The Holy Spirit has brought you here today.  He has brought you here to be reminded of this story…

The Son of God was born to a virgin and grew up in front of the eyes of men.  He began to teach and do all kinds of amazing things claiming to have authority from His Father to do so.  He was crucified by men because he claimed that authority making himself equal to God.  He was raised by God revealing to us men that He is who he said he was.  Jesus says immediately before our text for the day, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  No one comes to the Father other than through me.”  These words are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God, and by believing you might have life eternal in His name.  If this story is True; if the Evangelist John is telling the truth and He is a faithful witness; then these words in our text for the day are serious business for us 21st century modern Christians living in America.

Jesus says, “If you love me you will keep my commandments…”I thought that was impossible?  I thought Jesus needed to come to keep the commandments because we could not?  Well apparently, that is not the case.  Jesus himself tells us, before his death, “If you love me you will keep my commandments and words,” no ifs, ands, or buts.  This might seem like a burden—a heavy yoke—but, REMEMBER who it is saying these things.  It is the risen Lord!  He goes on to say that he will also send another helper, advocate, or paraclete.  This advocate is even the Spirit of Truth.

Jesus says, this Spirit is not given to anyone of the world.  He is given to those ones who God chose to be his own possession.  The world cannot see him and it does not know him.  What we hear Jesus say is that the world has no Truth in it.  REMEMBER, Jesus is the Truth.  He is saying the Spirit of Truth will be with his elect, among them, and even in them.  He will teach his people all things and bring them to remember all that Jesus says.  The Spirit works to remind them of the truth Jesus spoke and did.  And, remembering this Truth, the people of God follow the commands of Christ because he is their Lord, they love him and he them, and He is returning to judge them and all creation.  But, who are these elect people of God?  They are those washed in Baptism.  They are you!

Now, what can you say?  You are the elect.  You are in the Kingdom of God. The Spirit of Truth dwells with you, and even in you!  The Lord has claims on you now and no longer the world.  He has given you his words and commandments through the nurture of His Church.  Do you REMEMBER all that he has done and said?  Do you think those memories might have an impact on your life?  If you do not, then how can you know the truth in the face of all the falsehood of this world?  Take care, and listen again to what Saint Paul writes in Ephesians chapter 4:

“Therefore, having put away all falsehood, let each one of you speak the Truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.  Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.  Let the thief no longer steal, but rather labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.  Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.  And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by who you were sealed for the day of redemption.  Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.  Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”  Eph. 4:25-32

Paul is reminding the elect of Ephesus that their main goal as the elect people of God is to be faithful to the Lord, to his words and commands which are the Truth, over and against all the falsehood of the world.  As God’s elect people here in this place you are called to live lives of faithfulness according to the Truth of what has been revealed in Jesus Christ believing and keeping all he has commanded.

I have heard it said, “Beliefs are not things you hold to, but things you think with.”  I think this is helpful.  Belief is not captured in the amount of doctrine you know or Scripture you memorize.  If you believe Jesus is risen from the dead and your Lord, and He is the Truth over and against the world your life might look very different as your thinking follows.  For instance; what do you think about technology right now?  Helpful?  Harmful?  Whatever you think now, have you considered what story technology tries to sell us?  Usually as I hear it and see it on TV it is something like this, “without me your life is worse off, harder, and boring.  You should feel guilty for not having”…you can fill in the blank.  Through all this language of advertising, technology is portrayed as the thing that can save, ease, calm, help make sense of life and/or satisfy.  What kind of story is that?  I think the most striking example I have seen to date is a billboard in St. Louis, “Be you, be strong, be beautiful, be complete” St. Louis Cosmetic Surgery Center.  I find it insane that a Cosmetic surgery center can offer completeness to people!  This is just one small way the world entices you and me to reject the Truth of the Story of Christ even if it is only in a small way.  You have a different story and different beliefs.

As the Spirit works you might begin to think differently about commercials and technology and what they suggest to be true as your beliefs are normed by Scripture.  I am convinced you will think differently about what this world claims are the ways, truths, and lives you have to live, and finally you might be led to reject them.  These might just be some of the articulations of the help the Holy Spirit brings.  His help is keeping us in faith over the lies this world offers.  Saving money might not help us live better Wal-Mart!  Enough Already!  The Holy Spirit’s desire is the desire of the Son and the desire of the Son is the will of the Father, and the Father’s will is to have a Holy and Precious people to himself.  So here you are.

You are the elect people of God.  You are washed in Baptism which is the testimony of your adoption into the Kingdom of God.  Indeed you are not orphans!  But you are blessed to have the Spirit of Truth testify to you concerning whose you are yet again today.  You are the children of God called out of the World to be witnesses of the Truth.  There is only one Truth and He is Jesus Christ.  He was raised to life on the third day.  If you find yourself thinking with the lies of the world, now is the time for repentance.  The Spirit of Truth will not stand for any falsehood within you lest He be grieved and depart from you.  And do not fear, nor let your hearts be trouble, when you think what this world will do to you when you reject it and its lies.  Our Lord Jesus Christ says, “I have overcome the World.”  In the name and remembrance of Jesus, Amen.

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