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Pentecost, June 4, 2017, St. John 14:23-31

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Posted: Sunday, June 4th, 2017 by Pastor Westgate

“You send forth Your Spirit, they are created, and You renew the face of the earth.” When God created the heavens and the earth out of nothing, The Holy Spirit was hovering over the waters, ready and waiting to breathe life out and to be breathed into man to give us life. He breathed into Adam earthly life, the life we breathe to this day. He also breathed into Adam eternal life, the very thing Adam lost when he sinned.

Adam sinned, and the world fell into death and decay. Even when it was all washed away by the waters of The Flood, death and decay kept marching on. It marched to the Plain where man determined to deify himself with his Tower. Instead man was made to babble to man at Babel. God confused their languages so they could not be gods, and man continued on to death and decay with his false gods.

His saints kept His Word. They rejected this world and loved Him. Noah built an ark. Abraham moved from Ur to Canaan. Moses turned his back on Egypt’s court. Jonathan sided with David against his father Saul. John preached against Herod. Prophets and Apostles lost their lives. Luther could have lost his life had the elector not protected him. Many came to this land to worship God aright, even though it would have been easier to just stay home.

His saints still keep His Word. Our Lord told His Apostles to teach exactly what He taught them. That’s The Church’s job. That’s what we strive to do in this congregation. We want to be faithful to what God’s Holy Spirit inspired holy men to write, from the moment Moses first laid pen to paper to write “In the beginning” to the moment St. John put down his pen at the end of Revelation.

Why is this so important? Are we just being put in shackles, slaves of a cold, angry God up above who has nothing to do with us? No. We want to be faithful to The Sacred Scriptures because we want to be faithful to our Savior. His decisions and teaching is not arbitrary. It is all thoroughly grounded in what Christ has done for us. It reflects how He created us and what sin has done to us. It’s all about Law and Gospel.

The Law is focused on God’s Ten Commandments. The Israelites celebrated the giving of these words from God at Mount Sinai on Pentecost. God’s Law tells us how God’s people live. He encourages us to live a certain way. He tells us how we should live and how we should not live. But if we do not live as He desires, there must be consequences. The Law teaches us the one who does not keep it must die.

Why? Because when you don’t keep God’s Law, you aren’t loving God with all your heart, soul, strength, and might. You’re loving the world, the devil, or your sinful flesh more instead at that time. Our sinfulness = devious steps that take us off the path to heaven. Our sinfulness is at war with the holy God, for sin and holy are too opposite to ever attract one to the other. The Holy Spirit tells us we deserve eternal death because of our sins.

But The Law is not the only word we have from God. We cannot keep God’s Law to stay in His family. Our sinful flesh just can’t do it. It’s impossible. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try, that we should just give in to our passions and lusts. We should control them and live as God says. But if we are ever to do that, we need God’s help. That help comes from The Gospel.

The Gospel does not give us new rules for living for God. It doesn’t tell us, “If you just do a certain thing or think a certain way you’ll get better.” The Gospel doesn’t tell us about us. The Law does that as it shows us how wicked we are. The Gospel tells us about Jesus. It tells us Who He is and what He did for us. He came down from heaven to make peace between God and man and to give us that peace.

The Holy Spirit tells us how eternal life was won for us. Jesus won it for us when He died. God’s own Son took on our flesh. He kept The Law we have never kept. He did it for you, and in response God says you have kept His Law. Then He was punished for all your sins. He felt their burden crush down on His holy Body. He suffered eternal hell for them. God eternal suffered eternal death. Holy God suffered for sin.

He suffered to deliver us from eternal suffering. He died to end our death. He rose to bring us back to life. What kind of life? Not a resumption of this sinful life, but life the way He originally intended it to be, a life pure and holy, fully centered on Him, totally free of wickedness, disease, death, and all sin, a life free of all coldness and ugliness but full of divine warmth and beauty, reflecting divine light and holiness forever.

He has joined you to this life. He joined you to it when He joined you to Christ. That happened when you were baptized. St. Paul says you were buried with Christ in His Death and risen with Him in His Resurrection when the water was poured over you. The Spirit came down from heaven to you then. He didn’t manifest Himself in a wind-sound or the tongues of flame that rested on the 120 who had been waiting in that Upper Room the past 10 days. He came with the spoken word. What was that Word? The Divine Name of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

That Name wasn’t just spoken over you or poured onto you. It is branded on you. You don’t see or feel it, but it’s there. You belong to God now. You don’t belong to the devil or this wicked world. You belong to Him Who died for you. The Holy Spirit has made God The Father your Father. He has made Jesus your Brother. That means He has made us all part of God’s family!

We are God’s family. We are no longer His enemies. The sin that cast us away from God is washed away. We are brought close to Him. We love Him and want to please Him. He richly and daily blesses us. We believe what He tells us because we love Him. That’s why we want to believe everything His Word teaches and reject whatever His Word does not teach. It’s out of love for Him Who saved us. His Spirit teaches us out of great love for us and for our souls.

We are God’s family, so let’s not forget it. Summer is family time. We like to visit family during summer, especially those who live far away. Did you know the most important family you have is Jesus’ family? Our earthly families are only a distant second. Why? Because the most important thing parents can ever do is bring their children to baptism and teach them about Jesus.

How can that be more important than anything else a parent does? Because salvation is found nowhere else. Salvation is found with Jesus alone, and you find Him wherever and whenever you find The Church gathered around His Word and Sacrament. There is nothing more important that that. That’s where you find His love. That’s where you get it. That’s where you come to take that love out throughout the world.

The Holy Ghost from heaven came. He came and the Apostles preached Christ and Him Crucified. We’ve been preaching Christ Crucified ever since. That’s God’s love for you. That’s God’s love that snatches us poor sinners out of hell to make us heaven’s holy saints. He has created us. He has renewed the face of the earth, namely, us, His holy Christian people.

Categories: Pastor Westgate's Sermons

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