Sermon / Pr. Ted Giese / Pentecost Sunday May 15th 2016 - / John 14:23-31 / Called & Gathered by The Holy Spirit
Mount Olive Lutheran Church / Pr Ted A. Giese / May 15th 2016 Pentecost Sunday / John 14:23-31 (note - this is from the 9am Divine Service and Confirmation of Baptism was in the 11am Divine Service so the Sermon was a little different in the 11am)
Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love Me does not keep My words. And the word that you hear is not Mine but the Father's who sent Me.
“These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 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. 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. You heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe. I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on Me, but I do as the Father has commanded Me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.
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. In our reading from the Acts of the Apostles' we heard about the coming of the Holy Spirit. However, as we heard in our Gospel reading, this coming of the Holy Spirit was not completely unexpected, He was promised to Jesus' disciples that Thursday Night during Holy Week, the night before Jesus' crucifixion.
In our Gospel Reading they have just had the Lord Super for the first time and events are moving quickly. John's Gospel tells us that Satan had entered into Judas and just before Judas left the table, and went out into the night alone, Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.” It's after this that Jesus continues to talk to the other eleven of His disciples promising that the Holy Spirit will be sent to them by the Father, and at the end of our Gospel Jesus says, "I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on Me, but I do as the Father has commanded Me, (here Jesus is talking of His coming crucifixion and why He is obedient to His heavenly Father? "obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.") so that the world may know [as He puts it, in John's Gospel,] that I love the Father." Then Jesus says, "Rise, let us go from here." Leaving the upper room and heading to the garden of Gethsemane Jesus knows that "the ruler of this world" was indeed coming, and coming quickly, because Judas was coming with men to arrest Jesus, and like I said, John's Gospel tells us that Satan had entered Judas. So with each of Judas' treasonous footsteps Satan, the ruler of this world, was indeed coming closer. The arrest, the trials, the crucifixion and the surprise of Easter morning, the resurrection, were also coming quickly. All of it would happen by that Sunday and then after the resurrected Jesus' ascension to the Father's Right Hand on High, Fifty days after that first Easter Sunday the promised Holy Spirit would come suddenly "from heaven [with] a sound like a mighty rushing wind, [resting with] divided tongues as of fire on each one of them," and now today's celebration is likewise fifty days after Easter Sunday of 2016. The Church year mirrors the account of Scripture inviting you along into this unfolding series of events.
When Jesus said to the eleven disciples, “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 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," we are given a picture of what the work of the Holy Spirit is both then and today. We confess this work of the Holy Spirit in the third article of the Apostles' Creed, when we confess together saying, "I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen." In the Catechism Dr. Luther asks, "What does this mean?" and we respond by saying, "I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith. In the same way He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith." Today then in your life as perpetual catechumens, as men and women learning along the way in your life, as disciples and students of the Word of God, of Jesus Christ, we mark this working of the promised Holy Spirit on Pentecost Sunday remembering that it is He: Who starting with your baptism has indeed called you by the Gospel, and enlightened you with His gifts, it is He who has made you holy and has kept you in the true faith, even though you struggle to listen, and don't always value the gifts He gives, even though you sin much and even find yourself at times running away from your faith. This is the grace of God for you in Christ Jesus: God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit all work to keep you in the faith and draw you ever toward God. The Holy Spirit is always with you, wherever you go, just as Jesus has promised to be with you until the end of the age.
The promised Holy Spirit is doing His work even when you aren't paying attention, even when you are unaware. He does the work of gathering and enlightening the Church of which you, as a Christian, are a part. And here is an obvious example: Why are you here today? Why did you end up sitting in this pew this morning? Because you have some responsibility? You are a driver bringing others to church? You're on the Altar Guild? You're an elder helping to distribute Holy Communion? You're an usher? You're on coffee this month? It's simply part of my routine. It's just what I do on Sunday. At times it may seem this way on the surface that you, out of responsibility or obligation or routine, got yourself here to this place for this moment on this day; truly, truly I say unto you, you are here today because the Holy Spirit is as much at work in your life - calling, gathering, enlightening, sanctifying and keeping you in the true faith, faith in Christ - as He has been these last two years with the catechumens, the confirmands, who will have their baptisms confirmed in the 11am Divine Service later this morning. The Holy Spirit brought you here today just as He brought them here today. This day then is likewise for you, and for me, because on Pentecost Sunday we are reminded, by the working of the Holy Spirit, how it is that in this faith, in this "Christian church [that it is He, the Holy Spirit who] daily and richly forgives all [your sins, all] my sins and the sins of all believers. [And we trust that] On the Last Day He [the Holy Spirit] will raise me [you] and all the dead, and give eternal life to me [you] and all believers in Christ." How does the catechism put it, "This is most certainly true."
So today and all through your life remember to listen as the Holy Spirit calls, "listen, God is calling, through the Word inviting, offering forgiveness, comfort and joy." And remember, even though Jesus was going to the cross, a place of suffering and death, even though Satan was pacing and prowling around Him like a roaring lion looking to devour Him, Jesus says to those eleven men that day, that Thursday before Good Friday, "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. [and He also says to them] Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid." These words then are for the eleven catechumens, the eleven confirmands who are having their baptisms confirmed today, just as they are for the rest of us, wherever life finds us. So if our baptism and our confirmation of baptism was recent or even if to was many years ago it doesn't matter, Jesus' words are for us all. And because of these words we can trust that we are not alone, we have been baptised into His death and resurrection and we have been given the gift of faith in Christ Jesus. And whether that is a small burning ember of faith or a white hot fire of faith - it is a gift of the Holy Spirit and it is what you need when you need. Is it a small still voice, or loud obvious voice which is calling you close to Jesus? Calling you to the place where you can receive His manifold and abundant gifts: The remembrance of your baptism, the forgiveness of your sins, the reading and preaching of His Word and His Supper? All of these things are yours, given as a gift not because you have earned them through study or through experience or through the genuine nature of your feelings but because they have been extended to you, given to you in Christ Jesus by His precious blood. The Holy Spirit has delivered this to you and today we acknowledge this precious gift, we remember this precious gift. In Jesus' most Holy Name. 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.
 John 13:27
 Philippians 2:8
 Acts 2:2-3
 Matthew 28:20
 1 Peter 5:8
 Romans 6:3-8, "Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His. We know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him."