Sermon for The Day of Pentecost May 31, 2020
Text: John 16:5-11 ILCW – A 20:2197
Theme: It’s Good that Jesus Is Gone.
What could you go without and be better off for the loss of it? It’s got to be something without which you think you could not exist. A car? A cellphone? Television? How about the Corona Virus. We would all be far better off without that threat being around. But that is not really the kind of thing about which I am thinking. I’m thinking about something useful that you could you be better off without?
To be honest, people have existed for over 6,000 years without cellphones, cars, or televisions, things which we almost consider as necessities today. We wonder, “How could we live without them!” But do you really need them to survive? People for 6,000 years did quite well without them.
What could you go without and have the lack of it prove to be an advantage for you?
How about the Lord Jesus? Would you be better off without Him around? What Christian would ever think that? Yet, that is exactly what Jesus implied in our text when He said: “I am going away to Him who sent me…. I am telling you the truth: It is good for you that I go away.” An advantage without the Lord Jesus!
I. With Jesus gone, the Counselor is sent to help us.
Now there’s an odd thought to any Christian. In fact, it almost sounds blasphemous, doesn’t it? How in the world could we be better off with the Lord Jesus’ gone?
He’s vital to our lives. He created us and keeps us going. He redeemed us and paid the price for our sin. He opened the way to heaven for us. Who would say, “It’s good that Jesus is gone”?
He did. Now listen to His reason for saying that: “It is good for you that I go away. For if I do not go away, the Counselor (Holy Spirit) will not come to you. But if I go, I will send Him to you.”
There is no question that Jesus’ presence brought untold blessings to the disciples. How greatly they would miss Him, and sorrow filled their heart as a result of His words. But His departure would bring even greater blessings to them. It would be better for them that He was gone. How could that be?
The answer to that is found in a different person, another member of the Holy Trinity, the Holy Spirit. With Jesus gone, the Holy Spirit would take over in the life of the Church and do greater things in its people and through them. Think of it this way.
Jesus’ work is that of redemption. He came to die on the cross to pay the price for sin. With that He brought us back to God; He reconciled us to Him. Without Him standing in our place and taking the punishment for sin on Himself, we would be lost forever because no man could do it. He did that which we couldn’t do. Think of His work of redemption as an “outer” work accomplished at the cross.
But that “outer” work would do us no good if we couldn’t receive its benefits “inwardly,” in our hearts. The imparting of the blessings of salvation into our hearts and lives is not accomplished by Jesus. That’s the Holy Spirit’s job, to bring us to faith in the blessings of salvation. He makes God’s gift our possession.
It is the way salvation works. God the Father loved the world when we were unlovable in sin. He gave His only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus, to stand in our place and pay the price for sin that we couldn’t pay. When the Lord Jesus was finished with His part of the work, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to work faith within us. Again, it was something that we could not do on our own. And if you don’t believe in what the Father and the Son did, the blessings of the work aren’t yours. With Jesus gone the Holy Spirit’s work could go forward. He could come to help us. And what a great help He is as He takes the gospel forward in our lives!
In a way you could say it was time to move on to the next phase, a difficult phase, a life changing phase, but a necessary phase. Perhaps you could think of a time in your life that called for such a change – not necessarily one you desired, but one that you needed because it would be to your advantage – a time to move forward.
Let’s take as an example those who just graduated from school this year. Graduation is both a good time and a sad time, especially the way that it ended this year. There was confusion, sadness, loss of friendships. It was just a mess, wasn’t it with the problems caused by this epidemic? Ok. But that’s just the way it’s going to be. Nothing is going to change that. One has to put that behind oneself and move onward to what lies ahead.
That’s always a little scary. Yet, at the same time, how about all the possibilities that now open up to every graduate – the new things that lie ahead, the exciting things, and as young people take hold of that, it will all work out to their advantage. And when God is behind things and people trust in Him, it shall turn out for one’s good. That’s His promise.
It’s kind of what Jesus’ departure meant for the disciples. After completing His “outer” work of redemption, His leaving was a step that took them forward. With Jesus gone the Counselor would be sent to help them. A new age had dawned for the Church on earth. He has come to show us these saving truths, to create faith in our hearts, and to help us receive even greater blessings.
II. But there’s more. It’s not just about us and our advantage in having the Holy Spirit sent to us who already believe; it’s for others, too. With Jesus gone the Counselor is sent to help the world and to help you in the world. How does that work?
Jesus continued: “When He comes, He will convict the world about sin, about righteousness, and about judgment: about sin, because they do not believe in me; about righteousness because I am going to the Father and you will no longer see me; about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.”
Convicting, convincing the world about sin and its desperate need for righteousness with God before His judgment falls, that’s hard to do. We need help. The question is how to convince people of something they don’t seem to care about? And if the world raised such resistance to the Son of God so that it sought to get rid of Him, how could we ever hope to have any influence upon the world in our endeavors to reach them with the Gospel? We’re just humans! That’s where the Holy Spirit’s help enters in a big way.
