Chris Hodges - Come Holy Spirit
Well, thanks again for joining us and they are of the devil. White supremacy or any supremacy other than the supremacy of Christ is of the devil. And some I know have even brought our church or even me into question. They're wondering, where do you really stand? I think some saw something on social media that questioned my character. And I'll own it, by the way, but that is not what I believe, and it is not what we teach. And I understand how this has made you feel, and I apologize. Honestly, it's understandable to me. I don't take it personally, I know people are hurting right now, and they want clarity. And I would love for you to not just look at a microscopic zoom in, but look at the totality of 37 years of ministry and 19 years as a church. And I think if you looked at that, it would be abundantly clear that we value every person.
So, let me just say this to you. For every person who has been marginalized, rejected, belittled, or abused, or even afraid because of how God made you, Tammy and I, the Church of the Highlands family stand with you. We will never stop fighting for liberty and justice for all. I love you, I'm sorry for the way you... perhaps the way you feel. I beg for us to come together in unity under the name of Jesus. And I really believe that God will heal our land. for Church of the Highlands online. We welcome every single one of you. If you're a part of our church family or maybe you're joining for the very first time, know that we love you. And if you'd like to see that statement again with prayer, we had an amazing prayer service yesterday.
You can go on our website, look at the Saturday prayer. It's about a 40 minute prayer service, I think it'll bless you if you were a part of that. But I just want to take a few minutes. I don't really want to speak long today because I think it clouds some of the things that I just said, and I really, really want that to stand on its own. But today, we are celebrating Pentecost. And if you don't know what that means, I'll explain it to you in just a moment. But Pentecost is a Jewish holiday that Jewish people celebrate for one reason, to celebrate the giving of the Ten Commandments. And so, they were asked every year to come together in a pilgrimage and to celebrate the giving of the Ten Commandments.
And the Bible says that in the New Testament, "When the day of Pentecost came," so Pentecost, by the way, is not a religion. Somebody say, "Are you Pentecostal"? Well, that's really, it's not a religion, it's not a denomination, it's a day. In fact, pente means 50. The Pentecost means 50, it's just 50 days after Easter or Passover. That's all it means. But when the day of Pentecost came, where they were celebrating the giving of the law of God, of course the Holy Spirit was poured out on this early church. And there are some similarities and some distinctions between the original Pentecost and this New Testament Pentecost.
In the original Pentecost, a cloud descended on Mount Sinai, We are, I think this is our 12th week that we are having online services. And honestly, I'm not getting used to it. I can't hardly wait to get back together in person, and there was a loud sound and fire. And God wrote his law on tablets of stone that Moses would carry down Mount Sinai. But on this New Testament Pentecost, on the day where they were celebrating that and the Holy Spirit was poured out, notice the similarity with me. That the Holy Spirit descended with a loud sound and fire again, but God wrote his law on our hearts. If you really want to know the difference between the Old Testament and the New Testaments, the principles are the same, but the difference is one is external and one is internal.
And God knew that he needed more than just having rules and regulations, he needed to change hearts. And even in this season that we're in, I'm asking God, oh God, change, start with me. Change my heart. Holy Spirit, I have prayed this all week, God. Holy Spirit, descend upon me and change my heart, change my life. And it goes on to say in Acts chapter 2 that when the Holy Spirit was poured out, they were both amazed and perplexed. And they asked one another the question that I hope to answer for us today, what does the outpouring of the Holy Spirit mean? What does the day of Pentecost really mean? And I'm going to tell you what it means. It means that without God changing hearts, without there being an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on our land, probably nothing's gonna change.
We need more than, we need rules, I'm not saying we don't. We need reform in every way, I agree with that. But those things don't change the heart, only God can. And I'm asking God on this Pentecost Sunday, there's nothing like it. We're making our plans. Stay tuned, we'll announce those to you as they're even changing on a day to day basis because of the way the world around us is changing. beginning with me, that there'd be a changing of hearts. And so, here's how I want to teach it today 'cause Jesus talked about the Holy Spirit a lot. In fact, the Gospel of John records the longest conversation that Jesus ever had about the Holy Spirit. He was literally one day from giving his life on the cross, really ready to go to heaven and leave the work of the church on the earth.
And you know the story, he brought his disciples into the upper room, to this room where they gathered together, and he washed their feet. You can read that in John chapter 13. And then they had the Last Supper or the Lord's Supper, which they were celebrating and we celebrate today in the form of communion. But only the Gospel of John records the conversation at that communion table, John 14, 15, and 16. And the whole conversation was, "I'm going to leave you, and I'm going to send the Holy Spirit". And five times Jesus said, "Here's what he will do". If you will embrace him, invite him, welcome him, so many people are actually afraid of the Holy Spirit, or they understand God the Father, Jesus as Son, but they really don't understand much about the Holy Spirit.
