- A gift is a present, token or reward given to somebody by another person.
- When Jesus ascended to heaven, He sent the gift of the Holy Spirit to His disciples to comfort them.
The Holy Spirit is a gift from God to Christians.
When we do well in our class work our parents may reward us by giving us a gift like a dress, a pair of shoes or congratulating us.
During Christmas, Easter or birthdays, some friends and families may exchange presents or gifts.
The disciples awaited Jesus’ promise of the Holy Spirit by meeting and praying together with other believers.
Pentecost part 1
Pentecost part 2
The Holy Spirit first fell upon gathered disciples 50 days after Jesus ascended, during the festival of Pentecost.
His presence came first as a strong wind followed by what looked like tongues of fire.
The disciples were filled with courage and strength to preach the good news.
They were also able to share with others.
We cannot see the Holy Spirit but we can see His work in a person through one’s gifts and fruits.
Jesus describes the Holy Spirit as a comforter, a helper and a source of strength to believers.
He also makes people understand the truth about God.
The Holy Spirit helps people realize and repent their sins. This is called conviction.
He provides us with special abilities that enable us to live in peace and harmony in the community.
The Holy Spirit guides us in making important decisions that affect our daily lives.
The gifts of the Holy Spirit
(1 Corinthians 12:4 - 11)
God, through the Holy Spirit, gives gifts to people to guide them in their daily lives, with the aim of bringing glory to Him.
These gifts are:
Preaching: This is the God-given calling to speak of God’s word to other people.
Spiritual language: This is speaking in tongues while praying or even when preaching.
Interpreting spiritual language: This is being able to tell what one is saying when one is speaking in tongues.
Wisdom: This is being able to make sound judgements as led by the Holy Spirit. It allows one to help others who may be in a dilemma.
Healing: Christians are able to pray for the healing of the sick.
Knowledge:It involves being able to understand and apply Christian teachings to life situations. It enables one to know more about God and tell it to others.
Faith:This is obedience and trust in God. It is being sure that God is able to do all things for those who believe in His power.
Working of miracles:A Christian can be used by the Holy Spirit to do great things like healing the sick through the power of God.
Prophecy:This is the ability to tell what God is planning to do through His revelation. Christians can tell God’s future plans to His people.
Fruits of the Holy Spirit
(Galatians 5: 22- 23)
The fruits of the Holy Spirit build a Christian’s character and guide one’s conduct.
The Christian who allows the Holy Spirit to fully control his/her life shows these fruits.
These fruits grow and improve with time as one learns more about God. They are:
Love: God loves all humankind, therefore this fruit helps us to love others the way God loves us.
Joy: God wants us to be happy. This fruit helps us to be happy and hopeful all the time even in difficult circumstances.
Peace: God wants His people to be at peace at all times. This fruit helps us be at peace with others and also gives us peace even when we are facing difficulties.
Patience: God wants us to wait patiently without giving up. Even if something is slow in coming, we need to wait with the belief that it will come.
Kindness: This helps us to be generous and to help those in need. We can show kindness by being gentle with others and also through the goodness in our actions.
Goodness: God wants us to be good to others by helping them out and pleasing them.
Faithfulness: This enables us to fulfil our promises on time. It also makes us loyal.
Humility: God wants us to be humble. Through this fruit we avoid thinking of ourselves as being more important than others.
Self-control: This helps us control our feelings and actions and do what is good at all times.
Gideon, a brave and mighty man
In Judges (6:11-16,) the Angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon as he was threshing wheat.
From this reading we see that:
God had chosen Gideon to be a leader of the Israelites.
God wanted to rescue the Israelites from the Midianites, who were mistreating them.
Gideon feared the responsibility because he said he came from the weakest clan.
Gideon also felt he could not lead the Israelites because he was the youngest in his family.
What can Christians learn from this story?
Victory comes from God.
God uses even young people to show His victory.
God can use a small army to defeat a big army.
With God all things are possible.
We should not let our weaknesses stop us, instead, we should always trust in God.
When we are told to do something by God, we need to obey because He is always with us and ready to protect us.
Response of Paul to the Holy Spirit
(Acts 16:6 - 10, 18:9 -11, 20:22 -24)
When Paul was persecuting Christians, he was called Saul.
Jesus called him in Damascus and he changed his ways and his name became Paul.
God guides us in various ways through the Holy Spirit.
In (Acts 16:6-10,)we read how Paul wanted to go and preach in the province of Asia, but instead God called him through a dream to preach in Macedonia.
In Acts 18:9-11, the Holy Spirit encouraged Paul to continue preaching in Corinth and promised to be with him.
In Acts 20:22-24, Paul obeyed the Holy Spirit and went to Jerusalem.
