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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Total Reliance on God

25 June 2014

Opening Prayer/Worship

Hymn: I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say

Theme: God Our Maker

Topic: Total Reliance on God

Reading: Genesis 21:8-21
The child grew, and was weaned; and Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned. 9But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, playing with her son Isaac.10So she said to Abraham, ‘Cast out this slave woman with her son; for the son of this slave woman shall not inherit along with my son Isaac.’11The matter was very distressing to Abraham on account of his son.12But God said to Abraham, ‘Do not be distressed because of the boy and because of your slave woman; whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for it is through Isaac that offspring shall be named after you. 13As for the son of the slave woman, I will make a nation of him also, because he is your offspring.’ 14So Abraham rose early in the morning, and took bread and a skin of water, and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, along with the child, and sent her away. And she departed, and wandered about in the wilderness of Beer-sheba. 15 When the water in the skin was gone, she cast the child under one of the bushes. 16Then she went and sat down opposite him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot; for she said, ‘Do not let me look on the death of the child.’ And as she sat opposite him, she lifted up her voice and wept. 17And God heard the voice of the boy; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, and said to her, ‘What troubles you, Hagar? Do not be afraid; for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. 18Come, lift up the boy and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make a great nation of him.’ 19Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. She went, and filled the skin with water, and gave the boy a drink. 20 God was with the boy, and he grew up; he lived in the wilderness, and became an expert with the bow. 21He lived in the wilderness of Paran; and his mother got a wife for him from the land of Egypt.

God who made us loves to see us put all our trust in Him.  Just like earthly parents love their children, and want them to trust them, the same goes for God.  The Scripture tells us that God knows the thoughts He has for us, thoughts of good and not of evil, to bring us to an expected end.  The truth is that sometimes we are faced with situations that make us doubt whether God cares for us- loss of a loved one, illness, financial problems, and so on.  However, since it is impossible for God to lie, we should always take Him at His Word, always completely relying on Him.  It is very easy to give up in the midst of the storm, but if we anchor our faith on Jesus, God will bring us through the storm.  Nothing is too difficult for the Lord, and as we put our trust in Him, He will sustain and guide us through the vicissitudes of life.

1. What is your understanding of total reliance on God? 
Psalm 20:1-9
1 The Lord answer you in the day of trouble!
   The name of the God of Jacob protect you!
2 May he send you help from the sanctuary,
   and give you support from Zion.
3 May he remember all your offerings,
   and regard with favour your burnt sacrifices.
4 May he grant you your heart’s desire,
   and fulfil all your plans.
5 May we shout for joy over your victory,
   and in the name of our God set up our banners.
May the Lord fulfil all your petitions. 
6 Now I know that the Lord will help his anointed;
   he will answer him from his holy heaven
   with mighty victories by his right hand.
7 Some take pride in chariots, and some in horses,
   but our pride is in the name of the Lord our God.
8 They will collapse and fall,
   but we shall rise and stand upright. 
9 Give victory to the king, O Lord;
   answer us when we call.

Jeremiah 29:10-14
For thus says the Lord: Only when Babylon’s seventy years are completed will I visit you, and I will fulfil to you my promise and bring you back to this place. 11For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. 12Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. 13When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, 14I will let you find me, says the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.

Romans 8:26-39
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. 27And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. 29For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family. 30And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified. 31 What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? 33Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. 35Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36As it is written, ‘For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.’ 37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

2. What are the lessons for us in Matthew 10:24-39 regarding total reliance on God? 
Matthew 10:24-39
‘A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master;25it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household! 26 ‘So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. 27What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. 28Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground unperceived by your Father. 30And even the hairs of your head are all counted. 31So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows. 32 ‘Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; 33but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven. 34 ‘Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 36 and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household. 37Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;38and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.

3. Discuss some of the challenges to relying on God, and how to overcome them? 
Psalm 86:1-10, 16-17
Refrain: Turn to me; save the child of your handmaid.
Bow down your ear, O Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and in misery. Keep watch over my life, for I am faithful; save your servant who puts his trust in you. R Be merciful to me, O Lord, for you are my God; I call upon you all the day long. Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, and great is your love toward all who call upon you. R Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer, and attend to the voice of my supplications. In the time of my trouble I will call upon you, for you will answer me. R Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord, nor anything like your works. All nations you have made will come and worship you, O Lord, and glorify your name. For you are great; you do wondrous things; and you alone are God. R Turn to me and have mercy upon me; give your strength to your servant; and save the child of your handmaid. Show me a sign of your favour, so that those who hate me may see it and be ashamed; because you, O Lord, have helped me and comforted me. R

Psalm 95: 1-11
1 O come, let us sing to the Lord;
   let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
2 Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
   let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
3 For the Lord is a great God,
   and a great King above all gods.
4 In his hand are the depths of the earth;
   the heights of the mountains are his also.
5 The sea is his, for he made it,
   and the dry land, which his hands have formed. 
6 O come, let us worship and bow down,
   let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
7 For he is our God,
   and we are the people of his pasture,
   and the sheep of his hand. 
O that today you would listen to his voice!
8   Do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah,
   as on the day at Massah in the wilderness,
9 when your ancestors tested me,
   and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work.
10 For forty years I loathed that generation
   and said, ‘They are a people whose hearts go astray,
   and they do not regard my ways.’
11 Therefore in my anger I swore,
   ‘They shall not enter my rest.’

