These are the notes to my pentecost sunday sermon.
What is our story?
What is it that the Churches are here for?
Can anyone tell me what role the Spirit plays in the grand narrative of salvation?
The Spirit of the Story is the title of my sermon.
The Spirit teaches us the story we come from, as well as the story of where we’re headed. If you’ve ever had a glimpse of heaven in your heart, in a vision or a dream, that glimpse is the work of the Spirit preparing you for the world to come.
We do not have a bad story, in fact it is the greatest story ever told. There are surprising twists and turns.
Psalm 104:30 (When you send forth your spirit, they are created;
and you renew the face of the ground. ) all say this.
In the beginning was the world, and everything was good. Fast forward, through the fall and Israel to Jesus. Part of His mission as we see from the book of Luke-Acts (which is one book) is the connection of Christ and his movement to the Church.
Today I want to talk about the Spirit, and His role as the encourager. It is Pentecost Sunday after all, and we should remember that it is because of the Spirit that we even have a church at all. We talked this morning about enduring trials, and I think that Pentecost and its fallout are an appropriate place to begin talking about how to survive and even thrive in the world Christianly in the face of trials.
The bible tells us that the creation is longing for the manifestation of the sons and daughters of God. But that day, is today! (rom:8.22)
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. 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.
Peter quotes Joel in his sermon, and it is for us too. Hear these words. The Spirit is among us, giving us ability. Not just to speak the gospel, not just to preach the world with boldness, but to truly be the community which sets itself up to be a portrait of God’s loving redemption and what the end of that redemption might look like.
17“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.
18Even upon my slaves, both men and women,
in those days I will pour out my Spirit;
and they shall prophesy.
that’s the mission of the church. Is your story inside that one? or are you fighting for a bigger house and a better car? You guys know around here we’re not fans of the Christianity=prosperity message. But we often still think the same way. We think in terms of our story, and fit God into our daily lives instead of being taken up by him into His life, into his plan, into his story.
Listen to the gospel message that Peter preached:
32This Jesus God raised up, and of that all of us are witnesses. 33Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you both see and hear.
What we should keep in mind when we talk about the Spirit is that this Spirit is the down payment of a promise. This promise we have seen and heard and it has been shed abroad in our minds in Christ and His Spirit. However there is more to come. What we should desire to see and hear is the final reconciliation. The final victory of God.
I have three main points tonight:
1. It is the Spirit that allows us to endure the cross we encounter. (remember jesus at baptism and in the garden)
2. Do not be dismayed, be of good cheer. Not because nothing’s wrong, but because the God of the bible, the almighty, has a Son, a man, who is still in a body, seated at the right hand of God. His body still bears the marks, still bears the power of his testimony that GOd is love.
3. The power of the Spirit brings about the reconciliation of all things. In romans 8. God is praying to God in our behalf, and God hears God speaking in and with and through us, through our pain, because he cares.
Today marks the end of the easter season, but the end of Easter is the beginning of the Church. The power of the Resurrection leads up to this event. It is only because He ascended that we have the Spirit. As I say often, he didn’t run away to a spirit realm where he would be away from us, he went up to the control room of the universe and all things so that he could be present to us, through his spirit.
As we heard in the passage from the Gospel, Jesus breathed upon his disciples and said: “Receive the Holy Spirit; (John 20:21-23).
My challenge is to you also, receive the Holy Spirit. The same spirit that empowered Christ, that overshadowed him the same spirit which encouraged him in anguish, and sustained him on the cross.
Ultimately, and this is my last point…
4. Ultimately, the Spirit is the Spirit of Life, the Spirit that challenges us to overthrow death. We don’t avoid sin so we can go to heaven. We rebel against sin so that God can defeat death in and with and through our bodies.
Send forth your Spirit and everything will be recreated and you will renew the face of the earth psalm 104:30 (When you send forth your spirit, they are created; and you renew the face of the ground. )
A Great Christian has said:
Christ’s peace spreads only through the renewed hearts of men and women who have been reconciled and made themselves servants of justice, ready to spread peace in the world only with the force of truth, without compromising with the mentality of the world, because the world cannot give Christ’s peace: This is how the Church can be a ferment of that reconciliation that comes from God. She can do this only if she remains docile to the Spirit and bears witness to the Gospel, only if she carries the cross like Jesus and with Jesus. -Benedict XVI
If you are weak and suffering, poor, mistreated and outcast, rejoice, for the Spirit of the Lord is mighty in your behalf. If you are poor, and hurting, diseased, or wounded, rise up, and take my hand, join me in prayer. For the Lord is mighty in your distress.