Sermon quotes on pentecost
Bethlehem was God with us, Calvary was God for us, and Pentecost is God in us.
Marie E. Brown
Pentecost means the glory of God’s power and the power of God’s glory. When the Holy Spirit comes upon you and enters into you, as He came in that Upper Room, filling the house and those sitting in it, you too will know both the glory of God’s power and the power of His glory, and will worship Him.
Do we measure up to the standard of Pentecost? The gift of the Spirit is the gift of power, and the lack of power is due to the absence of His indwelling fullness.
That which happened at Pentecost is the biggest thing that ever happened. And now the biggest question of all is, has it happened to you and me? Have ye received the Holy Ghost?
I owe everything to the gift of Pentecost. For fifty days the facts of the Gospel were complete, but no conversions were recorded. Pentecost registered three thousand souls. It is by fire that a holy passion is kindled in the soul whereby we live the life of God. The soul’s safety is in its heat. Truth without enthusiasm, morality without emotion, ritual without soul, make for a Church without power.
And as in the time of building the tower [of Babel] the one tongue was divided into many; so then [at Pentecost] the many tongues frequently met in one man, and the same person used to discourse both in the Persian, and the Roman, and the Indian, and many other tongues, the Spirit sounding within him: and the gift was called the gift of tongues because he could all at once speak divers languages.
Homilies on 1 Corinthians, 35:1.
William Sloane Coffin
Christians have no business thinking that the good life consists mainly in not doing bad things. We have no business thinking that to do evil in this world you have to be a Bengal tiger, when, in fact, it is enough to be a tame tabby—a nice person but not a good one. In short, Pentecost makes it clear that nothing is so fatal to Christianity as indifference.
Living the Truth in a World of Illusions, HarperCollins Publishers, 1985.
The dove descending breaks the air
With flame of incandescent terror
Of which the tongues declare
The one discharge from sin and error.
The only hope, or else despair
Lies in the choice of pyre or pyre-
To be redeemed from fire by fire.
Who then devised the torment? Love.
Love is the unfamiliar Name
Behind the hands that wove
The intolerable shirt of flame
Which human power cannot remove.
We only live, only suspire
Consumed by either fire or fire.
Little Gidding Section IV
We can study the whole history of salvation, we can study the whole of Theology, but without the Spirit we cannot understand. It is the Spirit that makes us realize the truth or — in the words of Our Lord — it is the Spirit that makes us know the voice of Jesus.
Homily (April 28, 2015)
When the great promise of the Spirit was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost, it was fulfilled not in reference to the apostles only.
What is Presbyterianism?: An Address Delivered Before the Presbyterian Historical Society at Their Anniversary Meeting in Philadelphia, on Tuesday Evening, May 1, 1855”, p.27.
Pope John Paul II
The Church of Christ is always, so to speak, in a situation of Pentecost: she is always gathered in the Upper Room in prayer, and at the same time, driven by the powerful wind of the Spirit, she is always on the streets preaching” (June 8, 2003).
Pope John Paul II
The Church, therefore, instructed by the words of Christ, and drawing on the experience of Pentecost and her own apostolic history, has proclaimed since the earliest centuries her faith in the Holy Spirit, as the giver of life, the one in whom the inscrutable Triune God communicates himself to human beings, constituting in them the source of eternal life.
Dominum et Vivificantem (n. 1)
From the first Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit has proven that He will only come to the degree that we have unity.
There is a distinctive magic to Pentecost — full-blown ecstasy, an almost illicit experience of God. That first Pentecost, after tongues as of fire rested on everyone and Jesus’ friends and family spoke in other tongues, people gathered around to watch at nine in the morning. What they saw didn’t look like many Sunday morning church services.
What they saw looked more like the aftermath of a party.’ All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, What does this mean? But others sneered and said, They are filled with new wine.’ They weren’t drunk, of course, but they looked like it. Wouldn’t that be something, to be so taken up with God that onlookers think we’re drunk with sweet wine? Wouldn’t it be remarkable to ride the edge of ecstasy?”
