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Did You Receive the Holy Spirit? - Acts 19

The first service plan in a Pentecost series entitled "Catching God's Wind." This service identifies with the disciples in the joy of receiving the Holy Spirit, recognizes the Spirit's work, and refreshes awareness of the work for which the spirit calls and empowers us.

Worship Service
Also in this Series

Catching God's Wind

This series of worship services explores how the church receives the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

Theme of the Service

This is Pentecost Sunday which marks the experience of the church in receiving the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The gift of the Holy Spirit, as sent by Christ, is the key idea in this service.

We aim, therefore, to identify with the disciples in the joy of receiving the Holy Spirit, recognize the Spirit's work in our lives and congregation, and refresh our awareness of the work to which the Spirit calls us and for which he empowers us. In word, song, and the sacrament of the Lord's Supper we will express our joy and thanks for the gift of the Spirit.


Prelude: "Let Us Talents and Tongues Employ", Sedio [organ], Tucker [handbell choir]
"Creator, Spirit, by Whose Aid", Barr, Stearns [organ]

Introit: "Spirit of God", Carter

*Our Declaration of Trust and God's Greeting

Congregation, called together by God's Spirit, in whom do you trust?
Our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth.
Grace, mercy and peace to you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

*Worshipers Greet Each Other

*Opening Hymn: "Creator Spirit, by Whose Aid" PsH 425

*A Pentecost Litany:

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.
Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.
They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.
All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.(Acts 2:1-4)
Today, Lord, we meet in your presence
to celebrate the gift of your Spirit who now lives among us.
We remember that your Son, Jesus Christ, called him another Counselor whom he would send to us.
Renew our hearts, move us to faith, lead us in truth, and empower us for obedience.

*Song of Petition: "Gracious Spirit, Heed Our Pleading" SNC 166, WOV 687 (w/ text in Swahili)

The Call to Confession:

Do not be astonished that Jesus says to us: "You must be born from above".
That which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it,
but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes;
so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit,
who convicts us of sin and leads us into all righteousness.
So even as we sense the Spirit's wind blowing through our hearts today
let us open ourselves before the Lord and confess our sins.
-from John 3:7-8

A Time of Silence for Personal Confession

The Assurance of Pardon - Romans 8:15-17

Song of Assurance:

Anthem: "Spirit, Now Live in Me", Bock

The Children's Moment


The Reading of Scripture: Acts 19:1-10

The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!


(Catching God's Wind - #1)
Text - Acts 19:2

Anthem: "Spirit of the Living God", Kogut

The Pastoral Prayer

Sung Prayer: "Spirit of the Living God" v. 2 PH 322 (no v. 2), PsH 424, RN 90, SFL 184, TH 726 (no v. 2), TWC 297


The Welcome to the Table

The Words of Institution - 1 Corinthians 11:23-32

The Prayer of Consecration

Anthem: "Let Us Talents and Tongues Employ", Lovelace

Our Participation in the Bread

Song: "O Holy Spirit, Breathe on Me" SFL 183

Our Participation in the Cup

Song: "Blessed Assurance: Jesus Is Mine" PH 341, PsH 490, RL 453, TH 693, TWC 514, WOV 699 (PH has text in Korean)

The Prayer of Thanksgiving

Offertory: "Meditation on 'Blaenwern' ", Wilson

The Offertory Prayer


*The Benediction with Congregational Amen!

*Song of Thanks: "For Your Gift of God the Spirit" (Blaenwern: PsH 416, TH 339, TWC 285) (Bethany: RL 382)

Postlude: "Song of Joy", Sherman [handbell]
or: "Allegro" from the Organ Concerto #13", Handel [organ]
* - you are invited to stand

Sermon Notes:

Our text, Acts 19:2, contains a very strange question to ask a church. Paul, a veteran missionary, comes to town and asks this question, not of unbelievers, but of believers-of the church! How strange! And stranger yet is the answer that they have not even heard of the Holy Spirit! At the beginning of the sermon, take time to develop the peculiarity of the situation and help your listeners to feel the tension. It would be interesting to try and paint a picture of a "Spiritless church", if your hearers can imagine such a thing. Indicate some of the marks that a Spiritless church might include, and encourage them to critique our churches today by those.

To clarify the situation you'll have to develop the story of the church at Ephesus. Include the fact that it will become one of Paul's favorites, the one he spent much time and effort to nurture. But then go back into their history and explain that the church was begun with some inadequate or incomplete instruction. (Apollos was there at its origin and Acts 18:24-26 explains that he needed better theological training!) The other factor of explanation you'll have to include is the expansion of Pentecost. From Acts 2, 8, 10, and 19 we learn that the initial work and awareness of the Holy Spirit within the church was a developing process, not a one-time sudden event.

