THE DAY OF PENTECOST – JUNE 8, 2014
TEXT: JOHN 14:23-31; ACTS 2:1-21; GENESIS 11:1-9
THROUGH THE WORK AND THE WORDS OF JESUS
THE HOLY SPIRIT GIVES THE LOVE OF THE FATHER
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting


It was the third hour of the day - 9:00 AM on a Sunday morning! The eleven were gathered together like you are today suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind…and divided tongues as of fire rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.


9:00 AM on that first Sunday of Pentecost! What occurred? Tongues speaking words from the Holy Spirit proclaiming Jesus Christ and repentance and baptism and the forgiveness of sins in His name! 9AM on Sunday morning in the year 2014! What occurs? Tongues speaking words from the Holy Spirit proclaiming Jesus Christ and repentance and baptism and the forgiveness of sins in His name!


Dear Christians the texts for Pentecost literally explode with verbal activity – with tongues and the words they speak. Pentecost is a miracle of speaking and hearing! At the Tower of Babel all the tongues were speaking one language- they had the same words (Gen 11:1)? No Mandarin Chinese or Russian or Spanish or English or Persian or any one of some 7000 languages. What strength that would seem to be in this world of divisions!

THE DAY OF PENTECOST – JUNE 8, 2014
TEXT: JOHN 14:23-31ACTS 2:1-21GENESIS 11:1-9
THROUGH THE WORK AND THE WORDS OF JESUS
THE HOLY SPIRIT GIVES THE LOVE OF THE FATHER
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting


It was the third hour of the day - 9:00 AM on a Sunday morning! The eleven were gathered together like you are today suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind…and divided tongues as of fire rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.


9:00 AM on that first Sunday of Pentecost! What occurred? Tongues speaking words from the Holy Spirit proclaiming Jesus Christ and repentance and baptism and the forgiveness of sins in His name! 9AM on Sunday morning in the year 2014! What occurs? Tongues speaking words from the Holy Spirit proclaiming Jesus Christ and repentance and baptism and the forgiveness of sins in His name!


Dear Christians the texts for Pentecost literally explode with verbal activity – with tongues and the words they speak. Pentecost is a miracle of speaking and hearing! At the Tower of Babel all the tongues were speaking one language- they had the same words (Gen 11:1)? No Mandarin Chinese or Russian or Spanish or English or Persian or any one of some 7000 languages. What strength that would seem to be in this world of divisions!


Yet what man sought to do with that united language was not good! When the world had the same words - man did not seek to hallow God’s name or have His kingdom come! After the flood God told His people to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth (Gen. 9:1, 7). Intentionally trying to defy God they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” In other words, one common language intensified man’s efforts to play God. God told them to go out – to scatter. Instead, they used their resources and intelligence in an attempt set down roots and to go up – in self-exaltation!


Up is the direction man prefers in efforts to serve himself and save himself. Up – to success – living up to his or her potential. Who doesn’t want their children to be “moving on up”? It has been said that we spend our lives saving up so that we can finally quit our jobs and live it up in retirement. The language of “up” is so very common and controlling. Sadly it is often the language of pride.


Yet up in pride is also the way down. Reaching up for God’s place is how man fell! I want to be “up” – not “put down” in your eyes. You also want to be “up” – well thought of - in the opinion of others. The drumbeat for everything to be about us is steady and strong – our person and place – our opinions – our needs! Our tongues readily spring into action to lift us up.


The language God gave at creation was shared by all humanity until it became the foundation for this united, towering idolatry – let us make a name for ourselves. Then… the Lord confused the language of all the earth…and…dispersed them over the face of all the earth. What they would not do in obedience with one language – God made them do in punishment with many. He scattered them.


Now, in whatever language they operate, the tongues of fallen men still seek to make a name for themselves! They often speak when they ought to be still! They lie still and silent when they ought to speak up. Tongues may be quite content to refrain from praising God’s name in weekly worship or calling on God’s Name in daily prayer. Tongues may balk at explaining everything in the kindest way for our neighbor. No one can tame the tongue to pray as it should and to praise at it should and to give thanks as it should and to protect as it should and to point out evil as it should and to confess sin as it should and to stifle itself as it should. Scripture describes the tongue as a world of iniquity that defiles the whole body, full of poison and set on fire by hell (James 3:1-10). No one can tame the tongue.

 

That’s why the tongues as of fire from heaven on the Day of Pentecost trumpet such a beautiful, freeing gift! The pouring out of the Holy Spirit is all about tongues, the tongue of the God/Man, the tongues of the apostles proclaiming Christ. This is true because the tool of the Holy Spirit is words, the words of the Word made flesh. As Jesus promised the apostles, the Helper, 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.” Immediately before this He had said…Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.”


