The Gift of the Holy Spirit

  • Read Acts 8:9-25 here.
  • You can listen to this sermon here.

This sermon came about because I want to preach on Spiritual Gifts. It seems useful to encourage church members to take the Next Step in their walk with God by helping them identify the spiritual gifts God has given each of us. As part of my reading for this series I came across a book by Henry & Mel Blackaby, What’s So Spiritual About Your Gifts?  This book reminded me that the presence of God in our lives and our commitment to God is much more important that our individual gifts. The Gift of the Spirit is far more important than the gifts of the Spirit. It also made the point that God doesn’t just work through our gifts. The Holy Spirit can work in our lives through our weaknesses just as well.

In fact, when we think about it, God primarily gives us the Holy Spirit to strengthen our weaknesses and fill our voids. Consider these descriptions of His role:

  • The Holy Spirit is an advocate on our behalf (John 14:16)
  • The Holy Spirit takes the place of Jesus (John 16:7)
  • Jesus promised his disciples that the Holy Spirit would give them words in situations when they had none. (Mark 13:11)
  • Jesus said the Holy Spirit would help them remember the things he [Jesus] taught them. (John 14:27)

The first sermon the apostles preached after Jesus left them resulted in over 3,000 converts. (Acts 2:41) How was this possible considering that in Acts 4:13 the religious rulers of the day described these preachers as “unschooled and ordinary” (TNIV)? The answer is found in the first few verses of Acts 2 where the Holy Spirit filled the apostles after which they began preaching. The Holy Spirit took their weaknesses and made them strengths! He does the same for us today.

We naturally tend to hide our weaknesses and talk up our strengths. We’re naturally drawn to areas of service where we feel comfortable or that utilise our talents. But when we diligently work in areas of weakness, when we share our struggles, we find ourselves having little alternative but to trust God to work in our lives. When we only work on our strengths the temptation to give ourselves credit rather than God is much stronger.

Consider God’s words to Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10. My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. God’s power is most evident when it fills the gaps in our lives. Knowing this, Paul responded, “For when I am weak, then I am strong. He knew that he never had greater strength than when he completely relied upon God’s strength.

I’m still going to preach on Spiritual Gifts, but first we have to accept our weaknesses, and accept the Gift of the Holy Spirit that God has given us.

  • Can you give an example of God using a weakness or struggle in your life to bless others and demonstrate his power?
  • How have you hear the phrase from Acts 2:38 “the gift of the Holy Spirit” described?
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