DNA: Week 3 The Holy Spirit

Looking at the DNA of Christianity and Christ Church.

Christianity begins with Christ; so does understanding the Holy Spirit.

Welcome to Week 3 of DNA. Take a moment to pray as you begin. There is a video at the bottom in case you missed the teaching.

Review: Christianity begins with Christ; so does understanding the Holy Spirit.


If thinking and talking about God is difficult, understanding the Holy Spirit is that much more tough. Fortunately, Jesus helps us understand, relate to, and experience the Holy Spirit in our Christian faith.


Opener:

What would you say you know or have experienced related to the Holy Spirit? From where or what does your comment stem from?

Jesus promises the "Advocate"


John 14:26

"When the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you." 


παράκλητος   parakletos

direct translation: advocate, intercessor, helper, mediator, counselor

root translation: call, summon


Jesus names the Holy Spirit as your parakletos, or "advocate." From the direct translation, which word sticks out to you as insightful, meaningful, or impactful? Why might that be?

Pentecost (Acts 2)


Pentecost was originally a Jewish holiday called the Feast of Weeks; it was 50 days after Passover (a critically important Jewish holiday). It was on this day that the Holy Spirit came upon the followers of Jesus in a dynamic and influential way. Read the story together from Acts 2


Acts 2:1-41

On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place. Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability. 

At that time there were devout Jews from every nation living in Jerusalem. When they heard the loud noise, everyone came running, and they were bewildered to hear their own languages being spoken by the believers. 

They were completely amazed. “How can this be?” they exclaimed. “These people are all from Galilee, and yet we hear them speaking in our own native languages! Here we are—Parthians, Medes, Elamites, people from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, the province of Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, and the areas of Libya around Cyrene, visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism), Cretans, and Arabs. And we all hear these people speaking in our own languages about the wonderful things God has done!” They stood there amazed and perplexed. “What can this mean?” they asked each other. 

But others in the crowd ridiculed them, saying, “They’re just drunk, that’s all!” 


Peter Preaches to the Crowd

Then Peter stepped forward with the eleven other apostles and shouted to the crowd, “Listen carefully, all of you, fellow Jews and residents of Jerusalem! Make no mistake about this. These people are not drunk, as some of you are assuming. Nine o’clock in the morning is much too early for that. No, what you see was predicted long ago by the prophet Joel...


From there, Peter preaches a heart-felt and convicting message, pointing people to Jesus. It ends like this:


“So let everyone in Israel know for certain that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, to be both Lord and Messiah!” Peter’s words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?” Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is to you, to your children, and to those far away—all who have been called by the Lord our God.” Then Peter continued preaching for a long time, strongly urging all his listeners, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation!” Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all. 


In this story, Peter and the other followers of Jesus are supernaturally able to speak languages other people understand so as to tell them about Jesus. This initial sermon and corresponding group of converts is largely considered the launch of the church movement. How does this story inform your understanding of the Holy Spirit?

The Advocate advances Christ’s kingdom.


Knowing and discerning the work of the Holy Spirit can be tricky as it is spiritual and supernatural. The identifying factor is whether or not something is advocating and advancing Christ's kingdom in your life and the life of others.


There are a few ways the Bible tells us the Holy Spirit regularly works in helping to advocate for Jesus' work and will in people's lives. Here are just a few:


Gifts of the Holy Spirit

1 Corinthians 12:1-11

Romans 12:6-8


The Holy Spirit works through people to advance Christ's kingdom. It does this by empowering people with special abilities or gifts that

help accomplish what is needed for the sake of others. Do you know what gifts the Holy Spirit has placed in your life to advance his kingdom?

Discernment

Acts 16:6-10

The Holy Spirit helps us discern and perceive what God wants for us in life. Often, it can be in relation to specific life circumstances or big questions. The Spirit might use circumstances, a verse from the Bible, or a friend to speak a powerful and influential affirmation, warning, or indication calling our attention to what God wants. Have you ever felt the Spirit helping you to make an important decision in life?

Supernatural Events/Miracles

The story of Pentecost in Acts 2 above is a great example. Sometimes unlikely and unexplainable circumstances or events occur for people's wellbeing. Have you ever experienced something that you would describe as miraculous and attribute to the work of the Holy Spirit?

Communion and Baptism        

Acts 8:26-40

The practice of Baptism and Communion are places the Holy Spirit shows up. Have you ever felt your faith in Jesus encouraged, strengthened, or supported by participating or witnessing Baptism or Communion?

Have you ever experienced what you would call the work of the Holy Spirit in these or other examples? What was it like?

Conclusion:


The Holy Spirit advocates for Christ.


The Holy Spirit continues to advocate for the work and will of Jesus Christ in this world, sustaining and bringing life. 

Apostles' Creed, 3rd Article

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic* church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.


*catholic here means “united” or "worldwide"

Prayer

Take some time and pray. You can type prayer requests, reflections, of things to remember in the notes area below, and email them to yourself so you have them going forward.

DNA Week 3