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The Gift of the Holy Spirit:  Pentecost Sunday Sermon

 

The Gift Of The Holy Spirit

 

The Gift of the Holy Spirit:  Pentecost Sunday Sermon

  

 May 20, 2018

 

 

Dr. Mary Craig

Mary Craig Ministries, Inc.

 

Samuel Chadwick said in 1911 “The gift of the Spirit is the crowning mercy of God in Christ Jesus…The Incarnation and Crucifixion, the Resurrection and Ascension were all preparatory to Pentecost.” (Joyful News, 1911)

 

“It cannot be gainsaid that it is no longer generally recognized that supernatural agency is imperatively required in order for the redemptive work of Christ to be applied to sinners.  Rather do actions show it is now widely held that if unregenerate souls are instructed in the letter of Scripture their own will-power is sufficient to enable them to ‘decide for Christ’…the greatest lack of all in Christendom to-day is the absence of the Holy Spirit’s power and blessing.” (A. W. Pink)

 

Many today say that the Holy Spirit was never in any believer before Pentecost.  Look up Numbers 27:18, Nehemiah 9:30, and 1 Peter 1:11 along with Isaiah 63:10 and Acts 7:51.  But we have the “same Spirit of faith” (2 Cor. 4:13) as OT people.  “The Spirit was given in the OT saints prospectively, as pardon of sin was given—in view of the satisfaction which Christ was to render unto God.” (A. W. Pink). 

 

From the first entrance of sin, God promised the sending of His Son, who would obey and die, and the sending of His Spirit to make that work effectual.  Both came from heaven.  Both can be seen in the O.T. Both have prophecies about their advents.  Both came accompanied by visibly glorious signs and wonders. Read Psalm 68:18; Joel 2:28; Ezekiel 36:26, e.g. and Isaiah 7:14, e.g. 

  

At Pentecost the new wine of the Holy Spirit burst the old wine of Judaism. Jesus said we could not put new wine into old wineskins.  The inauguration of a new era, a new power for righteousness, and a new basis of fellowship occurred with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. 

 

The Holy Spirit was not first given at Pentecost. (Nehemiah 9:20; Haggai 2:5)  But the Spirit’s advent marked the fulfillment of Divine promise:  e.g. Proverbs 1:23; Joel 2:28, Luke 3:15, 16; Acts 2:32, 33. Jesus promised and believed.  Let’s read about it.  John 15:26; John 16:7. 

 

Christ was the Passover Lamb (Exodus 12).  He fulfilled the Feast of Passover, the Feast of unleavened bread, and the “wave sheaf” or “first fruits of the harvest.” Read Leviticus 23:4-11 and 1 Corinthians 15:23

 

The fourth Feast (Exodus 34:22; Deut. 16:10; Leviticus 23:15, 16.) was Pentecost.  The Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) required presenting unto God two wave loaves, the first-fruits unto the Lord. (Lev. 23:17), the ingathering.  Israel was required to offer a “new meal offering unto the Lord (Lev. 23:16).  The first loaf represented those redeemed among the Jews and the second anticipated the ingathering of God’s elect from among the Gentiles. 

 

Fifty days passed from when the Hebrews left their bondage in Egypt until they received the law at Sinai.  Pentecost remembers the giving of the law at Sinai, but ushers in something new, the giving of the Holy Spirit who gives the life the Law cannot give.  Tongues like as of fire accompanied what happened in Acts 2.  This recalled the smoking furnace and a burning lamp that passed between the pieces when the LORD made a covenant with Abram in Genesis 15. (See also Exodus 3:2; Exodus 13:21)  Read Acts 2:1-3.  Cloven tongues like as of fire appeared and sat upon each of them.  The dividing of tongues in judgment in Genesis 11 is now cloven tongues in grace.  See also Revelation 7:9, 10.

