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You Have The Holy Spirit! Pentecost 2017. Acts 2:1-21

Dorffmaister_Istvan-Pentecost.1725-1797Pentecost

St. Peter Lutheran Church

Acts 2:1-21

June 4, 2017

“You Have the Holy Spirit!”

 

Iesu Iuva!

 

  1. Introduction: You have the Holy Spirit!

 

A few years back I went to hear a speaker named John Kleinig, a professor from the Lutheran Church in Australia. Some of you have heard of him because he wrote a book on Christian spirituality called Grace upon Grace that I have recommended many times.

In that book, Dr. Kleinig emphasizes the gift of the Holy Spirit in teaching us to pray, etc.; how prayer, meditation are received from God rather than obligations we have to fulfill

I went up and talked to him during a break and told him about the difficulty I had in some part of living the Christian life. Maybe difficulty with being faithful in prayer.  Maybe it was difficulty in knowing how to effectively do the work that needed to be done as pastor at St. Peter.  I don’t remember. What I remember was his response: “That’s why you have been given the Holy Spirit!” he said.

It silenced me.  At first, it seemed like he was dismissing me with too easy an answer.  Of course I have been given the Holy Spirit, I thought.  But that hasn’t solved my problem.

But as I thought about it more, I realized how foolish it was to think so little of the gift of the Holy Spirit.  After all, the Holy Spirit is God.  He lives in me.  He has all wisdom and knows how to solve every problem.  He is the Lord and giver of life; He is able to create, and raise the dead.  Surely He has the power to make me holy and overcome sin.

Our Savior’s name is Jesus Christ.  The second part of His name, ”Christ”is a title that means “anointed one.”  The catechism published by our Synod says that Jesus is called “Christ”, anointed one, because he has been anointed with the Holy Spirit without limit to be our Prophet, Priest, and King. If I have received the same anointing of the Holy Spirit as Jesus did, how can I worry that I don’t have what I need to live like Jesus and participate in His work?

This Pentecost, in the 2017th year of our Lord Jesus, in the 500th year of the Reformation, I know that you at St. Peter have the same kinds of worries I spoke to Dr. Kleinig about. Today, by the power of God the Holy Spirit, I would like to remind you of the same thing Dr. Kleinig reminded me.  Don’t be afraid.  You have been given the Holy Spirit.

  1. History of Pentecost: How Peter Received Power to Speak

The reading from Acts tells us how the Holy Spirit was first given to the disciples of Jesus.  It tells us that when the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in a house.  Pentecost was one of the 3 holy days that God commanded the Jews in the Law.  It was fifty days after Passover, when Jesus had been crucified and buried.  In the Old Testament it is referred to as the Feast of Weeks or the Day of Firstfruits, because the Israelites were commanded by God to bring the firstfruits of the wheat harvest to the temple on that day.  It was also the day when they remembered how God had given the Law to Israel on Mount Sinai.  After the first Passover and God delivering the Israelites from the Egyptians through the Red Sea, Israel was led by God through the desert to Mount Sinai.  That journey took about 50 days, a little over a month and a half.

On that Pentecost after Jesus’ crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension into heaven forty days later, a sound came from heaven like a mighty, rushing wind and filled the house where the disciples were.  Divided tongues that looked like fire rested on each one of the disciples of Jesus, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak in other languages, each one speaking the language the Holy Spirit gave them to speak.

The record from Acts tells us that there were people in Jerusalem from all over the world who had come up for Passover.  They had made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover at the temple, and they had stayed for Pentecost. A crowd of people heard the sound and came to see what it was.  And when they arrived, they heard the disciples of Jesus declaring the marvelous works of God.  They were amazed because the disciples were by and large uneducated men from Galilee, the north of what had been Israel, and yet every person who gathered heard the disciples speaking in the language in which he had been born and raised.  So they asked, What does this mean?  There were also people there who sneered and said that the disciples were drunk with new, sweet wine, the wine that had just been made at the recent grape harvest.

