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The Holy Spirit will come upon you ...

Notes & Transcripts

Revised Common Lectionary: Seventh Sunday of Easter

Year A

    • The Holy Spirit will come upon you.

We read, in John 7:39, that ‘the Spirit’ would not be ‘given’ until Jesus was ‘glorified’. Now, as Jesus was about to be ‘taken up… into heaven’, He tells His apostles, ‘the Holy Spirit’ will ‘come upon you’ (Acts 1:11,8). He gives them His Word of promise: ‘I send the promise of My Father upon you’. He gives them His Word of command: ‘stay in the city, until you are clothed with power from on high’ (Luke 24:49). They wait upon the coming of the Holy Spirit. They cannot fill themselves with the Spirit. They can only ‘be filled with the Spirit’ (Ephesians 5:18). Waiting for the Spirit, the apostles ‘devote themselves to prayer’ (Acts 1:14). They do not earn the Holy Spirit as a reward for spending much time in prayer. Waiting on God, their strength is renewed as they receive God’s gift (Isaiah 40:31; Luke 11:13).

    • You Have Been Saved; You Are Being Saved; You Will Be Saved.

God is ‘our salvation’. He is the ‘God of salvation’(Psalm 68:19-20). God’s salvation covers our past, present and future. (a) You have been saved. Through faith in Jesus Christ, we have received the forgiveness of our sins (Romans 5:1). (b) You are being saved. God is at work in our lives, making us the kind of people He wants us to be (Romans 5:3-5). (c) You will be saved. We look forward to ‘sharing the glory of God’, being with the Lord forever (Romans 5:2,9-10). From beginning to end, salvation is the work of God - He has forgiven our sins. He is making us like Christ. He will lead us on to heaven. Our God is great. His salvation is great. Let us ‘be joyful’. Let us worship the Lord ‘with joy’(Psalm 68:3). Let us give all the glory to God - ‘Blessed be God!’(Psalm 68:35).

    • The Lord Strengthens Us With His Salvation.

‘I am the Lord… I will strengthen you’ (Isaiah 45:5).

How does the Lord strengthen us? He strengthens us with salvation. He comes to us as our ‘God and Saviour.’ He calls us to come to Him and receive salvation: ‘Turn to Me and be saved…’ Through faith in Christ, we are ‘saved by the Lord with an everlasting salvation’ (Isaiah 45:15, 17, 21-22). We are strengthened with ‘everlasting salvation’. We look ahead to Christ’s Return ‘in power and great glory’ (Matthew 24:30). On that Day, the glory of our Saviour will be fully revealed: ‘At the Name of Jesus every knee shall bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.’ Jesus is our Saviour. His ‘Name is above every name’. Our ‘strength’ comes from Him (Isaiah 45:23-24; Philippians 2:10-11).

    • Salvation and Victory

‘We boast of the Name of the Lord our God...Through the steadfast love of the Most High’ we ‘shall not be moved’(Psalm 20:7; Psalm 21:7). We do not trust in things that ‘collapse and fall’. We build on ‘the Rock’(Psalm 20:8; Matthew 7:24-27; Psalms 18:1-3; 62:5-7). We ‘rejoice’ in our God. He has made us ‘most blessed for ever’(Psalm 21:1,6; Ephesians 1:3). Think of Jesus Christ your Saviour. He is absolutely trustworthy. He is completely dependable. His love is an ‘unfailing love’(Psalm 21:7). In Him, there is salvation. In Him, there is joy. With His strong and powerful love, He has saved us. He has given us ‘a new song’ to sing, ‘a song of praise to our God’(Psalm 40:1-3). Let us lift our hearts and voices to Him in praise and worship: ‘Be exalted, O Lord, in Thy strength,! We will sing and praise Thy power’(Psalm 21:13).

    • Thanksgiving for past victories (Psalm 21:1-7), assurance of future victories (Psalm 21:8-13): Where does victory come from? - It comes from the Lord who has saved us.

"By grace you have been saved through faith" (Ephesians 2:8). The work of God in us does not end with a past salvation, a memory of what the Lord has done for us in the past. His work in us goes on from there - "By grace you have been saved through faith ... for good works ... " (Ephesians 2:8-10).

Let us look back, giving thanks to God for our salvation.

