“A Matter of Life and Death”
Earlier this week I read these words from John Stott about our need for the Holy Spirit:
Without the Holy Spirit, Christian discipleship would be inconceivable, even impossible. There can be no life without the life-giver, no understanding without the Spirit of truth, no fellowship without the unity of the Spirit, no Christlikeness of character apart from his fruit, and no effective witness without his power. As a body without breath is a corpse, so the church without the Spirit is dead.
Thus, the importance of Pentecost! Pentecost is the day we celebrate the empowering, unifying, life-giving gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church. This gift, however, is intended for the whole world. That’s why Peter quotes the prophet Joel in his first Spirit-inspired sermon (“I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh…”), and why he closes his sermon by saying, “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).
The ultimate answer to the death-dealing sickness in our culture is for people to release their harming attempts at control (repentance) and to surrender to the authority of Jesus (baptism), so that their separation from the Father is ended (forgiveness) and they can receive the life-giving, re-creating breath of God (Holy Spirit).
One of the primary reasons we, Immanuel, have been given the Holy Spirit is to empower us boldly to declare this truth. The importance of speaking the truth of who Jesus is and our need for him stands out to me as I read Acts chapter two. The speaking in “other tongues” is miraculous and fascinating, but the purpose is that people from every nation “hear them speaking in [their] own tongues the mighty works of God” (Acts 2:11). I’m convicted regarding how rarely I clearly speak of the need for Jesus outside of church. And so I want…
…not to try harder, but a fresh filling of the Holy Spirit. As we gather this Sunday to remember Pentecost, would you join me in praying for a renewed movement of the Holy Spirit in our lives, for the sake of bringing life to our dying world.
Your Pastor in the Resurrected, Ascended, Spirit-sending Christ,