[0:00] We are in our evening series on the Holy Spirit.
[0:23] Looking at passages about the Holy Spirit all throughout the Bible, we just read one of them. So far we've seen that the Holy Spirit is the giver of life, the creator of the world, that the Holy Spirit is the guide across all of world history, that the Holy Spirit is the author of Scripture, that the Holy Spirit is the giver of new life, that the Holy Spirit is the comforter and advocate.
[0:45] And tonight we see that the Spirit is the inaugurator of the new covenant, the bringer of a new age. That's what we read about here in Acts chapter 2.
[0:57] And here in Acts 2 we learn that we do live all of us now, and in 2022 we live in the age of the Spirit. That's the age that we live in, and it starts right here at Pentecost in the New Testament.
[1:12] And so what does that mean? Well, when you look at the Spirit in the Old Testament and the New Testament, and if you do a really careful reading of all the times that we're told about the Spirit of God, Old Testament and the New Testament.
[1:26] One of the things you'll see is that there's a difference. And that difference is not in who the Spirit is. It's not in the fact of the Spirit coming down, but there is a difference between Old Testament and New Testament and who has the Spirit.
[1:42] And so you can go through a bunch of Old Testament texts like Numbers 27 where it says that Joshua, God says to Moses, Joshua is a man who has the Spirit.
[1:53] Not everybody does, but Joshua has the Spirit. Or Judges 13, Samson pulls down the Philistine temple by the power of the Spirit, but the Spirit comes to him and then the Spirit leaves him.
[2:05] It's temporary. Or King Saul, a great example, 1 Samuel 10. King Saul, the first king of Israel and the king that was ultimately cursed, it's that he has the Spirit, but then the Spirit leaves.
[2:21] It's temporary. So you come through those passages and you get to the prophets. Isaiah 44, verse 3, all of a sudden God says, one day it will come to pass that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, on all the peoples of the world.
[2:39] And that means that in the Old Testament, the gift of the Spirit is partial, temporary, and selective. And when you come to the New Testament, well, the day was coming according to Isaiah 44 where the Spirit would be poured out on all flesh, on all peoples in fullness.
[3:00] That's what we're told is the difference. And that means that Acts chapter 2 is the hinge of history. It's the hinge that the door swings on.
[3:10] It's the age of the Spirit. Right here is come in Acts chapter 2. And some would even say this moment is the beginning of the New Covenant. This is when the New Covenant really comes into the world in full, the era of the New Covenant.
[3:25] And one of the theologians, I really like to read, he asked this question. He says, the question for the Christian is always, do you know what time it is? And that means, do you know what age you live in?
[3:37] Do you know the season that you're in? And the season that you're in that we're in is the age of the Spirit. That's what time it is. That's the time that we're living in. And so we've got to do tonight what they did at the end of this passage in chapter 2 verse 12.
[3:53] It says that everybody was amazed and perplexed. And then they looked at one another and said, what does this mean? And so that's the question. What does this mean?
[4:03] What does it mean? What does Pentecost mean? What's the age of the Spirit really mean? We don't want to ask it the way that they asked it in verse 13. Some said, what does this mean? The other people said, it mean they're just drunk.
[4:14] We don't think they're drunk. We think it means something. And so let's ask the question of verse 12 here. What does it mean? Here's what it means, three things. The age of the Spirit means this, that in this age God turns ordinary people into mountaintop temples.
[4:33] Secondly, He creates powerful prophets. And finally, He makes God's people truly Catholic. Another way to say it is that the Spirit creates mountains, ministries, and a new city.
[4:49] All right? So let's look at that together. First, in the age of the Spirit, God is turning ordinary people into mountaintop temples. God creates mountains.
[5:01] Luke wrote this book, Acts. He wrote the Gospel of Luke and then also this book as well. And at the beginning of Luke, the Gospel, you've got Luke chapter 4, and Jesus steps into the synagogue at the beginning of His ministry and He reads from the scroll in Isaiah 61, and He says this, the Spirit of God has anointed me.
[5:22] And He says that on Him has fallen the fullness of the Spirit. And so when you say, Jesus, how did you perform the miracles? How did you live in the desert for 40 days without food and water?
