Summary: Pentecost is the birthday of the church...some may think Christmas should be, others think that Good Friday maybe a good day...(some thoughts from Rev. Ken Klaas) A brief intro to Pentecost and the work of the Holy Spirit
In Jesus Holy Name May 20, 2018
Text: Acts 1:8 Pentecost
“Birthdays Are Special”
This past weekend while Colleen and I were at the California Nevada Hawaii District convention we had a special dinner with our son’s family. It was our granddaughter Sydney’s 12 birthday. It was a special weekend… We celebrated at the Cheesecake Factory. We watched Sydney open presents from her parents and us. Then on Saturday Colleen took Sydney shopping for new clothes.. It is now a tradition….grandmother, granddaughter time.
I’m sure you have your own traditions surrounding birthdays. The Church also has a birthday. Some people might think that the birthday of the Church is December 25th. Some have suggested that the birthday of the Church ought to be counted from the 1st Good Friday, that is, from the day Jesus died in our stead and paid the punishment price for our sins. Believe me when I say Good Friday is a day of considerable importance to Christians, but it is not the beginning of the church. Why? Because everybody who could have begun the church on that day were locked away and in hiding.
Others might think that Easter is the birthday of the Church because that is the day Jesus rise from death and the grave. That would work. But one small problem. Even though Jesus had risen from death… the followers of Jesus didn’t get it. The women who visited the empty tomb were confused.
The two disciples on the road to Emmaus were confused. The disciples in the upper room were still hiding. Disbelief, doubt, skepticism are reasons the Resurrection should not be considered the birthday of the Church.
This is why today, Pentecost Sunday is the birthday of the Church.
Religious Jews came to the Jerusalem Temple to celebrate two festivals. They came on Passover to remember the night the angel of death passed over the Jewish homes and the children of Israel were released from Egyptian slavery. Then they returned 50 days later to celebrate the gift of the Ten Commandments at Mt. Sinai. (sermon Ken Klaas May 23, 2010)
The Holy Spirit was given to the disciples in order to tell God’s story of salvation through Jesus.
During His life on earth Jesus was in constant conflict with the powers of Satan. These conflict have not ceased. The enemy we face is not a physical fortress. “We are contending not against flesh and blood but the powers of spiritual darkness which causes mean and women to lead lives of disobedience, giving into selfish passions of the flesh.” (Ephesians 2:2-3) We know there is sin in our world and in our lives. Our tendency might be to seek to cast off a particular sin through sheer will power. But that usually does not work. How long did our New Year’s resolutions last? If we gave up gossip for lent…did that habit come back?
A.W. Tozer wrote these words regarding he Person of the Holy Spirit. “The Holy Spirit is a person. He is not enthusiasm. He is not courage. He is not energy. He is not the personification of all good qualities, like Jack Frost is the personification of cold weather. Actually the Holy Spirit is not the personification of anything. He is a Person, the same as you are a person, but not material substance. He has individuality. He is one being and not another. He has will and intelligence. He has hearing. He has knowledge and sympathy and ability to love and see and think. He can hear, speak, desire, grieve and rejoice. He is a Person.” He is God!
In the very beginning in Genesis 1:2 the word of God says… that the earth was empty, a formless mass cloaked in darkness. And the Spirit of god was hovering over its surface.
The Holy Spirit is what enabled the disciples to proclaim the gospel message in different languages on the day of Pentecost. He is the active presence of God in the life of the Church, which is the body of Christ.
The Holy Spirit is not an option in the Christian life. It’s not getting power windows or air conditioning in your car as an option. The Holy Spirit is the power which enables the Christian to live an obedient, productive and fruitful life.
What does the Holy Spirit want to do for you and for me? He wants to give us “power” (Acts 1:8) for what purpose? So that we can tell others about Jesus…everywhere, in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth.
The proclamation of the good news of the resurrection of Jesus was to be the first order of business for the new church in Jerusalem. That remains the first order of business for us today.
The Holy Spirit brought life to disciples who were hiding behind closed doors.