A Mighty Wind

Acts 2:1-21  5/31/2020

Pleasant Valley/Grace

  1. INTRODUCTION – A MIGHTY WIND

Something incredible happened on this day 35 years ago. Some of you may remember it. On May 31, 1985, a series of tornadoes went through Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and Ontario. These powerful winds, 19 confirmed across Pennsylvania, and several around and near the Moshannon State Forest, did incredible damage to property. 68 people lost their lives, and hundreds were injured. To this day, people remember where they were, and what they were doing when these tornadoes came through.

A mighty wind can change lives. 

There was a mighty wind that changed lives on this day in history many, many years ago in Jerusalem at Pentecost.

“Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

A mighty wind can change lives. 

  1. PETER: JUST LIKE US

I’d like to tell you the story of an ordinary man.  He wasn’t a wealthy man. He wasn’t  exceptionally brilliant or exceptionally strong. He was an avid fisherman, and he did eke out a living for his family fishing in the waters of The Sea of Galilee. You might have guessed by now that I am talking about the man named Simon. The man who became the Apostle Peter after he met Jesus, our Lord and Savior.

There was nothing really special about Peter. He sometimes thought higher of himself than he should. At times, his ego got the better of him and he would brag. He especially liked to brag about his love for Jesus. He bragged about his faith, and even bragged that he was more humble than the rest of the Apostles. He would say things he shouldn’t have and said things he didn’t really mean when it came time to prove himself.

He thought that he should be seated at the right hand of Jesus, a place of honor. He desired things he didn’t deserve from Jesus. It was this same braggard who, in fear for own his life, denied knowing Jesus after earlier telling him that he would give up his own life for Jesus.

Peter sounds a little like you and me doesn’t he? Sometimes our human nature gets the best of us, and we brag about what we do, and we say things that we have a hard time backing up. Maybe we too, made promises that we didn’t keep.

Just like us, Peter didn’t always do the right thing, but Jesus still chose him to follow Him, saying, even saying on this rock, I will build my church.

  1. THE HOLY SPIRIT

Something wonderful happened. Peter was one of those that received Jesus’ promised gift of the HOLY SPIRIT, and with this incredible gift, transformed this man in a way that noone expected. Not only was it given to Peter, but to everyone! They saw tongues of fire, that came to rest on their tongues, and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

That’s great gift that the Holy Spirit can give! Through the power of the Holy Spirit, Those who believe are saved, filled, sealed, and sanctified. The Holy Spirit reveals God’s thoughts, teaches, and guides believers into all truth, including knowledge of what is to come. The Holy Spirit also helps Christians in their weakness and intercedes for them. That’s what the Holy Spirit did for Peter on that day!

  1. THEY’RE DRUNK! SCRIPTURE

There were God-fearing Jews in Jerusalem for the Pentecost festival, and they were astounded. There were also a few that saw those speaking in differents tongues and discounted and made fun of them them. They’re drunk! They’ve had too much wine.

Peter, the one who denied Jesus three times, and the one who kept saying the wrong things at the right time, opens his mouth! With the help of God through the Holy Spirit, he begins to share with these learned ones, the prophesy of Joel. With these words, he explains the pouring out of the Holy Spirit.

He goes to share Joel’s prophesy. It’s in the Acts reading, but also Joel 2:28-32: ” I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days. I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved!” For the first time, Peter speaks as Jesus would, and people see him as an authoritative prophet.

We see Peter transformed through the Holy Spirit, just as others have after him. He was just an ordinary guy, who with his helper, can tell the greatest story we have ever come to know.

            A mighty wind can change lives. 

  1. WONDERFUL THINGS

The Holy Spirit does wonderful things! In John Chapter 14, verse 26 Jesus tells his disciples, “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 provides wise counsel to Christ’s followers. Remember that Jesus knew he would be going away and that his followers would need the Holy Spirit as a helper and an advocate to remind them of his teachings.

  1. HOLY SPIRIT AT WORK

We have seen the Holy Spirit at work in many ways during this time of the pandemic. I believe the Holy Spirit is at work in our congregation.

We continue to share God’s Word, whether it’s online, on email, or through the mail. His Word continues to reach those who may have never heard it. There is one of our members that I know get’s his message mailed to him with the bulletin, and he will pull out his bible and his hymnal, and worship with his daughter! – That’s the Holy Spirit at work!

We see communities banding together to make things better for their neighbors. We see that work in food banks, with meals being served everyday for those in need – That’s the Holy Spirit at work!

The Holy Spirit at work can be seen anytime or anywhere!

We see how an event like SPARK can bring hundreds of young people to Christ. – That’s the Holy Spirit at work!

When a young person tells us that going to Youth group is the greatest thing going on in her life right now — That’s the Holy Spirit at work!

A mighty wind can change lives. 

  1. PENTECOST – THE CELEBRATION

Pentecost is a day of celebration because God has breathed on us the gift of the Holy Spirit to guide us, and help us remember the teachings of Jesus Christ, and give us the ability to share those teachings in love.

It was the Holy Spirit that inspired every single word that Peter preached and it was the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that raised the curiosity of these devout religious men and drew them to Peter as he shared the gospel message of Jesus life, death and resurrection.

Through God’s gift of the Holy Spirit the Christian church was born that day. Christianity is the story of God reaching out for you to prove His love for you before you ever did or do a thing to prove your worth to God. Your faith and repentance is the start of your response to God’s proven love for you. Peter was never someone that others would have expected to deliver such a powerful message. But the promised gift from God; the gift of the Holy Spirit changed all of that not only on the Day of Pentecost; the day the church was given birth, but the rest of Peter’s life there was a new and different man born that day.

–  Peter knew he had been forgiven even though he did not deserve to be forgiven.

–  Peter knew that God loved him even though he was a lost and scared wimpy sinner who couldn’t even stand up for Jesus when it really counted.

–  Peter knew God loved him even though he couldn’t even admit that he knew Jesus that sad but fateful night when Jesus went to the cross.

This day, Peter was empowered by the Holy Spirit to become a new man for God, not because God demanded it of Him, but because of God’s gracious and forgiving love. Peter knew that Jesus died for his sins too.

A mighty wind can change lives. 

  1. CONCLUSION

So how is the Holy Spirit working in you? Is this helper that God provides you through Jesus Christ working and growing new life in you? Through the power of the Holy Spirit, Peter became a new person…and that power can work through you!

It all starts with accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. May that incredible fiery beauty that is the Holy Spirit come upon you as well. It can melt the hardest heart, give strength to the weak, and bring joy in ways that you could never imagine because…

A mighty wind can change lives.