Anticipation of the Holy Spirit
Eastertide is the period extending from Easter to Pentecost. The divine services in May will deal with both the effects of the resurrection of Jesus as well as with the impressive intervention of the Holy Spirit. Here is a glance at the subjects of our divine services in May.
The divine services in May bring the Easter season to an end and focus on the anticipation of the Holy Spirit. A highlight in May will be the Ascension Day service. The sermon will once again reinforce the power of Jesus and His divinity, a fact that His ascension confirmed. And not only that, the ascension of Jesus also marked the end of Jesus’ mission here on earth, indicating that a new era had begun. The anticipation of His return, and thus the believers’ preparation for this event, begins.
The effects of Easter
The experience of Jesus’ victory over sin and death at Easter should engender an enthusiastic faith in every Christian. This is the content of the first divine service in May. Faith in the resurrection is life-changing. It influences a Christian’s thoughts, words, and actions.
- Faith has an impact on our thoughts and our heart’s attitude: Christians trust in Christ’s love, in His almighty power, in His promise.
- Faith determines our conduct: Christians align themselves with the example of Jesus.
- Faith means following Christ: Christians proclaim the gospel and want to help their neighbour.
The sacrifice of Jesus and His resurrection liberated mankind from the evil one. This will be the content of the second Sunday service in May. We will hear about three reasons why we should be glad and thankful that we have been elected:
- the promise of salvation. God has made it possible for us to inherit His glory through the rebirth out of water and Spirit.
- delivered from evil. We are still exposed to suffering and death, but through Jesus’ sacrificial death our sins can be forgiven.
- the church of Christ: Jesus Himself leads His church, so it is a foretaste of what it will be like to be with God.
The Holy Spirit brings about a transformation
The third Sunday in May marks the start of a new theme series: “Anticipation of the Spirit”. Pentecost is coming up, so it is a good idea to explore testimonies of the Holy Spirit’s activity from the Old Testament. How was the Holy Spirit active there before He was poured out on Pentecost? Examples such as Saul, who was anointed king and upon whom the Spirit of the Lord then came, show that the Holy Spirit creates a new person. The Holy Spirit did, however, eventually leave Saul again, whereas the sacramental gift of the Holy Spirit is indelible.
The Holy Spirit gives strength
The disciples of Jesus were not heroes of faith. They were weak and often fearful individuals. After Jesus’ crucifixion they were discouraged. They had lost faith. Then Jesus rose from the grave, and this gave them new courage. After His ascension, however, the disciples lost their newly gained confidence again and they withdrew. Then the Holy Spirit was poured out and men full of anguish became convincing proclaimers of the gospel. This is the subject that will be explored on the fourth Sunday in May. The sermon will also look at the effects of the work of the Holy Spirit on today’s believers and today’s church.
The Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ
The exaltation of Jesus Christ and His entry into divine glory is the prerequisite for the sending of the Holy Spirit. This is reason enough to praise and thank Jesus. On the last Sunday in May, the following subjects will be explored: the Holy Spirit will reveal to the worshippers that God exalted His Son through the resurrection and ascension and what power Jesus has in heaven. The period leading up to Pentecost is a good time to reflect on the fact that we have received the gift of the Holy Spirit and the implications this has on our lives.
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