Then the text says, 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 (2:14). 

There is something for us there.  See how Peter speaks: Let this be known to you; give ear to my words.  Peter speaks like he has authority over this crowd! Where does Peter get this bold speech?  Did Peter speak that way fifty days ago, when some serving girls asked him if he was one of Jesus’ disciples?  No.  He was afraid.  He swore an oath that he did not know Jesus.  Now he speaks to the crowd like a man who has authority, and is confident that he should be heard.

And notice: Peter was standing with the eleven.  Before he denied that he knew Jesus.  He didn’t stand with the disciples of Jesus.  When he thought his life was in danger, he denied being one of Jesus’ disciples.  He didn’t stand with the other disciples.

But now St. Peter stands with them, and speaks for them.  He tells the crowd that no one is drunk, but that this is what was prophesied long ago by the prophet Joel.  God promised that in the last days He would pour out from His Spirit on all flesh.  In the days of old, only the prophets were given the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit enabled them to proclaim God’s Word: to prophesy.  Sometimes the Holy Spirit gave visions and dreams to the prophets.  But in the last days, God foretold that He would pour out His Spirit on all His servants: male, female, young, middle aged, old.

That is what is happening now, Peter tells them.  And he goes on to tell them why: because Jesus had been crucified for our sins, raised from the dead, and seated at God’s right hand to reign.  You crucified Him, Peter said.  But everyone who believes in Him, calls on Him, will be saved and will receive the Holy Spirit.

  1. The Holy Spirit Gives Knowledge of Christ

What we see learn from this is this: the Holy Spirit makes us new people.  He gives the knowledge of God through Jesus Christ. And He makes us, who are naturally weak and selfish, like Peter was, different beings: bold, faithful, courageous.  He gives us the power to speak and proclaim Jesus to others.

You’ve all been in a room that was stuffy, damp, or moldy, and someone said, Let’s let some air in here!  They opened windows, and fresh air came into the room.  You could breathe; the room became more liveable.  That is something like what God did at Pentecost with the disciples; but the air, the mighty rushing wind, was His Holy Spirit.  “Wind” could also be translated “breath”.    God’s breath breathed into the disciples with power, vehemently.

And what does breath do?  Breath gives life.  In the beginning, when God created Adam, He breathed into His nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.  Through the Holy Spirit God breathes His life into us. Without His breath we do not have life before God.  We live physically, but spiritually we are dead.  We don’t know God.  Our attempts to serve Him only drive us farther from Him. But He breathes on us in the Gospel, and we believe that Jesus our God, who died for our sins and took them away. The breath of God that makes us alive to Him by faith also renews our minds, hearts, and bodies.  We start to have confidence in God’s Word.  We start to fear God instead of human beings.  We start to have joy in the face of suffering.  We start to rely on God instead of our own strength.  We start to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Breath also does something else.  Breathing in gives us life. Breathing out is how we talk.  God’s breath, His Spirit within us, enables us to speak His Word.  It enables us to do what Peter could not do fifty days ago: confess faith in Jesus, even when we might have to suffer or lose something to do so.  The Holy Spirit also gives us wisdom and skill to speak the truth about Jesus to our neighbors for their salvation.

On Friday, the group that is working on revitalizing our congregation’s outreach with the Gospel met. One of the things we talked about was how we have a small percentage of the congregation that engages in the work of the church.  And someone said, I think what keeps a lot of people from volunteering is the fear that they aren’t really qualified. I think that is true.  People have also said that about other things.  Some people don’t come to bible class because they are afraid that they won’t know enough and will look foolish.  They are intimidated.  And I think nearly all of us worry that if we try to tell our neighbors about Jesus, tell them the Gospel, we might not say it the right way. We might say it in a way that offends people.  Or we might be challenged and will not be able to answer their questions.

