04 March 2018: The Day of Pentecost
The audio recording for this sermon did not work but below is a transcript of the message:
Almighty God, give us open ears, hearts and minds to hear what you are speaking to each of us
this day. Fill us anew with Holy Spirit. May each of us be filled with the power that brought Jesus
from death to life. That we may show Jesus to those around us and build your kingdom. May we
be for ever changed.
The Day of Pentecost.
He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem but to wait for the Promise of the Father
Waiting is painful.
Waiting is tiring.
Waiting tests your attitude
Waiting tests your relationships.
It can be boring.
Waiting is hard work.
A friend of mine once said to me “you always seem to be waiting.” And for several periods in my
life that was how it seemed, waiting to hear about a job, waiting to hear about a move, waiting to
hear about emigration, waiting to hear from a daughter caught up in a bush fire, waiting – waiting.
During periods of waiting, life has to continue, responsibilities, being patient and waiting wasn’t
made any easier by other activities. Every phone call, every postal delivery, email, sms, was today
The disappointment when another day went by and still the news had not come.
Wait for the Promise of the Father.
I wonder what they were expecting?
What would you have expected?
As we begin our reading from Acts today we see that a special day had arrived. We somehow see
it as only relevant to us. Have you every wondered why the bible calls it the day of Pentecost. I
mean the day Jesus was put on the cross is not called Good Friday in the scriptures and the day
he rose again is not called Easter Day? How come we retrospectively have this day called
Pentecost is a Jewish Feast Day. We have the Greeks to thank for the word because Pentecost
It is called Shavuot in Hebrew and is a feast of harvest, the Feast of Weeks, you can read about it
in Exodus 23:14-19 and Leviticus 23:9-22. On the second night of Passover there is a period of 7
full weeks 49 days and this would mark the end of the grain harvest 2loaves of bread were
brought to the temple as a concluding rite.
While the Temple was still standing, Shavuot (along with Passover and Sukkot), wa
one of the three pilgrim holidays (shalosh regalim) when Jews would come to
Jerusalem to make a sacrifice of their crop’s first fruits. After the Temple was
destroyed in A.D. 70, the agricultural aspect of Shavuot could no longer be observed,
and the Talmudic sages later re-connected this festival with the giving of the Torah at
Mt. Sinai (Ex. 19:1).
Let us return to our text.
So on the feast of Shavuot the disciples are all together in one place. In the NKJV it
says one accord, a word totally missed in NIV which is unfortunate. They were in
I believe it’s significant because waiting is as I said hard work. It puts a strain on you.
10 days doesn’t seem long but I can tell you waiting for just a couple of hours is hard
work when you’re waiting to hear from a daughter, that she has made it out of the
path of a bush fire to safety. Several days or weeks is hard when you desperately
want to know whether you are going to move house or get permission to emigrate to
the other side of the world!!
10 days waiting would have been tough, and they did not know how long they would
have to wait. These men were of one mind and one determination. Jesus had said wait
and they waited.
In his book Prevailing Prayer D.L. Moody says:
But our disciples, these followers of Jesus- these were simple men from Galilee, with no grand
education. They would not have known other languages, perhaps a few odd words that they had
picked up but they would not have been fluent enough to speak of the wonderful works of God
that are recounted to us in v 11.
Until some years ago I always felt there was something missing in the story. V 1 tells us that they
were all together in one place and then v6 the multitude – all those in Jerusalem – came together.
This didn’t make sense to me until….
Some 24 years ago – in another life my then husband and I had visited Toronto and taken part in
what was called the Toronto Blessing. When we returned to the Anglican Church in Dingley where
we were living and working we held a meeting so that everyone who wanted to, could hear about
our experiences. At the end of the meeting my husband offered that we should pray for anyone
who wanted prayer. We prayed and Holy Spirit moved. So began weekly meetings at Dingley with
many people coming to be prayed for and where we witnessed Holy Spirit move. As those
meetings grew we called on other churches to come and minister with us.
