June 3, 2022 Clergy Corner | Journal-news
This Sunday, June 5, is Pentecost Sunday, the celebration of the birth of God’s great instrument of gospel to the nations for this period of history.
As Jesus ascended to heaven to claim his position of glory as the Second Person of the Trinity and Lord of all creation, he said to his disciples, “Wait for the promise of the Father. . . you’ll be baptized with the Holy Spirit in a few days. (Acts 1:4-5) So his disciples returned to Jerusalem, to the “upper room,” where they celebrated the Passover with Jesus, their Savior, and where they waited for God’s promise of the Holy Spirit and power— “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
The birth of the church is recorded in Acts 2 in a miraculous event of wind, tongues of fire, and the proclamation of the gospel in tongues not learned, but given for testimony to all the tongues present in Jerusalem for the feast of Pentecost (the Jewish harvest festival). On this date, nearly 2,000 years ago, the Holy Spirit invaded the core of Jesus’ followers with power and grace to begin preaching the gospel to those present, and then to begin the outward expansion of this gospel of grace and peace with God to the ends of the earth.
From that day until today, God has reached the world with the gospel through his church for the purpose that “this gospel of the kingdom may be proclaimed throughout the world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end shall come” (Matthew 24:14). We are part of God’s great program to proclaim the gospel to all nations in anticipation of the return of Jesus and the establishment of the visible kingdom of God which now exists in the invisible reality of the Church.
The gospel of the kingdom is the good news that God has provided a way for sinful humans to be forgiven of their sins and to become acceptable to God to be included in his family forever now and for eternity. This work was accomplished by Jesus through his sacrificial death on the cross for our sins and his triumphant resurrection from the dead which verifies the finished work of the cross. This gospel is the only hope for human beings to be reconciled to God “for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12).
Take the time this week to read the story of God’s great gift of the Church found in the book of Acts and see how God takes real people and transforms them into messengers of the gospel in power through the Holy Spirit to change the course of history for all people of all nations forever.
May we be found faithful in our generation to do all we can to proclaim the gospel to all nations so that Jesus Christ can return and complete the great redemption of our sinful and broken world!