Waynedale United Methodist Church
Wednesday, November 21, 2018
Making Disciples of Jesus for the Transformation of the World!
   

June 10, 2018 Sermon

The Church is Alive”

Acts 2:1 – 21

Ted Jansen June 10, 2018 Waynedale UMC

 

1.) Christmas is the time to celebrate that God in Christ came to earth. Lent/Holy Week/Resurrection Day is the celebration of the life, death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the God in the flesh. Pentecost is the celebration of the Holy Spirit, a part of the Trinity, that started the church. The Holy Spirit is God’s presence with us today.

The impact on our lives day to day has more to do with Pentecost than the other special moments in our church year.

We know God in Christ through the Holy Spirit. I praise God for the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost and for the Holy Spirit in this place.

Spirit of the Living God fall afresh on us, Spirit of the Living God fall afresh on us. Melt us, mold us, fill us, use us. Spirit of the Living God fall afresh on us.

 

2.) Acts 2:1 – 21 describes the Holy Spirit coming and filling the disciples. There were tongues of fire that rested above the disciples, there was the sound of a mighty wind and the disciples spoke in different languages. The wonderful message of God’s love in Christ was shared with different people who had come to see what was going on.

Peter then spoke to the Jews of Jerusalem and told them that the disciples were not drunk, as some thought. This moment was spoken about by the prophet Joel long ago. Peter quotes the prophet Joel and speaks boldly about the life, death and the risen Lord and Savior.

The people responded to Peter by repenting and believing the message. The church was born in that moment of the Spirit’s pouring Peter’s declaring.

This moment was unusual and out of the ordinary. I began to discover that God had been preparing for the birth of the church and the presence of the Holy Spirit long ago.

 

3.) The name, “Pentecost,” is the Greek name for the Old Testament Feast of Weeks. It was a feast held seven weeks and a day (50th day.) after the Festival of the First Fruits. Pentecost was a celebration of the end of the harvest and the people were to bring two loaves of bread to the Lord as a gift of thanks and praise. (Leviticus 23:15 – 17)

This was a feast that Jews from all over would come to Jerusalem to offer their bread/grain. We read in Acts 2:5, “there were staying in Jerusalem God –fearing Jews from every nation under heaven.” (Acts 2:5)

 

4.) When Peter quoted Joel (Act 2:17 – 21) he was referring to Joel 2:28 – 32. I read Joel 2:27 (RSV) to see if any insights could be given. Here is what I read. “You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I, the Lord, am your God and there is none else.”

This was written about 800 years before Pentecost but describes that we can know that I am will be in the midst of Israel. To know means personally, I Am is one of the special names for God and in the midst, can mean right in the middle, with the people of God.

This made me think of God’s plan for the Israelites while in the wilderness when they were just beginning to discover who they were as God’s people.

 

5.) Where did the tabernacle reside in the wilderness with the people? It resided in the middle, the center of the camp. God’s presence was in the midst of the people.

When God wasn’t in the middle of the camp we read in Exodus 13:21, 22 these words. “By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.”

Wind moves the clouds. Fire burning at night is visible to all. The camp was made up of 12 different tribes with the tabernacle as the place of worship.

 

6.) These Old Testament truths made me realize that God’s plan for the day of Pentecost was linked in many ways to His promise and provision long ago.

So, on that day when the church was born people from every nation were coming to Jerusalem to worship. There was fire and the sound of wind. God’s presence did not fill the Temple but the lives of people. We were now God’s Temple since the curtain of Holy of Holies was torn in two from top to bottom when Jesus died. The Holy Spirit could dwell inside of us. The Church began when the Spirit came.

 

7.) On that day that the church was born, Pentecost, the scriptures reveal that there was external and internal evidence.

We see internal evidence when Peter, who quoted the prophet Joel, spoke of dreams, visions, and prophesy. Peter said that all who called on the name of the Lord will be saved. These are internal evidences of God’s work in the lives of people. Changes happened inside of us.

