'Come Holy Spirit" we looked through the Holy Spirit in John's Gospel focusing on that wonderful title that Jesus uses for the Spirit 'Paraclete' the trusted friend who comes alongside and is able to give advise.
This year we have taken a seven week look at the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts... focusing mainly on the four times it speaks of people being filled with the Holy Spirit. It has been a bit of a whistle stop journey rather than a verse by verse chapter by chapter trek. We've seen that the focus of the Holy Spirit's presence in Acts is to enable and empower the new people of God to be witnesses to Jesus Christ from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth. That the spirit does that by giving the believers courage to speak the Gospel... in the Old Testament the sign of someone being filled with the spirit was that they prophesied or 'spoke forth God's word and its seems natural that this is what would happen with people in the New Testament, they would speak God's word. The word and truth that the Holy Spirit according to John revealed to them in its fullness. They lived in a way that reflected the Kingdom of God, they dedicated themselves to the apostles teachings, prayer, joyful worship, hospitality and concern for those in need; they loved each other and held things in common. The Spirit also moved in power through their ministry as they witnessed to Jesus Christ risen from the dead and showed his compassion and love to those in need.
The Image that I chose to go with the Series is one I discovered which I believe both encaptulates the idea of Wind and fire but also encapsulates the logo of The Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand, the burning bush from Exodus 3, Which for me reflects my hope that as a denomination we may again be filled by the Spirit as we are called by the Holy God, who sees and hears and cares and Sends and goes with, to witness to the risen Jesus Christ in our neighbourhoods cities, this nation and to the ends of the earth... Of course one of my running gags about New Zealand is that it may not be the ends of the earth... but just maybe you can see it from here.
I have used several commentaries for this series. Manly... I Howard Marshall in the Tyndale New Testament series... Darrell Bock in the Baker Exegetical Commentary On The New Testament series... and Ajith Fernando in The NIV Application Commentary Series. I found them all great companions and guides for looking at the Book of Acts, I particularly enjoyed the fresh perspective that Ajith Fernando bought coming for a Sri Lankan background and being a long term mission practitioner as well as an insightful scholar.
The purpose of this post is to provide an easy to follow Index for this series. It may seem rather arrogant of me to presume that people will find my preaching worthy of reflection and reading But my hope is that The Holy Spirit may use my attempts at faithfully expounding (opening up) the Word of God to teach, encourage, strengthen and inspire...
Acts 1: 1-26... What's in a Name And Waiting on The Holy Spirit (A series Introduction)
Acts 2:29-47 A Snapshot of being God's Spirited People
Acts 3:1-26 Witnessing in The Power of The Holy Spirit (it's a Lot More Ordinary Than you Think)
Acts 4:1-31 Shaking Off The Opposition: Praying for the Holy Spirit's Power In the Face of Set
Acts 10:1-48 Out Of The Comfort Zones: The Holy Spirit leads Us Into Mission across the barriers
Acts 19:1-21 Did You Receive The Holy Spirit When You Believed?
Acts 2:1-21,37-47 And They Were All Filled With The Holy Spirit... (Pentecost Sunday)
Does this selection mean that the Spirit wasn't at work in the other chapters of Acts?... No in fact I happen to agree the idea that the Book of Acts is more about the continuing work of Christ through the Holy Spirit in the lives of the Early Church rather than about the Acts of the Apostles... It is a very human story as well as very much a God story and like all the way through history the Spirit has been involved in leading and guiding in the midst of the church getting it right and getting it wrong, focusing on mission and dealing with maintenance.