You’re on the Team

Acts 2:1-21

One of the more anxious times in my life was when I was a freshman in high school and I was trying out for the basketball team. I went my freshman year to high school up in Minocqua, Lakeland Union High School, big high school, about 250 kids in each grade. And so making the basketball team was not going to be easy and I was okay, but I was certainly not a shoe-in. And so went to tryouts and did all the best, you did the best I could, etc, etc. And then had to wait to find out if my name was going to be called. And man, it was stressful. I was anxious. And I would guess most of us here have had some kind of experience like that. Maybe it was a team that you were trying out for. Maybe it was whether or not you made the play. Maybe it was waiting to hear if you got into that school that you really wanted to attend. Or if you got the job interview. Or if you got the interview if you got the job. And those kinds of things are a little stressful. True? Why is it? I’m no psychologist. I’m no expert. But my guess is that it’s something like this. That being chosen means you belong. It means you’re part. Whereas not being chosen kind of means that you’re not a part. That you don’t really belong. And I think it’s kind of knit into every one of us that we want to belong. We want to fit in. We want to know we’re part of the team. I made that team, by the way. What’s the ultimate cut day? The ultimate cut day is Judgment Day. And what’s the ultimate team that we need to make? It’s God’s team, right? Because you think about what’s going to happen on Judgment Day. On Judgment Day, Jesus is going to return on that great and glorious day of the Lord. And everyone who believes in Jesus is going to go to heaven where they will experience the greatest joy they’ve ever had. And everyone who doesn’t believe in Jesus will go to hell. And they will experience the greatest pain they’ve ever felt. And there will be no second chances. For the person who dies as a believer when they wake up, they get to meet Jesus face to face. And for the person who dies as an unbeliever, they’ll meet Satan and his evil angels. And there will be no second chances. For those who believe in Jesus and enter heaven, they’ll be given these glorious, wonderful bodies free from sin. For those who are unbelievers, they will go to hell where there will be only pain and only suffering forever and ever without any ending. And by the way, there will be no second chances. I’ve got to make this team, right? This is one I cannot afford to miss. And the problem, of course, is that not a one of us deserves to be on this team. Every one of us deserves to be on the cut list. Because every one of us has sinned against God with our thoughts, with our words, and with our actions. And that is why the work of the Holy Spirit is oh, so critical for you and for me. Interestingly, well, let me finish that thought because it’s the work of the Holy Spirit that brings us to spiritual life. Scripture talks about how you and I are born dead in sin, transgressions. And so the Holy Spirit has to raise us to life, which he does through baptism or through the Word. He takes us from being spiritually dead to being spiritually alive. It’s a miracle that you believe in Jesus. That means you are a miracle, a miracle of God’s own working. Isn’t that cool? Interestingly, we don’t know all that much about the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is sometimes referred to as the quiet member of the Trinity. To use an illustration, the Holy Spirit is kind of like a spotlight. I didn’t see one of you come into church this morning and start looking up at the lights. You didn’t do it. You looked at the altar. You looked at the pulpit. You looked at the cross. In other words, you looked at the stuff that the spotlight shone upon, right? Of course, you did. Well, that’s the way the Holy Spirit works. The Holy Spirit works like that spotlight. And what does he shine on? He shines on Jesus. What did Jesus say? The Holy Spirit will testify about me. The Holy Spirit shines that spotlight on Jesus and says, “Look, there’s the Savior. Look. That’s the one who lived for you. Look, that Jesus. He’s the one who died on the cross. He’s the one who rose from the dead. And because of that Jesus, who I’m shining the light on, you’re saved. You don’t sit and stare at the spotlight.” I’m getting spots in my eyes from looking up at the lights. “You don’t sit and stare at the spotlight. You stare at the person who’s in the spotlight. You look at Jesus.” The Day of Pentecost is one of the very few events in the Bible where we see the Holy Spirit’s work clearly. Let’s dig out a few details. First of all, they’re all gathered together. Who was gathered together? What we know is for sure the 12. They’re back up to 12 because Matthias has replaced Judas. But in chapter one, it talks about how there was a group of 120 believers that were gathered. And there’s no real break in the action between chapter one and chapter two. So it seems likely that it’s a group of 120 believers who are there. And all of a sudden, the Holy Spirit arrives. There’s the sound like the blowing of a violent wind. And then there’s tongues of fire that come down and land on every one of their heads. Why does God do it that way? Maybe it’s a reminder to us that our God loves to work on each one of us individually and personally. God could have just put one big old fireball over the whole group of them, and that had been cool, right? And that worked. And maybe that’s how it started. We’re told those tongues separated and came to rest on each one of them. Because God loves to work with each one of us individually, personally, in the way that’s best for us. Oh, he uses means to do it. On the day you were brought to the baptismal font, it was you that the Holy Spirit brought to life. It wasn’t anybody else. It was you. And oh, by the way, you notice that it said the tongues of fire came to land on each one of them. Why? Because each one of them was just as vital and important to God as the other. Yeah, Peter, James, and John each had flames, but so did Matthias, the new guy. And so did believer number 57 and believer number 28 and believer number 120. Because just as important to God as Peter, James, and John were, so were believers 73, 84, and 98. And if you had been there that day, you’d have had a tongue of fire on your head. Because you are just as important to God as any of them. Jesus died just as much for you as he died for each of them. And then the Holy Spirit allows the disciples to speak in other languages. Notice they weren’t babbling. They weren’t speaking out of their minds. They were speaking real words in languages that they had never studied before. Why? Because there were people there from all over the world. And what’s the best language to communicate with a person in their own native language, right? If I went to Russia, I’d have a lot of problems. I don’t speak a lick of Russian. If I could find somebody that spoke some English, okay, now we can communicate. We can talk. So what does God do? He gives the disciples this miraculous ability to speak in these other languages that they never studied so that they can tell people about Jesus in words that they could understand. The crowds were amazed by it. How is it that we hear them each speaking in our own, it’s translated native tongues, it’s literally the language into which we were born. That’s the language that most of us speak the most easily, is the language into which we were born. And if you had been there that day, you’d have heard the word of God and the language in which you were born. For many of us, that’s English. Maybe there’s some Spanish. I’m not sure what Mueller’s first language is. Indonesian of some kind, I assume. Yes? Yes? Yeah? And the Holy Spirit would have made sure that one of the disciples, one of those 120, was speaking in that language. And the Holy Spirit continues to speak to you and me today, brothers and sisters. Oh, not directly. If you feel like he’s speaking to you directly, you should get real nervous. Because the Bible says that the devil will masquerade as an angel of light. What better way for the devil to masquerade than to say, “I’m God and I’ve got this wonderful message for you.” Run the other way. But where he does speak to you is through the Bible. And every time you open that Bible, the Holy Spirit is speaking to you. The Holy Spirit is speaking to your heart, is strengthening your faith, your soul. That’s what the Holy Spirit is doing. And when you come to the Lord’s Table in a few moments, the Holy Spirit is going to be bringing life to your heart, to your soul. Because he loves you dearly. My brothers and sisters, you’re on the team. You’ve made the cut. The Father sent Jesus because he loves you. The Father said, “Jesus, because he loves you.” The Son went to the cross because he loves you. And in wonderful grace today, we particularly rejoice in the fact that the Holy Spirit has brought you to life. You’re on the team, my brothers and sisters. Heaven awaits. Amen? And amen.