[5:35] How did you do everything in your ministry on earth? And the answer is He did it by the Spirit. He had the fullness of the Spirit of God come upon Him. Now you flip over to Acts chapter 2.
[5:46] Remember Luke wrote Luke? The beginning of Luke is the beginning of Jesus' ministry. Luke wrote Acts, and the beginning of Acts is the ministry of the church. And at the very beginning of the ministry of the church, we see that the church is going to do everything, its ministry, by the fullness of the Spirit coming down.
[6:05] Jesus read from Isaiah 61 and says the Spirit's come on me. And then Peter, if you just cast your eyes down, if you have a Bible you can see down in verse 17, a little bit past where we read, Peter's going to explain Pentecost and say, this all comes from Joel chapter 2.
[6:22] And in Joel chapter 2, it says, I'm going to pour my Spirit upon every single people group, upon all the sons and all the daughters, men and women, everybody, just like the beginning of Jesus' ministry, so the ministry of the church begins with the pouring of the fullness of the Spirit.
[6:40] Now, the context here means everything, and the context is that it's Pentecost. And you can see in verse 1 of this chapter, the day of Pentecost arrived.
[6:52] That's when all of this goes down, all of this happens. And Pentecost comes, it's named according to the prefix of the word Pentecost, you know, you all know the Pentagon and the US are, you can think of other words that start with pent.
[7:11] They all mean five, right? It's the number five, Pentecost. Pentecost is named Pentecost because it comes 50 days after the Passover feast.
[7:23] So the Passover feast is the feast that they celebrated in the leaving of Egypt as slaves, the crossing of the Red Sea. 50 days later is Pentecost. And Pentecost, for Israel, you see it in Leviticus 23, numbers five, it has two meanings, and they're so important.
[7:40] First, Pentecost was simply the beginning of the harvest. So the Pentecost feast was the first fruits coming in from the grain and the wheat. So at Pentecost, the farmers would go out, gather the grain, gather the wheat, and then they would pilgrimage to Jerusalem to take an offering of the very first harvest that had come in.
[8:00] So it has the meaning of the harvest has come, the first fruits have come. But over time, it developed a second meaning. And by the time of Jesus' day, when everybody's here in Jerusalem, it's not just about the harvest, but it's about something else.
[8:17] And that's that Israel just so happened to arrive at Mount Sinai after they crossed over the Red Sea 50 days after they crossed the Red Sea.
[8:27] So 50 days after Israel crosses to the Red Sea, they come to Mount Sinai. And did you know they get there in Exodus 18? And they don't leave Mount Sinai until Numbers 14?
[8:43] Now Genesis Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy covers thousands of years of history. And 67 of the books, all the way from Exodus 19, all the way to the end of Exodus, all the way through Leviticus, most of the way through Numbers, is all at Sinai.
[9:02] They're at Mount Sinai. And that only covers less than one year of Israel's history. And that means that Mount Sinai is important. We can at least say that if it devotes that many chapters, it's very important.
[9:16] And what happens when they get to Sinai? 50 days, the day of Pentecost, right after they leave the Exodus lands, the lands of Egypt. Exodus 18, right when they get there, God comes to the mountain.
[9:31] It says, how? You could read Exodus 2, you could guess. God comes to the mountain in a mighty wind and fire. And they get to Mount Sinai.
[9:42] They see God come down in the mighty rushing wind and fire. And if you read Acts chapter 2, you see that on the day of Pentecost, when they were all together, suddenly from heaven there came the mighty rushing wind and the fire into the place that they were gathered.
[10:01] Now why? Because God comes down and he says, I present myself in fire. And I think that God is saying there that I am light.
[10:12] The Bible says that over and over. He's light. He is everything that is good and pure. Fire has this element of purification. He lights up the world. He gives light and life.
[10:24] Fire gives us life. It heats us. It keeps us alive. But one of the most powerful things about fire is not only that it's life giving, but that it's dangerous.
[10:36] And at Mount Sinai, God is dangerous. The people in Exodus 18 and 19, they won't go near the mountain. They're shaking in their boots.
