Before the words of our text, Luke tells us that Jesus – in Acts Chapter 1 – gave “marching orders” to His disciples by telling them to stay in Jerusalem and wait until they received the gift of the Holy Spirit. Then they would become His powerful “witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1: 8) He knew that after His ascension, they would feel abandoned/orphaned so He promised to send them One who would “stand beside them always” (the Paraclete). When the Holy Spirit came to them, He would bring to their remembrance everything Jesus had said to them. The Holy Spirit would teach them about sin, righteousness and judgment. [The Holy Spirit helps us to identify sin in our lives and in the world. He brings us the mercy, forgiveness and righteousness which Christ earned for us on the Cross. He reminds us that the devil and his evil hoard stand damned – under the eternal judgment of God – but that all who trust in the mercy and forgiveness of Christ are declared “not guilty!”]
And on that first Pentecost that’s exactly what did happen! The Holy Spirit came in the form and sound of a mighty rushing wind. He descended on the disciples, placed “tongues of fire upon the heads of Jesus’ followers” and they began to speak in languages they had never studied and didn’t know. The Holy Spirit performed a miracle so that those who had come to investigate the “loud noise” in fact heard the sweet gospel of God’s love and forgiveness proclaimed. That day, and the days that followed, saw thousands converted to the Christian faith and to responsible church membership.
How desperately we need a Pentecost today!
Many “main-line Christian denominations” have become “apathetic churches.” The Lutheran Church and many other denominations lose tens of thousands of members each year. Even growing congregations, like ours, can become apathetic and complacent! Why is it that some members quietly disengage from Holy Cross, never to return again? What is it that we do about it? Do we recognize that some believers who call themselves members of Holy Cross seldom or infrequently gather here around the Word and Sacraments to be built up and then sent out as His witnesses to the world? How do we react (or interact) with the billions of people around the world who do not know or confess Jesus Christ as their only Savior from sin, death and the power of the devil?
How desperately we need a Pentecost today! We need God to fill us – as a hand fills a glove – in order that He might use us to serve Him and those around us.
Jesus died to forgive our apathy; to empower our serving; to save us from our selfishness; and to embolden our witness!
Just like an artesian well that flows constantly with cold, pure, wonderful water – in season and out of season – God fills us to overflowing with His Holy Spirit. “Jesus said, ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me… streams of living water will flow from within him.'” (John 7: 37 – 38)
May our church – Holy Cross – be a church “on fire” in the Gospel with the Spirit so that we will be His witnesses in Wichita, in our state, country and across the world!
See you in church this next weekend!
Blessings in Christ,