Monday, May 23, 2011

Fifth Sunday in Easter

Fifth Sunday in Easter
John 16:5-15
Bror Erickson

[5] But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, 'Where are you going?' [6] But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. [7] Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. [8] And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: [9] concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; [10] concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; [11] concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
[12] "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. [13] When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. [14] He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. [15] All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you. John 16:5-15 (ESV)

“I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you, and when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.”

I was once asked why I don’t preach much on the Holy Spirit. Such question was actually more an accusation. Funny I preach on him about as much as I do on the Father, yet no one asks to have me preach on the Father more. Excuse me if I try to take Paul’s approach as best I can and know nothing among you but Christ, and him crucified, as he did with the Corinthians. Christ and him crucified is the gospel. But the world grows tired of Christ and him crucified, so they tend to ask to hear about the Holy Spirit. Most often they want me to take verses like this out of context, and apply it to all of us Christians. And perhaps that needs to be addressed a bit here. But here is the problem at root, The Holy Spirit does not testify concerning himself. He testifies concerning the one who was crucified for our sins. When it comes to us, as opposed to the apostles, the Holy Spirit comes to convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment. But to the apostles he is sent to lead them into all truth.

Yes people have all sorts of weird ideas concerning the Holy Spirit today. To many he is of central importance in Christianity. Supplanting the central importance of Christ’s death for our sins, and resurrection for our justification, and making Christianity to be about “being empowered by the Holy Spirit” perhaps so you can give up a bad habit, or get a better job. Or he is used as an excuse to ignore scripture as “dead” and be led by the Holy Spirit into new truths. After all, didn’t Jesus say he would come to lead us into all truth?

No, Jesus did not! Jesus promised the Holy Spirit would lead the disciples into all truth, not you. Not me, and not the Presbyterian Church U.S.A, who the last couple weeks blamed the guidance of the Holy Spirit for their resolution lifting a celibacy requirement for non married clergy so as to allow for homosexual “pastors” to shack up with their partners in the local parsonage. That was not the Holy Spirit.
I mean this is a game that has been playing out for sometime now. It is as old as Christianity itself, that when someone doesn’t like something Jesus said, or the apostle’s wrote, which is the same as if Jesus said it because theyr were his apostles setn by him to speak for him, they say the Holy Spirit is leading them to feel something new, or think in a different way, and it always seems to be quite a self serving thing. Heresy after heresy claim this, it is the basis of Mormonism.
And it raises a big question, how do we know if it is th Holy Spirit that is speaking to us or not. Folks there are many spirits out there, and few of them in this world “Holy.” Don’t be deceived! The Holy Spirit does not deceive, he does not lie, and he does not go back on what he said. He speaks to truth, truth is truth, if it was truth yesterday it is true today. So I don’t care what you felt, I don’t care what you think, I care what God’s word says. God’s word does not contradict itself. So you have a duty to test the spirits and new teachings according to that which he has given you, whether it is the Holy Spirit or not, and this test is to see if it corresponds to the testimony of the apostles to whom he was promised, the word that they recorded in the scriptures of the New Testament which are in agreement with that of the Old Testament.
Because that is finally where we are going to find in no uncertain terms the Holy Spirit working, not wher we want to find him, or would like to find him, but where he promises to be found, in the word and in the sacraments. And it is there and through these that Holy Spirit convicts the world concerning sin, that is not excusing it but convicting them concerning it. He does this because the world does not believe in Jesus. The world does not have any reason to believe in Jesus, as long as they are ignorant of sin. You need the law before you can have the gospel. It does not do the church to loosen up on what is and isn’t sin. It is not something that the church can change anyway. Sin is sin just as truth is truth. It does not do for the church to ignore or excuse sin. Because the church is here to proclaim Christ and the forgiveness of sins, which forgiveness is not believed in if one does not thin they need it. But it is in the word and the sacraments that the Holy Spirit also convicts the world concerning Righteousness, because Jesus is with the Father. He convicts the world concerning righteousness, that is He proclaims the gospel of Jesus Christ who is with the Father, who is then endorsed as it were with the Father. So it is Jesus who makes us Righteous through his death and resurrection into which we were baptized, in which faith we a sustained through the Body and Blood he shed for us on the cross, and it is in and through the word and sacraments that he convicts the world concerning judgment, letting us know that the ruler of this world, Satan who would lead us to ignore God’s word concerning both sin and righteousness is judged, that is condemned, and in that we rejoice. Because he was condemned and we were given salvation with the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Now the peace of God surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

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