“The Peace of Pentecost” (John 14:23-31)

The Day of Pentecost
Sunday, June 9, 2019

“The Peace of Pentecost” (John 14:23-31)

Jesus tells his disciples: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

How can you say that, Jesus? How can you tell your disciples to be at peace? You’ve just told them that you’re going away! And now they’re supposed to be OK with that? They’re just supposed to take it easy? Come on, Jesus, get real!

And how about us? Yeah, we here today. How are we supposed to be at peace? “Let not your hearts be troubled.” Yeah, right. You don’t know what I’m going through. And I’m supposed to have peace in all of this?

Well, yes. That’s kind of the point, isn’t it? Even when Jesus tells his disciples that he’s going away, and even in the midst of all our troubles, Jesus promises us the peace we need to sustain us and carry us through. And so this morning, on this day full of grace, we will be blessed to hear how we have “The Peace of Pentecost.”

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Published in: on June 8, 2019 at 5:39 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Tongues for Telling the Mighty Works of God” (Acts 2:1-21)

The Day of Pentecost
May 20, 2018

“Tongues for Telling the Mighty Works of God” (Acts 2:1-21)

It’s the Day of Pentecost. It’s nine o’clock in the morning. And the disciples are together in one place. It was true back then, and it is true today–yes, here, this morning. Back on the Day of Pentecost in the Book of Acts, it was nine o’clock in the morning–“the third hour of the day,” as our text puts it–and the group of disciples was together there in Jerusalem. Now today, on this Day of Pentecost, also at nine o’clock in the morning, this group of disciples is gathered here at St. Matthew’s in Bonne Terre. So in both cases, is there something we can expect to happen? There is. Both back then and now today, we can expect the Holy Spirit to be empowering disciples with “Tongues for Telling the Mighty Works of God.”

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Published in: on May 19, 2018 at 8:32 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“From Tabernacles to Pentecost” (John 7:37-39)

“From Tabernacles to Pentecost” (John 7:37-39)

Today is the Feast of Pentecost, a major festival in the Christian church year. Today we celebrate the giving of the Holy Spirit, whom our ascended Lord Jesus Christ poured out on his church, as we read about in the second chapter of Acts. That was the beginning of the worldwide spread of the gospel, and you and I are here today as Christians because of what began on that first Pentecost.

Actually, though, that was not the first Pentecost. For the Christian Feast of Pentecost has its roots in the Jewish Feast of Pentecost. That’s why all those people were there in Jerusalem in the first place. They had come to observe the Jewish feast.

You see, there were three main festivals in the Jewish year, in the Hebrew calendar, when all pious Jews from all over would travel to Jerusalem and go to the temple to fulfill their religious duty. They were these three: the Feast of Passover, in the early spring; the Feast of Weeks, also called Pentecost, which occurred seven weeks, or fifty days, later in the spring; and then in the fall, the Feast of Tabernacles or Booths. These three are called the pilgrimage festivals, because they called for Jews to make that pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

Now at this point you’re probably saying, “Who cares? That stuff’s ancient history, and besides which, I’m not even Jewish! What does all that have to do with me?” Well, the answer is, a lot! As we’re about to find out, when you see how these Old Testament feasts are fulfilled in Christ. When you see how the Feast of Tabernacles and the Feast of Passover come to fruition now in the Feast of Pentecost, then you will rejoice in the good gifts that God gives.

Our text today is the Holy Gospel from John 7. It consists of words that Jesus spoke at the Feast of Tabernacles. So you might be wondering why this is selected as a text for Pentecost. Well, the reason is that in this text Jesus is predicting what will happen on the Feast of Pentecost. So this morning we’re going to go on a pilgrimage “From Tabernacles to Pentecost,” and we may make a stop at Passover on the way.

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Published in: on June 3, 2017 at 11:24 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Pentecost: A Firstfruits Harvest Festival” (Acts 2:1-41)

The Day of Pentecost
Sunday, May 15, 2016

“Pentecost: A Firstfruits Harvest Festival” (Acts 2:1-41)

What do you know about the Feast of Pentecost? If you’re like most people in the church today, I’m guessing not too much. Oh, maybe you know it has something to do with the coming of the Holy Spirit. And you would be right. But there’s more to it than that. OK, let’s see. Maybe you’ve heard that Pentecost is called “the birthday of the church.” Well, alright, there’s something to that. Maybe somewhere along the line you heard that people can wear red to church on Pentecost Sunday. And that does match the color of the paraments. But if it’s just a silly custom of wearing red, then there’s not too much to that.

