Peter went on to explain how Jesus, through everything he did here before he was crucified, raised from the dead, and ascended into heaven, was certainly the Messiah sent from God as witnessed to by the disciples who saw his miracles, wonders and signs. This was a deliberate and well-thought out plan of God as Eugene Petersen stated it. Jesus was betrayed by Judas and men who took the law into their own hands and handed him over to be nailed to the cross and killed. God was more powerful than death and he raised Jesus from the tomb. Death didn’t hold a candle to Jesus. David said it in the Psalms,
I saw God before me for all time.
Nothing can shake me; he’s right by my side.
I’m glad from the inside out, ecstatic;
I’ve pitched my tent in the land of hope.
I know you’ll never dump me in Hades;
I’ll never even smell the stench of death.
You’ve got my feet on the life-path,
with your face shining sun-joy all around.
Peter went on to say that everyone knew where David was buried because his tomb was where everyone could see it. But since David was a prophet of God he said that God has sworn to him that one of his descendants would rule his kingdom. The Messiah would be raised from the dead. Jesus was this man David spoke of. He stood before them healthy and whole. And then he ascended to sit at the right hand of God. He sent the Holy Spirit, who came from the Father, and that is what these people were hearing when they heard these men speaking in their own languages.
There was no longer any doubt; Jesus was the Son of God. This man they hung on the tree and killed was the Master and the Messiah.
Those who listened to Peter were touched in the deepest part of their souls by his words. They wanted to know what they could do.
Peter said, “Change your life. Turn to God and be baptized, each of you in the name of Jesus Christ, so your sins are forgiven. Receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is targeted to you and your children, but also to all who are far away—whomever, in fact, our Master God invites.”
He continued to preach and exhort them to change. “Get out while you can; get out of this sick and stupid culture!”
Because his speech was so powerfully filled with the words of the Holy Spirit 3,000 people believed and were baptized that day. They made the commitment to listen to the teaching of the apostles, share everything in common, meals and prayer, and maintained a daily discipline of worship in the Temple. Every day was an exuberant celebration that praised God. Every day the number of people who believed the Message grew as God added to those who were saved. That’s the rest of the story according to Luke in Acts 2.
The Holy Spirit, the Advocate, sent by Jesus is powerfully working in the lives of those who believe in Jesus as God’s Son. Many people don’t realize that the Spirit is doing anything because as scripture says it’s not about the Spirit but it’s all about God, the Father working through Jesus the Messiah.
Let me see if I can give you some of the things that the Spirit does that we heard from the scriptures this morning.
Creates and renews the earth
Helps us in our weakness
Intercedes for us
Knows what’s in our hearts because Jesus knows our hearts
Exposes the error of the godless world view of sin, righteousness, and judgment
Shows us that refusal to believe in Jesus is the basic sin
Takes us by the hand
Guides us into all the truth
Makes sense our what happened to Jesus, everything he did and said
Takes from Jesus and gives to us
Today we remember and celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit into the world. Whenever we feel the wind and see its power we are reminded of the silent workings of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Whenever we see the flame of candles we are reminded how the Spirit warms our souls and lights the way for us as we strive to live our lives like Jesus.
Today as we witness baptism and reaffirm baptisms let us be reminded of the power of God’s Spirit working among us today in worship and as we are sent out into the world to continue the work we have been called to do.
Thanks be to God. Amen.
Sunday we confirmed five young people as new members of First Presbyterian Church in Walnut. One of these members was baptized and all were anointed with oil and blessed with the laying on of hands. It was an exciting and glorious day for God's church. I for one will miss having these young men and women in class with me on Sunday. It has been a blessing to learn with them and watch them grow as we worked together learning what it means to be a member of the Body of Christ, the Church.