Let us press on, trusting in God to lead us in the pathway of victory.

In all the service we offer to God, there is to be the offering of worship: ‘To Him be the glory and the power for ever and ever’(1 Peter 4:11; 1 Peter 5:11). We will not learn to serve God unless we are learning to worship Him. There is a ‘form of religion’ which ‘denies the power’ of God – ‘These people honour Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me’(2 Timothy 3:5; Matthew 15:8). They go through the motions – but their hearts are not in it! We must pray that God will deliver us from this kind of thing: ‘O for a heart to praise my God! A heart from sin set free; A heart that always feels Thy blood, so freely shed for me’(Church Hymnary, 85). ‘Religion’ is about respectability. Salvation is about renewal: ‘Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me’(Psalm 51:10).

    • If we want to serve God, we must learn to worship Him.

Jesus prays for you. Jesus prays for me. We have come to faith in Him through the written Word of His apostles (John 17:20). The story of the Cross (John 17:1-5), the story of the first disciples (John 17:6-19) is an ongoing story. It continues in us. The saving effects of Christ’s death are still being felt today. The written Word of His apostles is still exerting its powerful influence on today’s world. Jesus is still praying for us (Hebrews 7:25). He prayed for His first disciples – ‘that they may be one’ (John 17:11). He prays the same prayer for us (John 17:20-23). Among His first disciples, there was Judas Iscariot, ‘the one who chose to be lost’ (John 17:12). If we are to ‘maintain the unity of the Spirit’, we must take account of ‘the Judas factor’ – ‘take notice of those who create dissensions… avoid them’ (Ephesians 4:3; Jude 4; 1 John 2:18-19; Romans 16:17-18).

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Year B

    • We need the Holy Spirit.

We read, in John 7:39, that ‘the Spirit’would not be ‘given’ until Jesus was ‘glorified’. Now, as Jesus was about to be ‘taken up... into heaven’, He tells His apostles, ‘the Holy Spirit’ will ‘come upon you’ (Acts 1:11, 8). He gives them His Word of promise: ‘I send the promise of my Father upon you’. He gives them His Word of command: ‘stay in the city, until you are clothed with power from on high’ (Luke 24:49). They wait upon the coming of the Holy Spirit. They cannot fill themselves with the Spirit. They can only ‘be filled with the Spirit’ (Ephesians 5:18). Waiting for the Spirit, the apostles ‘devote themselves to prayer’ (Acts 1:14). They do not earn the Holy Spirit as a reward for spending much time in prayer. Waiting on God, their strength is renewed as they receive God’s gift (Isaiah 40:31; Luke 11:13).

    • We need the Holy Scriptures.

The first Psalm contrasts two ways - the way of the Word and the way of the world, the way of blessing and the way of judgment. Encouraging us to build upon the solid foundation of God’s Word, the opening Psalm sets the tone for what is to follow. To whet your appetite for the Psalms, here are some early lessons: stability in the Lord (Psalm 1:1-2); service for the Lord (Psalm 2:11); salvation of the Lord (Psalm 3:8); sanctification from the Lord (Psalm 4:4-5); singing to the Lord (Psalm 8:4); strength in the Lord (Psalm 9:9). These are some of the blessings promised to those who ‘delight in the law of the Lord’ (Psalm 1-2). With a God like this - full of so much blessing for us - what else can we do but rejoice in Him?

    • We need to worship the holy God.

‘The Lord is the true God; He is the living God, the eternal King’ (Jeremiah 10:10). Can there ever be anything more important than worshipping the Lord? We know the answer as soon as we ask the question! Very often, our lives give a very different answer. We have taken our eyes off the Lord. We have forgotten that He is the true and living God. We sing the words, ‘O Lord, Thou art my God and King... Each day I rise, I will Thee bless...’- but they have a hollow ring about them! Here’s a prayer to help you to make a real commitment of your life to the Lord: ‘Teach me to live, day by day, in Your presence, Lord... Teach me to praise, day by day, in Your Spirit, Lord... Teach me to love, day by day, in Your power, Lord... Teach me to give, day by day, from my wealth, O Lord...’ (Church Hymnary, 346; Mission Praise, 627).

    • The holy God leads us in the way of holiness.

