Pentecost Sunday Sermon: The Holy Spirit – Oil, Water, Wind, Fire – Rev. Augustin

Today is Pentecost Sunday.

Pentecost (Greek: Πεντηκοστή [Pentēkostē] means “the fiftieth [day]”) is the fiftieth and last day of the Easter season. This morning’s service celebrates the sending of the Holy Spirit to the Apostles and other followers of Jesus Christ, as described in the Acts of the Apostles 2:1–31. We also recognize it as the “Birthday of the Church”.

It was lovely to see the altar decoration – especially our lightbox cross – set up for today’s celebrations. Special thanks goes to Mei Li for helping us with this.

PentecostCross

Drawing from this week’s lectionary readings, Pastor Augustin’s sermon today reflected on four symbols used in the Bible for the Holy Spirit: Oil, Water, Wind and Fire. Each symbol represented the way the Holy Spirit worked in the lives of believers.

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May the unceasing faithfulness of God finish His work in us through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Should we turn water into wine, too? – John Cheah

This morning, we had John preach from the lectionary text for this week. He preached a very interesting sermon titled, “Should We Turn Water Into Wine, Too?” FR0015

He spoke about how Jesus turned water into wine at wedding in Cana – why? It was for the glory of God. Many times when we face life’s unexpected events, we tend to ask God to meet our needs our way our time. Rarely do we remember that Jesus performed that miracle the book of John called as signs. Jesus said it was done for the the glory of God.

The 1 Corinthians 12:1-11 spoke about the different gifts that the Holy Spirit gives. But note that it is always for the common good. Initially for John, the list of gifts were as a menu from which to ask God for – so that he could fulfill what he felt he needed to do in the will of God. Only upon greater reflection and prayer did he realize that God gives as the need arises and we should be faithful to allow God’s gifts to work through us.

What gifts do we have today? What have we been given? John pointed out that, in the past, we have focused too much on the gifts in the past and not enough on the giver. The scripture reminds us that there may be many gifts, many services, but only one God, one Lord, one Holy Spirit.

So remember the giver, and serve with whatever gifts given to you at any particular time. Remember – Why did Jesus perform signs? Why should you do the will of God with His given gifts? To glorify God!

September Sermon Series: Temple of the Holy Spirit

(Pictured with her husband Zach, Emily’s the one on the right, just in case you were wondering)

This morning, we had the distinct pleasure to be blessed by Emily Shipman‘s maiden sermon at The Father’s House!

She wrapped up our September Sermon Series exploring different images of church and community, as found in Scripture, with a sermon about how the church family is also called to be the Temple of the Holy Spirit.

In our Old Testament (Ezekiel 37:1-14) she shared about how the Spirit breathes life into those dried up.

From the New Testament Reading (1 Corinthians 12:1-13) she shared about how spiritual gifts given by the one Spirit in unity “for the common good” – this is always their purpose. In fact, our common good is about unity in diversity, not despite diversity.

From the Gospel reading (John 14:15-27), she shared about how the Holy Spirit is promised as well as personal, with New Testament references showing how He leads believers, bears witness, loves, grieves, intercedes, cries out.

In fact, the Greek word for Him is παράκλητος, which can be understood as a court-room term for someone who advocates for the defendant, defends and strengthens when accused, offers counsel and aid, encouragement when depressed, grants assurance and hope.

The Holy Spirit is also the “Spirit of Truth” Who “testifies on behalf of Christ”. He inspires faith – which comes through the hearing of the Word of God.

Finally, tying it all together in 1 Corinthians 6:12-20, Emily shared about how, in the context of Corinth, she preached about how our bodies joined with Christ as “the temple of the Holy Spirit” – united in goal, aided in our weakness by the same Spirit. As being filled with with the Holy Spirit, therefore, we should be the body of Christ in the world – sent out for reconciliation, forgiveness, proclamation, justice and to give in to things that destroy the body.

The Peace of the Lord

Nevermind the lighting, air-conditioning, seating arrangements, ambience, or appropriate music.

This is what the peace of the Lord looks like; embraced in His presence like a child fully comfortable and at rest.

Have a good Sabbath rest in His presence, everyone!

September Sermon Series: A Holy Nation – Leigh

This morning, as part of our September sermon series exploring biblical images of Christian community, Leigh shared with us what it meant to be a Holy Nation.

He led off with the idea that a Holy Nation is defined as a community of people who are set apart and made whole by God with a common language, culture,  identity, history and destiny.

Next, he shared how a Holy Nation – being intertwined with the concept of states and citizenship – is one that dispenses rights but also demands responsibilities. To illustrate this, he talked about our responsibilities to our own countries and how it parallels the responsibilities of being a part of God’s Holy Nation. Even as God made the first move to rescue Israel out of Egypt – He also entered into a covenant with them, which included requirements and responsibilities; most notably, the 10 commandments that immediately followed the invitation in Exodus 19:1-7.

Finally, Leigh talked about how – for us – all of us are called to be that Holy Nation, but it isn’t easy; it’s practically living in two worlds at the same time. The demands and calls for living according to God’s covenant often puts us in conflict with those of the world. Even so, God’s call comes with God’s power to follow His covenant call in the world. And that is what will carry us through to the end.

Leigh has also made his slides available here:

Note – there is supposed to be a video on slide #19 which can be viewed here:

September Sermon Series: A Royal Priesthood

We are now into our third week of our September series exploring different images of church and community, as found in Scripture.

This week, Rev. Augustin explores what it means to be a member of the Royal Priesthood (I Peter 2:9).

The priest, originally, was appointed by God to intercede on behalf of the people. It is interesting and important to note that the priesthood is not something we can choose or volunteer for. In fact, it is initiated by God when He call us.

According to the Bible, the priest’s responsibility was to:

  • intercede on behalf of others for God’s blessings to be poured out into their lives
  • pour out the grace and power of God into the lives of those around us

Unfortunately, over time and throughout history, the idea of a priest changed into a sort of “elevated” position. Martin Luther restored the idea of the Church community being priests especially over two key points:

  • All of us have the privilege of access to God
  • All of us have the responsibility of serving

Thus, we are all called to be priests to everyone around us. It is our responsibility to intercede on behalf of others for God’s blessings to be poured out into their lives as well as to pour out the grace and power of God into the lives of those around us. Now, this cannot be done without true care and concern for those around us.

As priests, God therefore calls us to a whole new level of caring for the people we represent!

With today being Malaysia Day, the one thing we can do for the country is to be priests for the nation – to intercede on behalf of the nation to God. We should be like the watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem, who give themselves no rest as they call on the Lord (Isaiah 62:6). Can we certainly take our prayers up a notch – not giving ourselves rest as we call on the Lord?