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“The Work of the Holy Spirit, ” Acts 2:1-21




1When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire Pentecost2house where they were sitting. 3And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. 4And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

      5Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. 7And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? 9Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, 11both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” 12And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.”

      14But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. 15For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:

        17‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; 18even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.

19And I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke;11 20the sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.  21And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’” (ESV)


In the Name of the risen and ascended Lord Jesus. Amen.

On that blessed day of Pentecost, our Lord Christ brought about what He promised to do.

This promise of the Holy Spirit upon His disciples Jesus fulfilled.

As a as a result, the disciples, now apostles, spoke and proclaimed the mighty works of God.

This they would not have done if it wasn’t for the Spirit.

On that day that the Lord first appeared to the disciples after His glorious resurrection, the disciples were behind closed doors “For fear of the Jews” (John 20:19).

The disciples were too afraid to talk to anyone after the Lord’s death about Jesus.  And even after seeing the Lord, “Some doubted” (Matthew 28:17).

Neither did they go and tell the good news of Jesus until the Spirit came upon them, for Jesus had told the disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they had “received power from on high” (Luke 24:49).

So, they waited.

In their waiting, they were joyous.

They worshiped the Lord.

They blessed God.

The praised Christ.

The Lord’s promise of the Helper came to fruition.

His sure Word alone which they had to go on came to be.

It came to be because Jesus is the Lord.

His Word came to pass.

From that time on, from that Day of Pentecost, the apostles went out preaching the Gospel, the Good News of Salvation in Christ.

From timid, fearful, and weak men, they became bold, fearless, and powerful preachers and servants of the Most High God.

This came about not by their own doing, but by means of the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus sent, as St. Peter says, “This is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh’” (Acts 2:16-17).

Even though the apostles, and later Paul, and now, still, faithful preachers today, appear timid, fearful, and weak in appearance, in their preaching you will find a boldness, a fearlessness, and a power that is not of men, but of God, for they preach not themselves, nor of men, but Christ, Christ who died and rose on the third day.

The world will hear this kind of preaching of Christ as weakness and nonsense.

In truth, the preaching of Christ is salvation, salvation to those who hear and call on His Name, the Name of the Lord, in faith.

“There is salvation in none other”; only in Christ (Acts 4:12).

Him we also preach,

No other content does leads to eternal life.

This is how we are to know whether a preacher is of God or not of God, whether he is faithful or not faithful, and whether you should hear him or not: whether he preaches Christ crucified, the Jesus of the Bible.

If the does not preach Christ, Him you are not to hear, regardless of his popularity or following.

The sheep of our Lord do not follow strangers.

They hear His voice, His voice alone, not another’s.

The preacher who does not preach Christ is not a Christian preacher, but one who deceives, robbing hearers of the Lord’s comforting Gospel, drawing them away from the Lord who purchased them with His own blood (Acts 20:28).

He who preaches Christ, on the other hand, is him you are to hear, not because of the preacher, but because of the Word he preaches.

Where Christ is preached, there the Holy Spirit is doing His work, for the Holy Spirit points to Jesus.

The speaking in tongues on the Day of Pentecost was not for the purpose of drawing attention to the speaking in tongues.

The speaking in tongues by the apostles by means of the Holy Spirit was not to draw attention to the Holy Spirit.

The speaking in other languages, other languages that the hearers could understand, was for the purpose of declaring the wonderful works of God, that those who spoke other languages could hear and believe.

What was before unknown was now heard.

It was heard because the Lord sent the Word to be heard.

That is the Word of Christ, and salvation in His Name.

The content of the apostles’ preaching on that Day of Pentecost was Christ and Him crucified (1 Cor. 1:23).

The Spirit being poured out on the disciples meant that the message of sins forgiven was then to go out into the world, beginning at Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and into all the world (Acts 1:8).

This is what was done.

This is what is being done.

This is what will be done.

The Holy Spirit continues to do His work of pointing to Christ, creating faith, and sustaining faith, through the Word of our Lord given to preach, proclaim, and make known.

We need not worry that the Lord will bring to Himself all who believe and call on His Name.

Whether that be through us or through others, it is not we who save the world, but Christ, who already has accomplished and completed that we which we are not able.

Making unbelievers into believers is not our job.

Conversion is the work of the Holy Spirit, when and where He pleases.

Our concern is to remain faithful to Christ and to His Word.

It is they who love Christ who will keep His Word.

It is they who love Christ who will confess His Name and what He has done, and what He continues to do today.

