The WEA Secretary General Bishop Dr. Thomas Schirrmacher delivers greeting for Pentecost 2023
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I send you all the warmest greetings from the World Evangelical Alliance for this Pentecost day, the birthday of the Church of Jesus Christ.
I especially send personal greetings from the International Council of the World Evangelical Alliance that has been meeting at Hippo Lake, four hours away from Johannesburg in South Africa for four days. We were very happy to re receive so many reports from General Secretaries of National Alliances in Africa.
Today I would like to remind us that Pentecost also has a very personal side. It has a very global side. We represent the community where churches worship in more than 4,000 languages around the world each Sunday and that’s a direct fulfillment of Pentecost.
But there’s a very personal story. Let me remind you of Peter. In Mark 14:71–72 we read and you all know the story where he betrayed Jesus. He began to call down curses on himself and he swore to them “I don’t know this man you are talking about” and immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Friends this is not only Peter. That is us. It’s so easy to betray Jesus if it would be for us only, we would, like Peter, run away from persecution, from discrimination, for even lower things.
It is the same Peter that is standing there, Acts 2,
“When the day of Pentecost came they were all together in one place suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled that whole house where they were sitting, and all of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”
And then verse 14, “then Peter stood up with the eleven and raised his voice” and he preaches the sermon of sermons, the birthday sermon of the church we all belong to.
Friends, those two sides belong together. God is not using the perfect people that are the salvation of the world. There’s only one person that is the salvation of this world and this is Jesus Christ. And there’s only one apostle, messenger, preacher of this Jesus Christ and that is the Holy Spirit Himself. But the Holy Spirit does not only blow as a wind globally. He blew first in the life of Peter himself. He changed Peter who did this extremely evil thing. His closest friend Jesus Christ—he betrayed him and said I don’t know him just to save his life.
The Holy Spirit first changed Peter. The Holy Spirit first changed the apostles and then He used them mightily to preach the sermon of the sermons that the Holy Spirit has come and that the new chapter of world history is opened. Let us remind, on this Pentecost day, that Pentecost is as much the most global story, the most Global message there is, that the Holy Spirit will change the whole world to worship our Lord Jesus Christ and His Father in heaven. But at the same time, it’s in very very individual story with each of us, that God changes us from people that are of no use for the kingdom of God into servants of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit whom God allows to be in the middle of the mess when the gospel is preached to all ethnic groups to all people to everyone in this world.
God bless you mightily in your Sunday service worship on Pentecost, and in general when you remind that the Holy Spirit is the only thing that makes the church different from anything else. Amen.
Bishop Dr Thomas Schirrmacher
World Evangelical Alliance