Summary: A sermon for Pentecost, this message seeks to lift out the expository truths of Acts 2.1-21 and apply them for contemporary life.
Introduction to the Scripture
I leave our series on Mark this week for a message on Pentecost and next week for a message on FatherÕs Day. FatherÕs Day is a holiday we know about, but many of us may have no idea what Pentecost is all about much less that it could be a holiday! Last week, one of our long time members stopped me in the foyer and said; "Next week is Pentecost. Why do the Episcopalians have all of the fun? Why canÕt we remember the major days in the life of the Church or in the life of our Lord? Why donÕt you preach a sermon on Pentecost?" I think she is right on and I told her that her wish is my command. I say that with great trepidation, because I know there could be 2,000 more special requests coming in! In this case, the Lord had moved me to preach this message and for her to inquire. The truth is, of course, that Pentecost doesnÕt belong to any one group of Christians. It belongs to the whole Church, indeed, to the whole world. Pentecost, the Greek word meaning fifty, was the Jewish Feast of Weeks (Shavuot), and in the Old Testament was originally an agricultural festival celebrating and giving thanks for the "first fruits" of the early spring harvest (Lev. 23, Exod. 23, 34). But God chose that day, a Sunday, fifty days after the resurrection, to show the first fruits of the Holy Spirit in what would be a worldwide movement to bring salvation to the families of the earth.
LetÕs read Acts 2.1-21.
Pentecost is not only pivotal to the book of Acts, but goes beyond the twenty-eight chapters of Acts. Pentecost has a powerful meaning for your life today. For that reason, I am calling this message, The Twenty-ninth Chapter of Acts!
Introduction to the Sermon
I read somewhere about a lady who brought her watch in to be repaired. She told the watch repairman that the problem seemed to be that the watch just wouldnÕt run. She wound it and wound it up each day but it would not run. The man looked at the watch and looked at the lady and told her: "Lady, your problem is that this watch doesnÕt run by winding it. It must have a battery. All of the work youÕve been doing wonÕt make that watch run. All it needs is internal power."
I wonder if there is someone here today who has been looking at Christianity like that lady? I wonder if you have been winding and winding, working and working, and see no movement in your life?
The text we read today confirms what we read throughout all of the Word of God: Christianity is not a wind-up philosophy, it is a relationship with a living Lord Jesus Christ requiring internal power.
Pentecost is the remembrance of how the powerr of Jesus came into the Church to fulfill the mission of Jesus. It was a divine fulfillment of ancient prophecy, as Peter shows us. As the baptism of Jesus inaugurated the high priestly ministry of our Lord, where His life and death would bring salvation, Pentecost was the inauguration of a worldwide movement to bring the benefits of Christ to the world. And what happened then cannot be repeated, but its effect will never end until Jesus comes again.
LetÕs look at the meaning of Pentecost for our lives today.
1. Pentecost comes to a people in waiting (v. 1)
In verse one, the apostles and the 120 disciples are gathered together waiting, as Jesus had instructed them to do. What are they waiting for? In Acts 1.4, Jesus ordered the disciples not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father. And in verse 5 Jesus says that promise is related to JohnÕs prophecy when John the Baptist said: "I baptize with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit. In Luke, John the Baptize is recorded by the same author of Acts to have said that Jesus would baptize not only with the Holy Spirit but with fire (Luke 3.16). At the Ascension of Christ, in Acts 1.6-11, the disciples wanted to know if the kingdom would be restored to Israel at that time. But Jesus told them that it was not for them to know about what God would ultimately do. Then Jesus said that they would receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Jude and Samaria and to the end of the earth." We could also go back to John 20, when Jesus appears to the disciples on the first Easter Sunday and He went into their locked down room and stood among them. There, John the eyewitness says that the One who was dead and was now alive went to the disciples and breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit."