Sunday, May 12, 2013

Exaudi - The Sunday after the Ascension. 2013. John 15:24-16:4



Exaudi, The Sunday after the Ascension, 2013


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson




The Hymn # 9            O Day of Rest                        1:89
The Confession of Sins
The Absolution
The Introit p. 16
The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19
The Epistle and Gradual       
The Gospel              
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn #195            Christ Jesus Lay            1:46

The Spirit of Truth

The Communion Hymn # 341            Crown Him     1:70
The Preface p. 24
The Sanctus p. 26
The Lord's Prayer p. 27
The Words of Institution
The Agnus Dei p. 28
The Nunc Dimittis p. 29
The Benediction p. 31
The Hymn #261   Lord Keep Us Steadfast                   1:93

KJV 1 Peter 4:7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. 8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. 9 Use hospi```tality one to another without grudging. 10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
John 15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:  27 And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning. 16:1 These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended.  2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.  3 And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.  4 But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you.

Prayer
Lord God, heavenly Father, we give thanks unto Thee, that through Thy Holy Spirit Thou hast appointed us to bear witness of Thy dear Son, our Lord Jesus Christ: We beseech Thee, inasmuch as the world cannot endure such testimony, and persecutes us in every way, grant us courage and comfort, that we may not be offended because of the cross, but continue steadfastly in Thy testimony, and be found always among those who know Thee and Thy Son, until we obtain eternal salvation through the same, Thy Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.




The Spirit of Truth


Lacking today is the most basic concept of the Holy Spirit. If anyone wonders about the value of the historic lessons, look at how much the sending of the Holy Spirit is emphasized in these readings from John’s Gospel.

The correct understanding of the Holy Spirit’s work is elaborated by Jesus Himself in these sermons unique to the Fourth Gospel. One common excuses is, “I worship Jesus, not Luther.” Then people should listen to Jesus in these passages. Or – as one member of the WELS Synodical Council said (yes, a pastor) – “The Book of Concord is boring and irrelevant.”

Some common errors today:
  1. Baptism is not effective and people who worship at church are not real Christians unless they have a separate Holy Spirit baptism which they prove by speaking in tongues, dancing, and falling out of their chairs laughing.
  2. Baptism is not effective unless the individual is older and immersed.
  3. We can tell how much God has blessed someone or some church by the material gain in evidence.

John 15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:

The Bible teaches consistently that the Holy Spirit is always at work in the Word and never apart from the Word – Isaiah 55:8ff.

This one verse shows how the Holy Trinity is at work. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit from the Father. There are many PhDs who do not recognize the Holy Trinity in the Bible. They find no evidence at all. In fact, the modern author of double-justification, Georg C. Knapp (Halle University), taught that the Scriptures did not support the Christian Church’s teaching on the Trinity. That is because modern Biblical rationalism/doubt came from the Biblical Pietism of Halle.

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth. How can we know what this truth is? Clearly, we look for that divine truth in the unchanging Word of God.

Doubts about baptism come from not grasping this verse from Jesus and its connections with the entire Bible.

The power of baptism is not the water and not the age of the individual. It is not even in the parents, the individual, or the minister who baptizes. That is clear when we recognize emergency baptisms done by nurses at a Catholic or a secular hospital.

The sole power of baptism is the Holy Spirit in the Word. Many recognize that in their own way when they dedicate their babies, using the same Scriptures we use to baptize them – Let the children come to Me and forbid them not, for to such belongs to the Kingdom of God. (Infant faith alert!)

For dedication day, they do not read from Whitman’s poetry or Grant’s autobiography. They recognize the power of the Word and argue for infant dedication and raising the child in the Gospel.

Pentecostals are far more rationalistic, because they disparage faith in favor of dramatic signs. Someone is not truly in the Kingdom, they claim, unless certain signs are obvious to all – tongues, laughter, dancing, and falling down in laughter. In claiming that traditional baptism is not enough, they attack the entire Book of the Holy Spirit, the Scriptures. They substitute their claims for the Spirit of Truth. They claim special healings without dealing with the reality of sickness or the fact of God working miracles outside of their denomination. For that reason many so-called miracles are simply faked for the gullible, as Jesus warned about using “signs.” (Matthew 7:15ff)
The Lutherans, who should know the most, seem to know the least. They are so feeble on this topic that they run to the seminars and schools of every possible sect to find out how to be “successful.”

