Friday, May 9, 2008

For Sunday May 11 - Pentecost

The Kingdom Comes
John 20:19-23
Acts 2:1-13

The picture here (not a fake) doesn't have much to do with the topic today (unless you look in Acts 2 where it talks about people thinking the Spirit-pumped followers of Jesus were drunk), but I just thought it was weirdly funny. It's from Texas where there are, apparently, drive-thru adult beverage spots. No it isn't legal to drink and drive, but it's fine to get an alcoholic drink, tuck it away, and drive. No sipping of course. Seems like a bad idea to me - but that's Texas for you (my home state). of the biggest promises of the Old Testament is that the Spirit of God will be poured out on all who know God. Just a few of the passages that talk about this promise ...

Isaiah 19:13-15
Isaiah 32:14-16
Isaiah 44:2-4
Ezekiel 39:28-29
Joel 2:27-29
Zechariah 12:9-11

The Spirit is something -rather someone - who we may not miss in our lives that much if we've never known him. Before I became a Christian during college, I didn't really think that anything was missing. I know Billy Graham and others say that unbelievers have a "God-shaped hole in their hearts" - but I didn't feel it. Until I became a Christian, that is. Then I noticed that something seemed different. I sensed God alive in me in new ways. And when I strayed away from God (frequently in those years), I had a lonliness that didn't exist before. At least that was my experience (which may not be the norm).
In scripture the Spirit seems to be given to Adam and Eve as a part of God creating them. God breathes his wind/life/breath/Spirit into them and they become alive. There's no specific verse that says that God took the Spirit away after they "fell away." But God does tell them that they will "die" if they sin. This death may be not only physical but also a separation from the Spirit of God - a kind of Spiritual death that eventually leads to physical death as well. The rest of the Old Testament narrative implies that humankind is no longer privileged to have the Spirit dwell in them. However the notable exceptions include prophets and a few others like David. David experiences the separation from God's Spirit when he has his fling with Bathsheba and knocks off her hubby. When confronted with his sin he prays (Psalm 51) "take not your Holy Spirit from me."
Perhaps there is a very big tie between the gift of the Spirit at Pentecost and the coming of God's Kingdom that we've been studying in worship recently. You can't have one without the other, in fact. The Kingdom comes as the Spirit comes. We'll go into this interesting link in worship - or at least ask some big questions.
Check out the question above to the right. - Curtis