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What Luther Says

A Message To Those Who Have Hijacked The Holy Spirit And Pentecost

Today, Christ's Church celebrated the Holy Spirit on what is called "Pentecost."

What Is Pentecost? 
Ten days after Ascension Day comes Pentecost. On the Day of Pentecost, we read about the Holy Spirit resting on the disciples like tongues of fire (Acts 2:1-21). This image of the Spirit as fire is the reason we drape our altars with red. The Holy Spirit filled the disciples with strength and wisdom so they could share the Good News about Jesus with many different people. The Spirit empowered them to spread God's Word, and He still gives us faith and strengthens us to share God's love with others. Then the day of Trinity arrives. This is usually the day when we recite the Athanasian Creed because it describes so clearly the Three Persons of the Trinity. Our God is One in Three, in a way we will not fully understand until we are in heaven. The rest of the year, from early summer to the end of November when Advent begins again, is the season of Pentecost. Throughout Pentecost, God continues to make our faith stronger and make the Church grow. Again, we have the color of green on our altars. We may celebrate special days of saints who have gone before us and have died in the faith. 
[SOURCE: Lutheranism 101 For Kids / pp. 51-52]

There's one very important point in the above description that I don't want to gloss over.

The Holy Spirit should always be referred to as "He" and not as "It" like so many Christians tend to make the mistake (I used to do that all the time).

Also, it's the Holy Spirit Who gives us faith, and that's what we celebrate and commemorate on Pentecost each year, and it's why some have even called Pentecost the Church's birthday (even though some pastors and theologians have pointed out that Christ's Church actually began in Genesis 2).

Sadly, many Christians from various denominations will actually attempt to celebrate themselves instead. How so? Well, they'll say things like, "If you don't 'speak in tongues' and never have, and if you can't perform miracles, signs, and wonders on a regular basis, then you might not be a true Christian or might not have the favor of God upon your life right now, because it would seem as though the power of the Holy Spirit is missing from your life!"

Lutheran Chris Rosebrough from Fighting For The Faith issued several public service announcements to God's people to help remind us of why such beliefs, teachings, and confessions (and those who adhere to them) are dangerous to the body of Christ.

This Pentecost, please help fellow Christians understand that these are NOT examples of manifestations of the Holy Spirit. 

This Pentecost, please warn Christians that these are NOT manifestations of the Holy Spirit. 

This Pentecost, remind Christians that speaking in tongues in church without an interpreter is forbidden by God's Word. 

This Pentecost, please warn Christians that these are NOT manifestations of the Holy Spirit. 

This Pentecost, please warn Christians that these are NOT manifestations of the Holy Spirit. 

This Pentecost, please warn Christians that these are NOT manifestations of the Holy Spirit. 

This Pentecost, please help fellow Christians understand that these are NOT examples of manifestations of the Holy Spirit. 

Despite the fact that God's Word repeatedly warns us to expect such false teachers and their false teachings, it angers me to know that this is what's being taught around the world as "Biblical truth" in Christ's precious name, and it breaks my heart to know that there are millions of people who are being deceived by these wolves in sheep's clothing.

This is my message to those who have hijacked the Holy Spirit and Pentecost: repent of your sins and return to "the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 1:3).

So, now that you know what masquerades as the Holy Spirit, I thought it would be helpful to do what I can to help to explain what Pentecost was and is, and what we should expect the Holy Spirit's ministry to be like in this life.

Below are some links to several good sermons that were preached today with a few excerpts highlighted from each one...

The waiting is finally over. The big day is here. We've been counting down the days from Easter until today: fifty days of rejoicing in Jesus' resurrection. 7 days, 7 weeks, + 1 day for eternity; that makes 50. And 50 makes Pentecost. Jesus' promise to die and rise came true; now the Holy Spirit comes just as He promised. You can see why many have called Pentecost the "birthday of the Church." Waiting. Expectation. Rejoicing. And, of course, gifts. It's all there to mark the occasion. 
So, what kind of gifts does the Holy Spirit bring to the Pentecost festival? Lame party favors like gummi tongues of fire or holy-smoke BBQ lighters? No. Doctrine. Teaching. God's Word. He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. The disciples heard Jesus' teaching, saw the healing signs and miracles; they witnessed His transfiguration, suffering, death, and resurrection. Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would be with them as they proclaimed all these things with their lips and their quills. The Holy Spirit was sent to preserve Jesus' Word for the Church, then and now. Jesus taught. The disciples witnessed and wrote. And we receive the gift of Jesus' Word. 
Like the disciples before us, the Holy Spirit points us to Jesus' Word. So, the Holy Spirit is there in your Baptism, being poured out upon you in water and Word, giving you a new birth from above in Christ--your very own Pentecost. The Holy Spirit is there in the Absolution, as life-giving forgiveness is breathed into your ears. And the Holy Spirit is there in the Lord's Supper, giving you faith in Jesus' Word: This is my Body; this is my Blood for you. Happy Pentecost Day!


