Pentecost Sunday

Here is a sermon I wrote a few years ago for Pentecost. I found full text of this message, originally title The Holy Spirit Bears Witness, courtesy of cloud storage and decided it was worth sharing. 

Our celebration of Easter corresponds with the Jewish festival of Passover. It’s no mere coincidence if we think about the Passover lamb as symbolic prophecy for the atoning sacrifice of the Lamb of God. Pentecost, fifty days later, corresponds to the Jewish Festival of Weeks. Jews still celebrate Shavuot (Pentecost is the Greek word for Shavuot).

Before the crucifixion, Jesus told his followers that he must go in order for the Comforter to come. Before his ascension in Acts 1 to told the Apostles to stay in Jerusalem and “wait for the promise.” John the Baptist had prophesied that one coming after him that would baptize with fire. Jesus said in Acts 1 they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit. I’m going to take for granted you either have read or will read Acts chapter 2.  On the day of Pentecost Peter preached the first “Christian sermon” and the New Testament Church Age began. Continue reading

The New Thing in Sermons

In the Old Testament, the prophet was a person who did the speaking for God.  Not necessarily predicting future events, the prophet acted as the spoken voice of God on earth.  During Jesus’s earthly ministry, he was found daily in the temple or synagogue reading and teaching.  While his sermon on the mount may have turned the Pharisees’ world upside down, he was regarded as a rabbi in most Jewish circles.  In Acts chapter 2, on the Day of Pentecost, Peter preaches something entirely new. Continue reading

Jesus’ Involvement in Starting the Christian Church

jesus_teaching If we began a study of the first century church, 9 times out of 10 we would begin with Acts chapter 2.  The Holy Spirit comes as promised, and Peter preaches a fiery message proclaiming Jesus is the Christ.  Certainly by the end of Acts 2, we see the first Christian believers come together in an organized way.  But if we back up a just a few chapters, Jesus gives the disciples instructions on what will happen next, going beyond his death, burial and resurrection.

Critics of Christianity, as an organized religion (the Church), even claim that Jesus had no intention of starting a new church or movement of any kind, but rather his followers started one in his name.  To put it mildly, these critics have not studied the Bible.  Continue reading