Thursday, September 20, 2007

Sunday Sermon Notes - 9.23.07

Holy Spirit Who?

Even with the proliferation of the charismatic and pentecostal Christian movements, there is plenty of ignorance and uncertainty amongst most of the Christians I know about who is the Holy Spirit and what kind of work he does.

I distinctly remember many times while in high school praying very earnestly that the Holy Spirit would come into my life. But I never knew if the prayer was answered. So the prayers became less earnest and uttered less often. I may have heard many clear and compelling sermons about the Holy Spirit, but my dense head didn't make sense of it. Even now I feel confused about the identity and role of the Holy Spirit within the Trinity and amongst the Church.

Today I scanned through the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles, looking for mention of the Holy Spirit to provide clues to his work and purpose. I also scanned through Romans 8, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians to get clues from St. Paul on his articulation of the Holy Spirit. Finally I did a concordance search for the Holy Spirit and Spirit in the whole Scriptures; Holy Spirit shows up over 100 times, and Spirit over 400 times - I've not yet scanned through those verses yet.

Some observations already: the Holy Spirit of the Gospels and Acts comes across different in Paul's epistles. The first four chapters of Luke are full of activity by the Holy Spirit; Elizabeth, Mary, John the Baptist and Jesus are all filled with the Holy Spirit in a way that is not the same as being saved; their being filled is an issue of power/ability; energy/capacity; life. The Holy Spirit of Acts comes across as a source of power for service within believers, and as a sign of salvation. Paul writes about the Holy Spirit in a variety of ways, usually focusing on his work in us to produce moral purity and ethical righteousness.

My friend Donnie Gentry urged me to pick up some books by R.A. Torrey on the Holy Spirit. I finally received them in the email the other day and have greatly benefited from them. He writes in a clear and straightforward manner, as one who has real experiences with the Holy Spirit. I am looking forward to learning more about the Holy Spirit from what is revealed in Scriptures and what other wise believers have experienced in the past.

I'm not trying to decide whether to be charismatic, pentecostal or dispensational in my view of the Holy Spirit; I just want to come to a clear understanding of who he is and in what way am I to be obedient to him. My gut sense is that the vibrancy and dynamism of Anchor is deeply connected to our understanding and obedience to the Holy Spirit. And considering Anchor is in a refocusing phase, I want to make sure that out of all the things we focus on, the Holy Spirit is in the center.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You say...."considering Anchor is in a refocusing phase, I want to make sure that out of all the things we focus on, the Holy Spirit is in the center" .. Well AMEN .... now how do we couple the need to apply the Great Commission and reach the unchurched and continue to feed our existing flock so that they continue to have noticible spiritual growth... how can we measure both of these lofty goals...... I would suspect that the fruit would be noticable... higher attendance from those we invite (evangelize) and by a growing testimony of the congregation and individual members of the flock.

Significant questions to ponder... once someone is at Anchor and the corporate church body agrees that spiritual growth is a mission point .. what events and tools do we use to help aid the growth? longer sermons? longer musical praise? shorter sermons? less music? more prayer? more classes? or do we become apathetic and just pretend that these issues will work themselves out?

OR - do we stop and ask?....what experiences at Anchor have helped each of us on our spiritual journey? and after you ask a question then you must listen.......

If we are seeking the Holy Spirit do we tell Him he must be at our church on Sun morning between the 1/2 hour when our pastor preaches or do we engage each other in ... what the Lord has be doing in our lives the past week? do we engage each other and query what are your prayer needs? or do we just smile and say "have an nice week"? Do we come forward when the church asks for help?

If we continue to seek what the Holy Spirit wants at Anchor.... we better also focus on loving and caring for each other as part of our individual spiritual mission

We have to bloom wherever we are planted.

I would urge Anchorites to continue to pray for Pastor Tim .... the wisdom to know what we need and the strength and passion to seek it.

If Anchor is to "refocus" then we can't lose sight that we have to FOCUS.

Like they say - the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing and right now our pastor is saying that we need to be lead by the Holy Spirit and do what He directs us to do. It would appear that collective and individual obedience and prayer will help us refocus on this newly defined mission is.