Pentecost Then; Pentecost Now 
The barrier of language was no difficulty for the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit appeared to the disciples that Day of Pentecost some two-thousand years ago resulting in a tongue resting on each of them. Being filled for a temporary action, the disciples then proclaimed the Gospel in other languages to the devout Jews who had gathered in Jerusalem from every nation. 
Take a moment and think about the implications of this. The Gospel was not restricted; the message of forgiveness was not muzzled. By the power of the Holy Spirit, the message of the Gospel broke through language barriers. It was translated into foreign tongues, showing that the forgiveness of sins belonged not only to the Hebrew speaking Jews, but the entire world—every tribe, every nation, every tongue, every dialect. This Gospel was not to remain as some local story spoken with a hometown accent. It was a message for the entire world. It could not and would not be confined, but the Lord saw it fit to translate it, so that all the countries of the world were given the Gospel. 
As a result, thousands were converted that Pentecost Day, long ago. Thousands added to the Christian faith that Pentecost morning, some two-thousand years ago. From those thousands of new converts, the Gospel would then be returned to the people’s own homeland, spoken in their own particular language to many more individuals, resulting in the spreading of the Christian faith.   
This was the Holy Spirit fulfilling His office. This pouring out of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was not the Holy Spirit’s grand debut into time and history, but was the Holy Spirit pouring out above and beyond the norm. It was the Holy Spirit fulfilling His office for a specific purpose to fulfill prophecy from long ago. 
All this stated, can we expect more of this phenomenal “Acts-chapter-two-work-of-the-Holy-Spirit-stuff” in the church today? Should Zion Lutheran Church be looking to tap into the rushing wind, tongue speaking, and the filling of the Holy Spirit from long ago? Frankly my friends and contrary to what you might hear from Christian television preachers, we cannot. The speaking in tongues, the mighty rushing wind, and the devout Jews from every tribe gathering in Jerusalem were real events within a particular time, place, and context. A time, place, and context that the Holy Spirit orchestrated by pouring Himself out above and beyond, thus fulfilling particular Old Testament prophecy. That stated, we have not been given any promises from scripture that this could be harnessed or recreated in our modern day.


Pentecost 2015 Sermon 
What is the Holy Spirit's job? As today we are celebrating Pentecost, the giving of the Holy Spirit to the Apostles and the Church - what is the Holy Spirit's job? It's a simple question, isn't it - but it's also one to which I hear plenty of strange and bizarre answers. If you don't believe me, just turn on the TV. Folks will talk about the Spirit giving them extra special powers, or blame the Spirit for whatever ideas they come up with. It's almost as though whenever people want to claim something that isn't in the Bible, they pin that tale on the the Holy Spirit, making a donkey of Him. That's not what the Holy Spirit is about. Today, rather than just making up things to our twisted heart's delight, we will look at the Scriptures and listen to Jesus tell us what the Holy Spirit's job is - so that we might rejoice in the Spirit, and also learn not to be led astray. Listen to Christ Jesus. 
"When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of Truth, who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness about Me." First things first - we get the Holy Spirit described here as a "Helper". That word there - Helper - is a hard one for us to get our minds around in English. Some translations will use the Name "Comforter" - or some of you might remember the translations that just say "Paraclete" - which is the Greek word there. So, what is a Paraclete, exactly how does the Spirit Help and Comfort us? In the ancient world, a paraclete was basically your defense lawyer. He was the person who would sit along side you and help you with your defense, who would comfort you when the accuser was going on and on - who would say to you, "Don't worry, we're going to get you out of this, and you will be declared not guilty." The Holy Spirit is your defense lawyer against the charges of sin and damnation that Satan, the Accuser, levels against you. The Holy Spirit is Perry Mason, is Bill Matlock, is whatever other awesome Defense lawyer you can think of. And His job is to bear witness (see, another legal term), to bear witness to you about Christ Jesus so that whenever Satan breathes his threats and murders against you, you would remember, "This case is in the bag - for I am declared innocent on account of the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus, my Lord!" That is how He helps, that is how He comforts you - so that at all times you would remember that your salvation and life have been won by Christ Jesus and what He has done for you. 
And here as well is an important check. Jesus says that the Spirit will bear witness about Jesus. Everything the Holy Spirit does, He does with the goal of preaching the Gospel. If it's not about Jesus, if it's not driving to the point of redemption and salvation - it's not the Holy Spirit. Whenever you hear people talk about the Spirit, but they don't get to Jesus winning forgiveness for you - you can know for a fact that they are off and wrong and lying, for as Jesus says of the Spirit, "When the Spirit of Truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth, for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak, and He will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me."


