Summary: This sermon describes the institution, the power, and the importance of the Holy Spirit.
Scripture Reading: Acts 2:1-21
Message: “The Holy Spirit – Pentecost”
Text: Jesus spoke these words to the disciples: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:4-5).
When Jesus began his ministry, he chose twelve men he could mold and teach to carry on his work. Five of these men were fishermen, one a tax collector and the other six had unknown occupations.
These men were ordinary people just like us. They had the same personal characteristics we have. Simon Peter, a fisherman, didn’t think before he spoke. He was impulsive, concerned about self and denied knowing Jesus three times. Brothers, James and John, were both fishermen as well. Both of these men were interested in getting things done, but both were very judging individuals. Andrew was also a fisherman, but he accepted what John the Baptist told about Jesus. Andrew accepted Jesus and was very anxious about bringing others to him.
Philip was also a fisherman, but his attitude was a questioning attitude. He questioned things like feeding 5000 thousand people with little food. Bartholomew (Nathanael) rejected Jesus at first because Jesus was from Nazareth and he couldn’t believe anything good could come out of Nazareth. Matthew was a tax collector and people did not like tax collectors because they took advantage of people. Thomas was a doubter. We do not know much about James (son of Alphaeus) and Thaddaeus (Judas son of James). Simon the Zealot was a real patriot. Judas Iscariot was very greedy and betrayed Jesus. All of the disciples except Judas Iscariot received the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
The disciples had the same attributes and personal characteristics that we have. These disciples were very special to Jesus. They were with him daily. The disciples heard him preach and teach. They saw him perform many miracles. There is no question they believed him to be the Messiah.
After the crucifixion and the resurrection, Jesus appeared to a number of people. Scripture says, “Jesus appeared first to Mary Magdalene” (Mark 16:9). Jesus then appeared to the two travelers on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-15). Jesus appeared to the disciples who were gathered together behind closed doors (John 20:19:20). Thomas was not present at this time. Next, Jesus appeared to the disciples including Thomas (John 20:26-28). The next appearance occurred while the disciples were fishing all night and had caught nothing. Jesus said to them, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some” (John 21:6). At the last meeting and meal with the disciples, Jesus said to them, “this is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms” (Luke 24:44).
Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them this: “The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:45-49).
1. What was this power from on high?
2. What was the purpose of the power?
3. What was the result of this power?
1. What was the power from on high?
The power from on high is the power of the Holy Spirit. We have to understand that God is all-powerful, knows everything and is present everywhere. This leads us to the Trinity, which is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. When Jesus was here on earth, the power of the kingdom of God was here. When Jesus ascended to heaven, he left with us a comforter, and that comforter is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit lives in the heart of each person who has accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. The Holy Spirit is God’s presence everywhere. If Jesus had not ascended to heaven, we would not have the Holy Spirit. While Jesus was here on earth, he could be in only one place at a time. However, with his ascension, Jesus was able to be everywhere at the same time because he left with us the Holy Spirit.
Our Scripture lesson says the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost. Pentecost is also called Feast of Weeks. Deuteronomy 16:16 states this: “Three times a year all your men must appear before the LORD your God at the place he will choose: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks and the Feast of Tabernacles.” These feasts were feasts of thanksgiving. Each male was to participate and give what he could in proportion to what God had given him.