And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever. — John 14: 16
To experience the help provided by the Holy Spirit, we must include Him in our lives.
The promise of Jesus in our Bible text was fulfilled on Pentecost. Following this, it is repeatedly reported that the Holy Spirit was with the first Christians and helped them.
In Acts 4 we read that Peter, John, and their companions prayed for boldness to proclaim the gospel. They stood up to the threats made against them. The Holy Spirit filled them and gave them strength so that they could fulfil their commission.
We can also benefit from the comfort and help offered by the Holy Spirit, but we must open the way for Him to be active in us. Then He can really help us, and the words of Jesus will also be fulfilled on us.
Sharing the gospel
The Apostles refused to be silenced despite being threatened; they proclaimed the gospel and were filled with the Holy Spirit. Being a Christian means that we are to reach out to all people in order to teach them the gospel of Jesus Christ. The most powerful testimony is made when we live in accordance with the gospel, regardless of threats.
We may be threatened by scarcity; the feeling that if we give of what we have, there will not be enough for ourselves. In modern society, time is increasingly scarce and one can become stingy in sharing it. When we are willing to help our neighbour, even if this requires that we put our personal agenda aside, we bring the gospel to those around us and open the way for the activity of the Spirit.
We may feel threatened with social rejection if we live in accordance with Jesus’ teaching and seek to assist those who are rejected by society (Matthew 25: 35–36). We do not bow to this threat, but rather open the way to the activity of the Spirit by fulfilling the commandment of love (Matthew 22: 37–39).
Prayer for boldness
Those who had gathered in Jerusalem were filled with the Holy Spirit when they prayed for boldness to proclaim the word of God (Acts 4: 29, 31).
We often expect the Apostles to be a source of help and support when we live through difficult circumstances. There is nothing wrong with that, but we must not reduce the Apostle ministry to this. The main task of the Apostles is to boldly proclaim the gospel in word and sacrament and effect the changes that are necessary for the day of the Lord. What effects are produced when we engage the Holy Spirit?
- Oneness. In Acts 4: 32 we read that “the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul”. The Spirit can help us move away from a self-centred attitude and into the unity that Jesus prayed for (John 17: 11).
- Strength of faith. In Acts 4: 33 we read: “And with great power the Apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.” Regardless of how long we have been New Apostolic Christians, the possibility always exists that our faith could become weak and that life’s circumstances could cause us to focus solely on earthly matters. The Holy Spirit can help us maintain our focus on that which is of eternal value.
* Thoughts from the Chief Apostle adapted for the divine service held on 08 May 2016 at Midrand Congregation.
— We would love to hear from you on any of these topics. Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.