We Are Not Alone Part 1: Who Is The Holy Spirit
On Sunday 22nd May at our morning services, we started our new series We Are Not Alone with the topic 'Who Is The Holy Spirit'. In this blog you will find a summary of the talk and then some questions and reflections for you to think through on your own or to discuss in your small group.
To listen to the talk on-line, please click here.
To download the talk to listen to off line, please click here.
At the start of our service we listened to a version of the song 'In The Air Tonight'. To listen to this, please click here.
Christians believe that God exists as three entities or persons in relationship together – Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Christians call that the Trinity). I think most people have some questions about this whole thing. If you are a Christian you have probably heard the Trinity talked about a lot and you may think you understand it, but it is still a bit mysterious and you may still have some questions about it. If you’re not a Christian, this may well be something you have questions about too, you may well have heard about the Trinity about God existing as Father, Son and Spirit and wonder how all that works.
God’s story paints a picture for us as God existing as three persons in relationship with one another. When Christians talk about God they are talking about three persons – Father, Son and Spirit existing in a relationship together. A relationship of equals. Not multiple gods, one God but in three persons.
Now often Christians are really good at talking about two of the three - God the Father, God the son (Jesus), but we may not talk quite so much about the Holy Spirit. Probably because the Holy Spirit is much harder to define. Over the course of this series we are going to try to put that right. To talk about the Holy Spirit – who is the spirit, what does the spirit do, how do we get the spirit and so on.
We are starting today with who is the Holy Spirit?
Luke was one of Jesus’ first followers and he was also a historian and a very good one at that. He wrote down the stories of Jesus’ life in a book in the New Testament part of the Bible called Luke. But he also wrote a history of what happened in the few years after Jesus had gone back to heaven – that book is called Acts and it is also in the New Testament. The first few verses of that book help us understand a bit more about who the Holy Spirit is. You can read that in in chapter 1 verses 1 to 8. Click here to read those verses.
In verses 1 to 3 we get a bit of background – in the time between Jesus’ resurrection and his going back to be with his Father in heaven, he appears to his followers and on one occasion he talks about the Holy Spirit.
In verse 4 we see that the Holy Spirit is a gift from God, promised by Jesus. In the Bible there are a huge number of passages which demonstrate that the Holy Spirit is divine, is God. Sometimes those passages directly link God and the Spirit by using the divine names for example Lord and God interchangeably with the name of the Spirit.
In verse 5 we read that we need to receive the Spirit. In verses 6 to 8 we discover that the Holy Spirit is the power of and the Holy Spirit equips followers of Jesus to live for him and to tell others about him. The purpose of the Spirit is to equip followers of Jesus to be witnesses for him in word and deed.
So to sum up, the Spirit is the power of God, promised by Jesus, it is a gift from God, and the Spirit is to equip Jesus followers to share God’s love with others.
Jesus says that his followers operating in the power of the Spirit will do greater things than he himself has done so we can reasonably expect that same power to be available to his followers. The Holy Spirit is God’s presence with us. We all have the opportunity to experience the presence of God. Why wouldn’t we want that?
Questions and Reflections (to think about on your own or to discuss in your small group)
1. What do you know about the Trinity? Do you find it mysterious, confusing, weird, wonderful?
2. Why do you think it is often easier to talk about God as Father and as the Son (Jesus) than to talk about the Holy Spirit?
3. What do you know about the Holy Spirit?
4. What does it mean that God longs to give the Holy Spirit as a gift?
5. Do you agree that the purpose of the Spirit is to equip followers of Jesus to be effective witnesses?
6. What does it mean to be baptised in the Spirit? Are you willing to receive the Spirit afresh?