Pentecost – Sermon 100

13th February 2011 Off By Derek Buckthorpe

Prayer to start

May the words of my lips and the thoughts of our hearts be graciously received for the Glory and Honour of our Lord Jesus Christ



“The Lord is my light and my salvation – the Lord is the strength of my life”
The words form our responsary

But – do we really believe them?

Are we prepared to admit that we depend upon God’s strength – more than our own?

Paul did –
“There is no question of having sufficient power in ourselves; we cannot claim anything on our own. The power we have comes from God.”

He knew that – only through the Spirit – will we be able to achieve – what God has created us for –

In our readings this evening Paul provides us – with two contrasting images –one where God’s power has been veiled by human weakness – and one where it’s fully released – through the power of the Jesus –Christ –

We’re going to look at each one in turn – to see if it helps us understand – which one we’re living under –

First Point God working through Moses

As far as Moses – was concerned – having God alongside them – guiding His people – to the promised land – was the best thing that could have happened – it meant they had their most powerful ally and friend with them – to help them –

“teach me to know your ways – so I can know you- and continue in favour with you – for this nation is your own people”- says Moses –

“Indeed if you do not go yourself – do not send us up from here”

Moses had come a long way since he first led the people – out of Israel – then – he was unsure –who the God of the burning bush really was – but now he had developed – a close personal – relationship with Him –

He would meet Him “face to face” – in a special “tent” – outside the camp – where he was able to talk to Him – “as one man talks to another” – ask for His help – and plead for His people –

To the Israelites – the meeting tent became a visible sign of God’s presence – within their community – and when the pillar of cloud came down- over the tent – while Moses was in it – the people knew they would be talking –

Each time Moses went into God’s presence – he was re-charged with His power – so much so – that when he came out – the people could see the difference on his face –

It was so noticeable that – after leaving the tent – and speaking to them – He would put a veil over his face – so – as Paul puts it – they would not see – God’s – glory fade –

Moses knew – that when he was away form God –

he could never reach the same – heights – as when he was with Him – he knew his power was weak by comparison – and the people would soon see the effect of that weakness –

that only when he returned to the meeting tent – and the veil was lifted off – would he be recharged once more –

But – byveiling his face – Moses also stopped the people seeing the effect of God’s grace on the human spirit – they couldn’t see what difference God’s power could make to their lives

In our NT reading – Paul uses this -as an illustration of the fading nature of the written law – over the spiritual law –

The Old Covenant given through Moses – was carved on tablets of stone – and though it was good and brought Glory to God – it would soon fade –

Not because the covenant was weak – but because human nature was weak –

Because – in the end – we can’t please God – by our own efforts –

So God made a new covenant – one that gave full access to Him – that would open our eyes to His love –that would be built on the past – but would also provide the power to carry it out – a covenant that would be launched through His Son

Which brings us on to our second image:-

Point 2 God working through Jesus

When Jesus came – he brought God’s presence and power –

Through Jesus – God’s Law is no longer written on tablets of stone – but directly onto our hearts – so that when we put our faith in Him – we also receive spiritual regeneration –

Through Jesus God became “flesh” and came down to live among us – to show us His love at first hand

Love that is at the centre of His relationship with God – and His relationship with us – through His love we are all one with Him and the Father – and can become the people God wants us to be

Jesus died on the cross – to remove the barriers that separate us from God and each other – so that our sins can be forgiven –and we can be reconciled back to the Father –

through the cross – the strength of God’s love more than matches the power of sin –

through the cross – we are led to a new freedom from failure and frustration – we no longer have hostile feelings – towards ourselves – others – and God –

In our NT lesson – Paul – reminds us that – through Jesus we have the means of receiving an even greater Glory – than at the time of Moses – a glory that will not fade –

Jesus is our new intercessor – and because Jesus is God – we can now talk to God directly – Jesus can also reach our hearts – so when we meet with Him face to face – we are also charged-up – with His power – permanently –

The Jews – became too entangled – with the rules and ceremonies of the OT laws – to see the truth – they were veiled from understanding what Jesus – was really doing for them –

What Paul s telling us is that – if we turn to Jesus – and have faith in Him – He will remove our veil – and enable us to see the full measure of God’s power –

Often – we feel too frightened to lift our veils – and fully depend on Jesus – in case we are left vulnerable – but Paul tells us that there is nothing to fear – the veil removed by Jesus will not reveal our weakness but will illuminate our strengths and help to be transformed into His likeness – through Jesus we see what God is like – and if we follow Him – what we can become –

The death and resurrection of Jesus brings – life – hope – and power – that same power that raised Jesus from the dead – and set Him at the right hand of God – and it is available to us today – through His Son and the Holy Spirit –

Point 3 God working in us –

The Holy Spirit is the way – God has chosen to change our attitude towards Him and those around us – The Spirit breathes the life and power of God into us – and prompts us into action – telling us what to say and giving us the boldness to say it –

the Spirit brings freedom from everyday pressures and worries – freedom from fear and uncertainty –

There are many things – we try to hide from the world – and from God –so we don’t see our own guilt – and need to change – to stop us acknowledging what God is really trying to tell us

For the Spirit to work i
n us – Paul says we must practice seeing as in a mirror – the “Glory and worth of God”

Just as mirrors – facing the sun – will reflect the sunlight – so we too must reflect – reflect the image of Jesus – reflect our relationship with Him – so that other can see His transforming power –

When we focus on ourselves – we become pre-occupied with ourselves – when we focus on Jesus – we become like Him –

But we cannot change into His likeness – using our own strength – we need the help and gifts of the Spirit –

The Spirit works in us – through prayer – Bible reading – and when we are in fellowship with others –

As His followers – we are given a mission – to bring Jesus to those – who don’t know Him –to carry God’s good news message wherever He tells us to –

And only through the Spirit – we are given the means – and the power to do it

Conclusion Power to change the World

So – what power level are we working under?
The power of stone – or the power of the Spirit –
A power that’s veiled – or a power that’s free – and open –

At Pentecost – God gave us a new beginning – a new opportunity to be transformed into His likeness – to be permanently changed and charged with His Spirit –

To boldly go where we have not gone before –

No matter where we are in our Christian journey – God is telling us – to put aside our own strength – and only depend on His – to let Him shape our present and our future and let Him fill us with the power that will change us – and the lives of those around us –

“There is no question of having sufficient power in ourselves; we cannot claim anything on our own. The power we have comes from God.”

Let’s believe and trust in it – and go forward in the light and strength of God –

Closing prayer –
In the name of the Father Son and Holy Spirit –


Video of Sermon 100 on You Tube