[10:47] And only Moses, Moses, he's invited by God to come up the mountain and he goes and he sees God face to face. God appears to Moses there on top of the mountain.
[10:59] And by the time you get to Jeremiah 31, the new covenant promise. You see, Moses went up that he was the only one that could go into the fire to see the fire, to dwell with the living God on the mountain of God.
[11:13] And what does he do when he comes down? What did he come down to carry? He came down carrying the law of God. And you get to the new covenant promise in Jeremiah 31, 33, and there are two things we're told.
[11:25] One day my spirit, the fire, will come upon all of you and I will write the law on your heart. Moses was the only one that could go up and see the living God and hear the law of God.
[11:40] And then the new covenant promise is one day you will have the fire yourself. You will see it. And the law will be written on your heart. It won't just be through Moses.
[11:50] It'll come straight into your life, into your heart. You see, the fire would consume anybody in the Old Testament but the mediator himself.
[12:02] But one day the age, the age was coming when you could stand in the presence of the fiery God and not be consumed. Now when you come to Acts chapter two again in verse one and two, we know that the people that are gathered there that day are ordinary people.
[12:20] It's not just the 12 disciples. If you were to read back in Acts one, you'll learn that it's actually 120 people gathered in that house together. And all of a sudden the mighty wind comes in, the rushing wind, and the fire comes down.
[12:35] And not just that, oh boy. You see what it's saying? It's saying, where's Mount Sinai now? Mount Sinai's come into the very presence of this ordinary group of 120 people who are mixed race, mixed socioeconomic background, all sorts, Jews and Gentiles.
[12:53] And the fire of God has come. That there's a new Mount Sinai. And then when you look at it carefully, you see that the fire, and notice this in verse two, it says that the fire, verse three, sorry, differentiates itself.
[13:06] It says, and divided tongues. Not the most, one of the more helpful ways of saying it would be, and the fire divided itself, differentiated itself, and spread and came upon each of them.
[13:21] And that means that at Pentecost, at Pentecost, it's saying that the love of God, the presence of God, comes down on ordinary people individually, personally.
[13:35] And that God establishes a personal relationship with every single person that is in his church, and makes them into a fiery mountain. He makes them into a mountain-top temple.
[13:49] God loves in the Old Testament to come down on the tops of mountains and fire. We see that in Eden. We see that on Mount Sinai. You burn over again, and you come to the New Testament, and it says that the Spirit of God comes down and turns Christians into mountain-top temples, that you are Sinai itself in the New Covenant.
[14:10] And that means that you've got, like Jesus, the fullness of the Spirit coming alongside you, coming along to be with you. Now, Christian friends tonight, you are, if you're a believer tonight, you're a mountain-top temple of the living God.
[14:25] And let me say three applications for you, why this matters. The first thing is for those, maybe, who are coming tonight that don't yet confess to being a Christian, or maybe you're coming tonight and you're exploring the claims of faith, the claims of Christianity, you're curious, or you're upset with it.
[14:47] You're not sure what to think about it. Let me say this. This is it, just here at least the Christian claim, what we're saying here. When the world looks at the church, and the articles are written, and the tweets are tweeted, whatever it may be, the world looks at the church and is constantly drawing false conclusions about what the church is.
[15:11] And people will say that the church is a 2,000-year-old power play, a 2,000-year-old abuse of power, whatever it might be. It's a 2,000-year-old state religion. And let me say what Pentecost says.
[15:23] This is the Christian claim, at least. And I'm not going to defend it, I'm going to say it's here. That claim, that critique will always fail because we must see tonight that the church is entirely the product of the Spirit of God.
[15:41] The church is born and bred throughout all of human history by the power of the Spirit of God.
[15:51] That God does it all. That the living God makes the church by making people into mountaintop temples, by bringing the fire down into people's lives.
[16:03] Now, that means, if that's true, that Christianity is not a dead religion, it's not an old state religion, it's not a social group, it's not a 2,000-year-old power play.
[16:13] It's the product of the living God. And His presence come down into the world. And Martin Lloyd-Jones, he says something, I think, that many of us will feel. This is what he says. He says, look, it's true.