Pentecost is a miracle of words – words the Holy Spirit brings us from the tongue of Jesus – which words He received from the Father. The lover of mankind has acted lavishly to reclaim us in the Word made flesh. These words of the Holy Trinity confessing Him are so vital that they determine whether we love God or not. Not only the singular “word” is used here, but also the plural “words”. Words are the tool, the weapon, the means of the Holy Spirit. Refusal to hear and treasure Jesus’ words is a rejection of the Father and the Holy Spirit.


That’s why the Third Commandment is so crucial – that we do not despise preaching and His Word. The Holy Spirit enters the hearts of people through the ears of people. The Holy Spirit revives our hearts through what He speaks of Christ. He is here at 9:00AM each Lord’s Day to do just what He did at 9:00AM on the Day of Pentecost. He is here as His Christ is proclaimed! He is also present in your words witnessing Christ to others. His office is fulfilled when He revives in our hearts what Jesus does and says and gives.


When they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues (languages) – that is when the curse of Babel was temporarily set aside – they spoke about Jesus. “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Their tongues proclaimed the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. Their tongues preached baptism and the forgiveness of sins that comes in Jesus’ name. The Holy Spirit lifts up Jesus – not Himself.


These eleven had been so full of fear and foreboding! Now they were full of courage and joy! Seven weeks earlier they had denied and deserted a man who hung for hours naked and bleeding in public shame for the whole city to see! Now, in that same city they publicly proclaim the mighty works of God in the name of this same man – Jesus of Nazareth - crucified and risen. It wasn’t that they had marshaled their inner strength. It wasn’t that they were so ashamed of their failures that they were determined to do better. No, the difference was the fulfillment of the promise Jesus made on Maundy Thursday - hours before he went to the cross. But the Helper, 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.” 


Jesus’ tongue was fired not by hell but by God’s love for us sinners. His tongue spoke forgiveness from the cross. His tongue spoke peace upon His resurrection – the same peace He set forth here. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. That’s what they received on the Day of Pentecost – Jesus - His presence and His peace by the work of the Holy Spirit! What an astounding change for the apostles!


What an astounding change for you! Sunday morning at 9:00 AM and what do you get? Through the Holy Spirit’s work in this gathering you get Jesus. You see, the tongues of fire were temporary. The sound of the rushing wind was temporary. The simultaneous hearing in native languages was temporary. It testified that the divisions of language and culture and race are transcended by oneness in Christ. But it was a temporary miracle! What was not temporary was the miracle of speaking and hearing Christ and the forgiveness of sins that He bestows!


And here you are on this Sunday morning to hear His Word. You came here knowing that the service and the sermon would center on Jesus and not primarily on current events or generic spirituality. You come here in fact, believing that Pentecost continues as Jesus continues to pour out His Spirit, baptizing, absolving, forgiving, feeding, giving eternal life through His Word. And so He does!


Pentecost is not over and you are the heirs of Pentecost. Oh, you are tempted to doubt the Spirit’s presence with you because of the afflictions of life and the accusations of Satan and conscience. Yes, lusts and lack of love and lack of courage cling to you – yes, sorrow and fear still trouble your heart! But that doesn’t mean the Holy Spirit isn’t active in your heart! Do you really think your presence here to receive God’s gifts is more about you than about the Holy Spirit? Good heavens He comes not as the crusher – but as the Comforter. If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. The lavish giver of healing grace is wondrously present as guest in your heart – your sinful, struggling heart – with His love! If there were no struggles for you – no sorrow- how could the Holy Spirit comfort you? His office is not finished but in the process of fulfillment week by week and day by day.


Pentecost is not over and you are the heirs of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit who hovered over the face of the deep at creation hovered also over the waters into which you were baptized. The water and Spirit baptism you received carries with it the very kingdom of God and the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit who brought you that gift of rebirth is present now to comfort you even though your tongue cannot be tamed. But it can be forgiven! Christ has taken your part! In fact, “Everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” In heaven there will be one language again and you will know it perfectly. No language courses, no translators will be needed. We will all have the same words and those words will all praise the Word made flesh, the Lamb who was slain, whose blood sets us free. Even now He is present for you! “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. In the Name of Jesus, AMEN.

Luther Memorial Chapel & University Student Center | 3833 N Maryland Ave | Shorewood, WI  53211
(414) 332-5732 |lmcusc@lmcusc.org

Divine Service: Sundays - 9:00a Mondays - 7:00p Bible Study & Sunday School: Sundays - 10:45a