O give thanks unto the Lord for He is good, His mercy endures forever (1 Chr 16:34). Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church - Winnipeg, MB
That You Might Hear
That You Might Hear
Based on Acts 2:1-21
Preached on June 8, 2014
Click on the Play button
to listen to the Sermon.
Fellow baptized saints, how are you doing today? Do you need a little mercy? A bit of a load off? Do you need to know that there is One who is not angry with you, who is not ashamed of you, and who is not far from you? Then this account of what happened on Pentecost is just what the doctor ordered.
But you just heard the story, loud rushing wind, tongues as of fire, foreign languages. It sure doesn't sound like something that could comfort you. In fact, it all sounds kinda weird. And yet, here in this account of some seemingly drunk fishermen standing up to preach at nine in the morning is wave after wave of grace and mercy sent upon you by your heavenly Father. Wave after wave. And the key to all this mercy is wrapped up in that first question asked in our text.
"How is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language?" I mean the language thing is cool, but how is it that we hear this good news at all? How is it that we hear when Jesus is preached to us? Because no matter what language we speak, our human nature doesn't want to hear it. Our human nature hates it. Old Adam doesn't want a Savior - Old Adam wants to be his own Savior. And Jesus is his enemy. Don't tell me that my enemy died to save me - that He is my only hope. I'll save myself thank you very much. I can do it. I'm a good person.
Our human nature doesn't want to hear the "good news" that we are justified in Jesus by faith alone. We want to hear that we are justified in and of ourselves. That we have done a good job. But the truth is, we haven't. We've failed. Fallen. We've rebelled so fiercely that we won't even hear the Word God has to say. We don't even care what He has to say. Look around you. Look inside. Think of how hard it is to hear these words. Of how automatically you block them or contest them. How is it that we hear? This is the great mercy of Pentecost - that Christ sends His own Spirit that you might hear His preached Word the way He wants you to.
And heard they did. When the Holy Spirit came down they said, "We hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God." The apostles began preaching. They couldn't help themselves. They broke out proclaiming the mighty works that Jesus had done. How He had suffered. Died and Rose from the dead. That He is alive and has ascended into heaven that by the power of His Spirit His preachers might take His promise into all the world!
Pentecost is about preaching. It is about God's promise. No, you haven't been perfect. No, you haven't done a good job. But I have come for you. I have suffered for you. I have died for you. And now I live and reign on high that I might eternally declare it to you. You are forgiven. You are justified in Me for free. I am your refuge in every trouble. I am your new beginning and the end of all your darkness. "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved."
Wave after wave. Did you pick it all up? Did you catch just how actively your Lord is seeking you? St. Paul lays it out for us when he quotes this same word. "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved." He writes, How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!"
Your Savior does all of this for you. He has sent you a preacher, ordained by His Holy Spirit. He has moved this man to preach the good news about who He is and what He has done for you on the cross. He has given you ears to hear the good news that your nature loathes. And by the power of His Spirit working through this preached Word He has given you faith. Faith that trusts Him. Faith that believes Him. Faith that calls upon His Holy Name. You are saved. Christ has saved you. For faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the Word of Christ.
How is it that we hear? Christ sent someone to preach. How is it that we hear? Christ spoke through His preacher. How is it that we hear? The Holy Spirit opened your ears. How is it that we hear? Christ's own Word has been planted home by His Holy Spirit.
Wave - after wave - after wave. This is the way Christ treats His Church - the way He treats His Holy people. This is the merciful working of the Holy Spirit in our midst. We confess it in the Creed "I believe in the Holy Spiritů 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. Called me to new life with this message of Christ's death and resurrection. Opened my resistant ears by this Good News. Slid past dark Old Adam and enlightened me with His Holy gifts, sanctified and kept me in the one true faith.
Do you hear me preaching you Jesus? You have been Pentecosted. Holy Spirited. Called by the Gospel. No, Old Adam doesn't like it. He will constantly speak against it, doubt it and tempt you to disbelief and other great vice. But now there is a cross for him. Now there is death for him. Drowning. Burning. His words cannot undo this Word of Christ. They are like the squealing that comes from an animal put to flames. The last gurgle and sputter as he is drowned in the water of Baptism. Christ, the new Adam, has robbed Old Adam of his sting when He died with him on the cross. And one simple reminder must send him running.
Fellow baptized saints, how are you doing today? Do you need a little mercy? A bit of a load off? For this Jesus comes. And though He could be - He is not angry. Though He could be - He is not ashamed. Though He could be - He is not far away, but seeks and calls and speaks to you in these simple words that you might know His peace. It's true. You are forgiven. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
Rev. Cameron Schnarr