In considering the Rev. Dr. Gemechis Buba’s 10 Footprints of the Holy Spirit in the Book of Acts, we have already discussed the first two. First, we talked about the importance of our Lord Jesus’ promise to send the Holy Spirit to his disciples. And second, we spoke of the importance of waiting on the Lord in prayer so that we might be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Footprint number three has to do with how God goes about fulfilling his promise. The first pouring out of the Spirit is instructive. We read about it in Acts 2:1-4: “When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
Notice that the Holy Spirit first fills the entire house where the disciples were gathered. And then he filled each individual believer. That is to say, the Holy Spirit comes upon the gathering of believers and then goes to work in individual lives!
Someone has called the church the workshop of the Holy Spirit. And here we need to think of the church, not primarily as a building, but rather as the gathering of believers. We like to say in our Lutheran tradition that it is the assembly of believers gathered around Word and Sacrament.
The Lutheran Confessions teach that the gifting of the Holy Spirit in a Christian’s life is in Holy Baptism. And we do not baptize ourselves! We receive baptism in the context of the church. And after this, with the nurture of the church we learn to rely on, and not to shut out, the gift of the Holy Spirit, thereby being constantly filled with the Holy Spirit.
Since You Asked…
What is the Christian’s Hope?
In a word, it is the resurrection of the body to life everlasting in the world to come. This is more accurate and complete than just saying “life after death.” It is also more helpful than saying “going to heaven.” When Jesus returns at the end of the age to judge the living and the dead, baptized believers will be raised bodily! They will share in a resurrection similar to Jesus’ resurrection. And being in his presence on that day and for all eternity is not just a matter of escaping to heaven, but living in his presence in the new heaven and earth. The Lord intends to renew and restore his creation. So our central hope is the resurrection of the dead, with believers inheriting the Kingdom.