He did not know what would happen to him there, but he believed God would be with him no matter what.
What can we learn from this story?
God protects us from any danger or harm.
Paul always preached the word of God without fear. We too should do God’s work without fear.
Paul always obeyed the Holy Spirit. We also need to be obedient.
The Holy Spirit made Paul strong – God will always make us strong.
Just as Paul was ready to do everything to continue with the work of Jesus, so should we work to do the same.
We should pray to God to give us the Holy Spirit.
We should be obedient and ready to listen and follow what God tells us to do.
How the Holy Spirit led the writers of the Bible
(2 Timothy 3:14-17)
2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching the truth, rebuking error, correcting faults and giving instructions for right living, so that the person who serves God may be fully qualified and equipped to do every kind of good deed.”
The Bible is the Holy Book containing God’s word.
It contains 66 books.
The Bible has various divisions.
The main two divisions are the Old Testament and New Testament.
These Testaments are further divided into the Pentateuch, historical books, poetic books, wisdom books, major and minor prophets, the gospels, the acts of the apostles and the epistles.
The Bible was written by special people who were guided and inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Different authors wrote the Bible but all wrote a consistent and orderly message. Through the Bible, God reveals Himself to humankind. It helps us learn more about God.
It also tells us how to respond to God in our daily lives. It gives us guidance.
Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch
(Acts 8:26 - 40)
The story of the Ethiopian Eunuch is told in Acts 8:26-40.He had been to Jerusalem to worship God.
He was reading a passage from the book of Isaiah but did not understand it.
Philip, led by the Holy Spirit, went to the chariot and explained the passage to him. Then the Holy Spirit took Philip away.
The Eunuch after understanding the word of God, was able to:
Receive the peace of God.
Become a believer in Jesus Christ.
Turn his life around and trust in God’s salvation.
Gain divine guidance and direction.
What it teaches us:
We are able to know what to do when we study the Bible, through the Holy Spirit.
Reading the Bible makes us grow spiritually.
We should use the Bible as our guide everyday.
God provides us with direction and guidance. When we obey God, we live happy lives.
Charismatic renewal in the Church in Kenya
Charismatic renewal is the growth of the church and the increase of Christian activities in our daily lives. From the Holy Bible we read that the disciples feared to continue with the work of Jesus Christ after He went up to heaven. He sent them the Holy Spirit who gave them comfort and the strength to continue the good work.
All Christians are children of God though they may be from different denominations. Those who obey God are given the Holy Spirit who leads them to renew worship in their countries or communities.
In Kenya, charismatic renewal is seen in:
The singing, dancing and joyful praise to God witnessed in our churches today.
The many meetings and crusades where people declare their faith without fear.
In these meetings, through the power of God, people are healed, others receive the Holy Spirit, the blind see and the deaf can hear.
The Holy Spirit in the life of a Christian
The Holy Spirit gives us fruits and gifts to help us do what is right and good in the eyes of God. 1 Peter 2:1-2 says, “Rid yourselves, then, of all evil; no more lying or hypocrisy or jealousy or insulting language. Be like newborn babies, always thirsty for the pure spiritual milk, so that by drinking it you may grow up and be saved.”
Unity in the Church Ephesians 4:3 - 6. Unity means togetherness or oneness. The church is a community of believers. Church teachings stress the importance of living together in peace.
Psalm 133:1-3 tells us that it is wonderful and pleasant to live together as Christians.
John 17:20-23 records that before Jesus went to heaven, He asked God to keep His disciples safe and united. As Christians we should remain united and support each other as we do the work of God. One of the roles of the Holy Spirit is to ensure that the people who constitute the church live in unity.
How can Christians show unity in the Church today?
Sharing in the Holy Spirit.
People coming together in times of famine, drought or any other calamities to contribute clothes, shelter and other things to the needy or the affected.
Showing love to one another through their actions.
Praying and worshipping together.
Reading the Bible together.
Learning how to cope with conflict together.
Coming together to preach the word of God.
What might cause disunity?
Ethnicity – Christians belong to different tribes or communities. Different cultural practices may cause disunity.
Gender issues–The society’s view of gender roles may affect the duties given to church members. This may force some to do work they do not enjoy or are not good at.
Poverty and riches– There are poor and rich Christians. Some may consider themselves better than others.
Young or old – Some Christians are old while others are young, ideas could be different and cause conflict.
Christians belong to different races – For example Africans, Europeans, and Arabs. Some may feel discriminated against.
Christians serve in the churches at different levels– We have priests, pastors and laymen. Some may end up feeling overworked or underutilised.
Vicessuch as anger, envy, dislike and fear cause conflict, which eventually leads to disunity.