23rd May 2021 Pentecost Sunday – ‘The Fruit of the Holy Spirit’
Welcome, Introduction and Call to Worship Michael
Good morning everyone and welcome to our Sunday morning worship. It’s fantastic to be able to join together again in church to worship and we hope that those of you listening online will also enjoy this service. Last week we thought about the amazing reality that we are all made in the image of God. We reflected on how we are happiest when we see that as our main identity. Following on from that, today, on this Pentecost Sunday, we will be considering how the Holy Spirit can help us to allow God’s image to be more clearly reflected in our day to day lives. But to begin, as always, we are going to talk to God (N.B. RESPONSE). So let’s pray…
Opening Prayer + Lord’s Prayer (Response on screen)
Mighty God, on this Pentecost Sunday we pray again that you would come to us through your Holy Spirit, filling us with peace. Give us a love for all and a desire to serve, humility of mind and gentleness of soul. Spirit of the living God, Open our lives and touch our hearts.
Mighty God come to us through your Holy Spirit, setting us on fire with love for you. Fill us with a burning desire to work for your Kingdom, and cleanse us of all that is impure and unworthy in our lives. Spirit of the living God, Open our lives and touch our hearts.
Mighty God come to us through your Holy Spirit, breathing new life into our souls. Fill us with energy and enthusiasm in the service of Christ and sweep away all in our lives that keeps us from living as your people. Spirit of the living God, Open our lives and touch our hearts.
Mighty God forgive us that we so easily limit the Spirit, receiving His blessings for ourselves but failing to pass them on to others, Forgive us that we so readily quench your Spirit, resisting that which challenges and disturbs, Forgive us that we are so often closed to the movement of your spirit shutting him out by the narrowness of our vision. Come as the dove, the fire, the wind, opening our lives to the peace, the power and the inspiration you would give us. Spirit of the living God, Open our lives and touch our hearts. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
Join with me as we share the words of the Lord’s Prayer together. And so we pray…
Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name,
Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day, our daily bread, And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us,
And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil,
For Thine is the Kingdom, the power and the glory,
For ever and ever, AMEN.
Introduce the Opening Song
One of the roles of God’s Spirit is that he gives us all different gifts. As well as bringing us much personal joy, these gifts are to be used primarily to bring blessing to other people. I’m so delighted that God has given people in our church the gifts of playing musical instruments and beautiful voices to sing. I’m also so thankful that so many of you are willing to use the gifts that God has given you in the life of our church. Last week in church Tara and Edna sang for us, and today Elaine and Sharon Kearon are going to bless us as they sing the Pentecost hymn, “Spirit of God unseen as the wind...” As you listen to the words let me encourage you to make this your own prayer…
(End Part 1)
Opening Song ‘Spirit of God unseen as the wind’ Elaine and Sharon
Introduction to the Kid’s Video
We come now to the part of our service that’s especially for the younger members of our church family. So if your kids aren’t beside you right now, why not pause the recording, and call them in to watch a short video about what it means to be made in the image of God. And at the end of this video I’ve a few words to say to the children so don’t let them rush away.
(End Part 2)
Kid’s Video Lifekids – ‘The fruit of the Spirit’
Boys and girls I hope you enjoyed the video. You know it’s really important to be God’s friend. When you say sorry to God for the wrong things in your life and when you trust that Jesus died on the cross for you something amazing happens. God becomes your friend. When you become God’s friend He gives you a very special gift. That gift is the Holy Spirit. You don’t have to be afraid of the Holy Spirit because He is the spirit of Jesus and He is good. He comes to live inside us and that means He can be with us to help us every day. One of the things the Holy Spirit does is to help us become more like God. When we talk to Him He helps us to produce fruit in our lives. Not fruit like apples or oranges but spiritual fruit. That means He helps us to be people who are more loving and kind and happy, who are peaceful and patient, people who are good and gentle, and faithful and able to control their temper. All of these things are good. They can help us be happy with ourselves and help us to be nicer people to be around. Above all when other people see these things in the way that we live they will know that God is good and wants our lives to be full of good fruit. I hope you have asked Jesus to forgive you. I hope you trust that Jesus died for you. I hope you pray and ask the Holy Spirit to help you to produce good fruit in your life. Don’t forget to ask your mum or dad to download the colouring sheet to help you remember the lesson for today. I hope you have a good week in school and I hope to see you again soon. Bye for now.
Announcement and Introduction to Bible Reading
As well as singing and playing instruments another gift that the Holy Spirit gives people is in the area of sport. One of our congregation has been given an amazing gift of running. That of course is Amy. Recently Amy took part in the ‘Run til you drop’ event near Killinchy in County Down. She ran 245.8 miles which is 395.57 Km over 59 hours to brake the Irish, UK and European female records! Currently this is the 3rd longest distance for any woman for this type of race in the whole world! So it’s an unbelievable achievement and we want to pass on our huge congratulations to Amy on behalf of all of us in the church. I’m just glad she’s back in one piece and I’m sure Robert is too. And He is going to come now and read today’s lesson which is all about the fruit that the Holy Spirit can produce in our lives…
(End Part 3)
Video of Bible Reading Galatians 5 v 16-26 Robert Osbourn
16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
All Age Reflection “The Fruit of the Spirit” Michael
Last week we were thinking about how God made everyone in the world and how each of us are made in the image of God– that means we can see something of what God is like in ourselves and in other people. When someone is kind, we know that God is kind. When someone is fair, we know that God is fair. When someone forgives us, we know that God is forgiving. When someone makes us laugh, we know that God has a sense of humour.
