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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Sermon 05062012, Easter 4, 4th Sunday After Easter

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer.  AMEN.

Let us pray, Jesus Christ is Risen from the dead, Alleluia!  Jesus Christ You said that You had to go to the Father in order that the Helper would come.  Jesus Christ You promised His coming would convict the world of sin and righteousness because of our unbelief.  May we begin to understand the Holy Spirit is our great Helper and in His glorifying You, we will be guided by His disclosure to understand more fully Your will for all of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel this morning.  AMEN.

Jesus Christ is Risen and the Spirit of Truth will guide you! He is risen indeed Alleluia!

During the colder months of the year, Sarah and I had a little ritual that we would do sometimes at lunch time and sometimes after dinner.  We would play the game of ‘hide and seek’.  It was funny to try and explain this game to Sarah and hear her count in the other room with her meek angelic voice.  There were some places that I would hide that she would find me quickly, so I had to become more creative as to where I would hide.  When she had been looking for a minute or two and hadn’t found me, I would whistle for her like my Father used to when I was her age and we were playing hide and seek and she would come running into the room looking again.  Every time she found me she would get excited and give me a great big hug and kiss.  And the first word out of her mouth, ‘again’.  She loved that special time with her Father.

Last week I promised you a connection with our theme of Jesus going to the Father and this mornings Gospel is the fulfillment of that promise.  Jesus tells us clearly that He in going to be with the Father made us a promise.  This promise is that God the Father and Jesus Christ His only Son will send the Spirit of Truth to guide us.  God’s promises are not empty words of promise like some politicians who promise to change the government and then become a part of what is a problem.  God the Father and Jesus Christ have a track record that we can look at and see their promises and their fulfillment.  For example, God the Father promised in Genesis when Adam and Eve had just eaten the fruit and brought sin into the world, God the Father through Paul in Romans reminds us that though sin entered through one man, grace enters through Jesus Christ and His innocent death on Calvary for each and every one of us.  So to when King David as ruler over Israel conquers all those in opposition to the Lord, the promise is that David will not build a place for God to dwell, but David will have a son that will fulfill this.  And to David is born Solomon who builds the temple where the Ark of the Covenant is placed and God’s promise is fulfilled for David in Solomon and for us today through the promise of Jesus Christ of the Holy Spirit.

For the Holy Spirit comes to each of us today.  When we had my ordination a few years ago we were privileged to have other clergy from here in Goodland attend and take part in the service.  In a conversation afterwards Jason Trupp, then Pastor of the Four Square Church said that the Holy Spirit was clearly present in and among us at that service.  And my comment to him was we always have the Holy Spirit present and we are reminded of this with the Eternal Flame above the Altar.  This is the reminder that God the Holy Spirit is always here dwelling among us as was promised to us by Jesus Christ, but also with us in the Holy Supper around the Altar and especially when we baptize children.  For we invoke, Father, Son and Holy Spirit in Whom we baptize and seal the child or adult with the seal of the Holy Spirit upon their head and their heart.  This promise is fulfilled also when we pray for the Holy Spirit to come in the Holy Supper where we receive Jesus Christ precious Body and Blood and are empowered to live lives of faith spreading the Gospel message of Jesus Christ.

But one may ask, what is the job of the Holy Spirit?  Clearly Jesus Christ tells us from our Gospel this morning that the role of the Holy Spirit is to guide us.  The Holy Spirit in fulfillment of the plan of salvation found in and through Jesus Christ innocent death on Calvary has been sent to guide and create faith in us.  Luther’s Catechism says it so well, “What is the work of the Holy Spirit?  The work of the Holy Spirit is called conversion, or regeneration or new birth.  This change of mind and heart, which the Holy Ghost wrought in us when He enlightened us with His gifts by giving us faith in Christ, is called Conversion, turning, because He turned us from sin towards our Savior; it is also called Regeneration or a New Birth, because a new attitude or feeling toward God, a new spiritual life, was born in us; we are “created in Christ Jesus”, became “a new creature”.  All these are figurative expressions, which in plain words mean that the Holy Ghost has wrought faith in our hearts.””  Because of the work of the Holy Spirit in each of our lives we have been redeemed by the Blood of Jesus Christ and are set free from sin, death and the devil.  The promise to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, to David of the coming Christ and the fulfillment found in Jesus Christ innocent death on Calvary for us is fulfilled completely by the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives that sets us free because of the promise God made to us.
This weekend marked the opening of the Avengers movie by Marvel Comics.  If you have watched any of the previous movies like Thor, Iron Man or Captain America there was always an allusion, sometimes small and sometimes direct of the Avenger Initiative, but now the promise has been fulfilled of a movie that brings all of our favorite super heroes together.  So to from our Gospel this morning Jesus Christ explains more fully that He will return to the Father, but the Holy Spirit comes to speak on His behalf and we know from our Catechism that it is the Holy Ghost that “calls, gathers, enlightens and sanctifies and keeps each of us in the Christian faith.”  For this promise is fulfilled as we hear God’s Word spoken, eat Jesus Christ precious Body and Blood around the Altar and leave God’s Altar and His House with a new attitude and calling to spread the salvation message to and for all mankind, especially all of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel this morning.  AMEN.
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