Doing these things will keep us busy enough.

These things will also bring trouble and challenge enough.

Many do not want to hear the truth, the truth of God’s Word, the truth of how God works through what is so unspiritual and so ordinary, even God becoming flesh.

Many scoff at Baptism and the Lord’s Supper as God’s means of grace.

Many do not want to hear what is despised of man and utter foolishness to human wisdom.

But here our Lord says through the Apostle Paul, “The foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (1 Cor. 1:25).

You need not worry that the way God works and the means through which the Holy Spirit brings about faith and keeps in the faith be despised, rejected, and trampled down by others.

Through those very things God will accomplish what He will.

God does work according to His Holy Word, not according to our will or how we think things should be.

God knows those who are His.

He knows them by Name (Isaiah 45:3-4).

He also knows who will be His through the Word preached and proclaimed.

It is the preaching, the proclaiming, the confessing Christ’s Name that Christ’s Church is about doing.

It is through these that the Lord converts and brings about the faith.

This is not our doing.

It is the work of the Holy Spirit.

Whether there be few or many who heed the call to repent of their sin and believe the Gospel, you are given to continually do so, to contend for the faith, to confess Christ, to endure, and to remain in the that which God gives, even in His Word and receiving the blessed body and blood of our Lord.

Through these, God strengthens and preserves you in the one true faith.

God would have you trust Him and entrust yourself to Him who is the Church’s Head.

God knows how to take care of His own body.

God knows how to bring others into His fold.

The Lord gives boldness and direction in the way you should go.

God does not give the Spirit of timidity and fear.

God gives the spirit of power, and love, and of sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).

Sending His Spirit on that Day of Pentecost, the apostles, receiving power from on High, preached boldly the Name of Christ.

They did not flinch at what might have been.

The did not heed the warnings of the naysayers and those who doubted the Lord’s Word.

They pressed on.

During hardship, they continued.

To threats to keep silent, they spoke more clearly.

“We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).

The strength to press on, to proclaim God’s only Son as only Savior, to stand firm amid opposition, these were not their own.

These things they did because the strength was Another’s.

The words that they spoke, the things they declared, were not of men.

They were of God.

God was their confidence; His Word—their sure hope.

That same Word of the same God is also our own.

The Psalmist writes, that “The help of man is useless” (Psalm 60:11; 128:12).

He also says, “It is better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in man” (Psalm 118:8).

Man will fail you.

God will not.

Your confidence is the Lord.

Your confidence is His Word and His promise.

Do not fret and worry, nor be anxious.

Trust in Christ Jesus, your help and your salvation (Psalm 79:9).

In him you have your Savior, in Him and not you or anyone else.

This was the message of the apostles on that Day of Pentecost, that Day where the Lord gave utterance through the mouths of the apostles.

It is still that message which the Lord gives utterance through those who proclaim His Word today: salvation from sin and death, in Christ alone.

The Lord grant the power of the Spirit to ever have Christ’s Name boldly proclaimed, and to give us not only to continue in the faith of our Lord, but to sing His praises always.

Come Holy Ghost, God and Lord.  In Jesus’ Name.  Amen.


Praying Hands

O God, on this day You once taught the hearts of Your faithful people by sending them the light of Your Holy Spirit. Grant us in our day by the same Spirit to have a right understanding in all things and evermore to rejoice in His holy consolation; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen. (Collect of the Day for The Day of Pentecost)





The Third Article of the Apostles’ Creed

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

What does this mean? I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith. In the same way He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. In this Christian church He daily and richly forgives all my sins and the sins of all believers. On the Last Day He will raise me and all the dead, and give eternal life to me and all believers in Christ. This is most certainly true.


The Second Petition of the Lord’s Prayer

Thy kingdom come.

What does this mean? The kingdom of God certainly comes by itself without our prayer, but we pray in this petition that it may come to us also.

How does God’s kingdom come? God’s kingdom comes when our heavenly Father gives us His Holy Spirit, so that by His grace we believe His holy Word and lead godly lives here in time and there in eternity.


Luther: We desperately need this Pentecost sermon of the Holy Spirit, so that he may give us a courageous heart, so that we, too, may persevere, regardless of who is offended, regardless of how much people may slander us.  And even if cults and sects arise, we will also ignore that.  That’s the kind of courage we need, a courage that remains undisturbed by any of these things and simply continues fearlessly to confess and publicly proclaim Christ, who was so grossly misjudged, condemned, and killed. [Sermons of Martin Luther, The House Postils, Vol 2, p163]


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