Romans 6:1B-11
Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? 2By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it? 3Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. 7For whoever has died is freed from sin. 8But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.10The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. 11So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.


God loves us with an everlasting love;
may we through the power of the Holy Spirit always put our trust in Him.

Closing Prayer (Collect for Second Sunday after Pentecost)
O God our defender, storms rage about us and cause us to be afraid. Rescue your people from despair, deliver your sons and daughters from fear, and preserve us all from unbelief; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and ever. Amen.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Made in the Image of God

18 June 2014

Opening Prayer/Worship

Hymn: Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty

Theme: God Our Maker

Topic: Made in the Image of God

Reading: Psalm 8
1     Lord our governor, *
          how exalted is your name in all the world!
2     Out of the mouths of infants and children *
          your majesty is praised above the heavens.
3     You have set up a stronghold against your adversaries, *
          to quell the enemy and the avenger.
4     When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, *
          the moon and the stars you have set in their courses,
5     What is man that you should be mindful of him? *
          the son of man that you should seek him out?
6     You have made him but little lower than the angels; *
          you adorn him with glory and honour;
7      You give him mastery over the works of your hands; *
          you put all things under his feet;
8     All sheep and oxen, *
          even the wild beasts of the field,
9     The birds of the air, the fish of the sea, *
          and whatsoever walks in the paths of the sea.
10   O Lord our governor, *
          how exalted is your name in all the world!

In today's study, we will be discussing how we are God's handiwork, made in His image.  As Christians, we need to be reminded once in a while that we are God's children, made for His purpose and in His likeness.  Knowledge of this helps us when we feel alone, or in trouble, that God has already invested so much in us and that He is with us even when it feels the opposite.  It will also help to remind us that Adam and Eve sinned and brought death and into God's creation, God recreated man through the second Adam, Jesus Christ, who was crucified for our sins and raised from the dead, restoring the relationship we have with God the Father.  Having restored us through His Son, God sent His Holy Spirit to dwell in us, guaranteeing our redemption until the coming of Christ.  This depicts the Triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  As we allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives, the image of God become more evident in our lives.    


1. Describe the relationship among the Trinity. 
Matthew 28:16-20
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. 18And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’

2. What are the lessons for us in Genesis 1:1-31, 2:1-4A regarding the existence of the Triune God?
Genesis 1:1-31, 2:1-4A
In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, 2the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. 3Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light. 4And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.5God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. 6 And God said, ‘Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.’ 7So God made the dome and separated the waters that were under the dome from the waters that were above the dome. And it was so. 8God called the dome Sky. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day. 9 And God said, ‘Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.’ And it was so. 10God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. 11Then God said, ‘Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it.’ And it was so. 12The earth brought forth vegetation: plants yielding seed of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it. And God saw that it was good. 13And there was evening and there was morning, the third day. 14 And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, 15and let them be lights in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth.’ And it was so. 16God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. 17God set them in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth, 18to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good.19And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day. 20 And God said, ‘Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky.’ 21So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind. And God saw that it was good. 22God blessed them, saying, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.’ 23And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day. 24 And God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind.’ And it was so. 25God made the wild animals of the earth of every kind, and the cattle of every kind, and everything that creeps upon the ground of every kind. And God saw that it was good. 26 Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.’ 
27 So God created humankind in his image,
   in the image of God he created them;
   male and female he created them. 
28God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.’ 29God said, ‘See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. 30And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.’ And it was so. 31God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
2:1-4 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude. 2And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. 3So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation. 4 These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created.

John 1:1-5, 10-14, 29-34
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. 10 He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. 11He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. 12But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, 13who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. 14 And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. 29 The next day he saw Jesus coming towards him and declared, ‘Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30This is he of whom I said, “After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.” 31I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel.’ 32And John testified, ‘I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, “He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.” 34And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.’

