Pentecost--Birthday of the Church

There are all kinds of reasons to celebrate Pentecost Sunday, the birthday of the Church. Today we will look at four.

Spirit (Third Day)

Pentecost Sunday

50 Days have passed since our Easter Celebration of the Resurrection. Welcome to our Pentecost Sunday Celebration. Today we celebrate the birthday of the Church.
Pentecost marks the descent of the promised Comforter, the Holy Spirit into the hearts of believers, creating something new that never existed before,
the Church. Happy Birthday Church

Let’s read about the birthday of the Church.

Acts 2:1-8 & 11 (MSG)
When the Feast of Pentecost came, they {the Christ followers] were all together in one place.  Without warning, there was a sound like a strong wind, gale force—
no one could tell where it came from. It filled the whole building.  Then, like a wildfire, the Holy Spirit spread through their ranks,  and they started speaking in a number of different languages as the Spirit prompted them.

There were many Jews staying in Jerusalem just then, devout pilgrims from all over the world. When they heard the sound, they came on the run. Then when they heard, one after another, their own mother tongues being spoken, they were thunderstruck. They couldn't for the life of them figure out what was going on, and kept saying, "Aren't these all Galileans? How come we're hearing them talk in our various mother tongues? … "They're speaking our languages, describing God's mighty works!"

It may be a little optimistic today but we are going to try to accomplish four things as we explore this birthday of the Church, the Pentecost Event. First, we will discover that Pentecost is the great reversal of the Tower of Babel. Second, we will acknowledge the similarities between the giving of the Law on Mt. Sinai and the Christian Pentecost. Third, we will learn that the Holy Spirit brings unity binding hearts and minds, Scripture calls this unity the body of Christ, the Church. Finally, we need to learn how to keep in step with the Spirit. If that sounds good, fasten your seatbelts.

The Christian Pentecost is the great reversal of the Tower of Bable. Genesis Chapter 11 tells the story of the Tower of Babel. It takes place after the Flood, the Noah account of prehistory. When we pick up the reading generations have passed since that catastrophic time.

Genesis 11:1 (MSG)
“…the whole Earth spoke the same language.”

Once again humanity chooses to rebel against God. They plan to build a city.
Cities often represent a culture that has departed from God. In that city, they plan to build a tower, That reaches to the heavens. The heavens is metaphorically the dwelling place of God. Once again humanity is seeking equality with God, egoism, being your own God is the motivation. One language represents unity, united in one intent, one purpose, humanity strove for self-rule. God knowing the self-destruction this would cause, intervenes and confounds their one language.

Genesis 11:7-8 (MSG)
Come, we'll go down and garble their speech so they won't understand each other." Then God scattered them from there all over the world. And they had to quit building the city.

This, by the way, is the biblical answer to the origin of different languages. Why if we all came from the same place, people groups have their own language? But more importantly, this tells us way humanity tends towards division, with the associated bigotries and prejudices.

What you need to see is that egoism causes disunity. Sin is self-destructive. Sin separates, and alienates, divides, causes schisms, That’s what we see in the aftermath in this Tower of Babel incident.

This all changes at Pentecost. You know what happened 50 days before. Jesus was crucified, dead, buried, rose forward into life eternal,  opening the way back to the garden, back to a right relationship with God. Jesus’s atonement for our sin makes a reconciliation between you the individual and God.

When you come to acknowledge that you are not a friend of God; now believing that Jesus provides the way to reconciliation, and commit yourself to being a friend of God; asking God to accept you as such;  God the Father in His love adopts you and befriends you. All of God’s friends experience a personal Pentecost. Believers are grafted into one body, many in the one.

The result of that first Christian Pentecost is that everyone hears the mighty acts of God spoken in their own language. They all heard in their heart languages what these Galileans were speaking. The Holy Spirit brings unity, erasing language barriers, cultural barriers, race barriers, Reversing the results of Babel’s sin. We celebrate the Birthday of the Church every time we overcome the barriers that divide people from each other.

The lesson for us is that when we are indwelt with the Holy Spirit, the things that cause division within humanity no longer exists. There is harmony among the differences. There is accord among the ideas. There is unity among the people.
Where you see this kind of love, You know it is because of the presence of God indwelling His Children.

John 13:34-35 (MSG)
"Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way, I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other."

Love is inclusive, love embraces, love overcomes all the cultural divisions that divide people. The presence of the Holy Spirit overcomes selfishness by love. A love that desires to obey God’s will and ways, a love that seeks to meet the needs of others regardless of feelings, a love that is a wise steward of one’s earthly possessions. That’s cause for a party.

Secondly, we are going to compare and contrast the giving of the Law and the giving of the Holy Spirit. In our scripture text, Acts 2, we read, “When the Feast of Pentecost came…” The Jews celebrate Pentecost also But for entirely different reasons. One of those reasons is a commemoration of the giving of the Law at Mt. Sinai.
Moses leads the people of Israel out of Egypt. 50 days after that first Passover the people are camped at Mt Sinai.

Exodus 19:16-18 (MSG)
…there were loud claps of thunder, flashes of lightning,  a thick cloud covering the mountain,  and an ear-piercing trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp shuddered in fear. Moses led the people out of the camp to meet God.  They stood at attention at the base of the mountain.   Mount Sinai was all smoke because God had come down on it as fire.

