Witness Warrior

THE PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION

Through the stories of the Bible, God reveals His gift of love and guides us to deeper understanding. We seek the Holy Spirit to instruct us in God’s love, as we pray to the Lord.

Spirit of the Living God, break in on our confusion, and astonish us anew, As we listen to the reading of your Holy Word, claim us again as your disciples. Continue to open our hearts to receive your grace and your instructions for living. Whisper in our ears the truth of your love. Descend upon us like a dove to bring life to our faith, in the Name of our Lord Jesus we pray. Amen

 

THE FIRST SCRIPTURE READING                      Romans 8:22-30          The Spirit’s Intercession

We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.

 

And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family. And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.

                         

May the Lord bless this Holy Word to our understanding.

A TIME WITH GOD’S CHILDREN#338  “King of Kings”

 THE SECOND SCRIPTURE                                   Acts 2:1-15     The Coming of the Holy Spirit

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.” But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning.

 

THE SERMON           “Witness Warrior”     

Today we gather in worship, a regular practice. We come with particular expectations that this event will be similar to a hundred other times we gathered for worship. Yet, we may also come with a hope that today, will be different than other days. This will be the day, that a burning question gets answered or the empty feeling inside becomes filled with joy or the painful ache will be soothed by God’s grace. We wait for our faith to move from routine to resurgence. We will not only feel resilience but revival of purpose. We come not with reluctance, but with a renaissance of power.

Annually, the Jewish people return to Jerusalem for the Festival of Weeks, the celebration of the Wheat harvest. They gathered to give thanks to God for this gift and a reminder that God established the covenant of grace with them. They rejoiced that God called them to be a covenant people through the Law of Moses. They gathered to worship the God of the Universe who formed their ancestors into a Chosen People. They reveled in their special relationship with the Lord.

As a Pilgrim Festival, Jewish men returned to Jerusalem with their families. The Greeks referred to the festival as Pentecost, as it came 50 days after the Passover. The faithful Hebrew people came from east and west, north and south to worship God. They had come since they were 13 years old. They had come year after year. They came because they were expected. They came because it was their practice. They came because God called them. And one particular Pentecost Sunday, their faith change forever. God met them in a new way with power and a fresh fire of faith.

The Holy Spirit came and met the faithful. The Spirit of God encountered the faithful and empowered them in a new way. A spiritual power reversed the effect of the Tower of Babel. God’s Spirit re-energized the defeated Disciples who were still grieving Jesus death. A power from Heaven spoke into their lives and gave them the power to be Witness Warrior who served the King of Heaven. Jesus promised to come and empower the work of every believer. So on that Pentecost morning, the Spirit rushed into the assembly of believers and lit them with a passionate fire for serving the Risen Lord. Their lives would never be the same. They received the spiritual strength to be witness warriors. They could now face the battle before them.

Some think the Spirit came on the first Disciples, but now is burned out. Or that those who feel the Spiritual power are a little nutty. We like our calm, predictable, routine for worship and service. We’d rather be spectators than warriors. We rejoice that touched our lives, but we are not quite ready to be Warriors witnessing to others.  I continue to pray that God will send a revival spirit across America. I want to be part of a Great Awakening as the Spirit blows through our community. I want to be a Warrior who witnesses to God’s activity in my life and our city.

Merriam-Webster defines a Warrior is one who is intensely involved or engage in an experience. God prepares us for battle when we open our hearts and minds to the Spirit of God to move us, to use our story, to work through our lives to witness to God’s grace. The Spirit of God still flows into the lives of believers empowering, encouraging, and invigorating our witness to God’s activity. God will grant us intelligence, imagination, energy, and love to share.

So, as we gather at the Table, come to meet Jesus. Jesus will encounter us and fill us with the Holy Spirit to be Witness Warriors serving in God’s Kingdom. Let the Lord lead you into battle. TGBTG. Amen.

  May 2017  
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