Acts 2:17 "In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams."
Today is Pentecost, 50 days after Easter, and if Easter is the celebration of life and resurrection, the Pentecost is the Jubilee celebration of all that Easter is. There were supposed to be allot of jubilee celebrations in the OT. Times when the people of God would gather together to remember all that God had done for them, and to thank and praise his glorious name. If the 7th day was a day of rest, given by God, then every 50 years there was to be a year of rest, a time of forgiveness of debts, a time when even the land rested, while all gave thanks to God for his grace and bounty.
Today is Pentecost, often called the birthday of the Christian Church, a time when we gather to give thanks to God that he has poured out His Spirit. Today is Pentecost, and today we witness a young person who has been taught the faith, will come forward and witness that the faith begun at baptism is the faith that she will continue to follow and remain faithful to. And as she confesses her faith, we will remember how we have confessed our faith. We will remember that we promised that we would suffer all, even death, rather than fall away from this confession and faith. We will remember the scripture which says, be thou faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.
And now that we have spoken of the things which we must, let us look at what it is that God is doing. Our text promises that God will pour out His Spirit upon all flesh. What does it mean? We know that in these times, God usually works through means. That is, God does not appear to us as individuals in a burning bush and call us to follow. God does not come to us in the fire, or the wind, or the thunder on the mountain, but God still speaks to us. God reveals himself to us, by the world, by our conscience, but especially by the Holy Scriptures, which show us the way of salvation and train us in holy living.
So we speak of the means of grace, the ways in which God comes to us to create, strengthen and preserve faith. And by the means of grace we refer to the sacraments. baptism, and the Lord’s Supper, and to the Word of God, the Bible. And while the water of baptism is poured, and in the Lord’s Supper we receive the blood of Christ shed, and while the grace of God comes to us in our hearing of God’s Word, these are all, in a sense, controlled. The water of Baptism does not appear to be a flood, and Jesus blood given and shed for us, is given in reasonable manner. And one would begin to think that that is the way that God would pour out his spirit, in a controlled and limited manner, and the whole point of Pentecost, is that this is NOT what God is going to do, it is NOT what God is doing. God does not pour out His Spirit is small amounts, the kind that we could all gather in a thimble and take home, a whole week’s supply of grace, blessing and bounty. God does not pour out His spirit just on the elect, the chosen, an only a portion of all creation, but the promise is that God will pour out his Spirit upon all flesh.
And the picture I would like for you to imagine, is the gates of heaven opening, and a deluge to fall upon all the earth. Imagine the kind of rain that falls for forty days and forty nights, and imagine the only thing that could save you from this flood, would be if you had an ark, and were in that ark. You see, God is pouring forth his spirit on all the earth, even now.
Some people have imagined that they can contain God, they will build a house for God, and they will build a house for themselves. God can stay in his house, and our house, we often look upon as a fortress, a castle, perhaps even as a ark, something that carries us through the stormy seas of life. But just as a house is not an ark, that can hide you from the outpouring of the Spirit of God, so God is not contained, and His spirit is poured forth on all the earth.
God pours forth his spirit, because he doesn’t want us to hold, hoard, and treasure. God wants us to hold and to treasure, and to share. God wants to make clear that there is more than enough grace, more than enough life, more than enough forgiveness for all. So God pours out His spirit upon us, and through us it overflows into the lives of other, overflows until it reaches all creation. God pours forth His spirit, and there are dreams, visions and prophesy pointing to Christ.