“Resurrection Power Builds Regeneration”
Sunday, June 4, 2017
Pentecost Sunday High Mass
Acts 2: 1 - 7; 12-21/ Psalm 104: 24 – 31/ 1 Corinthians 12: 3 – 13/ John 7: 37 - 39
Bishop Ariel Cornelio P. Santos
Today is the Feast of Pentecost. What is the meaning of Pentecost? I will give you a very simple meaning: God pours His Holy Spirit upon flesh. Pinch yourself and what you are pinching is flesh. This means that God is pouring His Spirit upon you – all flesh. It is a sign of the day of the Lord. The day of the Lord is not bad news, but good news. The day of the Lord is the Lord’s day. We should be excited about this. Every day is the Lord’s day.
We have given the day of the Lord with a bad meaning. The day of the Lord is good. I am excited for the day of the Lord. The day of the Lord is something good, something that we are supposed to be joyful about, and it is something that we anticipate. The day of the Lord, yes, is for judgment, but judgment is good.
Day doesn’t just mean 24 hours. A day is time. When we say, “This is a new day,” it means that it is a new era; a new dispensation; a new time. Psalms 48:11 says, “Let Zion be Glad, let the daughters of Judah rejoice because of Your judgments.” The judgment of the Lord is good. Psalm 105:5 says, “Remember His wonders which He has done, His marvels and the judgments uttered by His mouth.”
God is pouring His Spirit upon all flesh, and they shall prophesy. The fulfillment of the prophesy of Joel was on the first Pentecost, and it has gone on increasingly since that day. All flesh shall prophesy. Pay attention. The tendency of man to see in the flesh is to see more the evil than the spirit of God in them. The Spirit of God is upon flesh. If we are baptized, we have the spirit of God in us. Pay attention because the spirit of God in the flesh prophesies.
I don’t know about you, but I have seen the Spirit prophesying since I got here. The Spirit prophesied (He proclaimed the good news of God) since I walked in and somebody greeted me. This is because the Spirit of God is in them. The Spirit of God is in the singers, in the musicians, in the dancers. They proclaim the good news of God. The Spirit of God is in the counselors, in the ushers.
One time, the altar ministers had a devotion, and I spoke at the devotion. I asked, “Who are the proclaimers today?” One mentioned the name of a deacon. I said to them, “That is wrong. All of you are proclaimers.” All of us are proclaimers of the greatness of God, of the good news of God. This is why the Spirit of God is in us.
The Spirit of God is the Author of life. The reason that He is in us is so that we can propagate life. What we have been doing and what we should stop doing is propagating death. We have been proclaiming bad news. The good news is what we need to proclaim. The day of the Lord has been happening since the day of Pentecost and God’s kingdom has been on the increase. Lately, I have been hearing praise reports of people we have been praying for. This is what the Spirit of God is all about. This is what Pentecost is all about. This is why God is pouring His spirit upon all flesh so that we who have His spirit can lay hands on those who are struggling, on those who are weak at the moment, that life may flow from us to them.
Let us rejoice and be glad in this! Proclaim God’s greatness. Proclaim a harvest because it is an exciting event. Out of the innermost being will flow rivers of living water. Scriptures didn’t say that in Him, will be stored rivers of living water. It is meant to flow, not to be stagnant. It is not meant for death because the Holy Spirit of God is the Author of life. This is what we need to proclaim, to propagate, and release because in our hands are waiting life, comfort, peace, strength, encouragement and they are waiting to be released.
Gifts are meant to flow through us as channels for the common good. The common good includes you and those around you. The common good for our neigbhor is also the common good for ourselves. Understand this: the bad thing that we see in others is what we also have in us. Sometimes, we are happy with the bad things that happen to others, especially if we don’t like a person, but we don’t understand that what is happening to them is also happening to us. This is because we are one Body. St. Paul says that when one part suffers, we all suffer. If one part rejoices, we should rejoice with them because we are part of them.
I am so thrilled to see Julie Reimers this morning. Last Midweek Service, she and Dcn. Peter came to Church and what the Body did was to surround the family and prayed for them. The people of God surrounded the family on whom is the Spirit of God, and who are part of the Reimers family. Her healing is our healing. Her sickness is our sickness.
On a day that we would be walking happily and we suddenly hurt our toe, what we would do is to stop and sit. The other parts of our body wouldn’t condemn what the toe experienced. Our hands would comfort it because it is all part of the body. A Tagalog saying goes, “Sakit ng kalingkingan, sakit ng buong katawan,” because we are one Body.
Jesus defined eternal life as to know God through the Son and to be like Him. To fully know God is to be like Him. God is a Person Who is always others directed. Sin in Latin means turning toward self. We sin because our attitude is always to look to self. The root is always turning towards self. Everything else is a symptom of this root. The fall of man, hence the death of man, was because he stopped being like God. For a while, Adam was like God. He ruled the earth not by sitting on a big lazy boy and putting his feet up, and telling his servants to give what he needs. He served all of creation. He was others directed because he was created in the image of God then, sin came.
