A sermon preached at New Hope Lutheran Church, West Melbourne, FL on May 11, 2008 by Pastor Dale Raether The Holy Spirit Strengthens Us As We Do His Work John 16:5-11Children, does your mommy do lots of work, or does she just sit around all day watching TV? I’m sure she does lots of work like making you food and washing your clothes and teaching you how to do things. Do you think your mommy ever gets tired? Sure she does! That’s why she sometimes likes to play on her computer or go in her room and read a book. You see, mommies need time off too, but that’s what’s so special about Mothers’ Day. Today you get to help your daddy make dinner and clean up, or you all can just take her out to eat.And now this is for you moms. Of all your jobs, which one is the hardest? Which one weighs on your heart the most? I suppose it depends on how old your children are. But more than anything, you want them to be close to Jesus. You want them following His Word and trusting in Him for forgiveness and strength to do what’s right. On the other hand if your children aren’t doing those things, that’s hard, isn’t it; and it can zap the strength right out of a you. Today it Pentecost. In our text this morning Jesus promises that the Holy Spirit will rejuvenate us, but he’ll do this in ways we wouldn’t expect. Rather than through rest and relaxation, The Holy Spirit strengthens us as we do HIS work. 1. He convinces the world of sin. 2. He convinces the world of righteousness. 3. He convinces the world of judgment. In our text was Maundy Thursday, and Jesus had just announced He would die soon. The disciples were overwhelmed. We read, “Because I have said these things, you are filled with grief. But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” We too might wish that Jesus was still visibly present. I mean, think how much easier our problems would be if we could tell them to Jesus face to face, and if we could hear His answers and see His miracles with our own eyes and ears. Actually Jesus says there’s something that’s even better than His visible presence. It’s having the Holy Spirit. Now, perhaps some would say, “I don’t agree. When times are hard, I’d much rather have Jesus.” The disciples were thinking that too; and so Jesus goes on to explain how the Holy Spirit would be comforting them. He would do so, as they did His work. Reading on in our text, “When he comes, he will convince the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me.” Convincing the world about sin and their need for a savior was not going to be easy. You see, even today a lot of people are convinced that they don’t sin, or at least not enough that it matters, because they don’t rob banks and because they do a lots of nice things for people. However, here’s what God says about everyone. “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one. Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit. The poison of vipers is on their lips. Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood.” It may be hard to believe that God is talking about everyone, because then would include you and me. The problem sin’s root is in our hearts, even when doing a good job of keeping sin’s weeds cut back in our life. But that’s just on the surface. We’re still sinners. We still need a Savior every day. And if anyone refuses to believe that, that’s unbelief! But now, how do we convince the world of this? By telling them what God says! Also, this isn’t hard or complicated. We can simply say, “We all sin; we all fall short; and God punishes every sin.” Let’s let that sink in for a moment. We all sin; we all fall short; and God punishes every sin. Perhaps in different circumstances we might say it a little differently. But Jesus promises that the Holy Spirit will guide us when that time comes, so that what we say is exactly what that person needs to hear; and this too makes our job easier. But most important of all, the Holy Spirit, who is God Almighty, works through our words, so that proud sinners may become terrified sinners, who are eager to hear about their Savior.We read on in our text, “When he comes, he will convince the world of guilt in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer.” Let’s always remember what Jesus’ ascension means for us. It means that the sin of the world which He carried to the cross is paid for; and that’s why He rose! That’s why our Brother could take His place in the presence of our holy God. In other words, we can stop feeling guilty about our sins and failures, for through Christ we are no longer simply sinners. We are sinners/saints, and when He comes again to take us home, we’ll just plain be saints. Anyway, because the sinner part of us is covered up through the righteousness of Christ, the Father hears our prayers. God Almighty is watching over us and guiding and protecting us. And even when we experience evils in our life, because we live in an evil world and because God is teaching us to trust in Him better, He will deliver us. And in the life to come He will give us a 100 times the blessings for every evil we went through. However, how do we convince the world of all this. It’s easy. Keep telling everyone, “Jesus loves you. Jesus died on the cross for you. You are His child, so believe it, because it’s true.” Now, as we work to convince people that Jesus’ righteousness is now their righteousness, there are two ways the Holy Spirit rejuvenates us. One is He increases our own joy and peace in believing. Another is He may let us see this joy and peace in our hearers, as they in turn share it with many others. That’s what happened to Jesus. He was all worn from a journey; and so He rested at a well, and the disciples went into town to buy food. While they were gone, a Samaritan woman came out to the well. Tired as He was, Jesus started talking with her. The Holy Spirit used His words to bring her to faith, and this gave Jesus so much joy, that by the time the disciples got back, He was so re-energized He didn’t even care about eating. This wasn’t because Jesus is God. It’s because the Holy Spirit strengthens us as we do His work.We got one more exciting job to do. We read, “When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.” A lot of people have no clue about what their life is all about. As a result they keep listening to the devil’s lies about what’ll make them happy; only the more they listen to the prince of this world, the worse off they become. As God’s children, we are able to make good judgments. Not only is this is a blessing for ourselves, but God can use us to steer others from things that are destructive, and we can point them to a life that’s full and has eternal significance. For example, suppose there’s someone who’s in bad health, and is poor, and can barely take care of himself, what good is his life? When he can say by faith, “Nothing in this world is lasting or satisfying. But I am content, because I know that my Redeemer lives and on the last day He’s going to raise up this sinner, and He’s create for me and all believers a new world in a new universe.” I personally believe that a faith that’s shining through in the worst of times is brighter than a faith that shines through during good times. That’s not to say money and riches are bad. They too can be used to the glory of God. Yet they are not what life is all about. So, how do convince the world to have this judgment? Or, a little closer to home, how do we, parents, convince our children to have this judgment? Well, let’s be sure we always have this judgment ourselves. Let’s pray for contentment and wisdom in how we live our daily life. Then, as the saying goes, “The apple doesn’t fall far from tree.” On the other hand if in the past we have set a materialistic example for our children, let’s pray for forgiveness and pray that God help us make wise judgments from now on.The theme of our message today has been The Holy Spirit Strengthens Us as We Do His Work. However, keep in mind that everything Jesus said in our text was a promise. A promise implies we may not see the results of our work right away and maybe not even for many years. Since today is Mother’s Day, I’d like to share with you a story about my mother-in-law, Ruth Hatzung. My purpose is to encourage you to expect range blessings in all you do. Back in the ‘80s, Betty Mahmoody and her daughter, Mahtab were taken by her husband to his native country, Iran. Once there he beat Betty and told her that that she and Mahtab would die in Iran. After a time Betty escaped Iran with her daughter. In fact, they wrote a book about it, Not Without My Daughter, and they even made a movie based on the book staring Sally Fields. Anyway Betty and Mahtab ended up in Michigan, where my mother-in-law, Ruth, was a Lutheran School teacher, and Mahtab became her student. And now here’s what Mahtob has to say about all her Lutheran teachers. If you don’t have children who could go to our Academy, I would encourage you to support our Lutheran School through your prayers and offerings. Only God knows how many people are being blessed today through Mahtab. Only God knows how many people will be blessed in the future through the children we’re teaching today in our Academy. So, whenever we’re feeling discouraged, and worn out and even hopeless, a little R and R is good, and having someone else make a nice meal for you is great. But if you really want to be rejuvenated, remember that the Holy Spirit blesses us as we do His work AND He’s blessing our work. Amen.

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