The Holy Spirit: Rediscovering The Church of Acts 2
A. How many of you celebrate your birthdays?
B. What are some of the ways that you celebrate your birthday?
- Interact with children finding out ways that they celebrate, i.e.: parties, cake, presents, etc.
- Attempt to engage as many as possible.
C. What are some other birthdays that we celebrate?
- Interact with children and lead them to events such as:
a. July 4 th - the birthday of the United States , Presidents Day, Christmas- the birthday of Christ, etc.
A. Does anyone know the birthday of the Church?
- Pentecost is the “birthday” of the Church.
- Pentecost, which comes from the Greek word for 50, is the time when the Holy Spirit came down on the Apostles and the Church was established.
a. The Holy Spirit coming down on the apostles shows that God is the head of the Church.
b. The Apostles were sent forth to spread the message of Jesus Christ to all the world.
B. Apostolic Succession
- The Apostles that were present when the Church was established on the day of Pentecost ordained bishops to help them spread the Good News.
- Those bishops ordained others and so on, through the generations to the present day. For this reason, today's bishops are considered to be Apostles.
- As a result, we are a continuation of the Church that was established nearly 2000 years ago on the day of Pentecost.
III. CHRIST CRUCIFIED AND RISEN FROM THE DEAD:
A. On the day of Pentecost, the Apostle Peter preached about Christ to all the people there.
B. Today we believe the same thing that Peter preached about on that day when the Church was established. He told the people that:
- Through the God's great love for us, Jesus came into the world (John 3:16).
- Jesus suffered, was crucified, and died on the Cross.
- Christ is risen from the dead.
- Through Christ rising from the dead, we also can rise from the dead to live forever with God in the Kingdom of Heaven .
IV. SALVATION IS FOR ALL WHO SEEK IT:
A. On the day of Pentecost, when the Church was established, Peter told the people that they could gain the Kingdom of Heaven .
- What was necessary for the people was to repent and be baptized and the Holy Spirit would come upon them as well.
- Three thousand people entered into the Church on that day of Pentecost.
B. We as Orthodox Christians are members of that same Church.
- Through our own baptism and life in the Church we have the Holy Spirit in us as well.
- Through our life in the Church and our belief in God, we too can achieve the Kingdom of Heaven .
A. This year as we celebrate the great feast of Pentecost, let us remember:
- Pentecost is the “birthday” of the Church, when it was established by the Holy Spirit.
- From that day until now the Church has remained true to the teaching of Christ.
- We all have the opportunity to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven if we seek it.
Rev. Dn. Paul Zaharas serves as the Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries for the Metropolis of Denver . He and his wife Celia and daughter Kyriake live in Englewood , Colorado.