The sermon for May 20th 2018, Pentecost Sunday, is now available on the New Life web-site.
In this sermon, which is based on Acts 2:1-21, I talk about the powerof the Holy Spirit poured out at Pentecost.
Everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages as the Holy Spirit gave hem the ability.
It is the Day of Pentecost, and all the believers are in one place. Suddenly there is a noise like a mighty wind and something like tongues of fire settle on each one.
Everyone present is filled with the Holy Spirit and begins to speak other languages in the power of the Holy Spirit. People hearing the commotion come running and are perplexed to hear the disciples praising God in various languages. Some ascribe it to God, others to drunkenness.
Peter stands up and points the hearers to the prophet Joel who had prophesied that in the last ays the Spirit would be poured out on all flesh.
How awesome it is that every believer has the ability to be filled with the Holy Spirit. This is God’s Spirit dwelling in us and empowering our speech to God’s glory.
Everyone present was filled- there were no exceptions. The gift of the Holy Spirit is available to all ages, to women and men.
The outward sign of the presence of the Holy Spirit was the gift of tongues; the ability to praise God and to pray in a language you don’t know, a special prayer language.
When we don’t know how to pray, praying in tongues is a means by which the Holy Spirit in us intercedes on our behalf.
The presence of the Holy Spirit was not just for the believers who were there. It was for unbelievers also- those who heard the noise but did not know what it meant. This event led to the hearts of many being softened and prepared for Peter’s message so that 3000 people were saved that day.
The power of the Holy Spirit changes everything.
Come and fill me Holy Spirit. Let my tongue be used to praise you and my heart set on fire by your love. Amen.
Then they cast lots, and Matthias was selected to become an apostle with the other eleven.
It is in the gap between the return of Jesus to heaven and the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit comes.
One day, when 120 of the believers are present in the one place, Peter tells them that they need to replace Judas as an apostle.
They nominate two men, Matthias and Justus. After praying they cast lots, and Matthias is added to the eleven.
It seems an odd way to choose an apostle, that is by casting lots. To our way of thinking it seems a little casual to make such an important appointment in this way.
Both Matthias and Justus meet the criteria that were established and both were equally qualified for the position.
If we believe that God directs the courses of nations, then it should not be too hard to believe that He directs the selection of the apostles.
After Pentecost, we do not read of this method of selecting ministers again. We have the Holy Spirit, God Himself, dwelling in us. Surely we can believe that He will lead us in every important decision.
The important factor of course is prayer. When we pray and include listening in the prayer process, then God will lead us in every decision that we submit to Him.
Lord God, please help me to submit every decision to you, and please lead me into the right choices. Amen.
“There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”
After the crippled man is healed, Peter addressed the crowd. While he and John are still speaking, some priests and guards come to arrest them as the priests are disturbed by their teaching. Many in the crowd believe their message and so the number of believers has grown to 5,000 men plus women and children.
The next day, the priests question Peter and John, demanding to know by what power they had healed the man. Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, testifies that the man was healed by the name of Jesus, whom they, the priests, had crucified but God had raised from the dead. He goes on to say that there is no other name by which people can be saved.
There is healing in the name of Jesus, and salvation in the name of Jesus. There is no other name, no other salvation.
Unbelievers say that all religions lead to God. But only one name will save us from hell and bring us to heaven. Only one name will bring healing, wholeness and new life.
The name of Jesus is powerful. Demons flee when they hear the name preached. They wither in fear at the testimony of righteous men and women.
Why would we seek another name, another salvation?
Yet some people do exactly this. Some people claim to be born again but run after other gods. A little bit of Christ, a little bit of Allah and a touch of Krishna.
Salvation is not a buffet in which we can take a little of what appeals to us.
There is only one Lord, our saviour Jesus Christ.
No other name will save you. No other “god” will heal you or take you to eternal life.
Lord Jesus Christ, your name is above all names. Thank you for saving me through your death on the cross. Amen.
“You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. And we are witnesses of this fact!”
Peter heals a crippled beggar in the Temple precinct. A crowd gathers as they see the man standing, walking and praising God.
Peter addresses the crowd, asking why they are surprised by this. It is not the goodness of the disciples, but the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who healed him. The Jesus whom they rejected and killed, the author of life, is now risen from the dead.
The people killed Jesus in ignorance, but now God requires them to repent and turn to God so that their sins will be wiped away.
We are all guilty of killing Jesus, the author of life. All have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. We all need forgiveness and cleansing from our sins.
Because of Jesus’ death on the cross, every sin is taken care of. All is forgiven, if only we will accept it.
Jesus is the author of life, and so He is still alive. Death could not hold Him down. He shares His life with us so we know He will raise us to eternal life. This is the promise of Easter.
We can be sure that the resurrection is real because there were so many witnesses to the fact. They might have made it up, but so many of these witnesses died for what they believed. They were tortured and put to death, but not one of them ever confessed to a fake resurrection.
Jesus is alive, and because of Him, we will live for ever.
Thank you Lord for the promise of Easter. You are the author of life and you have defeated death for ever. Hallelujah!