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Tag Archives: Pentecost

The Promise of the Holy Spirit

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.3Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

14For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him. 18I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. 19For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; 20for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; 23and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? 25But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. 26Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. 27And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. 29For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family. 30And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified. 31What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? 33Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. 35Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Acts 2:1-4; Romans 8:14-39, NRSV)

We have been given a spirit of adoption. We once were left to our own, struggling to keep our head above water, but now we have been adopted and pulled up. We do not need to be slaves of sin anymore, for now, we are children of God.

In hope, we have been saved by God and called heirs of his kingdom. We didn’t do anything to earn the inheritance, but it was freely given to us.

So we hope in the promise, know that God is good to the promise, and we will be in the family.

We were promised the Spirit and God did not disappoint in sending us the advocate and our helper, and we can rest assured that the hope of our inheritance is true and will be with God in the kingdom as co-heirs with Christ.

 

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Pentecost

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem.And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. 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? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.” But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: ‘In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist. The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day. Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ (Acts 2:1-21, NRSV)

Everyone gathered in Jerusalem that day heard the disciples telling the good news of Jesus Christ each in their own language. How did this happen, and why were they in Jerusalem in the first place?

Well Pentecost is actually a Jewish Festival that occurs 49 days after the Passover, so many devote Jews would have been gathered in Jerusalem for the Festival and possibly many Greeks were there because of the Festival as well. They were celebrating the Weeks or the Harvest. So they were gathered there. And the disciples saw this as an excellent time to share the good news. And as the Spirit gave them utterance, everyone heard them plainly.

So how strange is this? So strange that some of those gathered for this utterance said the disciples were drunk! But how does that actually explain what God did here?

The prophecy of Joel says that all men and women regardless of class, position or anything we use to divide will receive the Spirit when God pours it out. And all will call on the name of the Lord and be saved!

So take heart that the Spirit has been given and hold tight to the promises of God.

 

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Rushing Wind

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. 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? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.” But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: ‘In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist. The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day. Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ (Acts 2:1-21, NRSV)

There were devout Jews from all over gathered together for the festival of Pentecost. Not as we know it but the Jewish festival.

And when the rushing wind came through, the violent rushing wind, they started speaking and everyone heard their own language!

What a reason to just about lose it! I mean think about it for a moment. If you were in a room with people who only spoke, French, and German and Italian, and Spanish, and all of a sudden you said something and everyone understood you, would you find comfort in this?

This is what the Spirit does, and yet we refer to the Holy Spirit as comforter. This rushing wind is more like an agitator here then a comforter!

The spirit moved and moved the disciples out to tell the story! That is what the Spirit is, a motivator!

A comforter, an agitator, an advocate, a pusher, a motivator. The Spirit helps us in all circumstances, to comfort our fears, and to push us to the lengths God knows we can go.

The spirit is the reason we believe, as Luther said, “I believe that I cannot come to my Lord Jesus Christ by my own intelligence or power. But the Holy Spirit called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with her gifts, made me holy and kept me in the true faith, just as she calls, gathers together, enlightens and makes holy the whole Church on earth and keeps it with Jesus in the one, true faith. In this Church, she generously forgives each day every sin committed by me and by every believer. On the last day, she will raise me and all the dead from the grave. She will give eternal life to me and to all who believe in Christ. Yes, this is true!”

 

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tongues of fire

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. 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? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.” But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: ‘In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist. The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day. Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ (Acts 2:1-21, NRSV)

As I read this text and thought about the tongues of fire on the heads of all those who received the Holy Spirit I was brought back to the above scene from Finding Nemo.

The ring of fire was an initiation rite for Nemo to go through in order to be a part of the group.

Tongues of fire are not something we need to fear as something we must endure or go through. They are a blessing to the understanding we have been accepted by God and given the power through the Holy Spirit. We have been filled with power from on High and are able to do all the things He leads us to.

The disciples were made able to witness to everyone around them through the actions they normally took. The gifts they had were empowered by the Spirit and they told everyone the story and all heard it plan as day.

So go and do not fear, for the Lord, our God, is with you!

