Fairmeadow Community Church of The Nazarene
September 19, 2021
  • What A Beautiful Name
  • Acts 2:1–13 NRSV
    1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. 5 Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. 6 And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. 7 Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? 9 Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” 12 All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.”

    Exclusive

    Some people just can’t be happy unless they feel part of a special group within a group. They want to feel exclusive, like THEY belong but MOST people DON’T. It builds up pride pretty easily.
    It’s a special problem when God’s people act this way. Excluding some people for some pretty weak reasons: like who their parents are, what race they are, what language they speak, whether they know all the rules already. It’s particularly arrogant because none of us are saved because of who we are or how much we know. We are saved by Grace. Saved because God loves us. And guess what—God loves everyone.

    All in One Accord...

    The Scriptures tell us that after Jesus went to heaven, the disciples all came together… The King James version tells us they were all with one accord in one place.
    So the disciples drove a Honda. A Honda Accord to be specific. Whew new? Learn something new…
    No it really means that despite their disagreements, despite their backgrounds and opinions, they listened to Jesus. They were all together in one place. They were waiting for him to show up again. It’s the main thing they had in common.
    It’s hard to wait. Sometimes it’s easier to wait together. If we accept one another.
    Jesus had told them the Holy Spirit would come. Jesus had been telling them that the Holy Spirit would guide them and remind them. They were used to having Jesus present with them physically. But now they would receive power to be witnesses of Jesus.
    They weren’t receiving power to reign politically over the Romans. They weren’t receiving power to finally wipe out those Pharisees. They were receiving power to let God rule more fully in their own lives. They were receiving power to love like Jesus loved. They were receiving power to share good news. Amen? They weren’t gonna have super strength. They weren’t gonna be more connected. They were gonna be more loving and more compelling with God’s help.

    Bias

    Just a quick word about bias. People think bias is only a negative word so they only think other people have it. Most people think they aren’t biased. But bias is a point of view that affects how we see things and how we interpret events. A newborn baby thinks that the whole world revolves around what they want and need. That’s a bias. There’s nothing wrong with it. The baby doesn’t know any better.
    Adults are supposed to keep learning and realize they have bias and try to take it into account. But some people won’t. They still think whatever they feel is the only thing that matters. That’s one way bias is bad. When it goes unchecked in our lives.
    Another way bias is bad is when we pretend we don’t have any. That’s bad because we will likely injure others if we don’t take bias into account. Even worse, we could miss what God is up to because we can only see things one way.
    Every one of the disciples had their biases. They liked some things. Some things came easier for them. Some things favored them more. They were human just like us. Jews favored Jews. But within that were specific ideas: Pharisees, Sadduccees, Zealots. But with the disciples had an experience with Jesus that changed everything. Now, their biggest bias was to stick with what Jesus said. See what I mean? That was so big that their other biases didn’t count for much.
    Can we say the same? Or does our bias for Jesus have to bend to our political bias? Our financial bias? Our I want to hang out with only certain people bias?
    Well ready or not change was coming like a freight train to the lives of those men and all their friends that day. Wind and Fire would mark a day none of them would ever forget.

    Wind and Fire

    Acts 2:2–3 NRSV
    2 And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them.
    Can you even imagine? Well last summer we all got a taste of what the rush of a violent wind sounds like. A huge DeREcho storm tore across Eastern Iowa, all of Illinois and into Northwest Indiana. We had a couple hours notice that it was coming so some of us were watching and listening for it. It was definitely a rushing violent wind. It only lasted about 15seconds everywhere it passed through but it did an hours worth of damage in many areas. From Milwaukee down to Fair Oaks Farms it was just one long leading edge of wind in a straight line. If you were paying attention you won’t forget that day. The power was out for 24hrs. That was the day we decided to get a generator. We knew we needed more power, just like the disciples did.
    A rushing mighty wind. Nobody would forget what it sounded like. They could all tell the story of the day the Holy Spirit arrived and filled their lives with a holy fire that would give purpose to the rest of their days.

    Blowin’ in the Wind

    If anyone was holding onto the false idea that they were in control of things, it ended that day. If anyone thought God didn’t get involved in peoples’ lives, it ended that day. If anyone doubted that God loves everyone and wants to go to extraordinary lengths to reach them their doubts evaporated.
    A huge crowd of people had gathered from every nation that had hopes of travelling to Jerusalem that day. Jews and converts to Judaism from all over the world. If you’ve ever walked along Michigan Ave on a Saturday afternoon or in the museums you will hear many beautiful languages being spoken by excited people. That’s what the festival of pentecost always sounded like. A buzz of international life. But in these moments that followed the wind, the disciples were given power to speak in languages they did not know.
    Evidently, the language of each person who was present was being spoken. From the way the passage reads, it seems like everyone could hear the buzz of everyone talking at once, but somehow through the buzz they could hear the one person speaking in their language above all the others.
    It was normal enough not to totally freak them out, but miraculous enough to get their attention in a way they would never forget. Jews, looking for Messiah gathering, celebrating the harvest of all that God had blessed them with that year, were blessed by a miracle of hearing in their own language that Jesus was the one. Suddenly their lives changed forever.
    From the Author: Dan Boone:
    “...humans are rarely talked out of our exclusionary judgments on other people. We rarely change our minds regarding deeply held prejudices. If someone attempts to shame us out of our prejudice, we heighten our defenses. It takes the wind of God blowing us into a new understanding, the fire of God burning on the top of our head, and the reality of the excluded ones on the tip of our tongues before we are convinced that Jesus intends to welcome all who come.”
    A few were hard-hearted and said all these people are drunk. That was their bias. But Peter stood up and set them straight.
    Folks, Jesus came to save the whole world. And Jesus came to save us from ourselves, from our own selfish outlook. It’s not just about us. God moved in such a big way sending the Spirit who will remind us of Jesus and empower us to share his love. He will help us speak in languages we never have before—whether that’s Spanish or a relatively knew language called teenager. But if we will open our mouths to declare the wonders of what God has done, he will speak through ordinary people filled with extraordinary power from God.
    It lists all their names. I promise you they were ordinary men who also knew ordinary women. In fact some of the women took to it first! But each one was a real person from a real family with hopes and dreams and hangups and a savior named Jesus. It was for them and everyone who would call on the name of the Lord.
    God wants to say to you, to everyone you know and don’t know yet: welcome. This love is genuine. This power is real. This great big world wide family of following Jesus has room for you and your friends. The gospel. The gospel is good news is for everyone who will hear it, and repent, and believe the good good news about Jesus. He’s the one you’re looking for. He’s everything you need. He won’t leave you the same but you’ll thank him for it.
    Let’s pray...
      • Acts 2:1–13NRSV

      • Acts 2:2–3NRSV

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