But we also know that people aren’t always kind or good. Sometimes they say nasty things that hurt us. Sometimes boys and girls can be cheeky to their parents (Imagine!) Sometimes people don’t share. So the image of God that we see in people is not perfect. It’s like a broken mirror. But God wants to fix us. He wants to help us so that more and more every day we can reflect His image more clearly.
So how can you and I reflect God better and what has God done to help us to do that?
Well the first thing we need to learn is that if we want to reflect God’s image more clearly we need God’s help, we need to be God’s friend.
To become a friend of God we need to do 3 things-
Repent- Be sorry for the wrong things in our lives and be willing to turn away from those things and go God’s way instead.
Believe- Really trust that when Jesus died on the cross that He took the blame for all your sins.
Ask- Pray and ask Jesus to forgive us and to become our friend.
If you want to be able to live like Jesus and reflect Him in your life you first need to become a friend of Jesus. To do that you need to repent of your sin. You need to believe Jesus died for you and you need to ask Jesus to forgive you and be your friend forever. I hope you have done that because you will never be able to live like Jesus until you do that.
But why do we need to become a friend of Jesus in order to be able to live like Him? Well, let me explain. As soon as we become a friend of Jesus, God gives us an amazing gift. God sends His Holy Spirit to live in us forever! You don’t need to be afraid of the Holy Spirit coming to live in you. He is the Spirit of Jesus. That means He is kind and good and gentle. Having the Spirit of Jesus in our lives is just like having Jesus with us wherever we go and whatever we do.
You know, it is so good and so essential to have the Holy Spirit in our lives because He is the only one who can help us to live like Jesus. That’s what His main job is, in our lives. The Holy Spirit lives in us and is always with us to help us to become more like Jesus every day.
In the bible it tells us that the Holy Spirit is a bit like the wind. We can’t see the wind but we can see what the wind does. It causes leaves to blow off the trees. It holds a kite up in the air. In the same way, we cannot see the Holy Spirit, but we will know that He is in our lives when we begin to see the changes he causes to happen in our lives.
But how does the Holy Spirit change us? How does He make us more like Jesus?
Well, in the bible, the good changes the Holy Spirit makes in our lives are described as ‘fruit’. But what are these fruits of the Spirit, these good changes that the Holy Spirit will cause in us?
Well the first one Paul mentions is ‘Love’.
Love- The Holy Spirit will help us to be people who really love God and who really love other people. In fact the word used in the bible to describe the love the Holy Spirit gives us is a very special type of love. It is a love that always wants the best for other people even if they are not nice to us. It is a tough love that is willing to sacrifice for God and others.
Joy- The joy that the Holy Spirit will give us is a special type of happiness that only God can give us. It describes a deep sense of contentment that we know God loves us and is on our side even when life is difficult or painful.
Peace- The Holy Spirit will give us a special trust that we are God’s friends even though we still aren’t perfect. He will also help us to trust that no matter what happens God is in control and has a good plan to make us more like Jesus.
Patience- The Holy Spirit will help us to become people who don’t get cross easily, who don’t go mad when things don’t go the way we want and who are quick to forgive people when they have annoyed us. He will help us to be people who don’t seek revenge even when we have been wronged.
Kindness- The Holy Spirit will help us to be kind. The word the bible uses describes people who have a goodness that is gentle. So the Holy Spirit will help us to be courteous and polite. He will help us to overlook people’s faults and not be sharp or bitter in our attitudes.
Goodness- The Holy Spirit will help us to be good. As well as doing what is right and what pleases God it also means that He will cause us to love other people and want to help people who are in need.
Gentleness- The Holy Spirit will help us to be gentle. The word used in the bible describes an animal that has been brought under control by its owner. It describes an attitude that is submissive to whatever God wants. It describes an attitude that is teachable and considerate of others. It describes someone who is slow to put themselves or their own ideas forward.
Faithfulness- The Holy Spirit will help us to be people who are reliable- People who live by good principles. The Holy Spirit will help us to be people who will do what we have promised- People who others can trust.
Self-Control- The Holy Spirit will help us to be able to control our emotions, our actions and our attitudes. He will enable us to say no to ourselves so that we can help the needs of others. He will help us to be in such control of ourselves that we are fit to serve other people.
The last question we need to ask this morning is, “How will the Holy
Spirit make these changes in us?”
Well the simple answer is He will do it as we do 3 things.
He will do it as we read the bible and as we remember these different characteristics so that we know the Holy Spirit wants to create in our lives..
