Alpha Retreat Sermon 2: What Does the Holy Spirit Do?
We had a very short break between Weekend Sermon 1 and Weekend Sermon 2 on Saturday morning. This was leading to a severe Gumbel overload. Too much too early on a Saturday morning with too little sleep. It was just as long as your typical sermon, yet, in the course manual, it only took up two pages as opposed to the four pages a typical sermon takes. That means that there was a lot of fluff. I barely wrote any notes.
The basic gist is that the Holy Spirit makes us born again, this time into the family of God. Why there needs to be a Holy Spirit to do this doesn't make any sense to me. Anyway, the six points Gumbel emphasised are as follows. The Holy Spirit:
I. Makes us Sons and Daughters of God.
This gives us a relationship that implies forgiveness, privilege, community, etc.
II. Develops our Relationship with God.
The Holy Spirit ("He") helps us to pray. He also enables us to understand God's word. This one was quite baffling; what Gumbel actually said was that we have to believe in order to understand. That seems irrationally backward. He actually used the "leap of faith" in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade as a reference for this one.
III. Gives us a Family Likeness.
IV. Gives us Unity to the Family
These two seem exactly the same as I., but I found they emphasized the Us vs. Them mentality that can make religion really dangerous, though I'm sure it wasn't Gumbel's intention.
V. Gifts for All God's Children
ie. all the physical supernatural abilities God promises in 1 Corintians 12:4-11. This includes speaking in tongues and prophesy.
VI. Grows the Family of God
Meaning it (sorry, He) empowers us to witness for Christ, do the missionary thing, engage in service to the church, etc.
To conclude, Gumbel said that the most important thing, according to him, here is that the Holy Spirit automatically comes into every person the moment they accept Jesus as their lord and saviour. The problem is that most of the time, the Holy Spirit comes in only a small quantity. ie. you are unfilled. Gumbel used the analogy of a pilot light in a fireplace. The Holy Spirit is the pilot light. It's up to you to turn the gas on 'high' and get filled with fire.
I guess to some people in the course, this was a very important session. In the subsequent group discussion, many people were worried about Gumbel's last point, ie. do they have the Holy Spirit or not, are they filled or not. Personally, I just didn't care.