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good morning again um my name’s still alex I’m still one of the pastors here I I believe even though my counting left something to be desired apparently but that doesn’t seem a fireable offense for a pastor we’re going to jump into a a new series last year for those of you that have been with us for a while we spent a chunk of the summer working through this book luke one of the biographies of Jesus life sometimes called one of the gospels and we didn’t go through it just in this linear fashion what we did is we we went through and we looked at every time Jesus sits down at a table with someone what we discovered was this in luke’s account of Jesus life Jesus is always going to he’s always going to a meal at a meal or leaving a meal food plays a huge part of luke’s account and some of you are like man I feel closer to Jesus than I ever have before if he’s like this this party person that goes to meals all the time I I kind of resonate with that a chunk and so we followed as Jesus did this as a practice uh what I wanted to do was just spend a few weeks going back to this why because it was a series that I heard from lots of you things like this this has given me an understanding of why I feel like I should live my life a certain way for some of you that invite people in you love to invite people on the outsiders and Jesus meals were different than lots of people of his day he he invited people who found themselves on the margins so for some of you it resonated deeply with you and then others I heard something like this this is how I would long to live my life this is how I feel challenged to live my life and then we know this to be true about sermons or about teachings right we get maybe a year down the line and we’re like it was meant to do that I meant to put that into practice and it it just got lost somewhere in the busyness of life so sometimes just tagging a series gives us a chance to go back and say okay I’m I’m going to try this again I’m going to process this in a new way what we can say is this this early church movement that took over from Jesus after Jesus death his resurrection his ascension they did things that were unusual for their time too they they didn’t just copy Jesus in the traditional way that a student might copy his rabbi they added some very practical elements and gathered repeatedly together this is my sort of thesis about this early church this group that gathered after Jesus was out of the scene the earliest expression of church looked more like a table than an auditorium they gathered in those kind of spaces it looked more like a circle than a line yes we sit in lines today but that’s really a practical expression they seem to gather more in something that looked like circles and of course it’s circle sunday so sign up for a circle and then you’ll be like the early church good for you and and then they looked more like the margins than the center I maybe said something like this Jesus took people people from the margins and and brought them into the center allowed them to sit with him but maybe he was even more extreme than that maybe he actually took the center and moved it to the margins the fringe of society and the early church did that too and and this is what happened when they did that in about ad 100 there were 25 000 people following the way of Jesus and I think from 33 34 a.d to 100 a.d maybe they started with 150 teenagers and and young adults to get to 20 000 is quite impressive but by three centuries later to be 20 million sociologists are left a little bit baffled as to how does a movement spread that quickly how did it take off to that degree how did they do this and I would suggest one of the things we’re going to discover today is that this somewhat forgotten festival of pentecost this day that we celebrate today is potentially the reason for that that maybe this thing is the thing that drove all of that yes there was some apostolic genius yes there was some practical structures that they introduced were important but there’s something about what happened on this day this forgotten day that empowered everything that happened over those first few hundred years and I would