Summary: Pentecost and Christian Education have something in common - God the Holy Spirit is the teacher.
Spend Time with the Teacher you Cannot See
Acts 2:1-21 Today is Christian Education Sunday. Today is also Pentecost Sunday. Doesn’t that seem like an odd combination? Do Pentecost and Christian Education have anything in common?
On Pentecost Sunday we remember what happened many years ago, fifty days after Easter, as related in Acts chapter 2. We’ll talk more about the details later, but on that day God the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples. They saw what looked like tongues of fire sitting on their heads, representing the Holy Spirit. They heard the sound of a violent, once again representing the Holy Spirit. The Bible says that they were filled with the Holy Spirit, and they were able to speak in foreign languages that they had never studied before. People from all over the world heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit filled the Apostle Peter with so much courage and so much understanding that he was able to stand up before a crowd and preach a sermon about Jesus Christ to many people. Three thousand people believed and were baptized on that one day. Wow – what an exciting day! Today we celebrate that day – Pentecost.
But what does that have in common with Christian Education? Christian Education is when a group of people spend time in the Word of God. A Sunday like today especially highlights the blessings of organized church programs that help people spend time in the Word of God. Christian Education is Sunday School. Confirmation classes. Vacation Bible School. Bible classes on Sunday morning. Bible classes during the week. Christian Education is Lutheran elementary school education. An area Lutheran High School, like Lakeside, where I currently serve. These are all places where the Word of God is present, where people can gather together and study and think and grow in their faith.
But what does that have to do with Pentecost? Have you figured that out yet? Your hint is the title, or theme of this sermon – “Spend Time with the Teacher you Cannot See.” Who was the teacher that no one could see on Pentecost in Acts chapter 2? It wasn’t Peter. It wasn’t the Apostles – people could see them. Who was it that made the apostles so smart, so courageous, so strong? And who is the teacher you still cannot see who causes all the blessings of Christian education? It’s not the pastors or the Sunday School teachers or the VBS leaders. Who is it, working behind the scenes, in a Lutheran elementary school, at Lakeside Lutheran High School? Who is the teacher that no one can see?
It’s God the Holy Spirit. He was the main character in the story of Pentecost. And he is still the main character in the story of Christian education today. The Holy Spirit is what Pentecost and Christian Education have in common. Today we’re going to think about what happened on Pentecost – the blessings that God the Holy Spirit brought on that day. And we’re going to compare them to the blessings that God the Holy Spirit still brings today, and every time the Word is used in a Christian’s life. May God bless us today, as we spend time with the Teacher that we cannot see.
Verse one of Acts chapter 2 tells us that the disciples were all together in one place. What were they doing together? Other parts of the Bible before and after this account tell us that the disciples were spending time together praying, focusing on God’s Word, discussing God’s Word, and applying it to their lives. And as they did that, God the Holy Spirit blessed them. He came to them in a very amazing way. He took away their fear, their confusion, and turned them into strong, courageous, knowledgeable Christians who knew the Word of God, and were able to apply it to their lives and the lives of others. They were able to share their beliefs. And as they did, people noticed…
People from all over the world were there, from every nation under heaven, because of the festival of Pentecost. It was a United Nations situation – the Olympics – people from every nationality were in Jerusalem – and they noticed the Christians. The Holy Spirit enabled the disciples of Jesus to speak in foreign languages, and people heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For the first time in their lives, people were hearing that the Messiah had come, that their sins had been forgiven, that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord Jesus would be saved. No one could see him, but God the Holy Spirit was very busy on that day, blessing the disciples and everyone who heard them.
The same is true in Christian education. Whether it’s a Bible class for adults, a Sunday School or VBS, the teacher no one can see is there, blessing everyone involved. Our Lutheran grade schools and Lutheran high schools are filled with blessing after blessing, as God the Holy Spirit does the same thing he did on Pentecost. The students hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They hear that their sins are forgiven, as they hear these things the Holy Spirit takes away their fear, their confusion, and turns everyone who is there into strong, courageous, and knowledgeable Christians. If you peek your head into a classroom at Lakeside or into a church Bible class or VBS class here at church, you might not see tongues of fire or hear the sound of rushing wind, but you can be confident that God the Holy Spirit is present, filling everyone with faith and love and hope.