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Worship Theme: The Day of Pentecost and Salem Virtual Graduation Celebration
Lesson: Acts 2:1-21 (EHV)
Sermon Text: Psalm 25:21 (EHV)
Music: CW 183 Holy Spirit, Light Divine, CWS 752 In Christ Alone, Amazing Grace, A Closing Prayer (in worship folder)
Message Notes & Growth Group Questions
Children’s Activity Sheet
Message: Untapped Treasures
Today is an exciting day! This is the last official “only online worship Sunday”. Next Sunday you have the option of virtual worship or worship actually inside of church...you’ll just need to remember to not wear pajamas if you come into church next week! Today is an exciting day! Our eighth-grade students are celebrating their graduation today. After nearly a decade of work learning their A,B,C’s, their 1,2,3’s, their high level math, science, history and beyond, they completed their pre high school education. Congratulations to our graduates! And today is an exciting day! It’s Pentecost.
Did you remember to mail out your fancy Pentecost Sunday greeting cards to friends and family? Were you all ready with a new outfit bought from the mall (which just opened) for Pentecost Sunday in case we had in person worship today? What happened to the celebration of Pentecost? Where are the Pentecost cards, the Pentecost gifts, the Pentecost family gatherings dining on the Pentecost ham? There weren’t door buster sales today at Kohl’s in honor of Pentecost. There aren’t famous Pentecost songs playing on the radio as you drive around town. Where’s the nationwide celebration of Pentecost?
Wouldn’t it be great if there was one? What if in the weeks leading up to Pentecost everyone had a Pentecost holiday display set up in their yard? You’d drive around neighborhoods drinking hot chocolate, eating Flaming Hots looking at the light displays in people’s yards. Little tongues of fire dancing across the lawn while a spotlight shines on a dove hanging from a tree. But it just doesn’t happen. Pentecost isn’t marketed in the secular world because we don’t make Pentecost a big deal in the religious world.
It’s time to make a change. It’s time to give this wonderful church holiday the honor it deserves. It’s time to be changed by the Holy Spirit in miraculous ways. There was change happening all over the place on the actual, biblical Day of Pentecost. The disciples were changed to speak in different languages. The church itself was changed as the people became the earthly leaders of God’s Church. And on Pentecost 3,000 people were brought to faith, 3,000 were snatched from the clutches of hell and were changed into believers bound for heaven. And then, those Pentecost believers with their shiny new faith in Jesus went home and told their family and friends about Jesus and Christianity exploded across the world. Change happened! Each of these people had a soul yearning to be filled with Christ Jesus. When you are, when Jesus enters your heart, everything changes.
Chuck Colson said when he first got out of prison for his Watergate cover-up crimes and professed to be a born again Christian, a lot of folks were mad at him. One senator from Maryland came up to him and called him all sorts of names after Colson spoke at a prayer breakfast. This senator told Colson he was a fake, claiming to be a Christian just for the sympathy it would evoke. He told Colson he was sure he wouldn’t last. Four years later, that same man apologized to Colson. He said what really angered him were the things Colson said in his sermon at that prayer breakfast hit him where it hurt. He didn’t like hearing he needed to change. We all need to change. We all need to tap into our unreached potential of our faith to grow in our Christian living and peace of heart.
What needs to change? During this stay at home order, you’ve likely noticed the best and the worst in others stuck under the same roof as you. It’s easy to be judgmental and annoyed at your parents, at your kids, at your spouse, at anyone at any time for anything! Maybe you’ve seen the best and worst come out of you lately.
What needs to change in you? We are months and months away from November and already there is a constant stream of political ads on TV bashing one person or promoting another. On a scale of one to ticked off furious, what happens to your blood pressure when talking to someone else about who should be president. What needs to change in you?
What needs to change in you? To Be a Mask Wearer or Not to Be a Mask Wearer that is a question that has people fired up! Some people are being told off in public for not wearing a mask. Other people are convinced if you’re in church next weekend you will be responsible for killing others. People are entrenched in their self dug opinion foxhole and are ready to fire furiously at anyone who doesn’t support them.
Graduates. What needs to change in you? Maybe it’s overwhelming sadness all that you missed your last months of 8th grade year? Maybe it’s the fear of friendships possibly being lost as you enter the sea of all the new students of high school and at different schools. Maybe it’s temptation of disrespecting your parents now that you’re a high schooler and so much older that you think rules or chores don’t apply. Or the temptations that come with being connected to an older group of teens with smoking or alcohol. That’s why I love your class verse.