Brothers and sisters, I promise you: if you are a Christian, you are qualified to speak and to serve in the Church. You have been given the Holy Spirit.  You had your personal Pentecost when you were baptized.  The Holy Spirit will speak through you and work through you to benefit the church and your neighbors.  And the Holy Spirit, Jesus says, leads us into the truth and reminds us of what He has said; the Holy Spirit teaches us to speak Jesus’ words and not our own.

  1. The Holy Spirit is Received through Keeping Jesus’ Word

One thing remains to be said, about how we receive the Holy Spirit.

You notice what the disciples did to receive the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.  They didn’t do anything. God simply poured out His Spirit upon them.

The Holy Spirit, God in us, is not a prize that is earned.  He is given freely as a gift, the greatest gift that can be given.

In the Gospel reading, Jesus tells us more about how the Holy Spirit is given.  If anyone loves Me, He will keep My Word, and my Father will love Him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. (Jn. 14:23)

The Holy Spirit is given in and through the Word of Jesus; and He remains where Jesus’ word is received and kept by faith.  When you hear a sermon that proclaims Jesus alone as our Savior, His blood alone as our righteousness, the free gift of the forgiveness of sins through Jesus, the Holy Spirit is both offering the gift of Jesus’ death for your sins, and the gift of Himself.

So whenever we hear preaching that is faithful to all that Jesus said to the apostles, that is the Holy Spirit, the breath of God.  Whenever we receive the Lord’s Supper, when it is celebrated according to His institution, we are receiving the Holy Spirit along with the body and blood of our Lord.  Whenever we are absolved, forgiven, according to Jesus’ command, by His authority, the breath of God is rushing upon us, letting the breath of God into our bodies and souls, rooms that are naturally closed, foul and corrupted.

But we are not given the Holy Spirit all at once. It’s a gift that God gives as He wills. Jesus says that as parents know how to give good gifts to their children, even more the Father will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.

But we need to ask for the Holy Spirit, and receive from Him.  Neglecting to do that means we try to get by on our own power as we carry out the work God has called us to.

We need to keep His Word.  That means: learn it, and go on learning it.  Read the Bible.  Learn the teachings of Jesus, not only in a 20 minute sermon once a week, but also making sure we know what we were taught when we were confirmed, that we not only stay where we were when we were fourteen, but that we grow to maturity in God’s teaching, asking God to make it alive in our hearts by His Spirit.

That is why Christians often lack the Spirit’s power and wisdom.  We try to improve our lives or reform the Church or build the church by our own wisdom and strength.  That is so hard, and it doesn’t work.  The Holy Spirit enables the church to live and to confess and to speak and to believe in Jesus, of Jesus.  We wear ourselves out trying to do what the Holy Spirit alone can do.

That’s what Luther supposedly said about the Reformation; he said, we didn’t do anything.  The Holy Spirit did it all.  We just preached, wrote, and drank good Wittenberg beer.  The Spirit worked through His Word and reformed the Church.

Oh, may God grant us to be able to say this!  That God would teach us to be like children at Christmas, eager to receive the gifts given by our Father!  That we would see the chief task of our Church to be to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit through hearing, reading, and learning the Word of our Lord!

May the Holy Spirit also teach us to focus on receiving Him through God’s Word and Sacraments; to receive the good news of Christ.  Then our speaking and working will not be in vain, because He will be speaking and working in us.

Amen.

The peace of God, which passes understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Soli Deo Gloria

The Holy Spirit’s Mighty Work–Pentecost 2015

May 24, 2015 3 comments

Pentecost

St. Peter Lutheran Church

St. John 14:23-31

May 24, 2015

“The Holy Spirit’s Mighty Work”

Iesu Iuva

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring to remembrance all that I have said to you. St. John 14:26

 

Christians aren’t followers of a philosophy or special religious principles or morality. Christians are believers in Jesus Christ. We believe that Jesus is God in human flesh, that He came to earth, preached the Gospel, died for our sins, and rose again on the third day. What is unique about Christians is that we believe in Jesus. We believe Jesus is God. We believe His words to be the true words of God.