Our text says that He convicts the world. Like a prosecuting attorney in a courtroom, He hammers at the heart whenever God’s Word is spoken, in order to accuse everyone of the guilt for sin and its eternal consequences. He knows the truth of what will happen to those who do not believe in the Lord Jesus, and He does not let up. He convinces, He convicts the world of sin. It is the same thing He did for you when He helped you to faith. He convinced and convicted you.
There are two parts to that. The one is that He cuts a person to the heart with the truth of God’s Word. Like a sharp sword it penetrates deep within as it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (Hb.4:12) that are opposed to God. Maybe it seems to you at times that you can’t convince a person of their need before God because the person doesn’t respond outwardly to what you say. To your eyes it doesn’t appear that any good is coming out of your witness. But what you can’t see is that the Holy Spirit keeps working at the heart within. He works to make a person realize and lament their sin. That’s the reason you should just keep being a good witness to the Gospel. Remember, you don’t convince a person; the Holy Spirit does.
And His convincing is more than just convicting, or cutting a person to the heart. What good would that do if there wasn’t a cure for the problem? That’s part of the Holy Spirit’s work, too, as He shows a person the need for the righteousness that Jesus fulfilled for us.
Think of the Holy Spirit’s help in this like that of a surgeon in a hospital. A surgeon takes the scalpel in his hand and approaches the patient. The first thing he does is “hurt” the person by cutting into the flesh and exposing the bad tissue that is killing him. Then the surgeon goes to work with the scalpel to get rid of the bad. When that is accomplished he works again to close up the wound so that healing takes place.
In matters of salvation, Jesus doesn’t do that within hearts nor does the Father. But the Holy Spirit does. He is a skilled surgeon whose work helps the world and us in our witness to the Savior.
Jesus – Redeemer, Justifier, Reconciler, Savior – does the “outer” work. The Holy Spirit – Convicter, Convincer, Converter, Changer of hearts, Comforter – does the “inner” work. What a big help He is! It’s a good thing that Jesus is gone, for with Jesus gone the Counselor is sent to help us and the world in a far greater way that works to our advantage. Who of us would ever think that we are better off without Jesus being here? But in this way, with the Holy Spirit as our Help, we are better off.
See, sometimes you are better off when you lose something without which you think you could not exist. But when God is involved you are never at a loss. You only gain more. God grant it to us in faith for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Zion Lutheran Church of Springfield
(A member congregation of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod)
4717 S Farm Rd 135 (Golden Avenue)
Church phone: 417.887.0886 Pastor’s cell phone: 417.693.3244
www.zionluthchurch.com email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Day of Pentecost – The Coming of the Holy Spirit May 31, 2020
“I am going away to Him who sent Me…It is good for you that I go away. If I do not go away, the Counselor will not come to you…
I will send Him to you.” Jn. 16:5f
F o r O u r V i s i t o r s
The family of Zion welcomes you as we worship the Lord today. We encourage children to worship with us. However, if you need to leave with your child, there is a nursery room to the right as you exit the sanctuary. The rest rooms are located in the hallway between the sanctuary and the fellowship hall. Visitors, please sign our guest book to the right, just outside the sanctuary. We’re glad that you are here and pray that through our worship the Lord grants you peace.
U p o n E n t e r i n g G o d’ s H o u s e
“O LORD, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in Your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief. Do not bring Your servant into judgment. My spirit grows faint within me. I have put my trust in You. Teach me to do Your will. May Your good Spirit lead me.” (Psalm 143)
W h a t T h i s S u n d a y i s A b o u t
The Coming of the Holy Spirit. The term Pentecost comes from a Greek word that means “50.” When God gave the Old Testament worship laws, He designated the 50th day after the Passover Sabbath as a special holiday. It was celebrated as a festival of joy, thanking God for the abundant crops in the fields which were ready for the first harvest.
How interesting that our Lord chose this as the day on whi0,ch to pour out His Spirit on the New Testament Church. It marks the beginning of a worldwide harvest of souls. The Spirit never stops renewing and strengthening His Church as He comes to give it life
So we pray: O God, You taught the hearts of Your faithful people by sending them the light of the Holy Spirit. Give us right judgment in all things by the same Spirit and enable us always to rejoice in His holy comfort and guidance; for Jesus’ sake we pray. Amen.
– T h e W o r d o f G o d f o r T o d a y –
The Old Testament Lesson: Joel 2:28-29
The Lord foretells a time of spiritual blessing as He will pour out His Holy Spirit on many people. The fulfillment of the prophecy took place on Pentecost and will continue to the end of time as Christ is proclaimed.
The Epistle Lesson: Acts 2:1-21
Joel’s Old Testament prophecy is fulfilled 10 days after Jesus ascended to heaven. As the Spirit was poured out on the disciples, they were enabled to go into the streets of Jerusalem and preach the Gospel in many languages, calling the people to repentance and faith.