 

People from all over had come together for this fourth feast.  Not only was there speaking in tongues but the differing people could understand in their own language wherein they were born.  They heard about the wonderful work of God.  They were amazed and wondered what it all meant.  Acts 2:1-13.  The purpose of the Holy Spirit’s coming includes: witnessing to Christ’s exaltation, taking Christ’s place on earth, furthering Christ’s cause, and empowering Christ’s servants. 

 

The Holy Spirit makes us witnesses because He Himself is a witness.  Peter preached boldly on the day of Pentecost of what he knew.  We can only witness to as much of Jesus as the Holy Spirit is witnessing to us in life and truth.  The Holy Spirit hides Himself in the weak things that God has chosen so that flesh may not glory in His presence.  1 Cor. 2:3-5, e.g.  We may feel nothing; and we don’t need to.  God gives the Holy Spirit to the obedient.  (Acts 5:32) God does not give His power for selfish ends, like saving someone from trouble and effort.  He gives the Spirit to glorify His Son.  God exerts power in and through weakness; He owns the power.  The power is the power of a Person who has a will and a purpose for it. 

 

The disciples learned to live under the power of another.  To be over others, to conquer, we must first be under the Highest Power, and then go…and do what He says.

 

In the New Covenant, the believer receives God’s Spirit within, a Living Person, dwelling within.  The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the Father, the Spirit of Christ; we might say, God’s inmost self.  The spirit of man is his inmost self.  Andrew Murray says, “He becomes to me what He was to Jesus, the very life of my personality.”   There must be harmony between a home and its occupant; an understanding of what it means, Christ in you, the hope of glory.  “The Spirit fits for worship; worship fits for the Spirit.” (Andrew Murray)  (1 Corinthians 6:18-20)

 

Jesus cleanses with His blood and baptizes with the Holy Spirit.  As the Lamb, Jesus takes away sin; as the Anointed, He baptizes with the Spirit.  Only by shedding His blood did Jesus receive the Holy Spirit to pour forth on those for whom He died as promised.  The blood and the oil go together.  The Spirit comes where the Blood is applied.  Leviticus 14:11-18.

 

Before the outpouring of Pentecost, Jesus spent three years training and preparing His disciples.  Jesus attached the disciples to Himself, taught them as their Master and Lord, and expected their obedience, loyalty, and devotion.  In John 14:15, 16, Jesus spoke of obedience to His commands as being the one condition of all further spiritual blessing. 

 

The Holy Spirit enlightens the previously blind, making the believer able to see and to receive the light of God.  This process continues throughout the believer’s life until glory. (Proverbs 4:18).  This is not some mere informing of the mind or communication of spiritual knowledge; it is a “deep down where we live” consciousness of the Truth.  What we receive from the Holy Spirit in truth stays in us; it abides in us. 

 

The anointing enables the believer to perceive the true nature of sin—opposition against God, expressed in self-pleasing.  With increasing awareness, we discover the truth of what it means to be “totally depraved, corrupt at the very core of our being.”  By the anointing, we grow in our ability to detect the deceptions of Satan, who was out there convincing us that good is evil and evil is good.  By the anointing we apprehend and take unto ourselves the claims of God: that God is worthy and entitled to our worship.  We learn God’s ways and the path of practical holiness.  We behold the perfect necessity and sufficiency of Christ; that Christ is the only One who could and has met all God’s claims upon us.  By the anointing we feel the truth that the flesh profits nothing and that apart from Christ we can do nothing.  We see our need to be filled with the Holy Spirit, filled with the fullness of Christ.  We move from darkness to light, from a core bent toward iniquity to a core of Truth; truth in the inward parts; truth in the core of our being.

 

“What the Holy Spirit writes on the heart remains:  ‘The anointing which you have received of Him abides in you.’  1 John 2:27, and neither man nor devil can efface it.” (A. W. Pink) 

 

The Holy Spirit is Truth.  He teaches truth and absolutely not does He teach falsehood.  There is no lie in Him.  As long as He is teaching you, you are abiding in truth and thus in Him. 

