Sermon June 5, 2022: When The Holy Spirit Comes (Pentecost)

Photo via Pixabay

If you prefer to worship at home at this time or simply wish to listen to the service or sermon again, please click on the link below to watch the entire worship service as a video on your home computer, tablet or smartphone:

Link to Video:

Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/717180076

Screencast-o-matic: https://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/c31he5V32b4

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If you would prefer not to view the video, you’re welcome to use the links below to have a time of worship at home. (Just right click on the link to “open link in a new tab” to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

CALL TO WORSHIP: The Prayer of St Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console
To be understood, as to understand
To be loved, as to love
For it is in giving that we receive
And it’s in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it’s in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
Amen

HYMN We Are The Church
We Are The Church
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ughMVTMhCuc

(Just right click on the link to “open link in a new tab” to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

A TIME OF PRAYER (Testimonies, Joys & Concerns)

Congregational Prayer − The Centering Prayer: Lord Jesus, today I am far less than the person I want to be or can be with your help. I ask today that you would be more and more the center of my life. Guide me to all that is good, cleanse me from all that is not. Teach me Your ways and form in me Your nature. Help me to serve you as I am gifted. Help me to notice my neighbor and work through me to redeem my neighborhood. I am a sinner; please be my Shepherd, my Savior and my Lord. Amen.

Please pray for yourself and your neighbors, lifting up your needs to God while giving thanks for answered prayer.

The Lord’s Prayer: Our Father, who art in heaven; hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

HYMN Sweet, Sweet, Spirit
Gaither Vocal Band, Ernie Haase & Signature Sound – Sweet, Sweet, Spirit [Live]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i73PZJugjTk

(Just right click on the link to “open link in a new tab” to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

MOMENTS WITH THE CHILDREN – If you are blessed to have children with you, ask them what they are thankful for, and then thank God together!

GIVING OF OUR TITHES AND OFFERINGS – these can be mailed to the church office.

MESSAGE: When The Holy Spirit Comes
Zechariah 4:6, Acts 2
Series: “The Acts of the Holy Spirit through the Apostles.”

Right-click, open in new tab to play … Sermon audio … Sermon slides as a PDF file.
Saturday Video AudioWesley Sermon Audio
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SERMON NOTES

Zechariah 4:6 Then he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts.

Acts 2:1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

5 Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6 And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. 7 And they were amazed and wondered, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? … 11 … we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” 12 And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.”

14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. 15 For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day;
16 but this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 17 ‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams;
18 yea, and on my menservants and my maidservants in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. 19 And I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth beneath, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke; 20 the sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and manifest day. 21 And it shall be that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ …

37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, 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 shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children and to all that are far off, every one whom the Lord our God calls to him.” 40 And he testified with many other words and exhorted 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.

Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.   – Howard Thurman

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HYMN Have Thine Own Way, Lord
Have Thine Own Way, Lord by Paul Horne Music
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3EoCmCFmK4

(Just right click on the link to “open link in a new tab” to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

BENEDICTION

All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

If you worship at home, please let us know so we can pray for you!

TRANSCRIPT

Today is the day on the church calendar that we celebrate the holiday – the holy day – of Pentecost. Pentecost is a Jewish feast where thousands of people were in Jerusalem. And 7 weeks after Easter Sunday, the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples to dwell within them just as Jesus had foretold. There are many people who call this the birthday of the church. And certainly, it is the day that God chose to work through God’s people.

Now, last week, we mentioned the Feast of the Ascension, Ascension Day. Thursday, May 26th, 10 days ago, that’s the day that Jesus rose up into heaven, and told the disciples to wait in the city until the power to witness came upon them. And I love this little meme because it points out that what Jesus was doing is he was rising up to heaven, and from now on, he’d be working from home. We understand that in these post-pandemic days.

Jesus is working from home, but he’s still here. He’s still here because he is connected to his people. If you work from home, you know the main thing you need is a good Internet connection. Friends, if Jesus is going to work from home through us while we’re here, there needs to be a strong connection that links us together, and that connection is the presence of the Holy Spirit inside of us. That’s the importance of Pentecost for every single one of us. Do you remember the Verizon commercial – “can you hear me now?” Friends, we need that connection for Jesus to work through us.

And this week, I also chuckled at this. Maybe you saw it.

A news reporter asked Michael Jordan if he thought the 1990s Bulls could beat the modern-day Los Angeles Lakers led by LeBron James. Michael Jordan’s reply was yes.
The reporter said, “You can beat them? Well, by how much?”
And Michael Jordan said, “Well, two or three points.”
The reporter said, “Why would it be such a close game?”
Michael Jordan said, “Well, most of us are almost 60 now.”

And this story just really struck me. But I had to think, “Why does this seem important to me? Why is this funny?” Well, obviously, the first thing that’s funny about it is the idea that a group of 60-year-old men would win a game against 30-year-old men, the best in the world, even if it’s only by two or three points. That is self-confidence – and funny.

