28 May 2013 by Natasha Kim CM –
Pentecost is the great festival that marks the birth of the Christian church by the power of the Holy Spirit. On this special day, many also came to commemorate the coming of the Holy Spirit at Luther House Chapel, to watch the water baptism, to have their holy communion and last but not least, to celebrate the installation of the Youth Committee in the Church!
“When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”(Acts Chapter 2)
Rev Thomas Low (pastor in-charge) preached today about a letter in the Bible that was written by Paul to Philemon. It is in fact the shortest of all Paul's writings.
A Letter from Paul to Philemon
The letter talks about the practice of slavery. Now Philemon was a slave owner who also hosted a church in his home. During the time of Paul's ministry in Ephesus, Philemon had journeyed to the city, heard Paul's preaching and became a Christian. The slave Onesimus robbed his master, Philemon, and ran away, making his way to Rome and to Paul. However, Onesimus was still the property of Philemon. Paul wrote to pave the way for his return to his master. Through Paul’s witnessing to him, Onesimus had become a Christian and Paul wanted Philemon to accept Onesimus as a brother in Christ and not merely as a slave.
“17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
In those days, if a slave did wrong and ran away, if he was captured and returned, his master could do anything to him short of killing him. “Once a slave ran away he has totally lost value for trust. He becomes useless!” But Paul urged in his letter to take Onesimus back because he was now a fellow brother in Christ, a changed man, a new creation! That he should be given a second chance!
The Last Days
“The Spirit of God is given to all believers regardless of gender, nationality or race, age differences and social standings. When the spirit of God comes upon his people, something happened, it will bring a unique and drastic transformation in the lives of the believers” shared Thomas.
17 ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions,
Your old men shall dream dreams. 18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy. 19 I will show wonders in heaven above And signs in the earth beneath: Blood and fire and vapor of smoke. 20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. 21 And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the Lord Shall be saved.’ (Acts 2:17- 21)
The Three Categories/ Stages of Life
1) Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy
The first category refers to young people and teenagers. Thomas shared that the word “prophesy” is one of the most commonly misunderstood words. Prophesy has two characteristics as shown in the Bible. It can mean to foretell (what has yet to take place in the future) and to forth-tell (telling forth the word of God/reminding and teaching the people what God has said in His word) “When it comes to the work of the prophets in the Old Testament, 99% of prophecy is forth-telling, to remind the people to return to God, that God is Holy, that God is love, and to rebuke the people when they have turned away from God” he said.
Young people tend to live for the moment and in their own world, they are quite indifferent about things around them but the scripture tells us that they will know the word of God, they have to desire to know things that are of God and are be able to discern right from wrong. “They may not know what is wrong but they have the gut feeling that, “something is wrong here” shared Thomas.
12 Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. (1 Timothy 4:12)
2) Your young men shall see visions
This talks about young adults as well as adults. After college or university comes a career path, after that comes marriage, after that comes children, and suddenly you have more responsibility and have to work even harder. Living day to day for others becomes a survival instinct and a routine. However the Bible states that when the Holy Spirit comes, it gives people purpose and a vision, a reason and purpose that is greater than yourself.
“What would people say concerning their experience of us? Would they say that I’m fortunate that I’ve come to know this person? Because it has made my life better…brighter” asked Thomas. Live with a vision to be a blessing!
3) Your old men shall dream dreams.
“When you retire, there is a tendency to resign yourself from life. When you resign life, you then have a sense of purposelessness” said Thomas. Often old people think their life is over, that their battles are over and it is time for the younger generation to take over. “When you lose hope, that is when you become to degenerate, and you begin to develop self pity and a sense of worthlessness” shared Thomas.
However the Bible talks about Hope, and that they shall still dream dreams, that though they may be retired, your hope in God remains alive! And the hope in the generations after you will keep you burning for the Lord.
“When you dream dreams you become an encourager to the whole generation after you! Believe in the greater things that God can do to the lives of the people that you touch” he said with conviction.
The spirit of God is so close to us that it is like our breath! “If you are a child of God and the spirit lives in you, allow that spirit to make a difference in your life!” shared Thomas, before he finally ended his sermon in prayer.
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