suggest is supposed to empower what we do today but before we get there we’ve got to go back a little bit so we’re going to start in a strange place we’re going to start in this book called exodus and this is the moment that anyone planning the service is like wow okay we’re going to exodus this is going to take a longer than the 20 minutes that I have to share this message so let’s let’s speed this up we’re going to go quick exodus 12 verse 14 to 16. this is a day you are to commemorate for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the lord a lasting ordinance what day are they talking about this book exodus is a celebration of how a group of people spent 400 years as slaves 400 years trapped in a nation they didn’t belong in and God miraculously rescued them and brought them out and when that happened God’s message to them was remember it celebrate it don’t forget it on the first day hold a sacred assembly and another one on the seventh day do no work at all on these days except to prepare food for everyone to eat that is all you may do all you may do is rest cook food eat food together and celebrate together because I did something special on this day and this thing this thing is worth remembering so little jump forward when Jesus dies on this day on this day called passover and creates a new passover that too is worth celebrating so we gather together on resurrection sunday and we celebrate hard and we enjoy ourselves because it is worth remembering so rescued from the land called egypt a group of people maybe about two million come out from slavery into something new and God says celebrate celebrate the festival of unleavened bread the passover because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of egypt celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come but there’s something complex about this story something that maybe doesn’t make sense or at least something that causes some tension because it’s not just people that will call themselves jewish that leave with this group there’s a whole other bunch of people as well in exodus 12 a little further verse 37 we’re told this the israelites israelites journeyed from ramesses to sukkoth you can look those names up if you want to nerd out on some stuff but we’re not going to get in there now there are about 600 000 men on foot besides women and children many other people went up with them and also large droves of livestock and both flocks and herds that word many other people is this word error of wrath it means a mixed multitude an english word would be a riff raff a motley crew a strange group that gathered together and followed them out of slavery they were a mixed multitude maybe two million people after 400 years of slavery and so what does what does a group of people that are all sorts of different backgrounds all meshed together after 400 years what kind of questions do they ask themselves I would suggest a fundamental question at this point that they might ask is this is is who are we what’s our identity what what do we believe what kind of rules do we follow how do we see ourselves as a group of people because that for most people for any nation seems to be a central thing a central statement that we make even when we don’t realize we’re making it and and I may have mentioned that I’m english uh once or twice I can’t remember I may have thrown it out there at some point I’m not british I’m english um we have a saying back at home british by birth english by the grace of God that’s that doesn’t mean it’s not good to be irish or scottish or wealth but it’s a different thing to be english and of course there’s identity markers for any kind of nation that you might come across and so I have here um a delightful cup of our uh which you might call the the single identity marker of englishness it’s drinking tea right sadly I’m drinking english tea in a cup that says made in japan uh it seems a little bit off message but but but there is something about that visual that idea um of englishness that I might add this picture right here I couldn’t find any crumpets but I’m going back to england soon so I’ll make sure to bring some there is that just I’m just gonna have a moment where you guys