 

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Set this place on fire!

“I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and what stress I am under until it is completed! Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division! From now on five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three; they will be divided: father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law. He also said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you immediately say, ‘It is going to rain’; and so it happens. And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat’; and it happens. You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time? (Luke 12:49-56, NRSV)

This is the gospel of our Lord! It was hard for me as a pastor to say that after reading this text this morning, because upon first hearing and thought process there is not much good new to be heard here. Jesus tells us that He has come to bring fire to the earth and He wishes it was already here. And then He goes on to tell us that He didn’t come to bring peace but division!

So the second destruction of the earth is coming by fire and Jesus is going to set this place ablaze. And not only that, but He is going to cause families to be at odds with each other. So just where is the good news. You read a text like this and you want to run to the other texts for the day and see what they have…

But hold on. Is the problem we have with what Jesus says here the texts fault, or something within us?

The text has done nothing wrong, and Jesus is getting His feelings out. He has done this before when tables are over turned in the temple. He has done some harsh things…

So what is this fire? We saw this earlier in Luke when the disciples asked Jesus if they should call for fire to rain down from heaven on the Samaritan village… It could be the second destruction of the world. God gave us the rainbow to tell us He would never again destroy the world with water, but that left every other element up for grabs.

The thing we need to look at here is what the context of this text is. This text is part of the journey to Jerusalem. Jesus has set His face towards Jerusalem and the cross. And this text is part of that. So in the whole grand scheme of things, this is before the cross…

So what if this fire, is not destruction? What if this fire is the inhabiting of all of the earth by the fire baptism of the Holy Spirit that comes on Pentecost? You see Jesus has not died, or risen yet in Luke, so Pentecost has not happened. What if this fire that Jesus is bringing is the coming Holy Spirit, and how He wishes it was already blazing on the earth and in the hearts of all men? He wishes this was so, because he is going to the baptism of His death.

And because of this He is stressed. Did you hear that? Jesus is stressed because He s going to be killed. To me, that right there is the good news! Jesus understand the stress of having to do something or face something. He came to earth and became human and understands what it is to feel stressed. He gets what we go through. And He understands what it can do to your life.

So do not think of the fire as destruction, but as the coming Spirit, and know that no matter what you are facing, Jesus has seen what it is like to be stressed, and it will all be something you can make it through with Him at your side!

 

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Prayer…

Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” And he said to them, “When you pray, say: “Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.” And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs. And I tell you, ask, and sit will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:1-13, ESV)

I believe I can easily say this is a passage of scripture that has most pastors running for the hills when we see it. You see the text says that is you ask for something God will give it, and if you seek something you will find it and if you knock it will be opened… Well we have all had those times we asked and we did not get what we asked for, and we sought, and are still seeking, and we knocked and the door seemed to shut even tighter…

But the point of the verses is Jesus teaching the disciples to pray, and it is a simple yet complex thing to have a conversation with the Father. But Jesus breaks it down for us, in a conversation and relationship builder.

Prayer is really simple, it is a conversation. Jesus addresses God as Father, or better yet, as Daddy. The word Abba is the very familial word for father and would be equivalent to our word daddy. Jesus tells us to call the Father Daddy! And then He tells us to ask Daddy to keep His name holy. We can not do that, only He can, and so we ask Him to work His holiness in and through all that we have and everywhere we go, that He would be holy in us and around us, that His kingdom would come and be made known here. And then He breaks it down to three easy to remember petitions:

  1. For provision
  2. For relationships
  3. For safety

Jesus tells the disciples to ask for their daily bread. Ask for the things they need in order to survive. Then He tells them to ask for forgiveness as they have forgiven. We need to keep the lines of communication open and seek to right our wrongs. We must constantly be in check of the relationships we are in and keep them moving forward. Then He tells them to to ask to not be lead into temptation. This is for our safety. We need to stay out of the place that will get us into trouble and we could all use assistance in this!

So it is easy. Simple. And the next part is Jesus did not say to pray these words but to pray in this way, so take His outline:

  1. Open the conversation: Daddy
  2. Ask for provision
  3. Ask for relationship help/advice/time
  4. Ask for safety

And when you do this, do it in your words, honestly what you are thinking and feeling in your heart.

