This is the devotional guide for the week of August 16 – August 21. The August 21 sermon is entitled “Presence.” Pentecost is the “great event” that this sermon features.
Daily Bible Readings:
Tuesday, August 16. Read Acts 1:1-4. How did Jesus use the 40 days following his crucifixion? What did he promise would happen to the apostles? Why do you think this was an important promise?
Wednesday, August 17. Read Judges 3:10; 1 Samuel 11:6. What happens to Othniel in Judges 3? What happened to Saul in 1 Samuel? How were the two events similar? Different? How do these events compare to the New Testament experience of God’s Spirit?
Thursday, August 18. Read Joel 2:28-32. What does Joel predict will happen to “all people”? How does Peter use this text in Acts 2:17ff? Is there a connection drawn between Joel and Pentecost?
Friday, August 19. Read 1 Corinthians 3:1,17. What does Paul call the church? What are the practical implications of that?
Saturday, August 20. Read Acts 2:1-13. This is the text for Sunday’s sermon.
Song: Come Holy Spirit, God and Lord! by Martin Luther, 1524.
Let all your graces be outpoured
On each believer’s mind and heart;
Your fervent love to us impart.
You in the faith do men unite
Of every land and every tongue;
This to your praise, O Lord, be sung.
Let none but Christ our Master be,
That we in living faith abide,
In him with all our might confide.
And to our weakness strength impart,
That bravely here we may contend,
Through life and death to you ascend.
by Phil Ware
“And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.”
— Joel 2:28 TNIV
Throughout the Old Testament, God’s Spirit would come upon special leaders or agents of God’s will to do his work. Most of the time, the Spirit’s presence would be temporary, to help with a pressing issue, need, problem, or battle. In a few cases, like David, God’s Spirit never departed from God’s servant. But the presence of the Spirit living permanently inside all of God’s people was the promise of the coming of the Messiah and the formation of God’s new people.
This promise from Joel 2 is the centerpiece Scripture quoted by Peter in his sermon during Pentecost. This day, promised by Joel’s prophecy, comes with the dawn of the church and signaled by the coming of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit first comes to those who proclaim the story of Jesus, but then to all who hear the message, believe, and respond by being baptized, on this day and all the days of conversion to follow (Acts 2:38-39). We live in the age of the Spirit!
Thank you! Thank you O God, for allowing me to live in the time of your church. Forgive me when I discount your power released in and through her through the Holy Spirit. Forgive me for not responding to the promptings of the Holy Spirit to be conformed to the character and compassion of Jesus. Forgive me for the times I’ve grieved the Spirit by saying unkind things about others in whom the Spirit lives. I ask, dear Father, in the name of Jesus, that your Holy Spirit have more influence on my heart and in shaping my life. Amen.