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Pentecost 2021
Immanuel Lutheran Church, Hamilton, Ohio
Pastor Kevin Jud 
May 22, 23, 2021
Ezekial 37:1-14, Acts 2:1-21, John 15:26-27, 16:4b-15

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

            It is a windy day at the park.  Lots of children are flying kites which soar high into the sky.  But there is one boy who doesn’t have a kite.  Instead he has a five gallon bucket in one hand with the lid in the other.  He is running around holding the bucket high in the air by the handle.  He swoops the bucket through the air and then slams the lid down onto it.  You ask him, “What are you doing?”  He replies, “I have caught the wind.  Do you want to see?”  He lifts the lid. 

            You know that he has sort of caught the wind in the bucket, but it is hard to tell.  It looks like an empty bucket. 

            I think that sometimes when we talk about the Holy Spirit it can be frustrating. Comprehending the Holy Spirit is a lot like trying to catch a bucket of wind.  Today, on the Festival of Pentecost, let’s take some time to ponder the Holy Spirit. 

            Pentecost is an Old Testament festival 50 days after Passover.  It is also called the 

Feast of Weeks.  It is a harvest festival offering the first fruits of the wheat crop to the Lord. On that Pentecost after Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension the disciples are together in Jerusalem waiting to be clothed with power from on high as Jesus promised at His ascension. 

            The Holy Spirit shows up that Pentecost in a big way.  The Spirit arrives with the sound like a mighty rushing wind that fills the house where the disciples are.  Like herald trumpets the wind sound announces the arrival of the Holy Spirit who comes like divided tongues of flame which rest on each of the disciples. 

            And in that moment, the confusion of languages that God caused at the Tower of Babel is undone in Jerusalem.  The disciples are enabled to tell the Good News of Jesus’ life, death, resurrection and ascension so that all can understand.  They are not just speaking Hebrew, but languages that all can recognize; even the Gentiles. 

            This is a monumental moment in the history of salvation.  The whole world is united as those for whom Jesus died and the gift of salvation is now offered to all; Jews and Gentiles.

            Peter then preaches to the people gathered there from all over the Mediterranean bringing them the Law of God and the Gospel of God.  Acts 2:37–41 (ESV) 37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 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. 

            3,000 people received the gift of the Holy Spirit that day in baptism.  These 3,000 who receive the Holy Spirit are the first fruits of an ongoing harvest of those devoted to the Way; devoted to Jesus. You received the gift of the Holy Spirit at your baptism.  You are part of the ongoing harvest of those with the Holy Spirit.  You are one in the Spirit with Peter, James and John and the other eight disciples.  You are one in the Spirit with the 3,000 on that Pentecost day long ago.  You are one in the Spirit with Christians throughout the world and throughout the ages.  

Your body is perishable.  Death is ever lurking.  But God has given you the Holy Spirit as an earnest deposit on you guaranteeing that He will return and raise your body from the grave and bring you to live with Him forever in Heaven.  2 Corinthians 1:21–22 (ESV) 21 And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, 22 and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. 

            The Holy Spirit is and does so many things.  He is God’s guarantee to you that He is coming back for you.  The Holy Spirit is the breath of God that breathes in you and gives you faith to believe that Jesus died for you and rose from the dead for you. The Holy Spirit dwells in you and your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit makes you Holy and helps you in the struggle to live out that holiness in this crooked generation.  The Holy Spirit is your helper, your counselor, your comforter. 

            The Holy Spirit enables you to believe.  As Martin Luther writes in the explanation of the third article of the Apostles’ Creed.  I believe in the Holy Spirit…What does this mean?  I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith.

            Getting a handle on the Holy Spirit is like trying to catch a bucket of wind.  Martin Luther comments on this passage, “The Lord wishes to say: ‘…Nor can you tell Me how far [the wind] blows and where it stops, even though it blows right in front of your nose.’”

            “Why are some saved and others not?”  Among churches there are different answers to this question.  “Why are some saved and others not?”  In the Roman Catholic Church they would say that some people are members of the Roman Catholic Church and others are not.  Baptists and Evangelical Churches would say that some people have decided to follow Jesus and asked Jesus into their hearts, and others have not.  Lutherans answer this question with an unsatisfying, “We don’t know.  We don’t know how the Holy Spirit works.”

            Jesus is talking to Nicodemus at night in John 3:8 (ESV) 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”  The word here for “wind” is also the word for “spirit”.  The word for “blows” is also the word for “breathes”. The Spirit breaths where it wishes. Why do some receive the Holy Spirit and believe and not others?  We don’t know. 

            Getting a handle on the Holy Spirit is like trying to catch a bucket of wind.  Martin Luther comments on this passage, “The Lord wishes to say: ‘…Nor can you tell Me how far [the wind] blows and where it stops, even though it blows right in front of your nose.’”

            How does the Spirit work?  We don’t know?  We do know that the Spirit gives faith to confess Jesus as Lord.  1 Corinthians 12:3 (ESV)  3 Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit. 

            The Spirit works through hearing and reading the Word of God, and through the water and Word of Holy Baptism.  John 3:5 (ESV) 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.

John 6:63 (ESV) 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 

            The Spirit is mysterious.  The spirit does not promote Himself, but rather directs you to the object of your faith, Jesus on the cross for your sins; Jesus rising from the dead to conquer death for you.  There is only one Holy Spirit and that same Spirit dwells in each of you and all believers around the world.  The Spirit unifies the Church on earth.  1 Corinthians 12:13 (ESV) 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.  You have the Spirit dwelling in you so you can confess that Jesus is Lord. 

            Next week on Trinity Sunday we will explore how the Trinity, God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit is incomprehensible.  Today we are getting a preview of the incomprehensible.  Trying to understand the Holy Spirit is like trying to catch a bucket of wind.  You know the Spirit is there, but you cannot see Him.  That’s okay. God is not here for you to comprehend. He is here to save you.  On the Last Day the saving breath of God will breathe on your dry bones and fill your body with life eternal.  Rejoice in Spirit of God who dwells in you.  Amen. 

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