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Holy Pentecost!

June 1, 2020

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Pentecost                                                                    Trinity Lutheran Church

31 May 2020                                                               Murdock, NE


+ Jesu Juva +


Acts 2:1-21


The Lord has His church.  Always does.  Always will.  “Not even the gates of hell will prevail,” Jesus promises (Mt. 16).  Here in Acts 2 the church numbers 120.  Consisting of disciples (both men and women), the twelve apostles and Mary the mother of our Lord.  Not 120 individuals doing their own individual spiritual stuff on their own apart from each other. The church is church as she is gathered together around her Lord who serves her in Word and sacrament.  The church is a gathering!  It’s communal.  Community.  Personal.  In person.  Jesus is the head.  Believers are the body.  Separate the two and there’s no church.  Just as there is no such thing as a virtual marriage so there is no such thing as a virtual church.  A marriage involves the intimate one flesh union of a man and a woman.  The church is made up of living stones built into a spiritual temple, priests in a priesthood, members of a household, parts of the body of Christ, Christ the Bridegroom – the church His bride in a holy communion!


“Where two or three are gathered in my Name there I am in the midst of them,” Jesus promises (Mt. 18:20).  In Acts chapter 2 not two or three but 120!  In John 20 on Easter evening  a small group was gathered in Jesus’ Name and He was in their midst.  Church!  He forgave those sinners that sinned against Him.  “Peace be with you,” He said.  Remember?  Do you remember who skipped church that night?  Yes, that’s right.  Thomas.  He was off by his lonesome.  Having faith issues.  Doubts and unbelief.  His fellow believers made sure he was back in church the next week. Jesus removed Thomas’ faith issues by showing the apostle His hands and His side.  “Do not disbelieve Thomas, but believe.”  “My Lord and my God!” was the his response.  Faith in Jesus!  With fellow believers.  Gathered around Jesus.  Church!


And where Jesus has His church there too is the Holy Spirit.  Holy Spirit and church always go together.  Just as the Holy Spirit calls you to faith in Jesus through the preaching of the gospel and keeps you in the faith through that same gospel, so also the Holy Spirit creates and sustains the Christian church on earth.  Here in Acts 2 there is the unique day of Pentecost that fulfills the prophecy of Joel 2.  Holy Spirit poured out as promised for the gospel to go to all people and all nations.  Mighty rushing wind.  Fire.  The last days have begun.  The end of time is upon the world as the apostles are filled with the Holy Spirit to preach the gospel in comprehendible languages and dialects.  They preach Jesus’ death and resurrection in fulfillment of God’s promises and for the salvation of the world.


Every time you hear the gospel preached – every Sunday in church – in your language – the language you can understand – English — it’s a Pentecost moment.  The Holy Spirit is poured out on you.  Given to you.  In the gospel read and preached.  “My words are Spirit and they are life,” Jesus says (Jn 6:63).


Don’t look for the Holy Spirit in wind and fire.  That was unique for that one particular day.  What remained was the apostolic teaching and preaching of the gospel, baptism in the Name of Jesus for the remission of sins and being given the gift of the Holy Spirit through baptism (Acts 2:38-39; Mt. 28:19), the breaking of the bread (Lord’s Supper) and the prayers of the believers gathered around the physically present but hidden crucified, risen and ascended Jesus (Acts 2:42).


I repeat.  Pentecost happens every Sunday as believers are gathered together as church around the Lord Jesus as he gives the gospel in the various and extravagant ways it is given, namely, “through the spoken word in which the forgiveness of sins is preached to the whole world … through baptism … the Sacrament of the Altar … the power of the keys and also through the mutual conversation and consolation of the brethren” (Smalcald Articles).  Where the gospel is going on in those various forms the Holy Spirit is going on!  Creating faith and sustaining faith in Jesus.  And gathering believers around Jesus as a gathered church!


And that is precisely what the Holy Spirit wants you to believe.  That Jesus died FOR YOU.  That all your sin is forgiven because of Jesus.  Many people including the devil know that Jesus lived, died and rose.  But the Spirit’s unique work is to faith you!  So that you believe that Jesus lived, died and rose FOR YOU!


