Summary: A sermon for Pentecost.
"It Can Happen Here Today"
Acts 2:1-21, 36-41
They had been with Jesus for approximately 3 years.
They never quite understood Him, but they believed He was the "Messiah;" the next "King of the Jews."
Of course, they had been thinking in terms of an "earthly King."
They had watched as Jesus healed the demon possessed, ate with tax collectors, prostitutes, religious leaders, lepers and all manner of sinners.
They had witnessed Jesus as He raised the dead, walked on water and fed 5,000 people with 5 barley loaves and 2 small fish.
They had left everything to follow Him.
He had loved them, and shown them love like no other.
And yet, on the night He was arrested everyone of them abandoned Him.
Peter, arguably His closest friend, denied even knowing Him 3 times--out of fear, in order to save his own skin.
After Jesus' Resurrection from the dead, the apostles knew that something great and miraculous had happened.
But they still didn't understand it.
And right before Jesus ascended back to heaven, Jesus instructed them: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.
For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."
Then He said, "you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
After Jesus said these things and was "taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight."...
... "they returned to Jerusalem."
We are told that "They all joined together constantly in prayer..."
And, "When the day of Pentecost came" so came the promised Holy Spirit!!!
And they finally understood what Jesus had been talking about.
And the Scriptures finally made sense to them.
They were filled with confidence and they were able to communicate with all the people in ways everyone could understand.
Then Peter...Peter the one who had earlier been so afraid, Peter--now filled with God's Holy Spirit got up and spoke by the power of the Holy Spirit--with the words that the Holy Spirit gave him to speak.
The Holy Spirit of God used Peter as God's mouthpiece as Peter, "raised his voice and addressed the crowd: Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say."
Peter stood and spoke boldly even to the very people who had put Christ to death--Peter spoke boldly to the very people he had cowered before and denied Christ to just weeks before.
The Holy Spirit spoke through His willing vessel, Peter, as Peter preached the first sermon of the Christian Church: "Jesus of Nazareth...was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead...Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."
And the Holy Spirit convicted those listening to the Holy Spirit's Words.
We are told that they were "cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, '...what shall we do?'
Peter replied, 'Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit...
...with many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, 'Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.'"
And we are told that on that very first day, "Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number..."
And it was all done through and at the prompting of the Holy Spirit of God.
And this same Holy Spirit is available to us today.
We are called, to go out, and by the power of the same Holy Spirit, proclaim the message the Holy Spirit gives us.
Yes, we have access to the same Spirit of God.
There is no reason why what happened on Pentecost cannot happen right here in East Ridge today!!!
It is the Holy Spirit's doing.
It is the Holy Spirit Who does the convicting.
It is the Holy Spirit Who gives the understanding.
It is the Holy Spirit Who provides the confidence.
It is the Holy Spirit Who provides the message.
Are we willing vessels or conduits?
It can happen today!!!
There is no reason why it shouldn't be happening right now!!!
This church should be full to overflowing.
We should have to be having this worship service outside at Camp Jordan due to the number of folks who should be flocking to hear what God is doing and has in plan for the human race!!!