But as I got to thinking about it, I think what’s truly serious about this joke, what really honestly is funny about this joke, is something that’s really very subtle, and that they would walk out onto the floor and do their best.

Many, many, many years ago in my childhood, my father was very fond of the police auction in Belleville. I don’t know if they do this where you grew up, but the police in Belleville, they would pick up all these beaten-up bicycles, bicycles involved in car accidents, and they would take a part off of this bike and bolt it onto this bike. And they would make bicycles out of all the broken parts, and then they would sell them really cheap and donate the money to charity. And that’s where my father loved to buy bicycles for my brother and I. They were Frankenstein bicycles. And I remember sitting up at the top of the hill of a city park that was real close to where we lived. And there were two or three other boys with their brand-new 10-speed bikes laughing at our bicycles. And they said, “You could never beat us in a race.”
And we said, “Why?”
He said, “Well, our bicycles have 10 speeds. They have those little tiny racer wheels, and you got those big balloon tires on your Frankenstein bike. You could never win.”

Now, this is interesting. Here’s the difference between my brother and I. I’m the oldest. I knew I couldn’t win, so I didn’t say anything. But my brother said, “I can beat you.” And he jumped on his Frankenstein bike, and the other kid jumped on his bike, and they counted it down, and they raced down the hill. And my brother lost by 100 yards. But I tell you the difference between him and me – Kim’s laughing because she knows him – he would not walk away from a challenge because he assumed he didn’t have what was needed. So I imagine a group of 60-year-old men come out to play, and you know something? They might not outscore the other opponents, but they won when they walked onto the court because they would not draw back from a challenge. They would not assume that they would lose. But even if they knew they were going to lose, they still would rise to the challenge.

Now, there’s another little photograph on the screen there. That is Phil Jackson. That is the coach of the Chicago Bulls during this era when they won more championships than any other professional team in history. And I would like to tell you about Phil Jackson. He grew up in North Dakota; his high school basketball team won the state championship twice. He went on to college, and his college team won the national championship. And he was drafted by the New York Knicks, and they won a championship. So he knew how to play. And then he became a coach. And as a coach, at 73%, he has the highest winning percentage for games coached of any coach in history, to the best of my understanding. 73% – but you see, here’s the thing for us to remember. He could tell the team what to do because he had done what they were doing. But the coach, well, he doesn’t exactly work from home -but while the coach helps the team play the game, with very few exceptions, the coach doesn’t play. The coach works through the players.

Friends, in Jesus Christ, you and I have a coach who knows what he’s doing. Jesus Christ understands what is needed. And if we are connected to him and listen to him, we who walk onto the court will be able to do what we need to do. And most likely, we’ll win by far more than two or three points, which leads us to a discussion of the problem.

And here’s the problem. You may have seen this. There’s a sign in the locker room that says this, “Help wanted. Every athletic team should have a man who plays every position, a man who never makes an error, a man who knows just what the opposition is planning.” And here’s the point, “But so far, there’s been no way to get him to put down his popcorn and coke to come down out of the stands.”

And the discussion of this meme was you could hang that up in any locker room. You could hang it up in any school principal’s office. You could hang it up in any church because everybody who’s sitting and watching, some of them think they know everything.

But you see, here’s the point, friends, you may know everything. But if you don’t do anything with it, you are no help at all. And you could almost say that every problem that the church has, you can almost say that every problem that every church has, that any church has, is that people are watching from the stands, and they know what needs to be done. But they just won’t put their popcorn down and come out of the stands to play.

Friends, here’s the way Jesus wants the church to be. Everybody gets to play. Everybody gets to play. And everybody is needed.

If we look around us at our community, if we look around the state and our nation and the world, and if you see a problem and you want to live in a better world, please understand the reason that problem is there is people are watching instead of doing. Everybody is needed.

And God will work through everybody to bring about a better, holier, kinder world if we will begin to be those people who say, “Thy will be done,” not just with our mouths but with our feet and our hands … because, see, here’s the truth, here’s Michael Jordan. He’s a good ball player. But here’s the point for us, the church, to understand. When you walk out to do God’s will, God works through you. All you have to do is be willing. And the first part of that, of course, is to be willing to learn from God because God can use each one of us because as Zerubbabel was told in Zechariah 4:6, “It’s not by might, it’s not by power, but it’s by my spirit,” says the Lord of Hosts.

The nation of Israel was taken away into captivity into Babylon. They were prophesied to by the Prophet Daniel. But Zerubbabel was the person who led them back to Jerusalem and was told, “Rebuild the city. Rebuild the temple. Rebuild the nation.” But this point was made to that leader: “Victory is not going to come through your military power. Victory is not going to come through political might. It’s by my spirit that you will achieve the goals that God has given you.”