it’s far better in the first service it’s a little cold now a little stewed but but there is that englishness to drinking tea and as a cheap little plug aaron and I do a podcast called guys drinking tea if you’ve not listened to it you should drop in and listen to it there is drinking tea that is english but there’s a whole bunch of other identity things that go along with it I threw up a couple of very british problems here a picnic what is a picnic it’s sitting on the corner of a blanket with a selection of beige snacks trying to ignore your aching back as a wasp attacks your face your plastic cup of warm drink falls over and a dog runs at you while the owner shouts he’s friendly and of course it’s raining because it’s in britain and then this one below no harm done what is the translation of the words no harm done you have caused complete and utter chaos I have had the joy of explaining to american people going to work in a bro environment why british people are inherently polite all the time even when they’re saying something they consider to be deeply offensive so if I were to say in an office environment that was probably my fault I mean it was absolutely your fault and I’m just being nice about it one of the things laura and I noticed really early on was that there were things that we said that were were different uh the first time we met I said to her what do you call those stairs that move and she looked at me and she said uh an escalator and I said really we call them moving stairs and of course I was just playing with her but she found that deeply frustrating and and yet there’s a complexity to those things because I’ve been over here for 10 years now and have started to say things that I could never have imagined saying just 10 years ago the first time that I referred to football as soccer was like a deep wound in my heart just her the things ways that I pronounce things that don’t make sense back home anymore and not long ago I went back to do an english wedding and my uncle who was part of the wedding party came up to me and said where have you got this awful american twang from and I said I didn’t realize that I had this there’s a change in me over 10 years does it change for my wife laura after being married to me for 10 years there’s a just over that time period things start to adapt a little bit what about 400 years what about this group of people after 400 years what what’s their identity 400 years in egypt with egyptian gods egyptian religion 400 years been forced to work in egyptian society and now six hundred thousand a million however many of this era of rav are poured into the mix as well who are this group of people who are they and now they sit in the middle of a desert having been rescued dramatically and they have no identity what is their identity and then we’re told this in verse 19 on the first day of the third month pentecost as it happens the israel after the israelites left egypt on that very day they came to the desert of sinai they enter a place when that nobody owns they enter a place where there is no government there is no other religion nobody owns sinai this is where this God will meet them and he’ll give them ten laws to give them some sense of identity in fact there’s a load of other laws as well but ten principle core foundational ones that for the first time give them a sense of now this is how we operate as a group of people this is who we are then moses went up to God and the lord called to him from the mountain and said this is what you are to say to the descendants of jacob and what you are to tell the people of israel you yourselves have seen what I did to egypt and how I carried you on eagles wings and brought you to myself now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant then out of all the nations you will be my treasured possession if you obey my covenant this is the thing that is their identity marker these laws 619 of them all together are what God’s people at this time look like when they ask who are we this in this moment is God’s answer for them there is a journey that they make there is passover this moment of rescue this moment of celebration 50 days pass and then there was this day pentecost when they are given this law they are a mixed multitude asking who are we they receive their identity when they receive the law of course we know if you know the story it doesn’t always work out so well these people struggle to obey all of the rules that they have been given jeremiah this prophet will say this this is the covenant and I will make with the people of israel after that time this is the new thing that’s coming declares the lord I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts I will be their God and they will be my people there is a new thing to come but this old story its foundation is based on passover there’s a rescue there’s a 50-day period of waiting and then pentecost is when they get their identity imagine for a second what it felt like to be someone following Jesus when you’ve been on this journey when on passover your your messiah your rabbi has been killed and then miraculously he comes back to life again it’s passover all over again it’s a new type of passover there is a news story of the defeat of death there is a new story of a different kind of slavery which we are people that which we are rescued from and just like with the old one the idea is celebration remember this day everything changed on this day but then Jesus drops in and out with different appearances sometimes he’s there and sometimes it’s not we just spent six weeks looking at all the times he appears to different people and then he goes for good he says I’m going back to my father and from your perspective that’s wherever that is whatever that looks like but he’s no longer present and you’re told to wait there’s another thing to come just wait wait and I wonder if you were a thinking person whether it was part of you that started to wait and count off those days and and suddenly there’s this awareness that this other big festival is coming this day where you celebrate the giving of the lord and Jesus has told you to wait and these people were told to wait and I wonder if there’s part of you that’s like I wonder if this is the day we’re waiting for and on pentecost morning you wake up and the whole of the city is turned over to celebration and to a party and a remembering of what it was for God to give his people an identity it’s a different celebration to passover