[16:24] Large numbers of people have gone to church all their lives out of a sense of duty, hoping each week that the service will not be too long.
[16:35] Each week they felt nothing at all. The service has been absolutely lifeless, the singing miserable, the intoning of the scriptures boring. He's not talking about you guys.
[16:46] Don't worry. The intoning of the scriptures boring, that's preaching. Sometimes that's very true. There has been no power, no vigor, and because they've thought that is Christianity, they've turned their backs to it.
[17:00] Now, look, don't miss the truth. Even if you come away tonight and say, what a boring sermon, maybe you will, that's okay. The truth, however, is that Christianity happens whenever the activity of God comes down.
[17:17] Whenever God the Spirit comes into the room. And we hear here, suddenly there came a sound from heaven, a mighty rushing wind.
[17:28] And that's what Christianity is, the very presence of God in the world. Now secondly, application is if you're to be a Christian tonight, to have this, we learn here that you've got to have the wind and the fire in your life.
[17:46] You know, you've got to become a mountaintop temple. You've got to have the spirit. The age of the spirit means to be a Christian, you've got to have the spirit.
[17:56] And I'm not going to spend much time on this, but what I want to say is this, if you're here tonight and you don't know, you say, you know, I read about Pentecost and about the fire that comes down and boy, of course I want to have that fire in my life, but I just don't know.
[18:11] Look, here's what I'd say to you. If you're curious tonight about the gospel, about Christianity, don't stop seeking the living God. Because God says to you, when you seek Him, you will find Him.
[18:23] Don't stop seeking after the truth and looking for the living God. Because He will show up in your life. Don't stop. Don't settle for little inspirations.
[18:37] Don't settle for moments of beautiful sunsets. That's great, but keep looking for the living God. And the Bible says He will come to you and He will show up in your life.
[18:48] Now finally, before we move on, and this is the long point, Christian friends, those of you tonight who say, I'm a believer, I'm all in, I trust the Lord. I know the spirit, but you come tonight and you say, look, I read about Pentecost and I don't necessarily feel like Pentecost.
[19:07] You know, I, oh boy, if I could have been there, if I could, if tonight the mighty rushing wind and the fire could come down and differentiate itself and fall upon me, then I would really know the power.
[19:23] And we feel that way so often in our Christian life. You say, I want the wind. I want the fire. Here's, here's the word. Jesus Christ had the fullness of the spirit like no other person in human history.
[19:37] And you know, he didn't walk around with a fireball above his head. Not at all. And, you know, that's cheeky, but let me say it the real way. He was tired and he was weary very often and he at times had to go away and just pray.
[19:56] And he had the fullness of the spirit in his life. And in verse three, if you notice, it says, in divided tongues appeared, quote, as of fire.
[20:09] Now don't miss that little preposition. It doesn't say merely that fire appeared. It said divided tongues as of fire. And that means that what showed up was both like fire and unlike fire at the same time.
[20:24] It's a very literal translation of the Greek preposition there. It says as of fire. And what's that saying is that you don't need fire to come down.
[20:34] You need the real thing. You know, it's as of fire. Fire is one thing, but you don't need fire. You need the real thing. That which was as of fire is what you need.
[20:46] And here I'll leave it in the words of Ambrose of Milan. Everybody is, we're always listening to Ambrose, you know. Now, Ambrose of Milan, he was a preacher in the 300s, late 300s, and this is what he says about this passage.
[21:00] He says, what is the fire? He noticed the little preposition. He says, it says as of fire. What is the fire then? What is the fire that has come upon you? He asks, not certainly something made up of twigs, or roaring with the burning of the reeds, or something from hot coals.
[21:19] He says, this is undoubtedly the Holy Spirit who is called the fire and the light of the countenance of God. And this is what he says. Here's three things. Do you have the Spirit?
[21:30] Three things, Ambrose says, you know, if you have the Spirit. One, you've got the seal of the Spirit tonight. That's how you know this has happened to you. The seal of the Spirit. What's that?
[21:41] It's not the marine animal that claps its hands and stuff. It's instead more like a wax seal on a letter, a binding seal. And that closes. The seal of the Spirit is Romans 8.