And friends, that’s still true for us today. It’s not by how pretty our building is, although we sure have a pretty one, don’t we? It’s not how beautiful the music is, although the music is beautiful. And it’s certainly not because of brilliant preaching. It’s by the Holy Spirit acting through God’s people including the preacher, including the musicians, and including all of us. It’s by the Spirit of God, and that’s what Pentecost means. It’s time for God to act, and we are the players.

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly, a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind. By the way, if you’ve ever been close to a tornado, that’s the sound I’m thinking of. People tell me it sounds like the loudest freight train they ever heard. In my mind, that’s the sound from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind. And it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributed and resting on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the spirit gave the mutterance.

Please don’t be distracted by the sound of the mighty wind. Please don’t be distracted by the little tongues of fire. Please don’t be distracted by the that words came out of their mouths praising God that they did not understand. But understand the important words are right there in verse 4, “They were all filled with the Holy Spirit.” That’s what’s important. When the Holy Spirit shows up, there’s not always the sound of a mighty wind. When the Holy Spirit shows up, God does different things. But what’s important is that people are filled with the Holy Spirit.

And this loud sound draws a crowd. The multitude came together and they were bewildered because each one heard them speaking in his own language. And they are amazed and wondered saying, Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear each of us in his own native language? And the Book of Acts goes into detail about all the different people from different areas, and they recognize the language from their home, but what they hear them telling in our own tongues, what they hear is them telling the mighty works of God. And all were amazed and perplexed saying to one another, “What does this mean?”

Now, this is a characteristic thing for us to be aware of. When God begins to act in the Church, you and I will be bewildered. You know why? Because it won’t be like it’s always been done before. When God begins to be real and change our lives, all of a sudden people go, “We’ve never heard anything like this before.” By the way, they said the same thing to Jesus. When the Holy Spirit begins to act, it shakes people up and they are amazed, filled with wonderment, and they are bewildered. And they say, “What does this mean?”

Friends, the saddest thing is a Church where nobody’s amazed and nobody’s bewildered because nothing has happened for years. But this is a reality. When the Holy Spirit begins to act, people will be amazed.

And oh, by the way, there will always be critical people who would have an answer for everything, and this is what they were saying on Pentecost Sunday: They are filled with new wine. If the Holy Spirit fell on that Methodist Church in Kinmundy and amazing things began to happen, it would sure be wonderful … and I wouldn’t be upset if somebody thought it was because we were all drunk.

But here’s the point that Peter makes, 14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. 15 For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day …” Peter obviously doesn’t hang out with a very rough crowd but I find it somewhat endearing and lovely. The 9 o’clock in the morning when our service begins at the same time that the Holy Spirit falls on the day of Pentecost. And Peter goes on to explain what causes them to be amazed and bewildered:

16 but this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 17 ‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; 18 yea, and on my menservants and my maidservants in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.

Now what does that mean? To prophesy means that God talks to people through you -and most of the time with your words. When the Holy Spirit comes, God will begin to speak through God’s people. The primary characteristic of the Holy Spirit coming is that God’s people begin to speak as they are led by God. And Peter ends his sermon: And it shall be that whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Now friends, I want to tell you that is some sermon. Because when they heard Peter’s words, they were cut to the heart, the Bible says. And they said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent.” Remember how Jesus began to preach, repent? “And be baptized, every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.” And please pay close attention to these next words: “And you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children and to all that are far off … far off in miles, all the way to the village of Kinmundy, far off in time, throughout all the centuries of history, down to today.

The promise of the coming of the Holy Spirit is to everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him. And Peter testified with many other words and exhorted them saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” In other words, this conversation that he was having with people went on throughout the rest of that day.

And for those of us who like statistics, well, here’s your statistic: For those who received his word were baptized and there were added that day about 3,000 souls. 3,000 people became converted as a result of one sermon … Wait a minute. I’m sorry. It wasn’t because of Peter. It wasn’t because of Peter’s words. It wasn’t because of Peter’s sermon. Although I sure hope this sermon was as good as that one. It was because the Holy Spirit was working in the lives of people … because Jesus said, it’s the Holy Spirit who will bring the power for people to respond to witness.

120 people were in the Upper Room, familiar with Jesus, followers of Jesus.
3000 people came to the Lord.
The Church on the day of Pentecost has 3,120 members after one day.

I’m not asking you to be intimidated at the idea that 3000 people will come to church here next week. Let that sink in just for a minute – what if it actually happened, here? Where am I going to park? We may have to run the buses up and down the road so that all 3,000 people can fit in … Wait, where am I going to sit? Somebody will be sitting in my seat!

But I’ll tell you, friends, if the Holy Spirit begins to work through our Church– might not be 3,000 people, might not be 300 people, might not even be 30 people. But God will reach out through us to draw others toward God. This is what happened on the day of Pentecost. And this is what God wants to do through us still today.

