Sermon in a nutshell: “Holy Spirit and the Word of God” (Acts 19:1-10)
Last Sunday, we talked about the relationship between confession of faith and good deeds. Confession is like the “Pledge of Allegiance” and good deeds are like ethical living in our country. Do you ever wonder why we do not give citizenship to those who have done all good deeds but refuse to say the Pledge of Allegiance? We need to know whether people want to be loyal to our country or not before we allow them citizenship. Do not say to me that you would live an ethical life but your heart belongs to another country and yet we still must give you American citizenship! It does not work that way! We want to hear first where your heart is and then we want to examine your behaviors to see if they match your confession. If not, we want you to work on your behavior so that your confession and behavior become consistent.
That is what the Holy Spirit does in our faith journey. We confess that Jesus is the Messiah: Savior and Lord. That means we repent our sins. We turn around our lives. We change the direction of our lives and go towards the Kingdom of God. We read the Word of God and find the right direction. However, we may falter and fall down now and then even when we walk in the right direction. The Holy Spirit will then help us to get up again and to keep up our faith journey. After having given the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag of the USA and to the Republic for which it stands, I continue to work on my English to smooth out the Korean accent. I see so many Christians struggling after they’ve said the pledge of allegiance to the Kingdom of God, trying to eliminate the influence of their sinful “accent.”
That is why it is important to have this guiding teacher, the Holy Spirit, in our lives. Knowing the importance of the Holy Spirit, Paul had to ask this question to the people in Ephesus: “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?” They replied, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” Then he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They answered, “Into John’s baptism.” Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, in Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied—altogether there were about twelve of them.
Some of you may wonder whether you have received the Holy Spirit or not. Galatians 5:22-23 says, “By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things.” We know whether a person has received the Holy Spirit or not by the fruits that they bear.
Our faith is not just intellectual consent. We cannot confess with just our lips that Jesus is the Messiah. It would be like me saying I am an American citizen. Fruits have to follow the confession: I have to pay taxes, do jury duty, vote, and give my time and talent for our country. When we confess that Jesus is the Lord, we also have to give offerings, serve in committees, witness, and participate in church mission and ministry.
Confession of faith will change our status from sinners into children of God. The Word of God will give us direction on where to go and how to behave. Receiving the Holy Spirit will give us the ability and the willingness to live out our lives as children of God so that we can finish our race with joy and gladness.
Let us invite the Holy Spirit to come into our lives! Let us humbly follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit in every step we take. May God send us the Holy Spirit and empower us when we witness to Jesus through our words and action!
- When did you ask the Holy Spirit to come into your life?
- When did you feel the “holy burden” in your heart and what did you do about it?