23 May 2021
This morning we are going focus on the Holy Spirit as symbolised as Wind and Fire.
Wind - The Holy Spirit is like wind
At the start of our reading is Acts 2 it says: “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. “
When I filmed this at St Paul’s on Thursday it was a pretty windy day and the doors of the church literally blew open as I said the words violent wind!
The symbol of wind- shows us that The Holy Spirit is mysterious - You can't see wind, but you can feel it and see its effect on things.
The wind blows where it wants. It is free and untameable and cannot be controlled by man.
The Holy Spirit is mysterious, unseen, but very real and changes our lives.
In the beginning of the world, the Bible says that the spirit hovered above the water (like wind), then God spoke and said "let there be light". So the Holy Spirit was there at the creation of the world, giving life to all living things. And when God made Adam, He breathed into him and brought him to life.
We see that breath can also save life, when people are given CPR.
Wind also starts new life when it carries seeds, so they can grow elsewhere.
So the Holy Spirit is life giving, life saving and life changing! He breathes life into us, and He also puts good seeds into us so we can bear good fruit.
The symbol of wind- shows us that God Purifies. Wind purifies the atmosphere by blowing air around and not allowing stagnant air to stay still.
The Holy Spirit does this in our lives by showing us the stagnant sins that are polluting our hearts, so we can confess them and experience the fresh breeze of forgiveness.
The symbol of wind- shows how the Holy Spirit can energise us.
Just like wind farms can harness the wind’s power to create electricity, so, too, can the Holy Spirit give us His energy and strength to do His work.
When we try to do things in our own strength we soon burn out. When we do things in His strength, we become energised and see things we never imagined possible!
The symbol of wind shows us that The Holy Spirit can work both gently and very powerfully. He can be a gentle whisper or breeze, like when he gently and slowly guides somebody towards knowing Jesus. However, he can also be like a hurricane, just as when he came like a rushing wind at Pentecost, when hundreds of people came to faith in Jesus.
Fire - The Holy Spirit is like fire
In Matthew 3:11 John the Baptist said this about Jesus:
“I baptise with water those who repent of their sins and turn to God. But someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not worthy even to be his slave and carry his sandals. He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
At the five ‘What is fire like? How is the Holy Spirt like fire? (In Groups)
The symbol of fire - shows us that God is present and with us.
Just like with Moses and the burning bush, and the fire that guided the Israelites through the desert, the Holy Spirit is with us and guiding us today.
The symbol of fire shows us God’s passion. The Holy Spirit creates the passion of God in our hearts. After the disciples received the Spirit at Pentecost, they had a passion that lasted a lifetime and empowered them to speak the word of God boldly.
In verse 3 we read
3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. 5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken.
If we fast forward to verse 11
They say 'we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!"
We may be a bit afraid of the word tongues in the Bible. Tongues of fire sounds quite painful and dangerous!
But actually, it is not that scary. The gift of Tongues is primarily about praising God. It is a gift that is given to some people and enables them to praise God in a language that they cannot normally speak. If you want to read more about the gift of tongues in the Bible 1 Corinthians 12-14 is the best place to look. In summary it says:
Tongues were a sign on the day of Pentecost. People spoke supernaturally in a public way, and it was a sign to anyone present that God was at work
Peter explains to them that what was happening was a fulfilment of the prophet Joel's prophecy from the Old Testament. God had promised to pour out his Spirit on all people and he did this at Pentecost. At that moment the church went from being on pilot light to full flame.
On that day the church grew to over 3000. It then spread like wildfire.
How? They were no longer just doing things in their own strength but they allowed God's Holy Spirit to work through them.
Today I invite you to do the same. If you are currently doing things in your own strength and want the wind and fire of the Holy Spirit if your life I invite you to hold out your hands ready to receive a gift as I pray for you to receive God’s gift of his Holy Spirit.
Come Holy Spirit Come
Thank you, God, that we have everlasting and abundant life in you! We pray that you help us to draw our energy from you, and not ourselves, so that we won't burnout, but instead burn brightly, so others are attracted to you.
Come Holy Spirit Come
‘Thank you, Holy Spirit, for always being with us, for guiding us and making us more like Jesus! We pray that you fill us with your passion so that we can speak boldly to others about your love.’
Come Holy Spirit Come