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The Church Outside

June 08, 2014

1 Corinthians 12:3b-13 Acts 2:1-21 John 20:19-23

As warm weather becomes an everyday occurrence, many of us are drawn toward a variety of cool and
refreshing beverages. We will drink ice water, and gallons of iced tea, soda pop, fruit juice, iced
coffee and almost anything else we can get our hands on. or a treat we head for !airy "ueen, or
#andel$s, or %aggarts, or &trickland$s, or Pav$s, or #eggy$s, or the %wistee %reat down the street or
wherever your favorite spot might be. While ' was growing up, once in a while, in the summer, my
(om would make root beer floats for the family to cool off. %hey were never really a favorite of mine
simply because ' am not a big fan of root beer, but something ama)ing happens when you make a root
beer float. 't doesn$t matter whether you use root beer or *oke or Pepsi or something else. 't doesn$t
matter if you put the ice cream in first or the root beer in first. +ut when the two are in the glass
together, the root beer is fundamentally changed. While the ice cream is not particularly different
afterward, and while the root beer has nothing else added to it, the presence of the ice cream
fundamentally changes the outward nature of the root beer. 'n fact, the character of the root beer is so
dramatically different, that one has to be very careful while making a root beer float or the glass will
be unable to contain it.
'n our scripture today, this Pentecost &unday, we find that something similar happens to human beings
when they encounter the presence of the #oly &pirit. +ut before we get to that part of the story, let$s
jump back just a little and remember the words of ,esus in John 20:19-23
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked
for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, Peace be with you!
#fter he said this, he showed them his hands and side$ %he disciples were over&oyed when they saw
the 'ord$
#gain Jesus said, Peace be with you! #s the (ather has sent me, ) am sending you$
#nd with
that he breathed on them and said, *eceive the +oly ,pirit$
)f you forgive anyone.s sins, their sins
are forgiven/ if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven$
,esus tells his followers that just as -od sent him, he is sending us, and that sending is connected with
the receiving of the #oly &pirit. %hat connection is made here but it isn$t terribly clear what the
connection means. ,esus does seem to say that believers will be saved and unbelievers will not be
saved, but we don$t immediately see the effect that the #oly &pirit has on our .sending./
+ut that would soon change.
,esus told his followers to wait for the arrival of the #oly &pirit after his ascension into heaven and so
the disciples and the other followers spent many days in prayer and fasting and they went back and
forth between private homes and the %emple until Acts 2:1-21
0hen the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place$
,uddenly a sound like the
blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting$
saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them$
#ll of them
were filled with the +oly ,pirit and began to speak in other tongues as the ,pirit enabled them$
3ow there were staying in Jerusalem 4od5fearing Jews from every nation under heaven$
0hen they
heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own
language being spoken$
8tterly ama9ed, they asked: #ren.t all these who are speaking 4alileans;
%hen how is it that each of us hears them in our native language;
Parthians, =edes and >lamites/
residents of =esopotamia, Judea and ?appadocia, Pontus and #sia,
Phrygia and Pamphylia, >gypt
and the parts of 'ibya near ?yrene/ visitors from *ome
@both Jews and converts to JudaismA/
?retans and #rabsBwe hear them declaring the wonders of 4od in our own tongues!
#ma9ed and
perpleCed, they asked one another, 0hat does this mean;
,ome, however, made fun of them and said, %hey have had too much wine$
%hen Peter stood up with the >leven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: (ellow Jews and
all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me eCplain this to you/ listen carefully to what ) say$
people are not drunk, as you suppose$ )t.s only nine in the morning!
3o, this is what was spoken by
the prophet Joel:
D)n the last days, 4od says,
) will pour out my ,pirit on all people$
Eour sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams$
>ven on my servants, both men and women,
) will pour out my ,pirit in those days,
and they will prophesy$
) will show wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below,
blood and fire and billows of smoke$
%he sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood
before the coming of the great and glorious day of the 'ord$
#nd everyone who calls
on the name of the 'ord will be saved$.
%hey were all together in one place, in a house, somewhere in ,erusalem and the #oly &pirit came
