Summary: An exposition of the events of Pentecost. This sermon challenges believers to awaken to the high calling of Jesus to be used as an instrument of God for the salvation of the world while encouraging them that the Spirit of Christ is present to work in and through us to this purpose.
The Real Presence of Christ
A Humble Challenge to Save the World
Part #2 For Ascension and Pentecost 2001
1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.
2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: "Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language?
9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs--we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!"
12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, "What does this mean?"
13 Some, however, made fun of them and said, "They have had too much wine."
14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: "Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15 These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
17 "`In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. 18 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. 19 I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 20 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. 21 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’”“
INTRO. A HUMBLE CHALLENGE TO SAVE THE WORLD
21 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
Last Monday we celebrated Memorial Day as a nation. And, as you know Memorial Day is that day which we in the United States set aside to both remember and recognize the heroism and the sacrifice of all those who have died serving our country in time of war.
This occasion led me to remember some words that I recently read in Tom Brokaw’s book The Greatest Generation, a book written in tribute to those who came of age during the Great Depression and who fought in World War II.
Brokaw writes, "At a time in their lives when their days and nights should have been filled with innocent adventure, love, and the lessons of the workaday world, they were fighting in the most primitive conditions possible across the bloodied landscape of France, Belgium, Italy, Austria, and the coral islands of the Pacific. They answered the call to save the world from the two most powerful and ruthless military machines ever assembled, instruments of conquest in the hands of fascist maniacs. They faced great odds and a late start, but they did not protest. They succeeded on every front. They won the war; they saved the world.
I want to go for a little while with those two ideas. First, the idea of normal life that Brokaw accentuates as, "being filled with innocent adventure, love, and the lessons of the workaday world," and the Second idea, being called to nothing less than to serve, sacrifice, and die in order to "save the world."
Why do I highlight these features of Brokaw’s tribute? Because you and I are the people who are presently living out the normal life and because you and I are the people being called to do nothing less than serve, sacrifice, and die in order to save the world. As such, I have subtitled this message, "A Humble Challenge to Save the World."
WITNESSES: MAKING MARTYRS OF US ALL
Last week we heard the story of the Ascension of Jesus. His last words before the Ascension were these: "You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."