Monday, May 20, 2013

The Holy Spirit

          Jesus ascended to heaven. Before he went home to his Father he gave the disciples one last command. That was to, "...go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
          They didn’t get right too it until after this day that we heard read about today from Acts. They didn’t begin until they’d received and been empowered by the Holy Spirit.
          After they’d received the Holy Spirit many God-fearing Jews became believers in Jesus the Christ, the Messiah. If we’d have read further in the chapter we’d have discovered that about 3,000 were added to their number that day. Can you imagine 3,000 people came to believe in Jesus as the Christ?
          Let me ask you a question, “Did the disciples accomplish this all by themselves?” No, it only happened after they’d received the Holy Spirit.
          So, if the command that Jesus gave the disciples was also meant for us then shouldn’t it also mean that before we are able to make disciples and baptize people in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit we would need to receive the Holy Spirit?
          The point I want to make is this, we aren’t able to bring people to know Jesus as the Christ without help from the Holy Spirit. There’s just no way that we can accomplish this through our own willpower.
          But some of us think that’s what we’re to be about, leading people to Jesus so that they can be baptized, saved, and assured of eternal life. We don’t want anyone left behind so we want to make sure that all our friends and family are saved.
          That’s a good thing but sometimes we fail to talk with God about it. We fail to take the time to ask the Holy Spirit to guide us in this endeavor.
          When we forget that God is the one with the plan and that we are his servants, his workers, then what we’re trying to do could become a little chaotic because we’re trying to do it all on our own.
          I’m not saying that leading people to Jesus is wrong. What’s wrong is trying to do it without letting God be the One to lead the work of bringing salvation to people.
          When we don’t let God be the one in control it could become something like what happened at Babel, a whole lot of confusion and chaos. And who do we think we are anyway that we do this all by ourselves?
          Sometimes, I think, God just lets us go on our way and then he puts his finger into it and kind of stirs the pot in a different direction. And sometimes, Jesus, himself, gets involved. And then we begin to squirm and wiggle and are a little embarrassed because we didn’t leave room for that kind of thing, the excitement, the unpredictability.
          We think we’re in control but this is something we can’t control or manage. When God gets involved in the mix he threatens to overthrow everything we’ve worked so hard on. We don’t like it when our plans get changed or turned around or upset kind of like the merchants tables in the Temple.
          We’re afraid we could lose something if Jesus shows up because he reveals what we’re really worth. Face it we put a fence around this house of prayer sometimes and we narrow the field trying to keep the Holy Spirit within the bounds of our faith.
          We don’t like the risk. But that’s what Jesus asks us to do, take the risk to trust him and let him be the guide for this work of making disciples.
          We want order and God keeps messing it up by asking the Spirit to remind us again and again what Jesus taught. It was all about love and peace…and grace. Love of God, love all his children, and be open to receiving God’s abundant grace.
          All of that is risky stuff and it scares the pants off us. Friends, the lesson for us today is to be talking with God all the time and be open and aware of the working of God’s Spirit in and around us. The Spirit will provide just what we need at just the right time with the right folks.
          Friends, the disciples didn’t really know what to expect on that day that probably began like so many others and I’m sure that we aren’t too sure ourselves. The disciples waited… until God was ready and that’s what we should do to.
          God loves you my friends. Thanks be to God for his grace. Amen.

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