Summary: Pentecost Sermon
John 15:26,27 "When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.
We Believe, Therefore We Speak
What in the world happened to those disciples? Only 50 days ago they were huddled behind locked doors, trembling and afraid for their lives. Today, on the day of Pentecost, they were confronting the crowds in public, boldly proclaiming their faith. Only 10 days earlier they stood with Jesus on the mount of ascension, wondering if he was still going to overthrow the Roman government, then left standing there dazed and confused looking up into the clouds wondering where Jesus had gone. Now, they understood perfectly that Jesus’ kingdom was never of this world, and they were on fire to tell the world about his heavenly kingdom. What happened?
What happened, is that the Holy Spirit came upon them in power, just as Jesus had promised. The Counselor, that Jesus had promised to send seven weeks before, before he died and rose again, when he had that last special conversation Jesus had with his disciples in the upper room before he was betrayed and died. Jesus told the twelve, “When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me.” It was the Holy Spirit, poured out in power on Pentecost, who made the disciples bold to speak that day. They believed, therefore they spoke.
I. The Holy Spirit gives us faith and empowers us to speak
Let’s think about that truth for a moment: It’s the Holy Spirit who gives us faith and empowers us to speak. If that’s the case, where was the Holy Spirit before Pentecost? Was there no Holy Spirit in the hearts of believers before Pentecost? And if there was, then what was so special about Pentecost? Of course, the Holy Spirit has always been working in the world. The second verse of the Bible, in the book of Genesis shows the Holy Spirit hovering over the waters, already active in creating and preserving the world. King David prayed in Psalm 51, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me,” recognizing that it’s the Holy Spirit who gives us a relationship with God. Everyone who believed in Jesus while he walked the earth, the blind man, who called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Thomas who exclaimed, “My Lord and my God!” All these people believed in Jesus Christ, because the Holy Spirit had worked faith in their hearts. Scripture says, “No one can say Jesus is Lord, except by the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:3).
So then, if the Holy Spirit was already working in the hearts of believers, why did Jesus promise to send the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, and what was so special about Pentecost? Simply this, my friends: on the day of Pentecost God poured out his Holy Spirit upon the people in a display of power and special gifts, in a way that he had never done before in the history of the world. Yes, the disciples believed before Pentecost, and yes, their faith was a gift from the Holy Spirit, but their faith was young. It was immature. It was not complete. Now, on the day of Pentecost, and in the days of the early Christian church, God confirmed their faith with miraculous signs and powerful miracles. But the Holy Spirit didn’t just strengthen and confirm their faith just for the sake of it. He empowered them to speak and to tell, to testify about Jesus Christ.
Can we say the same thing? We believe, and therefore we speak? Where did your faith come from? It came from the Holy Spirit! It was a gift of God’s life-giving Spirit that brought you and me out of death and darkness and gave us life and light. The Spirit testified to your heart—not through feelings or dreams or visions or instincts—but through the living and powerful word of God. Right here in the Bible is the testimony of God’s Spirit. Right here he speaks to you. He brought you to faith through the word. He has fed your faith through his word. He confirms your faith through his word. But God doesn’t just bring you and me to faith so that we can sit on our hands and say, “Thank you, Lord, I’m saved! Now I’m good to go. Beam me up!” The Lord Jesus Christ has work for you and me to do, and it is for that sole purpose that we are allowed to remain one more day on this earth. After we come to faith, we are privileged to speak about our faith and share our faith. We Believe, Therefore We Speak. The Holy Spirit empowers us to do both. The same Peter who preached on Pentecost wrote to believers everywhere: “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9). You know the words that Jesus left with his disciples: Go and make disciples! (Matthew 28:19). In our text Jesus says, “And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.”