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In The Presence of Greatness

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TEXT  
SERIES   Holy Spirit – Pentecost Sunday
TITLE   “In the Presence of Greatness”
Exegetical Idea  
Homiletical Idea  
Want them to Know?  
Want them to do?  
BIG IDEA  The Holy Spirit has played a major role in history, but what He really wants is to play a major role in your story. 
PREACHING IDEA   
What’s Different?  
What difference does it make?  
DATE & PLACE DELIVERED   

 

What do they need to know? (Information)  
Why do they need to know it? (Motivation)  
What do they need to do? (Application)  
Why do they need to do it? (Inspiration)  
How can I help them remember? (Reiteration)  

 

Outline

 

  1. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.”  Genesis  1:1,2
  2. You will want to get out a Pen or pencil to write down these Scriptures since you won’t have time to turn to them all this morning.  We are going to take a brief look at the Holy Spirit throughout history, starting with biblical history. 
  3. “Then the Lord said to Moses, 2 “See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, 3 and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts— 4 to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, 5 to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of craftsmanship.” 6 [1] Exodus 31:1-6
  4. “21 But Moses said, “Here I am among six hundred thousand men on foot, and you say, ‘I will give them meat to eat for a whole month!’ 22 Would they have enough if flocks and herds were slaughtered for them? Would they have enough if all the fish in the sea were caught for them?” 23 The Lord answered Moses, “Is the Lord’s arm too short? You will now see whether or not what I say will come true for you.” 24 So Moses went out and told the people what the Lord had said. He brought together seventy of their elders and had them stand around the Tent. 25 Then the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke with him, and he took of the Spirit that was on him and put the Spirit on the seventy elders. When the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied, but they did not do so again.a 26 However, two men, whose names were Eldad and Medad, had remained in the camp. They were listed among the elders, but did not go out to the Tent. Yet the Spirit also rested on them, and they prophesied in the camp. 27 A young man ran and told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.” 28 Joshua son of Nun, who had been Moses’ aide since youth, spoke up and said, “Moses, my lord, stop them!” 29 But Moses replied, “Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!” 30 Then Moses and the elders of Israel returned to the camp. [2]”  Numbers 11:21-29.
  5. Feast of Weeks (Pentecost)
    1. ‘From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks. 16 Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to the Lord. [3]   21 On that same day you are to proclaim a sacred assembly and do no regular work. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live. [4] Leviticus 23:15,16 & 21.
    2. 9 Count off seven weeks from the time you begin to put the sickle to the standing grain. 10 Then celebrate the Feast of Weeks to the Lord your God by giving a freewill offering in proportion to the blessings the Lord your God has given you. 11 And rejoice before the Lord your God at the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name—you, your sons and daughters, your menservants and maidservants, the Levites in your towns, and the aliens, the fatherless and the widows living among you. 12 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt, and follow carefully these decrees. [5] Deuteronomy 16:9-12
  6. Book of Deuteronomy written about 1400 BC
    1. “8 The Israelites grieved for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days, until the time of weeping and mourning was over. 9 Now Joshua son of Nun was filled with the spiritc of wisdom because Moses had laid his hands on him. So the Israelites listened to him and did what the Lord had commanded Moses.[6]” Deuteronomy 34:8,9
  7. The Prophet Joel
    1. About 800 BC
    2. “28     “And afterward,

I will pour out my Spirit on all people.

Your sons and daughters will prophesy,

your old men will dream dreams,

your young men will see visions.

29     Even on my servants, both men and women,

I will pour out my Spirit in those days.

30     I will show wonders in the heavens

and on the earth,

blood and fire and billows of smoke.

31     The sun will be turned to darkness

and the moon to blood

before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.