[21:53] It's when the Spirit says to your Spirit, your consciousness, I, you are a child of God. Do you say tonight, I'm a child of God?
[22:05] I'm a son of the King, a daughter of the King. Through Jesus, by the Spirit. If you say that tonight, you've got the Spirit. You're a mountaintop temple. That's the first thing.
[22:16] The second thing he says is, then in second and third come together. He says, then the fire improves good deeds like gold and consumes sin like stubble.
[22:27] Do you say tonight that you're a child of God? And do you see change? Any change? A change of desire, a change of action, a change of love. Any of it?
[22:38] Is there any way in which the Spirit has come into your life and developed a heart of love in you, a different direction in your life and started to consume your little sins like stubble?
[22:48] Then Ambrose says, then that's the seal. You know that you have the Spirit. He's working in your life. The power of the Spirit is to make ordinary people into the temple of God.
[23:00] Mountaintop temples, that's the first. That's our long point. A couple brief points here. Secondly, the age of the Spirit also creates a ministry.
[23:11] It makes people into powerful prophets. And we can say this briefly, but look, we've already seen that if you have the Spirit in your life, you become like a little Moses. You can go up the mountain.
[23:21] You can have the fire of God in your life. You can approach and not be consumed. And remember what Moses did? It's not only that he went up. It's not only that he saw God in the mountain, but it's also that he was given the law to go down.
[23:38] So he had the law. He took the law of God. He went back down the mountain and he spoke the law. And that's the second meaning of this passage. The twofold meaning of Sinai in your life is not only that you get to see the fire of God, that you have him with you by the Spirit, but that you also walk down the mountain with something to say.
[24:00] Moses came down the mountain with the law. And here we read in verse four that they came down. They, the mountains themselves, like Moses, that they spoke in tongues.
[24:12] And everybody comes to this as soon as I say that and says, what does tongues mean? That's the next question. I know. What is the tongues here? Well, we're not going to spend any time on this because we're going to have two sermons about the gifts of the Spirit later.
[24:27] But the tongues here are very obvious. You can't miss it. They were able to speak in languages, native languages, that they did not know prior. Very clearly here it says that.
[24:39] But the point is not to focus on the mirror. It is a miracle what God did there. The point is to see the thing that God does by Pentecost throughout all of history. And that's, he makes you into a mountaintop temple and then he sends you out with something to say.
[24:53] And that means that like Moses, you go out with a message, you become a powerful prophet. And that's the real meaning of the text. The age of the Spirit is when the Spirit gives you power and inspiration in your life to speak the very message of God.
[25:09] Now, very quickly, who spoke it here? It's not just the apostles, right? Actually, you learn when they start to speak, it says, quote, all of them were able to do this.
[25:20] All 120, it's referring to all sorts of people that fits with Joel too, because Peter comes later and says, in that day, every son, every daughter, every man, every woman will be given the power to speak the word of God to people in the world will be given that ministry every son by the power of the Spirit that the age of the Spirit means you become an instrument of the word like Moses was.
[25:45] Now, the power itself, listen to what John Stott says about the power. You say tonight, I don't feel the power to speak the message.
[25:56] This is what Stott points out. He says the speakers here were known to be Galileans. Verse seven points that out. They had a reputation for being uncultured.
[26:07] They had difficulty pronouncing the gutter rules and had the habit of swallowing their syllables when speaking. They were looked down upon by the people of Jerusalem as being uncultured and provincial.
[26:20] It's not surprising, therefore, that the crowds reaction in verse six was bewilderment. Aren't these all Galileans? They don't even know how to speak proper Hebrew.
[26:31] You might say that about me tonight. Isn't he an American? Right? Here's what the text says, that the Spirit comes in and gives you the ability to speak even when you're a bad speaker.
[26:42] That's what it's talking about here. It says, aren't these guys just Galileans? They don't even know how to speak proper Hebrew and Aramaic. Yet now, they're speaking all these different languages and they're speaking a message of power and the point is where does the power come from?
[26:56] The power comes from the fire, the Spirit. The power comes through you by the way of the Spirit. One more time. This is what John's, this is what he says about it.
