Sermon / Pr. Ted Giese / Pentecost Sunday June 4th 2017 - / John 7:37-39 / Living Water (New Members / Confirmation of Baptism)
Mount Olive Lutheran Church / Pr. Ted A. Giese / Sunday June 4th 2017: Pentecost – Pentecost Sunday / John 7:37-39 "Living Water"
On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” Now this He said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
Let us pray: May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in Your sight O Lord. Amen.
Grace peace and mercy to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Good Christian Friends. “If anyone thirsts, let him come to [Jesus] and drink. Whoever believes in [in Christ Jesus], as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of His heart will flow rivers of living water.’” … Therefore [those] who believe in Christ and are supplied with water by Him are also in a position to console and refresh others with this [precious drink of living water]. Even if all the world were confronting them, they could dispense enough words of comfort for all. When the Lord says here that He will give people [living water] to drink He does not intend to do this with a spoon. He will not siphon it through a pipe or tap it from a spigot. No, streams of comfort shall be theirs, and all the thirsty shall be satisfied with the boundless supply. Thus a [faithful] Pastor is able to comfort all sinners and remit their sins. Regardless of [the] size and number [of those sins] he can remove all sins with one verse. When death and war come, a pastor can fortify a whole army to defy death. By means of one consoling word or verse he can dispel and wash away all dread of death. With what [can he do this]? With the water of life. The word of Christ is a refreshing stream of life, this however is not immediately apparent because the process is so simple. You need only hear it, read it, preach it. But you say, “I hear only the week tone of a voice; I see only the poor and simple letters of the alphabet in a book; I have the thoughts that kick around in my heart,” dear Christian friends, this Word of Christ, this water of life, this living water that is preached to you week in and week out will exert such a secret power that it will flush sin, death, the devil and the world out of your heart just as a mighty river carries garbage downstream. This is how the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther speaks of the living water proclaimed by Christ Jesus in our Gospel reading from the Gospel of John today.
Now Saint John the author of this Gospel, which bears his name, is quick to point out that the Living Water which Jesus is speaking of is the Spirit. That is the Holy Spirit. And just like Jesus had repeatedly prophesied His own death and resurrection in advance of those events Jesus had likewise prophesied and promised the coming of the Holy Spirit. Today’s reading is one of those times when Jesus made such promises. And today the Church remembers the day of Pentecost 50 days after Jesus’ resurrection on that first Easter when this very promise was fulfilled. On that day Jesus had been gone for 10 days. The disciples had witnessed Jesus ascend into heaven. With all authority Jesus had commanded them to go “and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that [He had] commanded [His disciples].” And then He promised them, and you, and all Christians down the ages saying, “Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” And now they had returned to Jerusalem to wait for the coming of the Spirit. We’ve heard about this coming in the second reading from the Acts of the Apostles and on that Day filled with the Holy Spirit Saint Peter and the disciples preached and the Holy Spirit active in the Word of Christ brought faith and 3,000 were baptised. The Church has faithfully headed Christ’s command to Baptise from those days to this day. And will continue to do so. We will preach and teach, and the Holy Spirit will do His work just as Christ Jesus promised.
All of this leads up to today. Today we officially welcome new members although in some cases these “new members” have already long been like members to us, brothers and sisters in the faith, family in this family of faith. We pray for you, we love you; we want the best for you even in the worst of circumstances. We also today confirm the baptism of five of our young members. They will receive communion today as regular communicant members of this congregation and for this we are glad. The Holy Spirit has been at work in the lives of these people and has been at work in our lives, this Living Water, the Holy Spirit we confess has been calling, gathering, enlightening, and sanctifying them and us and the whole Christian church on earth, and He has been keeping the whole Christian church on earth with Jesus Christ in the one true faith: The Christian faith. And in this Christian church He daily and richly forgives all your sins, all my sins, and the sins of all other Christian believers. And we trust that on the Last Day He will raise me, you and all the dead, and give eternal life to all believers in Christ.
I want to leave you with a picture: Imagine a glass, filled with lint and grease and mud and bits of hair and garbage, fish bones and nail clippings, a wretched mess of stinking rubbish. Even the outside of the glass is smeared with it all. Now Christ Jesus comes and He picks it up and He runs it under a waterfall of Living Water. The water fills the cup washing the contents out making it clean, the glass shines bright and pure in the light of the sun. So much Living Water pours in to the cup that the cup overflows and pours into other cups, the fresh and mighty water makes those cups clean too. I think you can see what I’m getting at. The Living Water that flows from your heart like a river doesn’t start with you; you are not the source of the water. You are not the snow covered mountain peak from which the water comes. This water was first poured into your heart by Christ Jesus: With His word, with Holy Baptism, in His Supper. The source of this Living Water, the Mountain peak from which it came was Christ Himself Crucified on Mount Golgotha, the pace of the skull. This is what Saint John is getting at when he talks about Jesus being glorified. From Jesus’ side in death water and blood poured out as the Roman Centurion’s spear pierced Jesus’ side and that Living Water has been flowing down the ages to you, to us all. This Living Water flowed from the risen Lord Jesus’ lips when on Easter Day He breathed on His disciples and said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent Me, even so I am sending you.”… “Receive the Holy Spirit.” Jesus said, “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.” This Living Water, the Holy Spirit, on the Day of Pentecost flowed with tongues like fire upon the heads of the disciples on the Day of Pentecost and filled them. And in the word of Christ and in His sacraments this same Holy Spirit is poured out on you this day.
This is no tap water, no simple plain water. It is the Living Water that Christ Jesus gives and it is yours, and just as Jesus, even earlier in the Gospel of John, had said, “Everyone who drinks of this [plain well] water [drawn up from Jacob’s well] will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give [them] will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give [them] will become in [them] a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” In this water Jesus washes you clean and makes you whole, He washes away your thirst for the temporary things of this life and He both gives to you and promises to you eternal life guaranteed in Him. When the Lord says that He will give people Living Water to drink He does not intend to do this with a spoon. He will not siphon it through a pipe or tap it from a spigot. No, streams of comfort shall be theirs, shall be yours and all the thirsty shall be satisfied with the boundless supply provided by Him. Amen.
Let us pray:
Lord have mercy on us, Christ have mercy on us, Lord have mercy on us, “take our minds and think through them, take our lips and speak through them, take our hearts and set them on fire; for the sake of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Amen.
 Luther's Works Vol 23, Sermons on the Gospel of St. John Chapters 6 -8, Concordia Publishing House 1959, Pg 247.
 Matthew 28:19-20
 Acts 2:1-21
 John 20:21-23
 John 4:13-14