I'm telling you, church, we have to embrace the Holy Spirit not only in our lives, but in our nation right now, I'm telling you. And Jesus said five things will happen if we'll invite the Holy Spirit. And speaking of that, I have to start the message off today just by recognizing that it has been an incredibly tough season for our nation. I've entitled this message today "Come Holy Spirit". First in me, and then I'm saying come, Holy Spirit, in America, at Highlands, and around the world. Let me give you these five. In John 14, the very first, Jesus said, "I'm going to pray and the Father will give you another," and this is the name that Jesus used the most to describe the Holy Spirit.
In fact, if you go look in other translations, this name changes a lot 'cause it means many things. Some places, you'll see it says advocate. Some places, it says friend. But the bottom line is he's a Comforter, that he will abide with you. So, oh my goodness, God's in heaven, Jesus is in heaven seated at the right hand of the Father, but guess what? The third person of the Trinity is not in heaven. He's here with me and you. And this is the prayer. All five of these if you're taking notes today come in the form of a prayer. Holy Spirit, comfort me. I know there's a lot of healing that needs to take place right now, and that healing needs to take place hopefully by the things that we say to each other.
I hope what I said today brought healing. I really hope it did. But can I tell you the Holy Spirit can heal you, the Holy Spirit can mend your heart in a great way? I believe it. And Jesus said it this way, speaking of this Holy Spirit, he called it peace. "I'm going to leave you peace I'll leave with you, my peace. And it's not as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled". I know that's a big statement in the culture we live in right now. "And do not be afraid," well, that's tough too. But guess what? If you'll say, "Holy Spirit, comfort me". Not only the coronavirus, which has tensions at their highest, but of course the racial injustices that we're experiencing.
On Monday, once again, an unarmed black man died In fact, you could whisper those words right there where you are right now, "Holy Spirit, comfort me". If I'm honest with you, I need comfort right now. I've had many sleepless nights this week just thinking about our nation, our church. I'm concerned about our church. I need the comfort of the Holy Spirit. I made five calls this week to people who have lost loved ones. And I'll tell you what I've told them, that as bad as you hurt right now, that the Holy Spirit is the God of all comfort, and he will comfort you in all your troubles. And here's what I say to them. I mean, people who have just loved ones, I'll say, "Look for it. Look for it, he's there. I promise you he's there, look for it". And can I say to you right now, with all the turmoil, with disease and violence and injustice, look for it. Look for it, the Comforter is right there.
Here's the second one, Jesus said in John 14, second thing he described what he would do, "The Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send to you in my name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have said to you". I try to be a teacher, I try to explain things. I try to appeal to your minds, but guess what? That's not enough. We need the Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit, reveal truth to me. I've asked the Holy Spirit to reveal truth to me even in this situation. Needlessly as a police officer knelt on George Floyd's neck.
I've been on the phone with pastor friends of mine, African American pastor friends of mine, and I said, "If I have a blind spot, tell me. If there's anything I've ever said or done that is offensive, I want to know". And I think it's a beautiful prayer to pray, and I think I encourage all of us, I don't care what your race or background or religion or color is, I need to grow, I need to learn. Holy Spirit, help me to learn. Of course, the best way that we are taught by the Holy Spirit is the book the Holy Spirit wrote, the Bible. Say, "Oh Chris, man wrote the Bible".
No, it didn't. Man held the pen, and the Holy Spirit inspired every word in Scripture. And the Word of the Lord is powerful, alive, sharp. It's a two-edged sword that goes into the heart and soul of a very human Chris Hodges, who's got flaws, okay? And says, "Holy Spirit, show me anything of my life that needs to be cut out. Do surgery through the Word of God in my soul and spirit". And it says it exposes our innermost thoughts. Wow, think about just praying that prayer, "Holy Spirit, teach me, expose my thoughts. I need to know".
Here's the third one, and that is that when the Holy Spirit, I'm just going through John 14, 15, and 16. Five times, Jesus said, "I'm going to tell you. If you'll say, 'Come, Holy Spirit, he'll do five things inside of you. And I know with each new incident, with this one, Ahmaud Arbery, I think of Atatiana Jefferson. When he comes, who I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who goes out from the Father, he will testify". In other words, he will give you words to say to people that are far from God. That's what he'll do. He'll use you. In fact, that's what we pray, "Holy Spirit, use me. Use me to bring healing to my neighbor. Use me, God, as we go on outreach projects, use me. I want to be an example. I want to be your mouthpiece".
