Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Spirit will. . .

Sermon for Pentecost B, preached on Sunday, May 24, 2015.

    The reality of life is that we are so busy in the present, we forget that we have a future – not simply tomorrow but the forever future Christ won for us by His death and resurrection.  The Spirit brings to remembrance what Christ has accomplished in the past so that we might know and be ready for the future Christ has prepared for us.  The role of the Spirit is not whispering secrets we do not know but to bring to remembrance the eternal Word of God that has reshaped our yesterday and to direct us to the eternal tomorrow God has prepared for those who love Him.
    Jesus says the Spirit will guide you into all truth.  The Spirit cannot lie to us nor can the Spirit deceive us.  God gives us the Spirit so that you and I might be grounded upon and build our lives upon the truth that endures forever.  In an age of liars, lies, and deceptions, we need a voice we can trust.
    This truth is not some theoretical or philosophical truth but the flesh and blood truth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God in our flesh and blood.  He became incarnate, suffered, died, and rose again to forgive our sins, to save us from death, and to give to us eternal life.  This is the saving truth the Spirit makes known.
    This truth is embodied in Christ and is made known through His Word.  The Son and the Spirit do not have other words but only the Word of the Father.  Jesus insists He is come to make known the Father’s Word; the Spirit speaks this Word.
    The Spirit will declare what is to come – not as some crystal ball into the hidden future but the future made plain in Jesus Christ.  This is not some secret we must stumble upon but the promise that saves.  You have this future – you will not die but live and declare the wonders of Him who has called you from darkness into His light.  You will rise in the new and glorious flesh of Christ to live with Him and in Him in perfect bliss and peace forever.
    We know this future.  It is not some treasure at the end of a map or a lifelong journey but our present hope.  One of the worst things that has been done to us is this awful idea that God has a secret plan and purpose for your life and you have to figure it out.  What kind of God would torment us like this?  God has a plan and a purpose for you but it is not hidden.  It is that you believe by the power of the Spirit and that you seek to live as God's own, obey His commandments, and be found faithful when Christ returns to finish His new creation.  You do this right where you are -- as husband and wife to each other, as parent and child to each other, as neighbor to neighbor. . .
    When Christ comes to finish His new creation, the Spirit will prepare you for Him.  The Spirit calls you to repentance, to owning your sin in confession that Christ may atone for it with His holy suffering and life-giving death.  The Spirit keeps you in this faith and in this repentance so that when Christ returns you will be found in Him, holy, blameless, and without spot.  This is God's plan and purpose -- a life of daily repentance letting go of sin and grasping hold of the forgiveness in which you stand now and forevermore.
    The Spirit will glorify Jesus.  This is not some vague and mysterious glory but the glory of people who have learned by the Spirit to believe in Jesus Christ.  The work of the Spirit is to break down the barriers of our fears and teach us to trust in Christ alone.  The work of the Spirit is to call us out by convicting us with regard to sin and to call us up to the holy life of faith and good works, following Jesus to day and forever.
    You are not on your own.  You are not left to your own devices.  You are not abandoned by God.  He has given you the Spirit, the Comforter and Counselor to guide you into all truth.  The Spirt has extended Christ to us and Christ has extended to us the Father.  The work of the Trinity comes together on the cross, in the Word of the cross, and in our faith in that promise of that cross.  The Father sends His Son, the Son accomplishes His Father's saving purpose, and the Spirit makes known this glorious Gospel that we might believe it and live in its joy today and forever.
    And all of this is so that we may be His own and live under Him in His kingdom, doing what He has called us to do today while there is time, so that we may receive the well done of the Father in all eternity.  Where is the Spirit?  Where Christ is made known in the Word of the Gospel, in the water of baptism, in the voice of the absolution, and in the bread and wine we eat and drink as Christ’s body and blood.
    And the Spirit is one more place -- in YOU.  Teaching you to renounce ungodliness, to live self-controlled lives where your desires do not rule your hearts, to do what is good and right and true and not simply live as victims of sin and its unrighteousness, and to tell the world that there is hope, there is life, there is forgiveness, and there is salvation in Christ and in no where else.  What else can we say except, make it so, Lord.  Make it so, Lord.... make it so.  Amen

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