I Believe in the Holy Spirit …
I Believe in the Holy Spirit …
By Pastor Gary Lewis
In this season of Thanksgiving, sharing gratitude has become even more important in 2020. We have incredible opportunities to help our community through the food pantry, the soup kitchen in Elkhart and through Samaritan’s Purse. With all of the polarization of our society and the threats of civil unrest, we need to lean into our Lord for encouragement and support. As Christians, we need to be grateful for a gift that comes from the Lord.
The Apostles’ Creed is a summary statement of our beliefs as Christians. It has been around since at least 390. There is one line in the creed, “I believe in the Holy Spirit.” This simple, declarative, statement derives from Jesus’ promise to his disciples that they will receive the Holy Spirit.
When Jesus was preparing to leave his in-person ministry on earth, he promised his followers they would always have him with them through the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. In Luke 24 and John 14, Jesus tells us that God would send the Advocate, the Holy Spirit. They are to wait to be clothed from on high with the Spirit’s power. The Spirit will empower their mission and ministry and enable them to be witnesses for Jesus to the ends of the earth.
In Acts, Jesus tells his followers in Jerusalem to wait for the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. “While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of his Father. ‘This,’ he said, ‘is what you have heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’” Acts 1:4-5
Imagine the anticipation of those who heard those words! What does that mean? What will it look like? How is it going to work? Should we send out a survey to clarify?
That baptism of the Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost. From that time forward, all who belong to Jesus Christ receive the Holy Spirit. It is a gift.
“Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.” Acts 2:38-39
Do you know of folks for whom getting a gift is a problem? Some folks pride themselves on still having unopened Christmas presents from 20 years ago.
When it comes to the Holy Spirit, many people simply have not opened the gift to receive its blessings. Not because it is lost in the mail or forgotten in a box of Christmas decorations. It is unopened because we are busy, distracted, careless, forgetful, and we do not know what we are missing.
Many Christian believers have no idea about the Holy Spirit. Many faith traditions do not talk about it and as a result, God’s gift of the Spirit goes unopened and unrealized for much of our lives. We have very little experience what the Spirit-filled life is like.
Rev. Carolyn Moore, the pastor of Mosaic Church in Evans, Georgia, describes the Spirit-filled life like this. Imagine going to an amazing restaurant and you are starving. All the food smells wonderful, but when you look at the menu, you realize you cannot afford the prices, so you order a lettuce wedge and a glass of water. The person next to you orders also. The waiter brings him a lovely plate of mouth-watering filet mignon, lobster, baked potato with all the toppings, beautiful fresh vegetables of every color. It smells wonderful. It looks amazing. You are missing out.
The Spirit-filled life is supposed to be like that – a sumptuous spiritual feast every day. God wants to lavish us spiritually, to pour out joy and blessings upon us through the community with the Holy Spirit and fuel and empower us for vital service in the world.
We are to be a Spirit-filled people! Ask God for the gift of the Holy Spirit to be realized in your life.