Posted by: Terry | June 25, 2016

Flames and wind will grab your attention!

Flames of fire will get your attention. They heard it first, like a violent windstorm, not uncommon in the desert, yet a sound that made you notice, alert to potential devastation. Then there was the fire, not lightening, but bright, carried along by the wind. Like some strange kind of funnel cloud the fire-laced wind converged on the place where the followers of Christ were gathered. People from all over the the city of Jerusalem ran toward the place attracted by the sound and the light. As the wind descended on the believers the flames split apart, with a tongue of fire hovering over every person in the room.
Touched by the flames, the believers began to speak loudly in a variety of languages which they had never learned, the people of the city were amazed and bewildered. These were mostly Galileans, considered by most to be simple and uneducated, yet they were speaking fluently in languages understood by all the people present. A violent wind, flames of fire, and over 100 people speaking in a multitude of languages will get your attention. The promised Holy Spirit had arrived, and the world would never be the same.

As the people of the city listened they heard these believers proclaiming the wonders of God; they were worshiping God, who he is and what he has done. When a person actually encounters God they are overwhelmed with the person and wonders of God. Intellectual or theological musings will not produce the same response that the indwelling of the Spirt will evoke.

The people of the city were amazed at what they saw, and at what they heard – the wonders of God. When we proclaim the wonders of God, people will take notice. If we would attract people to the church, to God, then let us proclaim his wonders. It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, not ours. We are to proclaim the wonder of our Father. As we pray we should profess, “Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be thy name.”

The wonders of God may attract, but they do not make sense to those who do not know God, so the people of Jerusalem were puzzled. “What does this mean?” “They have had too much wine.”

Peter stood, with the Apostles, to explain. His message was simple – they were witnessing the coming of the promised Holy Spirt, the sign that all the hopes of Israel were being fulfilled, that the promised Messiah had come, that he had been put to death, yet he was alive, and they had all seen him alive. “God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”

Three thousand people were so moved by what they saw and heard, that they accepted that Jesus was Lord and Messiah, they became believers. They were not followers of Jesus, they were believers in Jesus as Lord and Messiah. “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” They were baptized as proof of their belief, their sins were forgiven, they became part of the family of believers.

There was no promise of a better life, of restored relationships, of financial improvement, of marriage bliss – none of the messages so prevalent in today’s churches. They were exposed to the wonders of God, the evidence of the Holy Spirit, and Jesus as Lord and Messiah, the result is that they were changed. And these would one day turn the world upside down. We would do well to learn this lesson of the day of Pentecost. We would do well to preach Christ, the Messiah, and Christ crucified. It was the message of Peter and the message of Paul, it should be ours as well.


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