Pentecost – Sermon 42

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



Today we celebrate one of the most extraordinary events in the history of the world – the happenings on the day of Pentecost – as recorded in Acts chapter 2. It tells of the Holy Spirit coming upon the disciples – and the crowd around them hearing unexpected words – and seeing unexpected events

– It was the start of the churches Christ given mission to go into the world and preach the gospel to all – A re-ordering according to God’s will – in which the presence of God – the power of God and the purposes of God were being worked out – in – and through His church –

After Pentecost the promised salvation would no longer be given through a nation – the individual sinner would have to come directly to an individual saviour –

First Point So what was this re-ordering– and why was it necessary?

This is explained in the prophecy from Ezekiel in our OT reading

Ezekiel lived during one of the most difficult times of Judah’s history – the Babylonian Exile. He was a young priest taken captive by Nebuchaneza in one of the first raids on Jerusalem and called by God to proclaim His message to the Israelites taken into exile –

His prophecies mirrored those of Jeremiah – who at the same time – was proclaiming God’s message in Jerusalem – both prophets were warning of a long exile – and of judgment for those who did not listen –

Before the fall of Jerusalem Ezekiel was relentless in condemning the nation of Israel for their infidelity to God – giving oracles of judgment against Judah and foreign nations. But after the city fell his oracles changed –

God had decided that the covenant made through Moses at Mount Sinai was not working – and it was time for a different approach –

Through Ezekiel God now told the exiles that His glory will be vindicated – not through their suffering – but by restoring them as His people -“not for their sake …… but for the sake of His Holy name “ – so that all nations will know the true God

“You will be my people, and I will be your God”

And through Ezekiel’s prophecy given in our reading – God explains how this restoration will be achieved –
First by restoring them to their land –

“I shall gather you from every land, and bring you to your homeland”
And – Second – by moral and spiritual changes –

“I shall sprinkle pure water over you” – we will receive forgiveness of sins and cleansing of the past –

“I shall give you a new heart and a new spirit”– there will be a change inside us – driven by the Spirit – our total personality will be transformed – the stubborn heart of stone will be replaced by a responsive heart of flesh ––

Israel will experience a real change of direction – become the kind of people that – in the past they have so often failed to be – the implanting of God’s Spirit will transform our motives and empower us to follow and observe God’s commands faithfully –

To Ezekiel – the restoration of Israel – and the coming of God’s Spirit were signs of the last days – the divine breakthrough -when a new covenant relationship will be established between God and Israel – and God’s chosen Messiah will reign on the earth –

Point 2 Coming of Jesus and the release of the Holy Spirit

And as Peter tells us in his great sermon at Pentecost – that chosen Messiah – is in fact Jesus of Nazareth – singled out and made known “through miracles portents and signs – which God worked …… through Him “

As Peter says, Jesus was deliberately handed over to the will of the people – “who used heathen men to crucify Him” – in an attempt to suppress the will of God –

But death didn’t take Jesus by surprise – His crucifixion was no unforeseen accident – Many times throughout His teaching Jesus has made reference to His death – He knew it had to happen

And those who crucified Him were unconsciously fulfilling what God had already decreed would happen – God used the natural hatred and sin within them to carry it out – and then reversed what they did – by raising Him from the dead – to new life again – “for which we are all witnesses”

All this said Peter had been foreseen and fore-written by King David – as a prophet – that one of his own direct descendants – would be raised from the dead, and that God would further exalt Him by raising Him to His own right hand – to a place of honour and power – and glory

Oh says Peter – “ God has made this same Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah”

And to climax that proof – He also sent His promised Spirit – upon God’s people at Pentecost

“All that you now see and hear flows from Him“ – says Peter

At Pentecost we have the fulfillment of the prophesy made by Ezekiel – and David – and indisputable proof that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah –

Not only is the Spirit released on to Peter but also on to those that heard Him – in verse 37 –

“ When they heard this, they were cut to the heart”

The Holy Spirit is the way in which God has chosen to reach and change our attitude towards Him – The Spirit breaths the life and power of God into us in a way that will transform everyone into a prophet and witness – the Spirit tells us what to say – and gives us the boldness to say it.

The crowds response to Peter was “What must we do? “

– we get so used to hearing preachers calling out to the congregation to be saved – but here we see the opposite – the people are calling out to the preacher – “what must we do to be saved” – such is the power and energy of the Holy Spirit – when released on to those who’s darkness has been lightened – as Ezekiel puts it – whose heart is transformed from stone to flesh

The Holy Spirit is the key to everything in the New Testament church – If God had taken Him out of their midst – 95% of what they were doing in their churches would have ceased immediately – everyone would have known the difference.

Could we say the same about our churches today? Is the Spirit a dynamic force here within our midst? When the wind of the Spirit blows our way do we say – what must we do to be saved? –

Point 3 Action by you and me

Peter’s answer to the crowd is “Repent and be baptised in the name of Jesus the Messiah”

turn to Jesus Christ – and your sins will be forgiven – and you too will receive the Holy Spirit”

Peter tells us that we must admit – commit – and submit –

admit our past sins – and that we have wronged God – and need help –

commit ourselves to Jesus Christ – He alone is the way to God – through Jesus – death and Satan are defeated – Through Jesus we are washed clean – and all our sins are forgiven – and we receive the Holy Spirit

submit ourselves fully to God – We have to allow God to work in our lives through the Holy Spirit – who illuminates God’s teaching through the Bible – helps us to communicate with God through prayer – and joins us to His whole family the church – so that we not only believe in Him but belong to Him

The crowd was convinced of the seriousness of their situation – they knew they were in trouble –

The Spirit caused them to cry out to God for help

Through the Spirit we are given a new birth – a new beginning – unless we are born of water and of the Spirit we cannot enter the Kingdom of God

– there is no substitute for His regenerating power– He reveals God directly to us – takes the initiative in our lives – draws us to Jesus – and prompts us into a new line of action – working within us both to will and to work for the love of God –

Through the Spirit we know that God is our Father and we are His children – and when we are sure about this – every aspect of our lives –is transformed – to believe Christ is alive is one thing – to know it – is the work of the Spirit –


At Pentecost God gave us all a new beginning – a re-ordering according to His Spirit – we became a new community – a new people – with Jesus as our head

In recent months we have been thinking about re-ordering – re-ordering our church – to modernise and equip the building for the 21st century – and to meet the needs of our community – and young families

But these changes will not be enough –
unless we too are prepared to change – and become people of the Spirit – as Ezekiel puts it – we need a new heart and a right Spirit within us –

God has revealed Himself in His word – and in His Spirit – and we need God’s word and God’s Spirit flowing through our church – through each one of us today – like that crowd – we too must cry out – and let the Spirit in –

To every sinner God has established a way of salvation

To every Christian there is a background for Pentecost and the reason for the coming of the Holy Spirit

To every member of God’s church there is reason to examine their faith and determine whether it is a valid commitment to God and to the divine reality of what has occurred at Pentecost

Pentecost is indeed one of the most remarkable events in the history of the world – lets make our celebration – of Pentecost – a springboard for our own re-ordering – a new beginning for us – and for our church in Lymm so that we can then say like Peter – that all that we see and hear in Lymm flows from The Holy Spirit “ –

Prayer to Finish

In the name of the Father Son and Holy Spirit


Video of Sermon 42 on You Tube