The Unstoppable Force: Fire & Wind

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Sermon Notes:

Introduction:

A part of acclimating to a new part of the country is realizing all of the various differences in demographic. In Kansas City, we worry about thunderstorms, tornados, ice, and large hail. In Ashland and this part of the country, there is a phenomenon to be aware of that we are new to: forest fires.

Illustration about a forest fire – the inability to control a fire when there is wind blowing.

Today, we are going to talk about the unstoppable force of wind and fire.

Acts 2:1-18 (NIV)
2 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them 5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?” 13 Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.”14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15 These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 17 “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, 18 your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.

Movement 1:

The disciples were faithful to wait as Jesus asked them to when He ascended. We find them gathered together in Jerusalem on Pentecost.

“The word Pentecost means 50. It was 50 days after Passover. It was also called the Feast of Weeks. A week is 7 days, and a week of weeks would be 7X7, or 49, and the Feast was held on the 50th day. Now, the history of Pentecost goes way back to 1200BC, to the giving of the Law by God to Moses. It was an agricultural holiday – that is, its date was chosen by God to coincide with the harvest. Which is why Exodus 23:16 calls it the Feast of Harvest.

Pentecost was one of 3 pilgrim festivals – when all Jewish men were required to travel to Jerusalem with sacrifices and offerings. The other 2 were Passover, 50 days earlier, and the Festival of Tabernacles, nowadays called Succoth, in the early autumn. The reason so many people were around for the Pentecost of Acts 2 is that it was a pilgrim festival. Who knows how many were there in the city that day? Perhaps a million or more. The whole holiday revolved around our coming to God. Sacrifices and offerings were brought to Him.

We see that in the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit would appear to prophets, kings, and others for a short period of time, to speak a word to them and then would depart. At Pentecost as we read in this passage, the Holy Spirit comes and fills them completely.

Pentecost is also viewed as the time in which the giving of the Law to Moses on Mt. Sinai was celebrated. The giving of the law at this time was when Israel strictly became a religious community. Pentecost was the fulfillment of Jer. 31:33, “I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts.” Here is a complete submission to God’s will. It is both the basis and the fruit of entire sanctification in the believer.

Movement 2:

As they are gathered together their attention is grabbed by this intense sound of a rushing wind – like a tornado. If any of them had been dosing off, they are now awake! Then they saw fire come and rest on every person there.

These two symbols, wind and fire, are too significant to miss. The people no doubt are having flashbacks to what Moses and the Israelites must have saw on Mt. Sinai.

Exodus 19:16-18 (NLT)

16 On the morning of the third day, thunder roared and lightning flashed, and a dense cloud came down on the mountain. There was a long, loud blast from a ram’s horn, and all the people trembled. 17 Moses led them out from the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. 18 All of Mount Sinai was covered with smoke because
the Lord had descended on it in the form of fire. The smoke billowed into the sky like smoke from a brick kiln, and the whole mountain shook violently.

Wind was the loud sound accompanying God’s Spirit and fire was symbolic of the divine presence. Both stand in representation of the Holy Spirit who purifies and sanctifies.

The Israelites realized the supreme importance of that event and those gathered in the upper room on Pentecost realize the significance of this event.

So what is the significance of Pentecost for us, today? The Holy Spirit comes…

Victorious Living

The power and presence of the infilling of the Holy Spirit enables us to be able to do everything we know we need to do but do not seem to have the power to do. The Holy Spirit is an advocate, a comforter, a nurturing presence to awaken us to the life we are to live so that we can live faithfully in the world and to obey God.

Spirit of Truth

All along our journey the Spirit is teaching/enabling/equipping us how to live. Reminds us of the work of Jesus in our life and how to live in our world.

Spirit Is a Gift

We receive the Holy Spirit, we do not take it. There is nothing we can do to earn it – God freely gives it to those who believe and will receive it. It is the Gift of God that purifies and gives power to bear witness.

Spirit Sets Believers Apart

We bear witness to Jesus by the way we live – in the world but not of the world. To save our life we must lose it. To be lifted up we must be made low.

Movement 3:

“The crucifixion of Christ, when He offered Himself as a sacrifice for man’s sin, and the resurrection, which validated that sacrifice as divinely accepted, would both be incomplete without the outpouring of the Spirit. In a sense, Good Friday and Easter Sunday were but the prelude to the Day of Pentecost. The crucifixion, the resurrection, and the ascension together formed the exodus of Jesus from earth back to heaven, which was necessary in preparing for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.”

“It is said that The Average Christian And The Average Church are Somewhere Bogged Down Between Calvary and Pentecost. They have been to Calvary for Pardon, but they Have Not Been to Pentecost For Power. Bethlehem means God With Us. Calvary means God For Us. But Pentecost means God In Us.”

(Repeat)

All these centuries later, God’s redemptive work in the world is still be done through humanity in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit.

For a few weeks now I have left these boxes around the platform as a thought-provoking reminder to some of the ways that God has placed on our hearts to live out that redemptive work.

As you look around, these boxes are symbols of people. People who are longing to be seen. People who are longing to be accepted. People who are longing for the unending love of God.

The Holy Spirit – with the power and purity – will guide us into how we are to live victoriously in truth, bearing witness to those around us by our lives through the gift of the Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is the promise of the Father, gift of the Son and is both the basis and the fruit of entire sanctification in the believer.

Conclusion:

Over the past few months together, we have been focusing on the idea of Breathe In and Breathe Out.

This pattern of life is vital for us as we pursue God’s mission for us in the world. We breathe in as we spend time with God in prayer and reading scripture, and private and public worship. We breathe out as our relationship with God changes our life and how we live. We breathe out when we serve and love others. We breathe out when those around us know that there is something different about us and the way we live our lives.

It is the purity and power of the Holy Spirit that enables us to live this life of faith, to breathe in and to breathe out.

The unstoppable force of the Holy Spirit – the wind and fire of God – is available to each of us if we will ask to receive it.

Response: Call to receive the Holy Spirit/entire sanctification/Communion

Response:

As we respond to the Word this morning, I would like to ask those who are going to help us as we receive communion to come forward.

Communion:

The Lord’s Supper reminds us that suffering and death are involved in our redemption and in the redemption of the world. This remembrance meal focuses our attention on the amazing love of God to pay such a price for our lives and reminds us of the freedom that we can have in Christ.

Words of Institution:

We are reminded that in the night that our Lord gave himself up for us, He took bread, gave thanks, broke it, and gave it to His disciples, saying, “Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” When the supper was over he took the cup, gave thanks, gave it to His disciples, and said, “Drink from this, all of you; this is my blood of the new covenant poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this as often as you drink it in remembrance of me.”

And so, in remembrance of these mighty acts in Jesus Christ, we offer ourselves in praise and thanksgiving as a holy and living sacrifice in union with Christ’s offering for us.

Let’s pray together.

Prayer of Consecration (Epiclesis):

Pour out your Holy Spirit on us gathering here, and on these gifts of the bread and cup. Make them be for us the body and blood of Christ that we may be for the world the body of Christ redeemed by the blood.

By your Spirit make us one with Christ, one with each other and one in ministry to all the world. All honor and glory is yours, Almighty God, now and forever. In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Amen.

Body of Christ

The body of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was broken for you, preserve you blameless, unto ever- lasting life. Take and eat this, in remembrance that Christ died for you.

Blood of Christ

The blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was shed for you, preserve you blameless unto ever- lasting life. Drink this, in remembrance that Christ’s blood was shed for you, and be thankful.

Breathe Out
Breathe Out
Breathe Out