Ever seen a wildfire? A few years ago south of us, down by Oakland, a fire started and faster than anyone could imagine it raced across fields, jumping across road ditches burning everything in its path. It didn’t seem to matter whether part of a field was disked, the fire would hesitate for a moment and then leap the chasm to ignite the dry grass and cornstalks and race towards the next tree or building in its path.
Linda and I were listening to all of this on the radio scanner. Listening to the voices of the men and women who were trying to contain the fire we knew that this was a wildfire to be remembered for a long time. I know that those who lost homes and belongings will never forget how fast it moved and changed directions. It will be talked about for a long time.
So it was with the coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. The disciples were all gathered together in the room praying and waiting for the fulfillment of Christ’s promise and all of a sudden there was this sound of a wild rushing wind. They were looking around to see where the sound was coming from and then they noticed the tongues of flame that looked like fire standing over each other’s heads. And if that wasn’t enough when they were filled with the power of the Holy Spirit they began to speak, speak so that those who ran up outside to see what all the commotion was heard them speaking in their own native languages.
How was it possible for uneducated common people to speak so that every nation represented in Jerusalem could here the Message and understand it? It was an opportunity to preach the gospel, and being filled with the power, Peter was moved to preach the good news and explain what was happening.
Jews celebrated the day of Pentecost every year but this particular day was a day that was never to be forgotten. God’s Spirit came upon these disciples just as Jesus had promised and they were filled to overflowing; they were brimming over with the Spirit. It was spilling out from the depths of their souls like water bubbling up from an artesian well, like water overflowing the banks of rivers filled with the abundant snow melt from the mountains, like rivers filled with the recent rains passing through the Midwest.
That’s what happens when people give their lives to Jesus and are forgiven of their sins by God. They are baptized with and filled with God’s Spirit.
First, they can’t believe how they feel. A burden has been lifted from their shoulders. They know that God is working in them and has become one with them through the promise of Jesus, that anyone who believes in him will never be thirsty but will filled with rivers of living water from the Spirit. Their sins have been forgiven, they have been redeemed. Now what?
As they spend time in God’s Spirit they realize they have received gifts from God; they can do things that will bring glory to God. They can grow God’s kingdom when they use these gifts. Each of us has gifts, gifts God has given us to use to bring people to Jesus. And every one of us has different gifts; just as we all have different personalities and appearances, so we each have different and varied gifts. None of us is the same.
That’s why it’s so important that we share the Message of the good news with everyone we meet. Because that one person we talk with is the one God wants us to tell our story to. God has given you and me that one particular gift to enable us to communicate clearly the good news to those we meet on life’s journey.
God’s Spirit has been poured out on every kind of people, young and old, men and women, people of every ethnic background have been filled with the Spirit. Signs and wonders are happening everyday around us. Can you see what the Spirit is doing? Just look around you. God’s Spirit is in each person here today and he’s building a fire in hearts to spread the good news.
Are you feeling empty? Does something seem to be missing? Jesus said, “Come to me and drink. Anyone who believes in me will be filled with rivers of living water and they will spill out of the depths of them who believe, just as the Scripture says.” Let the breath of God fill you with new life. Feel the Spirit moving and let the Spirit move you to do things you never imagined doing. Maybe even speak to people you don’t understand and who probably don’t understand you, but with the Spirit’s help they will know what you are saying. Tell the good news of God’s love in Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.
God loves you my friends and so do I. Thanks be to God.