What Happened Next?
A series on Acts
- Each week we will ask a question that the sermon will help people to answer.
- We'll see how the experience of the early church reflects something that Jesus said or did in the Gospels.
- Our understanding is that The Holy Spirit is still at work in and through us, his Church, in the same way today though the way that is expressed will be culturally relevant.
This Week: "It Will Happen", The Promise of the Holy Spirit Acts 1:1-11.
Is the promise of the Holy Spirit still valid?
When has the Spirit confirmed your faith?
When has the Spirit taught you something in particular?
When have you felt strengthened by the Spirit?
Why would you like more of the Spirit's power in your life right now?
The Raincoat and The Jumper.
Jesus says: “John baptised with water but before many days you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit. Water” – to symbolise cleansing from your old life and being saturated with the life of God. We know now that it is the death of Jesus for us that cleanses us from sin and that we rise with him to new life – but life that is to be saturated with the presence of Jesus by His Spirit. A raincoat gets wet in the rain but a quick shake will dry it off and you remain teh same underneath. A jumper is “saturated” and you are definitely different!. But is this true for us – or just for the first apostles?
- Holy Spirit manifestation was for the confirmation of the Apostles as the inheritors of Jesus mission. These were the “signs following” of which Jesus spoke. Once the gospel was preached and the Apostles recognized then these manifestations ceased “Are there tongues, they will cease..” says St. Paul who spoke in tongues more than anyone. But – did Jesus say “you will receive confirmation when the Holy Spirit shall come upon you”?
- Holy Spirit came to “lead us into all truth”. In the early days the church had only the oral tradition of its Apostles but as the church grew this would not be sufficient. The Holy Spirit spoke to individuals and to the church until such time as the councils, led by the same spirit, could gather all the true teaching into the canon of scripture which would contain “all truth” and so be all the teaching that we need to follow Christ. But – did Jesus say “You will receive Teaching when the Holy Spirit shall come upon you”?
- Holy Spirit comes to feed and strengthen our Spirits and to make us more like Jesus. When we take and eat bread and wine together we are, by the power of the Holy Spirit, imbibing Jesus himself. Each week or month we use up this spiritual nourishment and need to come back to the Lord's Table or The Altar to be topped up with the sacraments to keep us going. These sacraments are the channel that the Holy Spirit has established to feed his people. But did Jesus say “You will receive feeding when the Holy Spirit shall come upon you”?
- Jesus said “you shall receive POWER when the Holy Spirit shall come upon you.” He means that we will be changed by this encounter with His Spirit. “You will receive Power when the Holy Spirit shall come upon you”. (Red Dwarf Time Machine in Space. No change! Add turbocharger to engine on bench. No change!) Power needs a purpose. “You will receive Power when the Holy Spirit shall come upon you. And you shall be my witnesses”. Confirmation – Teaching – Feeding, Yes! But more than that – Power to change you and for you to change the world into followers of Jesus. Not just getting you wet on the outside – but saturated with his love so everyone you touch is “infected”. Like Annie in the River. Me? Allesley? 2015? Far off?