Summary: A Pentecost sermon for a service of Baptism, confirmation and Ordination/Installation of Elders.
Calling All Glasses and Gloves
I’d like to start today by asking you a question. How can I get the air out of this glass? One of you might suggest sucking the air out with a pump. Of course that would create a vacuum and shatter the glass.
Anyone have an idea? Well, how about this? (fill glass with water) There, now all the air is removed. Victory in the Christian life is not gained by sucking out a sin here or there, but by being filled with the Holy Spirit.
In my dictionary there are 60 definitions for the word “call”. Number 4 is “to attract someone’s attention to something”. Now I think that “..a sound like the rush of a violent wind…” filling the entire house and “…divided tongues, as of fire…” would definitely attract my attention.
“All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit had given them ability.” What makes this unusual is that there were “Jews from every nation” and “each one heard them speaking in the native tongue of each”, kind of like a reversal of the story of the Tower of Babel from Gen. 11.
And it was as the Spirit gave them ability. God gives each of us different abilities, different gifts. Each of us is “called” into the ministry; ministry being defined in Eph. 4:12 as “ the work of God by the people of God”. It is the work of serving others, using the gifts, resources, and power that God gives us.
Definition #2 of call in my dictionary is “to ask or invite to come”. These 5 men that we will be installing as Elders today in our church were “asked or invited to come” and serve as an Elder. They were, as in Def. #10, “summoned to an office or duty.” They have answered the call and we believe they will use the abilities given them by the Holy Spirit to serve God through their roles as Elder.
4 young people have also been called. Def. #38 of call is “to summon into service”. They have gone through a “training period” for this service into which they have been called and after (Def. #2) being “invited to come” to session and examined, they were found worthy of the call which they have received. Later in our worship they will be “called” forward to be confirmed to their service.
In the little booklet “What every Presbyterian should know about the Sacrament of Baptism” it states, “Through the power of the Holy Spirit, baptism: Initiates us into the Church, bestows the promise of God’s grace upon us, assures us that God forgives our sins, and CALLS us to a life of Christian service and fulfillment.
Def. #46 of call is “a summons, invitation, or bidding”. Steve and Shannon, in bringing Trenton to be baptized, have answered the bidding to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…”
All of us here today fit Def. #11 of call, “to summon by or as by divine command”. We are called to come and praise God in his house every Sunday. We are ALL called.
From the Bible’s point of view, “calling” describes all of the responsibility of all believers to serve God with all of their lives. Every believer is “called” to belong to God. Every believer is “called” a child of God. Every believer is “called” to accept the work of Christ on our behalf. Every believer is “called” to serve God and other people.
We are called. To fulfill that calling we must be filled with the Holy Spirit. I have a glove here in my hand. The glove cannot do anything by itself, but when my hand is in it, the glove can do many things. True, it is not the glove, but my hand in the glove that acts. We, as Christians, are gloves. It is the Holy Spirit in us, the hand, who does the work. We have to make room for the hand so that every finger in the glove is filled.
So accept your calling and then it can be said of you, “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit…”