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Pentecost’s Purpose!

June 8, 2014

Pentecost Tongues of Fire

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Pentecost                                                                                     Trinity Lutheran Church

8 June 2014                                                                                Murdock, NE

+ Jesu Juva +

Acts 2:1-21   You’re not the only ones.  You’re thinking it too, aren’t you?  You don’t mean to mock them but you can’t help it.  What’s that?  You don’t want to verbalize what you think?  Your mother told you that if you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything at all?  OK.  Well, I guess I’ll have to say it for you.  Here’s what you’re thinking.  You cynically think that the Twelve are intoxicated.  Smashed.  Drunk as skunks!  Right?   How else do you explain the loud, rushing, mighty wind, tongues as of fire, and all the global dialects coming from their mouths?  Weird!  Creepy!  Sounds like a frat party gone off the deep end.  They had to be taking huge shots of liquid “spirits.”  You know: Jägermeister, Tequila, Ever Clear or all three together, putting a lighter to their mouths, and WHOOSH!  KABOOM!  That explains the tongues as of fire and the loud roar like a rushing, mighty wind.  Yep.  They’re drunk as skunks!  Imbibed too much from distilled “spirits.”   Well, there’s another explanation.  Preacher Pastor Peter steps up to the plate.  “Look folks,” he declares.  “We’re not drunk as you suppose.  Good grief, it is only 9:00 a.m.!  Not even the hardcore winos and raging alcoholics start boozing it up until Noon!  What you have just seen and heard is the fulfillment of end-time Bible prophecy – the fulfillment I said — the prophet Joel’s prophecy to be precise.  He said that in the last days the Holy Spirit would be poured out.”   Peter quotes Joel chapter 2 specifically.  Joel prophesied about the last days – the end times.  Part of the prophecy included this:  “I will show wonders in the heavens above … the sun shall be be turned to darkness and the moon to blood.”  This spring a blood moon was all the talk – supposed to be fulfillment of Bible prophecy with regard to the modern day nation of Israel.  All kinds of people got really excited about seeing a blood moon this spring in fulfillment of Bible prophecy and the beginning of the last days.  As if the last days only began within the last few years.   Well, Peter sets the record straight.  Joel’s prophecy about the “last days” is fulfilled with Pentecost!  That’s exactly why he quotes it.  God’s decisive stage of salvation and the climax of world history arrived with Jesus, the giving of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, and the establishment of the church!   So let’s be clear.  The Bible teaches that the last days began during the ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus, at Pentecost and the beginning of the apostolic church.  Check it out.   Hebrews 1:1.  “In many and various ways God spoke to his people of old by the prophets BUT IN THESE LAST DAYS He has spoken to us by His Son.”   Hebrews 9:26.  “[Jesus] has appeared once for all AT THE END OF THE AGES to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.”   1 Peter 1:20.  “[Jesus] was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest IN THE LAST TIMES for the sake of you.”   1 Corinthians 10:11.  Paul tells the Corinthians that the “END OF THE AGES HAS COME” upon the church.   1 John 2:18.  “Children, it is the LAST HOUR.”   Are you tracking with all this?  If so, you’ve just learned that according to today’s text and the rest of the New Testament the last days or the end times began with the first coming of Jesus and Pentecost’s creating and growing the church until the Last Day when Jesus reveals Himself in glory to judge the living and the dead.   Now, why is the Holy Spirit poured out on Pentecost?  If learning about when the last days began astounded you, then the reason why the Spirit is given in Acts 2 will absolutely astonish and shock you.  You’d better hold on to your hats!  Buckle up tight.  Here goes.  The Holy Spirit given for the sake of PREACHING!  Yes, that’s right, I said it – FOR PREACHING.   Pentecost happened so that the Word of God would be preached!  Beginning in Jerusalem and then throughout the world – even to Trinity, Murdock.  