The Spirit is promised
After you have listened to the Sermon audio above, take your time to read through the rest of this page. Pause and reflect at your own pace. We can worship at any time and anywhere. Know that others will be joining you...
A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
..from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
..the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
..the Spirit of counsel and of might,
..the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord—
and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.
“Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
..my chosen one in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
..and he will bring justice to the nations.
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
..because the Lord has anointed me
..to proclaim good news to the poor.
I will no longer hide my face from them, for I will pour out my Spirit on the people of Israel, declares the Sovereign Lord.”
I thank you, Lord, for you have supported me with your strength, you have sprinkled your holy spirit upon me, that I might not stagger. You have strengthened me before the battles of wickedness.
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.
Seen from this perspective, the pouring out of God’s spirit upon flesh means the establishment of new, vigorous life through God’s unreserved giving of himself to those who, in themselves, are rootless and feeble, especially in the approaching times of judgement.
(Hans Walter Wolff, Hermeneia: A Commentary on the Books of the Prophets Joel and Amos, p66)
Peter's sermon at Pentecost, Acts 2:14-41
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
1 Peter 2:9
As the heavens are higher than the earth,
..so are my ways higher than your ways
..and my thoughts than your thoughts.
“I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!”
Guilt is a strange thing. Some feel guilty that shouldn’t and some don’t feel guilt that should. Some people use guilt as a persuader or for manipulation. Guilt is a powerful emotion, it can drive someone to make positive changes, or restitution for something they have done, or it can be abused.
Are there things that make you feel guilty? How do you think God wants us to respond to that?
In my application for the ministry, one of the questions went along the lines of, ‘what is your biggest regret?’ Quite the personal question, especially when you don’t know who is reading the answer, or even how many are reading the answer. I thought for a while of the things that immediately made me feel guilty but realised there were other things that in hindsight I regretted more.
Is there anything like that for you?
These things get in the way of our relationship with God. At the times when I feel most guilty, they are the times I’m least likely to spend time with God. But when you do, those times can be the most restorative and healing.
On a family holiday, a brother fell and cut himself badly with dirt getting into the cut. My mother took him to the local doctor who patched him up, but before he could he first cleaned out the wound with a nail brush. I wasn’t there, I don’t even remember the holiday, but I’ve heard the story and can only imagine the pain.
Are we still willing to pray for God to cleanse us and make us whiter than snow if that process might be painful? Even if it involves breaking a proud or arrogant character? Even if it involves the pain of confronting consequences? Do you desire to be clean more than you desire comfort?
Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Dear Lord, even when things are tough and the future uncertain, there is no less reason to praise you. You are almighty, you are kind, you are love, you are our refuge and strength, you are patient, you are grace-filled, you bring light to the darkness. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!
We also want to bring you our thanks. Thank you for all the good gifts you have given us - not only the big things like family and friends, the beauty of creation, and homes to live in, but also the small things that so often we take for granted; the washing machine, salt to season our food, chirping birds (and cawing ones too).
"Forgive us too Father. We’ve failed to live as we should have this week. We’ve been impatient, selfish, proud, and given into temptation. As a nation, we’ve failed to look after those on the fringes, and to honour your name as we should. We individually and corporately have failed to let you rule as King over our lives, and we seek your forgiveness now. Thank you that your mercies are new every morning; that through Jesus, you are not disappointed, but pleased with us.
Right now, we especially want to pray for our church leaders. Even in this trying time, we ask that they would feel encouraged and full of joy. That they would be given the rights words from you, that they would be bold, and that the message of Jesus would spread. Lord, rescue them from any attacks they may be facing, and help us to love and uphold them. We give thanks particularly this week for Colin Sinclair, for all he has given in service as moderator this year. We ask that he and his wife Ruth would enjoy a time of refreshing as they wind down their duties. We pray too for Martin Fair as he begins as the new moderator; we ask that you would fill him with your spirit, and that you would lead and guide him throughout this challenging year.
For us as a church, Lord, we want to know you better. In this time, bless us with wisdom and new revelations about you and your word, enlighten us about our hope and inheritance in Jesus, and strengthen us with power in the inner being through your Spirit. For those who are feeling lonely, anxious, angry, or bored, please bring your joy, calm and comfort. For those who are facing ill health, please bring you healing and peace. May those who are grieving loss know that you share in their pain. Use us, your hands and feet in this part of the world, to bring light into darkness. We’re encouraged to hear of folks who don’t know you engaging with online Christian material, and we ask that you’d give them ears to hear your voice, and that your spirit would be at work turning hearts towards you. Give us boldness and opportunities to share of what you’ve done in our own lives.
As we set out into a week of unknowns and uncertainty, whatever our circumstances, help us to enjoy and glorify you. Let everything that has breathe praise the Lord! Amen.
(Contributed by ML Clipston)
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
Thank you to all who contributed to this page.
Please contact Jonny (JClipston@churchofscotland.org.uk) if you would like to be involved in future weeks.