Monday, June 1, 2020

May 30-June 1, 2020 Pastor Timothy J. Spaude Text: Joel 2:28-29 “We’ve got Spirit, yes we do!”


May 30-June 1, 2020

Pastor Timothy J. Spaude

Text: Joel 2:28-29

“We’ve got Spirit, yes we do!”

1.     The Lord has kept His promise.

2.     The evidence is obvious.

Joel 2:28-29 (EHV)   After this, I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh. Your sons and your daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams. Your young men will see visions. 29 Even on the servants, both male and female, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.”

          Cheerleading has sure changed over the years. If you have seen modern cheerleading with its flips and throws and standing pyramids you might pray for your kids to play something safer like football. Many of your memories of cheerleading, like mine, are of something much simpler, the cheerleaders leading cheers that the crowd would participate in. Who could forget classics like “2 bits, 4 bits, 6  bits, a dollar, all for St. Jacobi stand up and holler!” And then of course the crowd would do so. Or another standard after a made goal or point or free throw, “We want another one, just like the other one, Go, go!” And then of course there was that rabble rousing cheer that pitted fan bases against one another. “We’ve got spirit, yes we do, we’ve got spirit, how bout you?” Back and forth. Brothers and sisters that phrase jumped into my head as I thought about celebrating Pentecost. Pentecost celebrates the Holy Spirit, that unseen but absolutely necessary always working person of God. As we’ll see what joy and confidence it gives us to yell “We’ve got Spirit, yes we do” when we are talking about the Holy Spirit.

          The part of God’s word we are looking at was penned by the prophet Joel. We don’t really know when he served God’s people but the date is unimportant. The message is important. Joel served God’s people at a time when a great swarm of locusts had devoured all their crops. It is a time of natural disaster. God was using it to call His people to repent of their idol worship, putting other things ahead of God. God had Joel remind the people of two things. One, He is in control. Two, He will deliver His people. Good truths for us to hold on to as the world suffers from a different kind of swarm. Hold on believer. God is in control. He never promised you a rose garden. We must go through many tribulations to enter the kingdom of God. Hold on believer. God delivers. Why the doom, gloom, sadness and fear? While the world says, “We’ll get through this together,” the believer knows, “God alone will get us through this!”

          For God’s good reasons He chose that time of natural disaster when locusts were everywhere to announce a time when the Holy Spirit would be everywhere.  After this, I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh. Your sons and your daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams. Your young men will see visions. 29 Even on the servants, both male and female, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.” In Old Testament times God used the tool of prophesy, dreams and visions to reveal His holy will. For prophesy God in various ways communicated directly to the one who would speak His word. Think Moses and the burning bush or up on Mt. Sinai. He used special supernatural dreams and visions as well. Think Jacob and the ladder to heaven, Joseph with Pharaoh’s dreams and Daniel with Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams and his own visions. Very few of God’s people got the privilege of saying, “This is what God says.”

          Through Joel God announced a time when he would change the way he would reveal His will. A time was coming when all of God’s people would be ones who would reveal God’s will. Young and old. Men and women. Masters and servants. They would all be proclaiming the great things God had done. What was going to change? The way the Holy Spirit worked. Instead of working through a select few He would be poured out on all of God’s people. I imagine the people of the prophet Joel’s time as well as Joel himself a little dumbfounded. Like when Mary heard she would bear God’s Son, they must have asked, “How can this be?”

          The always simple answer is “Because God says so!” And then He told us exactly when He changed things. Pentecost! God kept His promise. When the people on Pentecost day wondered how common people, fishermen, ex tax collectors and others could be proclaiming the wonderful works of God Peter told them that this was the fulfillment of what God had announced through the prophet Joel, this very prophecy that we are talking about. We too are living in the time period, the New Testament time period, when the Holy Spirit is poured out on all of God’s people.  All of God’s people can reveal what God says because we have this, His holy word, completed, unchanged, always reliable and true. Little ones proclaim it when they sing “Jesus loves me this I know.” And every believer armed with this can confidently tell family member, friend and neighbor, “This is what God says.”      

          Do you see what this means? We’ve got Spirit, yes we do! What cause for rejoicing! The main work of the Holy Spirit is to bring people to faith in Jesus so they are saved. He works in people’s lives so that they give glory to Jesus by proclaiming Him as the only way to heaven. He works in people’s lives so they obey Jesus because they love Him, not because they have to. He works in people’s lives so they make the mission Jesus gave their priority. He works in peoples’ lives so His fruit, love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control, are more and more present to the glory of God.

          And I have to say the evidence is obvious, the evidence that you, the people of St Jacobi, you’ve got Spirit! The Holy Spirit that is. It’s obvious you have the Holy Spirt because you have what the Holy Spirit works through. Hopefully most of you are familiar with the term “the Means of Grace.” That’s the phrase used to describe what the Holy Spirit work through. His tools. That’s what Means means. Tools. While the Holy Spirit as God can work where and how he wants the only way He’s told us He works is through the Gospel message as it comes through God’s Word and Sacraments. I am not ashamed of the Gospel because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone that believes. Faith comes from hearing the message and the message is heard through the word of Christ. We have our Bibles. We have Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. The evidence is obvious. We’ve got Spirit, yes we do.

There’s more obvious evidence. You believe in Jesus as your Savior. Remember the chief work of the Holy Spirit has always been to reveal God’s will and that will is clear. He wants all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth that only Jesus saves. The Bible is clear. No one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit and you all say Jesus is Lord. He has saved you and you are pleased to have Him as your master. You may take that for granted but it is a miracle the Holy Spirit worked in you. You say that even though many of you fellow Americans won’t. Even though many of them say you are crazy. Your loyalty to Jesus shows. You have continued to worship Jesus at home, online and together. We have seen the evidence of your tuning in to devotions and Bible stories. You have banded together in prayer for one another and the country and the world.  You are making sacrifices to carry out the mission Christ gave us to be His witnesses here and throughout the world. You are patterning your life after Christ’s will because you want to and to show love to Him. You are striving to treat one another with love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.” We’ve got Spirit, yes we do. Thank you dear Lord God!

We’ve got Spirit, yes we do. Do you remember how that rabble rousing cheer ended? Back and forth it went with each fan base trying to outshout the other until both were shouting, “We’ve got more! We’ve got more!” I suggest a different ending for our cheer today. We want more. More of the Holy Spirit. That’s a prayer God will gladly answer with a yes and has given us the means to do so. Through these past few months many of God’s people made a renewed commitment to God’s word. They viewed online devotions and Bible stories and had their own. I’ve heard many people longing for a return to normalcy, things back the way they were before. I share that desire except for this. Let’s not return to a normal where we took God’s word for granted. Let’s have a new normal that has us digging in daily to get more and more of the Holy Spirit in us and showing in our lives so that without boasting and in all honesty the fan base of St Jacobi could end the cheer, “We’ve got the most!” Amen.

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