching them many lessons. Through His precious promises and strong warnings, He leads us in the way of obedience and blessing (Numbers 11:31-32). If we are to enjoy the Lord’s blessing, we need the whole Word of God – the warnings as well as the promises. Obedience to God – This is the most important thing in the life of faith. Obedience demonstrates the reality of faith. By our obedience, we show our ‘love’ for the Lord. We rejoice in ‘all the great work of the Lord’. By ‘His mighty hand’, He has provided for us a great salvation. Our enjoyment of His salvation increases as we live in obedience to Him (Numbers 11:8-15). Without obedience, there can be no blessing (Numbers 11:16-17). Teach others to obey God – especially the ‘children’ (Numbers 11:18-21). God is good. He loves us (Numbers 11:22-25). Obey Him. Choose blessing (Numbers 11:26-28).
The Holy Spirit leads us into a life of worship.
‘I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live’ (Psalm 104:33). Do you feel like giving up? Other things are becoming more important to you. Worshipping the Lord is being pushed out to the edge of your life. Wrong attitudes are creeping in. It starts with the idea, ‘Worship’s just an hour on a Sunday’. Then, it becomes, ‘I’ll worship the Lord when I feel like it’. It soon becomes, ‘I’ll worship the Lord when I’ve nothing better to do’. Before long, all desire for worshipping the Lord has gone! Little-by-little, you are drifting away from the Lord. It’s time to start thinking about what’s happening. It’s time for a new beginning. It’s time for an ‘all my life’commitment to worshipping the Lord - not just on a Sunday, not only when I feel like it, not only ‘when there’s nothing better to do’!
The Holy Spirit leads us in the way of love.
Paul speaks about ‘gifts of the Spirit’. They are ‘given for the common good’ (1 Corinthians 12:4-7). We’re not ‘to show off’: ‘Look at me. The Church can’t do without me’. When we draw attention to ourselves rather than Christ, we are not living ‘by the Spirit of God’. He moves us to say, with our whole heart, ‘Jesus is Lord’ (1 Corinthians 12:3). We live in fellowship with one another: ‘the body does not consist of one member but of many’ (1 Corinthians 12:14). ‘I’m happy – as long as I’m getting my own way’: We can do without this kind of attitude! What about ‘the common good’? Sometimes, things don’t go according to my plan. Perhaps, my plan needs revising – to take account of ‘the common good’. When self raises its ugly head – ‘It’s my way or no way at all’ – let’s not forget the ‘still more excellent way’ (1 Corinthians 12:3). It is the way of love – Christ’s love!
The Holy Spirit leads us in the way of peace and joy.
Christ is ‘the Lord’ (John 20:2,18,20,25). Christ is ‘my Lord’ (John 20:13,28). Faith becomes real when Jesus comes to us. Here, we see Jesus coming to Mary, the disciples and Thomas. Here, we see Mary, the disciples and Thomas – changed by the power of the risen Christ. In love, He comes to them, and they are changed. (a) Mary was ‘weeping’ (John 20:13,15). Jesus came to her, and she became a confident believer – ‘I have seen the Lord!’ (John 20:18). (b) The disciples were filled with ‘fear’. Jesus came to them. He gave them His ‘peace’ and ‘joy’ (John 20:19-20). (c) Thomas found faith hard to come by (John 20:25). Jesus came to him, and he believed – ‘My Lord and my God!’ (John 20:28). Through the Gospel, we find faith: ‘These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His Name’ (John 20:31).
The Holy Spirit leads us in the way of new life.
‘Rivers of living water’ were flowing out of Jesus’ heart. ‘No man ever spoke like this man’! ‘The Spirit’ was speaking through Him with power. Still, there were those who ‘wanted to arrest Him’ (John 7:37-39,44,46). Stop ‘throwing stones’ (John 8:1-11)! Only Jesus had the right to point the finger at this woman. He refused to do so. He bore her sins and our sins on the Cross (1 Peter 2:24). Jesus spoke to the woman of both forgiveness and holiness (John 8:11). Jesus said, ‘I am the light of the world’ (John 8:12). This brought an immediate reaction from the ‘Pharisees’: ‘Your testimony is not true’ (John 8:13). They were ‘disguised as angels of light’ (2 Corinthians 11:14). They ‘loved darkness rather than light’ (John 3:19). Their ‘darkness’ was exposed by ‘the Light of the world’. These evil men could do nothing until God’s time (John 8:19-20).