“May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, LORD, is in you.” (Psalm 25:21) How do we get integrity? How do we stand with uprightness? The Hebrew word for uprightness has the idea of standing tall with confidence, with nothing to be ashamed about. Wait! We just went through a list of ways we need to change. We all have plenty of things we’ve done to be ashamed about. Who among us has pure integrity? Who among us can stand boldly as an example of perfect Christian living for all to see?
None of us. Not one of us can. But that’s not where the class verse ends. It tells us the reason why we can stand tall among others despite our past; it’s the same reason why those 3,000 believers could go home after Pentecost and stand tall boldly among others. Our hope, our trust, our confidence is in you, LORD. LORD! All capital letters. LORD is the mercy aspect of God. How are you a person of integrity? The LORD has had mercy on you fully, freely, eternally! How can you stand tall among others when you know what you’ve done in your life? Because God knows too what you’ve done and the LORD had mercy on you fully, freely, eternally. You can stand tall among others when you kneel in humility before the LORD.
Class of 2020, what a great verse! What a great reminder! We don’t walk with integrity and with confidence in ourselves. We walk with confidence because of the LORD. That’s what those 3,000 learned on Pentecost. That’s the greatest thing you’ve learned during your time at our school...that Jesus loves you. That he did it all, ALL, for you!
Did you notice the class verse didn’t say “May integrity and uprightness protect me because I’ll try harder.” Peter, in his Pentecost sermon, didn’t say to the crowd gathered, “Try harder, be a better person and God will love you and give you heaven.”
But that’s the world’s response, that’s our default response when we don’t keep our faith focused, when we don’t keep our life focused on Jesus. I’ll just try harder. Trying harder doesn’t fix what’s broken. That’s like having a car with mechanical problems—it makes a clunking sound when you start it, shakes when you go over 45 mph and squeals uncontrollably when you turn left. If you say, I’ll just try harder to drive more carefully that won’t fix the car. It will only get worse.
If you aren’t living in integrity right now, if you don’t really feel you can stand upright because of what you’re doing or the sin you’re stuck in, don’t try to fix it yourself! Don’t lie to yourself and say “I’ll just try harder to be better.” If you want to repair your life by trying harder, you’ll only fall further into despair.
The way you get that car fixed is by going to a professional. The only way you get your heart fixed is by going to the professional, going to him who heals hearts, going to him who created the human heart, going to him who breathed a soul into your body, going to him whose heart pumped blood out of his body onto the cross so that your heart of faith mighty be filled with his forgiveness freely, fully, eternally.
Those 3,000 people had renewed integrity and uprightness because they heard the Word of Christ. They were filled with Jesus and tapped into the bounty of blessings in their soul. When you are struggling with integrity, with uprightness, be refilled and refueled by the Word of Christ. Tap into the strength of God’s Word.
During the Great Depression, Mr. Ira Yates was like many other ranchers and farmers out in Texas. He had a lot of land and a lot of debt. Mr. Yates wasn’t able to make enough on this ranching operation to pay the mortgage so he was in danger of losing his ranch. With the little money for clothes or food, his family (like many others) lived on government subsidy.
Day after day, as he grazed his sheep over those rolling West Texas hills, no doubt greatly troubled about how to pay the bills. If you were or are in financial distress, you know how fully debilitating debt is. Then one day a seismographic crew from an oil company told him there might be oil on his land. They asked permission to drill a wildcat well and he signed a lease.
At 1,115 feet into the earth they struck a huge oil reserve. The first well came in at 80,000 barrels a day. Many subsequent wells were drilled more than twice as large. In fact, 30 years after the discovery, a government test of one of the oil wells showed it still had the potential flow of 125,000 barrels of oil a day. And Mr. Yates owned it all. The day he purchased the land he received the oil and mineral rights. Yet, he had been living on government assistance. A multimillionaire living in poverty. The problem? He didn’t know the oil was there so he didn’t tap into its blessings.
You have untapped treasures of the Holy Spirit waiting, just waiting, to be released! There is only one way to get the change and joy in your life that you so desire: tap further, deeper into the endless storehouse of God’s love, forgiveness and peace. You can’t change yourself but God the Holy Spirit can and will! Entrust your life to the Lord and He will pour out upon you the treasures of eternal life and peace in Him. Amen.