3. What is the meaning of the phrase 'communion of the Holy Spirit', and how does the understanding help us live in the image of God?
1 Corinthians 2:1-16
When I came to you, brothers and sisters, I did not come proclaiming the mystery of God to you in lofty words or wisdom. 2For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified. 3And I came to you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling. 4My speech and my proclamation were not with plausible words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power,5so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God. 6 Yet among the mature we do speak wisdom, though it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to perish. 7But we speak God’s wisdom, secret and hidden, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. 8None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9But, as it is written,
‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
   nor the human heart conceived,
what God has prepared for those who love him’— 
10these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11For what human being knows what is truly human except the human spirit that is within? So also no one comprehends what is truly God’s except the Spirit of God.12Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the gifts bestowed on us by God.13And we speak of these things in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual things to those who are spiritual. 14 Those who are unspiritual do not receive the gifts of God’s Spirit, for they are foolishness to them, and they are unable to understand them because they are discerned spiritually. 15Those who are spiritual discern all things, and they are themselves subject to no one else’s scrutiny. 
16 ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord
   so as to instruct him?’
But we have the mind of Christ.

2 Corinthians 13:11-13.
Finally, brothers and sisters, farewell. Put things in order, listen to my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. 12Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you. 13 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.


We were made by God in His image, restored by His Son Jesus Christ, and empowered to live for Him through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Closing Prayer (Collect for Trinity Sunday)

Holy One, whose fingers sculpted sun and moon; Holy Spirit, who brooded over the waters of creation; Holy Word, who lives in us; may we share in your grace, love and communion, so that we may live in your likeness; for you live in unity and diversity, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Gift of the Holy Spirit

11 June 2014

Opening Prayer/Worship                                          

Hymn: Spirit Divine Attend Our Prayers

Theme: Alive through the Holy Spirit

Topic: The Gift of the Holy Spirit

Reading: Acts 2:1-21
1When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. 5Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. 7Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? 9Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11(both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?” 13Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.”
14Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 16No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
17“ ‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. 18Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. 19I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 20The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. 21And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’

In the next couple of weeks, our discussion will be on how we are kept spiritually alive through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  The outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost is in fulfillment of the prophecy by Joel, and of the promise of Christ.  Although there were few accounts of the work of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament, the Pentecost marked the beginning of a new era.  After Christ ascended to Heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit to fill and empower His followers.  Pentecost is the beginning of a new era because from that day forward, as many as accept Christ as their personal Lord and Saviour, become filled with the Holy Spirit.  Every believer needs the Holy Spirit in his/her life, and in the studies to come, we will discuss how impossible it is to live the Christian life without the help of the Holy Spirit.  In today’s study, our focus is on how the Holy Spirit is a gift to us from God to enable us live in the righteousness of Christ.

1. Discuss the role of the Holy Spirit in the lives of Christians and in the Church.
Numbers 11:24-30
24So Moses went out and told the people what the Lord had said. He brought together seventy of their elders and had them stand around the tent. 25Then the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke with him, and he took some of the power of the Spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders. When the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied—but did not do so again.
26However, two men, whose names were Eldad and Medad, had remained in the camp. They were listed among the elders, but did not go out to the tent. Yet the Spirit also rested on them, and they prophesied in the camp. 27A young man ran and told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.” 28Joshua son of Nun, who had been Moses’ aide since youth, spoke up and said, “Moses, my lord, stop them!” 29But Moses replied, “Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!” 30Then Moses and the elders of Israel returned to the camp.

1 Corinthians 12:3B-13
No one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. 4There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. 7Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines. 12Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.

Ephesians 1:3-14
3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. 11In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

2. What are the lessons for us in John 7:37-39 regarding the gift of the Holy Spirit?
John 7:37-39
37On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” 39By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.

Joel 2:28-32
28“And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. 29Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days. 30I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 31The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. 32And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the Lord has said, even among the survivors whom the Lord calls.

3. Do we need the Holy Spirit today?
Psalm 51:10-12
10Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. 12Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Acts 10:34-40, 44-48
34Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. 36You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. 37You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached— 38how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him. 39“We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a cross, 40but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen.
44While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. 45The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. 46For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said, 47“Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” 48So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.
2 Timothy 1:6-14
6For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 8So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. 9He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 11And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. 12That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day. 13What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. 14Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.


We need the Holy Spirit to enable us live the Christian life.

Closing Prayer (Collect)

Gracious God, a new era has dawned: ushered in by Your Holy Spirit, heralded by rushing wind and flames of fire.  Startle our usual expectations and remind us that we are being led outward.  O Spirit, come and transform us and our priorities.  Fill us and possess us, that the world may know the gifts and blessing of your love.  Take away our hesitation and grant us a compelling vision of Your mission.  Open our minds and hearts to be signs of hope you seek to share with the world.  Help us to go forward in faith and outward in love.  For Jesus’ sake and in His name we pray.  Amen.