Catch on Fire!: Who's the Holy Spirit?
Act 2:1-4 2 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 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. 3 Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
Lord, we want you to be first in our lives. And yet we know that you know how hard it is to keep you first in our lives. Only by your Holy Spirit, we can put you first in our lives. God, you shape us through this worship service and through this message that we are going to share this morning. We pray we will be shaped by your Holy Spirit to be more like Jesus when we leave here than when we got here. We pray this bold prayer in Jesus’ name and everybody says, Amen.
It was when I was five years old. My mom sent me to a kindergarten. Since the kindergarten was near to our house, we walked to the kindergarten. So every morning mom held my hand and walked me to the kindergarten. But somehow she didn’t walk me to the front door of the kindergarten. She walks with me to the place where we could see the building of the kindergarten and then she stands there sending me to school and then she left. It wasn’t really long distance that I had to walk by myself. Now I think it was only less than 10 meters or so, but it was quite long to me who was only 5 years old. Anyway, then I had to walk to school by myself from the place where my mom used to stop walking with me. It was okay. And then one day I got a problem. Between the spot my mom leaves and the kindergarten, there was a house and a new family moved into the house. And the family had a huge dog. It was bigger than me and barked like all the earth could be shaken. Now I think it doesn’t make sense at all, but at that time in my head, the dog was huge and so fierce. The dog had 80 teeth in his mouth and he just looked like he just came out of hell to chew me up. These are all the images that I still have in my memory. It cannot be true, but the dog was that scary to me at that time. I was so afraid of the dog and didn’t want to pass the house alone. But my mom didn’t care. She just said, “The dog is leashed so that dog cannot bite you. You are going to be okay. Just walk to the school!” And then she left! Then I cried walking by the house so afraid of the dog.I was so afraid that I couldn’t even breathe. Then that night that dog started appearing in the dreams. He chased me all night in my dream. It was that terrible. I was so afraid. So the next morning again I was walking by the house I was terrified of the dog and the dog was again barking so fiercely at me. I couldn’t move. So I stopped walking and started crying. And then all of sudden from somewhere my mom’s voice came out! My mom’s voice told me “Sophia, it’s okay. Just walk. One step at a time!” So I stopped crying and looked around to see if there was my mom, but I couldn’t find her. She was not there. But surprisingly my mom kept talking to me. “Mom is with you. It’s okay. Just keep walking. You will be fine. The dog cannot bite you. It is okay.” That was definitely my mom’s voice even though I couldn’t see her. But my mom’s voice enabled me to walk again. I started walking one step after another and finally was able to make it to the kindergarten! At that time I thought my mom was like an angel so she was there with me in spirit or something. But actually, my mom was hiding behind the house and talking to me. I don’t know why she just walked with me. I guess she wanted me to grow strong. I don’t know what she was thinking. Anyway, after that day I overcame the fear of the dog, so I didn’t have any problems with the dog at all since then!
And you know what? What my mom’s voice did to me thirty-some years ago is what the Holy Spirit does with us today! That’s what the Holy Spirit speaks to us!
When I had exit interviews for the confirmation with 9 kids, one thing I noticed was that the kids were confused with what roles the Trinity had. All of us know that the Trinity is one in three and three in one. But our kids didn’t really know what the Triune God does in the three different names. So, let me ask you a question about who the Triune God is. Who is the Creator of the Universe? (God) Who is the Savior of us? (Jesus) Who is always with us? (the Holy Spirit) Yes! God has created the world, Jesus saved us, and the Holy Spirit is always with us to sustain us in God’s love. Yes, this is the Holy Spirit who speaks to us, encourages us, sustain us in God’s love and comfort. This is the Holy Spirit who works among us, who enables us to respond to God’s invitation with our will! When you hear something that God speaks to you, it is the work of the Holy Spirit that opens our eyes to see and open our ears to hear that! Without the Holy Spirit, our loves would’ve been terrible!