[27:07] It seems to me to be simply ludicrous to suggest that such men without any learning, without any influence of authority, without money, with none of the means of propaganda, that such men by their own efforts and abilities could succeed in doing what we read in the pages of Acts, the book of Acts.
[27:25] How did it come about? There's only one answer. The world was turned upside down not because of what they did, but because of what God did to them, in them, by means of them.
[27:38] That is the essential message concerning the Christian church, her meaning, her function, and her purpose. How are these uncultured, uneducated people able to flip the world up? The Greco-Roman Empire upside down in a generation because the Spirit of God gave them a message.
[27:55] They became like Moses. They came down from the mountain with a word. That word we're told very clearly in the next passage is that young men, old men, sons, and daughters would all come with the same word.
[28:08] In the first Pentecost, Moses comes down and speaks the law. The law says, thou shalt not covet, thou shalt not murder, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not make an idol.
[28:21] Oh boy, when Jesus opens up the Ten Commandments to us, he says, that's every one of us. The law condemns, and that's the word that Moses spoke. But here Peter tells us in the next passage that at the second Pentecost, the word that we bring is no longer the law, but the gospel.
[28:40] That the way to God is not through obedience, but by grace. That he who knew no sin, Jesus Christ, became sin for us. And that's the very message that we bring.
[28:50] Verse 11 calls it, they preached in the tongues the mighty works of God. The mighty work of God to save sinners by grace and Christ, not by the law.
[29:03] The first Pentecost, Moses brings the law. The second Pentecost, the people, God, the mountaintop temples that we've become, we bring the gospel. Now do you feel the lack of power and courage in your life tonight to do that?
[29:18] Listen, I'm just gonna say, I'm just gonna assert the fact, the spirit has made you into the prophet of God. That's what we learn here.
[29:31] God shows the ineliquent Galileans, and so he chooses us to speak the message. And so here's a diagnostic question for you. Who are you sharing the gospel with in your life right now?
[29:45] And who are you praying for to come to faith in your life right now? And ask the spirit tonight for firepower, you know, ask the spirit to show you someone, to help you, to change your heart, to move you towards people.
[30:04] Ask the spirit to show you and to show up. Augustine says at the end of his commentary on this passage, he says, now run you little fires and make him known.
[30:17] All right. Thirdly and finally, in the age of the spirit, God not only makes people into mountains, he not only makes them powerful prophets, gives them a ministry, but lastly, he also makes us truly Catholic.
[30:34] He makes us into a city. That's another way of saying it. Now what we've said, Pentecost is two things, the harvest and Sinai.
[30:44] And we've really only talked about Sinai so far. But here we also see the harvest. We see that later on, 3,000 people come to faith that day. And if the original Pentecost was about bringing the first fruits of your actual grain, oh, boy, the second Pentecost is about bringing 3,000 souls, the new harvest, the first fruits of the church on that day.
[31:07] There's one more thing that it's about from the Old Testament, one more way of reading it. That's not as obvious. Next week on October 24, the kids here in Edinburgh have another holiday, an extra couple days for the Queen's funeral because it was on a bank holiday.
[31:24] We have a new holiday next week. Here next to God declares Pentecost is a new holiday in a way that you might not see at first. And that's that it is the holiday, the day of the mark of the coming of the city of God.
[31:40] And you see it in verse four, they all speak in tongues. We know that those tongues are native languages. And then in verse five, they speak to people from every nation under heaven. That's every nation under the sky in the known world that they live in.
[31:55] And then we're told exactly who those people were. Parthians, Medes, Elamites, residents of Mesopotamia. That's everybody in the East. So that's Iran.
[32:07] That's Iraq. That's that sort of area. And then it moves to the five areas of Asia Minor, Capodosia, Pontus, Asia, Frisia, Pamphylia. That's Turkey and Greece.
[32:19] That's where it's talking about. And then it moves all the way to Rome and the Cretans. And so you see it moves. He's moving on a map there from east to west. I guess that would be this way to this way for you guys.
[32:29] That's right. He's moving from Iran all the way to Rome there and saying there are people in this space right now because of the festival all the way from Iran to Rome present day to Italy.