But what happens when those who are called Christians no longer believe and teach Jesus’ word? That is a tragic situation. Because among such people Jesus is no longer the authority, the Teacher, the Lord, even though they are called by His name. Instead the world’s wisdom reigns among them, and they have deserted their Lord. The only way we have Jesus is through His Word. Jesus teaches us this in the Gospel reading. “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.”

On this festival day of Pentecost we rejoice and give thanks to God for the gift of the Holy Spirit, which Jesus poured out on His believers after He ascended to the right hand of God. The Holy Spirit is the Lord and giver of life, the third person of the Holy Trinity, equal in divine majesty and power to the Father and the son. He comes to the church to do a mighty miracle, although it is not one the world or our flesh regard as great. We think the Holy Spirit’s great miracles are like the ones He did on Pentecost, when He came with the sound of a mighty wind and appeared in tongues of fire on the heads of the apostles. We think it is a great miracle that the Holy Spirit made the apostles speak in various languages, or when, later in the book of Acts, He enabled people to prophesy or picked up the deacon Philip in one town and carried him miraculously to another. Those are indeed great miracles, but these are not the main work of the Holy Spirit. Our Lord tells us the Holy Spirit’s great work in the Gospel reading: “The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”

 

The Holy Spirit’s great work is to bring the words of Jesus to remembrance. That may seem like a small thing but it is not. The Holy Spirit keeps alive Jesus’ words in this world. He calls and gathers the Christian Church so that we hold fast to Jesus’ word and not the wisdom of the world. And through the word of Jesus the Holy Spirit gives us communion with the Father and the Son.

First of all we need to remember that the devil, the world, and our flesh do not want the words of Jesus to be remembered. The devil, world, and flesh—all the powers of this age—want Jesus’ word and teaching to be buried, just like they wanted Jesus to be buried. Why are they so opposed to Jesus’ word? Because Jesus’ words are powerful. They are not merely human words but the words of Almighty God. They have power to create and power to destroy. They have the power to bring death and the power to give life. When you hear the Scripture read you are not receiving ancient dead letters from a page, but the word of the Lord who created the universe by speaking. The devil, the world, and the flesh want Jesus words to be forgotten and not heard because these words destroy this present age and bring in a new world. The devil, the world, and the flesh do not want this present age to be destroyed so that a new world can come in. So if they could help it they would try to make Jesus’ words be forgotten.

But the Holy Spirit does not allow this to happen. He causes Jesus’ words to be remembered. He brought to the apostles’ minds everything Jesus had said to them, and He inspired them to write the words of Jesus in the New Testament scriptures. Since then He has caused Jesus’ words to be taught and preached and read in all the world. When Jesus’ words had largely been buried in the church under the traditions of men, the Holy Spirit caused the pure Gospel to be proclaimed again from the Scripture alone by Martin Luther. And in our day when the world wants to edit the words of Jesus so that He says nothing politically incorrect, the Holy Spirit causes the words of Jesus to be remembered and proclaimed in churches that are faithful to His Word. But if the Holy Spirit had not been given to the church, Jesus’ words would have been forgotten—not because they are not powerful, but because our human nature is too weak to keep the word of Jesus without the Holy Spirit.

Because the Holy Spirit causes Jesus’ word to be remembered He also gathers Jesus’ church and keeps it in the one true faith. By nature human beings are in darkness. They know there is a God but do not know how they can be at peace with Him. They know there is a God but they do not know how to become free of their sins so that they may have God’s favor. But Jesus came into the world to give knowledge of salvation and eternal life. He says, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32). And Peter said to Jesus, “You have the words of eternal life.” Wherever Jesus’ word goes, the Holy Spirit causes a little flock to be gathered that believes Jesus’ word and holds on to it. Through the words of Jesus the Holy Spirit convicts us that we are by nature sinful and unclean, that our hearts are full of evil thoughts, murder, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander (Matthew 15:19). Through the words of Jesus the Holy Spirit convinces us that Jesus died and atoned for those sins on the cross. He gathers a church that believes in Jesus and listens to His Word and confesses it before the world. Without the Holy Spirit the words of Jesus would not be remembered and there would be no church, because the church lives by Jesus’ word, is called into being by Jesus’ word, and is preserved in the faith by Jesus’ word.

