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Pentecost 2020
Immanuel Lutheran Church, Hamilton, Ohio
Pastor Kevin Jud
May 31, 2020
Numbers 11:24-30, Acts 2:1-21, John 7:37-39

 

Sermons online: 
Text and Audio:         immanuelhamiltonchurch.com   click “sermons”
Text:                            pastorjud.org   
Audio:                         pastorjud.podbean.com 
itunes:                         bit.ly/pastorjud
Full Service Audio:    bit.ly/ImmanuelWorship

 

Last week we celebrated Jesus’ ascension to the right hand of God the Father to reign over all creation.  Before He ascended, Jesus told the disciples to stay in the city until they are clothed with power from on high.  Acts 1:8 (ESV)  8 …you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”[1]

Soon, the Holy Spirit will come upon the disciples in a powerful, public way. Forty days earlier, on the evening of the day of His resurrection, Jesus bestowed the Spirit on His disciples in a quiet, private way.  John 20:21-23 (ESV) 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of anyone, they are forgiven; if you withhold forgiveness from anyone, it is withheld.” [2]  On Pentecost, 10 days after Jesus’ ascension, the Spirit comes to the disciples in wind and fire.  Who is the Holy Spirit?  What do we know about Him?

The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. Coequal with God the Father and God the Son, and yet He is the person of the Trinity that we hear the least about.  We hear the least about Him because the Holy Spirit is not about promoting the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit points you to Jesus, your Savior; the Lamb of God sacrificed for you on the cross of Calvary.

            As a baptized child of God you are one Spirit with Jesus.  The Spirit dwells in you.  The breath of God gives you faith to know your sins are forgiven through Jesus.  You no longer belong to yourself.  You have been purchased and won by Christ.  You are in the Kingdom of God.  Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is the breath of God.  “Spirit” in Hebrew is ruach; in Greek, pneumatos. Both these words mean spirit, wind; breath.  In English we have similar words with similar roots such as pneumatic or pneumonia which have to do with air or breath.  In our word, respiration, the root of the word is the same as spirit.  The Holy Spirit is the breath of God and the Holy Spirit dwells in you.  St. Paul explains this when warning against sexual immorality in 1 Corinthians 6:17-20 (ESV) 17 But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. 18 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.[3]

As a baptized child of God you are one Spirit with Jesus.  The Spirit dwells in you.  The breath of God gives you faith to know your sins are forgiven through Jesus.  You no longer belong to yourself.  You have been purchased and won by Christ.  You are in the Kingdom of God.  Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit.

But the Holy Spirit’s presence is not something that you are even aware of most of the time.  It is sort of like breathing itself.  You don’t really notice that you are breathing unless you just ran up the stairs or have a stuffy nose some other breathing issue.  You have been born again in water and the Spirit and yet you don’t feel the Holy Spirit dwelling in you.  The spirit doesn’t shout out His existence.  You don’t know the Spirit is present, except by the result.  The Spirit is the breath of faith.  You can feel that when in the depths of darkness you remain in Christ.  You have faith.  You know Jesus is your Savior.  You know your sins are forgiven.

Ephesians 2:8 (ESV) 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God…[4]   Faith can be a struggle because we are so tempted to want to make faith about us and something we can do.  We want it to be about our strength; our determination.  We want to tightly hold onto the gifts of God so that we can control them.  But it is all a gift.  You do not firmly grasp God’s gifts in your closed fist; rather you hold the gift of forgiveness, life and salvation in an open hand.

Through the Holy Spirit you have faith that Jesus is your savior.  He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.  Through the Holy Spirit you know that Jesus is Lord and that through Jesus you have access and knowledge of God the Father.  Jesus teaches in John 15:26-27 (ESV) 26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. 27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.[5]

The disciples are given the task to bear witness about what they have seen.  This is clearly shown on the day of Pentecost.  On the day of Pentecost the Spirit comes in the wind and in tongues of flame, but what does the Spirit empower the disciples to do?  The Spirit empowers them to preach and teach about Christ crucified and risen from the dead for the forgiveness of sins.

On that Pentecost day when the disciples receive the Holy Spirit and begin preaching and teaching in many different languages there are those who speak against them.  “What is going on here?  What is this teaching in different languages?  What is all this talk about Jesus?  These men must be drunk.”  Peter denies this and preaches about Jesus.  Peter preaches repentance and the forgiveness of sins.  Acts 2:38-42 (ESV) 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” 40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” 41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. 42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.[6]

The work of the Holy Spirit in the Church does not fit into our rational categories in life.  There are many today who think that what Christians do is just foolishness. How ridiculous?  What a waste of time gathering together each week.  The pastor declares sins are forgiven, but what is that?  It is just words.  They splash some water on a baby’s head and think something happens; but it is just water; it is just words.  They eat a little cracker and take a sip of wine and think that makes everything okay with God; but it is just bread and wine; it is just words.

Without the Holy Spirit, Christianity is just foolishness.  1 Corinthians 1:18 (ESV) 18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.[7]  With the Holy Spirit, the truth of Christianity is the most important thing in all creation.  It is the source of forgiveness, salvation and eternal life with God.

Lately, there is a great temptation for the Church to give up on preaching Law and Gospel and instead try to meet people where they are; to adjust what we do to fit the “new realities.”  There is tremendous pressure to give up on the authority of the Word of God and to follow your feelings.  There is great pressure to conform to this new way, but this would have the Church cease to be the Church.  The Church trusts the Holy Spirit.

We trust the Holy Spirit to work.  We proclaim the word of the cross.  We continue the work of the apostles; preaching and teaching God’s law and God’s Gospel; confessing and forgiving, baptizing, and receiving the Lord’s Supper.

You have received the Spirit of God; in your baptism, and over and over again in God’s Word and the Lord’s Supper.  Your body is a temple for the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit, the breath of God, dwells in you and gives you faith to know you are a forgiven child of God.  Hold these gifts in an open hand and live your identity in Christ. Amen.


[1]  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001

 

[2]  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001

 

[3]  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001

 

[4]  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001

 

[5]  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001

 

[6]  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001

 

[7]  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001

 

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