google-site-verification: google3e8cc4742c5fd8a2.html Sundays with Sammy 8 June 2014
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8th June 2014

Pentecost – Acts 2

Today we are celebrating Pentecost, which is also known as the Feast of Weeks. The Bible records Pentecost in Acts 2:1-13. It marks the day when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles, and they were accused of being drunk as they all started to speak in different languages. It comes 10 days after the Ascension of Christ and is also known as the birthday of the Church. It fulfils Jesus’ promise to send the ‘counsellor’ and ‘spirit of truth’ that we hear in John 16:5 & 15. It launches the large scale spreading of the Gospel after His ascension.

 

Jews also celebrate Pentecost, but for them, it is to observe God giving the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai 50 days after the Exodus. SO the Jewish Pentecost (which in Greek means simply the fiftieth day) takes place 50 days after Passover. The Pentecostal movement derives its name from the New Testament event in Acts 2.

 

In England the day is also known as Whitsun, derived from White Sunday and the following day used to be a bank holiday, Whit Monday and remained a holiday in the UK until 1971 when the movable holiday was replaced with the fixed Spring Bank Holiday in late May.

 

According to one interpretation, the name derives from the white garments worn by those receiving instruction in relation to the Christian traditions and expecting to be baptised on that Sunday. Now we have baptisms all through the year. Moreover, in England white vestments, rather than the more usual red, were traditional for the day.

 

But Ok, enough of the history lesson. How is Pentecost relevant to us, today?

 

It is said that when Peter addressed the crowd, this was the first ‘sermon’ from the new Church. Now, I don’t think necessarily that the apostles had any idea that they were starting a new church, they were desperate to do as Jesus had done, and to teach what he had taught them! They thought they were being mega Jewish!

 

But let’s hear from Acts 2 and what happened next…

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 men 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, your old men will dream dreams. 18 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. 19 I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 20 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. 21 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.' 22 "Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23 This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 24 But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. 25 David said about him: " 'I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. 26 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will live in hope, 27 because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. 28 You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.' 29 "Brothers, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. 30 But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. 31 Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay. 32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. 33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. 34 For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said, " 'The Lord said to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand 35 until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet." ' 36 "Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ." 37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?" 38 Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off--for all whom the Lord our God will call." 40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation." 41 Those who accepted his message were baptised, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

 

How’s that for a nice, concise sermon? This is what is happening, this is why, this is what you do now. He wasn’t leaving anything to chance.

 

There are many, parallels in that reading to other parts of the Bible, but we would be here all day so perhaps we could go over those another time, and if you would like to, just let me know.

 

It is also a birthday month in this house. Our twins are 12 in ‘fourteen days’ as I was reminded this morning…as if I could forget! They have been writing and re-writing their birthday lists for a few weeks now, which have been interrupted by cries of, ‘hey that’s not fair, you’ve 2 more than me now!’, which is followed by frantic thumbing of the Argos catalogue!

 

I don’t remember ever writing a birthday list, but I wonder what Jesus would have on his birthday list for the Church? He wouldn’t need to worry about the catering…’water? Check’, ‘loaves? Check’, ‘Fishes? Check!’  I’m sure He wouldn’t ask for anything for himself, he would ask that we, love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength; and then that we love our neighbour as our self. Simple requests really, so why don’t we, as a special gift from our hearts, to God, and the Church, do just that?

 

For he really is a jolly good fellow, and so say all of us. Have a wonderfully blessed and peaceful week everyone.  And remember PRAYER, CARE and SHARE. God loves you!

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