Summary: Pentecost Sunday sermon encouraging our people to allow the Spirit to fill them for holiness and service.
The Spirit Changes Lives
May 23, 2010
NOTE: THE ME/WE/GOD/YOU/WE FORMAT IS FROM ANDY STANLEY'S BOOK, "COMMUNICATING FOR A CHANGE."
Last week we started a two-part series on marriage. And we’ll move on to part 2 of that next week.
Today, however, I want us to visit about the fact that this is a church holiday that I haven’t emphasized before to my knowledge.
This is Pentecost Sunday, which we Christians celebrate as the day the Holy Spirit came as Jesus’ representative on earth until His return.
And I want us to look at what Scripture says can happen in the life of believers who are under the control of God’s Holy Spirit.
I think all of us know people who would claim to be Christians, but don’t seem to have any sort of spark in their spiritual life.
And truth be told, at times that’s probably every one of us, isn’t it?
The Christian life isn’t supposed to be dull and lifeless. The Bible says that God wants all of us to have lives that are filled with significance and excitement in Christ.
So why doesn’t that happen in the lives of so many Christians?
You might be sitting here saying, “Why doesn’t this happen in my own life?”
If that’s you, then I hope that you’ll leave here today encouraged, and maybe even transformed as we look at how the Holy Spirit can transform the lives of ordinary people like you and me.
God: Acts 2 (pp. 771-772)
They had recently spent 40 days with the risen Jesus – but even with that, they still didn’t quite get the program.
They were still questioning Jesus about the end times and Jesus says to let the Father worry about things, because He had a job for them that they would need some supernatural help with.
Verse 1:8 –
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
The day the Spirit came on the disciples was Pentecost.
Pentecost was a Jewish holiday, one of the big three festivals that in which the Jews were required to come to Jerusalem to offer some of their harvests to the Lord.
And it’s during this particular festival that the Spirit makes a dramatic entrance that would change not only those who were there to experience it, but also make it possible for the good news of Jesus to be taken around the world.
We’re not going to read every verse of this chapter, but we’re going to hit some highlights as we look at how the Spirit worked to transform the lives of the early disciples, keeping in mind that the Spirit still does this in the lives of Jesus’ disciples.
Three lessons from the working of the Spirit at Pentecost:
o If you want to be transformed into a capable witness for Christ, you need the Spirit.
Verses 1-8 –
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?
This is the initial fulfillment of 1:8, when Jesus said that the Spirit would give them power to witness for Him.
Two things here:
This is the first mention in the New Testament regarding the gift of tongues, or the gift of languages.
Some feel that this is the same kind of thing that the apostle Paul talks about in 1 Corinthians, but it’s not.
In 1 Corinthians, the issue was that no one could understand what was being said.
In this case, everyone present could understand at least one of the people speaking, because the speakers were speaking in the languages present there in Jerusalem from all over the place.
The gospel was given in an understandable way to everyone who could hear it.
What’s important for you and me here is that often some people are afraid that they won’t say the right thing to someone they’re trying to tell about Jesus.