If we take care of others, we are taken care of. Their good is our good because we are one Body. This is why we pursue other’s good because we are affected by this. If not, we will die. The day you eat of the fruit, that is to say that the day you stop bearing the image of God and His likeness is the day you die. You are going to be like a fish out of water. A fish out of water struggles and dies. This is what we do to ourselves when we stop being like God. We are to be like a tree planted by rivers of water. We produce fruit not for ourselves, but for others. The tree lives on water, sunshine and good soil and what God gives it. It bears fruit, so that others can eat its fruit. The tree doesn’t eat its own fruit. It is taken care of by God.
Forsake the false gospel of, “Bless me, Lord. Lord, bless me.” This is the root of sin. When we pray, the majority of our prayer is for ourselves, and a minor part is praying for others. Sin is toward self and enrichment of self is the false gospel. The true gospel is that you are blessed to be a blessing! This the real blessing: to be able to bless others. Christians consider material things as being blessed. In the Beatitudes, you are blessed when you are persecuted when you give. You are blessed when you are able to offer your other cheek when someone slaps you on one cheek. Real blessing, by the Spirit of God, is to proclaim life and the good news to others. As we do, their good and their comfort is also our good and comfort.
Jesus said, “Abide in Me and you will live.” Abide is synonymous to obeying. He said, “These things that I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, ‘Love one another.’” Parents find joy not obtaining things for themselves, but in being able to provide for their children. Parents are driven by their love for their children, and this is what fulfills parents. This is the heart of God and this is the Spirit of God as we mature; and we become more and more like God ever blessing and asking,”What and where and to whom can I give using the overflowing living water in me?”
The Psalms today says, “You send forth Your Spirit and they are created and they come to life and they are blessed.” You animate; you give life because the Holy Spirit, the Author of life, is in us.
St. Paul in 1Corinthians in chapters 12 and 14 talks about the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Right in the middle is the chapter on love. This is what gifts are all about. St. Paul starts off in chapter 12 by saying, “I do not want you to be unaware concerning spiritual gifts.” God does not want us to be unaware as to “why” the gifts are given. We need to know why the gifts are given. It is not for our enrichment, blessing itself. The use of it, the flow of it is the blessing. 1Corinthians 13 is there to show that the motive is love. We need to be aware of gifts, but we need to be more aware of why they are given.
In Acts, when the people saw the infilling of the disciples of the Holy Spirit, they asked, “What does this mean?” It means that the Holy Spirit is given to His body, the Church, and the Body of Christ is again to offer themselves for the life of the world. Don’t worry about your needs. God will take care of you. The classic verse says, “Seek first the kingdom of God and all the other things will be added unto you.” Let us pray, “Lord, open the eyes not only of my mind, but also my heart.” Open the eyes of our heart for love of others, not just our mind which makes us tend to worry about our own concerns.
The gifts of the Spirit are not about who is better, who has more of them, or who is more important. It is about calling. We were called by God. Some were called to be singers, so they were gifted by God with a good voice. Others need to understand that they were not called to be singers. If we don’t operate in our gifts, we will just be frustrated. Others will be irritated when we should be blessing them with our gift. Having a gift is not because others are better, but because they are gifted. We are to excel in our gifts, but the purpose is for the common good. We are not to operate in our gifts to draw people’s attention, but to better the lives of others – bringing healing and restoration and sharing the good news that God loves them and that God wants them to be healed and deliver them from their bondage.
One of the pillars of our Church shared that during her first day in Church, she was greeted by an usher saying, “Sister, welcome! God loves you!” This simple act made her day and this started her commitment to the Church and to be used by God. It all started with the proclamation of God’s goodness and love. No one should be able to say, “Apart from me, you can do nothing.” No one is to exalt oneself. Only one Person can say, “Apart from Me, you can do nothing,” and that is Jesus.
I challenge all ministers to have this principle to not monopolize anything. Responsibility should be shared and delegated so that if one is not able, the ministry goes on, and so that no one can say, “If I am not here, nothing will happen.” God gives gifts to all and He pours His Spirit upon all flesh. The Spirit is the Author of life.
Somebody asked Jesus, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said, “Love God and your neighbour as yourself. Do this and you will live.” He was asked, “Who is my neighbour?” This introduced the Parable of the Good Samaritan. The point of this parable is that our neighbour includes our enemies. It includes those we don’t like and we don’t associate with. They are our neighbours, and we are supposed to understand that their good is our good. Jesus concluded His teaching about the Parable of the Talents, “Those who produce fruit using their gifts, He gave them rewards.” The reward was more responsibility, more work, and along with these was more ability and more anointing. Jesus also said, “You have been faithful in little things, I will make you in-charge of more things and bigger things.” Ending this, He said, “Enter into the joy of My Master.” It is not saying, “Good luck.You have a lot of work,” but it is more responsibility, more work is joy.
Pentecost is harvest. The harvest is plentiful. I am talking not about a building, but memories and history waiting to happen in the next several decades. Every day that I am here, I make it a point to tread on the Church property, and I just talk to God, offer a simple prayer, and in my mind and in my heart I convince myself, “Many people will be healed here. Many people will know the Lord in this place. Many people will be born and be baptized in this place, and many people will come out of here and make a difference in our nation!” Many – because God is pouring His Spirit upon all flesh.
See the joy! Don’t look at the work as labor. I have a formula for you: W= J > L which is work equals to the joy that goes beyond the labor that we do. When there is great harvest, we don’t look at the labor, but rather to the profit we will gain. Work is not meant to tire you down and exhaust you. Work is meant to give you joy for this is the way it is in the kingdom of our God!