Posts tagged ‘Holy Spirit’

ABC Extra – “We Got Spirit, Yes We Do!”

I went to junior high, high school, and college at three different places, but the cheer at the beginning of our school basketball games was the same.  In order to get everyone hyped up, the cheerleaders would come prancing out and lead the crowd in saying, “We’ve got spirit.  Yes, we do!  We’ve got spirit.  How ‘bout you?” at which time we would all wag our fingers at those on the opposing side of the gym, egging them on to respond.   And respond they did – with the same cheer, except louder:  “We’ve got spirit.  Yes, we do!  We’ve got spirit.  How ‘bout you?”  And this volley would continue back and forth, back and forth until everyone in the audience was hoarse, trying to “out-spirit” the opposing side by sheer volume.

The question cheerleaders ask at the beginning of basketball games is the same question people ought to ask of themselves, though they ought to ask it with a capital “S.”  Do we have “Spirit,” as in the “Holy Spirit?”  The apostle Peter says that we receive the Holy Spirit when we repent of our sins and are baptized into God’s name and family:  “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).  Thus, if you have been baptized and remember your baptism as you daily repent of sin, there is no question: You “got” Spirit.

Although Christians “got” Spirit, sometimes, some Christians want to know how they can get more Spirit.  More than once, more than one person has asked me, “How can I be Spirit-led?”  Or, “How can I be Spirit-filled?”  Some in the Charismatic movement have made this kind of talk about the Holy Spirit the whole locus and focus of their theology.  According to these folks, you must not only have the Holy Spirit, you must be filled with Him.  And if you are not filled, some in the Charismatic movement would say that your faith is weak and, perhaps, even non-existent.

As a Christian, you “got” Spirit.  But how much Spirit is enough Spirit?  And wouldn’t it be nice to get a little more Spirit?

Being Spirit-led and Spirit-filled is not as mysterious, nor is it as exclusive, as some people would make it out to be.  Not only does every Christian “got” Spirit, every Christian is filled with the Spirit thanks to God who continuously and generously pours out His Spirit into our lives and hearts.  Indeed, this is precisely Peter’s point on Pentecost when he quotes from the prophet Joel:  “In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy” (Acts 2:17-18).  The Greek word for “pour out” is ekcheo, meaning not only “to pour out,” but “to pour out lavishly.”  In other words, God, when He pours out His Spirit, does so generously.

Interestingly, this same word ekcheo is used in the Didache, a manual of early Christian liturgical practice, to describe baptism:  “Pour water on the head three times in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Didache 7:3).  The Greek word for “pour” is again ekcheo.  The picture of baptism, then, is a powerful one:  Just as water is poured lavishly over the head of a person in baptism, the Spirit is poured lavishly into his heart.  In baptism, every Christian is generously filled with the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is often the most overlooked Person of the Trinity.  And yet, His importance can hardly be overstated.  For the Spirit dwells in us, leads us, guides us, and gives us faith in Christ.  As I mentioned in Adult Bible Class, without the Holy Spirit, there would be no Christians because the Holy Spirit is one who converts us to Christ in the first place.  So today, give thanks for the Spirit of God.  Give thanks that you “got” Spirit.  And not just a little Spirit, but a lot.

Want to learn more on this passage? Go to
www.ConcordiaLutheranChurch.com
and check out audio and video from Pastor Tucker’s
message or Pastor Zach’s ABC!

November 15, 2010 at 5:15 am Leave a comment

ABC Extra – Filled with the Spirit

Recently, I have had some very full days.  Many appointments, tasks, and some added duties have kept me plenty busy.  My MacBook calendar is filled and my to-do list is long.  Of course, seasons like these come and go.  From time to time, we all get busy and our days get full.

In ABC this past weekend, we kicked off a brand new series called “STAINED! Windows Into Our Heritage.”  In this series, we are reflecting on the stained glass windows which grace the front of our sanctuary and study that biblical stories which they portray.  We began our series with our Pentecost window, pictured here.

The festival of Pentecost is as old as Moses.  Originally, it was a harvest festival known as the Feast of Weeks, celebrated fifty days after the Feast of Firstfruits – hence, it’s Greek name “Pentecost,” meaning” fifty.  In latter days, however, it also became associated with the giving of the Divine Law to Moses on Mount Sinai.  Thus, Pentecost was a day to celebrate the gift of God’s Law.  But on a Pentecost day in Acts 2, it became a day to celebrate another gift of God.

The story of Pentecost begins thusly: “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place” (Acts 2:1).  The Greek word for “came” is symplero’o, meaning, “to fill up completely.”  Apparently, this Pentecost day was a full one.  It was a day that didn’t just arrive on a calendar, but “filled up completely” a moment in history.  But it didn’t fill this moment in history with appointments, tasks, and duties.  No, the fullness which this Pentecost day brought was much more profound and transcendent.

The story continues:  “Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them” (Acts 2:1-4).  Some 1600 years earlier on Pentecost day, God has filled His people’s souls by giving them His Law through Moses.  Now, once again, He has filled His people’s souls by giving them His Spirit through a rushing wind and tongues of fire.

One of the many precious promises from our God is that He loves to fill His people with His good gifts.  As Jesus Himself says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled” (Matthew 5:6).  And unlike the things of this world, which, though they might fill our lives with their demands and stresses, steal our souls, the things with which God fills us always bless us and keep us in Him.  And so we rejoice that Christ fills our days and our lives with His good gifts.

Are you feeling empty?  Pray that God would fill your days and life with what you need.  May He fill your heart with His love, your concerns with His comfort, your doubts with His truth, your sin with His forgiveness, and your soul with His Spirit.  May you be full in, with, and through God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Want to learn more on this passage? Go to
www.ConcordiaLutheranChurch.com
and check out audio and video from Pastor Tucker’s
message or Pastor Zach’s ABC!

June 7, 2010 at 4:45 am Leave a comment


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