Due to technical difficulties, no audio for today’s sermon.
23Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.24Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.
25“These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you.26But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
27“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.28You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.29And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe.30I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me,31but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.”
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Jesus says that the Holy Spirit’s job is, “to bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”
What was the last thing you forgot? Now, there’s a scary question. If you can remember the last thing you forgot, then you’ve remembered. You maybe didn’t remember on time, but you did remember. The very question, “What was the last thing you forgot?” makes you wonder the dozens, or thousands, of things that you should remember but don’t.
We all have stories of entering the room with decision, purpose, and intent but we enter the room and ask ourselves, “What did I come here to do?” Some mornings, in the clamor of trying to get the kids to school, I frantically search for my keys wondering to myself, “Where in the world and I put them?” only to look down and find my misplaced keys in my hand.
Well, today is Pentecost. We are fifty days after Easter, and today we celebrate God sending His Holy Spirit. And, I hope you remember, three weeks ago Jesus said that the Holy Spirit convicts the world concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment (Jn. 16:5-15).
In case you don’t remember, the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin to show us that we need a Savior, Jesus. The Holy Spirit convicts us of righteousness to show us that Jesus’ perfect sacrifice on the cross makes us righteous. And the Holy Spirit convicts us of judgment to remind us that Satan no longer has any claim on us because he is judged.
In other words, wherever the Gospel is preached, where Jesus’ death and resurrection are proclaimed, where Jesus is announced as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world – there, the Holy Spirit is, without question, at work. Wherever the Word of God is being faithfully proclaimed, the Holy Spirit is doing His work calling, gathering, enlightening, sanctifying, and preserving the Christian Church.
In our Old Testament reading (Gen. 11:1-9), we heard how God dispersed the people after the Flood. They had plans to build a tower that would have its top in the heavens. Possibly, they were trying to protect themselves from another flood even though God had promised to never flood the earth again. They were sinfully rebelling against God’s command to fill the earth. However, God, in His mercy, came down to stop their sin and to disperse them by confusing their language – sort of a “we can do this the easy way or the hard way.” By this act of judgment, God nudges His creatures to do what He commanded them.
In our reading from Acts (2:1-21), we heard how God doesn’t remove the confusion of language He brought to Babel. Instead, God continues to be gracious. So the Gospel can be proclaimed in all creation, God gives the apostles the gift of speaking in tongues. They are enabled to preach the mighty works of God in all the human languages present that day of Pentecost.
We didn’t hear Peter’s whole sermon in our reading today. But in the next fifteen versus, he preaches Jesus. He doesn’t preach about the Holy Spirit; he preaches Jesus. And what happens in the crowd reveals the Holy Spirit’s work. They are convicted of sin.
They heard that Jesus, whom they crucified, was both Lord and Christ. And when they heard this, “they were cut to the heart,” and asked, “What shall we do?” And Peter continued to be the Holy Spirit’s instrument saying, “Repent.” Now, the people were already convicted, so Peter isn’t telling them to feel bad about their sin. Instead, the Holy Spirit through Peter is telling the people to trust Jesus’ forgiveness.
“Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. For this promise is for you and for your children and all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to Himself” (Act. 2:38-39). That day, 3,000 souls were added to the Christian church by the working of the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit continued to work in those believers’ hearts reminding them of Christ’s forgiveness.
The devil’s work is similar to the Holy Spirit’s work, but only at one point. The devil wants to do the first work of the Holy Spirit but leave you there. Like entering a room and not remembering why you are there, the devil wants to leave you in the fog and doubt of your sin.
Thank God for the Holy Spirit! He removes the fog. No matter how thick and dense your sin is, the Holy Spirit brings to your remembrance the truth that God has removed your every sin, transgression, and iniquity sin by Jesus’ death and resurrection.
And the Holy Spirit is about to do another work.
The only other time that Jesus uses this word, ‘remembrance,’ is when He institutes the Lord’s Supper. Jesus says to take and eat the bread which is His Body given unto death and to drink the wine which is His very Blood shed for the forgiveness of your sins. Jesus says we are to do this ‘in remembrance’ of Him.
Through this Bread and Wine, the Holy Spirit is at work giving you Jesus. Believe Him that through this holy and blessed Sacrament, all your sins are completely forgiven. Then, rise and go from here remembering the comfort of your Savior’s mercy. Amen.
The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds inChrist Jesus. Amen.