A Pentecost Sermon: Drunk Apostles

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and from our Lord, Jesus Christ who gives us His Spirit of peace.

When Jesus was on the cross, those who had crucified Him mocked Him.  “Let God save Him if He wants Him, for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”  But as is the way of God, turning all things upside down and inside out, what they meant for mockery, God would prove true.  God did save His Son.  He raised Him from the dead.  They meant to discredit and destroy Him, and so they would mocked Him.  But God meant to glorify and establish Him, so He raised Him from the dead.

So it was at Pentecost.  Once again mockers would be the unwitting prophets of God because God will not be mocked.  Those who heard the preaching of the apostles on that first Pentecost thought to mock the apostles.  Hearing them preach in many tongues, the unbelievers mocked them saying, “They are filled with new wine.”  But as the mockers mocked the Christ upon the Tree of Life, and became unwilling prophets, so now those who would mock His apostles as being drunk on new wine, would be unwilling prophets.  For the apostles were new wineskins filled with new wine.  After all, no one pours new wine into old wineskins.  If he does, the wineskins will burst and the new wine will be lost.  But he puts new wine into new wineskins so that both are preserved.

The new wine, of course, is the Holy Spirit.  And though Peter heard the mockery and so set it straight that they were not drunk according to the ways of men, he would have been right to say that they were drunk on the Spirit of God.  For it is written, “Do not get drunk with wine, but be filled with the Holy Spirit” (Eph. 5:8).  The wine on which the disciples drank deeply was the Holy Spirit as we are all made to drink of the same Spirit.  And like any drunk will tell you, it wasn’t them that moved their tongue or controlled their mind, ‘twas the strong drink that made them that way.  ‘Twas the Spirit of the Living God that made their tongues to leap and their minds to understand.  They were filled with the Spirit, which is the new wine, and being drunk on the Spirit, they spoke in the ways of the Spirit.

The Master of Ceremonies at the wedding feast in Cana, when our Lord made water into wine, said to the bridegroom, “Everyone serves the best wine first, and when all have drunk freely, then the poor wine.  But you have kept the good wine till now!” (Jn. 2:10).  But it was the Lord who’d kept the good wine till now; till Pentecost.  The whole world had drank deeply and freely of the old wine of works righteousness, thinking that obedience to the Law or to morality or to justice or fairness would cause the Lord to turn His face toward them.  But on Pentecost the Lord gave the good wine of the righteousness of God by pouring out His Spirit on all flesh.

Therefore, Christian, learn from the apostles and be drunk on the Spirit of God, which is the good and new wine not from man, but from God.  The Spirit of God is the living water that flows from the Rock that is Christ and from which we drink deeply and freely so that out thirst is satisfied and we are made partakers of the same Spirit … But where, the woman at the well asked, where do I get this “living water”?  Just as any drunk man knows where to go to get his drink, so you also know where to go to get the elixir of God: to His holy mountain where His people are gathered and where He has made His home.  For Jesus answered the woman, “The hour is coming and is now here when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship Him.” (Jn. 4:23-24)

In the Old Testament everyone knew that the God of Israel dwelled with His people in the temple in Jerusalem.  So to go to God meant to go to the temple in Jerusalem.  That is why on that Pentecost Day so long ago there were devout Jews from among every tribe and nation of men flocking to Jerusalem.  They thought to go to the dwelling place of God.  And so they were.  But they thought there were going to the temple built with hands, a temple of wood and stone, but God was gathering them to the Temple not made with hands, the Temple that is His Body.

We confess and teach our children that the Holy Spirit calls us by the gospel and enlightens us with His gifts.  Where does He call us?  To Christ, of course.  Where is Christ?  Where the Body is, there the eagles will gather.  Christ is where He has said He will be, where two or three have been gathered in His name.  Here, O men and women of God, is where God dwells. Not in this brick and mortar meeting hall, but with His people, wherever His Spirit has called and gathered His people, there the Father and the Son make their home, for there the word of Jesus is kept.

Whether in a pastor’s basement, in the grand cathedrals of Europe, or in a hospital sickbed, whether in Jerusalem or in Hoisington, there the Spirit of God calls, gathers, and enlightens His people with His gifts, sanctifying and keeping us with Jesus Christ in the one true faith.  And the gifts of the Spirit are these: utterances of wisdom, utterances of knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, the ability to distinguish between spirits, tongues and their interpretation, these all are empowered by the same Spirit (1 Cor. 12:4-11).  The Acts of the Apostles is one big Divine Service whereby the Spirit that proceeds from the Father by the authority of the Son, is poured out on all flesh, calling, gathering, enlightening, and sanctifying according to His gifts.

So the apostles were drunk with the new wine, which is the Spirit of the living God.  And being drunk on such wine, they spoke the way the Spirit made them speak.  They said the things that issued from the Spirit.  They taught, chastised, rebuked, encouraged, prophesied, and built up all according to the workings of the Spirit of God.  Therefore, Christian, do not neglect to gather together, as some are in the habit of doing.  Because the Spirit of God gathers us and teaches us and enlightens us and sanctifies us.  Not by our will or by our genius or by what we think is the way and purpose of God, but according to the word of Christ.  For the Spirit loves the Son and keeps His Word, which is the Father’s Word, and because the Spirit loves the Son and keeps His word, the Father and the Son make their home with the Spirit who is poured out on all flesh, but dwells in the people of God, the Body of Christ, the Temple of the Most High.  So He is building you up to be His Temple, His dwelling place.

May God grant that we be drunk with the new wine of Jesus, the living water that proceeds from the Father and is poured out by the Son, that the peace of God – which is His Spirit – that passes all understanding, keep us safe in Christ Jesus.  Amen.

In Nomine Iesu



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