I believe in the Holy Spirit & the Holy Catholic Church

John 16:5-15  Psalm 104:24-35                    August 4, 2013

In June 2002, Maria and I traveled to Mexico for a short-term mission trip.  We were able to paint a house and encourage the believers in that small northern Mexico village.  During the evening, we were able to enjoy worshipping God in an outdoor setting.  There was much singing and preaching.  The Holy Spirit was definitely present during this time.

 In November 2009, I traveled with about 10 other Holston people to Yei, Sudan.  We worked on a nursery school and discovered much about what God was doing in South Sudan.  On Sunday, and every time we visited a village church during the week, we worshipped God.  The “hot songs” went on for about two hours, but you didn’t realize this as you were dancing and singing praises to God.  The Holy Spirit was moving in those churches!

 Since 1999 I have been preaching about Jesus Christ dying for our sins and our need to repent of our sins.  In each of the churches that I have been in, I have witnessed how the Holy Spirit has been working.  There have been people from all walks of life in the churches that I have pastored.  The connecting factor for each church has been the Holy Spirit has brings people together.

 

  1. Who is this Holy Spirit? (John 16:5-15)

1. Jesus had to go away in order for the Holy Spirit to come (16:5-7)

2. Same Spirit that hovered over the waters during Creation (Gen. 1)

3. Same Spirit that guided the prophets, like Elijah (1 Samuel)

4. Advocate (16:7-11) – “another Advocate” – John 14:5

5. Spirit of Truth (16:12-15) – reminds us what Jesus taught – John 14:26

6. This Spirit is God = God has 3 persons (Father, Son, & Spirit)

7. Again, we “believe in” the Holy Spirit. We are brought here to worship the Father and the Son by the direction of the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is not an “it.”  He is fully God.  He is God’s power that is working in this world at this particular time.  He is getting us ready for when Jesus Christ returns.  The Holy Spirit does this by letting us know that it is a sin to not believe in Jesus Christ.  He also gets us ready for Jesus because he lets us know that Jesus is not here.  The Holy Spirit lets us know that we need not follow the ruler of this world.  And we do have to be careful in what spirit we are following.  “Years ago a businessman bought a downtown church to extend his property for his growing business.  The church agreed to sell, received the money, and did not move.  The business man did not want to take the church to court.  He decided to scare them out of the building.  At an evening service, he cut power to the church, shown his car’s headlights through the window over the altar, and then in a devil suit, climbed through a window for all to see him. Everybody, except an elderly woman in a wheelchair escaped.  As the “devil” got closer to her, she said, “Now listen here, Satan.  I have been in this church all my life.  I taught a Sunday School class for 50 years, and I have been president of the Women’s Society for 25 years.  And I want you to know I have been on your side all the time.”[1] But the Holy Spirit does not cause division.

 

  1. What does the Holy Spirit do? (Psalm 104:24-35)

1. The Holy Spirit makes things, including the church (104:24 & Acts 2)

2. Gives the church gifts to use for building the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12)

3. When Jesus Christ is preached, the Spirit enables this

4. Holy – sacred, set apart (we share this with the Holy Spirit)

5. Catholic – “according to the whole” – “We are affirming the existence of the church even in the midst of our various theologies, traditions, and polities, and affirming our membership in that church.”[2]

– “Every care must be taken that we may hold fast to that which has been believed everywhere, always, and by all.  For this is, then, truly and properly catholic . . . This general rule will be correctly applied if we pursue universality, antiquity, and agreement.” -Vincent of Lerins[3]

6. Enables the Body of Christ to live – Leslie Weatherhead in The Christian Agnostic: “I often wonder why so many people do go to church.  Christianity must have a marvelous inherent power, or the churches would have killed it long ago.”[4]  The Holy Spirit is bringing people together to be the Body of Christ, the church that is around the world.  Once we repent, we join the church through baptism.  It is a covenant between God and a repentant and believing person.  That covenant includes being with every other believer in Jesus Christ.  The Holy Spirit enables us to do this.

 

Jesus Christ ascended into heaven to be with God the Father.  They sent the Holy Spirit to this world so that the Body of Christ could be filled with this same Holy Spirit.  Now, that we are joined in faith and covenant with Jesus Christ, we can work on being the church.

 God has set the church apart to be holy. God set the church apart so that the world would have a people to worship him.  We worship God in a variety of ways here in America, in Mexico, and South Sudan.  The whole church gets to do this worship of the Holy God.

 


[1] John R. Brokhoff, This You Can Believe, (CSS Publishing, Lima, OH; 1987), p 126-127

[2] Justo Gonzalez, The Apostles’ Creed for Today, (Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville: 2007), p. 80

[3] Thomas C. Oden, Life in the Spirit, (HarperSanFranscisco; 1992), p.337

[4] John Killinger, You are what you believe, (Abingdon Press, Nashville:1990), p. 90

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