“If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” (John 14:23) This brings us to the final point about the work of the Holy Spirit and its greatness. The Holy Spirit causes Jesus’ word to be remembered. He gathers a little community that believes Jesus’ word and keeps it. And where He does that, the Holy Spirit creates a little community of people who are the dwelling-place of the Father and the Son.

Think about what an amazing, awesome thing it is to have God make His home with you. Is that something that happens for everyone? Not at all. God is not dwelling with the person who does not believe in Jesus, no matter how good that person mighty appear in our eyes. But God the Father and God the Son do dwell with the person who holds on to Jesus’ word. They make their home with him. God, whose throne is on high and who is attended by host upon host of angels, dwells with the person who holds Jesus’ words. In these frail bodies, doomed to die, stricken by sin, the all-glorious Father and Son are pleased to make their abode. All this happens because the Holy Spirit causes Jesus’ words to be remembered. He caused the apostle John to remember and write Jesus’ saying, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” (John 5:24) He causes preachers to preach that word, and assure sinners that on Jesus’ authority their sins are forgiven. He causes them to hold on to that word and to continue in that word.

When we receive Jesus’ word and hold on to it, god the Father and the Son come to dwell with us. In the midst of suffering and temptation we have the assurance that God is pleased with us and not angry with us. When our sins accuse us we have the assurance that God has not forsaken us in anger but is dwelling with us and making everything work for our blessing. How do we have this assurance? Not in our feelings, but in the words of Jesus, which the Holy Spirit brings to remembrance. He assures us with the name of the Triune God put on us in our Baptism. He assures us with the words of absolution which are spoken to us in Christ’s name; “I forgive you all your sins, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” He assures us by bringing to remembrance Jesus’ words in the Holy Supper: “This is my body, given for you. This is my blood, shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.” With the words of Jesus the Holy Spirit brings us into communion with the Holy Trinity, who dwells with us. He dwells with us because through the Holy Spirit we receive His grace; we believe the good news that our sins are forgiven through Jesus’ blood.

So the mighty work of the Holy Spirit is not that He makes people speak in other tongues or heal, or do other mighty signs. He may distribute those gifts as He wills. But the truly mighty work of the Holy Spirit is that He causes Jesus’ words to be remembered. These are the words of the living God that set us free from sin and death’s power. They are the rock on which is built a certain hope of salvation and everlasting life. Through these words of Jesus the Holy Spirit bears witness to the world of sin’s power and our salvation from it. Through the words of Jesus He gathers the church and keeps it in His word to everlasting life. And through the word of Jesus the Holy Spirit gives us communion with the entire Trinity. The Triune God makes His dwelling place with each one who believes in Christ and comforts us in every tribulation until we come to everlasting life. For this work of the Holy Spirit in bringing Jesus’ words to remembrance we give thanks on this festival of Pentecost, because through the Spirit’s work we have become Christ’s church and each individually the dwelling place of God.

Amen.

Soli Deo Gloria

Categories: Pentecost Tags: ,

Peace like a river. Holy Pentecost 2014.

Pentecost noldeHoly Pentecost

St. Peter Lutheran Church, Joliet, Illinois

St. John 14:23-31

June 8, 2014

“Peace Like a River”

Jesus

There was a river that had its source in the garden of Eden.  From there it branched into four different rivers.  Because of this river, Eden was well-watered, lush with fruit and blooms bursting with scent.  It was the garden of the Lord.

Into this paradise God placed man.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God.  It has its source in the throne of God and the Lamb, and it flows through the middle of the Holy Christian Church, clear as crystal.  It is the river of the water of life.  It makes the city of God bloom with spiritual, heavenly blossoms, fruit, spices.  It produces rich crops of gladness, joy, and peace.

