I wonder if you’ve ever felt that someone was speaking right to the very essence of you, right to your heart and soul? Have you ever soaked yourself in the word of God? Have you ever felt the presence and power of the Spirit of God? Ever felt that God was actually speaking to you?
In this series we want to learn about the person of the Holy Spirit: what the bible tells us about him and what he can do for us in our lives today.
To start, I invite you to spend some time reading and soaking in some words about the Holy Spirit – spoken by Jesus, and written by Jesus’s close friend John. These passages are found in chapters 14, 15 and 16 of John’s account of Jesus’s life, which you can read here
Note that Jesus gives a premise for his promise of the Holy Spirit: “If you love me, keep my commands” The promise of the Spirit follows that appeal.
Jesus refers to Holy Spirit various as an Advocate and the Spirit of Truth. An “advocate” in law, is one who speaks for another, gives counsel.
The Spirit is a helper, an encourager, a strengthener and also speaks the truth to us – teaching, illuminating and guiding us in all things. When we follow his teaching and promptings, when we seek and accept his encouragement and strength and counsel, the end result is deep, lasting peace. Not blown about by the stormy seas of life but kept afloat and on course!
Jesus spoke about the need for his disciples to remain in him and in his love, just as he remains in the Father’s love and as the branches of a vine must remain connected to the vine in order to live and be fruitful. He gives - and repeats - a clear command that they are to love one another – love one another as he loves them!
Remember earlier he said “If you love me, keep my commands”? We are to love one another and remain in his love. And then Jesus speaks again about the Holy Spirit, telling his disciples that he sends the Spirit from the Father to those who love him. One of the jobs of the Holy Spirit is to testify about Jesus. And, Jesus says, we who follow and love him must also testify about him!
“The world”, says Jesus, is wrong about sin and righteousness and judgement. The Spirit guides, corrects and testifies to this. We ignore sin and claim our own righteousness at our peril because there will be judgement and only by accepting Jesus can our slate be wiped clean, can we be made righteous before God and stand ready to be judged “not guilty” by the grace of God himself.
The Holy Spirit is for all who love Jesus - old and young, male and female. We know that we want to change and need to change but change can only come and be sustained by the work of the Holy Spirit in us. He comes from the Father and brings the Word of the Father. The Father wants us to know him. He sent Jesus who speaks to us – heart and soul - through the Holy Spirit. The Father is parent to the Word, who reaches us on the Father’s breath
Are you open to the Holy Spirit’s power and guidance and direction in your life? Are you open to hearing from Jesus, via the Holy Spirit of God?
When you feel tossed about by the waves and wind, will you follow the ways of the world, your sinful nature…. Or is He your compass, guiding and directing you? Are you paddling your own little boat, or are you catching the wind, filling your sails with the very breath of God himself?
The Spirit of God within us gives us various gifts, blessings and the power to follow Jesus and make Him known. The Spirit helps us love God, love people and grow together to become more like Jesus.
It’s been said that “A small group of people can change the world - in fact it is the only thing that ever has.” When Jesus’s promise of the Holy Spirit came true at Pentecost, the disciples - this small group of previously fearful people -had a profound impact on a huge number of people. They brought words of great power, words from the Father, given by Jesus to the Spirit – the “Ruach” (Hebrew meaning spirit, breath or wind), the very breath of God. On that day 3000 people eagerly listened and they believed, repented, were baptised. Lives were transformed!
Can you imagine what could happen if we responded as that little group of disciples in Jerusalem did? The Holy Spirit in them gave them courage and confidence that they needed, to be everything that God wanted them to be!
To say and do things fearlessly and in Jesus’s name, living for almighty God and backed by, powered by, inspired by the very Spirit of God himself.
Can you imagine - people like you and me filled with love – filled with power, filled with the Spirit of God Almighty - speaking to and through us!
Do you want to be everything God created you to be? I do. I don’t want to settle for ordinary, when extraordinary is on offer. Don’t want to be bound by the limitations of my own natural power, when supernatural power is there for the asking. Don’t want to be hemmed in by my own fears and weaknesses, I want to be emboldened and empowered and set free by the Holy Spirit of God himself. Now how ‘bout you? Well it’s on offer. It’s a promise if….
“If you love me, obey my commands…. This is my command – love one another as I have loved you.”
A wise man once said to me “Soak yourself in the word of God, because what you soak yourself in, drips out of you.” We can soak ourselves in the word of God by reading the bible. We can soak ourselves in the word of God by talking about Jesus with friends. And we can soak ourselves in the word of God by opening our hearts and minds to the Holy Spirit who bring us words from Jesus, the Word, sent by God the Father who loves us as his children.
Build some time in your busy day to read the word of God.
Build some space into your routine to talk to and listen out for him.
Build some resolve in your heart to remain rooted in him - and in his love.
And if you build it… he will come.
Questions and Reflections (for you to think about on your own or to discuss in your Life Group)