They doubt the work of God when it does not make them good about it, so they feel the need to add their special skills to make the Word effective.

27 And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.

Jesus commanded them to be faithful and promised they would suffer for it. They are witnesses to the truth. The Father and Son sent the Holy Spirit for their guidance and wisdom, so their work was a combination of their own experience and the teaching of God.

The Christian Church rests upon the foundation of Christ’s work as witnessed by the apostles and the others who saw the risen Lord. Just as Jesus was sent by the Father, the apostles (literally sent) were sent by Jesus to bear witness to this truth.

This word witness is very important to us today. We depend on witnesses in trials, to tell the truth about what they saw and heard. In fact, we are not supposed to draw conclusions unless the witness has been tested, cross-examined.

I was speaking to a foreign student the other day. He is from the Pacific, near New Guinea. He wanted to become better in English, so I suggested the Gospel of John. He immediately began speaking about how simple and profound the Gospel is.

We discussed that for quite some time.

The four Gospel writers do not draw attention to themselves, and the early historians were not too interested in that topic. However, we know from the various bits of data that John’s Gospel is from the disciple John. Internally, the evidence is clear that this writer was a first-hand witness.  It has the immediacy of the eye-witness.

This shows how God provided for us. We would have plenty of material with the first three Gospels. But John’s Gospel has the long sermon passages, special historical references, and extra detail that add so much to our knowledge and appreciation of the truth of God’s Word.

16:1 These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended.  2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.  3 And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.
 
The truth being told the apostles included the opposition they would face. Jesus was quite clear that being loved by God meant being hated by the world. Although our Old Adam rebels against this, the worst crime is to say, “How can we make everyone love us, or at least to stop offending them?”

When evolution began to be taught in America, in the 19th century, the Evangelicals began to compromise about Creation. In time the mainline denominations became embarrassed about Creation and even went to court to help promote evolution.

However, many of the most famous scientists of the past, revered in the history books, also believed in Creation and always taught accordingly.

When evolution is the assumption, almost anything bad can come from it. As Ben Stein noted, the treatment of believing scientists is very much like Hitler’s treatment of all his enemies. Anything is justified because it is not in accord with the assumption of evolution.

The cross causes many to scurry back to their place of comfort, where no one is offended except Christ. But when people hear the Word and diligently keep it, they are not dismayed and filled with doubt because of the cross. In time they see it as a blessing, as it was when Christ died for the sins of the world.



3 And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.

People need to know that the hatred comes from unbelief. The shunning and spite begins as if “You deserve it, because you are a bad person.”

Teach the Gospel and those who hate it will make it known. Some are atheists. Others are clergy. Still others are laity. Opposition highlights the truth of the Gospel and drives it into new places to flourish.

4 But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you.

Because this truth comes from Jesus, we must be mindful of our mandate to teach God’s Truth, not man’s opinions. The apostle Peter used unusual words, easy to remember, they are

1 Peter 4:10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Quotations

"We have the comfort of this victory of Christ—that He maintains His Church against the wrath and power of the devil; but in the meantime we must endure such stabs and cruel wounds from the devil as are necessarily painful to our flesh and blood. The hardest part is that we must see and suffer all these things from those who call themselves the people of God and the Christian Church. We must learn to accept these things calmly, for neither Christ nor the saints have fared better."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 263. Exaudi John 15:26-16:4.

"From these two convictions—that they do not know Him and that they persecute and slay His advocates—Christ now passes the judgment that the so-called Church is not the Church. He then concludes that with their false doctrines and persecutions they are both liars and murderers of God and of Christ and of all His saints."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 270. Exaudi John 15:26-16:4.

"It is not the devil's aim to plague us physically; he is a spirit who is always thirsting for the tears and the drops of blood that come from our hearts. He wants us to despair and to perish from sadness. This would be his joy and delight. But he will not succeed."
What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, III, p. 1244. John 15:19.

"Nevertheless, He has said that the Holy Spirit should testify of him and that they also should bear witness; and He assures them that their testimony shall not be effaced by this rage and persecution of the world."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 258. Exaudi John 15:26-16:4.

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