Summary: Sermon for Pentecost, 2011
Acts 2: 1 – 21 / What Does This Mean?
Intro: Children love to celebrate their birthday with a party, cake, ice cream and most importantly, presents. But as we get older, we are less prone to celebrate our birthdays. I don’t like to put candles on my birthday cake because the sheer number, the heat and the smoke given off when they are blown out might set off the smoke detector. Many churches celebrate Pentecost as the church’s birthday. Some have red balloons in worship and may even have a “birthday cake” decorated with red flames.
I. Jesus had instructed the disciples to wait to be “baptized with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:5) and to be empowered by the Holy Spirit to be “my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1: 8)
A. The setting for today’s scripture is Jerusalem at the time of the Jewish “Feast of Weeks” or SHAVUOT. The Jewish holiday is sort of like Thanksgiving w/o football. It is traditionally celebrated 50 days after Passover.
B. Our name for this Sunday in the church year is derived from the Greek word PENTECOSTOS meaning 50. For the Jews, SHAVUOT celebrated the giving of the law to Moses on Mt. Sinai.
C. The reason some call this the birthday of the church is because we believe God poured out the Holy Spirit to empower the church to advance Christ’s mission to the very ends of the earth.
II. Exactly what does this mean for us today? WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
A. Rather than celebrating Pentecost as the birthday of the church, I would rather you think about it as a great GRADUATION PARTY.
B. VS. 7 – 8 “Amazed and astonished, they asked, ‘Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? The Holy Spirit comes enabling the disciples to preach God’s Word and to be understood even in languages they do not know.
C. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? It means that graduation day has finally come. Now the followers of Jesus are empowered to fulfill His mission to be witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1: 8)
III. The promise of the Spirit is finally fulfilled, and the disciples receive their authentic voices, with which they will enter an unwelcoming world preaching and living the love of Jesus.
A. I remember when I graduated from high school, I woke up the next morning and I really didn’t feel any smarter or any different. But, I knew that my life was not over; it was just beginning.
B. Once graduation day has come and gone, it is time to move on into the future. The work isn’t over; it’s just beginning.
C. The challenge is to find the Spirit within us and to locate, claim, and utilize authentic voices, gifts, and skills with which to love and serve.
Conclu: The power of the Holy Spirit, given to the Church at Pentecost is more than simply an emotional form of worship. It is the power given to us to fulfill the call of Christ Jesus. “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.” . . . even in Georgetown, KY.
I ask you this week to carry the Spirit with you to share a word of kindness in a harsh world; to speak a word of healing in a hurting world; to utter a word of hope in a despairing world; and share a word of caring in a cynical world. You may be amazed at what happens when you let the Holy Spirit sparkle and fizz in your life.