Summary: This is week 6 of a 9 week sermon series expressing what God wants for our lives.
SLOW AND STEADY The power of the Holy Spirit is not just for salvation, but transformation, a process that might be slow and gradual. The difference might look like this: You can take ten gallons of gasoline and release a tremendous amount of power and energy by just dropping a lighted match into it. It makes a dramatic onetime impact. But there is another way to release the energy in that gasoline. Place it in the fuel tank of a new Honda, designed to get 30 miles to the gallon. The high tech engine will use that ten gallons of gasoline to take a person 300 miles or more. Explosions may be spectacular, but the sustained, controlled burn has staying power. You don’t want to be a flash in the pan, you want to make a difference in this world over time. You want to last for the long haul. You don’t want the Holy Spirit to just save you for heaven, you want Him to use His power to transform your life. You want Him to use you in this world for kingdom purposes.
Over the past month we have been exploring all the different things God says we are to do that is pleasing to him. We are to pray and worship from the heart, we are to be humble, seek mercy, do justice, be in repenetence, and be willing to seek forgiveness and be forgiving. Today we begin putting all the pieces together as to our own discipleship. While today’s lesson scripture may seem more fitting for an Ascension Day it also applies for a Pentecost Sunday. For the message given talks of the coming fire into their lives. The day a head when God would alight on all their heads and give them the power to preach to the world.
I) So what does God want for us? I think first and for most I seen in this scripture God wants us to be Living examples of what Jesus Christ lived and sacrificed himself for us. I also find that God wants us to open our hearts and wills to the power of the Holy Spirit.
A) God calls us to serve, however that call may not be realized for a long time or it may be in the very next minute. Take for instance the Pentecost which occurs in the next chapter… use other examples…
B) You instances from my trek to ministry, in all these instances God was at work and chose to use us when God was ready not when we thought we were ready or not ready.
C) God does call us to be living examples of Jesus life and ministry, our life reflects his teachings.
1) Early Christian Martyrs…belief that one truly needed to live and die as Christ died in order to be a true witness for Christ
2) Modern day martyrs…this means standing up for what Christ stood for in the midst of persecution and belittlement from a world that cares more about being politically correct over moral and character issues.
II) What does God want people to be or do?
A) God wants people to remember where they come from. God wants Christians to remember to whom they serve. God wants people to remember those whose went before them and lived and died to bring the Gospel into their lives. So that the Word of God is not cheapened or lessened to a book of “suggestions” or nice ideas, but that it remains core to our principals in life.
B)Most importantly God wants us to be a people of character and compassion, a people who are willing to reach out to others and show them the Peace of Christ. Whether through action or teaching.
III) So if we took this passage of Scripture seriously how could it transform our lives and our church?
A) I said during a Baccalaureate service a few weeks back, everything you will do in life will reflect back on your community whether you are aware of it or not. For the disciples of Jesus Christ, they were about to spread a very powerful hope filled message to all the world…
B) As a congregation it is our mission to send a message into the world that we strive to be like Christ…not just say we are, but really be the living body of Christ.
IV) As we go into the world, remember that Jesus placed an important task and commission upon the disciples and upon us. And here on this Pentecost Sunday we celebrate the beginning of that task. The sharing of the Gospel to all the World, the beginning of the Church. As the old hymn says “It is his new creation by water and the Word”. And to paraphrase Acts 1:7-8 and give it a Nemaha/Varina touch. “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Nemaha/Varina, throughout Sac, Pocahontas, & Buena Vista Counties, in Iowa, and to the ends of the earth.” Amen.