To complete the Biblical story of the Spirit's coming to the church, your message should include an explanation of two key truths:

-every Christian receives the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:1, Romans 8:9)

-the variation of the Spirit's influence among Christians (remember how the Bible talks about being filled [Ephesians 5:18], grieving [Ephesians 4:30], and even putting out the Spirit's fire [1 Thessalonians 5:19]).

The sermon should wrap up with an indication of how we can know and discern that we are giving evidence of the work of the Spirit in this church. We should ask ourselves questions like these: are people coming to faith in Jesus? are we being led into all truth? are we growing in assurance? do we exhibit fruit? are we exercising spiritual gifts? do we have power for witness?

Music Notes:

Glossary of Hymnal Abbreviations:
PH The Presbyterian Hymnal (Presbyterian Church USA; Westminster/John Knox Press)
PsH The Psalter Hymnal (Christian Reformed Church; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
RL Rejoice in the Lord (Reformed Church in America; W.B. Eerdmans Publishing Company)
RN Renew! (Hope Publishing Company)
SFL Songs for LiFE (children's songbook; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
SNC Sing! A New Creation (Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Christian Reformed Church, Reformed Church in America; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
TH Trinity Hymnal (Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Presbyterian Church in America; Great Commission Publications)
TWC The Worshiping Church (Hope Publishing Company)
WOV With One Voice (Augsburg Fortress)

Music Level Key: E = Easy, M = Medium, D = Difficult

  1. The selections for prelude have a two-fold purpose: anticipation for coming to the Lord's Table, and celebration of the Holy Spirit and the Spirit's work in our lives. The organ arrangement of "Let Us Talents and Tongues Employ" by Mark Sedio can be found in a collection with the same title, published by Augsburg 11-10718 [1996] (M). The handbell arrangement for 3-5 octaves by Sondra Tucker is published by Agape 2146 [2001] (E-M). The organ arrangements of "Creator Spirit, by Whose Aid" can be found in "Three Preludes on Hymn Tunes" by John G. Barr, published by H.W. Grey GSTC 01079 [1992] (M) and "Twelve Hymn Tune Preludes" by Peter Pindar Stearns, published by Flammer HF-5145 [1987] (E).
  2. "Spirit of God" by John Carter is an SATB anthem published by Hinshaw HMC-268 [1978] (E-M). This is a setting of the text found in PsH 419 and other hymnals ("Spirit of God, Who Dwells within my Heart").
  3. "Spirit, Now Live in Me" is an SATB anthem arranged by Fred Bock and published by Fred Bock BG2204 [1991] (E-M).
  4. "Spirit of the Living God" arranged by Malcolm Kogut is published by GIA G-5114 [2001] (E).
  5. "Let Us Talent and Tongues Employ" by Austin Lovelace is a two-part arrangement suitable for mixed or treble voices. It is published by Choristers Guild CGA619 [1993] (E).
  6. The offertory music is a handbell arrangement for 3-5 octaves of "For the Gift of God the Spirit", entitled "Meditation on 'Blaenwern' " by Malcolm Wilson and published by Lorenz 20/1068 L [1996] (E).
  7. "Song of Joy" by Arnold Sherman is a handbell piece for 3-4 octaves published by Agape 1442 [1990] (E). The organ alternative can be found in many different editions of Handel Organ Concerti.

Liturgy Notes:

1. This Pentecost service begins with the reading of the opening verses of Acts 2. This is an important reading since the sermon focuses on Acts 19 and not Acts 2. You might want to explain that so the Pentecost story receives the attention at the opening of worship that it needs.

2. The service of confession of sins should be introduced with a brief explanation that one of the major responsibilities of the Holy Spirit is to convict us of sin. Therefore, when we are convicted we are assured that we are experiencing his work, and when we confess we are working with the Spirit. Providing a time of silence for their personal time of confession underscores this deeply intimate work of the Spirit.

3. Children find it very difficult to understand the identity of the Holy Spirit, and it is too much to expect them to do so to any great degree. Yet it would be wise to take a few minutes with them in this service to explain the Holy Spirit, what happened at Pentecost, and to assure them that even though he is invisible, the Spirit is still a very real person who loves us. Give them security in thinking about the Spirit's relationship with them, and try to dispel the spooky ideas that "Holy Ghost " may have for them.

4. The sung prayer after the sermon could/should be a very meaningful personal response to the sermon and a personal plea for the Holy Spirit to breathe freshly into our lives. Introduce it carefully and ask them to sing it devotionally.

5. Our assumption is that in the celebration of the Lord's Supper you will include the proper readings that are appropriate in your denomination or tradition. The method by which communion is served will be determined by your preferences and traditions - serving communicants in the pews, or having them come forward to be served or to serve each other.