Now, I do think we also need to give a little bit of credit to Jesus because Jesus prepared the people for this for three years of his ministry. He walked up and down, from Galilee down to Jerusalem, preaching. Every little village had someone in it whom Jesus had healed. Every little village had someone in it who had spent time listening to his words. And so Jesus laid the groundwork. And friends, if you stack wood carefully for three years, you’ll be able to light a great fire with a single match.

So Jesus got them ready by doing what Jesus did. So remember those words, “As the Father sent me … Remember what I did for three years? I’m now going to send you to do the same thing for three years,” and then three more years, and 30 years, and 300 years right on down till this year, in this place, we are still doing what Jesus told us to do. And that lays a foundation.

But here’s the fact. If God works through everyone, all the way, there is nothing in a Church that limits it from growing in numbers. The limitation is always because we feel our Church is something where we watch rather than a Christian faith being something that we do.

Now, it’s also true when the Holy Spirit begins to stir things up, there is going to be noise, there is going to be chaos, there’s going to be criticism. Somebody will come up to pastor Dave and say, “Pastor Dave, I wrote a song this week. Can I play it?” And pastor Dave will say, “Okay.” Because Church is not about us in leadership controlling what God wants to do and work through you. Church is about us setting you free, so the Holy Spirit can do what the Holy Spirit wants to do.

In addition to that, I’d remind you – we’ve talked about this all spring – conversion follows conversation. And as we talk about what the Holy Spirit wants us to do, the Holy Spirit becomes more powerful to convert what we go from the way we have always done it before to what God would like to do here and now. So we need to be talking about these things.

The great Methodist missionary, E. Stanley Jones, said that the Book of Acts has the wrong title. In most Bibles, it says, The Acts of the Apostles. You know what the word Apostle means? It means sent one. Friends, please understand, all of us are the sent ones. God is sending all of us. But E. Stanley Jones said, “The book should be entitled The Acts Of The Holy Spirit Through The Apostles.”

And now, today friends, God wants to work through us.

Michael Jordan said, “Well, most of us are in our 60s.” Those were my younger days. But God’s not finished and God is not limited by my age. If I’m willing, I will find that God can work.

And so here’s the question I’d like to suggest to you. As you leave Church today, consider this: Did the Holy Spirit show up in our worship? Because you know the answer that we want to hear is yes. Consider as you pray through the day before you fall asleep at night, in the way I interacted with people, was I sensitive to the Holy Spirit? And did the Holy Spirit ever do something through me this week, or this day?

And I’ll be honest with you, when you notice it, it will be a tiny little thing, but just a tiny little seed that falls to the ground, it’ll have a powerful result if you give it time. Because the question for the season of Pentecost is, “What can God do through me?”

So perhaps these three questions could be part of your devotions.

“Today, was I connected to the coach?” Because just as Phil Jackson had things to say to his team, Jesus Christ has things to say to us. “Was I connected to the coach today?”

And “What did I learn?” What is the coach trying to show me?

And then because players always play better when you keep score, “What did the Holy Spirit do through me today?”

Please pray with me. Lord Jesus, thank you for the day of Pentecost so long ago. But help us to understand that you do not do these things just once, but you continue to have days of Pentecost throughout all of history in churches all across the world. Whenever revival breaks out, it’s because God begins to act through the people by the power of the Holy Spirit to convert and draw people to Him. And so, Lord Jesus, we pray that we would have our own version, our own experience of the Holy Spirit coming and dwelling within us, and growing within us, and then flowing out through us. Lord, we pray that our Church would have our own experience of a season of Pentecost. And we ask this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION: Let’s have a conversation! Please reflect upon the questions below as you consider the material presented above. In a comment, share your thoughts and additional questions. What would you like to know?

What grabbed your attention?
What is the human need or problem?
What questions do you have about any quotes provided?
Does the Bible say anything about this?
What solutions do you see for the problem?
What specifically could we begin to do to make a change?

Additional Resources

Kinmundy United Methodist Church is located at 308 E. Third Street, Kinmundy, IL 62854. Worship begins at 9 am Sundays. The building is handicap accessible.
Wesley United Methodist Church is located at 3381 Kinoka Road, Patoka, IL 62875 in the country between Kinmundy and Patoka. Worship begins at 10.45 am Sundays.
VISION: We are a functional family of God, where Jesus is Lord and people grow.
MISSION: Every layperson is called to carry out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20); every layperson is called to be missional. (¶126 of the 2016 Book of Discipline)
Paradigm: There are two kinds of people in this world: people who need to become disciples and disciples who need to become disciple makers.

(If you wish, you can listen to the Prayer of St. Francis being sung:
Sarah McLachlan – Prayer of St. Francis
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agPnMxp5Occ )
 

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