A short devotion for 31st May

HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHURCH!

Call to worship

Come, Holy Spirit; fill us with your peace.

Come, Holy Spirit; unite us in our worship.

Come, Holy Spirit; raise us by your power.

Come, Holy Spirit, come now.

Prayers of Praise and Confession

O Lord, your works are so diverse and plentiful. The earth is full of such a range of animals; the vast rolling oceans teem with creatures immense and tiny. You provide for all with great generosity. We will always praise you. Our prayer will be empowered by your Spirit. We will always praise you – Father, Son and Spirit.
God, your love is unconditional; your gifts are offered with measureless generosity; your peace is all- encompassing. We are sorry for the times when we have put conditions on our willingness to care; when we have kept what we have for ourselves and refused to share with others; when we have failed to seek peace and have caused discord. Forgive us; restore us; renew us by your Spirit of life. Amen

Bible Reading

Joel 2:28-29
Acts 2:1-21

Message

Text

“I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.” Acts 2:17

Introduction

Pentecost fell on the same day as the Jewish Feast of Weeks. It was 50 days from the offering of barley at the beginning of Passover till Pentecost as 7 weeks had elapsed, it was also called ‘Feast of Harvest and ‘Day of First Fruits’. The coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2) transformed the Jewish festival into the anniversary, marking the beginning of the Christian Church. For the Christian, this is the day the Lord kept His Promise to send the Holy Spirit into the world.

A new birth is an exciting experience especially when it’s the couple’s a first baby, they become a family, new life has entered the world that has to be nourished, and looked after. The date of the great event will go down as part of the family history. The couple’s world will never be the same again. As we look in our fields we see more new births with lambs, kids, calves, and piglets.

A New Birth

So it was on the Day of Pentecost, a new birth had taken place, that of the Church. The world would never be the same again when in fulfilment of the Promise that Christ made before He ascended back into Heaven. “Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” John 16:7. Now the day has come in fulfilment of the promise found in Joel 2:28-29: “I will pour out my Spirit on all people.” The first thing we are told is that all the disciples were together in one place and there was the sound of a rushing mighty wind, but it wasn’t wind, it was the sound of it and it came from heaven. Acts2:2. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. Acts2:3. It may appear strange to us but not to a Hebrew because they would have recognized it immediately as the appearance of the glory of God. When you look back in the Old Testament you see this happening time and again. Exodus 3:2 Moses and the Burning Bush, the fire of God fell and consumed David’s sacrifice on the altar that he had built in the threshing floor of Ornan 1 Chron. 21:26-28. In 1 Kings 18:36-39 we see the fire of God falling on Elijah’s offering in the contest with the prophets of Baal. It was by this means that God revealed Himself and endorsed, authenticating Elijah as being the prophet thus rejecting Baal worship.

On the Day of Pentecost the cloven tongues of fire formed an appearance of the glory of God upon the members of the Church who obeying the Lord’s command to wait until they received the promise of the Father. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Acts2:4.

There were Jews from all over the world for the Feast of Weeks and When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each heard them speaking in his own language. It is estimated there were about fifteen different countries heard them speak and they could understand the disciples as they proclaimed the wonderful works of God.

A New Birth Has Happened

Each year while you are on earth, you, your family and friends will celebrate your birthday. We in the Church have had a few this year with a ‘0’ added on to the age!
Look who is standing up to address the bewildered crowd, it is none other than Peter the one who denied his Lord, John 18:25-27 and who had been reinstated when the Lord met him by the sea, John 21:15-19. It was Peter who spoke and as a result we have the first recorded Revival, look there it is, Those who accepted his message were baptised, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. Acts 2:41 What was the message that day? In a nut shell, Peter told of Christ’s Ministry on earth, His death upon the cross and Christ being raised from the dead before going back home to heaven to sit at God’s right hand, work finished. Peter urged the people to repent of their sins and receive forgiveness, then to be baptised. We read in Acts 2:47. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were saved. Acts 2:46-47.

On the Day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit began His Ministry in the Church is as close to the heart of the redeemed as the breath that we breathe. We don’t need to pray that He will come to us, He is already here. What we do need is for us to recognize His wonderful presence and surrender ourselves fully to Him. T.T. Crabtree sums it up, “As the farmer trust the sun to germinate the seed planted in the soil, let us sow the gospel message and trust the Holy Spirit to bring about the birth of new life as people respond to Jesus Christ in faith.”

Prayers of Intercessions

Holy Spirit of peace, we pray for homes and nations where there is discord and conflict, Our out your breath of peace that people may listen to each other; may respect one another; may honour each other.

Holy Spirit, hear us. Come, Holy Spirit, come.

Holy Spirit of hope, we pray for those who live in despair; for those who can see no purpose in their lives; for those who cannot see away ahead; for those who feel completely alone.

Holy Spirit, hear us. Come, Holy Spirit, come.

Holy Spirit of unity, we pray for your Church, for its ministry to the faithful; for its mission to the world. May the Spirit of Pentecost breath upon us, that we may witness to the world the comfort, meaning and love that you offer. Heal our differences and make us one in you.

Holy Spirit, hear us. Come, Holy Spirit, come.

In the name of our Saviour, Jesus Christ we pray. Amen

Blessing

The Spirit of truth lead you into all truth, give you grace to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, and strengthen you to proclaim the word and works of God; and the blessing of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be among you, and remain with you always. Amen