Ideas for sermon preparation on Acts 2.1-21
See also PostScript - Comments, prayers, questions and discussion on the week's news.
- What makes things start? In an oven? In a car? A rocket? A kettle? In all of these things, there is considerable power at work, but the action required to start them involves (usually) just one small step. Pentecost was the start of the Church, and we see how something seemingly so small – an event affecting a few dozen people in one city on one particular day 2,000 years ago – has led to the Church spreading across the globe. How might the Holy Spirit be at work in our generation? What small Spirit-filled steps might we be called to take right now?
- The disciples had been told to wait for the Holy Spirit. They had received teaching on what the Holy Spirit would do. When the Spirit came, they recognised it as the work of God and joined in. Some of the crowd asked questions – they wondered what was happening; some even dismissed it as the ravings of a bunch of drunkards. Peter and the disciples knew this was the work of the Spirit because they were well prepared. How should we prepare? Do we recognise the work of God – even if it might look to some as if it is something else entirely? Are we prepared to stand up and give an account of ourselves and the gospel?
- Do you know anyone who has sought ‘Dutch courage’? People sometimes use alcohol to help them lose their inhibitions and gain confidence. The disciples certainly were different after being filled with the Holy Spirit. The Spirit made them bolder, gave them confidence and purpose. In later chapters of Acts, we see how they continued God’s work in the face of opposition and persecution. Paul, writing to the Christians in Ephesus, encourages people to ‘not get drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit’ (Ephesians 5.18). What might it look like if we were filled with the Holy Spirit in a similar way today?
- In speaking to the crowd, Peter draws on Scripture that would be familiar to those listening. What might we draw upon today – in a culture where most know nothing of Hebrew Scripture – that would ring bells and make sense for people when we proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit? Joel’s prophetic message is one of restoration not just of Israel but of the whole of creation. How can we speak of the Spirit as the gift of the crucified and exalted Jesus, and the fulfilment of hope for a new creation, in today’s world?
You may also find this week's All-age conversation useful.
KEY: icon indicates ways to connect faith with everyday life