Loving What God Loves: A Sermon For The Festival of Pentecost On Acts 2:1–11 
Today is the festival of Pentecost and once again we’ve heard the old familiar story. Rushing wind, tongues of fire, and people speaking in languages they don’t even know. 
The tongues of fire thing has always struck me as odd. I mean, what in the world is a tongue of fire anyway? Honestly, I don’t have a clue. What would a tongue of fire even look like? The Rolling Stones’ logo set ablaze? 
I don’t know about that, but I do know it’s a very appropriate image for the Holy Spirit. It’s funny, we have no trouble associating Jesus with the cross. Nothing could be more natural. But that’s because we understand what the cross means and how it relates to Jesus. 
When it comes to the Holy Spirit, on the other hand, most Christians know much less. If you don’t understand the Holy Spirit, you won’t understand the imagery the Bible associates with Him, either. The Holy Spirit’s sort of like the Ringo of the Trinity. You know He’s there and you know what he does is really important, but it’s easy to take him for granted and put all the focus on Lennon & McCartney. Or, in the case of the Trinity, to put all of the focus on the Father and the Son.


Sermon For The Feast of Pentecost -- Acts 2:1-21 
That’s what Jesus’ disciples were doing on the first Pentecost -- they were waiting expectantly. Our text this morning is found in the book of Acts. The Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts are really a two volume set. The end of Luke and the beginning of Acts overlap since they both include an account of Jesus’ final words to the disciples and his ascension. 
What unites both of these accounts is that the disciples are told that they will receive power from God, and that they are to wait in Jerusalem until this happens. At the end of Luke Jesus says, “And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” At the beginning of Acts Luke reports, “And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, ‘you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’” And then Jesus says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”  
Jesus had ascended ten days earlier. For ten days -- basically a week and a half -- they were waiting for Jesus’ promise to be fulfilled. They were waiting, but they couldn’t have even known what they were waiting for -- what did it mean to be “baptized with the Holy Spirit”
We learn that on Pentecost as they were gathered together suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And what looked like little tongues of flame appeared and rested on each one of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues -- other foreign languages -- as the Spirit gave them the ability. 
There were faithful Jews from all over the Mediterranean world living in Jerusalem. There were also Jewish pilgrims who were there. Attracted by the sound they were amazed to find Galileans -- not the most sophisticated folks -- speaking in their language. In their own language they heard these people talking about mighty things that God had done. And their question was the good Lutheran one: “What does this mean?” 
 Peter stood up and dismissed the accusation that they were drunk. After all, it was too early in the morning! Instead he announced that they were witnessing an amazing moment in the final stage of God’s saving plan. He said, “But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel: “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.” 
God had poured forth the Holy Spirit in fulfillment of Joel.