Pentecost . . . The Holy Spirit fills the disciples and they speak in tongues they likely do not understand themselves. It is an uncontrolled public witness – uncontrolled by human agendas – as well as a transformative movement of God. It honestly feels like choosing between someone’s corporate controlled image of a smooth, efficient machine and the somewhat chaotic, yet entirely creative, dynamic movement-making frenzy produced by the Holy Spirit’s uncontrolled presence in the lives of a group of believers willing to risk it all for the Kingdom. I’ll take the latter any day of the week.
From the day of Pentecost until the present time, it has been necessary to be of one accord in prayer before the Spirit of God will work with mighty converting power.
World Student Christian Federation,“The World’s Student Christian Federation: Origin, Objects and Significance of the Federation; the Convention at Northfield and Williamstown; Some Achievements of the First Two Years, 1898.
Without Pentecost the Christ-event – the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus – remains imprisoned in history as something to remember, think about and reflect on. The Spirit of Jesus comes to dwell within us, so that we can become living Christs here and now.
From the day of Pentecost, there has been not one great spiritual awakening in any land which has not begun in a union of prayer, though only among two or three. And no such outward, upward movement has continued after such prayer meetings have declined. It is in exact proportion to the maintenance of such joint and believing supplication and intercession that the Word of the Lord in any land or locality has had free course and been glorified.
Mark D. Roberts
Pentecost offers a chance to confess our failure to live by the Spirit and to ask the Lord to fill us afresh with His power.
Matthew L. Skinner
Pentecost is an invitation to dream. For when a community of faith quits dreaming dreams, it has little to offer either its members or the wider world. These dreams involve adopting a new perspective on what’s possible, rousing our creativity to free us from conventional expectations. They help us see that maybe what we thought was outlandish actually lies within reach.
My brethren, do you believe in the Holy Ghost?…Have we such a reliance upon the Holy Ghost? Do we believe that, at this moment, He can clothe us with power, even as He did the apostles at Pentecost? Do we believe that, under our preaching, by His energy a thousand might be born in a day?
We do not need to wait for the Holy Spirit to come: he came on the day of Pentecost. He has never left the church.
Pentecost has not created an alternative mythology with which to secularize and commercialize it. It has not created a figure like a fat, jolly man in a red suit or a large bunny. Stores don’t stock special items for the Feast of Pentecost. In fact, the Feast of Pentecost comes and goes in the church year without the world even noticing.
J. Hudson Taylor
Since the days of Pentecost, has the whole church ever put aside every other work and waited upon Him for ten days, that the Spirit’s power might be manifested? We give too much attention to method and machinery and resources, and too little to the source of power.
Corrie Ten Boom
Trying to do the Lord’s work in your own strength is the most confusing, exhausting, and tedious of all work. But when you are filled with the Holy Spirit, then the ministry of Jesus just flows out of you.
Holiness, as taught in the Scriptures, is not based upon knowledge on our part. Rather, it is based upon the resurrected Christ in-dwelling us and changing us into His likeness.
Kevin J. Vanhoozer
It is well known that Pentecost reverses Babel. The people who built the tower of Babel sought to make a name, and a unity, for themselves. At Pentecost, God builds his temple, uniting people in Christ. Unity – interpretive agreement and mutual understanding – is, it would appear, something that only God can accomplish. And accomplish it he does, but not in the way we might have expected. Although onlookers thought that the believers who received the Spirit at Pentecost were babbling (Acts 2:13), in fact they were speaking intelligibly in several languages (Acts 2:8-11). Note well: they were all saying the same thing (testifying about Jesus) in different languages. It takes a thousand tongues to say and sing our great Redeemer’s praise.
Biblical Authority After Babel: Retrieving the Solas in the Spirit of Mere Protestant Christianity
Pentecost came with the sound of a mighty rushing wind, a violent blast from heaven! Heaven has not exhausted its blasts, but our danger is we are getting frightened of them.
Smith Wigglesworth on Prayer, Destiny Image Publishers, 2006, p.213.
When you strip it of everything else, Pentecost stands for power and life. That’s what came into the church when the Holy Spirit came down on the day of Pentecost.”
The Cross and the Switchblade