FOR YOU the Holy Spirit is at work in, with and under the gospel!  The preached gospel. The sacramental gospel.  Through the gospel the Holy Spirit works saving faith in Jesus when and where it pleases Him.


Now, indulge me a little more.  I know.   I know.  Give the preacher an inch and he’ll take a country mile.  Oh well!  It’s what you get with Kuhlman. I remind you what Jesus says about the Spirit’s work.  It’s in John 14:26 and John 16:14.  Jesus says that the Holy Spirit will “testify” about JESUS and that the Holy Spirit will “glorify” JESUS.  In other words, the star of the salvation show is not the Holy Spirit but Jesus!  All salvific attention goes to Jesus!  The Spirit doesn’t testify about the Holy Spirit!  The Spirit does not glorify the Holy Spirit.  WHY NOT?  It is because JESUS TOOK ON FLESH AND DIED ON THE CROSS!  It is because JESUS BORE ALL SIN IN HIS BODY AND ATONED FOR ALL SIN THROUGH THE SHEDDING OF HIS GOOD FRIDAY BLOOD!  Jesus did the salvation job for you.  Achieved and accomplished salvation FOR YOU.


The Holy Spirit delivers what Jesus so Good Friday-ly won for you.  Think of the Holy Spirit as the UPS or Fed Ex delivery man of the Holy Trinity.  He conveys the forgiveness Jesus accomplished FOR YOU in His Good Friday IT IS FINISHED atoning death on the cross in the Word of the gospel.  Jesus says so in John 16:14-15.  “He will take what is mine and declare it to you.” 


How?  The delivery?  The taking and declaring?  As I just mentioned the Spirit does it through the Word of Holy Scripture, the preached Word of forgiveness, the watery Word of baptism and the bread/body – wine/blood Word of the Lord’s Supper “given and shed for you for the remission of sins.”  The Spirit always works through the Word of the gospel that Jesus Himself has mandated to be done — GIVEN!


So, if you picking up what I’m throwing down the true Pentecostals, the true Pentecostal church are the believers and the church that clings to the apostolic Word, baptizes in the Triune Name, uses the keys, and offers the Lord’s Supper.  In other words, Jesus gets preached for the forgiveness of sins.  Jesus gets preached for salvation.


Through these means the Spirit witnesses to Jesus and glorifies Jesus as Savior FOR YOU!    Our sinful nature, of course, doesn’t want that.  And like I said a few weeks ago, your old Adam never lets a crisis go to waste.  During these uncertain times the old Adam wants you to pull a Thomas.  Avoid being gathered together as church to receive the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Making Thomasian doubts and unbelief out to be true spirituality and an excuse not come to church ever.  Saying that “virtual” church in these times of emergency should become the norm forever.  The old Adam wants you to look for the Holy Spirit where He has not promised to be FOR YOU.  When we follow the desires of our sinful flesh in these ways we “grieve the Holy Spirit” as Paul says in Ephesians 4:30.  And grieving the Holy Spirit can only have a hellacious or hellific ending!


So it’s time for us individually and as the church to pray like King David in Psalm 51 when he was at church.  “Create in me a clean heart O God and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Thy presence and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.”


And for Jesus’ Good Friday sake, the Holy Spirit is not taken from us!  The Holy Spirit stays with us.  He doesn’t forsake you or the church that clings to His Word of the gospel.  God doesn’t renege on His Word.  He always calls us back to the Holy Spirit-ed Word of the gospel to give us Jesus’ Good Friday forgiveness, life and salvation.  Daily.  Weekly.


It’s no wonder then that the church all over the world on Pentecost sings the hymn “Come, Holy Ghost, God and Lord” like we did today.  It is a powerful prayer of faith.  Faith in Jesus to continually give us the Holy Spirit.  To always be Pentecost-ed.  Repented from our sins and faith-ed in Jesus!


Come holy Light, guide divine

Now cause the Word of life to shine.

Teach us to know our God aright

And call Him Father with delight.

From ev’ry error keep us free

Let none but Christ our master be

That we in living faith abide

In Him our Lord, with all our might confide.  Alleluia, alleluia!


Happy Pentecost!  In the Name of Jesus.


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