Rev. Mike Browder Have you ever noticed that when you take a picture of something from different directions, you get a slightly different image, a little bit different view of things


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May 23, 2010

Rev. Mike Browder

Have you ever noticed that when you take a picture of something from different directions, you get a slightly different image, a little bit different view of things? Of course you remember the famous story of the Blind Men and the Elephant.
Four blind men were together when they encountered an elephant for the first time. The first blind man ran into the elephant’s side. And he said, “Oh. An elephant is like a wall.” The second blind man, encountering the elephant’s tail, said, “No, an elephant is like a rope.” The third blind man grasped the elephant’s leg, and he proclaimed, “The elephant is like a tree.” And the fourth blind man, feeling the elephant’s trunk, said, “An elephant is a snake!” Well, each blind man was right, but he could not see the whole elephant. He only knew the part that touched him. What is the message for us today? The Holy Spirit is like that elephant, and we are like the blind men! We see only the part of God that touches us.
Today, for Pentecost, we have four scriptures about the Holy Spirit. Each scripture gives just a little bit different picture of the Holy Spirit and what the spirit does. Psalm 104:24-35 talks about the Holy Spirit and creation. That’s the first C – Creation. Psalm 104:30 says, “You send forth your Spirit... and they are created.”
Of course, in one sense, this refers to the creation of the universe. Genesis 1:1 says that everything began when God created the heavens and the earth. How did he do it? Genesis 1:2 says that the Spirit of God moved over things. That’s how creation took place - by the Holy Spirit of God. Psalm 104 says that God, through the Holy Spirit, continues to provide for the earth and its inhabitants.

But the Bible talks about another type of creation. II Corinthians 5:17 says that, when we are in Christ, there is a new creation. And we become new creatures. We are created all over again. Jesus says it is like being born all over again.

When we come to know Christ, our lives are transformed. The Holy Spirit touches our hearts and leads us to Christ. When we belong to the Savior, the Holy Spirit is at work in us, empowering us and transforming us. That is the work of the Holy Spirit in creation.
So, the first C is Creation. The second C of the Holy Spirit is Clarification and Comforter. I want to listen John 14:16-17, 26.

In John, Jesus says, “I am going to send you a paracletos.” This paracletos or Paraclete has been translated in various ways as a Comforter or an Advocate or Helper. The word literally means, “someone who stands right next to you.”

Isn’t that a great image of the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit of God is like your friend, your BFF, standing right next to you. Sometimes the Spirit is your Comforter, giving you comfort in times of trouble. There is nothing like having a friend to comfort you when you are experiencing sorrow. I hope you never have to experience deep grief or sorrow. But if you do, I hope you have a friend to stand right beside you during that time. And let me remind you of this, God, through the Holy Spirit, is also standing right beside you. He is there to be a help to you.
At other times, the Spirit is your Advocate, standing up for you like a lawyer. And Jesus says that the Spirit is also like a tutor, teaching you the things of God, and leading you to the truth. The absolute nature of God is beyond our knowing. And you cannot really learn about the Lord without the aid of the Holy Spirit.
So, the nature of the Spirit is creation and clarification. And in Acts 2, we see that the Holy Spirit is fire, or Conflagration. Acts 2:1-21

This is the story of the first Christian Pentecost. Actually, prior to that, Pentecost had been a Jewish holiday. It is Shavuot, or the Festival of Weeks, coming seven weeks, or fifty days after Passover. The word Pentecost is Greek for “fifty.” This is the festival of the harvest set out in Leviticus 23. It is also celebrated as the date God gave the Torah to Israel.

Just look at all the significance here for us. The Holy Spirit brings the harvest of God’s salvation. The Lord sent us the baptism of the Holy Spirit on the same day he gave us the Law. Isn’t that great?!
And look at what happened on that day of Pentecost in Jerusalem. The Holy Spirit came like a mighty wind. (By the way, Wind and Spirit are the same word in Hebrew.) And the Spirit baptized them with flames of fire. So Acts 2 reminds us that the coming of the Holy Spirit is not a casual thing. The Spirit baptizes us with the power of God, lights us up like fire, and fills us in a mighty way. And each person heard in their own language. Remember: The Holy Spirit can touch your heart with the knowledge of God; no matter what language you speak. Even Spanish. Even Korean. Even English! [Remember. Jesus and his Apostles did not speak English!]
So, we have seen Creation, Clarification and Conflagration. Now let’s look at the Holy Spirit as Commendation. Romans 8:14-17.

Romans 8 says that the Holy Spirit makes us children of God. In other words, we stumbling, sinful human beings are received by the unbounded, holy God of the universe as His very own children. In fact, we have an intimate relationship with God. And we can speak to the Lord in the same way that a child speaks to a beloved parent. We cry out to God, “Abba!” “Daddy!”

I never will forget the first time I visited Jerusalem. I was staying with a missionary family in the Old City. The only place they had for me to sleep was a sofa in the kitchen/family room. They had taught their children to speak Hebrew. That morning, I was awakened by the sound of little children running into the room yelling, “Abba! Abba! Abba!” – Daddy! Daddy! Daddy! We are God’s children, and through the Holy Spirit, we cry out to him: Abba!

And so, the Holy Spirit leads us in prayer. Have you ever thought about that? When you pray, the Holy Spirit of God touches your heart. The Spirit fills you with love and joy, and awe and reverence. Sometimes you are so filled with the presence of God. That you don’t even know what to say. The Bible says that, in those times, the Spirit of God just takes over and prays for you, commending the deepest things of your heart to God. The Holy Spirit of God prays in your heart.
And so, there you have it. We have looked at four scriptures with four very different portraits of the Holy Spirit. We have seen the Spirit in 4 C’s: Creation, Clarification, Conflagration, and Commendation.
Now, I want to leave you with this.... What does the Holy Spirit mean to you? What does the Holy Spirit mean in your life? This is a good question to talk about here on the day of Pentecost.
Is the Holy Spirit at work in your life, making you a new creation through the salvation of Jesus Christ? Is the Spirit giving you comfort when you need it so much? Is the Holy Spirit giving you wisdom and leading you to the truth of God’s Word in the Bible? Has the Holy Spirit touched your heart with the fire and enthusiasm of the Lord? The very presence of the Living God!

Does the Holy Spirit fill your heart during the quiet moments of prayer?

Does the Spirit take over praying for you as a child of God, when your heart is too full of love and joy and awe to even know what to say?

Let us pray: Come, Holy Spirit, fill our hearts and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and we shall be created. And you shall renew the face of the Earth and renew us.. O God, by the light of the Holy Spirit. you instruct the hearts of your faithful people. Grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may know true wisdom and enjoy your never-ending consolations. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
Thought: True friends are people who think you are a good egg even when they know you are a little cracked.

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