but it’s still a celebration nonetheless and you wait as this group of people that are told to wait and then this is what happens acts chapter two when the day of pentecost came they were all together in one place suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting they saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them sounds spectacular right all of them were filled with the holy spirit and began to speak in other languages as the spirit enabled them now they were staying in jerusalem God fearing jews from every nation under heaven when they heard this sound a crowd came together in bewilderment because each one heard their own language been spoken utterly amazed they asked aren’t all of these who are speaking galileans how is it that each of us hears them in our native language parthians medes elemites residents of mesopotamia and judea and cappadocia pontius and asia phrygia and pamphlet egypt and the parts of libya near cyrene visitors from rome both jews and converts to judaism cretans and arabs we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues remember this is an age where parchment was expensive and ink was expensive and he isn’t just giving you a list of names because he needs to fill space he’s showing you that from every part of the world that jewish people had ended they have now come back that God is about to start something that’s going to spread all over the world that this will be the hub of the movement that goes from 20 000 people in ad 100 to 20 million people in ad310 this is a moment that’s going to spark a change in the world and the question that they have is what does this mean amazed and perplexed they asked one another what does this mean what is happening in this moment is a question we might ask as well because as follows of Jesus what we tend to do is we tend to land on passover we tend to land on death and resurrection we tend to use words that sound important like justification and redemption and those words are important yes but with just passover and no pentecost it seems like Jesus would say something is missing it would seem like Jesus said to wait for a reason and if we don’t experience whatever this thing that he’s talking about on pentecost is whatever this moment is they experienced then it seems like we may have missed something too because I would suggest just in the same way these people came out of egypt and they waited 50 days and then they received their identity I would suggest the same thing is happening to this group of people right now they receive their identity when they receive the spirit this is the thing that shapes who they are and for the first time in history religion is no longer about how you do stuff on the outside it’s about something that happens internal that changes you there and it begins to work its way from the inside to the outside and there’s a tension right because this word spirit it maybe causes some questions some problems some some moments where we’re not sure on what ground we stand anymore because we understand father we have some kind of concept we understand sun we understand Jesus and we we kind of maybe have a mental picture of what he looks like but when I say spirit well what does that mean that’s so much vega phyllis tico says this we must admit to ourselves and to everybody else that there is no aspect of creed or christianity that makes christians more uneasy today than does the whole area of the existence reality and workings of God in the person of the holy spirit couple that with something that gordon fee says one of the the best new testament writers in the world the spirit as an experienced and living reality was the crucial matter for christian life from beginning to end if you call yourself a follower of Jesus this spirit thing is for you and shapes you and transforms you and now you may be familiar with the term pentecostal and it may make you uncomfortable it may create all sorts of images of me wearing a white suit and swaying around on stage and all those different things and things that you’re like I’ve been there maybe or I’ve seen the abuse of that I don’t love that I don’t want that and and what I would say is this you can follow Jesus and choose not to be pentecostal but you can’t follow Jesus and miss pentecost because this thing is for everybody this thing is for everybody when the day of pentecost came they were all together in one place suddenly a sound like the blowing of violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting they saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them I love to imagine what conversations might look in heaven uh because it just again it just tweaks my creativity and I and I can picture this conversation that looks like something like planning the redemption planning this new passover that we’ve talked about and I can see this conversation going like and then we’ll leave it to them we’ll leave this church to shape the world we’ll leave them to reach everyone we’ll leave them to plan and we’ll leave them to do all of those things we’ll leave this group of people to live in the way of Jesus and I can picture the conversation between the father and the son going something like yeah they’re definitely going to need some help with that that is the whole basis of this idea this way of Jesus thing that we put on the wall outside and we declare as something we as an organization believe in you can’t do that by yourself I can’t do that by myself I am fundamentally flawed and powerless to make that happen and yet I wonder how many of us in any given moment in any church around the world would be would say we were made up of people that feel somewhat guilty about not doing as well as we would hope somewhat like we’ve got a list of stuff that we’re still trying to track with and and we feel like we’re not taking as many boxes as we would like still feel like we’re somewhat drumming up the power and the ability to live out the way of Jesus and maybe have this lurking suspicion somewhere that Jesus is not particularly happy with how we’re doing in living it all out one of the images a couple of images I’d love to show people to ask us questions to reflect on our own journey and I would say this applies to our what we might call our spiritual journey but but to life in general which of these would you describe would say would you say describe how you live out life right now how I live out life right now and I know which the answer is for me would it look like this