[32:42] And all of a sudden they're speaking Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and the commentators estimate probably about 30 other languages. So these 120 are speaking about 30 different languages and everybody's hearing the gospel in their own native tongue.
[32:57] Now, Christians for centuries have said it. The age of the spirit makes ordinary people into Moses. It puts the gospel into our mouths, but it also flips the disunity of ethnicities and the separation of people groups on its head.
[33:15] And here we see that God is making a new people, a new city from all the lands, all the nations, and all the languages into one people again.
[33:28] And that means that this is the reversal of the Tower of Babel. In the Tower of Babel, I grew up saying Babel, but I know we say Babel here, so I'm trying.
[33:41] Babel, at the Tower of Babel, this is the great picture of what we call the city of man. That's what Augustine called it. He said it's the city where human beings find their ultimate meaning apart from God the Creator where they try to build their life without God.
[33:55] They build their own religious temple and they do it to cast God out of the heavenly place. And that's the city of man. It says that whenever people come together, they have collective power, and in their sin, they use that collective power to compound evil upon evil upon evil until they destroy the world.
[34:16] That's the flood. That's the Tower of Babel. What happens over and over again in Israelite history and the Bible says it's the city of man. It's the city that we build by ourselves, the city of evil, the one that wants to cast God out of the heavenly place.
[34:30] And God does a mercy to them. He scatters them by confusing their speech. He forces the development of difference so that they might not sin against God and be lost forever.
[34:44] And it's a mercy. And Pentecost comes in the middle of history. The age of the spirit begins. In Babel, there was one language, but all of a sudden they couldn't understand one another.
[34:56] And so they separate. And at Pentecost, there's many languages, but all of a sudden they can understand one another and they come together again. And it's true unity.
[35:06] Now this is, you might still be upset that I said Pentecost makes us true Catholics. Look, the word Catholic means the universal church gathered from all time, all spaces, all countries, all nations, all people groups, all languages.
[35:27] Catholic isn't something that Rome owns, not at all. The true Catholic church is when every single nation gathers together around Jesus Christ underneath the banner of the gospel.
[35:38] That's Catholicity. And that's the city of God. It's revelation chapter seven. The entire multitude of all peoples from every nation in all of history will gather together and they will worship the living Christ.
[35:52] The gospel makes us truly Catholic. The gospel creates the city of God. The gospel creates a unity that was once only diversity, but now it's true unity again.
[36:03] And that means as we close simply this, that Christians can now be ethnically distinct. We can be distinct in language and culture.
[36:14] And we can say to someone next to us that speaks another language that has a totally different culture. We don't like the way a person dresses. We think it looks silly. They think we look silly and we can turn and say, brother and sister, and I love you.
[36:28] And you are my family in Jesus Christ. The gospel gives you that power. The gospel gives the power to come and look at every single people group, every single ethnicity, every single culture and not approach it from the spirit of racism, of ethnic partiality or anything like it.
[36:44] No, the spirit has flooded into the world, into all people groups and God takes the separation that we caused and he uses it in the diversity of language and ethnicities to create the beauty of the bride of Christ.
[37:00] He uses that diversity to create the ultimate unity, the beauty of the bride of Christ. And so Craig Keener says this, nothing could have demonstrated more clearly than this, the multiracial, multinational, multilingual nature of the kingdom of Jesus Christ.
[37:17] Christ unifies and keeps diversity in the midst of it. Now in the age of the spirit, look, remember the promise? Last word here. Remember the promise.
[37:28] God said all the way back at the beginning. I will make you Abraham, a great nation like the sand on the seaside.
[37:39] The sand, that's a lot. There's a lot of sand. And here it is, Pentecost, the fulfillment of the covenant, the new covenant comes into the world.
[37:50] The age of the spirit means that you are a mountaintop temple. It means that you are sent tonight from this place as a powerful prophet with a new ministry and it means that God is building the city of God.
[38:04] True unity in the midst of diversity gathered around Christ the King. Christianity is the message for all people. Whoever shall call in the name of the Lord, whoever shall be saved.
[38:16] Let's pray together. Father, we give thanks for this word and for the beauty of Pentecost and for the beauty of the church in the midst of her death.