‘With God we shall gain the victory. He will trample down our enemies’ (Psalm 108:13). In ourselves, there is only defeat. We are no match for ‘our enemies’ - the world, the flesh and the devil. We are surrounded by the world - ‘The world is ever near. I see the sights that dazzle. The tempting sounds I hear’. We live with the constant problem of the flesh - ‘the storms of passion, the murmurs of self-will’(Church Hymnary, 434). Behind the world and the flesh, there is an even stronger enemy - the devil: ‘Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against... the spiritual forces of evil...’ (Ephesians 6:12). Our situation seems to be utterly hopeless. How can we possibly win the victory? The simple truth is: We cannot. There is, however, a deeper truth: God is with us - and ‘with God we shall win the victory’!

    • We walk in the way of holiness when we keep our eyes on Jesus Christ, our holy Saviour.

What a great blessing we receive through faith in Christ - ‘Every one who believes that Jesus is the Christ is a child of God’ (1John 5:1). Our life as God’s children is not a life of tranquility. We face conflict, real conflict - a battle. In this spiritual warfare, we have God’s promise of victory. In 1 John 5:5, we have a question: ‘Who is it that overcomes the world but he who believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God?’. The answer is contained in the question. Our victory is in Christ. We are not victorious because our faith is so strong that we couldn’t possibly fail. Many times, we fail. We take our eyes off Christ - and we are defeated. What are we to do? - when temptations seem to be so many and so powerful. When you feel so weak, let Christ be your Strength. ‘With Christ within, the fight we’ll win’.

    • As we walk in the way of holiness, we are supported by the powerful prayers of our holy Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Jesus prays for you. Jesus prays for me. We have come to faith in Him through the written Word of His apostles (John 17:20). The story of the Cross (John 17:1-5), the story of the first disciples (John 17:6-19) is an ongoing story. It continues in us. The saving effects of Christ’s death are still being felt today. The written Word of His apostles is still exerting its powerful influence on today’s world. Jesus is still praying for us (Hebrews 7:25). He prayed for His first disciples - ‘that they may be one’ (John 17:11). He prays the same prayer for us (John 17:20-23). Among His first disciples, there was Judas Iscariot, ‘the one who chose to be lost’ (John 17:12). If we are to ‘maintain the unity of the Spirit’, we must take account of ‘the Judas factor’ - ‘take notice of those who create dissensions... avoid them’ (Ephesians 4:3; Jude 4; 1 John 2:18-19; Romans 16:17-18).

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Year C

    • Pray at all times in the Spirit ... with all perseverance.

Notice the importance of prayer in the advance of the Gospel. They were looking for a prayer meeting when Lydia was saved (Acts 16:13-14). They were going to a prayer meeting when the girl was saved (Acts 16:16-18). They were having a prayer meeting when the jailer was saved (Acts 16:25-34). They had gone to Philippi ‘to preach the Gospel to them’(Acts 16:10). Even when they were ‘in chains’, the Gospel proved itself to be ‘the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith’(Ephesians 6:20; Romans 1:16). ‘The Word of God is not bound’. It is ‘living and active’. ‘Sharper than any two-edged sword’, it is ‘the sword of the Spirit’(2 Timothy 2:9; Hebrews 4:12; Ephesians 6:17). Do you want people to ask the Salvation question and heed the Gospel answer (Acts 16:30-31)? ‘Pray at all times in the Spirit... with all perseverance’(Ephesians 6:18).

    • Reign in me, Sovereign Lord.

‘The Lord reigns’(Psalm 96:10; Psalm 97:1). ‘The Lord is King!’. He is not only ‘the King all-glorious above’. He is ‘the King of love’. He is ‘our Maker, Defender, Redeemer and Friend!’. He is not only ‘the King of heaven’. He is ‘the God of grace’. He is ‘the King of mercy’(Church Hymnary, 35,36,388,360,86). His reign is not to be restricted to some faraway heaven. It is not to be a reign that is far removed from the practicalities of our everyday life. He is to reign in our hearts. He is to reign in every part of our life. Let His reign of love begin. Let His grace and mercy control all that you do. We must pray, ‘Reign in me, Sovereign Lord, reign in me’. When we say, ‘Let Your Kingdom come’and ‘let Your will be done’, we must pray, ‘Captivate my heart. Establish there Your throne’(Mission Praise, 570).

