Pentecost Sermon: The Holy Spirit and the Church

A cross.
A cross.
By Zoe Zhang June 8th, 2020

On May 31, Pentecost Sunday, Pastor Wang Hao of the Gospel Church in Guancheng, Dongguan, Guangdong, spoke from Acts 2:1-21 on the relationship between the Holy Spirit and the church.

Both the Old and New Testament speak about the Holy Spirit. "When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the ground." (Psalm 104:30) The Holy Spirit was sent to create, transform, open, and renew the lives of people and groups. When the Holy Spirit came, discouraged and panicked disciples were transformed into dedicated believers. It is from this group that the church was formed. There are three themes I would like to share in this sermon.

He shared that the Holy Spirit created the church. In the Old Testament, there was a prophecy from Joel declaring that the Holy Spirit would create a group that would break all barriers. "And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions." (Joel 2:28)

A wonderful change happened with the coming of the Holy Spirit. Those who experienced Pentecost were astounded and rejoiced to experience the filling of the Spirit. Today, as members of the church and the children of God, we belong to Christ through baptism. “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:27-28) We need to connect with and support each other.

The disciples spoke God’s truth through the Holy Spirit when they said: ‘Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.” (Acts 2:18) They would prophesy about the future, but in contrast we only knew yesterday, not tomorrow. There is a poem that says that we don’t know the future but we know who controls it. No matter if we are rich or powerful, we still cannot control tomorrow, only God can do that. As the children of God, we must commit ourselves and our future fully into His hands.

The coming of the Holy Spirit was the fulfillment of Joel's prophecy, and the foundation of the church.

Acts 2:9-11 mentioned people from all ethnic groups, representing the whole world. They heard the disciples were full of the Holy Spirit and declaring the wonders of God. This is how it should be in today’s church.

Second, the Holy Spirit gave the church the Great Commission, he stated. 

John 20:19-23 describes the resurrected Christ who sent the promised Holy Spirit to His disciples and established His body on earth. The body of Christ on earth is the church, sent to complete the Great Commission.

"'As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.' We are the people sent by Jesus, and responsible for the mission He has called us to. We are sent to  preach the Good News and witness the mighty works of God."

The church cannot rely on its own strength to accomplish the Great Commission, but on the fullness and power of the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit fills us, we have the gift of discernment and wisdom.

Each of us is sinful and has the potential to sin. The Bible says: "If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven." The mission of the church is to proclaim to the world that the Lord has forgiven our sins, which is also the good news of reconciliation with God.

When a sinner came to Jesus, Jesus said, "Your sins are forgiven, and I will not condemn you." How happy and grateful the sinner was!

The third work of the Holy Spirit was the unity of the church.

For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. (1Co 12:13)

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:3)

The church was called to love and connect, not attack each other. As a member of the church, a Christian was a part of Jesus's body. The Holy Spirit brought unity. If Christians obeyed the touch of the Holy Spirit, they would want to do the same.

All gifts were given to us by the Holy Spirit to glorify God and benefit everyone, not to show off and promote ourselves. "No matter how many gifts we have, the most important thing is to surrender to the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Let us all confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord, believe in our hearts and witness to others through our lives," he concluded. 

- Translated by Elaina Wu

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