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Eternal God: Part III

Notes & Transcripts

Sermon on the Holy Spirit-

Text:  Lord’s Day 20, Question and Answer 53 of the Heidelberg Catechism

Theme:  God, the Holy Spirit motivates us to Christlike action always.

Goal:  to motivate believers to Christlike action through the Holy Spirit.

Need:  We can flounder in our motivation in Christlike action through the Holy Spirit.

Outline:

Introduction- lackadaisical attitudes.

1.      The Holy Spirit is God.

2.     The Holy Spirit comes personally.

3.     The Holy Spirit makes me share in Christ`s blessings

4.     The Holy Spirit counsels me

5.     The Holy Spirit Remains with me forever

6.     The Holy Spirit drives The Mission of God.

Conclusion:  Nail the point.  We are motivated to Christlike action.  Always.

          Congregation,

          We now move on to the next section of the Apostle’s Creed and the way it is taught in the Heidelberg Catechism.  We have come to the end of the section where we confess what we believe about the second person of the trinity, Jesus Christ.  We looked throughout lent and the easter season, called Eastertide at the humiliation and exultation of Christ.  We saw how the catechism was focused so much on not just the fact that these events happened, but that they are a benefit for us in this life and forever.

          It continues on as we move into the next section of apostle’s creed.  When we move into this next section we also move into confession about the third person of the trinity, the Holy Spirit.  Its fitting on Pentecost Sunday that we look again at the work of the Holy Spirit as its taught to us by the catechism. 

          Let’s read the Question and Answer that deals with the Holy Spirit.  It is Q&A 53 in the catechism.  It goes like this:

Q. What do you believe
   concerning "the Holy Spirit"?

A. First, he, as well as the Father and the Son,
      is eternal God.^1

   Second, he has been given to me personally,^2
      so that, by true faith,
      he makes me share in Christ and all his blessings,^3
      comforts me,^4
      and remains with me forever.^5

As we look at this question and answer again, I hope you have the same reaction that I had looking at it again.  I won’t criticize Ursinus and Oliveanus very often, but today, I have one word of criticism for our wonderful catechism.  The teaching on the Holy Spirit is woefully short.  It just doesn’t cover a whole lot of ground.

          Just to make sure we all feel the same way about it, let me ask you to tell me some of the things you think of when you think of the activity of the Holy Spirit.

          Those are some of the things we commonly think of and know from many different places in Scripture.

          So, the catechism is wrong?  No, what it says is a good summary of some of the comforting parts of the presence of the Holy Spirit.  When we claim the doctrines of our church to be true, we don’t claim that they are an exhaustive summary of all the dimensions of every topic.

          And does it show that reformed people haven’t been know to focus on the Holy Spirit.  Not at all.  The Holy Spirit is mentioned in over 30 different questions and answers in the catechism.  The work of the Spirit can be found all throughout our doctrines.  John Calvin was known as the theologian of the Holy Spirit.  He saw how all of life today is driven by the power of the Holy Spirit.  The church is an outcropping of his work. Some of the Pentecostalists or Charismatics would say we don’t know anything about the Holy Spirit, we should say, You are right.  We have gotten away from our solid teachings about the power the Holy Spirit has for the people of this life.

          Going back to the catechism, let’s take a little bit of a look at the portion of the teaching on the Holy Spirit that is given here.  The first part of the question is all about the Holy Spirit being part of the God head. 

          We could believe like the Jehovah’s Witnesses that the Holy Spirit is not a separate person, it is simply the breath of Christ, the inner workings of Christ’s spirit working in us instead.  The Jehovah’s witnesses would not call the Holy Spirit part of a trinity.  But he is.  The passage in Acts is one of the passages that the catechism goes to show that the Holy Spirit and God are the same.  When you sin against the Holy Spirit, you are sinning against God himself, the entire Godhead.  At Christ’s baptism we see all three persons of the trinity in their separate roles.  Christ is being baptized.  God is speaking mightily that Jesus is his son and we must listen to him.  Then the spirit descends on Christ.  The trinity.  The Holy spirit is a person of the trinity.  A He, Not an It. True God: Part III

          Because he is a person and not just a force, he can come to each one of us personally as well.  He can be a part of the intimacy between us and God.  He is the one who inspires in us faith through Christ.

          And this presence is such a big change for us.  In the Old Testament the people did not have the Holy Spirit present within them in the same manner.  The spirit would descend on special people like the prophets for the specific task of leading God’s people in truth.  The whole nation of Israel followed Moses, their inspired leader.  Now the Spirit comes personally to every believer to bring us to faith.  We may have inspired leaders, but the Holy Spirit’s presence is with us all.

          The catechism then goes on to say that the Holy Spirit is present to bring all the blessings of Christ to the believer.  In that way he is not just the one who inspires in the hearts of people but he is the avenue that the ascended Christ uses to bless us.  In the Lord’s Supper, like we celebrated this morning, its not that bread and juice actually transform into the body and blood of Christ, but the Holy Spirit nourishes us spiritually along with the physical food that we eat.  That is part of how the blessings of Christ come to us through the spirit.

          Let’s keep answering the question.  The holy spirit counsels us.  He comforts us.  He is the one who assures us and strengthens us.  Perhaps we right now are stuggling with life and death and health issues.  The Holy Spirit is the one who uplifts our soul.

          The last thing it mentions is that the Holy Spirit is the one who stays with us forever.  When we no longer have Christ with us, the presence of the Holy Spirit is the presence of Christ and God the Father with us forever.

          In Matthew 28 at the end of the great commission Christ says, and surely I am with you always to the very end of the age.  No you aren’t Jesus, you went up into heaven.  Yes I am people, I promised you the holy Spirit would be my presence.  That’s what we are told in John 14 again too.  He will not leave us as orphans it says in verse 18.  Before long he will send the Holy Spirit and that will be how Christ remains with us always and forever.

          This continues yet today like the catechism says, Christ is with us since the trinity is present with us through the presence of the Holy Spirit.  Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit in this world.

          But there are several things that the catechism doesn’t get into, and one in particular I think is central to the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.  It is about faith, but it is also about the reduplication of faithful people.  I am talking about the Mission of God.  The Mission to those who have not heard and are already now called to be a part of the people of God.  If you noticed the front of our bulletin today.  There is a reason we have  bulletin cover from Christian Reformed World Missions.  Its because when the Holy Spirit came, God’s mission and our mission was to use our gifts for the expassion of the kingdom of God.  Billy Graham might call it winning souls.  Evangelism.  We are called to bring the gospel message and I hope we hear that loud and clear still today.

          The Holy Spirit breaks down every barrier so we can share the gospel completely.

Let’s take comfort by the presence of the Holy Spirit and be a missionary like we may never have done before.

AMEN

         

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