The View From 1776
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Through Jesus Christ we have received the inestimable gift of the Holy Spirit as our counselor and comforter.
Pastor Steve Treash’s sermon this past Sunday at Black Rock-Long Ridge Congregational Church (North Stamford, Connecticut) was on God’s gift to us of the Holy Spirit.
Unlike the major imperial religions that appeared in the world before Jesus Christ, Christianity gives believers a personal relationship with God. In earlier religions the ruler was the only connection between his subjects and the gods. From Hammurabi to the Pharaohs, law was promulgated by the ruler in the name of the gods, and social order was handed down from on high through the ruler.
Christianity turned this upside down, making it possible for every individual to gain remission of his sins directly by accepting Jesus Christ as his savior and repenting. To aid repentance and sanctification, God manifested Himself individually to believers as the Holy Spirit.
To describe the gift, Pastor Treash’s main text was Acts 1:1-5.
In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
Speaking to His disciples, Jesus said (John 14:15-20):
If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever