Summary: A sermon for Pentecost.
“Living in the Last Days”
A friend went to New York City for a meeting that lasted several days.
One afternoon he decided to go over to Central Park to see what was happening.
It was a beautiful day, the tulips were blooming in plentiful supply and he was thankful to be able to take a break from being inside.
The air seemed sweet, even in Central Park.
He sat on a bench to take in the passing parade.
He told me, during this time of enjoying the scenery, he never once heard any English spoken.
He heard French and Spanish, and German and Russian and Korean and other oriental tongues, but not a word of English.
He was surprised.
Many of our cities today have people coming to them from all over the world to start a new life….
…to make a better life, an American life.
They too want part of the “American Dream.”
The day of Pentecost was a day in which all kinds of foreign persons had come to Jerusalem to celebrate an important Hebrew Festival.
It could have been just like what my friend witnessed in Central Park—a day full of anonymous folks reaching for a common goal. (from Rev. John LeGault)
We have just read about it in Acts Chapter 2.
These people were from all over the Mediterranean area. They came to take part in a celebration.
The disciples (a larger group than the eleven) were gathered in the upper room, and something happened.
There were what seemed to be tongues of fire and a sound like a rushing wind.
The Holy Spirit had come, and wind and fire were metaphors that only weakly described the reality of what they experienced.
The best they could say was that “it was something like that.”
Then, under the power of the Holy Spirit, they began to speak in “other tongues”.
The native tongue of Jesus’ disciples was Aramaic.
At Pentecost they were able to speak in the languages of the various visitors in Jerusalem.
What was happening?
Peter was there and he said that this was what had been prophesied would happen in the Last Days.
Believers would receive the Holy Spirit and have dreams and visions, and it wouldn’t be limited to only men…
…it would include women, and sons and daughters and old men and slaves.
The scene we might think we see in our minds is frightening, but it was not meant to be.
God was doing something.
God was uniting all the races…
…He was pulling everyone together into one family of God.
Some of the people who were there remained untouched by what was going on. They said the disciples were drunk and they sneered.
There are always those who won’t see, aren’t there?
Who were they? Were they fellow Hebrews who just couldn’t buy this strange phenomenon?
For them God was in the law and the prophets, not in the wind and in the tongues of fire.
God was in the Temple, not at a Pentecost Harvest Festival.
God was where they always thought God would be and nowhere else.
Do we think like that sometimes?
Do we keep God locked up or assigned to those places where we’ve always known Him to be, our church, our prayers, our hymns, our narrow thinking and so forth?
Well we certainly can’t put God in a box…
…God is much too big for that!
We are living in what God calls the ‘last days’. Now, granted, these last days have been going on for over 2,000 years…and may very well last another 2,000 years…
…but, in the meantime, what are we to do?
Before leaving this earth, Jesus comforted His disciples.
He told them that He would not leave them like they were orphans, but would send the Holy Spirit to be with them forever.
He told them that this Holy Spirit would live inside of them, teach them all things, and remind them of everything Jesus had said to them.
He also told them that the Holy Spirit would give them boldness and power, and that through the power of the Holy Spirit, they would be witnesses for Jesus to all the world.
He also prayed to the Father that all of us, all who will believe in Christ through the message of the disciples, “that all of [us] may be one” just as the Father is in Jesus and Jesus is in the Father “May they also be in us so that the world may believe…”
I read a recent article which stated that a majority of the people involved in the world religions are becoming more and more polarized…including Christians.
People are looking for black and white answers in a rainbow world.
We see the fruits of such beliefs in what happened on September 11, in what is still happening today, and in the church’s inability to agree on issues which are fractionalizing us more and more.