Summary: This sermon presents the essential ingredients for a ministry that is on fire for God.

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Acts 2:1-13


Each of us in this room is a unique individual. We each have different talents, different tastes, and different personalities. We have different strengths and weaknesses. But, there is one thing we all share in common, one thing we all long after. We all deeply desire to have the fire of God in our ministry. Every one of us here longs to have a fruitful ministry. We want to be mightily used by God. We want more than anything for God to be glorified in our life and ministry. We earnestly long for the fire of God!

Yet, what does it take to have the fire of God in your ministry? What are the absolute essential ingredients in a fruitful ministry? If we could boil down all the aspects of a successful ministry, what would be left as the essential ingredients? What would be the irreducible minimum? Would it be our theology? Would it be our personal chrisma? Would it be our charming personality? Would it be our sheer determinism? Would it be our church situation? Would it be something else? Our text today, Acts 2:1-13, gives us the answer.

As we consider the context of this passage, there are several levels we should consider. First, as we look at its canonical context we see the events of this chapter are a dramatic reversal of the curse of Babel. At Babel human languages were confused and the nations scattered; in Jerusalem the language barrier was supernaturally overcome as a sign that the nations would be gathered together in Christ. At Babel the people tried to proudly ascend to heaven; but here we see heaven humbly descended to the people. Next, as we look at its context in the Book of Acts we first see it is a bridge connecting Jesus’ promise of the Holy Spirit in chapter one and Peter’s sermon in chapter two. Before Jesus ascended into heaven, He promised the Holy Spirit would soon come upon them empowering them to be His witnesses. In our passage, the Holy Spirit comes upon them and Peter is empowered to preach boldly the gospel. In addition, when we consider Luke wrote Acts to set forth for Theophilus an account of the origin and development of the early church, we realize this passage is central to his purpose. Near the beginning of each part of his two-volume work, he demonstrates the indispensability of the Holy Spirit’s enabling. Just as the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus when John baptized Him, so that He entered His public ministry “full of the Holy Spirit”, “led by the Spirit”, “in the power of the Spirit”, and “anointed” by the Spirit so now the same Spirit came upon the disciples of Jesus to equip them for their mission in the world. The passage shows the crucial role the Holy Spirit had in the formation of the early church. Luke wants Theophilus to know that clearly everything that follows in his account is a result of the Holy Spirit’s presence and power. Apart from the outpouring of the Holy Spirit there would be no church, there would be not book of Acts—because Luke’s account is not so much the Acts of the Apostles and the Acts of the Holy Spirit. Last, we must consider this passage’s contemporary context. What does it say to the church today? Because of the continuity of the church and the covenant of redemption, this passage reaches across the pages of church history and speaks to us today even as it spoke to the original audience. When we look beneath the historical particulars we see contemporary truths—we see the essential ingredients for the fire of God in our ministry. The same essential ingredients that brought the fire of God into the early church will bring the fire of God into our ministry.

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