Monday, May 20, 2013

Sermon May 18-19, 2013 Pentecost

Title: Jesus sends the Helper and by His work you are His!

Text John 14:25-26

25 “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

In the King James Version of the Bible, the Holy Spirit is referred in Verse 26 as:

26 … the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name …

A story is told of a little girl who came home from a neighbor's house where her little friend had died. "Why did you go?" questioned her father. "To comfort her mother," said the child. "What could you do to comfort her?" "I climbed into her lap and cried with her."

from The Story of Jesus.

Jesus sends the Helper and by His work you are His!

Today we celebrate the sending of the Spirit which in the Book of Acts speaks of the Spirit coming as a mighty rushing wind and as tongues of fire, resting on the disciples and giving them utterance. This powerful speaking in other tongues gives the disciples the ability to be heard as Luke writes in the book of Acts:

“Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? (Acts 2:7b-8)

And the diversity of those that hear is large.

9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, 11 both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” (Acts 2:9-11)

The Spirit can certainly do marvelous things to reach all people! And that is what Jesus tell the disciples in the Gospel reading for today.

26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. (John 14:26)

Jesus is telling the disciples that He is going away, but he will not leave them alone. The Holy Spirit will be the one to be with them and in them so that they will be reminded of all that Jesus said to them. At times, the power of the Holy Spirit and the work of the Holy Spirit are confused by the Christian church. Some churches place emphases on the account in Acts and the special gift given by God at this time to reach a diverse audience. Some confuse hearing in their native language with an unrecognized tongue that as Paul says in the book of 1st Corinthians chapter 14:

The one who prophesies (which is to speak forth the word of God) is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up. (1Cor. 14:5b)

But then Paul adds:

18 I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. 19 Nevertheless, in church I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue.

Jesus sends the Helper and by His work you are His!

You too need the Helper. But where does He come and how does He speak and to whom does he point?

In life we all need help. Last weekend I went to Ferris State to move my son home from college. We also moved him from our home to an apartment that will now be his home. I had the truck and the trailer and was a helper with the moving. Many thanks go to Jon’s friend Dave Deckard, who with Jon did most of the heavy lifting. What was needed from me was to help and provide as best as I could so that we moved from Jon’s college apartment into his new apartment that he’ll share with his sister Amy.

But the helper that Jesus speaks of is not a worker in the sense that I was in this past example. He doesn't do a work that you could do yourself. My son, if he had to could have arranged to move all of his furniture himself. What I did was to provide help that he could have done himself.

The Holy Spirit helps with things that you can never do. First, He creates faith in one who is spiritually dead. He brings to life you and all who are dead in trespass and sins. He gives you faith so that you can look to Christ, trusting in His work and what He has accomplished at the cross. And you are told in the book of Ephesians that it is not a result or work or anything you could do or have done.

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Eph. 2:8-9)

But what do you and I do … we boast. As we finish up our adult bible study in Jonah we saw this distinction in lesson 14 and Jonah’s reaction to the Ninevites, repentance and God’s forgiveness.

4 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry. 2 And he prayed to the LORD and said, “O LORD, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster. 3 Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.” 4 And the LORD said, “Do you do well to be angry?”

a. Jonah was mad because God had forgiven them
b. He prayed in complaint to God.
c. Jonah knew God would forgive them and he didn’t want to have any part in it.
d. He asks God to kill him as he doesn’t want to live forgiven with those evil Ninevites.
e. God asks, “Might you reconsider your view?”

You also like me see the sins of others at times that are great and find it hard to see forgiveness that God desires and brings about.

Take for example Ariel Castro, who faces four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape, for the evil act of kidnapping and imprisonment of the three women and a child who escaped last week in the highly publicized case in Cleveland, Ohio.

Sick and truly evil we would all agree. His own children are stunned as our the neighbors who wonder how they could have missed a sign to see and understand what was really going on in this run down low income house.

We can all understand and see as applied to Ariel Castro the truth of:

I, a poor miserable sinner … justly deserve you temporal and eternal punishment.
But it is hard to see repentance in him saying:

But, I am heartily sorry for them and sincerely repent of them.

But that is just what the Holy Spirit was sent to do. To call sinners to repentance so that!

By God’s boundless mercy and for the sake of the holy, innocent, bitter sufferings and death of your beloved Son, Jesus Christ, God would be gracious and merciful to you and me, a poor sinful being.

Yes, Ariel Castor is a sinful man who did an unimaginably evil thing. But your sin and my sin have separated us from God too so we, just the same, need God’s grace and mercy to have peace with God.
Jesus sends the Helper and by His work you are His!

Jesus did not leave his disciples alone and He tells them this good news:
27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

In Christ they would be reminded by the work of the Spirit that Jesus is the way the truth and the life! Not like the peace that the world gives but peace that assures us that the relationship between God and man has been restored by Christ.

The redeemed are dependent of God for all. All that we have-- wisdom, the pardon of sin, deliverance, acceptance in God's favor, grace, holiness, true comfort and happiness, eternal life and glory--we have from God by a Mediator; and this Mediator is God. God not only gives us the Mediator, and accepts His mediation, and of His power and grace bestows the things purchased by the Mediator, but He is the Mediator. Our blessings are what we have by purchase; and the purchase is made of God; the blessings are purchased of Him; and not only so, but God is the purchaser. Yes, God is both the purchaser and the price; for Christ, who is God, purchased these blessings by offering Himself as the price of our salvation.

Jonathan Edwards, Closer Walk, July, 1988, p. 15.

Christ and his work is who the Helper, the Holy Spirit points to and it defines what is His work and what He works to accomplish.

Jesus sends the Helper and by His work you are His!

We have peace to with God too because of the Holy Spirit. He brings us to life from our spiritual death and give us the faith that points and holds to Christ.

And as was confessed today in the Nicene Creed:

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
The Lord and giver of life,
Who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified,
Who spoke through the prophets …

The Holy Spirit is God the sanctifier or the one who makes us Holy…

Jesus sends the Helper the Holy Spirit and by His work you are His!

To be comforted at times is good,

To be helped at times is also good,

but to be forgiven and given the gift of faith in Christ and His work is the work of the Holy Spirit who was sent to draw people not to himself but to Christ.

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