 

This anointing is a teaching one; it enlightens understanding.  This oil or ointment was first put on Christ without measure and from Christ descends to all those who comprise His Body.  By the Spirit of Truth we can discern the spirit of whoredoms and error, the spirit of antichrist.  Believers have the anointing Spirit from the Father as well as from the Son, and so the Spirit is the token, the guarantee, that we are in the Father and in the Son.  Those who have not this Anointing, who have not the Spirit, are none of Christ’s. 

 

We HAVE this anointing, but many believers continue acting as if they do not.  Many of us are weak for lack of the Truth of the Word of God.  We CAN announce the Truth, apply the atonement which we have received, and establish the kingdom of Christ, that establishing taking place within us first.  The Holy One is Jesus Christ (John 6:69; Acts 3:14; Revelation 3:7, e.g.).  By Him we have this anointing; we have the basis of all knowledge in order to see things straight.  We don’t have to be “off” like the leaning tower of Pisa.  We don’t have to follow worldly wisdom and the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. 

 

As to the names or titles given to the Holy Spirit, He is called the Spirit of God (1 John 4:2), as the One sent forth from God (ek tou Theou, 1 John 4:3).  1 John 4:4 points us to victory:  “Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.”  Through the power of the Holy Spirit we have the wherewithal to defeat the enemies of Christ at work in our own lives and seeking to destroy us.

 

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth, because He opens the mind to truth and teaches the mind to distinguish truth from error. (1 John 4:6).  He is called the unction or anointing from the Holy One, who anoints the followers of Christ as He anointed Christ Himself (1 John 2:20, 27).

 

1 John 5:6 is one of those rare places where we can reverse the two nouns.  The Spirit is The Witness because The Spirit is The Truth.   

This is the one who came by water and blood: Jesus Christ. Not by water only but by water and blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.  (Common English Bible)

 

The “not” here is ouk, absolutely not. 

 

6 οὖτός ἐστιν ὁ ἐλθὼν δι᾽ ὕδατος καὶ αἵματος, ἰησοῦς χριστός· οὐκ ἐν τῶ ὕδατι μόνον ἀλλ᾽ ἐν τῶ ὕδατι καὶ ἐν τῶ αἵματι· καὶ τὸ πνεῦμά ἐστιν τὸ μαρτυροῦν, ὅτι τὸ πνεῦμά ἐστιν ἡ ἀλήθεια.

 

The Holy Spirit is the truth itself.  The Spirit is the One who testifies, or bears witness (1 John 5:6, 8).  The water and blood refer, more likely, to the first witness of Christ’s baptism and anointing and the miraculous events connected with it.  That first witness of water attested to Christ’s Messianic commission.  By the Blood, we understand it to speak to Christ’s departure to the Father, or the termination of Jesus’ earthly task by the atoning sacrifice, which was accompanied by striking miracles. (Matthew 27:51).  The third witness, that of the Holy Spirit, speaks of the outpouring of the Spirit given on the day of Pentecost, of the Spirit that spoke by the mouth of all the apostles, who preached with the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven.  The Holy Spirit accompanied the oral testimony of the apostles with astounding miracles and the Holy Spirit moved the apostles in their writings.  The apostles’ words were accompanied with signs and wonders and divers miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit. (Hebrews 2:4)  But the Spirit’s testimony was also internal—i.e., He made all internally effective and available to the elect. 

 

So, in 1 John we find John referring also to Christian assurance when he says, “We know that He abides in us by the Spirit which He has given us.” (1 John 3:24 and 1 John 4:13).  Paul calls the Spirit the Earnest; John declares that the Holy Spirit given to true believers gives them a knowledge and all assurance of divine love.  This is consistent with Paul’s letter to the Romans, as in Romans 5:5.  And hope makes not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us. 

 

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.  2 Corinthians 13:14.

 

Just the Messenger,

 

Mary Craig

 

Mary Craig, D. Min.

 

But you shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you:

And you shall be witnesses unto Me

Both in Jerusalem, and in Judea, and in Samaria,

And unto the uttermost part of the earth.  Acts 1:8

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