“Believe in God; believe also in me.” (John 14:1) You will see greater things than these.” (John 1:50) “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations. . . .” (Matthew 28:19) “And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.” (Mark 16:17-18)
“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, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith.
In the same way He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith.
In this Christian church He daily and richly forgives all my sins and the sins of all believers.
On the Last Day He will raise me and all the dead, and give eternal life to me and all believers in Christ.
This is most certainly true.” - Martin Luther
Pentecost ain’t over. In fact, it’s one of those seasons we live in all of our days.
Ever since Jesus’ Great Commission, God placed His people into Pentecost mode. If it weren’t for the Holy Spirit, we all may still be gathered into one place afraid and/or confused as to how to “do evangelism.” Yes, Jesus taught His followers. Yes, Jesus sent them out to “practice.” Yes, Jesus performed miracles to demonstrate that they went out with His power to do as He does. Jesus knew the lingering human trait (letting sin get in the way) which causes us to doubt and be afraid of failure. So, Jesus sets up His people for “success.” What I mean is, God calls us to be faithful and obey His commands; to be an integral part of Jesus’ work – doing that work together; not putting it off a moment longer. Through His Son, Jesus, He commanded that Jesus’ followers make disciples – of every nation. That’s never changed.
Let’s be reminded: Jesus made it clear to His original disciples; “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, He may give it to you.” (John 15:16)
We, too, are chosen by Jesus to be His followers and evangelists. We don’t choose Jesus; rather, we hear His Word preached to us through Scripture; through preachers, teachers, family, friends, strangers, etc., and we respond to Jesus’ call. Then we learn of Jesus’ provision and resources to do what He commands. To the well-known song, “I have decided to follow Jesus” I change the first phrase to: “God has decided that I follow Jesus.” Then God gets busy working on us through the power of His Holy Spirit.
Jesus taught and prepared His disciples (you and me) for service.
God’s Holy Spirit is alive and moving among us. It has never ceased giving gifts to men and women all over the world.
Since the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise to send it after His ascension, the Holy Spirit has been busy changing peoples’ lives; calling men and women to faith, creating faith, building faith, nurturing faith, enriching faith.
Those who stumble in their walk with God; even those who have turned their backs on God, God says, “Sic ‘em!” to the One Luther described as “God’s Hound.” The Holy Spirit takes after them; tenaciously healing or heading them in order that they may turn back and become believing, trusting and obedient to God once again. The reason being the Father does not want to lose any whom He has called through His Son.
Every day God calls us through His Holy Spirit to follow Him and listen to His still, quiet voice; receiving wisdom, being made holy in His image and power to remain faithful and useful.
Then, through the gathered saints, we gain courage for doing God’s work; calling others by preaching His Word and setting an example as one who is saved by grace and whose sins are forgiven for Jesus’ sake.
The out-pouring of the Holy Spirit continues through us, His church. Listen for God’s voice, answer His call daily. Go in God’s power and authority. It’s our Pentecost directive and work. We will see with joy how God continues to call, gather, enlighten and sanctify His holy church and keep us in union with His Son, Jesus – all through the Holy Spirit.
Pastor Fred Westerhold