He will do it as we pray and ask Jesus to help us to change. This is
something we need to do every day.
We need to pray things like, “Please Holy Spirit, help me to be kind to this person. Please help me to be more patient in this situation. Please help me to remember to do such and such so that others can rely on me etc.”
Lastly, He can only do these things in our lives if we are willing to
play our part. We need to be willing to respond to a situation of
need by being generous. We need to be willing to calm down and
not blow our temper when something goes wrong or when
someone does something that annoys us. We need to be willing
to keep our promises so that people can trust us. We need to be
willing to forgive people who have hurt us. We need to be willing
to trust God even when life is difficult or painful.
In the same way that farming is a joint venture between people
and God so too growing the fruit of the Spirit is a joint venture
between us and God.
The farmer must plough and sow and spray knowing that only God can
send the sun and rain to make the crops grow.
So too, only the Holy Spirit can make His fruit grow in our lives.
But we must read our bibles, we must pray and we must be willing to do all that we can to obey how we know He wants us to behave.
If we are to live like Christ and live lives that we can be proud of, then we need the help of God’s Holy Spirit.
When we are willing to turn from all we know to be wrong and when we trust that Jesus died for our sins and ask Him to forgive us a miracle happens. God sends His Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus to live inside us. We can’t see Him. Sometimes we may feel His presence. But over time we will be able to see the changes that He will make in our lives, making us into better people.
These changes that He will create in us are called the fruit of the Holy Spirit. They are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control.
These changes will happen as we read our bibles, as we pray and as we are willing to do all that we can to obey how we know God wants us to behave.
As we begin to see these changes growing in our lives it gives us reassurance that we really are Christians. As other people see these changes in us they will see God’s image in us and see that God is good. They may want to know God as their friend too so that His good image can be formed in them as well. Reflecting God well is the best way we can witness for Him in our world.
Intro to You-tube Song Michael
We are going to respond to what we’ve been reflecting on now as we listen to a beautiful modern hymn – a prayer to God asking for His Holy Spirit to blow in our lives again to make us more like Jesus. So sit back and allow the words of this song to draw your thoughts and prayers to God…(End Part 4)
You Tube Song “Holy Spirit living breath of God” (Gettys)
Prayers for ourselves and others…(RESPONSE ON SCREEN)
Gracious God, we praise you that day by day you are at work in our lives, transforming them beyond all our expectations. We praise you for the way that despite ourselves, you have called us to faith, breaking through our doubts, our stubbornness, our selfishness and pride and drawing us to Christ. Gracious God, continue to change us we pray.
Help us to keep firm hold of the conviction that you can continue to change us – that whoever we are, whatever we do, whatever we face, nothing is outside the scope of your renewing power. Gracious God, continue to change us we pray.
Help us to remember you can change others – that however hopeless a case may seem, however much a person may be opposed to you, however far from you they may appear, you are able to make a new creation of them. Gracious God, continue to change us we pray.
Help us to realize that as you have spoken to us so you can speak to others – that no matter how closed someone may be, how unwilling to listen, how indifferent, you are able to stir their heart and challenge their spirit. Gracious God, continue to change us we pray.
Gracious God, save us from ever losing sight of that fact, from retreating into pessimism, fatalism, defeatism. Gracious God, continue to change us we pray.
Save us from so forgetting all you can do that we become disheartened, expecting nothing, attempting nothing, achieving nothing. Gracious God, continue to change us we pray.
Help us separately and together, through our words and our actions, to speak of how you have changed us, so that in turn you may change others. Gracious God, continue to change us we pray.
Take a moment now to bring your own prayers to God…
All these prayers we offer in the name of Christ who gives us the strength and power to change through His Holy Spirit, Amen.
It’s been a joy and privilege to share with you again today. Thanks again for logging on. I hope you found it both a challenge and an encouragement.
During the lockdown we have been able to upgrade our AV system so that we can display all images on both the screen in the church and in the back hall. So I hope it improved the experience of anyone in the hall markedly. We also now have the capacity to livestream. We are currently fine tuning the detail of that and we hope to be able to go public within a few weeks after we’ve had a few trial runs.
If you would like to book a place at church next Sunday please do text Aleida before Friday evening of this week.
I hope you can tune in again on Wednesday morning for the concluding part of our Pandemic praise as we reflect on another spiritual blessing that God has given us in Christ and give thanks. This will be the last week in this series after which I will be taking a break from that during the month of June and spending the time I would normally give to preparation, on pastoral calls.
But for now, let me close with a benediction after which I invite you to say the grace together…
May God, who began a good work in you, continue to be at work in your life, guiding, teaching and equipping you until Jesus Christ returns.
May your love and compassion continue to grow—a love that is full of knowledge and wise insight, so that you will be able to recognize what really matters, and live a pure and blameless life.
May you live a life centered in the Holy Spirit,
a life that bears rich fruit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,
generosity, faithfulness, tolerance and self-control – all the good things that come from following the Spirit, for living this way will bring much glory and praise to God. And
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all now and for evermore, Amen.”
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.