United Through the Spirit

2021-05-23 – Year B – Pentecost – The Rev. Canon Christopher M. Klukas
Genesis 11:1-9; Psalm 104:24-35; Acts 2:1-21; John 14:8-17

  • There are 195 countries in the world today and 7,139 languages!

The Scattering at Babel

  • The people at Babel were trying to build a tower up to the heavens to “make a name” for themselves and to keep from being dispersed.
  • God was concerned at this (v. 6). This wasn’t really a risk to God, but it was a risk to humanity. God knew it was the wrong orientation of their hearts.
    • Independent from God instead of dependent on him.
    • Gathered together instead of filling the earth (Genesis 1:28; 9:1)
  • There were no nations before the scattering at Babel. The people were united, but they were united towards the wrong end.
  • Today, fighting and disunity between nations and people groups is the norm.
    • The conflict between Palestine and Israel is an example of a pattern that goes back through all times and all generations.

Drawing the Nations Back Together

  • On the day of Pentecost we see something very interesting. As the disciples in the upper room receive the Holy Spirit, they begin speaking in “other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
  • v. 5-6 People from “every nation under heaven” were in Jerusalem for the festival, and each one heard the Apostles speaking in his or her own language.
    • God was undoing the confusion of Babel!
  • This is a partial fulfillment of what Jesus said just before his ascension (Acts 1:8)
    • This was not just for dispersed Jews. There were also “proselytes,” gentiles who had chosen the God of Israel for themselves through circumcision, obeying the law, and providing for sacrifices in the temple.
    • As the book of Acts continues, it becomes clear that the gospel is for everyone, both Jew and Gentile.
  • 3,000 people were Baptized that day (Acts 2:41)

Redeemed, United, and Sent

  • Acts 2:14 “everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
    • Instead of us building a tower up to God, he bridges the gap and comes down to us.
    • We approach God through repentance and faith and he pours out his forgiveness and mercy upon us and washes us clean in the water of Baptism.
  • This is what happened to the 3,000 who were baptized on the day of Pentecost, and it is what will happen to Hogan Peterson today.
    • “The inward and spiritual grace [of Baptism] is death to sin and new birth to righteousness, through union with Christ in his death and resurrection. I am born a sinner by nature, separated from God. But in Baptism, through faith in Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit, I am made a member of Christ’s Body and adopted as God’s child and heir” (ACNA Catechism, 57).
  • 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 “in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body…”
    • Through Baptism we are united to God and to one another in the church, which is the body of Christ.
  • United through the Spirit, the united become uniters. As members of the Body of Christ, we also share in the mission of the Church which is the mission of God.
  • 2 Corinthians 5:17-20 – Ambassadors for Christ.

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