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Friday, June 1, 2018

I Believe in the Holy Spirit

I Believe in the Holy Spirit
We have been discussing the basic Christian beliefs and the Apostles’ Creed in these last few blogs. Today we will discuss a major Christian belief, the belief in the Holy Spirit. The Apostles’ Creed reads: “I believe in the Holy Spirit”.  Here below is another copy of the Apostles’ Creed.
The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, the Father Almighty.
Creator of heaven and earth. 
I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord,
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
Born of the Virgin Mary,
Suffered under Pontius Pilate,
Was crucified, died, and was buried:
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again:
He ascended into heaven,
And is seated at the right hand of the Father.
And will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
The holy catholic church,
The communion of saints,
The forgiveness of sins,
The resurrection of the body.
And the life everlasting. Amen.
When Jesus left the earth and went back to heaven He told the disciples to wait in Jerusalem and He would send them the Holy Spirit.  These are Jesus’ words to His followers: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts l:8)
The disciples and over one hundred of Jesus’ followers were anxious to receive the Holy Spirit that Jesus had promised, so they came together and prayed and waited for the Spirit.  For ten days they waited and prayed together in an upper room for the promised Holy Spirit. And Scripture describes what happened next: “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.  And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.  Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them.  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.” (Acts 2:1-4) 
Don’t you wish you could have been there? The Holy Spirit suddenly comes upon Jesus’ followers as a rushing, violent wind and settles as tongues of fire over each woman or man waiting there.  Wind and fire – Blow into our lives, Holy Spirit and fill us with your mighty power. Light our hearts with your fire that our love may burn forYou. 
Those early followers of Jesus at Pentecost who received that first infilling of the Holy Spirit were never the same again! When Jesus was crucified, all His disciples had deserted Him and run away terrified! But now after the Holy Spirit had come upon them, these same fearful disciples were changed! They are now bold and unafraid! They all begin to speak in tongues as the Spirit gives them the words!  And Peter preaches a sermon to the amazed onlooking crowd and more than three thousand people from the crowd become Christians that very morning.
 And after that, hundreds of people each day were drawn to Christ as they heard the good news of Christ being preached on the streets of Jerusalem. Those early spirit filled Christians deeply loved one another, forgave one another and shared everything with one another. Their numbers grew as so many more people accepted Christ and joined them.   
Peter and others went about healing the sick and performing miracles through the Holy Spirit’s power.  No one had ever seen anything like it!  The early Church had completely given themselves over to the power of the Holy Spirit! And Scripture says that they all worked together and took care of one another. Oh, that our churches today would love each other and forgive one another and totally open themselves to the power of the Holy Spirit!  Jesus’ promise of the Holy Spirit is for every believer.  Are we open and waiting for His guidance in our lives?  
I believe that many Christians live Spirit-deprived lives today.  Many have not been taught about the Holy Spirit or encouraged to seek the Spirit’s work in their lives.  We often try to live the Christian life in our own strength and wisdom.  How do we open our lives to the Holy Spirit?
First, we can pray and ask for more of the Holy Spirit’s power and continue to wait and pray for more as the early Christians did. We can listen for the voice of the Spirit and open ourselves to the Spirit’s work in our lives.  When the Spirit convicts us or quickens our conscience to wrong doing, we can repent and turn from hate or bad deeds.  We can ask the Holy Spirit to lead us and be ready to follow. He will often lead us through persistent nudges.  We can listen for His nudges and wait for His guidance in the decisions we make in life.
Scripture describes some of the Holy Spirit’s work and impact on our lives as the “fruit of the Spirit.”  Scripture says: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23) Also, the Holy Spirit gives us each gifts as He decides, so that we can be helpful as members in the body of Christ.  Some of the gifts the Spirit gives are prophecy, teaching, praying for miracles, healing, gifts of administration, gifts of wisdom or knowledge, and tongues.  (1 Corinthians 12:27-29)  
The Holy Spirit is part of the God head, the Trinity - Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  No one fully understands the Trinity, the Three in One. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.  It is a mystery.  If we humans could understand God, then God wouldn’t be God. The Church down through the ages has had to fight for the basic orthodox Christian faith.  The Church fathers, with much prayer and fasting and trusting God to guide them, have held to the Biblical Christian position that God is One God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 
Scripture tells us that if you believe in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior that He will give you the Holy Spirit to be at work in you, comforting, guiding, and empowering you.  The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit “seals” us for eternal life.  Here Scripture tells us: “Having believed, you were marked in Him (Jesus) with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is the deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possessions – to the praise of His glory! (Ephesians 1:14)
Jesus told His followers that:” If anyone is thirsty, let him or her come to Me and drink.  Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him/her.”  (John 7:27) And the next verse, John 7:38 says:” By this Jesus meant the Holy Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were later to receive.”   This Gift that Jesus gives His followers is the Holy Spirit.  And when we open ourselves to this wonderful gift of the Holy Spirit, we will never be spiritually thirsty again!  We will never thirst again because Jesus says that streams of living water will flow out of us!  It doesn’t get any better than that!



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