32     And everyone who calls

on the name of the Lord will be saved;[7]” Joel 2:28-32

  1. The Prophet Ezekiel
    1. Writing in 595-571 BC
    2. “24 “ ‘For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. 25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. 28 You will live in the land I gave your forefathers; you will be my people, and I will be your God. [8]” Ezekiel 36:24-28.
  2. Jesus’ Baptism
    1. About 30 AD
    2. “16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.[9]” Matthew 3:16,17
    3. Then Jesus is led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the Devil. 
  3. Jesus will promises the Holy Spirit and cautions not to proceed without the Spirit.
    1. “7 But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.”[10] John 16:7
    2. “He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized witha water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” [11] Acts 1:3-5
  4. The Holy Spirit Comes
    1. “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tonguesa as the Spirit enabled them.” [12] Acts 2:1-4
    2. It came on the day of Pentecost and today those who believe that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is still for believers today with speaking in tongues are called Pentecostals.
    3. “While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples 2 and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit whena you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?” “John’s baptism,” they replied. 4 Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 On hearing this, they were baptized intob the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tonguesc and prophesied. 7 There were about twelve men in all. [13]”  Acts 19:1-7
  5. For the next 2000 years the church would grow at an amazing rate throughout the world. Where Christianity was a minority it was now the majority.  The Spirit no doubt was at work and we have reports, however, sparse on the Spirit being at work during this time frame. 
  6. On January 1, 1901 at Bethel Bible College in Topeka Kansas at a New Year’s prayer meeting, something different happened, or maybe something not so different, but something ancient.  In that prayer meeting led by Charles Parham, not a perfect man by any means, Agnes Ozman received the baptism of the Holy Spirit with evidence of speaking in tongues.
  7. Then a revival broke out in Houston when Parham went there.  It was in Houston that an African American named William Seymour would receive the baptism and head to California.  Seymour would lead one of the greatest revivals in our nations history the Azuza St. revival from 1906-1909. 
  8. In the 1960’s the charismatic renewal hit, and all of the sudden people in mainline churches, Episcopal, Catholic, and Presbyterians were receiving the baptism and speaking in tongues.  The priests did not know what to do with these people.  On the one hand they were acting in a way inconsistent with their doctrines, on the other hand they were on fire for God and bringing life to their churches.  
  9.  That was in the past.  Now in the future we have no problem believing that God is going to do wonderful and amazing things.  Jesus is coming again and healing for the nations will flow from him and we will all dwell in heaven for eternity.  But, what about now?  What about today?  What of the Holy spirit today in your life and mine?
  10. Charles Kraft in his book “Christianity with Power” says that most of us have no problem believing that God worked in the past and that he will work again in the future, but for some reason we don’t think he is interested in doing those things right now for us. 
  11. The Holy Spirit has played a major role in history, but what he really wants to do is play a major role in your story!
  12. Why don’t we go after the Holy Spirit and all God has for us?
    1. Not Rational enough. 

                                                              i.      This is true enough and the Scriptures recognize this as well. 

                                                            ii.      Kraft also points out that we tend to interpret the Bible through our lens of experience or lack of experience, instead of the other way around letting the Bible interpret our experience.  I can be as guilty as that as the next person, but what about you?

                                                          iii.      We think that people are just making it up. Probably has happened at some point.  But, don’t right off the authentic because of the counterfeit.  We don’t stop using money because some people counterfeit it.

    1. Too Self-Sufficient

                                                              i.      Frankly we like our life and we see little reason to go after God like that.  We have as much of God as we desire. 

    1. Too afraid                                                               i.      Embarrassed that we will look foolish or we will be like those people that other people make fun of. 

                                                            ii.      Miss opportunities.  Like that of a woman of the church who gave a word years ago about the agony that God felt about his son dying.  She thought it a strange word that God spoke through her and thought maybe she even got the word wrong.  But, after the service a woman came up to her and said she had 3 sons who died in a plane crash and she had been mad at God ever since, but that morning God set her free.

  1. I was sitting at the mall food court this week and eating lunch.  I was by myself and just eating, people watching and praying.  As I was praying I found myself telling God that, “we cannot compete with this, these are the gods of our society and how can the church compete with them?”  God said, “You can’t, so don’t bother trying. They will always have more resources, more money, better marketing, and a better tap on the desires of people.”  I thought what a wonderfully encouraging word for the new pastor, thanks Lord.  But, the Lord was not finished speaking, “You have something that they cannot compete with, my presence.”  #. The Holy Spirit has played a major role in history, but what he really wants is to play a major role in your story.
  2. You can be a Christian without the baptism of the Holy Spirit, that is not the issue.  The disciples were until the day of Pentecost, and many people, good people, throughout history have been.  But, if there is more, why not go after it.

 

Joshua Bell emerged from the Metro and positioned himself against a wall beside a trash basket. By most measures, he was nondescript—a youngish white man in jeans, a long-sleeved T-shirt, and a Washington Nationals baseball cap. From a small case, he removed a violin. Placing the open case at his feet, he shrewdly threw in a few dollars and pocket change as seed money and began to play.

For the next 45 minutes, in the D.C. Metro on January 12, 2007, Bell played Mozart and Schubert as over 1,000 people streamed by, most hardly taking notice. If they would have, they might have recognized the young man for the world-renowned violinist he is. They also may have noted the violin he played—a rare Stradivari worth over $3 million. It was all part of a project arranged by The Washington Post—"an experiment in context, perception, and priorities—as well as an unblinking assessment of public taste. In a banal setting, at an inconvenient time, would beauty transcend?"

Just three days earlier, Joshua Bell sold out Boston Symphony Hall, with ordinary seats going for $100. In the subway, Bell garnered about $32 from the 27 people who stopped long enough to give a donation.

 

You can come to church every week and be in the presence of a mighty power of the Holy Spirit and yet miss out on what God has for you.

