Big Questions: Why the Holy Spirit?
June 9, 2019 (click here for PDF version)
Overarching theme: Living a year in God’s presence through the practice of following Jesus.
Core Point: We all have questions about God, Jesus, grace, etc. This week, we focus on why do we have the Holy Spirit?
Start point: Acts if the second letter of a two letter series written my Luke. The first letter is the Gospel of Luke. Luke was a physician who traveled with the apostle Paul. The date of the writing is believed to be around 62 A.D. when Paul under house arrest, awaiting trial before Caesar. Many scholars assume Acts was written then because it does not record Paul’s defense, release, and further gospel preaching. The themes in Acts center on the Holy Spirit empowering the believers to declare the Good News of Jesus the Christ to both the Jews and the Gentiles. As they declared the Good News, people started to believe resulting in the Christian church being established. Luke’s purpose for writing his Gospel (see Luke 1:3–4) applies to Acts as well: to give an “orderly” account of the early church after Christ’s resurrection. Dedicating the two-volume work to Theophilus, Luke wanted him to have “certainty” about what he had been taught. Basically, Acts is the story of how the church was established and how it grow through the power of God’s Holy Spirit, with the story of Christ Jesus, and service of the disciples.
Reflect on this Scripture:
Acts 2:1-8, 14-24, 32-33 (NRSV)
1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. 5 Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. 6 And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. 7 Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language?
14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. 15 Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. 16 No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: 17 ‘In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. 18 Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. 19 And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist. 20 The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day. 21 Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ 22 You that are Israelites, listen to what I have to say: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with deeds of power, wonders, and signs that God did through him among you, as you yourselves know— 23 this man, handed over to you according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of those outside the law. 24 But God raised him up, having freed him from death, because it was impossible for him to be held in its power.
32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that all of us are witnesses. 33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you both see and hear.
Questions to Ponder:
What jumps out at you in the text?
What do you think happened in the room?
What do you think God is up too at this point?
What was the result?
Acts 2 shows the movement of God through the power of the Holy Spirit. The evidence of the Holy Spirit in this context is the tongues of fire in which every person in the room heard the Good News of Christ Jesus in their own language. It is in this power that Peter spoke the message of Christ’s death and resurrection. The Holy Spirit’s job at this point is to encourage the spread of the Good News of Christ Jesus to all the world. Thus, the church is established and growth occurs.
Before Jesus was crucified and resurrected, He spoke of a helper that would be given to those who believe. The Greek word for the helper was “Paracletos” which means “advocate.” It holds a meaning of one who comes alongside to give aid. So the Holy Spirit comes alongside the believer to give aid through life’s journey. The Holy Spirit comes from the Father of creation to teach and remind us of what Jesus has said, convict the world of sin and righteousness, and guide the believer in all truth. A living power that resides with us!
John 14:26 (NRSV)
26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.
John 16:7-16 (NRSV)
7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 about sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; 11 about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned. 12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
Questions to Ponder:
What is the work of the Holy Spirit?
What is the heart of the message given in Acts 2?
How do you see the Holy Spirit at work in your life and the church?
Activity of for the life of a disciple:
1. Write on a piece of paper: “32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that all of us are witnesses. 33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you both see and hear.” Place it somewhere for you to read it every day.
3. Take note on how you see the Holy Spirit working in you, around you, and through you in the next week. Give testimony of that in Learning Group next week.