or would it look like this

would it look like this or this I would say this sort of encompasses describes is descriptive of how many of us do spiritual life do following Jesus and how many of us live everyday life in general and I’m not too sure he can really split those two I feel like we’re a bunch of people that work so hard to make it happen and we get left with that feeling of general exhaustion and general I don’t know if I can keep doing this and yet when I read this story in acts when I get to the heartbeat of that story it seems like this thing is more what they had in mind is sailing hard work does it require activity I’m sure it does I’ve never done it so I don’t I don’t know for sure but I’m gonna say it probably requires something but but the inherent source of the power the inherent source of the ability to move is out of your control you are simply harnessing it whereas this thing is simply effort simply you working the message of this acts kernel is that somewhere we are given this identity as a group of people you are not identified by how you live that will change as you follow Jesus but the key identity marker is this something changes there something is dramatically different because passover didn’t stop at passover it led to pentecost which changes everything which group do you identify with do you identify with a group that found its identity in the law that worked really hard that had a list it was always tracking with or do you find yourself identifying with this new group of a few teenagers a bunch of young adults that began a movement that went from 20 000 people in ad 100 to 20 million people in 8310 which sounds more like the way you and I live because that sec that first thing that was always impossible this is paul writing in romans 8 for what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh God did by sending his own son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering and so he condemned sin in the flesh in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us that is to say all of the hard working stuff and the need to hard work work hard has been taken care of who do not live according to the flesh but according to the spirit and that word flesh in greek is this word sucks and it’s interesting because it could mean like the fleshly desires or something like that but but it also can just mean human effort those that are just plotting on those that are just keeping going those like by their own stick-to-itiveness are making it happen it seems like we have a choice between that and life in the spirit which looks very different so as we move to this time where we’re going to baptize some wonderful people who have made that decision to follow Jesus what we know is this this external marker is important it matters it is a big deal but it doesn’t matter because of it it matters because of what happened there before it’s because transformation was made possible by Jesus death and resurrection but the gospel this good news story we talk about all the time it doesn’t stop there it doesn’t stop at passover it keeps moving through 50 days of waiting and it lands in pentecost and that changes everything it’s no wonder that this famous john the baptist character said something like this I baptize you with water for repentance but after me comes one who is more powerful than I whose sandals I am not worthy to carry he will baptize you with the holy spirit and fire I would suggest this movement happened not because of Jesus death and resurrection that started it but it was made possible by this spirit thing they lived in Jesus way by the spirit’s sway and I don’t mean sway it may be the first dictionary definition the way you see people worship where they get all like sway and all those kind of things I’ve seen some of you do it you get there and you get in your moment and you sway from side to side I mean I mean sway in the sense of control I mean sway in the sense of power Jesus death and resurrection make our forgiveness possible but his great gift is this gift of the spirit when paul writes in the new testament justification by faith is not his central argument his central thing is life in God’s spirit that is his great gift Jesus death means everything and it leads to this spirit moment that gives us our identity this is who we are the thing on the wall you cannot do by yourself you weren’t made to do it by yourself you were made to do it with his power with his strength with his energy and that is how transformative it gets in acts chapter 2 we read just on that day those who accepted his message were baptized about 3 000 were added that day this is the moment where they wait and the spirit comes and that changes everything let’s pray Jesus thank you for your goodness to us through death through resurrection through passover thank you for a moment that you created a new passover you took an old story and you centered it around you

you gave new life to us

thank you for the gift that comes after that this gift of the spirit that empowers us that gives us our identity we are people of your spirit as we do baptisms as we celebrate this moment of transformation thank you for these three people that will step into that tank thank you for this moment where we’ll celebrate your gift of new life and we’ll celebrate the fact that that spirit lives in them and is changing them from the inside out amen

with us prepare ourselves by singing this song

my thirsty soul I need you oh I need you I sing it you’re forgiven

like holy water on my skin

take me to the riverside

I need you oh God I need you every voice now you’re forgetting

is

okay I’m going to introduce well I’m going to welcome these guys out here though they’re kind of trying to get everything all lined up and make sure we know what we’re doing but uh ethan our uh director of student ministries and dan danny you’re just going to lurk in the background okay dan dan’s back there but um just making sure everything’s happening and uh I’m going to allow ethan just to introduce these guys and just let us know what’s going on this is kyle lee I’m going to ask you a couple questions so kyle um it’s just awesome we’re really glad to have you kyle uh tell me what your life was like before you encountered Jesus before you met him yeah so I was growing up I was really lonely and I didn’t have much friends and at home there’s a lot of problems like my parents were always fighting having screening matches 24 7. and until like sophomore year I met a group of friends who were like close to Jesus and I’d never like really felt that and over the years I kind of kept in all of my anger and fear and then over this past year I got really closer to Jesus because I opened up to it about my friends and then I met other people I prayed every night and it just happened to work out

you kind of answered this already but uh how exactly did you come to meet Jesus what was that like that journey that process yes so I just self-reflected a lot and saw how God put people into my life and how it saved me and yeah I love it last question what has changed the past couple months since you’ve come to walk with Jesus what’s your life been like since then um I was really suicidal at one point and I had no will to live but I didn’t have my driver’s license I didn’t have a job I didn’t want to do anything that was uncomfortable to me and when I met Jesus I just felt

more inclined to live I had a purpose to live I had I got my driver’s license I got a job I’m getting promoted a lot in my job

and I’m loving life

so we’re going to invite you to sit down uh the tank was warmed it’s not too bad like it’s just right right yeah we can do this yes yeah I think we need to go colder next time I think it’s just you know you’re not working for it and um and so we’re going to ask you uh do you accept Jesus as your savior and do you want to follow him as lord of your life okay then kyle after the confession of your faith we baptize you in the name of the father the son and the holy spirit

