The Arena
The Arena

Episode · 10 years ago

The Power of the Holy Spirit

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Pentecost Sunday 2012. Learn more about Patristic Nectar Publications.

The services assert that he is the infuser of hope, the power behind the Church's Gospel witness to the nations. He is the converter of sinners to God, the one who inspires prophecy, teaching and all theology which can exist without him. He is the purifier from sin, the consoler of the sorrowful, the joy of the rejoicing, the one who makes fishermen and, by extension, all of us, into wise men and sages. This is the work of the Holy Spirit. Ancient Faith Radio and patristic nectar publications present the arena Sunday homilies and theological reflections with Father Josiah trenem. Father Josiah is the pastor of Saint Andrew Orthodox Christian Church in Riverside, California. He is also the founder of Patristic Nectar Publications, a nonprofit organization committed to nourishing the spiritually thirsty with the sweet teachings of the Holy Fathers. For more information on patristic nectar publications, please visit our website at www dot patristic nectar dot org. And now, Father Josiah, in the name of the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit, one God blessed Ventocoste to all of your brothers and sisters. Let's try think that again. Blessed Pentecost to all of you, brothers and sisters. For Goodness Sake, I'm preaching on the Holy Spirit and we're asleep. Dear ones, we have been celebrating now for these fifty days, our Savior is mighty victory over sin, death and the evil one through his precious in life giving cross through his triumphant resurrection. On the third day, we've celebrated his glorious ascension into the heavens. On the forty day and the translation to an implantation of humanity in paradise. Today, the promise of the Lord is fulfilled. Today he sends the Holy Spirit from the father upon the disciples in the upper room. Today the comforter comes as a regal enthronement gift, signifying that the Lord Jesus has been glorified at the right hand of the father and has taken his seat on the throne of David. And today the fruits of the Lord's victory are applied. For us, this day determines everything for us. We can see this reality by the fact that the disciples went from being gripped in fear. Though they knew what the Lord had...

...done, though they had witnessed with their own eyes his crucifixion, His resurrection, his teaching during those forty days and his ascension into heaven, they were paralyzed by fear. The fruits of his redemption hadn't been applied to them until today, and today changed everything for them and it changes everything for us. Christianity as a pentecostal reality. There is no Christian faith without pentecost, just like there is no Christian faith without the incarnation. Our faith is not moralism. It's not a group of people who have resolved to encourage each other to be moral. That is not the Christian faith and that is not what we're about. People can do that without the incarnation, without the cross, without the resurrection and Pentecost. The incarnation teaches us that the faith is about the Union of God and Man, the merging of Heaven and earth, the pursuit of Man by God. There is no Christianity without Pentecofft, just as there is no Christianity without the cross. Again, we are not moralists. We believe, in fact, that we have been reconciled to God by the blood of his son on his cross. This is our standing before the face of God. We believe in atonement, we believe in a deliverance from the curse, freedom from sin, guilt and the devils by the power of Jesus is precious and life bearing cross. There is no Christianity without pentecost, just like there is no Christianity without the resurrection. We are gathered together just to keep the ten commandments, but we want victory over death, transfigured life and the Kingdom of God forever, and that comes to us by the resurrection of Christ. Pentecost, if just as fundamental, essential foundational to the salvation of the cosmos and to every human person as is the incarnation, the Cross and the resurrection. And this is true because today the Holy Spirit is poured out upon human flesh and all of the Lord's saving acts, all the fruits, the power, the grace of the incarnation, the Cross, the resurrection, the ascension are applied to us by the coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. This is how we get it, this is how we taste it. The Holy Spirit is the one who connects us to the Lord, who translates us to the Kingdom of Heaven and applies to us the fruits of redemption. Let me explain to the little bit about what he does us. What does the Holy Spirit do? Much of what he does is explained by...

