June 9, 2019 – A Sermon for Pentecost – guest speaker, Helen Harris

To listen to this sermon, click here: Z0000139

Each week, we use the Liturgical calendar for reading the Scripture and Gospel. In doing so, we cover the periods such as Advent, Easter, Lent and Christmas. We become familiar with the events of each of the seasons and listen to them with renewed and heartfelt emotion.

Today we celebrate Pentecost, also called “Whitsunday“, especially in the United Kingdom, . It is the birthday of the Church, when the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles.

We have all heard the story of how Jesus told the Apostles, in the upper room, that he was going away to be with the Father. On Ascension Day he would be seated at the right hand to the Father. He told them not to be afraid for he was going to prepare a place for them. It is comforting to remember that Christ, at the time when His Ascension was near, taught that it was better (better!) that He go to the Father so that His Spirit would come and be poured into our hearts.

The disciples were confused at what Jesus was telling them. They wanted to know where Jesus was going and why they couldn’t follow him. Jesus told the disciples that those who obey the commandments and show love will reap great benefits. “The Father will love the obedient disciples, Jesus himself will love them, and Jesus will make himself known to them.”

We are not able to see Jesus as the disciples did, but we have God with us through the abiding gift of the Holy Spirit.

On this day of Pentecost, God sent the Holy Spirit to guide us as the helper and counselor in the absence of Jesus.

One of the functions of the Spirit’s is to represent God to the believers as Jesus did in his human state.

The Spirit dwells not only in our bodies, but within our hearts, our inner being. “Paul says that God sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts.” Paul uses the word indwelling, telling us that our bodies are temples and the Holy Spirit which lives in us is a gift given to us from God that we receive at our baptism. “God uses the term “our bodies” or our lives as our house in which the Spirit dwells.” As the Spirit raised Jesus, He will raise us also, as he lives in us.

As we grow with the Spirit, we change inside in our character, a Holy character. The Spirit overtakes our mind, heart and inner being to create who we are and who we become in God’s eyes.

When we wake up in the morning, we should first thank God for the day ahead. We never know what will happen or where we will be led.

We have all experienced times and challenges in our lives. In today’s world, people suffer from various health problems, addictions to smoking, alcohol or drugs. There are countless individuals dealing with all types of issues. If we truly believe in God, we have the Holy Spirit who will help and guide us.

As we become a believer in Jesus, we walk in love with him in the knowledge and power of him with the Spirit that lives within us. In Romans we are told that if we believe and are led by the Spirit rather than the flesh, we become more righteous. We turn away from sin and destruction and renew ourselves in a new direction with Jesus through the Spirit.

A few years ago, my husband and I were going through what we thought was the worst time in our lives. We found ourselves being used unfairly being targeted, threatened, and attacked in our very livelihood. Looking back on that time in our lives, the loss, the fear, the hopelessness was by far the best thing that could have happened to us. It made us rely not on ourselves, but on the one true God who created us. Through much prayer to God, we received the Holy Spirit, His help and support. Our lives began to change and we accepted God’s path and we were led here to St. Philip’s Church.

When we have days of groaning, pain, sorrow and gloom, and we don’t know what to pray for, the Spirit leads our hearts and minds to the will of God. Jesus always hears whatever we have asked God. We have confidence that we can ask anything according to his will, and he hears us.

At St. Philip’s, we are a community of believers of our Lord Jesus Christ, we work together for his purpose through the Spirit. We feel His Spirit in our work at the worship service at the Nursing Home, the people we serve at the community dinners, and those we serve who are in need at our thrift shop. We have become His servants through Scripture readings, altar servers, reading the prayers of the people, acolyte servers, and coffee hour host, all being inspired by the Spirit within us.

As children of God, we build new self-character within ourselves and our lives with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. We possess kindness towards each other in loving our neighbors with the love and grace of Christ.

When we make the sign of cross on ourselves it is an act of prayer. The three fingers together symbolize the three Persons of the Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And the two fingers together symbolize the divine and human natures of Jesus Christ.

We are declaring that we are a child of Christ. Amen.

 

 

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