Summary: This is a sermon for Pentecost which deals with if God calls us to do a task, God will equip us with the power of the Holy Spirit To do it.
N.U.T.S. Power To Change
Our Church’s theme this year is Never Underestimate The Spirit. We are committed to being NUTS for Christ. We owe our desire to be called NUTS to Leonard Sweets who emphasized, Jesus never called us to be normal, he called us to be NUTS.
If we’re not willing to be a little crazy for Jesus, we’re wasting our time trying to grow in the Lord. So far this year we have been NUTS in our Passion, NUTS with the Cross, and NUTS with our Stewardship. Today we are to be NUTS with the Spirit.
Have you ever thought you were prepared for something and was ready to take it on only to discover you were not as prepared as you had hoped you would be? It may have been a test at school, or a driving test for your license, or an exam for a profession, or a business you wanted to start or even a relationship you wanted to last forever.
You gave it all that you had, and still came up short. Sometimes it leaves you with a fear of failure. Sometimes you wonder if you’re going to make it. Sometimes you think for a moment about quitting and going in a different direction. The last thing you need is for someone to come along and say, “Oh forget about that, I have something much more difficult for you to do.”
That’s kind of where the disciples were in our reading this morning. They had previously told Jesus, “Lord, we will be your side no matter what. We have your back and we are even ready to die if necessary to stand by Your side.” They truly believed they were ready to be actual nuts for Christ.
But then when Jesus was about to be arrested, and he would not allow them to defend themselves, they all left Jesus and ran for their lives. When Jesus was placed in a tomb, they were all huddled together behind locked closed doors. They knew they had blown it. They were all ready to turn in their papers as the disciples of Christ. They knew if Jesus could see them now, he would have been so ashamed of them. They did not seem that different from the very people Jesus had called some 3 years earlier.
But then came the resurrection of Jesus Christ. While they were in the locked room debating if anybody had actually seen Jesus alive, Jesus appeared right in the room with them. He showed them His hands, His side, and His scars. He was trying to convince them to Never Underestimate The Spirit’s Power to change a situation. It was the Holy Spirit that raised Jesus Christ from the Dead.
Jesus appeared several times for 40 days after His resurrection, teaching the disciples about the Kingdom of God. When it was time for Jesus to finally leave them once and for all, He told them, “You are to wait in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit to come upon you.”
When the disciples heard that the same spirit that raised Christ from the dead was going to come upon them, they thought Jesus was about to muster in an army and just take over the world. They were thinking, “yes, this means it is about time for us to be in control.” They got bold enough to ask Jesus, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom of Israel. Are you about to become the King in charge of everything.”
The disciples had no problem being NUTS with the power to change. With Jesus there by their side, they knew they could get the job done. But Jesus takes them in a different direction. He says, “I’m not going to tell you when I will set up my kingdom, and it is not for you to know when it will take place. However I do have an assignment you must carry out. When the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you receive power, you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.”
Now when you get a major assignment, the first thing you want to do is raise your hand and ask some questions. Jesus stood up from eating with them as though He might say something else. But to their surprise, he stood up and kept on going up and up and up toward the sky.
Then this cloud surrounds Jesus and He’s gone. It may have been the same cloud that descended on Mt. Sinai when God’s presence was with Moses. The disciples all jump up and look to see if he’s coming back or if he might fall down.