NORTH MAIN SERMON MAY 31, 2020
Acts 2:1-31 New International Version (NIV)
The Holy Spirit Comes at Pentecost
2 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[a] as the Spirit enabled them.
5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,[b] 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”
13 Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.”
Peter Addresses the Crowd
14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15 These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
17 “‘In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.
18 Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
and they will prophesy.
19 I will show wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below,
blood and fire and billows of smoke.
20 The sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood
before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
21 And everyone who calls
on the name of the Lord will be saved.’[c]
22 “Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23 This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men,[d] put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 24 But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. 25 David said about him:
“‘I saw the Lord always before me.
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.
26 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest in hope,
27 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
you will not let your holy one see decay.
28 You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence.’[e]
29 “Fellow Israelites, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. 30 But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. 31 Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay.
Sometimes Life Takes Your Breath Away..
The church was empowered on Pentecost for people with a purpose. That purpose remains to invite everybody to experience the good news through faith in Jesus. Our Lord doesn't want anybody left behind. That's why he came in Jesus and continues to come through his Holy Spirit. He wants us to cross the finish line together. He wants us to be so amazed that it takes our breath away.
Today we need the fervor, fire, tongues, passion, and Spirit of Pentecost. Today the Christian Church needs a rebirth of the spirit, where souls are on fire with the love of Christ, where barriers are broken down and superficial divisions which sequester and divide people are bridged through a unity of the Spirit. Today more than ever the church needs to recapture the fires of Pentecost so that souls can break free from bondage, and healing, deliverance, and the full power of God's anointing can be experienced in every medium and every idiom by people filled with Holy Ghost madness.
Too many people today are devoid of the Spirit of Pentecost, even some of our churches are.. because they are tired and dry, stale, and flat, people are quiet and subdued..- where worship services are stale, and the preaching is without any energy..; where the singing is tired and without the excitement that speaks of a crucified, died and risen Lord, the church seems to be out of touch and have become less and less of a place for praise for a living God. They have lost the spirit of Pentecost! They have lost their enthusiasm. They have lost their joy for Jesus . Pentecost marks the beginning of a new spiritual movement in Christ; a movement birthed through the fires of the Holy Spirit; a movement steeped in the spirit of hope, renewal, and spiritual transformation. It is a movement where souls are on fire with the passion of the Holy Spirit and the Church today more than ever needs to recapture that spirit. If the Church is to survive we need to put the fire of Pentecost back into the Church. The spiritual energy and vitality of Pentecost is needed today more than ever.
The Holy Spirit is God's way of being with us after Jesus was no longer with us. So on Pentecost, we remember that God is with us always, in every situation. The disciples had found out what the world does to God. If God came and lived here, what would happen to God? That, for them, was no longer a hypothetical question. They saw. It was hideous. It took away all their courage, hope, and peace. Their heartrending experience of Jesus' humiliation and death had left them lifelessly limp in body, mind, and spirit. Their self-knowledge of their denial and abandonment of Jesus was enough to leave them drowning in awful awareness of their sin forever. How could they recover from all that? The only thing to do after all that is to lock yourself in and throw away the key. But God Wanted to Give them a Second Wind
Can you imagine the shock. The absolutely breathing taking experience. There he is! Suddenly, unaccountably, through those locked doors, he "came and stood among them”. And he said, "Peace be with you." He said it twice. He showed them the still clearly visible signs of the terrible injury the world and they had done to him. But he came back to them, filled with peace and palpable new life. He told them to go and finish his work. He told them they were to go back out again. He'd been sent out in the first place by God, knowing what he was in for from the start. They should not be caught mummified in the webs of humiliation and despair. There were peace and empowerment that did not depend at all on what the world did. They could have both from him, just as he had both from God.
The God who originally "breathed the breath of life" could do it again, and did, and does. But that was their second wind. The new birth carried with it not just physical breathing, but the Holy Spirit, who sanctified the life by reviving it consciously and so lifting it to a higher level of awareness of the gift. God's Second Wind Brings New Power for Living. To be forgiven in that way, by the God you have denied outside and inside yourself, who nevertheless came back to revive you again! Ah, that is the second wind that will help us live the Pentecost feeling forever. After the pain of all our usually not knowing what we're doing about our faith and our very lives, God is back. Standing in our midst, despite all obstacles. .
That purpose prompted Peter to preach, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved". Everyone is invited and included through faith. It doesn't matter who, what, where, or when. That's the church's good news. That's the purpose of the church. That's why our Lord gave power to his people. That’s why we have wind and fire on Pentecost. The Holy Spirit came in the form of flames to the Apostles and they could talk in different languages..This is why today is such an exciting day for us.. it’s the birthday of the church.. maybe today will be the birthday of a new and different church for us, we may or may not like the new church.. but.. just maybe being the church and going to church from now on will take your breathe away. In Jesus name, Let it be so. Amen