Most of us find it exciting to be with a group of young people. This winter my wife and I attended a concert presented by our high school symphony orchestra. It was thrilling to hear their beautiful music. Driving home my wife and I talked about a concert we had attended when many of these same young people were just starting to play an instrument. We wondered if they were all playing from the same music book.
What patience their teachers had! Those sour notes must have hurt their ears, but they knew how much potential these children had and six years later proved the point. Good instruction and practice paid off, and the music was beautiful.
Commencement exercises have always been exciting for me. As these graduates receive their diplomas, you know that some great minds in America are taking their next step to enter a world where one day they will be leaders in government, science, business, church, and many other parts of our society.
Some might wonder about those who are not gifted enough to be recognized. While there are those who have extra talent, greater personal initiative, and are often found in the right place at the right time, let us never forget that all of us have a contribution to make. Remember Jesus’ parable of the talents? Some got five talents, others got two, and one talents. We have all been created with potential.
But for me, there is an experience that is even more exciting than going to a concert, athletic event, or a commencement. That is standing in a pulpit Sunday morning and realizing the potential in that audience for doing something great for God’s kingdom. Just think, if those 1,800 worshipers would bring a strong witness for Christ during the coming week, how many lives could be changed! What if? What if? What if? If this would happen, America would change.
I have been schooled in reality, and Satan finds me thinking this is just not going to happen. But it could. The potential is there. We sometimes say, “What an athlete he could have become had he only applied himself. He just would not pay the price of disciplining himself and practicing.” Yes, it is sad, but it is even more tragic when committed Christians will not live up to their potential in witnessing for the Lord Jesus.
Look at what happened on that first Pentecost Sunday. Then remember that nothing has changed. Human nature has not changed. We are just as sinful now as people were back then. The Gospel has not changed. It is just as powerful now as it was then. And the Holy Spirit, who worked through that Word as Peter was preaching it on the first Pentecost, can change lives now as he did then.
Read the text. After Peter preached and the Holy Spirit had worked in the lives of those listening to his sermon, 3,000 people were converted, and the Church was born.
Now I would not end this sermon by leaving you with the thought that nothing great is happening in the Church. Every time the Gospel is proclaimed from the pulpit, taught in the classroom, or shared in a personal way, the Holy Spirit is at work. The fruits are not always seen, and the recipient of this marvelous message can walk away. Yet no one knows what will happen years later when the experiences of life have broken this person and they do not know which way to turn. It is then that the voice of the Gospel may have his chance with them.
We must remember that lost souls can be changed into great people of God. All He asks of those who trust him is to yield to his leading and spiritual awakenings will come.
On Pentecost Sunday 3,000 people were converted to Christ. How many around our world today will be converted and come to Christ? Isn’t that an exciting question! What about your life? Where do you stand in relationship with the Lord Jesus? If you are God’s child, have you shared him with someone today?
I close with a word from Lloyd Ogilvie, who always has a unique way of saying things. “God is promising wonders that he has never done before.”
It was a wonder when God, on Pentecost Sunday, brought 3,000 people into the fold. However, I believe that Dr. Ogilvie is correct when he says that greater things are happening. Those of us who are children of God by grace through faith in Christ Jesus, are the ones to carry that message and through whom the Holy Spirit will do his work. It will bring enlightenment to your church, new joy to your home, peace and comfort to your own life.
We praise God for the Holy Spirit, who does all things well.