Summary: This sermon explores what happens when the Holy Spirit is at work gathering people together and they respond.
Whenever I go camping with a group of people
there is one thing that brings us together, the camp fire.
Everyone seems to gather around the camp fire.
Likewise the Holy Spirit is active in bringing people together.
God’s Spirit has been active since the creation of the world in bringing people together.
And not just a select group of people but all people.
And God has chosen to do this through the Christian Church.
From Acts chapter 2 verses 5 to 12 we heard
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 them speaking in his own language. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 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?”
That is a question that many people have asked throughout history.
What does this mean?
The scriptures highlight that the God we know as Father, Son and Holy Spirit
Is for everyone!!!
And this is one of the major things that make the Christian Church different from any other gathering of people.
The Christian church is a gathering open to everyone.
God will not force anyone to be part of the Christian Church
But He invites everyone.
Everyone who is willing to acknowledge that Jesus is their only hope for the future, is welcome to be part of God’s family.
In John 14 verse 6 we hear
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
That is the only criteria God lays down to be part of His church.
That you believe that Jesus Christ is your only hope for the future.
It doesn’t mean there won’t be doubts or difficulties.
In fact the New Testament is extremely clear
that being a Christian on this earth will involve some struggles,
there will be difficulties,
that we won’t always get along together.
But remember when those things happen
God is around to help you and me out.
But unfortunately, though not everyone feels comfortable or accepted at a particular Christian congregation.
Maybe you have felt on the outer, even at this congregation?
Well this is not God’s Spirit at work.
This is the human spirit at work, being led by a spirit other than God’s Spirit.
At times in the church people say and do things that make others feel unwelcome.
That encourage others to stay away rather than engage with other Christians.
This is not new,
Throughout the bible God reminds us that in gatherings of people who follow God there will be difficulties and differences.
And the solution to this is not that we all be the same.
It is not that we all look the same
Or we all do the same things
Or that we all agree on exactly the same things
The solution is for people
as individuals and as a community.
to allow God’s Spirit to be the driving force of their lives
And one of the main things that happens when the Holy Spirit is active in our lives is that repentance and forgiveness in Jesus name is evident in our lives.
Last week when we looked at Luke 24:46-48 we were reminded that one of the major roles of the Holy Spirit,
Is to help us be active in repentance and forgiveness in Jesus name.
God says one of the important signs that the Holy Spirit is active in our lives is when we are actively involved in repentance and forgiveness in Jesus name.
This is one way the Holy Spirit brings us and keep us together.
And so as the Pastor of this church
if you have felt unwelcome as a result of something we have done I am sorry.
Please forgive us.
If you want to talk about this please make contact with me.
Not only does God want you here, we also want you to be part of God’s family with us.
And if there is something in the way of that occurring please contact me so we can see what can be done.
There are also at times when individuals feel uncomfortable about being at church.
Not because of what anyone at the church has done,
but because of who they are and what they have done.