In the Collect we acknowledge God sending us the Holy Ghost that we might have a direct connection to him. The text serving as this morning’s Epistle came from the Second Chapter of the Acts of the Apostles beginning at the First Verse, which consisted primarily of a listing of all the countries and regions surrounding Jerusalem, or at least the hardest to pronounce ones, and a description of the actions of the Apostles when the Holy Ghost came upon them. But, you will also notice that the coming of the Holy Ghost demonstrated the universality of The Word, for when they spoke in tongues, The Word spoke to each in their own language. The Word was not some stranger’s language, but their very own! In the Gospel, Jesus tells us if we truly believe on Him, we have no choice, but to actualize those beliefs in our actions. It all comes together. Having trouble visualizing that? Read or listen to Rev Jack’s sermon.
The Propers for today are found on Page 180-182, with the Collect first:
Pentecost, commonly called Whitsunday.
GOD, who as at this time didst teach the hearts of thy faithful people, by sending to them the light of thy Holy Spirit; Grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgment in all things, and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort; through the merits of Christ Jesus our Saviour, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the same Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.
¶ This Collect is to be said daily throughout Whitsun Week.
The text serving as this morning’s Epistle came from the Second Chapter of the Acts of the Apostles beginning at the First Verse, which consisted primarily of a listing of all the countries and regions surrounding Jerusalem, or at least the hardest to pronounce ones, and a description of the actions of the Apostles when the Holy Ghost came upon them. But, you will also notice that the coming of the Holy Ghost demonstrated the universality of The Word, for when they spoke in tongues, The Word spoke to each in their own language. The Word was not some stranger’s language, but their very own!
HEN the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilæans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judæa, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.
Today’s Gospel came from the Fourteenth Chapter of the Gospel according to Saint John beginning at the Fifteenth Verse:
ESUS said unto his disciples, If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words; and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me. These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe. Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me. But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do.
Church of the Faithful Centurion
Rev Jack’s sermon is available on video RIGHT HERE.
Today’s sermon brought the Collect, Epistle and Gospel together and is partly contained in the forewords above.
Consider these words from the Collect:
… sending to them the light of thy Holy Spirit; Grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgment in all things, and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort …
When Jesus left on Ascension Day, we lost a teacher here on earth. We still have Him in our memories as Redeemer and Savior; but what to do for understanding and that needed closeness to God? In response to His departure, God sent us the Holy Ghost.
Who is this Holy Ghost and why is he here?
We worship the One True God, a triune God, that is Three in One; Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Most people have no trouble understanding the concept of God the Father, Christians seem to get God the Son, but many seem to have a difficulty with the Holy Ghost, the Third God Guy.
The Holy Ghost has been there since the beginning. He breathed life into the world, yet His actions seemed to be sporadic until Pentecost.
Well, today is Pentecost, the time one normally thinks of the Holy Ghost, the Holy Spirit, the Breath of God, the Comforter. When people do think of Him, they oft think of the actions described in the words of Saint Luke in the Acts of the Apostles. The dancing and speaking in tongues. All that happened so we might understand with the help of the Holy Ghost we might bring the Word to all mankind. The Word of God is a universal language. When the disciples spoke in tongues, the people around them heard the Word in their own language, not an odd combination of sounds that no one understood. The point behind the demonstration was that through the Holy Spirit, we can reach out to all the corners through the world and find a way to communicate the Good News to all people in this world. It was not to show that we could communicate in different languages with no effort required on our part. It was to show that we need the help of the Holy Spirit in order to help us spread the Word. There will of course be efforts to be made to learn the languages of the various peoples, this was just to show that with work and practice and with the Holy Spirit within us, this massive effort is indeed possible. Without the Holy Spirit this would be an impossible mission, but with the assistance of the Holy Ghost this mission is very much possible.
We need the Holy Ghost if we are to follow Christ’s Great Commission. He knew we would need the Holy Ghost if we were to have any success in this endeavor. Because we alone left to our own miserable devices would surely fail in following the Great Commission. However, He also knew He needed to leave if the Holy Ghost were to come and stay, so the Holy Ghost’s coming had to wait until after the Ascension. He had it planned out so the disciples would not be without a direct connection to Him for very long. His Plan as always was perfect and His timing is impeccable.