We are planted in this paradise when we are baptized.

The water of life proceeding from the Father and the Son is the Holy Spirit.  He is living water that becomes a bubbling spring welling up to eternal life in everyone who drinks of Him.  He streams from the Father and the Son to us in the word of Jesus. Through the Holy Spirit the Father and the Son make their home in everyone who keeps Jesus’ word.

What is this word that everyone who loves Jesus keeps?  It is His word of peace.

 

Jesus preached peace.  Mary’s relative Zechariah prophesied about Him before His birth that He would “guide our feet into the way of peace.”  At His birth the angels sang, “Peace on earth, goodwill to men.”  Simeon, when He took up the newborn Jesus in his arms said, “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace.”

 

Jesus came to preach peace with God.  He is “wonderful, counselor, Mighty God, everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

 

Jesus sends peace to the city of God like a river; He sends the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit brings to remembrance Jesus’ word of peace.

 

“The kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit,” St. Paul writes in Romans chapter 14.  But often righteousness, peace, and joy seem to be in short supply in the Church.

Do people lack peace in the church?

 

Do you?

 

What is it that causes the restlessness and anxiety that seems to characterize so much of our lives?

Read more…

The Holy Spirit’s Troublemaking. Holy Pentecost Sermon 2013

May 28, 2013 3 comments

 

troublemakerPentecost

St. Peter Lutheran Church

St. John 14:23-31

May 19, 2013

The Holy Spirit’s Troublemaking

Jesu juva!

INI

 

This week another pastor told me: “You risk being called a troublemaker.”

 

I know what you’re thinking.  “He must have gotten Hess mixed up with someone else!”

 

I had a bad couple of days after that.  It’s not good to make trouble because of your pride or because you always have to be right.  There are six things that the Lord hates, says the Holy Spirit in Proverbs, chapter 6: seven that are an abomination to Him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.  (Proverbs 6: 16-19)

 

It’s an abomination before the Lord to stir up trouble and fights among brothers.  That’s the same word used by Moses to describe sodomy—homosexual behavior.  An abomination.  God hates it.  It’s a grave sin to stir up strife, to be a troublemaker.

 

But there is a kind of “troublemaking” that I wish I did far more often.  I wish that I would always be known as this kind of a troublemaker.  And I wish that each one of you would also make a lot of this kind of trouble.

 

The Triune God and His servants have always been called “troublemakers” in this sense.  The world calls God’s servants “troublemakers” because they undermine the false peace and false unity of the world.  The world wants to be at peace and be left alone while it opposes and turns away from the true God, the Trinity.

 

But God loves the people in the world too much to allow them to have peace and quiet while they do everything they can to shut Him out, silence His Word, and avoid Him.

 

When the world is most religious and spiritual, when it is most moral, it is still completely opposed to God.  At its most religious the world does not know God.  At its most moral, it does not understand God’s wisdom but rejects it as foolishness.

 

At the tower of Babel, human beings were all united.  They all worked together at one thing.  They decided to build a tower into heaven and “make a name for themselves.”  God’s name is how we have access to God.  He gives us His name and reveals Himself to us so that we can “call upon Him in every trouble, pray, praise, and give thanks.”  But the people of the world tried to come up with their own name, their own way to access God, which made sense to them.

 

They may have thought that they were doing a very holy and religious and moral thing.  Yet they were fighting God.  His Word had been, “Go spread out and fill the earth.”  But that didn’t make sense to them.  Maybe they thought, “We can do more good works if we stick together.”  Maybe they even thought that they  would atone for the sins of Adam by building this tower.  Maybe they thought this impressive work of theirs would bring honor and glory to God.

 

Whatever they thought, they were still hostile to God, because they did not keep His Word.

 

So God made trouble for them.

