Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Simon and the Spirit

Acts 2:14-21

Peter's sermon on Pentecost reveals several ways that the Holy Spirit wants to work in us.

The Spirit transforms.
Peter stands up in front of a crowd of thousands and proclaims Christ. This is a change of pace from the night of the Passover, just 50 days ago. Then, he denied Jesus rather than risk getting in trouble with the law (Matt. 26:69-75; Mark 14:66-72; Luke 22:54-62; John 18:15-27). He'll be in trouble with the law again soon, and this time, he won't back down. Jesus has forgiven him, the Spirit has empowered him, and Peter is a different man for it. He isn't shy about it, either; he doesn't just sit back, vaguely grateful but ineffective. He goes to work. Through his ministry on Pentecost, and for years after, everyone can plainly see the Holy Spirit working in him.

· How has the Spirit transformed you? And how can you use that transformation to witness to the world?

The Spirit guides.
You might expect Peter expect to say something stupid at this point. Like when he tried to tell Jesus He was wrong. (Matt. 16:21-23) If you were one of the people in the crowd, you might not expect much from the big dumb Galilean standing up in the middle of the ruckus. But the sermon that follows is eloquent, on point, and effective. Notice also, Peter could have let that "wine" comment slide, but he didn't. In fact, he used it to open his sermon, answering the criticism of the ignorant. Peter doesn't respond to the "wait, aren't these guys just Galilean hicks?" comment. No, he steps up to defend the work of the Spirit. That's what happens when Jesus and the Spirit get involved.

· Are we ready to follow that "I think I should" feeling? To embrace opportunities as they arise?

· Are we humble concerning ourselves, and jealous concerning God? Are we ready take punishment if we have to, but unwilling to compromise the truth?

The Spirit illuminates.
Where does he get this stuff? He's a fisherman! Maybe he heard the Scripture in the synagogue. Perhaps he heard from one of Jesus' lessons. But we know this: Jesus "opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures," (Luke 24:45) and Jesus told the disciples that the Spirit would remind them of everything Jesus taught. (John 14:26) Watch Peter weave together the words Old Testament. The Spirit is putting everything together. Matthew Henry said this: "It is observable that though Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit, yet he did not set aside the scriptures, nor think himself above them." Nothing of the value of the scriptures is lost by the indwelling of the Spirit; indeed, His presence illuminates the Bible to us, and allows us to gain more.

  • Do we allow God to speak to us through the Bible? Are we waiting for God to speak to us, all the while leaving the Bible unopened? Or, are we checking off the Bible box day to day, rather than taking the time and attention to let the Spirit speak?

No comments: