God has gifts for us. June 8, 2014

Acts 2:1-21    Psalm 104      1 Corinthians 12:3-13           John 7:37-39

The life of Jesus was filled with festivals.  The festivals were all of the Jewish kind.  Of the three major festivals, our readings today deal with two – the Feast of Tabernacles (John 7:37-39) and the Feast of Weeks/Pentecost (Acts 2:1-21).  And they both help us see how God has gifts for us.

First, we realize that for us to have gifts from God, we are to receive Jesus.  Without Jesus, then we are quite limited in life.  Second, the gifts we receive from God involve being delivered by God.  That is, we have life from God – which is a gift.  Finally, to live life from God, we receive the gifts that God has for us.  These gifts enable us to live, work, and well, just be church!  It is not our plans that make church work.  It is God’s gifts that make the church work.

Is this the day that you receive the gifts God has for you?  Let’s receive Jesus first.

 

Receive Jesus (John 7:37-39)

It was on the “Great Day”  – 7th day of the Festival of Tabernacles.  On this day we get a different look at how water is used as a libation.  In one of the daily processions, the priests went to the Pool of Siloam.  They get water, take it to the Temple & pour it on the altar.  A libation is considered a drink offering poured out to a god.[1]

In this case, as we come to Jesus – to receive Jesus, we are receiving Jesus as a libation that has been poured out for us.  When this happens, out of the believer’s heart/Jesus’ heart flows rivers of living water.  It comes from Jesus – he is our offering to God!

Then, the Spirit will be received by believers (7:39).

Are we ready to receive Jesus?  When we are ready to receive Jesus, we find what he has done for us.  He has poured himself out for us.  Through believing in Jesus, we have rivers of living water in our lives.  That is, the Holy Spirit fills us and helps us to have a life.

 

Receive life (Acts 2:1-21)

Now we come to Pentecost – 50 days after Passover.  The disciples were all together in one place.  Then the Spirit gave the 120 ability to speak in other languages.  They were heard by Jews were gathered from all over.  They spoke about God’s deeds of power (2:11).  Peter is an example of God’s deeds of power!  Peter quotes Joel 3:1-5 in this sermon.  God’s Holy Spirit will be poured out in the last days.  Men & women will receive this spirit so they can prophesy.  Even nature gets in the act as well – signs that tell us judgment is coming!  So, we call on the name of the Lord & be saved.  This word for “Lord” is the Old Testament word for God (therefore, Jesus = God).

The last days will be powerful.  We think we have an unstoppable life now.  But, the pain caused by sin can stop our lives.  So, God is going to do something about pain, sin, and death.  If we have received Jesus as God’s son, then we won’t have anything to worry about.  You have that choice.  If you make the choice to call upon the Lord Jesus, then you will be saved from God’s wrath on that great and glorious day.  If you do not receive Jesus, then you won’t receive life.  When we do receive Jesus, then we know God has more good gifts ready for us.

 

Receive gifts for life (1 Corinthians 12:3-13)

Just like Holy Communion is for the body of believers, so are the gifts God has for us.  We can look at 1 Corinthians 11 and realize the importance of the Body of Christ in celebrating Holy Communion.

Another way to see the importance of the Body of Christ is  to realize that the Holy Spirit comes to many & makes believers unified.  Yes, there are a variety of gifts – for the common good.  These gifts include: Wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracle-working, prophecy, tongues, & interpretation of tongues.

As with a body, there are many members, one body. Maybe many denominations have different gifts that make up the one body of Christ around the world?

When we receive Jesus, we don’t go off on our own.  You know how you get rid of too many cats? You baptize them! Once you do that, you will never see them again!  That is not how it is when through the one Spirit we are baptized.  The gifts we receive are used to make us into church.  I sure hope you are using the gifts the Spirit has given to you!

 

***

The Feast of Tabernacles helps us to see that it is from Jesus that good things come.  As we celebrate God, he is providing Jesus for us.  When we receive Jesus, we get the Holy Spirit.  We get rivers of life flowing through us.

When we receive Jesus, we receive life.  God is going to judge the world.  For us to be ready, God sends us signs.  When we heed these signs, then we gain our life, receive salvation.

Then the Holy Spirit continues to bless us as we receive gifts. These gifts are for the good   of the church.  If you don’t use your spiritual gift, then you are living as part of the body of Christ.   I sure hope that you have received Jesus, the life he promises us, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  Then, I believe we will all start living!

 

[1]http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/libation

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s