“Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:37-38 ESV)
In the middle of this month we will remember what some refer to as the birthday of the Church, what we call Pentecost. It is a time when we remember the events recorded in Acts 2, seven weeks after the resurrection of Jesus, where the Holy Spirit was poured out on the first followers. There Peter preached his first sermon and spoke of the words of the Old Testament prophet Joel. And when he had finished the crowds asked ‘what shall we do?’ To this Peter replied ‘repent and be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’ Acts tells us that on that wonderful day 3000 people heard his words, were baptised and were added to the church that day. Not too bad for a first sermon!
Often we can in our own tradition focus simply on the first two persons of the Godhead, God the Father and Jesus the Son but we must remember that it is the trinity, one God three persons, that we acknowledge as being God. The Holy Spirit is the third and equal part of the godhead and as such we must remember the work and power of the Spirit. God pours out the Spirit upon all who put their trust in Jesus Christ. It is a time for us to reflect on how we live day by day: Are we reliant on the power of God’s Spirit? Are we listening to the guiding of the Spirit? Are the fruits of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control) evident in the lives we live out in front of this world. Sometimes we underestimate the power of the Spirit and we miss out on the comfort and guidance He can bring. Let us not miss out on blessings as the Holy Spirit works within us and through us. We also notice that the Spirit was poured out onto a group of people, the early church. We should not forget the power of the Holy Spirit within the life of our church. As Dr Mark Roberts notes: ‘Pentecost invites us to consider our own participation in the fellowship, worship and mission of the church. It is time to renew our commitment to live as an essential member of the body of Christ, using our gifts to build the church and share the love of Christ with the world.’