The Pentecost Exordia
Fellow redeemed: On this day those who first beheld the mighty words of the Holy Apostles were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.”
Attend now the answer to the wondrous hope they heard was in that holy band given to them– and to you!– by Saint Peter:
“Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 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.
And I will show wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below,
blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke;
the sun shall be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood,
before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.
And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’
“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. For David says concerning him,
“‘I saw the Lord always before me,
for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken;
therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced;
my flesh also will dwell in hope.
For you will not abandon my soul to Hades,
or let your Holy One see corruption.
You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’
“Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says,
“‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand,
until I make your enemies your footstool.”’
Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”
“Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”
With these bold, true, good Words yet ringing in our ears, let us rise and join in our Pentecost Exordia Hymn, as the Choir gathers now to lead us in singing:
Exordia Hymn with Choir– O Light of God’s Most Wondrous Love (hymn 399)
Grace to you and Peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus.
“These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
This is Your Word heavenly Father. Sanctify us by Your Truth. Your Word is Truth. Amen.
Fellow redeemed: The devil excites your sinful nature with the lurid notion that this one or that fellow has some new understanding or revelation from God. Hundreds of millions have been so beguiled away from the source and comfort of their salvation, from the supposed new scriptures delivered to self-declared prophets to the fatuous claim that the result is so important that is is even another Testament to the Bible to the false prophecies of the so-called Latter Rain, or the outright misnamed movements which misappropriate the name of this very feast intertwined with the fantastical dreams on which the teaching of the Dispensationalists with their Rapture and seven-year Tribulation (which are nowhere to be found in God’s Word), to say nothing of all the supposed additional prophecies of the Virgin Mary to children in Spain or the Balkans or Mexico. We must regard all of this as the result of the twisting of the plain word of Jesus, and not at all what He has actually promised.
In today’s Gospel Jesus promises the Apostolic band that He would send the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit would accomplish a unique task through these particular fellows. For these men have followed and been instructed by our Lord for at least three years. They have received a blessed theological education. But like any other bunch of fellows who have spent time learning, the Apostles surely had forgotten more than they remembered. This is the condition of our fallen human nature, and one with which any student may sadly sympathize all too well– especially now as the Spring term draws to a close with its exams! So to the Apostles our Lord says “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”
As I say, the devil has twisted Jesus’ words to mean that any flim-flam artist, any confidence man with a pretense to piety, any con-artist with a clerical collar can puff himself up like a buffo toad and solemnly declare that he has received an additional, new, and exciting testimony from God Almighty! Without delay we thrust the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God and pop such toadish, such devilish nonsense.
Jesus did NOT say the Spirit would bring to mind what He would additionally teach. Muhammad and Joseph Smith, and Joyce Meyer, and Kenneth Copeland, and Tim LaHay and all that train of fools have not been proclaiming the Word of God but the farts and turds which the devil stuffs through their mouths, which a fallen world filled with itching ears always demanding novelty and excitement have been too easily convinced are the best thing since sliced bread. Well, it’s thick enough to slice, but I wouldn’t make a sandwich out of it!
Jesus did not say the Spirit would bring to mind what men would teach. No. Jesus said that the Spirit would bring to the Apostle’s minds all that He has taught. As St. Paul declares that there should be an end to prophecies in the sense of new teachings, and as Jesus is rightly acclaimed as having done all things well, and as Jesus has ascended to be seated at the Right Hand of the Father so that He is now resting, having done and delivered all that He would do, for Jesus meant what He said from the cross, crying that it is indeed finished, so there are no further revelations of God’s Word and Will except what Jesus has already given, taught, and done. Which teachings have faithfully been related to us by those He selected, the Holy Evangelists and Apostles.
There’s no room for further holy books, revelations, or the blatherings of gurus, enlightened masters, prophets, televangelists, or boogums, snoogums, seers, sachems, or swamis. Our Lord Jesus has delivered His teaching once and for all to His Disciples. The Holy Spirit came to them to bring to mind all that He had already then taught them, which in their frailty and sinful weakness they may have forgotten or misunderstood. The Word of the Lord must be certain and sure, inerrant and infallible, and the Holy Spirit saw to it that the Apostles and Evangelists would write the Scriptures as Jesus had already taught. No more and no less.
And we have heard a prompt example of this in the proclamations of the Apostles on the day of Pentecost when the Spirit arrived in their midst. and St. Peter’s sermon served as our exordium today. And what did Peter say? Nothing new! He quoted David twice and Joel once as they are recorded already in the Old Testament, applied these things to Jesus’ work and teaching, and then applied it to his hearers that they believe Jesus is the Christ, repent, be baptized, and be saved from their wicked generation, adding simply that this blessing in Jesus through Baptism is for them and their children and for all who are far away (and that includes you, fellow redeemed!). Nothing new, but everything is perfectly right. And the Word of the Lord is sufficient now and forever for your forgiveness, life, and salvation.
Let the false teachers all go teach under the ocean where their great stench might be covered and their words only so much gargling. We will hear the great good News of Christ for us, and will not be beguiled away by flashy promise of something new. We will stick to the old and narrow paths which lead to our salvation. This is the true gift of the Holy Spirit, and meaning of Pentecost.
As the children of Israel once were led through the wilderness by a pillar of cloud and fire, and as the holy Apostles were graced as by flames of that uncreated fire of God the Spirit, so are you now led and enlightened by the Word of Jesus made sure by the Holy Spirit through their writings, which is delivered to you here and now in the promised means of Grace, the Word and Sacraments.
Jesus has done all things well. He has taken your sin and in His living and dying He has satisfied Righteousness so that in Him you are reckoned righteous, your sin forgiven, and you are given peace now and forevermore with God.
The peace of God which passes all understanding keep your heart and mind through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.