This is part of an ongoing series on the Cornerstone Confirmation Curriculum we are developing at First Trinity Lutheran Church. (Main Confirmation Page)
The third article of the Apostle’s Creed focuses on the Holy Spirit, who works faith in our hearts and keeps us in the faith each day.
The Holy Spirit is God
Read Acts 5:34
- Underline: Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit … You have not lied to man but to God
- Write: Circle Holy Spirit and God, then connect them with a line.
Read Matthew 28:19-20
The Holy Spirit is the third “person” of the Trinity. He is referred to as God by Peter in the story of Ananias and Sapphira. He is also connected with the Father and Son in the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20.
The Role of the Holy Spirit
Read 1 Corinthians 12:3
- Underline: no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit.
- Margin: Holy Spirit Converts
Read John 3:5-6
- Underline: that which is born of the Spirit is spirit
- Margin: Holy Spirit Converts
Read 1 Peter 5:7
- Underline: since you have been born again, … through the living and abiding word of God;
- Margin: Holy Spirit uses God’s Word
The Holy Spirit is responsible for bringing people to faith. While we have a “decision” to make regarding whether we believe in Jesus or not, we are only able to say “I believe in Jesus” because the Spirit has already worked faith in our hearts. Imagine you are falling off a cliff with nothing to grab onto. God reaches down through the Spirit and grabs your arm as you fall. You now have a choice: Grab on to God, or don’t. But you can only grab onto God because He first grabbed you. The Holy Spirit works through the Word of God. He uses the Bible to work faith in our hearts.
Read 2 Corinthians 5:17
- Underline: Entire verse
- Margin: I am a new creation!
In addition to working faith in our hearts, the Spirit renews us daily. Each day, we are being made new through the power of the Spirit. He makes us new not because we deserve it, but because we belong to Jesus.
Read Philippians 1:3-6
- Underline: he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
- Margin: Holy Spirit is still working
When you struggle with doubts about who Jesus is and whether you actually believe in Him or not, it is the Spirit that works through those doubts and fears to increase our faith. Paul promises in this passage that God, who started this “good work” or building faith in us, will not let it go unfinished. While we struggle with doubt, we are confident that God is still working to perfect our faith, making us believe in Him more and more each day.
I’ve posted the sermon over on the First Trinity Sermon Blog that I teased here a few days ago. Go check it out if you’re interested in hearing the full version.
Big thanks go out to Dona, who made me cookies since I was preaching. I think this is a practice we can all learn from.
Here’s a little preview of the sermon for you. We’re looking at some of the things the Holy Spirit does in our lives. I was struck anew by this verse while preparing:
26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. (Romans 8:26-27)
It seems there’s been any number of times in my life where I just wasn’t sure what to pray for. It’s in those times when it’s in my best interest to just be quiet before God and let the Spirit groan.
Because the Spirit knows what I need, and He speaks the Father’s language. What could I possibly add?
Groan, Spirit, Groan!
I’m preaching this weekend for Pastor Chuck as he heads to Ft. Wayne for a Haiti Missions conference. Last week, he talked about the Ascension of Jesus. This week we look at the next major event in the life of the church, the giving of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
I’m curious to know if anyone has any stories they’d like to share that may or may not make it into the sermon about the Holy Spirit in your life.
We wrapped up the Apostle’s Creed this evening. Here’s the audio file in case you want to tune in:
I’m preaching this weekend on the Trinity. It’s part of our name. It’s what makes Christianity distinctive from all other religions. It’s relational. It’s good doctrine. It’s unlimited by time and space. It’s confusing. Who are the persons of the Trinity? How do they interact with one another? Why does any of this matter? What do we do with this info?
Find out Sunday. Or Saturday if you prefer.
I can’t tell you how many times I see students misspell “Confirmation” as “Conformation.” This is highly amusing to me knowing the traditional confirmation ministry is much closer to conformation in design and mind set. I suppose there is some Biblical evidence for the misspelled name:
Romans 8:29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;
In a way, the confirmation process is about the Spirit working to conform us to the image of the Son. So maybe it’s not such a bad name after all…