 

Conclusion

 

            We are going to open the altars for prayer.  The elders and the pastors and their wife will be up at the front.  The call is simply this, if you want more of God, more of His Holy Spirit, and all that he has for you I want you to come to the altar and pray.  If you have not yet received the baptism of the Holy Spirit with speaking in tongues and would like for someone to pray with you about that just let them know.  Tell them I want to ask God for the baptism, all they will do is pray for you. 

 

            The disciples were told that the mission is too big without the Holy Spirit baptism, so is ours.

 


 

A. J. Gordon, one of the founders of Gordon Conwell Divinity School, told of being out walking and looking across a field at a house. There beside the house was what looked like a man pumping furiously at one of those hand pumps. As Gordon watched, the man continued to pump at a tremendous rate; he seemed absolutely tireless, pumping on and on, up and down, without ever slowing in the slightest, much less stopping.

Truly it was a remarkable sight, so Gordon started to walk toward it. As he got closer, he could see it was not a man at the pump, but a wooden figure painted to look like a man. The arm that was pumping so rapidly was hinged at the elbow and the hand was wired to the pump handle. The water was pouring forth, but not because the figure was pumping it. You see, it was an artesian well, and the water was pumping the man!

When you see a man who is at work for God and producing results, recognize that it is the Holy Spirit working through him, not the man’s efforts that are giving results. All he has to do—and all you have to do—is keep your hand on the handle.[14]

Two Texans were traveling together on vacation. They decided to stop at one of the natural wonders of the world, Niagara Falls. As they took the beautiful drive from Lake Erie to the falls they were filled with admiration and awe at the size and power of the Niagara River. They were particularly impressed with the rapids just above the falls and stopped there to look. From there they could see the massive mist cloud that always hangs over the precipice.

One of the men, having already been there, said, “Come and I’ll show you the greatest unused power in the world.” Taking him to the foot of Niagara Falls, he said, “There is the greatest unused power in the world.”

“Ah, no, my friend, not so!” was the reply of the other. “The greatest unused power in the world is the Holy Spirit of the living God.”[15]

Commentary

Feast of Pentecost

The purpose of the Feast of Harvest was to express gratitude to God for the harvest that had been gathered, and thereby acknowledge that it was God who gave them the harvest.[16]

 These were leavened (Leviticus 23:17), in contrast to the Passover bread, which was unleavened. This was because Passover is a memorial of the haste in which they departed from Egypt, when they had not time to leaven their bread, and the Feast of Harvest is a celebration of thankfulness to God for their ordinary food. In addition to this offering of the loaves, every person was required to bring in a basket a portion of the firstfruits of all they produced from the soil and offer it to the Lord (Deuteronomy 26:1–10).[17]

 

 


----

[1] The Holy Bible : New International Version. electronic ed. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984, S. Ex 31:1-6

a Or prophesied and continued to do so

[2] The Holy Bible : New International Version. electronic ed. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984, S. Nu 11:21-30

[3] The Holy Bible : New International Version. electronic ed. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984, S. Le 23:15-16

[4] The Holy Bible : New International Version. electronic ed. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984, S. Le 23:20-21

[5] The Holy Bible : New International Version. electronic ed. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984, S. Dt 16:9-12

c Or Spirit

[6] The Holy Bible : New International Version. electronic ed. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984, S. Dt 34:8-9

[7] The Holy Bible : New International Version. electronic ed. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984, S. Joe 2:28-32

[8] The Holy Bible : New International Version. electronic ed. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984, S. Eze 36:24-28

[9] The Holy Bible : New International Version. electronic ed. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984, S. Mt 3:16-17

[10] The Holy Bible : New International Version. electronic ed. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984, S. Jn 16:6-7

a Or in

[11] The Holy Bible : New International Version. electronic ed. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984, S. Ac 1:3-5

a Or languages; also in verse 11

[12] The Holy Bible : New International Version. electronic ed. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984, S. Ac 2:1-4

a Or after

b Or in

c Or other languages

[13] The Holy Bible : New International Version. electronic ed. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984, S. Ac 19:1-7

[14]Green, Michael P.: Illustrations for Bilical Preaching : Over 1500 Sermon Illustrations Arranged by Topic and Indexed Exhaustively. Revised edition of: The expositor's illustration file. Grand Rapids : Baker Book House, 1989

[15]Green, Michael P.: Illustrations for Bilical Preaching : Over 1500 Sermon Illustrations Arranged by Topic and Indexed Exhaustively. Revised edition of: The expositor's illustration file. Grand Rapids : Baker Book House, 1989

[16]Freeman, James M. ; Chadwick, Harold J.: Manners & Customs of the Bible. Rev. ed.]. North Brunswick, NJ : Bridge-Logos Publishers, 1998, S. 122

[17]Freeman, James M. ; Chadwick, Harold J.: Manners & Customs of the Bible. Rev. ed.]. North Brunswick, NJ : Bridge-Logos Publishers, 1998, S. 123

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