Read more…

Pentecost

May 27, 2012 1 comment

Pentecost (Confirmation of x; Baptism of y)

St. Peter Lutheran Church

Acts 2:1-21

May 27, 2012

“No one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit”

 

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ

(and especially you who today will confess the Name you called upon in Baptism and were saved;

And especially you who today bore witness as y called upon the name of the Lord in Baptism and was saved,)

 

Grace and peace to you from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.

 

In the first Pentecost sermon, Peter quoted the prophet Joel: And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.  Isn’t that an odd thing for Peter to say to the people in Jerusalem who came and heard him?  After all, these were “Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven.”  They were in Jerusalem to celebrate Pentecost, the feast of firstfruits, and also the day when God had given the law to Moses on Mt. Sinai. 

 

How could it be that these men did not already “call upon the name of the Lord”?  Why would God go to all this trouble to work this sign of speaking in other tongues just to get them to “call on the name of the Lord”—since they were already people who knew who the Lord was and where He was to be found (the temple)?

 

Peter preached that they were in the last days.  If they were then, surely we are now.  But it doesn’t look like the last days, anymore than it has at other times, does it? 

 

And what is necessary to be saved through the last days?  Only to “call upon the Name of the Lord?”  But we’ve known about that since we were children.  And has it had the same kind of effect on us that it did on Peter?  Surely there must be more.

 

But no, calling upon the name of the Lord is not a small thing.  It is a great thing, and it is impossible for sinners to do it.  “No one can say, Jesus is Lord, except by the Holy Spirit,” Paul says in 1 Cor 12. 

 

 

  1. 1.       The ungodly do not call upon the name of the Lord.
    1. a.       They may know the name YHWH or Jesus or Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. 
    2. b.      But they do not call upon Him alone for salvation with assurance.
    3. c.       They go on trusting themselves.
    4. d.      Their bad conscience causes them to make up idols, even in the church.

                                                              i.      A nice god who can be controlled and sold.

                                                            ii.      And then it’s up to us to make this god successful. 

  1. 2.       The Church calls on the Name of the Lord and is saved in the last days.
    1. a.       Peter’s boldness.  (vs. earlier weakness.  Men of Israel, listen to me.  And the disciples are not locked in a room either.)
    2. b.      He had learned all too well what his resolutions resulted in.  NOTHING!  Denying the Lord, not calling upon Him.
    3. c.       The Spirit is given by Christ.

                                                              i.      He gets the people’s attention.

                                                            ii.      He gives Peter boldness and words to speak with power.

                                                          iii.      He makes Peter call on Jesus’ name with confidence.

  1. d.       The Spirit does as He wills, not as we will.
  2. e.       The Spirit has promised to work in us through Word and Sacraments.
  3. f.        He points to Christ

                                                              i.      Who has saved us from our self-trust,

                                                            ii.      From our idolatry

                                                          iii.      From our inability to free ourselves from idolatry.

  1. g.       We can do nothing…

                                                              i.      But He has promised that we are saved.

In this confidence we confess and call upon His name in prayer, and we let Him build us and the church.

Prayer on First Pentecost–Gebets-Schatz

May 18, 2012 1 comment

from Evangelische-Lutherischer Gebets-Schatz (Concordia, 1881)

http://books.google.com/books/about/Evangelisch_Lutherischer_Gebets_Schatz.html?id=cZARAQAAMAAJ

 

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the almighty God!  We pray you: through Your beloved Word, grant us Your Holy Spirit within our hearts, that He would rule us and lead us according to your will, and comfort us in every kind of affliction and misfortune.  May He lead us into Your truth and against all error, so that we stand firm in faith, in love and all good works increasing.   Through a certain hope in Your grace, that You have purchased us with Your death, may we be blessed forever; for You reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

(Johann Eichhorn)

Johann Sciurus (also: Eichhorn, Aichorn; born around 1518 in Nuernberg; died November 3, 1564 in Koenigsberg (Prussia)) was a German mathematician, philologian, and Lutheran theologian. http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johann_Sciurus

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