Thought for the Month (June 2012)

On 27th May we celebrate Pentecost when, as promised by Jesus, the Holy Spirit came in power and the church was formed. As Christians, we celebrate that same event from the inside. We are the church, the direct descendants of those first Christians and those events of 2000 years ago.

What are we to learn from that event? It is easy to talk about the Holy Spirit and miss the radical nature of what happened that day. The Holy Spirit is God in action today. He brings power to heal, He refines our characters to be more like Jesus, He brings unity to our meetings and much more. Indeed we are totally dependent on the Holy Spirit to live our Christian life.

But in looking at the wide range of the Holy Spirit's activities we can miss the key activity that He carried out that day. As a result of Peter's preaching, 3,,000 people were convicted of their sin (cut to the heart, it says in Acts 2:37) and became Christians. There would be no church today without that convicting role of the Holy Spirit.

So what is the Holy Spirit convicting us of? John 16:8 tells us:
  1. He convicts us of the sin of not believing in Jesus. There may be many sins in our life but the key one that brings us under conviction of the Holy Spirit is not believing that Jesus is the Son of God and not believing that He died on the cross and rose again for our forgiveness and reconciliation with God. Dealing with this sin is the gateway to dealing with everything else in our lives.
  2. He convicts us of the goodness and holiness of Jesus. Non-Christians not only do not believe in Jesus but also reject Him and those who honour Him. This happened when He walked the streets of Jerusalem and it happens today. The Holy Spirit opens people's eyes to see Jesus for who He is, a life changing experience.
  3. He convicts us of the power of evil in this world and our involvement in it, but we also begin to understand that there really is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1)
In short there can be no conversion without conviction and there can be no conviction without the Spirit of God working in our lives.

Conviction, of course, leads to repentance which in turn leads to the barriers to God being removed. Please remember that it is repentance God responds to, not excuses or blame which we believe others should shoulder. Once we have responded in repentance and become a child of God, then it is time to deal with the other issues in our lives. God is faithful.

This conviction of the Holy Spirit is, of course, not once and for all. The old sinful nature will keep raising its head. Conviction of sin, and the repentance that needs to follow, is a key part of the Christian lifestyle and we need to give thanks every time the Holy Spirit points out our failings because it keeps us in close touch with our heavenly Father.

So at this Pentecost let us give thanks for the Holy Spirit, who convicted the first believers of their sin and still does the same for us today. It is such good news! May God bless you and our churches at this time 'for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purposes.' (Philippians 2:13)

Yours in Christ, Bob and Karen

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Tunbridge Wells United Reformed Church