160515 Acts 2:21

Last Updated on Monday, 16 May 2016 Written by Pastor Schmidt

Sermon Text: Acts 2:21
Theme: Everyone Who Calls on the Name of the Lord will be Saved!

Who became the quarterback of the Green Bay Packers after Bart Starr retired? His name was Scott Hunter. He led the Packers to a 10-4 record back in 1972. They won the NFC Central Division that year, but lost in the Divisional playoffs to the Washington Redskins. Although Scott Hunter was as a successful quarterback during the 1972 football season, hardly anyone remembers that he was the quarterback to follow Bart Starr. Who was the President of our church body during the time our Wisconsin Synod and the Missouri Synod broke fellowship with one another? This was a very important moment in the history of our Synod, yet how many in our church body today know that the Synod President at that time was Oscar J. Naumann. Today, we have the opportunity to remember the work of the Third Person of the Trinity. Often times, the Holy Spirit is referred to as "The forgotten member of the Trinity." Yet, his work is so very important in your life, in my life and in the life of all believers.

We refer to God the Father as our Creator; the one who gives you and me life. The Bible teaches us that God the Son is our Redeemer; the one who paid the price to buy you and me back from sin, death and the power of the devil. And God the Holy Spirit is our Sanctifier; the one who makes you and me holy and sets us apart from the unbelieving world. Today, as we gather together on this Pentecost Sunday, we give thanks that it is God the Holy Spirit, working through the powerful Word of our God, who places faith in the hearts of all believers, so that Everyone Who Calls on the Name of the Lord will be Saved!

There are many churches today that are teaching people that they have to make their decisions for Christ; that they have to decide to become a follower of Jesus. But the Bible makes it clear that a sinful human being is not able to decide to follow the one true God. In fact, God's Word tells us that all people are born into this world as God's enemies. Listen to what the Bible says to us in Romans chapter 8, "The sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God."

Since mankind is not able to save themselves, they needed to be rescued. So, in steps God the Holy Spirit to rescue the lost. It is the Holy Spirit who uses the all-powerful Word of God to bring people to faith. It is the Holy Spirit who turns around people who are headed down the highway to hell, and places them on the path of eternal life and never-ending joy in heaven. Notice how Peter speaks about this work of the Holy Spirit in the verse that is before us in Acts chapter 2: "And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." Notice he did not say, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will save themselves", rather he tells the crowd they "will be saved." The saving work will be done for them by the loving Savior-God.

Imagine for a moment that you are alone in a boat on one of the lakes here in the Oconomowoc area. As you are walking around in the boat, you slip and fall into the lake. The water is extremely cold. You are not a very good swimmer. You are struggling to stay on top of the water because you didn't put on your life jacket. If left alone, you will drown and die. Suddenly, another boat approaches you, and someone from that boat throws you a life jacket. That same person who threw you the life jacket then pulls you safely into their boat.

This is exactly what God the Holy Spirit did for you and me. The Bible tells you and me that each one of us is born into this world sinful. As we heard earlier we are born as natural enemies of God. The Bible also tells us that the wages of your sin and my sin is death – not just physical death but spiritual death forever in hell. If left on our own, relying on what we might be able to do to save ourselves, you and I would find ourselves spiritually drowning, sinking into the depths of the lake of fire in hell, with absolutely no hope of saving ourselves.

But, in his great love and mercy, God the Holy Spirit threw you and me a life jacket. The Holy Spirit picked you and me up with the life preserver of the Gospel wrapped around our hearts. You and I are saved not because of anything we had done, but only because of God's great, undeserved love. It is God's Word in Ephesians chapter two that states this Good News so clearly for us, "As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast." This morning you and I say thank-you to God the Holy Spirit who wants everyone to call on the name of the Lord and be saved. We say thank-you to the Holy Spirit, who in his great love, saved you and me.

Sometimes we in the WELS are accused of thinking that only Wisconsin Synod Lutherans will be in heaven. But we know from God's Word that it is the Lord's will that all people be saved. Every human being that is born into this world is born in sin and unbelief. This is a serious and deadly spiritual condition that if left untreated only leads to eternal death in hell.

However, the Good News found in John 3:16, is that God the Father loves all the people of the world so much that he sent his one and only Son to be the Savior of mankind. In Peter's second letter we read this from God's Word, "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."

By work of God the Holy Spirit many, many people each day not only hear the Gospel, but they are led by the Holy Spirit to believe the Good News about Jesus the Savior. Yes, it is a sad fact that on this side of heaven there are divisions within the Christian Church. So we look forward to that great Last Day when Jesus returns in all his glory, and all believers, of all time, are standing before the throne of the Savior-God singing his praises. As we read this description of heaven found in Revelation chapter 7, "After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: 'Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!'" On this Pentecost weekend we say thank-you to God the Holy Spirit who wants everyone to call on the name of the Lord and be saved.

Talk with the employee who works away from the office for many hours at home, or with the teacher who puts in many hours outside of the classroom or with the member of our congregation who works hard behind the scenes to support the ministry of our congregation and they will all tell you the same thing: they are willing to do the work they do, without expecting any attention from others. If it were possible for us to interview God the Holy Spirit, he would tell us that his work is not to draw attention to himself. Rather, his job, his work, is to use the all-powerful Word of God to point people to their one and only Savior, Jesus Christ. So, on this Pentecost Sunday, you and I pause and we say thank-you to the Holy Spirit, who wants everyone to call on the name of the Lord; who wants everyone to be saved. And by the grace of our Savior-God, this includes you and me. "Thank-you, O Holy Spirit! Amen!"

 

 

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Compelled by the love of Christ, St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and School seek to reach out to our families, community and world, using Law and Gospel to make disciples, growing and nurturing them in their Christian faith and life.

 

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Sunday
8:00 A.M. & 10:30 A.M.

9:15 A.M. Bible Study for All Ages

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St. Matthew's Lutheran Church
818 West Wisconsin Avenue
Oconomowoc, WI 53066
262-912-6060

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