So what do you know about the Feast of Pentecost? By the way, why do we even call it a “Feast”? Well, in church lingo, a “feast” is when it is appropriate to have the sacrament of our Lord’s body and blood, as we do on every Sunday and major church festival. Oh, there’s that word “festival,” which is another way to say “feast.” And Pentecost certainly is a major festival in the church. In fact, the Day of Pentecost is one of the three highest, most major festivals in the church year, along with Christmas Day and Easter Day. But compared to Christmas and Easter, Pentecost kind of gets short shrift. We’ll try to remedy that today.

Now what I’m about to tell you about Pentecost may surprise you a bit: Did you know that Pentecost originally was a Jewish festival? That’s right. We’ll explain. And another thing: Pentecost was a harvest festival, a firstfruits harvest festival. We’ll explain that too. And we’ll tie it all together, along with Pentecost’s tremendous meaning for us today, all under the theme, “Pentecost: A Firstfruits Harvest Festival.”

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Published in: on May 14, 2016 at 11:09 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“The Helper: The Paraclete of Pentecost” (John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15)

The Day of Pentecost
Sunday, May 24, 2015

“The Helper: The Paraclete of Pentecost” (John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15)

“To You, O Paraclete, we raise / Unending songs of thanks and praise.” Did you catch that last line of the hymn we just sang? And did you wonder who or what this “Paraclete” was? Well, it seems to be a reference to the Holy Spirit, because earlier in that stanza we’ve been praising the Father and the Son, so this must be the Holy Spirit. But why call the Holy Spirit “Paraclete”? Is that because the Spirit came down in the form of a parakeet at Jesus’ baptism? No, wait, that was a dove, not a parakeet. And besides, this is “Paraclete,” not “parakeet.”

Alright, so what in the world is a “Paraclete”? Well, if you noticed the fine print at the bottom of the page of that hymn, Hymn 500, you saw that there was this explanation: “‘Paraclete,’ another name for the Holy Spirit, comes from the Greek, meaning ‘comforter’ or ‘counselor.’” And so it is. “Comforter,” “counselor,” “advocate”–these are all ways the Greek word “Paraclete” can be translated. Or, as the term occurs in the Holy Gospel for today, there the word “Paraclete” is translated as “Helper.” Jesus uses this term “Paraclete” several times to tell the disciples he is going to send them the “Helper.”

That’s what this day, the Day of Pentecost, is all about: It’s about the risen and ascended Lord Jesus Christ sending the Paraclete, the Helper, the Holy Spirit, to the church, to help the church, to help us Christians, in several ways. So let’s find out how, as we now consider our theme, “The Helper: The Paraclete of Pentecost.”

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Published in: on May 24, 2015 at 1:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“The Front Porch of Peter’s Pentecost Sermon” (Acts 2:1-21)

The Day of Pentecost
June 8, 2014

“The Front Porch of Peter’s Pentecost Sermon” (Acts 2:1-21)

The purpose of a front porch is to get people into the house. The front porch may be small, the front porch may be large, but it does its job if it gets people into the building. The front porch is not the place where you want people to stay, but it should provide a good entryway into the house. And ideally, it should match, and be suitable for, the rest of the building.

That’s the way it is with the front porch of a house. That’s the way it is with the front porch of a sermon. The introduction of a sermon is like the front porch of a house. It should provide an entryway to get people into the main part of the sermon itself. The introduction is not where you want people to stay, but it should lead the people in, draw the people in. And ideally, it should match, and be appropriate for, the rest of the sermon.

Well, today we get to hear the first part of Peter’s sermon that he preached on the Day of Pentecost. This is the introduction to his sermon that we find here in Acts chapter 2. It’s not the whole thing; we’ll hear the main part next week. But it does serve as a fitting entry point to get us into what Peter is getting at. And so our theme this morning: “The Front Porch of Peter’s Pentecost Sermon.”

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Published in: on June 7, 2014 at 10:35 pm  Leave a Comment  
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