...his name. The third person of the Trinity is the Holy Spirit. He is the one who makes us both holy and spiritual. He's the one who sets US apart for God. In Baptism, St Paul says that we are all in one spirit, baptized into one body. We become the partakers of the Holy Spirit when we're baptized and when we're sealed with him in prismation. Our Union with God in prayer is the work of the spirit of God. Following baptism, we deepen our union and communion with the Holy Trinity through him. He teaches us how to pray, he prays within us, he activates our conscience and guides our life. This is why we begin every prayer, corporately or privately, with the invocation of the Holy Spirit, Oh heavenly king, comfort to the spirit of truth, who art in all places and fillest all things, the treasure of good things and the giver of life, come abide in us, cleanse us from every stain and save our souls. O good one. This is the profound prayer we use whenever we begin to draw near to God. We want the indwelling of the third person of the Trinity. We want him to own us, to guide, infuse us, inspire us and lead our life. Having partaken of the Holy Spirit, having been birth into spiritual life by him, we seek to govern our lives throughout our earthly walks according to him. We, in St Paul's words, walk in the spirit. This is the right way for Christians to walk, because when we walk in the spirit, St Paul says, we kill or we mortify the deeds of the flesh. This is how we stay away from that which is displeasing to God, as we walk according to his governance, his guidance. By living under his inspiration, by being filled with him, we bear his fruits love, joy and peace, patience and kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, self control. These are miraculous human characteristics that are born by the presence of the Holy Spirit inside of us. This is what we seek to be known for. We put ourselves under his dominion and we refuse to put ourselves under the dominion of false spirits like anger, that mighty drug, alcohol, drugs, these things are competitive spirits. They when they're embraced by a Christian, we drive away the influence and inspiration of the Holy Spirit and we give ourselves over to the demons who, through vashions and through these drugs and chemicals,...

...seek control of us. The grace of God is actuated in us as we commune in the holy mysteries. All the sacraments of the church are actuated by the Holy Spirit, beginning with the priesthood. The very foundation of all the sacraments, all the mysteries of the church, rest on the holy priesthood, and the holy priesthood, except itself, exists by a miracle of the descent of the Holy Spirit. This is the fundamental prayer. When the Bishop is making a priest, he puts the priest kneeling in front of the altar and he puts his hand on his set head and then he prays and he says the grace which heals the infirm and completes that which is lacking, come upon you by the Holy Spirit, and he puts his hand on the priest and makes a priest by the descent of the Holy Spirit. And that is what a priest is, he's a spirit bearer given the grace of God to actuate the mysteries in the church. The priesthood itself begins with this sacred invocation. But all the mysteries rest on the presence of the Holy Spirit that priest, even if he's newly ordained five hours when he stands to do his first baptism, what does he do but invoke the Holy Spirit to come upon this water her and make this common water the Labor of Purification, the forgiveness of sins, make it like the blessing of the Jordan. He asks the Holy Spirit to come down, to descend. He does the same on the holy oil in unction service and throughout the year. When he does the unction service, he puts the unction oil there and then the whole course of that prayer is to ask the Holy Spirit to come upon this oil, to make it an unction of healing, so that everyone who would be anointed with this or touched by it might be healed in body and soul. And most obviously, that invocation of the Holy Spirit is clear to you in the divine liturgy when, at the climax of the Liturgy, the priest invokes the Holy Spirit to come down upon the holy table and to change that offered bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ, to effect that great mystery of communion, all by the descent of the Holy Spirit, the actuator of the holy mysteries. Last night and this morning, as we have chanted the vespers and the OAR throws, many other beautiful works of the Holy Spirit were mentioned. The service is assert that he's the infuser of hope, the power behind the Church's Gospel, witness to the nation's he is the converter of sinners to God, the one who inspires prophecy, teaching and all theology which can't exist without him. He's the purifier from sin, the consoler of the sorrowful, the joy of the rejoicing and the illuminator, or the one who makes fishermen and, by extension, all of us, into wise men and sages. This is...

...the work of the Holy Spirit, and I want to end my little pentecost homily by mentioning just one phrase from the most powerful Old Testament, prophecy, found in the prophet jewel, about this day that we're celebrating today, on the occasion of Holy Pentecost in the vesper service, we read from the prophecy of Joel, and this Sublime Day of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is foretold by him. There's a marvelous promise that when the Holy Spirit comes, quote, it shall be after these things that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters will prophesy and your elders will dream dreams and your youths will see visions, dreams and visions as the fruit of pentecost, a believing community, brothers and sisters like ours, a community of people who are serious for the most part, a community that's serious about walking with God, living the accrimental life of the Church and the ascetical disciplines, trying to keep those two together. When you have a believing community like this, you have the presence of the Holy Spirit in a process of renewal. He's increasing his presence amongst us and he's fulfilling this promise to the old and the young, to the men and the women, those who are living the Christian life. He is inspiring us with the dreams and visions you're worshiping within the fulfilled dream of the elders of this parish, this church itself is the product of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to give to US dreams and visions. For the last twenty years our parish has been moved by these, sometimes rather obviously. I always remember, and I won't forget, how the Lord God moved amongst our Parish Council by his Holy Spirit to purchase this land. We had tried many times before and had been unsuccessful and the owners were not interested at all. From a worldly perspective, there was no reason to continue to Pester and bother the investors who owned this land. We had worn out. Are Welcome. It was not time to revisit it with them. Until one night, late in a parish council meeting, at ten o'clock, when we all start looking at our...

