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May 31, 2009

Day of Pentecost
31 May 2009

John 15:25-26; 16:4b-15

Loads of talk these days about the Holy Spirit.  Holy Spirit this.  Holy Spirit that.  Lutherans are accused of not talking about the Holy Spirit enough.  “Poor Holy Spirit,” they say.  “You Lutherans don’t give Him enough attention.  Talk more of the Holy Spirit.”

Nonsense!  The Holy Spirit isn’t the star of the Holy Trinity.  He’s the shy member of the Holy Trinity.  Yes, that’s right, I said it:  THE SHY MEMBER OF THE TRINITY!  The Spirit refuses to talk about Himself.  He’d rather talk about someone else.  The Holy Spirit doesn’t want the spotlight on the Holy Spirit.  He wants someone else in the Holy Trinity to get all the attention.

Who is that?  Jesus.  Yes, that’s right:  Jesus!

When it comes to Jesus, shy member of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, is very bullish.  Very focused.  Jesus says:  “When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me.” 

Did you catch that?  “He [the Holy Spirit] will testify about me,” Jesus declares.  The Spirit, the Counselor, the Spirit of truth, bears witness to Jesus.  To Jesus!  Not to Himself!  But to Jesus. 

The Spirit’s all about Jesus.  The Spirit’s all for Jesus.  Jesus:  conceived by the Holy Spirit-ed word put into Mary’s ears.  Jesus:  standing in the sin-infested baptismal water of the Jordan.  Why?  To take that sin, carry it all to Calvary, and answer for it all in His Body on the cross.  Upon that Jesus the Spirit descends in the form of the dove. 

Jesus is the Savior who takes on our flesh and dies with your sin in His Body.  Jesus sheds His Blood for your cleansing.  Jesus is the sacrifice that atones for your sin.  Jesus takes the damnation sinners deserve.  Jesus crushes the slimy serpent’s head and puts death to death through His Good Friday and Easter work. 

And so the Spirit testifies to Jesus.  In this work the Spirit is the Counselor or Comforter. 

What is your sin?  Name it.  What have you failed to do?  What are your false gods?  Who is it – what is it — that you trust more than Jesus?  What is it that the devil always dredges up from your past in order to take you straight to hell? 

The Spirit, the Spirit of truth, sent by the Son from the Father, comes to your help.  Your aid.  For your comfort.  The Spirit speaks up.  Comes out of His shell to tell you:  “A sinner you are.  Absolutely.  And you certainly deserve God’s temporal and eternal punishment.  But cling to the life of Jesus who died for you.  Who baptized you with His Name and who gives you His own body and blood in the Sacrament.  All your sins belong to Jesus not to you!  He’s taken them and answered for them.  He doesn’t hold them against you.  I’m here to give witness.  Not to Myself but to Jesus.  He died for you!” 

How wonderful.  The Spirit preaches Jesus.  “He will testify about me,” Jesus teaches so clearly.

And when there’s a crucified and risen Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins sermon going on, you know that the Holy Spirit is at work. 

When your hearing Jesus preached into your ears – when sinners are baptized in Jesus’ name – when sinners are given to hear the invitation to eat and drink at the altar – the Holy Spirit has rolled up His sleeves and is busy at work.  Testifying to Jesus.  “Bringing glory” to Jesus as Jesus Himself says.

The Holy Spirit’s all about comforting you with Jesus.  Jesus.  Jesus.  Jesus.  He could care less if you notice Him or not.   

Now if you insist on not believing the Spirit’s witnessing and glorying in Jesus, then your end will be hellacious!  Think you’re too good for Jesus then you stand condemned already by the Spirit.  Listen to Jesus:  “When he comes he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin . . . in regard to sin because people do not believe in me.”

There are many tragic and heartbreaking things in this life.  But the biggest is what Jesus doesn’t want but it still happens.  Some people just insist on it:  it’s unbelief.  Rejecting the Holy Spirit’s witness and glorying in Jesus the Savior. 

And yet the Spirit goes on giving witness and glorying in Jesus.  Especially in the righteousness of Jesus.  And the righteousness of Jesus is this:  What’s His is yours.  His life, suffering, death and resurrection all counts for you.  His going to the Father in His ascension counts for you too.  Jesus, through the Holy Spirit filled Word and Sacraments, lords His sin forgiving and life giving work over you.  His life passes muster before the Father for you.  Not yours.

Jesus reigns over you with His bloody wounds.  Covering your sin with His blood. 

And so the devil, the prince of this world, is judged.  He lies, deceives, and pretends that he’s still in charge over you.  But he’s not.  Jesus has won.  Jesus is Lord.  

And the Spirit takes “what belongs to Jesus” – the blessings of Jesus’ suffering and death – “and makes it all known to you.”  Good Friday’s benefits – forgiveness, life and salvation – are given in Baptism, the preached and written Gospel, Absolution, and the Lord’s Supper.  The Spirit “speaks only what He hears” Jesus says.

And what the Spirit hears is Jesus.  Jesus:  the crucified and risen One.  Jesus is all the talk among the three Persons of the Holy Trinity.  And the Spirit’s job is to give witness and to give all glory to Jesus. 

With Jesus you are forgiven.  You have salvation.  Heaven is yours.

And so every Sunday as you hear Jesus preached as the crucified and risen Savior that He is for you, the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life, is at work doing His thing.  Shyly and yet very bullishly.  And what joy and pleasure:  every Sunday is a little Pentecost, namely, a pouring out of the Holy Spirit into your lives for trusting and believing in Jesus.  What comfort! 

In the Name of Jesus.                 


From → "B" Sermons

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