Saturday, May 10, 2008

Pentecost May 11, 2008

The Feast Day of Pentecost
May 11, 2008
Acts 2:1-21
Go into all the world

Introduction: This is Spirit Sunday. The promise of the Spirit is fulfilled. Two accounts tell of the fulfillment: the risen Jesus gives the Spirit on Easter; fifty days after Easter the Spirit falls on the disciples.

Let us pray to the Lord…

God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, as You sent upon the disciples the promised gift of the Holy Spirit, look upon Your church and open our hearts to the power of the Spirit. Kindle in us the fire of Your love and strengthen our lives for service in Your kingdom.

People outside the church witness the events of Pentecost and can only see a people who got religion and who do unusual things. How do you explain it? This was the question of the spectators of the Pentecost experiences — “What does this mean?” How do you explain the rush of wind, tongues of fire, and uneducated men suddenly speaking in foreign languages? How do you explain the boldness of once-timid, quiet men? How do we explain the marvelous lives and work of Christians?

The Spirit’s work is mysterious for most people. Some think of the Spirit in terms of a far-out religious group which has fanatical tendencies. There is needed in the church today an understanding of the ecclesiastical dimension of the Spirit. The Spirit is a church affair.

Outline: Consider the Spirit’s relation to the church.

I. The Spirit comes to the churchWhen the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. v. 1. It is a community affair and corporate experience.

A. It is a community affair. Luke reminds us, “They were all together” (v. 1). The Spirit is a communal affair. The Spirit comes to us as a group and not always as an individual. Jesus breathed the Spirit on the disciples as a group.

B. It is a corporate experience. Baptism, when the Holy Spirit is received, is not a private but a public service and occasion. The Spirit is a drawing, collecting force. This we have experienced in the life of Emilie Raene. The Spirit calls us into a special relationship with Himself through the Sacrament of Baptism

II. The Spirit creates the churchAnd it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the LORD Shall be saved v. 21. The Spirit gathers believers into a community. At Pentecost each foreigner heard the gospel in his own tongue. There was no need of an interpreter as in the case with “unknown tongues.” Each apostle miraculously spoke a foreign language without even learning it in order to tell the good news to foreign visitors in Jerusalem at the time of Pentecost. To this day Christians communicate the gospel in the people’s language. This was predicted in the Scriptures of Old by the prophet Joel. “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.” Joel 2:28

A. The Holy Spirit gathers believers into a community. This community is referred to as The Holy Christian Church – The Communion of Saints. Into this church the Holy Spirit calls, gathers, enlightens, sanctifies and keeps us in the one true faith.

B. What is this community none other then our Friedheim family? As a congregation we gather around the Word and Sacraments to be fed and led by our Savior. This gathering is nothing more and certainly nothing less then holy sheep listening to the voice of their Shepherd. Thus we gather to worship, be fed, to receive holy absolution, to be strengthened, to intercede for one another, to bear each other’s burdens only to enter back into the world to be salt and light.

We use the gifts, talents, and abilities the Lord has given us in our various vocations to be witnesses of the Savior. It is a serious task as the Savior speaks quite specifically about those who loose their saltiness and whose light goes out.

Transition: The Holy Spirit comes to the Church. The Holy Spirit creates the Church. The Holy Spirit works through the Church.

III. The Spirit works through the churchBut Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: v. 14. The church proclaims the Word and administers the sacraments through which the Spirit grants forgiveness and eternal life.

A. The church proclaims the Word and administers the sacraments. These are the true “marks” of the church. We use the Word to ground us in the faith. Thus when we use the Word whether it is studied, read, shared, the Word of the Lord is strengthening us. Likewise as we make use of the means of grace – in the Sacraments not only do they bring us to faith but the also sustain us as we travel along this journey of faith.

B. In the Church the Lord richly and daily forgives the sins of me and all believers in Christ, and on the last day we raise me and all the dead and give eternal salvation to all who believe. This is the promise the Spirit has for you. Have no fear little flock for the Father has promised to give you the kingdom. Have no fear – have no fear.

Conclusion: The Holy Spirit gives life and then sustains life. He is the one who directs the affairs of His Church. We come to a worship service and then in service we witness for Him. We enter back into the world to be witnesses of the Savior. Our desire is for others to embrace and cherish our Friedheim family as they become connected to Jesus Christ. Do we always get it right? Not always. Are we perfect? Hardly! Do we stumble, fumble, flop and fall? Certainly! Yet, in spite of our many flaws the Lord uses us in various ways, often to our amazement!

Some seek revival in the church today. An Amish draft horse might be a fitting analogy. We plod along through life. And yet, after a long, long, day a few acres have been planted - and by God’s grace - we shall reap a harvest of souls. A blessed Pentecost in Jesus’ Name!

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