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Pentecost

Although we are only at the midpoint between Easter and Pentecost, I thought this article by Pastor Holmgren, shows us the importance of the Holy Spirit in our lives. If ever a time for us to seek it’s guidance in our generation, it is now. For nearly two thousand years, believers have relied upon this great work that Jesus promised would be a guide and comforter. We will celebrate the “Day of Pentecost” on the 5th Sunday in May, but we need the “Spirit of truth” every day as we sort through all that has transpired these past weeks. We need it as we face a clouded and uncertain future. We need it for strength as we mourn the loss of loved ones in our families and friends. We need it as we process the effects of the Covid 19 virus.

We have faith in Jesus Christ, because the Holy Spirit has called us by the Gospel and revealed Jesus to us. This Comforter and Guide sends us out every day to testify of the wonderful work Jesus has accomplished in and for us. It is the seal of Jesus’ promise and the downpayment of inheritance until Jesus returns. Only in the completed work of Jesus, to which the Spirit is able to speak to us on a daily basis, do we find strength to have sorrow turned to joy, a “garment of praise for a spirit of heaviness;”. (Isaiah 61: 3) We in fact need this third part of the Godhead every moment of every day. It brings words of comfort and assurance that are sure and lasting, because they are the words of life, a life that is everlasting. Words that bring a guidance and direction to us, that are the words of Jesus, as Pastor Holmgren quotes in the following article. The access has been granted, it is incumbent on us to pray for the guidance and wisdom it will provide. Isaiah put it so well in the opening verses of the 61st chapter, verses 1-3:

“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;  To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;  To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.” 

May the Lord pour out His Spirit in these times, and may we ask, even on me.–Pastor Stan

PENTECOST

The Holy Spirit is the third person in the Triune Godhead. “There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the spirit and the water and the blood: and these three agree in one.” (I John 5:7-8).

When Jesus told his disciples that he was going to go away from them, he promised “I will pray the Father and he will give you another comforter, that he may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive” (John 14:16 &17). “This spirit,” said Jesus, “will guide you into all truth. He shall glorify me for he shall receive of mine and shall show it unto you” (John 16:13 & 14).

In his first meeting with the disciples after resurrection, Jesus gave them this spirit. “He breathed on them and said unto them; receive ye the Holy Ghost” (John 20:22). Then in his final conversation with them on the mount of ascension, he “commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father,” (Acts 1:4) and explained that they would receive power, after that the Holy Ghost would come upon them so that they could be witnesses unto him both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth (Acts 1:8).

This was fulfilled on Pentecost–on the fiftieth day after resurrection. The Jewish people observed Pentecost–a festival commemorating their receiving of the law of the Ten Commandments on the fiftieth day after their departure from Egypt. These commandments contain a necessary, good and precious revelation of God’s will, yet they offer no real assistance in the struggle against sin, death and the power of the devil. The original Pentecost at Mt. Sinai wrought terror in the hearts of the descendants of Abraham. They said to their leader Moses: “Speak thou with us and we will hear: but let not God speak with us lest we die” (Exodus 20:19). The law accuses us before God because we fall so far short of what is commanded in it. The law has been given “that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.” (Romans 3:19).

Luther notes, “how different from this is our Pentecost! It has no terror but is full of cheer and glory and happiness and joy.” Our Pentecost is the fulfillment of the words of John the Baptist, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear, he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire”(Matthew 3:11).

For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:” (Romans 8:15-16). “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself.” (I John 5:10).

This outpouring of the Holy Ghost is a blessing which comes to us only through Christ Jesus. This Apostle Peter affirmed on the Day of Pentecost when he said, “Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear” (Acts 2:33).

It is the work of the Holy Spirit to awaken us and to call us to repentance, and it is only in the power of the Holy Spirit to instill faith in our hearts. Apostle Paul affirmed his spiritual experiences with those of the Ephesians when he said: “That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom you also trusted, after that you heard the word of truth, the Gospel of your salvation: in whom also after you believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:12-14).

By Pastor Emeritus Alvin C. Holmgren

“And the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance.”-Galatians 5:22-23

From the archives of the late Pastor Alvin C. Holmgren, May 2007 Seattle ALC bulletin, submitted by Pastor Stan

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