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Pentecost Preaching

May 19, 2013

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Pentecost                                                              Trinity Lutheran Church

19 May 2013                                                        Murdock, NE

+ Jesu Juva +

Acts 2:1-21

You’re in Jerusalem.  It’s Pentecost.  Pentecost, of course, means “fiftieth” day.  It designates the Feast of Weeks celebrated at the end of the grain harvest seven weeks after the Passover (Leviticus 23:15; Deuteronomy 16:9).  You’re there, with all the Jewish pilgrims from all over the world, to give thanks – have a great thanksgiving if you will, for all of God’s goodness.  But something happens that you never expected.  It blows you away!  Astounds you!  Leads you to ask the question:  “What does this mean?”  What takes place comes as pure gift.  And with the Lord there is always more!  He’s always in the giving mood.

Just as Jesus promised He bestows the Holy Spirit on His apostles and the church.  “A sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.”  “Tongues of fire.”  “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit.”

This event is the fulfillment of Bible prophecy too.  Joel 2 to be precise.  “In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people.”  And now it’s happening.  So when the last days begin?  In 1948?  In 1981? Or last year?  No!  The end of time began at Pentecost in Acts 2!  Already in the days of the early church!  The apostles were living in the last days already then in the year 33 AD!

And even before!  Yes, when Jesus arrived on the scene the Holy Spirit filled last days began!  First, the Holy Spirit conceived Jesus through a sermon preached in the Virgin’s ears.  That’s huge!  But that’s another sermon on another day – perhaps during Advent or Christmas.

What I want you to notice for now is that the Day of Pentecost and the church’s ministry parallel her Lord’s ministry!  After all, when Jesus emerged from obscure and hick town Nazareth to crank up the end of time work of salvation for Israel and the world with His public ministry, He was prepared, equipped, heralded and emboldened for His winning the world’s salvation by a manifest, dramatic bestowal of the Holy Spirit who descended on Him “in bodily form, as of a dove” (Luke 3:22) at His Jordan River baptism!  And then He was off preaching up a storm in the synagogues and the streets!  Equipped and emboldened by the Holy Spirit Jesus had the nerve to proclaim that God’s kingdom had arrived!  In Him!  That God reigned on the earth!  In Him and His ministry! Yes, Holy Spirit filled Jesus dared to call sinners to repent and then incredibly forgave sinners all their sin.  The Holy Spirit filled Jesus pulled off a Good Friday and Easter Sunday – the most important days in the history of the world – for one those days He did the salvation of the world job!

So now, on the Day of Pentecost, Christ’s church and His ministers emerge from the prayerful quiet of the upper room (Acts 1:13-14).  The Holy Spirit is miraculously bestowed – manifested in the power of the wind and fire so that His church and His pastors are equipped and prepared to be a witness to Jesus, the Savior of the world, in word (Acts 2:14-36, 38-40) and deed (Acts 2:42-47).  So that in the preached Gospel, Holy Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper the forgiveness or salvation that Jesus won for the world is bestowed to died-for sinners like you and me!  That you believe that not only did Jesus die for the world but that He died FOR YOU!

Jesus bestows the Holy Spirit on His apostles and church for the sake of preaching!  The apostles preach!  Pentecost’s miracle is the wonder of PREACHING!  “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues (languages of all the various nationalities gathered in Jerusalem) as the Spirit enabled them.”

I’d better say it again.  The Holy Spirit leads the apostles to preach!  In each native language of all those various nations:  “Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea, and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene, visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs.”  That’s the whole enchilada of the Mediterranean world at that time!  All the scattered nations and languages from around the world.  Babel undone, if you will.  Babel reversed.  All the various people understand the apostolic preaching in their own language:  “we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues.”

The Holy Spirit filled preaching announces the “wonders of God.” 

The “wonders of God” is what God has done in, with and under the body of Jesus, His Son – FOR SINNERS!  And really, when you think of what God has done in Jesus, it’s really incredible.  Incredibly wonderful!  After all, God is spirit – but in Jesus He takes on flesh.  God is timeless or eternal – but in Jesus He enters our time — conceived and born of the Virgin Mary – growing up in Nazareth.  God cannot suffer – but in Jesus He does.  God is holy and sinless – but in Jesus He takes all sin in that crucified body so that He is, “made to be sin” (2 Cor. 5:21) and becomes a “curse,” (Gal. 3:13).  God cannot die – but in Jesus He dies – offering His body and His shed blood as the atoning sacrifice for all sin.

In exchange, the sinner is forgiven – for Christ’s sake.  The sinner is holy – for Christ’s sake.  The sinner will live forever – for Christ sake.  The sinner has salvation – for Christ’s sake.  What a blessed exchange!  What a sweet swap!  God Jesus has all your sin and damnation.  You have been given His holiness and His heaven!

Again, the miracle of Pentecost is the wonder of preaching!  Preaching Jesus who came to save sinners.  You, me, the world!

Are you Pentecosted?  Have you been given the Holy Spirit?  Are you full of the Holy Spirit?  Well, are you?  Of course you are!  You believe in Jesus, don’t you?  You believe in His promises, right?  Then you are a Pentecost Christian!

What’s that?  Some of you object?  You say that you can’t feel or see the Spirit in your life?  Here’s what I say to that.  SO WHAT!  As long you believe in Jesus you’re good!  Remember the sermon two weeks ago?  The Holy Spirit’s job (according to Jesus Himself in John 16) is to call sinners to faith in Jesus.  All eyes and ears on Jesus:  His gifts – His promises!  The Spirit bears witness and gives all glory to … JESUS!

Every time you hear a faithful sermon you are Pentecosted.  Each time that the pastor proclaims that your sin is forgiven because Jesus died for you, you are filled with the Holy Spirit.  In your Baptism you were given the “gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).  At your Baptism God “saved you through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,” (Titus 3:5).  Rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit!  He’s the Lord and Giver of life – life eternal.  Holy Baptism – what a wonder!  “Born again of water and the Spirit,” as Jesus told Nicodemus (John 3:5).  The Lord’s Supper is a Pentecost every Sunday for you!  There you hear Christ’s words that are “Spirit and life” (John 6:63).

In the Word and Sacraments the Holy Spirit is at work for you.  Giving you what Jesus won for you by His death on the Tree!  You are full of the Spirit!  Your created, redeemed, baptized, forgiven, bodied and bloodied bodies are temples of the Spirit.  He resides in you so that you always repent of your sin and believe the preached Word that proclaims the “wonders of God.”    Wonder of God Jesus who saved you!

Happy Pentecost Sunday!

In the Name of Jesus.

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