After Jesus died on the cross, three days later Jesus arose! And then Jesus spent 40 days with his disciples on the earth. And the Bible says after 40 days Jesus ascended to heaven! This that I cannot explain. I don’t know what happened. But the Bible says the disciples stood there looking into the heaven amazed. Jesus was just gone. Right before he left, Jesus said to his disciples, “I want you to stay together and I want you to wait because I am going to send the Holy Spirit. So for 10 days, not just 20 disciples, but 120 of them were gathered together in a room. What were they doing? They were gathered together. That’s all we know. But my hunch tells me they were really afraid. Don’t you agree? They didn’t know what was happening. They didn’t even know what the Holy Spirit is. They just were there waiting. And the Bible tells us something amazing happened.
So let’s read today’s Scripture together. (slide) On the day of Pentecost, all the believers were meeting together in one place. Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. (slide) Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability. Acts 2:1-4 (NLT) So, (slide) Who is the Holy Spirit?
So, let’s read together the question that we are going to answer today. (slide) What does the Holy Spirit want to do in me? What does the Holy Spirit with us today? Do we all know what the Holy Spirit is doing with us? Let’s find out! Let’s read it out loud (slide) “The Holy Spirit is God’s gift in me to transform my life!” Yes, it is the Holy Spirit who transforms our lives! And the Bible shows this so clearly. Think about Peter. Peter was the guy who failed more than he succeeded in following Jesus. He walked on the water a little bit and drowned right away. He said Jesus is the savior of the world and then he tried to stop Jesus so Jesus called him “Satan.” He cut a servant’s ear that Jesus healed right away. He denied Jesus three times and ran away from Jesus when Jesus was suffering on the cross. He was such a failure. But after he received the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, he totally changed. He is just a fisherman knowing nothing about wonderful speech. But when he gets up and preaches right after Pentecost that Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit, three thousand people get saved. Wow, started thinking the first time I preached. After I got done preaching the first time, I wasn’t sure I was saved. And yet this fisherman preaches and three thousand people come to Jesus. That’s Holy Spirit’s work. Now Let’s read this Scripture together. When we read this together, please circle the word, “only” in your soul feast. (slide) “Humans give life to their children. Yet only God’s Spirit can change you into a child of God. Don’t be surprised when I say that you must be born from above. Only God’s Spirit gives new life. The Spirit is like the wind that blows wherever it wants to. You can hear the wind, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going.” John 3:6-8 (CEV) How many do only we have? Twice. “only God’s Spirit can change you into a child of God.” And “Only God’s Spirit gives new life.” It is only the Holy Spirit who can change you from the inside out! Only the Holy Spirit can change mean people to be nice. Only the Holy Spirit can make the lost people to be found!
Are you experiencing the fresh wind of the Spirit? If you are not, then you need to ask yourself, “why not”? Corrie ten boom says in her book Each New Day, “I have a glove in my hand. And the glove cannot do anything by itself, but when my hand is in it, it can do many things.” True, it’s not the glove, but my hand in the glove that acts. And listen to what she says. “We, followers of Jesus Christ, are gloves. And it is the Holy Spirit in us who is the hand and who does the job. We have to make a room so that Holy Spirit can move. So that Holy Spirit can fill us. Are you making a room for Holy Spirit so that the Holy Spirit can work in you, or are you doing all the heavy lifting without the Holy Spirit’s help?
(slide) “What does the Holy Spirit want to do in me?” Let’s read it out loud. (slide) “number 1. The Holy Spirit wants to be my teacher!” And here is the Scripture. Let’s read it together! (slide) “But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.” John 14:26 (NLT) The word, “Advocate” means comforter, and it’s a Greek word, Parakleitos. Two Greek words combined together and it means “To come alongside” The Holy Spirit comes along our sides. It’s like my mom’s voice speaking to me “Go, Walk, you can do it!” When I cannot see her, but just hear her. The voice of Holy Spirit speaks to us whenever we need guidance, support, and comfort. The Holy Spirit is walking alongside us. And Holy Spirit speaks the only truth that is based on the Scripture. If anything doesn’t go with what the Bible says, it is not coming from the Holy Spirit.