is

all right tree trees and another awesome member of our youth group we’re super stoked to have her let me ask you the same three questions we just asked kyle so tell me what your life was like before you encountered Jesus okay so I grew up with a christian family and I went to a christian school for the first part of my life and during that time I learned a lot about God but I didn’t really know what that meant to me and then around like fourth grade I started like drifting away from God because I was really scared and like God was unknown to me so I was just really scared and so he was just kind of in the background of my life for the next few years and during those few years there was a lot going on like covet happened I had to move from a small private school to a public school and my parents got divorced so that was a lot and then I didn’t even have a strong relationship with God then so that was really hard but um during that time everything just felt really uncertain and like I like like my life just felt really empty awesome or not awesome but then

but then you um what I meant is you’re doing awesome um

that I just forgot the rest of the song somewhere um so then how did you come to meet Jesus what was that encounter like whenever you met him okay so as I said like I knew him like my whole life but like I did start drifting away from him but how I came back was near the end of sixth grade I was invited to come to youth group here and honestly that like changed everything I started to rely on God like a lot more and like I saw God through like the people here and like the love that they’ve shown me so then what how has your life changed in the past couple years since you have encountered Jesus um well oh my gosh well it’s just it’s been a lot more like I don’t know not organized but like I feel like even though I’ve struggled a lot it’s been a lot like better because like I have God through it all and I know that no matter what I do or no matter what I go through that God has a plan and he’ll help me through everything today

okay so I’m gonna ask you put your arms across the chest like that’s okay uh do you accept Jesus as your savior yes and do you want to follow him for the rest of your life well on confession of your faith we’re going to baptize you in the name of the father the son and the holy spirit

like

the final student kylie another awesome member of our youth group kylie prepared a testimony she just wants to share with you she doesn’t even need the questions so uh go ahead and take away kylie so I came to know christ when I was in pride kindergarten and but I didn’t really understand what that meant and I started to really develop a relationship with God about the time I joined youth group and then someone came up to me at school and asked if they could share the gospel with me and that made a really big impact on my life it made me think about how much more I wanted to be doing for God and how much more I wanted to be serving him that’s

so since that moment has a lot changed for you what’s that been like I mean I felt like I was praying more I was actually talking to God more I was reading my bible more a lot of the well if you’re ready you can go ahead and take a seat and alex and your dad here can baptize you see not bad yeah great job with a great job with the sermon we can’t get you preaching soon uh you put your arms across your chest uh so kylie uh do you accept Jesus as your savior do you want to follow him for the rest of your life and confession of your faith we’re gonna baptize you in the name of the father the son and the spirit

water on my

so I get to close this out with a prayer and uh it’s just a joy to celebrate life change life change is made possible by Jesus death resurrection and his gift of the spirit and I love those transformation stories if you have had a moment in the service where you feel like God has spoken to you perhaps there’s a nudge in you that you need to start following Jesus for yourself maybe there’s a burden that you’re carrying that you just know you’re not made to carry maybe you’d love someone to come alongside you in prayer as the service ends there’ll be a couple of people floating down towards the front and you can come and and receive prayer just in that moment if you would like to God thank you that you’ve been with us today on this pentecost sunday this forgotten day thank you for your gift of new life in Jesus thank you for your gift of the spirit thank you for 50 days of waiting and then this explosion of this thing called church that has been changing the world ever since thank you for your reminder that we can’t do this thing by ourselves and in our own strength it’s just not who we’re made to be God as we go into this world this week I pray that we would live out Jesus way with the spirit sway for each of us as we stand here we contemplate for a moment the ways we try and control our own lives and our own outcomes and if you’re a follower of Jesus my encouragement in this pause just before we end this this simple prayer holy spirit you are welcome here he’s been present in the service but the here now is the internal part of you that part where you maybe just try and keep too much of control you try and power the journey yourself that prayer is a prayer of surrender that says I can’t do this anymore

thank you Jesus for your presence thank you for south this community you’ve called together thank you for circles and the opportunity to build relationships thank you most of all for your gift of spirit amen