Faithlife Corporation
Notes & Transcripts

O God, take my lips and speak through them. Take our minds and think through them. Take our hearts and set them on fire. - Amen 

“Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday God’s people – Happy Birthday to You”

Today we celebrate Pentecost

–        Today is the birthday of the church

Easter, which is of course, is the greatest of all Christian days – because it is the day that we were given our freedom

o       The day when our Lord Jesus defeated death… and all that is death

All that distracts us, All that limits us … All that binds us

On Easter, Jesus rose from the dead

§         Giving us, who are Christians, the share in the victory

However, the first Christians didn’t fully understand the victory that they had been given

            The first Christians marveled at the story that Mary Magdalene told of seeing the risen Christ

The first Christians experienced the risen Lord behind locked doors and knew a miracle had occurred

Thomas, a week later, wept at the presence of the Lord, knowing that he had not the faith to believe in what the others had said

Peter jumped out of his boat and swam to shore, after a night of fishing upon seeing the Lord on the shore

            And yet the Disciples still didn’t fully understand

–        They saw with their eyes - as St. Paul records it “he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at one time”

–        They touched with their hands – the wounds in Jesus side, the nail marks in His hands

–        They heard with their ears – like on the road to Emmaus

–        They understood with their minds – they knew that Jesus had Ascended

o       But, they were still afraid – they did not have the Lord in their hearts…

§         They were still hiding out for fear of the Jewish authorities…

o       Yet… they were obedient

§         they went to Jerusalem as instructed and waited - and gathered to pray

And at just the right moment

At just the right time, when “there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven residing in Jerusalem” - gathered to Jerusalem for a special festival - a celebration of the harvest

                        Gathering of the Harvest – isn’t that foreshadowing…        

At that moment when the city was teeming with pilgrims

 “Suddenly a sound like a violent wind blowing came from heaven and filled the entire house where they were staying, and tongues spreading out like fire appeared to them and came to rest on each one of them, All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit, and they began to speak in other languages as the Spirit enabled them

When the Holy Spirit entered their hearts – they flooded out into the streets

            They began speaking in foreign tongues or foreign languages for all to hear

                        Devout Jews from every nation under heaven heard them

                                    Heard them in their own language

These simple, humble Galileans, flooded out into the streets and spoke God’s words for all God’s people

What a sight this would have been!

If you were there, how do you think you could explain this?

            In the moment of this miraculous event, this strange unexplainable moment

It is this moment that Peter is transformed as the leader that Jesus declared that he would become

Peter and the other disciples, where only moments before, were gathered fearfully in an upper room

            Peter grabs hold of the situation and begins to preach…

In the midst of the eleven - He declares that they are not drunk - That it is only 9 in the morning

And ‘like any good sermon since’, Peter draws them into the scripture

Peter, empowered by the Holy Spirit, preaches God by God’s word

·         This was the pouring out of the Holy Spirit of the Lord

·         That young men will see visions

·         That old men will dream dreams

·         That everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved

So it is the beginning of the church

            This day nearly 2000 years ago, the Holy Spirit birthed the church

Today we also celebrate, very appropriately, our role as equal heirs to the victory by joining with young Macie, Connor & David baptized today - - with our own affirmation of the Baptismal covenant

            We, as the church, proclaim our membership in it

                        We state our faith and trust in the power of the Holy Spirit by being the church

Peter in the first sermon of the church declared that young people will see visions and old people dream dreams

So on this celebration I would like to share with you a Vision of “The Living Church” first delivered in a sermon by The Reverend John Stott – which I too share for Farringdon

It, intentionally shares style with The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.’s – “I have a dream” speech in Washington D.C.

So as we celebrate the Birthday of the Church, and of it’s newest members – this Pentecost Sunday - here is a dream of the church…

I have a dream of a Church which is a biblical church

–        Which is loyal in every particular way to the revelation of God in scripture,

–        Whose people love the word of God, and adorn it with an obedient and Christ-like life,

–        Which is preserved from all unbiblical emphases,

–        Whose whole life manifests the health and beauty of biblical balance.

I have dream of a biblical church

I have dream of a church which is a worshipping church

–        Whose people come together to meet God and worship him,

–        Who know God is always in their midst and who bow down before him in great humility,

–        Who enrich the worship with their musical skills,

–        Who believe in prayer and lay hold of God in prayer,

–        Whose worship is expressed not in Sunday services and prayer gatherings only – but also in their homes, their weekday work and the common things of life.

I have dream of a worshipping church

I have a dream of a church which is a caring church

–        Whose congregation is drawn from many races, nations, ages and social backgrounds, and exhibits the unity and diversity of the family of God,

–        Whose fellowship is warm and welcoming, and never marred by anger, selfishness, jealousy or pride,

–        Which offers friendship to the lonely, support to the weak, and acceptance to those who are despised and rejected by society,

–        Whose love spills over to the world outside

I have a dream of a caring church

I have a dream of a church which is a serving church

–        Which has seen Christ as the Servant and has heard his call to be a servant too,

–        Whose members obey Christ’s command to live in the world, to permeate society, to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world,

–        Whose people share the good news of Jesus simply, naturally and enthusiastically with their friends,

–        Which diligently serves its own community, residents and workers, families and single people, nationals and immigrants, old folk and little children,

I have a dream of a serving church

I have a dream of a church which is an expectant church

–        Which is all the more faithful and active because it is waiting and looking for its Lord to return,

–        Which keeps the flame of the Christian hope burning brightly in a dark, despairing world,

–        Which on the day of Christ will not shrink from Him in shame, but rise up joyfully to greet him,

I have a dream of a church which is an expectant church

Such is John Stott’s dream of a living church – such is my dream of Farringdon as a living church – alive with the Holy Spirit

            May all of us share this dream, and under God - may the dream come true!

                        Happy Birthday people of God!

Let us pray.

Come Holy Spirit, our souls inspire and lighten with celestial fire. Ignite our hearts, inflame our souls, and kindle our spirits that we may burn anew with your love. Overcome what might be timid in faith with these encouragements of your presence and gospel. Warm up all that is cold in us. Give us the flame of lively living and believing. O Spirit of God, take our words and speak through them; take our minds and think through them; take our hearts and set them on fire. Amen.

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