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Whit Sunday/Pentecost 24/5/2015 8 am St Martin's Acts 2.1-21
John 15.26 Jesus said ‘When the Advocate 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. 27 And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.
16.1 ‘All this I have told you so that you will not fall away. 2 They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God. 3 They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. 4 I have told you this, so that when their time comes you will remember that I warned you about them. I did not tell you this from the beginning because I was with you, 5 but now I am going to him who sent me. None of you asks me, “Where are you going?” 6 Rather, you are filled with grief because I have said these things. 7 But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgement: 9 about sin, because people do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned. 12 ‘I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.’
Jesus was going to be betrayed shortly, crucified the next day, rise from death, ascend to heaven forty after this and ten days after that send the Holy Spirit on his followers.
Jesus said that it was good that He was going so that the Holy Spirit could come, verse 7. This was a revolutionary change in how God would relate to people.
In the Old Testament God revealed himself to individuals rarely, also through the prophets, occasionally through miracles, and through His law. This was not enough to transform people and give them the ability to know and love God and follow His ways. A law was needed that was written on people's hearts, as the prophet Jeremiah (31) looked forward to.
After Jesus had come, showed us what God is like, and reconciled us to God through the cross, God sent the Holy Spirit.
Jesus could only be in one place at one time. Since he first Pentecost God lives within His people. Changing people from within. Giving them the power to see their own shortcomings and turn to God. Jesus talked about this from verse 8 When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 about sin, because people do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and about judgement, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.
The early church experienced the power of the Holy Spirit when they heard the mighty wind and saw tongues of fire. They were then empowered to fearlessly go and tell others about Jesus. 3,000 men came to faith on the first Pentecost Sunday when Peter preached to them.
v. 7 When the Advocate 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.
The Advocate, also translated Comforter, is one called alongside someone to help. The context is a legal one, so one might think of a type of solicitor. He will be sent by God the Son, from God the Father. He is not earned or deserved but a gift sent, just like the gift of faith, which comes about through the work of the Spirit.
Christians can be secure knowing that God the Holy Spirit lives within them and will always be there. He is the Spirit of truth. God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are all characterised by their truthfulness. Therefore, as Christians we need never fear close examination of our faith because it is based on eternal truths. This contrasts with the devil who is a liar.
he will testify about me.: God the Holy Spirit opens people's eyes to the truth, revealing Jesus as the way, the truth and the life, the only way to God (14:6).
John uses the word witness or testify 47 times ( Matthew 1: Mark 3: Luke 2). His gospel was written to witness to Jesus and elicit belief ( 20;31) 'But these are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ and by believing you may have life in his name.'
The Spirit is sent to glorify the Son and , thereby the Father. But, to be more effective he needs followers of Jesus to share their own experience of their personal relationship with him. 27 And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.
Disciples need the Holy Spirit to give them the power to witness. The Holy Spirit needs people to share their testimony. This does not mean that every Christian is expected or gifted to be an evangelist, about 10% are thought to have that gift. But every Christian is called and empowered to share their story, even if it is very simply.
We need to do this as individuals and as a church. One of the three aims of Living Gods Love is to make new disciples.
God gives believers other gifts to exercise within the church, to build up the church and enable it make a positive contribution to the world. Another aim of Living God's Love is to transform communities. This can range from Knebworth to Nepal.
As well as gifting believers for service the Holy Spirit also helps believers to grow fruit. Love, joy, pace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self control. This links with Living God's Love goal to go deeper into God.
So, the Holy Spirit lives within believers. He brings people to faith. Gives power to tell others about Jesus. Gives gifts to people in the church to serve. Gives fruit to make believers more like Jesus. But how can these teachings become real in our lives?
We need to ask God to keep giving us His Spirit. In Ephesians 5.18 Paul encourages us to be filled with the Spirit. Again and again and again. Like a car re-fuelling.
We can do this with a simple prayer each morning. Something like,
Lord Jesus, thank you for going so that the Holy Spirit could come. Please fill me with the Spirit so I can live this day for you, share your love with others and glorify your name. Amen
John 16:5-15 : B.C.P 4th after Easter
John:16:5: But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? 6: But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart. 7: Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. 8: And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9: Of sin, because they believe not on me; 10: Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 11: Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. 12: I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 13: Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 14: He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. 15: All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
This week Chare Short resigned from the Cabinet saying , amongst other things, that Tony Blair cannot be trusted, and this prejudices people's view of politics and government. I don't know how many people are that naive in the first place, but it does raise the issue of trust.
If you believe a promise I would like to suggest that this depends on the trustworthiness of the promisor and their power to carry it out.
Today's gospel is part of the final conversation that Jesus had with his disciples just before he was betrayed. The next day he was crucified. He had been telling them of his forthcoming departure and the disciples were sad,6: But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart..
Jesus said that it was a good job he was going and promised 'the Comforter', verse 7, or "Helper." It is a legal term, but with a broader meaning than "counsel for the defense". It referred to any person who came alongside and helped someone in trouble with the law. The Spirit will always stand by Christ's people.
Jesus was saying that after he goes back to heaven, the ascension, he will send the Holy Spirit. This will be better because Jesus could only be with one disciple or group of disciples at a time. But God the Holy Spirit lives in every Christian, helping Christians to live for God and be like Jesus.
Jesus mentions some of the things that the Holy Spirit does :
16:8 he will the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: he will reprove the world. The work the Spirit does in the world is to convict people of their sin. The NT normally speaks of his work in believers.
16:9 Of sin, because they believe not on me; Apart from the Spirit's convicting work, people can never see themselves as sinners. because they believe not on me. May mean that their sin is their failure to believe, or that their unbelief is a classic example of sin. Typically, John may have had both of these in mind.
16:10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;
of righteousness. The righteousness or right standing before God is brought about by Christ's sacrificial death. No one but the Holy Spirit can reveal to a person that a righteous status before God does not depend on good works but on Christ's death on the cross. because I go to my Father. The ascension, which as part of Christ's exaltation placed God's seal of approval on Christ's redemptive act.
16:11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
Of judgment. Jesus was speaking of the defeat of Satan, which was a form of judgment, not simply a victory. More than power is in question. God acts with justice. prince of this world. Satan
16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
Spirit of truth. In essence and in action the Spirit is characterized by truth. He brings people to the truth of God. All three persons of the Trinity are linked with truth. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life whatsoever he shall hear. We are not told whether he hears from the Father or the Son, but it obviously does not matter, for the verse stresses the close relationship among the three.
things to come. Probably means the whole Christian way or revelation presented and preserved in the Bible, still future at the time Jesus spoke.
16:14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. 15: All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
The Spirit draws no attention to himself but promotes the glory of Christ and, by implication, God the Father. This work of the Holy Spirit will reveal God's truth, he will open the eyes of those who are spiritually blind. To see that the cross was not a humiliating defeat, but a victory over sin and death. To see that Jesus is more than a good man or outstanding teacher.
Every Christian has God the Holy Spirit living inside them. To guide us, speak to us, to glorify Jesus. Elsewhere the Bible says that he gives us power to live, gifts to build up the church, and nine fruit growing in our lives making us more like Jesus.
This promise of Jesus was fulfilled at Pentecost. We can trust in Jesus to fulfil all of his promises and know him in our hearts by his Spirit.