    • Will you take up the mantle of prophetic ministry for God and the next generation?

‘He took up the mantle of Elijah’(2 Kings 2:13). Elijah’s ministry had ended. Elisha’s ministry was about to begin. It was the beginning of a new era. This may have been a new ministry. It was not, however, a new message. Both men preached the Word of the Lord. Elisha continued Elijah’s work. He took up where Elijah had left off. He brought the Word of the Lord to the people. Elisha was not exactly the same as Elijah. He was Elisha - not Elijah! There was, however, continuity. The second ministry built on the work done during the first ministry. The laying of the foundations - This is what Elijah’s ministry had been all about. Now, Elisha would build on this good foundation. He would take the work of God forward. Into the future, on to the second stage - This is what Elisha’s ministry was all about.

    • ‘Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?’(2 Kings 2:14). Elijah was no longer there - but God was still there! Don’t imagine that God goes away when there’s a change of ministry. While Elijah had been serving the Lord, Elisha was being prepared for his time. God is always one step ahead of us. We are living in the present day. He is planning for the future. With each succeeding generation, the question is asked, ‘Where is the Lord?’. In every generation, God is looking for those who will serve Him - ‘testifying of the Gospel of the grace of God, testifying of repentance to God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, declaring the whole counsel of God’(Acts 20:24,21,27). This is ‘the mantle of Elijah’(2 Kings 2:14) - the mantle of prophetic ministry. Will you ‘take up the mantle’for God and the next generation?
    • Let us take delight in God’s Son – and in God’s Word, which leads us to Him.

In Psalm 2, we read of a conflict. On the one side, there is ‘the Lord and His Anointed’(Psalm 2:2). On the other there are those who ‘conspire and ...plot’(Psalm 2:1). The conspiracies and plots of men will come to nothing. The saving purpose of God will be fulfilled. This purpose will be accomplished in Christ, the One to whom God says, ‘You are My Son’(Psalm 2:7), the One to whom God says, ‘I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession’(Psalm 2:8). God calls us to worship Christ - ‘Kiss the Son’(Psalm 2:12). This call to worship Christ is accompanied by a warning against judgment and a promise of salvation. As sinners, we are under God’s judgment. Trusting in Christ, we are saved (Psalm 2:12; John 3:36). We are to take delight in Christ. This is the thought conveyed by the phrase, ‘Kiss the Son’. We delight in God’s Son, and we delight in God’s Word which leads us to Him.

    • God has a glorious future for all who will come to Christ and be saved by Him.

God has given us a glimpse of a future which is heavenly, eternal and glorious: ‘the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God - It shone with the glory of God’. Is this ‘eternal life’ for everyone? Will all people ‘dwell in the House of the Lord for ever’? Will everyone be saved. Is this what the Word of God teaches? ‘God wants everyone to be saved’. He wants everyone to ‘come to the knowledge of the truth’, to ‘come to repentance’. Sadly, there are many who ‘refuse to love the truth and so be saved’(Revelation 21:10-11; John 3:16; Psalm 23:6; 1 Timothy 2:3-4; 2 Peter 3:9; 2 Thessalonians 2:10). Who will be saved? - ‘only those, whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life’. ‘Come’to Christ - ‘Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they...may go through the gates into the city’(Revelation 21:27; Revelation 22:17,14).

    • Jesus prayed for His first disciples. He is still praying for us.

Jesus prays for you. Jesus prays for me. We have come to faith in Him through the written Word of His apostles (John 17:20). The story of the Cross (John 17:1-5), the story of the first disciples (John 17:6-19) is an ongoing story. It continues in us. The saving effects of Christ’s death are still being felt today. The written Word of His apostles is still exerting its powerful influence on today’s world. Jesus is still praying for us (Hebrews 7:25). He prayed for His first disciples - ‘that they may be one’(John 17:11). He prays the same prayer for us (John 17:20-23). Among His first disciples, there was Judas Iscariot, ‘the one who chose to be lost’(John 17:12). If we are to ‘maintain the unity of the Spirit’, we must take account of ‘the Judas factor’- ‘take notice of those who create dissensions... avoid them’(Ephesians 4:3; Jude 4; 1 John 2:18-19; Romans 16:17-18).

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