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With the Holy Spirit, We Should Live Compassionately

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With the Holy Spirit, We Should Live Compassionately
 
A Sermon Delivered to
The Compassionate Internet Church
 
For Pentecost Sunday
 
Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor
 
27 May 2012

Scripture References:

Matthew 7:13-14
John 15:26-27
Acts 2:1-8, 40-41
Romans 8:18-25
James 2:19-20

Preparation Verses: (John 15:26-27)

26. “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me,
 
27. and you will testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning.

As Jesus is telling us, when the Holy Spirit comes upon us, we are supposed to have a soft and compassionate heart that has empathy for the whole of God’s creation.
 
This is what happens to us when we have the Spirit of God fill us with His power and insight, and from what the Bible says, this should be happening to everyone, but sadly it is not.
 
The power of the Spirit indwelling us not only strengthens our faith, but it should cause us to testify not only of who Jesus is, but also to live the example of Jesus’ life and how He taught us to live as loving, compassionate, and peacemaking children of God, as a witness before others so that what we say will be believed.
 
We celebrate the day of Pentecost because it was the first time that the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples after Jesus’ ascension into heaven, as we are told in Acts 2. Note verses 1-4…

1. When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.
 
2. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.
 
3. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them.
 
4. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.

We also need to remember that everything God does has a purpose.
 
This power and enlightenment isn’t just for us, or our family, or our congregation; it is for the benefit of the whole of God’s creation: all our fellow human beings, all the animals, and the earth upon which we live.
 
So with this in mind, let’s go on to verses 5-8, and as we look at these verses, we need to ask ourselves: why is this happening?

5. Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven.
 
6. And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language.
 
7. They were amazed and astonished, saying, “Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans?
 
8. “And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born?

Was this happening because they needed to believe in God?
 
No, because they were already devout Jews.
 
Then why is this happening?
 
Note what happened after they heard what Peter and the others said to them, as recorded in Acts 2:40-41.

40. And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!”
 
41. So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls.

This happened so that the message that the men heard in their own language would be carried back to their own countries and help enlighten the people there.

This happened so that the good news of Jesus Christ would be spread among more people and expand more rapidly.
 
And what is the perverse generation that they and we need to be saved from?
 
It is the ongoing generations of ungodly hard of heart people who continue to keep this world in its corrupted state with so much pain, suffering, and death.
 
We have heard many Christians claim to be born again and filled with the Holy Spirit, but when we look at their lives we see very little or no evidence of them living changed and compassionate lives.
 
As an example, if they were animal killers before they supposedly became filled with the Holy Spirit, for the most part they remained animal killers, and they and others continue to enjoy eating the tortured remains of animals without any apparent concern for the suffering they are causing.
 
These are some of the reasons that we believe that Jesus said in Matthew 7:13-14…

13. “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.
 
14. “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

Unfortunately, most people seem to want to remain on the broad road leading to destruction to which they are contributing.
 
They also fool themselves into believing that all it takes to be on the narrow way only requires a person to be a believer.
 
Note what James tells us in 2:19-20…

19. You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.
 
20. But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?

These Christians say they believe and are filled with the Holy Spirit, but they have little or no works that confirm their faith.
 
As we mentioned above, when we are anointed by the Spirit of God, we are to be transformed into the loving, compassionate, and peacemaking children of God that Jesus called us to be.
 
For what purpose does God want us to be like this?
 
Paul answers this question in Romans 8:18-25…

18. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

When we have the Holy Spirit come upon us, we should also have a glimpse of this glory.
 
We should long in our hearts and souls to do everything in our power to help make it happen.

19. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.

Do you now see the connection to what we’ve been talking about, and our role as children of God in helping to bring it to pass?

20. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope
 
21. that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
 
22. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.

This is the task that God has set for us.

23. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.

This inner groaning is really a mourning sadness that suffers along with creation until it is freed.

24. For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees?
 
25. But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.

This is what the infilling of the Holy Spirit is to cause to happen in each and every one of us.
 
And as a final note, since this is also Memorial Day weekend in the United States, I want to pose a question to every one of us in the midst of all of the planned events and programs.
 
Are we glorifying war, or are we deeply saddened by all of the pain and suffering that our warring madness has caused for thousands of years?
 
I hope and pray that we are deeply saddened and praying for God to forgive us and help us to also end this aspect of our corrupted world.
 
And while we are considering this, what are we going to be eating this weekend?
 
Are we going to continue to testify that we don’t care about how many billions of animals are suffering because of what we eat and have on our plates, or are we going to have a cruelty-free plant food meal?
 
I pray that we are all going to be working to free creation from its present corruption so that we can have a true and lasting peace, where there is no pain or suffering for any human or other animal, for the glory of God.
 
Amen?
 
Amen.