A Personal Gift
Text: Acts 15:8-9
Pentecost like Christmas:
Homecoming - Everyone home
Incarnation - Son -H. S.
The Gift - A person.
Problem: we don't see the gift as a person, but as an object.
Given personal attributes: (breathes), assigned personal activity (sent), attitudes. (grieved) Given divine attributes: Holy,
I. A gift for all believers: God wants to give himself to you
A . Not just leaders
---In the Old Testament He was given to leaders to benefit the people.
--- Not just for leaders now
B. All believers
--- A promise
--- For YOU
C. Not for unbelievers
Reserved for family
II. A gift for all time: God wants to give himself to you now
A. Given to restore what was lost
B. Given in the present
* Nathaniel Hawthorne described happiness as a butterfly, which, when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you sit down quietly, may alight upon you. And it's like that with the Spirit of God. He is not seized. He is received.
* What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson
C. Given to prepare
§ Power to evangelize
God's Holy Spirit orchestrates our lives to touch others--strangers, friends, work-related people, service-industry workers and more--if we would just open up and be ourselves. How? Be free to be in love with Jesus in front of people. Be an ambassador through whom he can introduce himself. There is a world out there, hungry and searching for Jesus and his love. Don't keep him to yourself.
§ Power to overcome difficulty
*In the book Healing the Masculine Soul, Gordon Dalbey says that when Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit as the Helper, he uses a Greek word, paraclete, that was an ancient warrior's term. "Greek soldiers went into battle in pairs," says Dalbey, "so when the enemy attacked, they could draw together back-to-back, covering each other's blind side. One's battle partner was the paraclete." Our Lord does not send us to fight the good fight alone. The Holy Spirit is our battle partner who covers our blind side and fights for our well being.
§ Power from relationship (spiritual power)
§ Preparation for heaven where we will stand before God. Death does not make us Holy. The Holy Spirit does.
III. A gift for all sin
A. A new obedience
--- From a new engine - Moral Image restored
*Don't expect a fine running car if the engine is bad.
B. A new purity
--- Motives are His
C. A new rest
--- The path of least resistance
A gift is never forced on a person, but it is either accepted at the hand of the one who gives it, or it is rejected. Rejecting the gift is tantamount to rejecting the giver. Here it is intensely more true, as both the gift and the giver are God.
But to accept this gift there are certain essential qualifications.
1. You believe God is able to give you the Holy Spirit.
2. You believe God will give you the Holy Spirit
3. You believe that He will do it now
4. You give yourself to him unreservedly to be filled.
Nobody can be indwelt by the Spirit of God and keep that Spirit to himself. Where the Spirit is, he flows forth. And where there is no flowing forth, he is not there.
-- Bishop William Temple, Preaching Today.