Another reason we need to have the Holy Ghost within us is to give us the “righteous judgment” the Collect speaks of. This judgment is not the same as God’s final judgment on our performance, but it is a judgment based on Scriptural values, with the Holy Ghost’s help, we can make on our lives and others lives, based on how we see it through the lens of the Holy Ghost and Scripture. It is not to insult people, but to be truthful from the standpoint of Scriptures and be able to say certain behaviors in this world do not line up with Scripture, i.e. homosexuality and abortion. To say those behaviors are not Christian is a righteous judgment statement that the Holy Ghost helps us determine. To stay on course we need to use the Holy Ghost for that righteous judgement so we can stay on the narrow up hill path towards heaven. People who do not have the Holy Ghost within them get offended and think we are judging them. We are judging them but not to their final destination, we are judging them by their inadherence to the concepts of Scripture. We do not have control over their final destination, only they do, which they will not like if they keep proceeding on behaviors that are not compatible with scripture.
Using the Holy Ghost for righteous judgment is like when flight instructors are teaching a student, they go by the FAA’s Airmen Certification Standards and if a student busts an altitude variance level or go outside a parameter for a certain maneuver, the instructor has to tell the student of their mistake and that they went outside the standards and then work with them to help stay within the standards and correct their mistakes. This is why God wants us to have the righteous judgement to help point out the errors, not force people into correcting them, but pointing it out for them to correct on their own. We cannot correct peoples mistakes for them, but we can let them know where they are in error so they can rectify it themselves.
The Holy Ghost is also our direct connection to God. When Jesus left, the disciples were distant from God. When they were not near Jesus, they did not do as well as when they were with Him. This is why God sent the Holy Ghost that the Apostles and us might have that connection. As with the righteous judgement, the Holy Ghost helps us to align our actions and views with that of Scripture. The Holy Ghost helps us to properly understand and apply Scriptural principles in our own lives. He helps us like the focus feature on a camera to see clearly what God wants us to do. Without Him in our hearts, it is like a blurry, unfocused and unlit image, very dark. We need Him in our hearts to focus our minds, souls and hearts on what we need to do for Him. The people not of God and that don’t have the Holy Spirit within them will never understand the righteous judgement and label it bigotry when that word couldn’t be farther from the truth. Note Peter’s actions after the arrest of Jesus for an example, thrice denying His Lord. The Holy Ghost came so we would have understanding and a direct connection to God, wireless as it were, instead of having to be tethered to Christ. This is how God can always be with us wherever we arer.
If we allow the Holy Ghost into our hearts, we will never be far from Him, and He will never be far from us. We have to consciously let Him into our hearts, He will not come uninvited into our hearts. He will be a constant guiding presence in our lives, that will give us peace in times of trouble, and will help us guide and focus our minds in our worship of God. He will give us inspiration and help us to do what is right for our fellow Christians and friends, while staying true to God. He will light our paths in difficult times and trials and will give us the guidance we need to finish our race for God.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us that He would be leaving, but the Father would send a facilitator; one who whose presence, if we let Him into our hearts, would bring understanding of His Word into those self-same hearts. The Comforter would bring the Love of God into our hearts to let us feel His Love. He will help us understand we are striving to be one with God, with Jesus and with the Holy Ghost. Our love is demonstrated by our actions. Jesus points out those who do not truly love Him will not keep His Commandments. However, if we truly do love him, we must act for Him and by doing so will keep his commandments.
If you think about it, you will recall the second half of the Book of Luke is titled The Acts of the Apostles. It is not the thoughts, the beliefs, the feelings, the meditations, the inner feelings or any other touchy feely thing, it is the ACTS. If you believe, you must act on those beliefs. The Holy Ghost is here to help us know how to act, we will just have to let Him into our hearts, and then ACT. Only by acting can we show that we have faith. Faith without actions is a very hollow faith.
We need the help of the Holy Ghost to learn what we are to do, how we are to do it and most of all to do it. Action, not just diction.
Pray for His continual presence in your heart.
Heaven is at the end of an uphill trail. The easy downhill trail does not lead to the summit.
The time is now, not tomorrow. The time has come, indeed. How will you ACT?
It is by our actions we are known.
Be of God - Live of God - Act of God