Faithlife Sermons

Holy Spirit

Year B, Pentecost Sunday  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Mr. Ira Yates

The Depression took a tragic toll on most of the farm land West of Mississippi River. Complicated by the Dust Bowel of the 30s ranchers and farmers struggled to scratch out the barest of an existence. The ranchers had a lot of land but most of them also had a lot of debt. They borrowed heavily against their land to pay for their operational expenses. With little left over for food and clothing for their family, they had to live on government subsidy.
Each day these ranchers grazed their sheep over the dry, nearly barren grassland of West TX. Then one day a work crew visited Mr. Ira Yates. They asked him if they could run some tests on his land. After the test were competed they asked if they could drill a wildcat well. He signed a lease contract and watched.
After moving all the equipment into place the men started to drill. At 1,115 ft they struck oil but not just any oil. They had hit on one of the largest oil fields in TX. The first well came in at 80,000 barrels a day. The Yates Oil Field as it came to still produces oil nearly 90 years later.
The day Ira Yates purchased the land he also purchased the oil and mineral rights making him on paper, a multimillionaire. Mr. Yates and his family lived in poverty for years while a vast reserve of riches sat untapped less then 1200 ft below them.
Mr. Yates’ story has often been compared to the Christian life. So many Christians are living in poverty while a vast reserve of spiritual power is available to them. This spiritual power comes in the person of the Holy Spirit.
I have a few pet peeves about the topic of the Holy Spirit. The first is the neglect that the Holy Spirit usually receives. It is definitely the most neglected person of the Trinity. This is partially understandable. Whenever we just say “God” in our prayers or conversation we usually think of God as Father. He is the God who brought forth creation.
Genesis 1:1 NIV84
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
y his word light burst into the universe and the night was separated from day.
By his word light burst into the universe and the night was separated from day.
By his word light burst into the universe and the night was separated from day.
Genesis 1:3 NIV84
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
God said let the water under the sky be gathered into one place and separated it the dry ground. From the dry ground God formed the mountains by his power.
Psalm 65:6 NIV84
who formed the mountains by your power, having armed yourself with strength,
ps65:
And when we consider the creation of man and woman we most often think of God the Father.
Genesis 1:26 NIV84
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
It is also easy to reflect on the person of God the Son. He took on human likeness.
Philippians 2:7 NIV84
but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
phil 2
The person of the son became flesh. He is not an abstract idea or a philosophical concept. He actually lived among his people. He knew laughter and love, sorrow and pain.
John 1:14 NIV84
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
But now we come to the Spirit. Jesus likens God the Holy Spirit to wind. We struggle to connect to something that does not have a shape or body. The movement of air molecules is really not that personable. We cannot put a face on it. Yet, God the Holy Spirit is just as much God as God the Father and God the Son. We believe that God exists in three persons. Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Without the Holy Spirit we would not know the Father or the Son.
Romans 5:5 NIV84
And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
Without the Spirit of God our prayers would sound like a bunch of incomprehensible babble. The Spirit takes our prayers, cleans them up and presents them to the Father.
Romans 8:26 NIV84
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.
And for our consideration for today without the spirit we would not have the power to live the Christian life
Galatians 5:15 NIV84
If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
Galatians 5:16 NIV84
So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
and the Spirit also gives the believers power to witness in the name of Jesus and see lives changed
Acts 1:8 NIV84
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
There are many reasons why so many Christians do not experience a spirit filled life on a daily basis. One reason is lack of knowledge. They may never have been taught about the Spirit or they chose to ignore those who tried to teach them. People commonly associate anything that has to do with the Spirit and Pentecost with those crazy snake handling Pentecostals. These people get too emotional for us staid Presbyterians. To avoid such extremes some people shut their minds to any teaching that sounds remotely similar.
Another reason believers do not experience the power from on high that Jesus talked about is due to disbelief. Some believe that the gifts of the spirit ceased with the apostles. We now life in an age in which we are to walk by faith but not expect God to do anything miraculous.
A third reason for not enjoying the Spirit filled life stems from a confusion over the how-tos. The Charismatics claim that a person must have a sudden experience in which they speak in tongues. Many in the Spirit Alive movement that held two events in this church could be found in this camp. On the other end of the spectrum are those who lean toward a mechanical view of the spiritual life. They will present a list of several steps that if followed will secure the indwelling of the Spirit.
From my personal experience both camps have some validity to their position. Early in my Christian experience I attended a Charismatic church and recieved a filling of the Spirit with evidence of speaking in tongues. I will still use that gift during my prayer life. It enriches my experience but walking by faith cannot be grounded upon experience. The spirit filled life requires daily disciplines of adoration and praise, examination and confession, thanksgiving and gratitude and faithful obedience.
By faithful obedience I refer to a two fold response. There is an element that requires obeying the Word of God. It does not require a Phd in theology to understand the sign a church once posted, “God gave us commandments, not suggestions.” Paul tells the Romans that the law of God has been written on the hearts of humanity. () But faithful obedience is more than just obeying the law, it also requires obeying the leading of the Spirit.
The leading and filling of the spirit is always active. It is never passive. God fills a person who has stepped out on faith to witness to the work of Jesus Christ, or to challenge unjust institutions or to bring a miraculous healing or exorcism.

Courage

the Spirit gives us courage
Courage (also called bravery or valour) is the choice and willingness to confront agony, pain, danger, uncertainty, or intimidation. Physical courageis bravery in the face of physical pain, hardship, death or threat of death, while moral courage is the ability to act rightly in the face of popular opposition, shame, scandal, discouragement, or personal loss. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Courage
to pray without ceasing,
The spirit is not given for your personal pleasure.
to witness among all peoples to Christ as Lord and Savior,
to unmask idolatries in church and culture,
to hear the voices of peoples long silenced,
When I survey the American social and political scene, I believe that this is the crux of the turmoil and conflict in our country. Since 1624 when the second group of white pilgrims landed on the Massachusetts coast our country until 1964 with the passages of the Civil Rights Act, this country was dominated by western European immigrants. They came in waves and Upon their arrival each group experienced modest forms of discrimination.
and to work with others for justice, freedom, and peace.
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