Summary: The church that is filled with the Holy Spirit is never dull!!!!
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?"
This never, ever happens at Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church, but in my last pastorate I had a member named Norm.
Norm could never stay awake for an entire worship service.
He would sit close to the front and I always had a direct line of sight view of Norm.
His head would slooowly tip back.
His jaw would fall open.
And he would stay that way until the end of the service.
One day, Norm brought his 5 year old granddaughter to church, and apparently, she had never seen anyone fall asleep in church.
So she stood up on the pew and with her face right in Norm’s face, she yelled out, “Granddaddy. Are you asleep, or are you dead?”
In this morning’s New Testament lesson, we read about a church service in which it would have been very difficult to have fallen asleep.
It was on the Day of Pentecost, the birthday of the church. Fifty days after the resurrection of Jesus and ten days after His ascension to heaven, the Holy Spirit arrived in a powerful and dramatic way.
It was an exciting occasion!
No body could sleep through something like that!
I believe church ought always to have an element of excitement!
The church was exciting when it was given birth on Pentecost Sunday.
The church remained exciting through its early history as seen in the Book of Acts.
The church should always be an exciting place where the Holy Spirit is alive and working.
Now what does that mean?
Does being in a church where the Holy Spirit is alive and well mean that we are an out of control church? Not at all.
To be a church that is filled with the Spirit means we are controlled by the Spirit.
Now, at the moment of Holy Spirit descends upon the church, there is a rushing mighty wind. Then there is the appearance of tongues of fire sitting on top of everyone’s heads. And add to that everyone speaks a different language and understands what is being said.
You can’t sleep through something like that!
Obviously, there are lots of interesting things here.
But as confusing as it may appear on the service, there is a sense of order here.
From the outside, it appears that the Christians are drunk. But Simon Peter had to tell some of the onlookers that the church members weren’t drunk! (v. 15) They were "under the influence" all right, but it was the influence of the Holy Spirit!
As the scripture commands us in Ephesians 5:18 - "Be not drunk with wine...but be filled with the Spirit."
When believers get filled with the Spirit things will get exciting!
Out of control? Never! Exciting? Yes, definitely!
Throughout the ages, one of the favorite Bible verses for Presbyterian theologians and preachers comes from I Corinthians 14:40 - "Let all things be done decently and in order.”
And earlier in that New Testament book, Paul wrote, “For God is not the author of confusion." (1 Corinthians 14:33)
We also learn from our New Testament Lesson that being a church filled with the Holy Spirit means that the preaching of the Word of God must be central.
In the Second Chapter of Acts, after the Holy Spirit descends upon the church, Peter begins to preach. As he does so, Peter is constantly quoting Old Testament scriptures in his sermon. It so impacted the hearers that they were asking "what shall we do?" (verse 37)
The Word of God remains the message of the Church.