One night, a week when a large Pentecostal Church was assisting our ministry I left my house
which was on the site of the church and walked towards the prayer meeting before the larger
meeting. A distance probably equal to the walk from here to the Commonwealth Bank. I was a
I was suddenly aware of a noise, a noise of voices, but not discernible at that distance, loud, not
angry, not strident, many voices. As I got nearer I could discern unknown words and then I
realized people were speaking in tongues. I crept in and joined them. The following evening I
understood why the sound had been so tremendous. The minister said Let us pray. Now if I did
that here, you would all bow your heads, there would be silence until someone, probably me
prayed, then there would be more silence until someone else prayed. However as the minister
said Let us pray, they did, not one by one in an orderly way but all at once and each person used
their tongue that the Lord had given them, no wonder I heard it from so far away. The sound
would ebb and flow sometimes loud, sometimes soft, eventually the voices would cease and
someone would say Amen.Those were powerful nights of ministry.
Now when I read these verses in Acts I am no longer surprised, the noise of rushing wind and
multiple languages all spoken at once would have caused people to investigate.
Gods kingdom is about to make an amazing shift – a promise to Abraham about being the father
to nations comes to mind.
Here is a new era of the Spirit, the same Spirit who had been present at Creation foretold in many
parts by the prophets, experienced by Samson, David, Daniel, who had been seen at Jesus
Jesus had promised a comforter, an enabler. They had been asked to wait, told that they would
have a mission when they were enabled, toJerusalem and beyond.This news of the gospel was no
longer for a few it was for many.
At this time – 50 days after Passover.
In this place – Jerusalem.
People from every nation under heaven were in town. Jews by descent, part of the dispersion,
descended from Jewish exiles who had been transported in the 8th and 6th centuries before
Christ. They were God fearing Jews, foreigners in that they were born somewhere else, those
who were there for this special feast, for Shavuot.
As biblical writers do, Luke talks of the whole world, but his horizon is more limited than ours his
known world is the one situated in the Mediterranean basin.
This is where I would love access to a decent map, you know the large maps they used to have in
schools. Imagine if you can the Mediterranean Sea. In the north Italy and Greece as we head
eastwards we come to Turkey and Syria we follow the coastline Lebanon, Israel, Egypt and then
down to North Africa, These are the modern day nations that indicate the countries mentioned
here by Luke These people are amazed and perplexed because out of this sound some identify words they
recognize and not only that they hear enough to tell them what God is doing. “Whatever could this
mean?” They ask.
At once we have the mockers they are full of new wine!
I have heard similar rebuffs, it must be of the devil – well Satan has no original ideas he is the
great copier and so if he’s doing it God did it first.
Ah well this was a one off occasion that’s not for now. That was just for the first disciples. Oh so
our churches are filled with converts every day, our sick are healed and we raise the dead, there is
no mental illness, or drug dependence . People love one another in word and deed, they manifest
the fruits of gentleness, patience love, joy, peace, faithfulness, kindness, goodness and selfcontrol
at every turn, I don’t think so.
As John Stott wrote in his commentary on Acts.
“Without the Holy Spirit, Christian discipleship would be inconceivable, even impossible.
There can be no life without the life-giver, no understanding without the spirit of truth,
no fellowship without the unity of the spirit,
no Christlikeness of character apart from his fruit,
and no effective witness without his power.
As a body without breath is a corpse, so the church without the Spirit is dead”
What disturbs me is we talk the talk but do we walk the walk?
When each of us became a Christian Holy Spirit came, that’s one of his tasks, he convicts us of
our sin, we cannot move from death to life without him.
However we need to be filled with him, and to go on being filled. No filling, no power, little hope
of giving this world the answers it needs. Filled each moment, filled to overflowing. More of him
and less of me. It is through the power of the Holy Spirit that Jesus rose from the dead. Ephesians
1 v 19 & 20.
We may have been filled but we need to be continued to be filled. We should be living by the
You and I should be changing, we should not be the same as when we found Christ.
Look around what do you see- do you see life and joy peace and patience, do you Jesus in the
church? When I stand here and speak to you I do not want you to hear my words or see me.
I want you to hear the Word of Almighty God to you this day, I want you to see Jesus.
More of him less of me.