The external evidence was that people were baptized, gathered for prayer, shared meals, and grew in their faith and witness. Changes happened outside of us that others could see.

The Church is alive when the Holy Spirit allows external and internal change because of the presence of the risen Christ.

We look back to the first Pentecost and ahead to new moments of Pentecost.

 

8.) Each church that was born has the Holy Spirit moving internally and externally. Waynedale UMC has a story of people that came together because of their faith.

Lives were transformed and God brought about internal change. Externally it was a life lived in faith. The Waynedale church exists because of the Spirit of God is in the hearts of disciples. This is our story. God has called us to let the Holy Spirit bring life inside and outside of our lives.

We believe that the church is alive because JesusChrist is alive. Pentecost is still going on almost 2,000 years after the birth of the church because Jesus Christ is still alive and here!

 

9) God’s Spirit is still looking for new ways to express the new life. New churches, new groups, new disciples, new ministries, new outreach is all happening because that is what the Holy Spirit is doing, having continued what started on Pentecost.

I read about a few new ministries in our Indiana Conference that are going to be starting up soon in two areas churches, Covenant UMC and Lifehouse UMC.

This reminds us that the church is still going and growing. I know that when I went Zambia Africa 6 years ago the church was growing and the Pastor’s School was training pastors for the growing ministry.

 

10.) In Centralia PA a group of men went out to a landfill to burn some trash. No one is exactly positive how but a fire began that day when some of the embers fell down into a crack in the ground to a coal vein. That year was 1962.

At first the town did not realize that the fire in this vein of coal was burning. But then they realized it was burning and attempts were made to get the fire out. At one point they measured the temperature and found it to be 187 F just ten feet below the surface. They had to condemn the town and tear down buildings because of the fire. No one has died due to the fire but no one has been able to put it out. It continues to burn even today, below the surface where a large amount of coal is available. It might continue to burn for several hundred years.

The Holy Spirit’s fire was poured out on people the day of Pentecost. Throughout history many have tried to put out the fire of the church, but no one has been able to put out the fire that has been burning for almost 2,000 years.

 

11.) Each church has a lifecycle and a purpose for coming alive. When a church has struggles and appears to not be as healthy as it once was we think about that church and its aging. We understand that there is always a promise and a hope for each church and each person because we are a people of Pentecost. We are a people who are born and grown by the Spirit of God.

We at Waynedale UMC we are in the process of going through our Ministry Action Plans. We are dreaming, praying, discussing in the midst of the changes and challenges of the days we live in. New ideas, plans, actions, are being planned and in the next several months you will see and hear about them. It is the belief that the Holy Spirit is bringing fire and wind to our lives afresh. God, we pray, will do something unexpected in our midst.

 

12.) What do I have here? (Show them a balloon that has not been inflated.) It is a balloon. But is it in the shape that it was designed for? No. It has a form but not the purpose.

It was designed for more than it is. It was designed to be filled with air. (Blow it up.) Now we see this balloon and it has an internal change and an external change.

We cannot see the air that is in the balloon. We know there is air because of the external form. A life transformed is because something new is on the inside and it gets lived on the outside.

 

13.) God’s Spirit dwells in us as we have made Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.

How has the Spirit transformed your life through the church? What are the internal transformations you have experienced? Have you been able to love, forgive, experience peace, hope, grace, joy in ways you couldn’t before. What are the external transformations in your life? Do you give more of your money with generosity, are you are connected to a small group, do you volunteer with the children, do you spend more time praying for people, do you invite people to worship with you?

You, as the church, have encouraged and uplifted people. You have prayed for people and have sung songs that have strengthened faith in Christ.

I know that Jesus Christ is alive because of you. I pray that we have been the risen Christ for one another and for our community.

 

 

Spirit of the Living God fall afresh on us, Spirit of the Living God fall afresh on us. Melt us, mold us, fill us, use us. Spirit of the Living God fall afresh on us.