The Feast of Pentecost
Delivered By
Pr. Lovett
Delivered On
May 27, 2012
Central Passage
John 14:23-31

+ John 14:23-31 +

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.

The Feast of Pentecost is an ancient feast directly related to farming and harvesting. It began with Moses as recorded in Deuteronomy 16. The Lord said to Moses, “You shall count seven weeks from the day the sickle is first put to the stalk, and then you and all Israel shall assemble before the Lord where the Lord your God will choose and rejoice before the Lord, bringing a freewill offering of the firstfruits of the harvest. You shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt.” It became known as “Pentecost” because the day after seven weeks is the fiftieth day after the sickle was first put to the stalk, and “Pentecost” means “the fiftieth day”.

So on Pentecost, the day of a holy convocation when all Israelites – all those who feared God from every tribe and nation – gathered to the temple in Jerusalem where the Lord chose to dwell among men, when they gathered to bring the firstfruits of the harvest, a freewill offering, before the Lord, rejoicing in His blessings, on that day of Pentecost when God-fearing men from every nation were gathered in the holy city, the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles and they spoke in new tongues and gave glory to God.
The Feast of Pentecost is the great harvest and thanksgiving before the Lord.
I did not grow up in a farming community. Before I arrived here I was clueless about farming. And even now I am largely in the dark about most everything that has to do with farming. I listen to the “AG” reports and I am lost. I imagine it would be somewhat akin to a farmer listening to me wax eloquent about how the Hegelian theory of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis has really served to hamstring the Church of God. If you really have no or little clue what I just said or why I said it, then you feel like I do when I listen to the “AG” report on the radio.
I am a layman when it comes to farming. If I were to farm on my current knowledge, it would be an unmitigated disaster. I really operate day to day under the assumption that farming is as simple as planting, praying for rain, and reaping the harvest. Just as most Christians really operate day to day under the assumption that the true and saving faith is as simple as believing the Bible and loving Jesus. But farming is far more involved that planting, praying for rain, and reaping the harvest. You have to cultivate the ground – I think; now with tilless farming I am really lost. You have to know what will grow and what won’t and when it will grow and when it won’t. You have to know what fertilizer if any ought be used. How often you must irrigate in dry years and how much you need to harvest to break even, much less bring in the payload. There is more, far more than I am aware with buying and selling grain, watching atmospheric levels, and so forth and so on, that goes into farming than simply sowing, praying for rain, and reaping the harvest, even if that is the core principle.
So, too, with the kingdom of God.
Just as one would not be wrong to say that farming is simply a matter of sowing, watering, and reaping, and yet there is much more to it, so one is not wrong to say that being a Christian is a matter of believing the Bible and loving Jesus, and yet there is so much more than that.
But in my comparison here of me to a farmer, I am not saying that I am to the farmer what the layman is to the pastor, even if that is partly true in knowledge of our craft. But that would be putting the pastor on far too high a pedestal. No; in truth I am comparing us – all of us – to the Holy Spirit. He is the farmer, the pastor, the preacher, and the teacher.  We are but wheat and tares.
But as with all parables, mine has limits. Earthly farmers are not in control of what happens in the field any more than pastors are in control of what happens in the congregation. The farmer may plant more and better seed than ever before, but if no rain comes it is useless. So a preacher may preach the word better than ever before, but if it is not watered by the Spirit it will not take root. For I plant and another waters, but it is the Spirit that gives growth.
As hard as farmers – even farmers who are not overly Christian – pray for good soil and rain and an abundant harvest, so we ought be praying for the good soil of hearts prepared by God and rain sent down from on High, and a harvest that is even now plentiful and ready to be harvested, all the while realizing that we are nothing other than the very soil that must be watered and the wheat that must be harvested.
Farmers are notoriously patient people even as they are notoriously impatient. Their patience is born of necessity. They cannot make it rain, so they must wait. Their patience is not born of their disposition but of their circumstance. So is ours.
We often become so wrapped up and concerned with sowing the Word and reaping backsides in the pews that loose all patience with God and with one another. But we don’t make the seed take root or cause the growth. We must be patient. And like the farmer, our patience is not born of our disposition but of our circumstance. The Holy Spirit is the Lord of the harvest and He while He sends laborers to sow and to water and to reap, He does so according to His time set by the will of the Father.
As the farmer must know when to sow and when to reap, what to sow and what not to sow, so the Holy Spirit knows when to sow and when to reap. He knows what to sow and what not to sow. He knows how much or how little. He knows when to send the rain and when to dry the fields with the heat of the sun. He is in control and in charge of conversion and salvation. Not you and not me. He sows the seed by His servants of the Word, and He waters by the same, and He gives growth according to the will of the Father.
But you are not the divine farmer. Nor am I. We are the wheat. Our heavenly Father tilled the soil and prepared us. He plants the seed of the word that for Christ’s sake we are saved from death and hell, forgiven our sins against God. He waters us with His heavenly rain like the manna of old, the Bread of Heaven, given to sustain, nurture, and mature us. He makes you drink from the river of life that flows from Christ’s side, and He ingathers us as the harvest of His hard work.
You are the harvest of the Holy Spirit. He has brought you here you before the Father, the place of the Lord’s choosing, and offers you up to the Father with the firstfruits of the resurrection, Jesus our Lord. Being joined to Christ isn’t just about being saved from death and hell, it’s about being presented by the Spirit of God before the Father as a holy people, a spiritual people of His own purpose; a holy nation. Jesus is the firstfruit of the resurrection, a holy portion to the Lord, and by the Spirit of God poured out on you, you are joined to Him who is your redeemer and savior.
You are made holy by the Lord who has chosen you and proclaimed His love and will for you and now keeps you safe in His word and faith until He graciously takes you from the valley of sorrow to Himself in the heavenly places.
In Nomine Iesu
+ Amen +