No Babbling On Pentecost 
Today the Spirit of God who brooded over the waters of a lightless creation Swoops down with tongues of fire to kindle faith in the re-creating work of Christ. 
Today the Spirit of God who made the tower-builders into foolish babblers Unites believers in the univocal language of the church-building grace of Christ. 
Today the Spirit of God who came mightily upon the deliverers of Israel Falls upon the apostles to proclaim the deliverance from sin we enjoy in Christ. 
Today the Spirit of God who endowed with wisdom the builders of the tabernacle Imparts the saving wisdom of the Word made flesh who tabernacled among us. 
Today the Spirit who gave the law to Israel on two tablets of stone Gives hearts of flesh for hearts of stone in the proclamation of the Good News. 
Today the Spirit whom unfaithful David prayed the Lord would not take from him Pours himself into sinners that they might sing of the faithful love of their Husband. 
Today is Pentecost, the fiftieth day after the Passover resurrection of our Lord When we are made holy by the holy-ing Spirit of the Christ who gives us the Father. 
Today is Pentecost. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

My dear friends, I sincerely hope you took some time to read (or listen to) at least one of the above sermons, because any one of them will help to keep you on the straight-and-narrow (a.k.a. "put you back on the right path") when it comes to what it is that we Christians are to believe, teach, and confess about the Holy Spirit, His ministry, and about Pentecost.

With so much garbage out there today that perverts Who the Holy Spirit really is and what He really does, I simply wanted to give you the pure, unadulterated truth to prayerfully consider.

Finally, let's wrap things up with a prayer for Pentecost from my Lutheran Book of Prayer...

"Holy Spirit, who on that first Pentecost established the Christian Church by Your outpouring upon the disciples in Jerusalem, I thank You that through Word and Sacrament You have continued Your Church through the ages and preserved the fellowship of the faithful throughout the years. Grant me so firm a faith in the Redeemer and so steadfast a faithfulness in Your means of grace, that through our generation You might build Your Church among the children of men. Protect us from all falsehood and error. Heal all controversy, dissension, and schism, and foster God-pleasing unity among all Christian people. Grant to me the grace to be loyal to Your Word, resisting all efforts to set aside Your revealed truth. Remove the indifference of our hearts, and make for Yourself zealous workers for Your Church, that many souls may be added to Christ's kingdom through our confession. Give to both the young and the old Your grace, that through our words and deeds we may faithfully bear witness to the Lover of our souls, and on His account, the glorious hope that lives within us; in Jesus' name. Amen."

In a Lutheran layman's terms, "today is Pentecost, the fiftieth day after the Passover resurrection of our Lord when we are made holy by the holy-ing Spirit of the Christ who gives us the Father." 

NOTE: Please understand that I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or just a regular Christian, Corporate Recruiter, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. As another Christian Blogger once wrote, "Please do not see this blog as me attempting to 'publicly teach' the faith, but view it as an informal Public Journal of sorts about my own experiences and journey, and if any of my notes here help you in any way at all, then I say, 'Praise the Lord!' but please do double check them against the Word of God and with your own Pastor." To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm a relatively new convert to Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism a little more than 3 years ago now. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is inconsistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and repeatedly point us back to over and over again) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Also, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier/older pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" category (and they don't have a disclaimer like this) since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). This knowledge of the Lutheran basics was completely foreign to me even though I was baptized, confirmed, and married in an LCMS church! So, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by those old beliefs of mine. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because they are not blasphemous/heretical, because I now have this disclaimer, and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse footnotes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I defer to what other Lutheran Pastors both past and present have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained under-shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries (this disclaimer/note is a perfect example of what I mean! haha). I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a "Christian Dude's Diary" in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Feel free to comment/email me at any time. Grace and peace to you and yours!


About JKR

Christian. Husband. Father. Friend.

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Thank you for visiting A Lutheran Layman! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question since we do not exercise censorship. We've seen a similar policy with other blogs and it's worth repeating: Please act as if you're a guest in my home, and we'll get along just fine. I think anyone would agree that the kind of back-and-forth that is characteristic of blogs/chat forums and social media is becoming tiresome for all of us. Still, we should confess, edify, and love (and contend and defend when needed). Bottom line? Search the Scriptures! Apply Acts 17:11 to anything and everything you find here and, if you do happen to disagree with something you find here (which is certainly ok), or think I'm "irresponsible" and "wrong" for writing it, then please refute my position by supporting yours with Scripture and/or the Confessions. I don't think that's an unreasonable request, especially for those who identify themselves as "Christians" here, right? Besides, Proverbs 27:17 tells us "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another" and 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." If you have an opinion that's great, I welcome it, but try to support it using God's Word. I mean, if the goal here is to help us all arrive at the truth of God's Word (myself included), then it should be easy to follow through on this one simple request (I'm talking to all you "Anonymous" visitors out there). Grace and peace to you and yours!

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