down from heaven and came to rest on each of them like tongues of fire. As it did so, the fundamental
nature of the disciples was changed. %he various components of the disciples, their bodies, minds, and
personalities, remained the same but the character and the e1pression of these followers was so
dramatically different that the room, even the house, where they had been could not contain them.
While they had recently been so afraid of the religious and political leaders of 'srael that they held
their meetings behind locked doors, suddenly every single one of them gets out of their seats and goes
into the streets of ,erusalem. +efore, they were private and secretive, but now every one of them
preaches in the streets of the capitol city during a major religious festival. 3ven though they
technically remained uneducated, they suddenly find themselves speaking the languages of people
from across the known world.
'n this particular case, the #oly &pirit gave those who had gathered the same gifts, languages, and
courage, and public speaking, but that is not always the case. 4ur personalities are rarely the same,
the situations in which we find ourselves are most often different, and -od$s call upon each life is
different, so the gifts that we need are different. 'n 1 Corinthians 12, Paul says,
%here are different kinds of gifts, but the same ,pirit distributes them$
%here are different kinds of
service, but the same 'ord$
%here are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it
is the same 4od at work$
3ow to each one the manifestation of the ,pirit is given for the common good$
%o one there is given
through the ,pirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same
to another faith by the same ,pirit, to another gifts of healing by that one ,pirit,
to another
miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another
speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues$
#ll these are
the work of one and the same ,pirit, and he distributes them to each one, &ust as he determines$
Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with ?hrist$
(or we were all bapti9ed by one ,pirit so as to form one bodyBwhether Jews or 4entiles, slave or
freeBand we were all given the one ,pirit to drink$
%here are different gifts of the #oly &pirit, but each is given for the common good. 3ach is given so
that the body of *hrist can accomplish the mission that has been given to us and each of these gifts is
the work of the #oly &pirit. (ake no mistake it is work. All of these gifts are actions of the &pirit of
When ,esus gave the disciples the gift of the &pirit he also sent them into the world to do the things
that he had done5 and more.
When the &pirit entered into the followers of ,esus at Pentecost they were fundamentally changed.
Although outwardly they appeared to be the same, their nature and character were so dramatically
transformed that the house where they had been could not contain them.
%hey were co!"e##ed to get out of their seats and go into the streets.
%hey were co!"e##ed to go out into the world and tell of the good news of ,esus *hrist.
As they leave the house and go into the world, ' can hear the echo of ,esus saying, .#s the (ather has
sent me, ) am sending you$
%oo often we fall into a trap of the 3nglish language and we begin to think that the thing we call the
church is a building when, in reality, that building is named after the people who meet there. 't is the
people, the followers of ,esus *hrist, who are the church, but ' think that we need to go one step
further. +ecause the church is grounded in the idea of the body of *hrist, and because ,esus has called
his church to do the things that he did, the church itself is not the people but the actions o$ the people.
't$s all about the action verbs7 it$s all about the doing.
,ust as the building is named after the people who meet there, the people themselves have been named
after the things that the church is called to do.
%he building is not the church.
%he people are not the church.
We are not the church inside this building.
We beco!e the church when we hear the call of ,esus. We beco!e the church when we are filled with
the #oly &pirit and go out into the world to do the will of -od. We beco!e the church when we get
out of our seat and go into the streets to tell the world the -ood 8ews of ,esus *hrist.
,ust like on the day of Pentecost.
We beco!e the church when we take action.
We beco!e the church when we do the work of the church.
We become the church5 outside.

:ou have been reading a message presented at %rinity ;nited (ethodist *hurch on the date noted at the top of the first
page. <ev. ,ohn Partridge is the pastor at %rinity of Perry heights in (assillon, 4hio. !uplication of this message is a part
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&cripture references are from the 8ew 'nternational Eersion unless otherwise noted.