The tongues of fire were over the disciples’ mouths!  I submit to you that all the pictures that you see with the fire on their heads are wrong.   The apostolic mouths are where the action of the Holy Spirit was that day!  Pentecost is a MIRACLE OF THE TONGUE!  Tongues of fire!  FOR PREACHING!  PREACHING JESUS AS THE SAVIOR OF HIS SINNERS!  PREACHING THE GOSPEL!  For you and for all sinners all over the world!  That’s why the Twelve spoke in the representative languages of all those nations of people gathered in Jerusalem from all across the world on that day.   The only spirit that fills the Twelve is the “Holy Spirit!”  The only spirit that the Twelve has in their mouth is the Holy Spirit as they preach the Gospel!   Isn’t this incredible?  It is!  After all, the Holy Spirit has use for the mouths and tongues of these Twelve preachers to proclaim the good news that the one and only salvation for sinners has come in the divine atoning blood of Jesus!  The redemption of the world has arrived and been done through Jesus who pulled off a Good Friday and an Easter Sunday.  That Jesus took all sin of every sinner in His Body.  Wrapped Himself with it all and got damned with it.  If Jesus doesn’t do this for you, you’d still be in your sin and you’d get damned with it.  Thus, the preaching of Jesus for you His sinners!  Pentecost’s purpose!   All the preaching of Jesus (that’s the rest of Acts 2) for those sinners gathered at Jerusalem at the end of Pentecost’s Day leads to 3,000 people being baptized into Jesus’ Good Friday death.  Called by the Holy Spirit-filled Gospel — 3,000 people believed in Jesus that day — that Jesus died and rose for them and for their eternal salvation.  3,000 folks received the gift of the Holy Spirit that comes with the preaching of the forgiveness of sins and being baptized into Jesus’ Name.  These 3,000 then all went to their countries, cities, and homes bearing the good news of Good Friday and Easter Sunday Jesus in their own native tongues to their children, coworkers, and fellow citizens.   The tongues of Pentecost fire are the preaching of the good news that salvation has come in Jesus!  Only in Jesus!  For you!  And so in Acts the preaching of Savior Jesus spreads like a Nebraska prairie fire through the Roman Empire and to all nations. From the mouths of those called into the ministry such Spirit-filled preaching has gone on for thousands of years – all over the world.  Kingdoms and rulers have come.  Kingdoms and rulers have gone.  Many men like Nero, Stalin, Mao and others have desperately tried to close the mouths or stomp out the tongues of fire, that is, the preaching of the gospel.  The harder they tried, the more the gospel spread, the hotter the fire of the gospel burned.   Today the Holy Spirit continues to breathe eternal life into you and for the world.  It takes place Sunday after Sunday.  Every Sunday is a little Pentecost.  Really?  Yes indeed.  Because Jesus is preached for you and for your salvation.  Every Baptism is a little Pentecost.  Why?  Because Baptism is the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit (Titus 3).  Or 1 Corinthians 12:13, “For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body.”  Every Lord’s Supper is a little Pentecost.  Why?  Well, listen to the rest of 1 Corinthians 12:13, “and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.”  In addition, you heard Jesus’ promise in the holy gospel today from John 7:  “‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.’  By this he [Jesus] meant the Spirit whom those who believed in him were later to receive.”      As human mouths and tongues proclaim Jesus for you and for your salvation the Holy Spirit is at work.  Pentecost continues for you in the preaching of the gospel, baptism, absolution, and the Lord’s Supper.  There the Holy Spirit gives you the Good Friday forgiveness of Jesus.  And through that forgiveness you are a new creation.  A believer!  Spelled:  F-A-I-TH.  A believer in Jesus.   You are Pentecost-ed!  Holy Spirit-ed!  Forgiven.  Saved.  Every Sunday or any day that you hear:  “Jesus died for you.  He rose for you.”  Or a little later when you hear:  “the body of Christ for you; the blood of Christ for you.”    Loads of Holy Spirit going on with those gospel words FOR YOU.   Happy Pentecost.   In the Name of Jesus.     

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