(Please don’t miss the video by Keith and Kristyn Getty at the bottom of the page.)
Today is Pentecost, remembered as the birthday of the church, the day when we recall the events described in Acts chapter two, when the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples, bestowing upon them the presence of God.
God the Holy Spirit, is often referred to as the third member of the Trinity; after God the Father, and God the Son. We are, however, mistaken if we suppose that this means the Holy Spirit takes third place in his divinity, God twice removed, so to speak.
The Holy Spirit is God in the fullest sense. He is no less God than the father, and no less God than the Son. He is equal in honour, glory, majesty and authority.
On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples, equipping them for their ongoing service to Jesus, and ensuring the fruitfulness of their lives and labours. It was the presence of the Holy Spirit that made all the difference to the church; transforming fearful weak fishermen into courageous advocates for Jesus, the resurrection and the Gospel.
The Holy Spirit gave the disciples spiritual gifts, supernatural gifts we may say, to enable them to work powerfully in spreading the good news of the forgiveness of sins through the death of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Holy Spirit also worked within each one of them to bring about fruit in their lives, fruit that would testify to the resurrection of Jesus as much as any miracles they would perform.
By the presence of the Holy Spirit, the disciples were enabled to continue the work of Jesus in the world. Indeed, it was the Holy Spirit that made Jesus present in a very real way to the early church.
The presence of the Holy Spirit is so fundamental, that we even say that it is the presence of the Holy Spirit that constitutes the church. Whenever a person has a true and living faith in Jesus, as their Lord and Saviour, there the Holy Spirit is dwelling within them, and when such people gather together, there is the church.
The Holy Spirit is not just a character from the Bible; he is a real living person, just like Jesus, and God the Father himself. The Holy Spirit is still a real presence in the church; he is still making Jesus real to men and women across the world, and still giving spiritual gifts and bringing about spiritual fruit.
Wherever there are true believers, the Holy Spirit is there in partnership with them in the service of the gospel.
The Holy Spirit does not intend, however, to be a silent partner; sitting quietly by as the church rests. The Holy Spirit desires each one of us to be actively engaged in worship and service, and will enable us according to our ability, and often beyond it.
Today we celebrate not an event in the past, but the empowering, invigorating, dynamic power of the Holy Spirit leading us into the future. We do not know what the future holds, and at the moment the future seems more uncertain than ever. What we can be sure of, however, is that as we set out into that future, we will be accompanied by God the Holy Spirit; the gift-giving fruit-bearing Jesus-manifesting presence of God himself.
Good news indeed, happy Pentecost!