And then comes the hard part and what I believe the text pastors like to stray away from deals with, Trust…

We have to trust that God will actually give us what we need. And be there for us as He has promised. In order for Jesus to show the disciples this is something they can believe in He tells them about a man who has late night visitors. He goes to a neighbor and asks for some bread. Now most of us today would see this as a huge inconvenience on the man who is asleep in his house with his children. Yet the word translated above as “impudence” is better translated shamelessness. Because of the man who did not have what he needed for his guest and goes shamelessly to his neighbor seeking help, the neighbor will get up and give it to him. Also because in the system of Jesus’ day, if the man did not rise and help the man who came knocking, the sleeping man would be the one who would be shamed for not helping his neighbor in need. And if this is how we humans do things, and help people around us, how much more can we trust in, believe in, have faith in Jesus and Daddy God to follow through on what He has promised. You see it is true that he will follow through on His promises. But He will not give us what we ask for, He will give us what we need. That is why answers to prayers can be, Yes, No and Not right now, Or my parental favorite: Maybe…

But is that all this lesson give us?

An easy outline for prayer. Jesus telling us to honestly tell our Father what we are feeling and holding dear in our hearts, and then to trust. Yes and no…

You see there is a connection between this text and the text of Luke 4:1-13. This is the text of the Temptation of Jesus, and the temptations are for Food, Power, and touching Heaven.

Satan tells Jesus to turn the stones into bread – He needs His daily provision. But Jesus says we have to live on the very word of God. You see, even though Jesus could turn the stones to bread, He needed to ask God to provide for Him, because God will give us what we need, not what we ourselves are seeking after or wanting.

Then Satan offers Jesus all of the kingdoms of the world. He offers Him relationships with subjects to follow Him. You see relationships treated in the wrong way leads to broken lives and hurt people. We need to hold the power in the right place and allow God to hold the place pf supreme power in our lives and all of our relationships, otherwise things could go astray.

Then Satan tells Jesus to go to the pinnacle of the temple and throw Himself down, because the Holy Angels will not allow Him to hurt Himself. You see in Jesus day, the pinnacle of the Temple was the place where Heaven and earth met. It was the highest place in the world, and Jesus could jump from here and not get hurt. And while this is true, we are not to go into places where we can be hurt.

So this simple prayer is a way for us to manage our temptations as well as maintain our relationship with God. So talk simply, honestly and trusting in what God has promised, for He will never let us down.

 

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come to mind, remembered, missed, or made again…

“‘And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding. And when you have multiplied and been fruitful in the land, in those days, declares the Lord, they shall no more say, “The ark of the covenant of the Lord.” It shall not come to mind or be remembered or missed; it shall not be made again. At that time Jerusalem shall be called the throne of the Lord, and all nations shall gather to it, to the presence of the Lord in Jerusalem, and they shall no more stubbornly follow their own evil heart. In those days the house of Judah shall join the house of Israel, and together they shall come from the land of the north to the land that I gave your fathers for a heritage. (Jeremiah 3:15-18, ESV)

Did you hear what the prophet said? Or better yet did you hear what God said through Jeremiah?

We read this passage and the others in the Hebrew Scriptures that point to the union of the nations. But do we really read them and allow them to speak to us? We see this and hear that the nations will be united, that people will not follow after their own evil hearts and all will be united under God. We hear this because deep down we really all want this. We want the dissension and back biting and the rivalries to be done. We want to be united because that is what God has promised will happen!

But what we miss in the above text is when the shepherds come that God is sending, the shepherds who will feed knowledge and understanding, then the Ark of the Covenant will vanish…

And the Ark of the Covenant is the place where the law resides. So the law will not come to mind, be remembered or missed or be made again! The law will not matter because we will be united in Him.

So if the law will not matter why do we make such a big deal out of it now? If we can get past the differences the law instills in us, will we not be where God promises we will be?

So make sure you are right with God and love others as God first loved you!

 

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