The Purpose of Pentecost: Message Notes for August 27, 2017

September 1, 2017 2:22 am

The Purpose of Pentecost
Acts 1:4-5; 2:1-8,12
August 27, 2017

Eclipse: Wonder, Emotion, Perspective

From the Guardian: Dennis Cassia, a 65-year-old retired firefighter and high school science teacher who now lives in Monroe, Connecticut, was one of them.
Cassia caught his first eclipse in high school and has traveled to Africa and the Caribbean to see others throughout his life.

“It was so spectacular that I kind of got the bug,” said Cassia.
“You find out, during a total eclipse, just how in tune with nature you are,” he says. “Your body tells you something isn’t right. It looks like a sunset, but the sunset is 360 degrees. You get the colors of the sunset, but it’s the whole horizon. Insects behave differently; animals behave differently. Cows go down on their haunches. Then totality hits and you’re immersed in this darkness.
“I’ve seen people get on their knees and pray,” he continues. “I’ve seen scientists cry. All of a sudden, you realize, ‘Man, I’m part of this and I have instincts that I never, ever feel. I’m part of nature.’ Why do people go around the world to chase eclipses? It’s the only event that’s going to leave you totally awestruck.”

When the Jewish prophet Joel said that a day would come when God poured out his Spirit on everyone, it would be accompanied by ‘wonders in the heavens above… the sun will be turned into darkness…’ In other words, God showing up would leave people ‘awestruck’
That’s what happened on the Day of Pentecost around 2000 years ago. Something astonishing and world-changing took place.

Everything we’ve said so far about the Spirit has been pointing to this passage today.

The Spirit is God himself.

The Spirit is promised to all of God’s people

The Spirit will be with, in, and upon us.

After his resurrection and before his ascension Jesus told his disciples he was sending them on the greatest mission in history, to proclaim his salvation to the whole world. He also told them to ‘wait… until you are clothed with power from on high’

He told them that – and get this! – even though they’d seen and heard him personally and encountered him raised from the dead, they did not yet have within them the strength to do what was needed. They were weak and had to admit that weakness. If they were, how much more so are we!
That even included Jesus’ Mother, Mary. She would’ve remembered a moment from some thirty years previous…

Mary: “How can these things be?”
Gabriel: “The Spirit…”

Now Jesus is saying, “Just wait… very soon now you will be clothed with power… with all that you need to carry forward this mission impossible for you but possible for God. God the Spirit is going to visit you.”

God graciously offers us a power that matches the Mission he commands – his own presence to accomplish his great intention.

So they waited; they prayed; they stayed. And then, ‘suddenly, there came from heaven a sound…’

I. The History of Pentecost
Giving of the Law on Sinai
God came down in fire and wrote his Law on tablets of stone
3000 people died in Idolatry

II. The Message of Pentecost
* The Risen Savior is the Reigning Savior: The Gospel is True

* The People of God are the Temple of God: The Glory Cloud is Here and Moving; the Era of the Spirit has come: Baptized with the Spirit
– God came down in fire and wrote his Law of Love on the tablets of people’s hearts
– 3000 came alive in Jesus
– Filled the House, filled them; they filled Jerusalem (Acts 5:28)

III. The Embrace of Pentecost
The Phenomena of Pentecost
Sound of a Mighty Rushing Wind
Tongues of Fire on Each
Gospel Heard in Global Languages
– The Permanence of Pentecost
* The Sound of God is Heard by all – The Spirit is here and inviting people into communion with God
“I heard the sound of you…and I was afraid and hid…” Gen 3; now, the Sound of God’s arrival brings joyful praise and mission!

The Fire of God is Seen on all – The Spirit is for Every Follower of Jesus

The Word of God is Understood by all – The Spirit is taking us into the world on Jesus’ Great Mission of Restoration

The Word of God is Understood by all – The Spirit is taking us into the world on Jesus’ Great Mission of Restoration

The language of Christianity is no longer intelligible to people in vast swaths of territory in the US, including major cities and cultural centers. Like it or not, the connection between major evangelicals and political voices only makes the beauty of the Gospel harder to hear. We need the sign of Pentecost afresh, for the Spirit makes the Gospel clear by giving us the gift of languages we’ve never learned to speak to the people we’ve never known.
The Institutional Church in the West has always attempted to squeeze the Faith into a single language – whether Latin in the medieval period or buzz words evangelicals must employ today to pass muster. The Reformation – and Pentecost – do not endorse a single language approach; the Spirit comes to own all languages to reach all people for the Son he glorifies.

All of this work of the Spirit is to prepare a people that will make Jesus known through the Gospel, pointing us to the Savior. That is what Peter does in his sermon: “this Jesus, whom you crucified, God has raised. He is Lord.”

Peter starts with the signs, moves to the promise, and then proclaims the crucifixion and resurrection, calling people to faith in Jesus.

He says the same to us today, for it was we who crucified him with our sin and for us that he died. He is also risen for us to be our Savior and reigns over his subjects as our Gracious King.

Have you put your trust in this Savior-King? Receive him as your Lord and Savior.

Are you living in the wealth of Pentecost? Are we awestruck? Are others, or do they merely yawn?

How desperately we need to daily confess our weakness and receive the Spirit and his overflowing power and fire. Amen.



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