Summary: Pentecost requires us to make a fundamental decision about two things: what is reality or our worldview and how am I going to live in the light of Pentecost?
Pentecost is one of the greatest stories in all of Scripture. It’s the stuff of a Hollywood thriller with the violent rushing winds, divided tongues of fire, the superhero abilities of spontaneously hearing and speaking in foreign languages; fire and smoky mist; young men having visions; old men having dreams; the sun turning to darkness and the moon to blood. The disciples are transformed from men hiding in fear of their lives to throwing caution into the wind and walking out into the streets of Jerusalem to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ. Imagine with me today, what it would be like if Pentecost would happen all over again today…here, right now? The problem with Pentecost is that it doesn’t fit into our rational, realistic adult outlook on things. And it certainly doesn’t fit into our experience of God. We can get so caught up on the special effects of Pentecost that we miss the real point of Pentecost entirely. Pentecost requires us to make a fundamental decision about two things: what is reality or our worldview and how am I going to live in the light of Pentecost?
To answer that question, let’s look at the movie, “The Matrix.” In it, Neo, the main character played by Keanu Reeves, is busy living the life of a well-adjusted realist in the real world. But he can’t get away from one nagging thought: that something isn’t right, that there is more to the world than what he sees and hears all around him each and every day. Neo who is brought by a woman named Trinity to meet Morpheus who begins to explain it all.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDadfh0ZdBM start at 38 second in…
Morpheus offers Neo the chance of a lifetime: to discover the truth about what’s real. What happens to Neo is what happens to us. We’re busy living the life of well-adjusted realists caught up in our over committed lives in a materialistic world, but deep down we have this nagging sense that there is more to this world and more to life than what we see and hear around us each day. Philip Yancey in his book, “Rumors of Another World, writes of this when he says we live in a world and a culture which has reduced the world only to matter, that is, the physical. And yet, all around us there are rumors or hints of another world beyond the materialistic world around us. “Rumors of another world sneak in even among those who restrict their view to the world of matter. Environmentalists still grope for some transcendent authority or Higher Power to sanction our reverence for creation. They have borrowed the metaphor “sacred” and draw upon the Biblical concept of stewardship….Scientists who dare not mention God or a Designer speak instead of an anthropic principle evident in creation….Rumors of another world seep into art as well as artists feel stirrings…even they cannot detect its source. And then there are the longings within us,” like Neo, that there is something more. Pentecost gives a glimmer and insight into a world beyond matter and the material.
There is a physical and spiritual world. Like Neo, we’re faced with a choice, here and now. Having heard the story of Pentecost this morning, we too have an opportunity to choose. We can simply walk out this morning the way we walked in, as well-adjusted realists living in a material world confined to matter and keep living our limited lives as we have been. In the words of Morpheus, we will wake up in the morning and believe whatever it is we want to believe or more accurately, whatever the world wants us to believe. Or you can choose to believe there is more, a spirit world all around us in which you can participate and live in and by and through the Spirit. Yes, It would be a whole lot easier if tongues of fire to rip through the ceiling and the Spirit rushed in here this morning, settling it once and for all. Then we would know that there is more to reality. But that’s not the way it happens. You have to take a leap of faith.
When you do, you not only begin to see the world as it really is and you learn that you are really not free, but slaves. We think we are free and in control of our lives, when in reality we too are slaves…slaves to a picture of reality that lacks one decisive thing, the key, the clue that unlocks it all, that makes sense out of it all: we are slaves to sin and in need of a Savior. We live in a world that is constantly streaming reality into our consciousness, the internet and cable TV, and the reality that they present to us has one great aim, to keep us afraid, to keep us living in fear, and so we do. We live lives of well-adjusted, quiet suburban fear. We safeguard ourselves against risk. We buy insurance and extended warranties. We hoard our resources. We add security systems to our homes. We live in gated communities. And above all, we keep our eye on people because it’s the people we are worried about, right? Deep down we believe we have to look after ourselves because no one else is going to do it for us. We must secure our own future. We seek to be in control. We want to live bold lives, courageous lives and take risks, but in the end the risk becomes too great and fear takes over as we settle for safe and secure lives.