Sermon Details

The Force Is with You Always

May 31, 2020
Wabash Avenue Presbyterian Church in Crawfordsville, IN invites you to join us for Pentecost Sunday. Rev. John Van Nuys leads the worship service. The Scripture for today is Acts 2:1-21. Rev. Van Nuys' sermon is "The Force Is with You Always". The Prelude for today's service is played by Alan White and filmed by B. Brookie White. Andrew Plemons sings the opening hymn, and Jennie Fights Swick sings the closing hymn. Keep safe.
(1) When the day of Pentecost had come, the disciples were together in one place. (2) Suddenly from heaven there came a sound like a rushing, violent wind, filling 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) 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, “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? (8) How then 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, “What does this mean?” (13) But others scornfully said, “They’re filled with new wine.” (14) But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice, saying, “Judeans and all who live in Jerusalem, know this; listen to what I say. (15) Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only 9:00 a.m. (16) No, this is what the prophet Joel foresaw: (17) ‘In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. (18) Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. (19) I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist. (20) The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day. (21) Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’
– Acts 2:1-21

It doesn’t feel like Pentecost. Pentecost in most churches means celebrating. But not today. It doesn’t feel like Pentecost.

It doesn’t feel like Pentecost, but it is Pentecost: Not because the calendar says so, but because God has willed it to be so. Today is Pentecost. Today is the day when the Holy Spirit is given to the church, empowering us, the Body of Christ, to proclaim the saving love of God in Christ.

Today – and every day – the Holy Spirit is given to us. Today – and every day – we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to speak and act to announce the good news that Jesus Christ is risen today — and that a brand, new way of Life is here.

Elephant trainers in India keep earth’s largest land animal bound by a single chain around one leg with links the width of your finger. How can a chain that you’d use to lock up a bicycle restrain a 10,000 pound animal? Simple: The chain goes on the elephant when it’s young. A baby elephant cannot break it. As it grows, the elephant continues believing the chain is stronger than it is. That’s what keeps it bound.

We, too, have chains, keeping us bound. But more importantly we have the Holy Spirit. Or, more correctly, the Holy Spirit has us. By grace, the power of God is unleashed on us to free us from our leashes. That’s why we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13). That’s why we are more than conquerors through him who loves us (Romans 8:37). Christ tells us: You are the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13). You are the light of the world (5:14). You are a new creation (2nd Corinthians 5:17). In other words, the Force is with you. Always. The Holy Spirit empowers you to live in, for, and with Christ.

The Spirit is greater than your shackles. God is bigger than your problem. Christ is stronger than your circumstances, and his infinite, self-giving Life is far better than a puny, self-centered existence.

What does God want you to do? Whatever it is, God gives you today the power to do it. Whatever your chains, Christ will set you free. Since Christ conquered the grave, he surely can conquer everything else.

Believe that and live. Receive the Holy Spirit, who is here. Bear the good fruit of a life rooted in the Spirit by being loving, joyous, peaceful, patient, kind, generous, faithful, gentle, and self-controlling (Galatians 5:22-23). Don’t just rise with Christ when you die. Rise with Christ today by being alive in love now. As you do, you’ll be caught up in the power of Pentecost. You’ll be refashioned by the Holy Spirit. Hell will never stop you because heaven is already with you to save you, bless the world, bring close the Kingdom, and set you free.

In reading this, your heart may be stirred. What you’re feeling is the Holy Spirit drawing you to Christ. To begin or renew a relationship with Jesus, just pray:

“Lord, help me receive your love. I regret the wrong I’ve done. Forgive me. Jesus, I believe you are God’s Son and the Savior of the world. Be my Savior. Save me from myself. Save me for yourself. Enter my heart. Fill me with your Holy Spirit. Help me to serve you faithfully and well. Help me to love as you love. Lead me in your Way, Truth, and Life now and forever. Continue to show me who you are and who I am in you. Amen.”

If you pray this prayer, contact a pastor. They’ll show you how to live for Christ with purpose, peace, and joy. Jesus says: “Behold, I make all things new.” That definitely includes YOU!