May 20, 2018 [Pentecost/Confirmation]  John 14:25-27  J.D.Roekle

 

“All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” 

 

The Counselor Has Been Sent for You

 

Dear Friends in Christ,

          We just celebrated the season of Easter.  For seven consecutive Sundays (Mondays) of the church year we mark and celebrate a great miracle.  We celebrate the rising from the dead of our dear Savior, Jesus Christ.  You should know that God does not do miracles randomly without purpose.  There was great significance of Jesus’ resurrection for us.  First of all, the fact that Jesus rose bodily from the grave proves that he is who he claimed to be.  He is God’s one and only Son.  Since that is true, it also means that the purpose for which he came to earth – to redeem us from our sins – was accomplished.  Jesus is our Redeemer.  And finally, because Jesus rose bodily from the grave, it also assures us that he will raise us from the dead too, so that we will be in heaven forever with Jesus – both body and soul.  The grave cannot contain us just as it couldn’t contain Jesus.    

          Today is also a celebration of miracles.  Today is Pentecost.  Today is the day when the Holy Spirit, who Jesus promised, visited the apostles in an astonishing way.  The Spirit’s presence was felt as a rushing wind entered the room where the apostles were.  Evidence of the Spirit was visible by the flames of fire that rested on top of each of them.  The Spirit’s work on each of the apostles was evident as the disciples were able to speak in languages they had never spoken before.  If you have ever studied a foreign language, you know it normally takes years and years to master it.  The apostles had mastered it instantly so that they could spread the message about what Jesus had accomplished through his life, death and resurrection to people of various nations and languages. 

          As we mark these miracles today, we also mark the miracles in this building.  I’m talking about you.  I’m talking about each of you who have come to faith in Jesus as your Savior.  In so doing, the Spirit has miraculously convicted your hearts of the sin that is there and the Spirit has miraculously created faith in Jesus who forgives that sin.  You have gone from death to life.  Instead of being an enemy of God, you are now his ally. 

          And this miracle can only take place by the power of the Holy Spirit.  You cannot be a child of God apart from the Spirit’s work.  Having said that, you need to now realize that the Spirit isn’t done with you.  It isn’t as if he simply brings you to faith and then leaves you alone.  No, just as Jesus promised the Holy Spirit and delivered that Holy Spirit to his disciples at Pentecost, Jesus also promises that the Holy Spirit or Counselor has been sent for you.  Let’s consider what that all means for you. 

          When we use the term ‘counselor’, we may be thinking of different people.  We have counselors at schools.  They may help guide students with the classes they take, or they may help students with problems.  Lawyers are often times called counselors.  They consult with clients on what is best for them.  There are counselors for people who have addictions of various kinds.  Then there are counselors for any number of emotional or psychological or situational problems. 

          Our world knows well what counselors are.  That helps us to understand what work the Holy Spirit does when he is referred to as our Counselor.  All counselors advocate for us.  They help us.  And they do that in various ways.  One way in which counselors advocate for us is by teaching or informing us.  A lawyer teaches or informs his client about the rule of law.  A grief counselor helps her clients understand how they can cope with grief. 

          The Holy Spirit has been your Counselor since you first came to faith at Baptism.  He not only started that spark of faith, but he also nurtured it.  Just think about how important that has been to you.  If you were baptized as a baby, you weren’t even able to say the name Jesus yet.  The Holy Spirit used other people such as parents, pastors, teachers in Sunday School and Lutheran schools in order to teach you about God and his Word. And as the Word itself was being spoken and taught to you, you have been in the Holy Spirit’s classroom. 

          No matter where you are in life, the Holy Spirit isn’t done with you yet.  “You’re never too old to learn” is a truth that especially applies to God’s Word.  The Holy Spirit will continue to teach you.  He will continue to remind you of what you have already learned about your Savior Jesus, and he will continue to work to expand your knowledge.  The whole while he is doing that, he is also strengthening your trust in him. 

                    The Holy Spirit as your Counselor is your teacher.  But that’s only the half of it.  He does so much more while he is teaching you.  He also comforts you.

          That certainly is a role of most counselors.  Counselors comfort people with the message that they are there to help.  But no matter how good the counselor is, the counselor’s ability to help is limited.  The ability to comfort those they serve, then, is also limited.

          That’s what makes the Holy Spirit as our Counselor so special.  Think back to the MasterCard commercials a few years back.  Most popular toy for toddler $500; most popular stuffed animal for toddler, $350; most popular picture book for toddler, $60.  Watching the toddler play with a cardboard box instead: priceless.  We can pay counselors to help bring us comfort with certain problems.  However, the comfort the Holy Spirit provides us is priceless. 

          It is priceless because of what the Holy Spirit delivers.  He delivers peace to our hearts.  He delivers the same peace that Jesus delivered to his disciples: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” 

          Jesus spoke these words in the Upper Room in Jerusalem, where he also established the Lord’s Supper with the twelve.  It was here that he was preparing his disciples for what would happen later that day and the next, as well as the days following.  He would suffer and die, but he would also rise from the grave and ascend into heaven.  In telling them that he was leaving them in peace, he was relating to them the whole reason he came to earth. 

          Let’s think about how different Jesus’ peace is than that of the world.  The world has us thinking that we can find peace within ourselves.  We just need the right tools to reach it.  But inside of us is exactly what is causing the problem.  We are born in sin and acting out on that sin is inescapable.  The answer can’t reside inside of us. 

          Realizing that, the world turns to find peace outside themselves.  Only they turn to things that are only temporary or that only serve to cover up the real problem for a short time.  They turn to such things a drugs or alcohol in order to mask the pain they are going through.  But those things never bring peace. 

          That’s what makes Jesus’ peace so valuable.  Since the root of all our problems is really sin, Jesus’ peace is the only peace that truly lasts.  That’s because Jesus has eliminated the problem itself.  He eliminated the thing that causes our souls nightmares.  He eliminated the power that sin, death, and hell have over us.  Jesus took our place and suffered the death we should have suffered.  Jesus took our place and suffered hell so that we will never have to.  Now the only thing awaiting us after we die are the glories of heaven.  Perfection with Jesus himself! 

          Are you ever troubled with something that you’ve done wrong?  The Counselor, the Holy Spirit is there to comfort you with the forgiveness of sins Jesus has won for you.  Are you afraid of the future?  The Counselor, the Holy Spirit is there to comfort you that your future is safe and secure in God’s hands.  You have no reason to be troubled.  You have no reason to be afraid. 

          Sound too good to be true? It IS true!  The closer you remain connected to the Word of God, the more opportunity the Counselor, the Holy Spirit has in order to work on your heart.  Never has the Word of God been so accessible than now.  Use it.  Read it.  Learn it better.  Take it to heart.  The Holy Spirit works through that Word because the Holy Spirit, the Counselor, has been sent for you!  Amen.