What the Holy Spirit Reveals

The dove with the olive branch has come to symbolize peace, but many forget that it stems from the book of Genesis, in which the dove returns to Noah with an olive branch, to show that God was at peace with the world and new life would now spring forth. The peace of Christ is a peace the world cannot give, reconciliation with our creator!

Easter 6 2019 Sermon PDF

John 14:23–29 (CSB)

23 Jesus answered, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 The one who doesn’t love me will not keep my words. The word that you hear is not mine but is from the Father who sent me.
25 “I have spoken these things to you while I remain with you. 26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you.

27 “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Don’t let your heart be troubled or fearful. 28 You have heard me tell you, ‘I am going away and I am coming to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. 29 I have told you now before it happens so that when it does happen you may believe.

Dear fellow redeemed: These words of Jesus are in answer to a question from one of the twelve.  They were in the upper room on the night in which He was betrayed, shortly after the words of last week’s text in which he tells us that the world will know us as His disciples by our love for one another.

He tells us that He is the way the truth and the life, the only way to heaven, and that His disciples, those who know him, will see him, but not the world.  “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?” the disciple asks.  The answer is that only those who possess spiritual life and faith in Christ will know Him now or have fellowship with Him in heaven. To accomplish this, Jesus will send the Holy Spirit, and …

THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL REMIND US of

  1. The Love of the Father
  2. The Comfort of the Spirit
  3. The Peace of the Savior

The Love of the Father

The first thing that Jesus reveals to us is the love of the Father for us, and His desire for us to be His own.  There are four things that Jesus links together, Our love for Christ, our obedience to Him, The Father’s love for us and His dwelling with us 23 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. Our love for Christ shows, it shows in our desire to serve and obey Him.  The Father’s love shows in His desire for us to dwell with Him, to be close to Him, spirit to Spirit.

The Father’s love and fellowship is not something we deserve, as Isaiah says, Isaiah 59:2 (CSB)

But your iniquities are separating you

from your God,

and your sins have hidden his face from you

so that he does not listen.

That is what we deserve by nature.

Can you be sure that the Father loves you, that He and the Son “will come  to [you] and make [their] home with [you]“?  Putting it another way, do you know whether the sins that have separated us from God have been atoned for, have been made up for?  To answer that question, we have remember all that Christ has said about the love of God for us.

Can you remember what Christ has told us about God’s love?  How much does God love the world?  “so [much] that He gave “  WHAT?  His son.  And Paul puts that in perspective for us, in Romans 8:32 (CSB) 32 He did not even spare his own Son but offered him up for us all. How will he not also with him grant us everything?

This is so crucial when we are doubtful of God’s love.  Satan rails against the love of God, people around us scoff and point to the suffering and the pain that is in the world.  And we ourselves are touched with grief and sorrow and pain.  We are wracked with age and sickness, and especially our guilt, REAL guilt, not just feelings.  Could God really love us?

We could argue about it.  But while truth creates good arguments, good arguments aren’t always true.  We need a source of TRUTH, of data.  What did God do to show His love?

That is why it is comforting to know where the writers of the New Testament got their data – from Christ, who sent the Holy Spirit: 26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you.   That is what Christ said.  What did the apostles say? This:  1 Corinthians 2:13 (CSB) 13 We also speak these things, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things to spiritual people.

The Holy Spirit had certainly reminded them of everything that Jesus Said, and they have brought it to us.

The love of God isn’t something wondered at and guessed at and hoped for.  It is something that God Himself has pulled apart the curtain of heaven for us to see.

The Comfort of the Spirit

Is it any wonder that the Jesus calls the Holy Spirit the “Counselor” or “Comforter”?  Just think what our lives would be like if the Holy Spirit were not active in our lives, if Christ had not sent Him to us.

To begin with, if we knew about Christ at all without the Holy Spirit’s work, it would only be a kind of cultural memory – it would not touch our heart, ignite faith, work new life.  If there were any writings at all, they would be the dim recollections and impressions of those who knew the Christ.  There would be no prophecies, no perfect unity to the New Testament, and no perfect unity of doctrine.  Gone would be the comfort of knowing what is true, left would be the wondering doubt of those who can never know for sure.

Without the comfort of the Holy Spirit, our hearts, which are cold and dead by nature, would remain cold and dead.  “No man can say that Jesus is Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.”  So, there would be none who could know the true Lord.

Gone would be the love for God and man that is the work of the Holy Spirit.  The institutions of the Christian world which reflected the love of Christians for their fellow man would be unknown: Hospitals, orphanages, the high regard for women.  These came with Christianity, not before.

But since Christ has given us the Holy Spirit, we do have the comfort of knowing Him.  As Paul says, Philippians 3:10–11 (CSB) 10 My goal is to know him and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings, being conformed to his death, 11 assuming that I will somehow reach the resurrection from among the dead.

We stand firm in the certainty of God’s love because of God’s own assurance, which God the Holy Spirit gives, as it is written, 2 Corinthians 1:21–22 (CSB) 21 Now it is God who strengthens us together with you in Christ, and who has anointed us. 22 He has also put his seal on us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a down payment.

God comes to us, the Holy Spirit comes to us through the means of grace, the gospel in word and sacrament, and we receive Him by faith, which He Himself works in us.  While faith is worked in us, it is not in us or in our experience that Christ is found.  All the false religions of the world are found in the visions, speculations, and experiences of human beings.

The temples of the gods in Greece and Rome had tricks built into them, like magic tricks, so that people could “experience” the visitation of the “god.”  Mohammed, Joseph Smith, the eastern gurus, and tribal shamans all indulged in various practices that resulted in some ecstatic “experience” that appeared to them to have spiritual significance.  The same practices affect also the “charismatic” or enthusiast religious groups that supposedly speak in tongues, have visions and “experience God.”

But the love of God is not shown in our feeling, but in His action to save us.  Likewise, His peace is not a quelling of the emotions in our body, but in the removal of all our offense toward God, and the satisfaction of His wrath.

The Peace of the Savior.

But are you and I worthy of the Love of God?  Are we worthy of the comfort of the Holy Spirit?  What have we done to deserve it?  There is a real tendency for us to be uncertain of this gift.  That is a natural thing, just as those who have been given riches often are fearful that this good thing would be taken away from them.

But we need not be fearful, the peace that Christ gives to us is not what you and I are used to, as He says, 27 “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Don’t let your heart be troubled or fearful.

Think of the many ways in which we use the word “peace”– harmony, calm, composure, serenity, tranquility; the absence of conflict.  There are many kinds of peace.  They may mean absence of fear, confidence in being loved and accepted, peace between nations.

But in every instance, such peace, the peace that the world gives, is transitory.  We don’t come through one war without fearing another.  We don’t get through one phase of turmoil in life without being aware of the likelihood of more turmoil.  Man cries, “Peace Peace,” but there is no lasting peace.

But the Peace that Christ gives us is different.  The peace of Christ is perfect, – an absolute cessation of hostilities between us and God.  We are truly reconciled to Him.  “There is now no condemnation upon them which are in Christ Jesus.”

The peace of Christ is lasting.  As the writer to the Hebrews says, Hebrews 10:14 (CSB) 14 For by one offering he has perfected forever those who are sanctified.

Christ has ascended into heaven, (as we celebrate this Thursday) but the victory that He won for us will never be reversed.  The triumph that started on that Easter morning will go on to the end of the ages, and beyond that in heaven itself.  For the Holy Spirit in His word reminds us of these:  The love of the Father, the Comfort of the Spirit, and the Peace of the Son, our Savior.  AMEN.