1 Corinthians 12.3–13
Today is Pentecost, which means next week is Trinity Sunday. Preachers often feel the Trinity Sunday is a hard gig, but I really feel that Pentecost is the hardest day to preach and to do justice to the message.
How do we preach the Holy Spirit, whom we picture as wind, water and fire? How do we hold wind in our hands? We know the Spirit only by the effects she has in our lives. It’s like what John says (3.8),
The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes.
We only know the Spirit by what the Spirit does. We can’t pin the Spirit down. Ever. We can’t say
- You have to believe the right doctrine to receive the Spirit;
- A bishop must lay hands on you if you are to receive the Spirit;
- The Spirit comes only as a second blessing to particular believers;
- You don’t have the Spirit if you don’t speak in tongues.
We can never put the Spirit in a box or enclose her in any theological system.
With apologies to Donovan, we may as well try to catch the wind as speak of the Spirit.
One thing we do know: the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus Christ. If we speak of Jesus Christ as we speak of the Spirit, we may say words that are true. Let’s try it with a few reflections. Continue reading