Summary: A sermon for Pentecost Sunday
“This Changes Everything!”
A sermon for 5/23/21
Pastor John Bright
Acts 2 “1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
Do you know a perfectionist? If so, don’t tell them these jokes!
What is the definition of a perfectionist? Someone who wants to go from point A to point A+
I'm a procrastinator and a perfectionist. Someday I'm going to be perfect.
What do you call a rock band with a perfectionist in it? OCDC
Actually, perfectionism is no laughing matter – it is a symptom of what psychologists call “fear of losing control.” I found some info about this in an article in Psychology Today – “One of the most prevalent fears people have is that of losing control. This is the fear that if you don't manage to control the outcome of future events, something terrible will happen. The crux of the problem is the demand for certainty in a world that is always tentative and uncertain. It is precisely this unrealistic demand that creates the anxiety.
So, people with losing-control anxiety are perfectionists.”
We all want to have some control over our lives, but Christianity is all about letting God have control. That’s what happened on the Day of Pentecost.
In Acts 2, we find the Disciples of Jesus celebrating the Jewish harvest festival that falls 50 days after the Passover. Jesus had been with His Disciples for 40 days and then ascended to the right hand of the Father. In the Church we mark 10 days between the Ascension of Jesus and Pentecost Sunday. According to Andrew Murray, in the late 1800s those ten days were a time of extraordinary prayer and fasting. (“Full Blessing of Pentecost” 1908)
I don’t believe that prayers for you or me to be more in control have much use in the Economy of God’s Kingdom. Now, on the other hand, prayers for God to be in control – of me, of the Church, of all things around me – those are prayers God can use to change everything! Everything changed for the Disciples on Pentecost!
Before I talk about what happened that day – I want to tell you I have gotten something wrong for years. You see, I have talked about Pentecost as the “Birthday of the Church.” I was wrong! If the church is Believers who are involved in service for Jesus Christ, we see that in the New Testament. In Luke 9 the 12 Apostles are sent out – “1 Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases. 2 He sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” He is sending them out to do exactly what He was doing – sounds like Church to me. In the next chapter, Jesus sends out 70 more folks – Luke 10 “2 Then He said to them, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. 3 Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs among wolves.” (not the best pep talk in the world😊)
(The NIV Application Commentary – Acts)
The Spirit Comes to Stay
God changes the operation of His Spirit at Pentecost. In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit comes to those who need power – like the Judges, the Kings, and the Prophets. Back then, the empowerment of the Holy Spirit came to certain people – for a certain work – for a certain time. We see the same working of the Holy Spirit with Jesus sending out 12 or 70. What changes on Pentecost is that the Spirit comes to stay. He is available to all Believers – for all work - for all time.
I believe that the Disciples had already received what we receive when we accept the Free Gift of Salvation – the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. John 20:22 “And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” Their sins were forgiven and they would go to heaven when they died. So why not stop right there? That’s what happens to the vast majority of Believers. They never experience more and more and more of the Holy Spirit. There is so much more for us.