Number 2. (slide) “The Holy Spirit wants to help me overcome sin!” Wouldn’t you agree that we all are in the fight against sin? Would you agree that we fight against the temptation to sin in our everyday lives? Then my question is “Can we overcome sin?” The Bible says “Absolutely you can!” Listen to what Galatians 5:16 says. (slide) “So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.” Galatians 5:16 (NLT) The Spirit of God dwells in us and the Spirit of God wants to give the power to overcome sin! So when you wanted to mean, but you are nice to others. That’s the Spirit’s work. When you are tempted to harm someone verbally or in other ways but you decide to love somebody one more time, that’s the Holy Spirit’s work. We need to let the Holy Spirit work in our lives! I need it. When I drive on route 40, and somebody cuts me off, And I say “God bless you,” that’s the Spirit’s work, right? It’s sad that I am surprised when I am more like Jesus than less like Jesus in my life. And I want more!
Number 3. (slide) “The Holy Spirit wants to grow the character of Jesus in me!” Yes Once you said yes to Jesus, once you call yourself Christian, that means you spend the rest of your life cooperating God and this community grows to become more and more like Jesus. And when does it stop? It stops on the day your heart stops. It’s something that we should do every day for our entire lives! And at that moment when you pass from this life to life eternal, then you will be done. All we need to do with our own lives is to become more and more like Jesus. Then, we should ask a question. What is Jesus like? Paul calls it the fruit of the Spirit. Let’s read Galatians 5:22-23 together. Ready? Go (slide) But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Does anybody in this room have all of these? Not me. Have you ever walk by corns and the corns going “Corns are going to make corns!” And yet that’s what a lot of us do in our walk with Jesus. “I am going to follow Jesus and this is so hard!” Yet, Paul says we can have the character of Jesus, the fruit of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is supposed to flow through us like sap flowing through a tree. And it will naturally produce fruit in us. We get to learn how to let sap flow through us. When we live with the Holy Spirit and listen to what the Spirit says to us, the fruits will be naturally produced in us.
Number 4. (slide) The Holy Spirit wants to equip me for ministry! Why would God do all of these changing things in us? Why does the Holy Spirit keep walking with you? Does God want us to keep that just in ourselves? No! There are billions of people in this world who need you, your story, and your unique gift to help them out of their misery, right? And the Bible calls this unique gifting spiritual gifts. Have you thought about that? God needs you to help others! And there are many ways that we can do that in our own church! Let’s read 1 Corinthians together. (slide) “A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.” 1 Corinthians 12:7 (NLT) A spiritual gift is given to whom? Each of us! No exception there! Each and every one of us has been given a spiritual gift from God by the Holy Spirit! What is yours? Do you like to help others? Do you love to sing for God? Do you like to pray for others? Think what gifts you have been given by God! God gives us spiritual gifts not just for you and me but for this world that doesn’t know Jesus. And it goes further. (slide) The Holy Spirit wants to empower me to witness Jesus!
Let’s read Act 1:8 with me. (slide) But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Yes, the Holy Spirit wants to empower us to be witnesses of Jesus in the world.
The job description of the Holy Spirit is much longer than this. But look at the five things again. The Holy Spirit wants to teach you, help to overcome sin, grow Jesus’ character in you, equip for ministry and empower for the witness. And here’s a really important question. “Are you experiencing the fire, the consuming fire of the Holy Spirit in your life? Or Is the Holy Spirit, what Francis Chang calls in his newest book, the forgotten God in your life?” This is a really important question. Have you neglected the Holy Spirit in your life? When I was coming back from Peru, I had to change my flight at Miami. When I got off at the airport for the connecting flight, my gate was gate A, and the gate for the connecting flight to Chicago was gate Q. So I put all my stuff together and started running like crazy. Because I had only 20 minutes to catch the next flight. I am running, I am running and I am running. Sweating and huffing and puffing to run. And I look to my fight still running to the gate Q. And I saw some girl who was just about my age and carrying as much luggage I had, walking half fast as I am, but passing me. And I thought to myself, “I am getting old and you need to exercise more!” And then I realized the girl was walking on the moving sidewalk. That is a metaphor for my relationship with the Holy Spirit. I am doing all the heave lifting, I am doing all the heavy tugging. I am sweating. I am working hard to follow Jesus. And the Holy Spirit says, “Hey, I just want you to walk. I will be under you and I will carry you twice as fast.” So let me ask you. “How’s the Holy Sprit in your life?” Is the Spirit forgotten? I want you to say it with me. “Come, Holy Spirit Come” One more time we are going to say this, “Come, Holy Spirit, come” and this time we will lift our hands. Just lift them and say this with me. “Come, Holy Spirit, come!”