Pentecost is the longest, most practical and probably most important season of the Church year. Pentecost is about the work of the Holy Spirit in the Church and in the daily lives of believers. We are prepared for the Holy Spirit by the teachings of:
• Advent - OT history of God reaching out, making covenants
• Christmas, Epiphany, Lent and Easter - who Jesus isand His mission and our mission
• Ascension - Jesus promises Holy Spiritto guide us
• Trinity - defines the love relationship, work of Holy Spirit as the continuing presence of Jesus in the World
• This week we learn that we have to focus on what is unseen and expect opposition from those who do not understand Holy Spirit
• We are warned Christians will not be understood – and need a support community where they can safely share their own experiences of the Holly Spirit
1. The Pharisees think Jesus is possessed
They are jealous of the crowds following Him. They did not believe in the Old Testament prophesies of a divine Savior. They believe Jesus is an imposter. They believe He is demon possessed. They want to silence Him - and protect their statusas the official teachers of Israel.
• Jesus explains that Satan would not cast out Satan
• They are silenced
• Jesus authenticity is proven by the physical evidence
• We all find this very hard to believe - until we have personal experiences of the Holy Spirit and the supernatural dimension described in the Bible
2. Jesus'Family think He out of His mind
Like many Christians they do not really understand who Jesus is and the reality of the spiritual battle in the supernatural dimension. Like we are focusing on what is seen.
· Miraculous healing and the deliverance are very spectacular
· As we would be, they were afraid He was mad.
· I know what this is like – preached on healing ministry - Bishop was rolling his eyes
· Modern Anglican clergy have no training in Holy Spirit prayer ministry
· As we go through the Book of Acts we see a very different early church that was actually led by words of knowledge from the Holy Spirit
· Healing prayer ministry inspired the faith of early Christians – and strengthened them for persecution
3. Life in the Spirit is based on personal experience
I am a cradle Anglican and do not recall any teaching on the Holy Spirit. Like many people I grew up in a liberal intellectual family and did not take the Biblical miracles very seriously. Like many people I did not read the Bible until I faced a life crisis and needed an urgent answer.
· I started to really notice the Holy Spirit.
· Charismatic revival in 1970s, attended conferences on Holy Spirit and Healing
· Cried out for help - Experienced Holy Spirit and healing
· Learned I could pray for people - something happened
· Experienced great love, joy, peace, healing and words of knowledge (boat and word “anger” )– and persecution
· All Christians receive Holy Spirit in Baptism but Many are not aware
· Men for example are less intuitive than women
· We all need a safe place to gradually learn about, pray about and begin to experience the Holy Spirit
· We need to focus more on what is unseen