And again, I look into that camera and I speak to our nation and our world, members, non-members, believers, skeptics, those who love us, those who don't know what we are. That we love you. We love you with all of our heart. And I've asked God, "God, use me to be a powerful witness. I want to represent you so well". Acts chapter 1 talks about it. You're going to receive power. If you'll invite the Holy Spirit, you'll get power, and it's going to come on you. Why, so you can have a good time in church? No, it's a wonderful feeling to be filled with the Holy Spirit, but the whole goal are souls, lives, to be witnesses in our own city, Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, our world, our nation, and then the rest of the world. Holy Spirit, use me.
Here's the fourth one. And he said, Jesus said, "And also when he comes," now we're in chapter 16, "he will convict". So, he'll comfort, he'll teach, he'll use you, testify, and he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment. This is a good prayer to pray because guess what? None of us get it right. I know you probably have strong opinions about what you believe, and you may be right. But wouldn't it be a beautiful thing to say, "Holy Spirit, point out anything in me that's not right". And I want to be right, I like to always get it right. I don't, but I say, "Holy Spirit, mmm, okay, I got it, I got it".
In fact, here's a verse I pray every day. You ought to jot this down, I love this verse, I know it by heart, so I pray it out loud every day in my prayer time when I'm asking God just to work inside of me. Search me, know me, test me. Even know my thoughts, even my anxious thoughts. Look at this line, I love it, "Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me in the path of everlasting life".
Would you pray that right now, Holy Spirit? Just convict me if there's something in my life that offends you. Guess what? When he convicts you, he never condemns you, never. When he points it out, he never says, "Well, you're just a mess". No, no, no, he goes, "Hey, this can change. This can change. That can change". And he does it with grace and mercy that we all need. Holy Spirit, show me, convict me, don't condemn me. God doesn't condemn us. Even if you're completely wrong, can I tell you God will never condemn you? But he will convict you. And we need to respond to that.
And here's the last one. And that, "The Holy Spirit, when he comes, he will guide you". Isn't this beautiful? He'll comfort you, teach you, testify Jesus through you, convict you, and then this might be the most useful one yet. He'll guide you. I'm telling you, we all need a guide right now. We need someone saying, "I think I'm supposed to go this way, but maybe I should go this way". "He will not speak on his own. He will speak only what he hears, and will tell you," look at this, look at this. He's going to tell you what is even to come. What a beautiful gift. Thank you, Jesus, thank you, Father, for sending the Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit, guide me.
Can I encourage you to pray those five prayers? Holy Spirit, comfort me, teach me, testify Jesus through me, convict me, guide me. Need the guidance of the Holy Spirit, that whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "Ah, ah, ah, don't go that way, go this way. Walk in it". And watch what the Lord does. That's my message. I wanted to keep it short intentionally today. Here we are on Pentecost Sunday. We're in an important season as a nation and literally the world. The whole world is moaning and groaning and hurting.
Holy Spirit, please come. I ask on this Pentecost Sunday for there to be an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the earth, and let it begin with me. Comfort me, teach me, testify through me, convict me, and guide me. Thank you for what you're doing, Lord.
I want everybody just to be real still in your home or wherever you are, and I believe the presence of God is where you are right now. He's with you. The Holy Spirit is with you. And for some of you, you like me are feeling the need to ask God to do a work on the inside of you, can I encourage you to do that right now? And for some of you, you feel far from God. One of my favorite verses about salvation is in Ephesians 2, that the blood of Jesus came, watch this, to make the two one. Who are the two? God and you.
I think when you're far from God, it feels far, that God feels a million miles away. And just like we're praying happens in our nation, for there to be a reconciliation, that the two can be one, it has to happen first between you and God, the two becoming one. And that's salvation. It's the moment you say, "Jesus, pay for my sins. I'll make you the Lord of my life," and guess what? God is near. In that fast of a moment, you'll feel the nearness of God. If you're far from God, if you're not a Christian... maybe you are a Christian, but you've backslidden. Or maybe you just turned your back on God, or maybe you just feel convicted today. Like, "Chris, I don't even know where I am". Fine, call on the name of the Lord. I want to lead you in that prayer right now. Say:
Jesus, thank you for dying on the cross and paying for my sin. Today, I receive what you did for me and I surrender my life completely to you. (Now, say these words, say) Forgive me. Holy Spirit, come live inside of me. Give me the ability to live a brand new life, and with all of my heart, I'm going to serve you the best way I know how. (Now, make these confessions according to Romans. Just say) Jesus, be my Lord. I believe you died, were buried, and you rose again. And today, I put my faith in you. In your name I pray, amen.