Wind, Thunder, Fire. Moses climbs the Mount and comes back with the Ten Commandments. The guidelines for how a holy people are to live their lives.
The Ten Commandments are directions on how we are to relate to God and to each other.
1.     Do not have any other god before God
2.     Do not make yourself an idol
3.     Do not take the Lord's name in vain
4.     Remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy
5.     Honor your mother and father
6.     Do not murder
7.     Do not commit adultery
8.     Do not steal
9.     Do not testify or bear false witness against your neighbor
10.                        Do not covet
The Law is written in stone, revealing what is expected of a people who are reconciled to God. The Law is an external guide to how we are to treat one another.

The parallels are obvious with the Christian Pentecost. Wind, Thunder, Fire.
Acts 2:2-4a (NKJV)
And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit…

Here’s the contrast: The law of love was written in stone, now it is written in the heart. The extrinsic, coming from the outside in, gives way to the intrinsic, coming from the inside out.

Jeremiah  31:33 (NIV)
"This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time," declares the Lord. "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.

The Holy Spirit brings transformation. Something inside changes. That change empowers believers to live the law of love. At the first Pentecost, the word of God came down to Moses on two tablets of stone. At this new Pentecost, the Holy Spirit comes down upon believers as two flame-like experiences of empowerment engraving God Law in the heart.  Artificial walls of separation are torn down,
the law of love is written in the heart uniting all believers,

1 Corinthians 12:12-13 (MSG)
Your body has many parts—limbs, organs, cells—but no matter how many parts you can name, you're still one body. It's exactly the same with Christ. By means of his one Spirit, we all said good-bye to our partial and piecemeal lives. We each used to independently call our own shots, but then we entered into a large and integrated life in which he has the final say in everything. (This is what we proclaimed in word and action when we were baptized.) Each of us is now a part of his resurrection body, refreshed and sustained at one fountain—his Spirit—where we all come to drink. The old labels we once used to identify ourselves—labels like Jew or Greek, slave or free—are no longer useful. We need something larger, more comprehensive.

The Holy Spirit writes the law of love in our heart  empowering us to be one,
Even as the Father, Son, and Spirit are one. That reason to celebrate Pentecost, this birthday of the church

We only have time for one more reason to celebrate Pentecost. Jesus told his disciples that after his accession, his returning to the Father, He would send another like Him.

John 14:16-17 (NIV)
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever-- the Spirit of truth.

That word Counselor is a translation of the Greek word paracleton. The word has also been translated as Comforter, Intercessor, Advocate, and Helper. The paracleton is the person who comes alongside to give you aid. A friend.

The aid the Holy Spirit gives is to guide you into all truth.
John 16:12-13 (MSG)
I still have many things to tell you, but you can't handle them now. But when the Friend comes, the Spirit of the Truth, he will take you by the hand and guide you into all the truth there is.

We have discussed before that the Truth is a person. The Truth is Jesus. Yeshua bar Josef of Nazareth, God incarnate, God in flesh and blood.

Just a quick note—Christianity does not worship three different God’s but rather makes a faith statement that the Father, the Son, and the Spirit are three in one and one in three, a Triune God. I still can’t wrap my head around how this can be, but this is the reality the scripture describes. Some have described this as God the Father above us. God the Son Jesus before us. God the Spirit in us. There are a lot of suggestions, but there is no consensus. That’s alright with me. There’s a lot of things I can’t wrap my head around.

Here’s what I do understand: God the Holy Spirit, leads you to become increasingly  more like God the Son, for the Glory of God the Father.

The Holy Spirit is the presence of Christ inside of you, guiding and directing you into righteousness; empowering you to love with the same love that God has loved you with. The Friend within leads you into reality. That’s a reason to celebrate.

Finally, the Apostle Paul has told us to stay to cooperate with this work going on inside us.
Galatians 5:25 (NIV)
Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

You know that we stay in step with the Spirit by practicing the Seven Habits of a Disciple. Every time we take time to read scripture, study the bible, pray, enjoy fellowship,  use your gifts to serve others,  worship the One who gave us this new life,  obey the Law written on our hearts, and contemplate the deep things of the soul with God, we are allowing the Spirit to keep us in step.  In our times of practicing the habits, The Holy Spirit leads us into all truth.

Pentecost Event, the birthday of the Church, is the great reversal of the Tower of Babel. Instead of egoism dividing, the Holy Spirit brings harmony and unity.
So we celebrate

Written in Stone, the Law as Guide given on Mt Sinai is now written by the Holy Spirit in the heart of the believer not only on the first Christian Pentecost but also in the heart of every person who has placed their faith in Jesus ever after. So we celebrate

As believers keep in step with the Holy Spirit through their practice of the seven spiritual habits of a disciple they are lead into all truth, conforming to the character of Christ himself. So we celebrate.

Do you have reason to celebrate Pentecost today? Are you a part of the Church?
Does the Holy Spirit indwell you?

If not, then acknowledge the fact that you are not a part of the Church. Believe that Jesus has opened the door for you to become part of the Church. Commit yourself to learning how to live in and be the Church. Ask God the Father to accept you as a member of His Church. You can leave here today with reason to celebrate. Pentecost Sunday, the birthday of the Church can become your spiritual birthday it that is the desire of your heart this morning. That is a great reason to celebrate.

Maybe you are already a member of the Body called the Church. The Holy Spirit indwells you, but you don’t feel like celebrating. Your passion, your zeal, your love, your fidelity, you’re afraid is just a glowing ember in a fire that once burned brightly. Ask the Holy Spirit to stir up the flame you long for so that in truth you can celebrate what God has done for you.

Spirit Fall


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