The Gospel Lesson: John 16:5-11
Jesus comforted His disciples by promising to send them the Counselor to guide them. We think that it is a disadvantage to be without Jesus. But the opposite is true. His absence works for our advantage because the Holy Spirit is with us now.
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We Serve the Lord with Gladness:
Today’s Organist: Jane Rips
Today’s Preacher: Pastor Edwin Lehmann
Points to Ponder: “You may try to teach a child the meaning of the term sweetness; but words will not avail. Give him some honey though, and he will never forget. So the Holy Ghost does not only tell us of Christ’s love; He sheds it abroad in our hearts. He does not merely tell us of the sweetness of pardon, but He gives us a sense of no condemnation. — Charles Spurgeon on The Working of the Holy Spirit
“Imagine that you have a glove in your hand. The glove cannot do anything by itself, but when your hand is in it, it can do many things. True, it is not the glove, but your hand in the glove that acts. Christians are similar to gloves. It is the Holy Spirit in us who is the hand which enables us to do things in our lives for God. As Jesus said, “When He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you” (John 16:13).
— author unknown
Outline of Our Worship
Order of Worship: Favorite Hymns Song Service
Opening Hymn: #221
Confession of Sins: #385
Song of Praise: #399
Prayer of the Day
The Ministry of the Word
Duet: Come, Lord Fount
Apostles’ Creed 3rd Article: insert
Sermon Hymn: #440
Sermon: John 16:5-11 It’s Good that Jesus Is Gone.
Our Response to the Word
Prayers & The Lord’s Prayer
The Lord Blesses Us
Hymnal page 25
Closing Hymn: #593
The Third Article of the Apostles’ Creed
(Regarding Sanctification – the work of the Holy Spirit)
I believe in the Holy Spirit; the holy Christian Church, the Communion of Saints; the forgiveness of sin; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen.
What does this mean?
I believe that I cannot by my own thinking or choosing believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him.
But the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith. In the same way He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith.
In this Christian Church He daily and fully forgives all sins to me and all believers.
On the Last Day He will raise me and all the dead and give eternal life to me and all believers in Christ.
This is most certainly true.
C a l e n d a r & A n n o u n c e m e n t s f o r Z i o n L u t h e r a n C h u r c h
Divine Worship Service on line – Facebook
Fellowship & Bible Study
|Some weekly activities are still curtailed because of the restrictions||No Gardens
Midweek Bible Class has resumed; feel free to join us.
Divine Worship Service on line – Facebook
Pentecost 1: Trinity
A Brief Bible Study on God’s Word for Today
With the Festival of Pentecost, the Christian Church ends its celebration of the festival half of the church year that centers on Christ’s life for us. During the long season after Pentecost, the lessons for the day concentrate on sanctification (sanctify=to make holy), or our life for Christ. As we will see, our sanctification—like our salvation—depends entirely upon the working of our almighty God through the good news of eternal salvation. This good news naturally moves Christians to bear good fruit in their lives. Yes, our new life as Christians depends on the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Gospel Lesson (John 16:5-11)
- What promise did Jesus make His disciples in verse 7?
- What would the Holy Spirit do when He came?
Those We Remember In Our Prayers: Dea Windsor; Barbara Long; Clyde & Sharon Johnson; Angela Meek; Roger & Liz Lisenby’s brother & sister-in-law and granddaughter Jackie; Dave Ballou, recovering at home; Laurie Moon’s father no longer in the hospital ICU but under rehab care.
Gathering Guidelines we are allowed gatherings of 25% of capacity of the building. That would allow the great majority of our members to be present. If we include the fellowship hall it would allow everyone for sure. We still must practice distancing in a gathering. We know that some will still have relevant health concerns, and that’s alright. We encourage you to return when you are comfortable with it. For those attending, please watch your distancing. We will continue live-streaming our service for the immediate future.
Meditations’ next series of devotions, beginning today is at church. Copies may be found in the narthex. Northwestern Publishing House is also offering Forward in Christ on-line free at this time along with other materials. You can reach them at: www.nph.net. Copies are also at church.
The Week in Review
Last Sunday’s Worship Attendance: 15; Adult Bible Class & Sunday School: no classes at this time; The Gardens Bible Class: no class; Midweek Bible Class: 6; Offering: $935..
Check the weekly calendar for restarting some activities like Bible study. Plans have not yet been made for future events.
Next Sunday’s Lessons:
Pentecost 1 – The Festival of the Holy Trinity: Genesis 1:1-2:3; 2 Corinthians 13:11-14; Matthew 28:16-20
Answers to Today’s Gospel Brief Study:
- He promised that after He ascended into heaven He would send His disciples the Holy Spirit as their counselor.
- He would convict the world of sin through the law of God and bring comfort to burdened souls through the gospel of salvatio
This week I am praying for……