...watches. We all wanted to go home. The spirit of God moved on us. He stirred up a thought that we should go back. The council authorized Sabbath to go back the next week and to revisit them, and he did and everything was different. The obtaining of this land, the building of this church, I want you to see these things as from God and from the outpouring of his Holy Spirit upon our church, infusing us with a dream and a vision. And it doesn't stop here. These coming years will be for us, God willing, God willing, years of shaking out and defining new dreams and visions for the service of the Lord. I have many swirling in my thoughts, and I suspect you have some at least in yours. And Orthodox education and schooling here, neighborhood outreach. All Day yesterday all I could think of was a St Andrew Boy Scout Troop. It's all I could think of at that Beautiful Eagle Scout ceremony. Friday, community spaghetti dinners, a new and enlarged bookstore and coffee shop, a stronger and more discipline, discipline stewardship program that will enable us a greater investment in ministry and the eradication of our own debt, the sending and greater support of missionary to areas foreign and DOMESC, Domesk, domestic, and also sending a regular team from this parish to do summer missions work through the Orthodox Christian Mission Center either. Just some of the dreams and visions that I have and I know that together will talk about these things. Will hear each other, will listen with a common ear to the dreams and the visions that the Holy Spirit will inspire the young and the old, the men and the women of this this parish, to fulfilled. This is how he works. We buy the Holy Spirit share in the mission of Christ. This is our task and calling. I want to say something important about that. You know, brothers and sisters, in order to to have dreams and visions of significance and to get them done, we have to be a certain way as people, and what I mean by that is that to be used of God, we have to be usable, in Paul's words, we have to be vessels of honor, useful to the master. This means that for us, our goal should not be to be faithful...

...in prayer, to come to church regularly, to be faithful in our stewardship, to try to have a ministry. Forgive me, that should not be our goal, and then we should spend our whole life trying to get to that. That should be assumed. Our goal should be to embrace the visions and dreams that God gives to a mature people. We should not spend our whole life trying to get spiritually solid. If we spend our whole life trying to get spiritually solid and we end up getting it done when we're eighty, what time will be left to execute the dreams and visions? Brothers and sisters, ask more of yourself. Get it done with God's help. Put yourself on a stable foundation. Stabilize your own spiritual life, if it's not stable, your family life, if it's not fat, if it's not stable, ask a lot of yourself so that we can depend on each other and we don't have to go through stot cycles of instability where we're wondering who's getting divorced next, who's going to leave the church this year. That's nonsense. We can't rely. If we remain in a spiritual condition like that, we won't be able to get done the mission that the Lord God, by his Holy Spirit, wants us to fulfill. So let's make a common agreement. This is what I'm asking. Let's make a common agreement to ask enough of ourselves and our faith that we can be stable, that we can be dependable, because stable and dependable people get given talents and gifts and inspirations from the Lord to execute them. Let's not spend our whole life trying to get to a position where we can look Jesus in the face without being ashamed. Many of our parishioners are there, which is why we've been able to get done what we have been able to get done in twenty years. But their witness to all of us, to those of us who are in that position, is to raise the bar. Except the leadership of the Holy Spirit in in your life. Let him inspire you and produce these kinds of beautiful fruits. Seek him and then we'll hear his voice, will see his vision and will dream his dreams in according to his promise. And who knows? Who knows what will come? Only time will show the beautiful things that will get done by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. I wish you all a glorious and blessed...

...pentecost. Common you've been listening to a presentation of ancient faith radio and patristic nectar publications the arena Sunday homilies and theological reflections with Father Josiah trenum. Father Josiah is the pastor of St Andrew Orthodox Christian Church in Riverside, California. He is also the founder of Patristic Nectar Publications, a nonprofit organization committed to nourishing the spiritually thirsty with the sweet teachings of the Holy Fathers. For more information on patristic nectar publications, please visit our website at www dot patristic nectar dot org. Again, that's www dot patristic nectar dot org. Until next time,.

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