Day of Pentecost - Video - Comfort of the Holy Spirit
Rev. Charles Westby, Pastor
Acts 2:14-36, John 7:37-39, Ephesians 3:14-19
May 31, 2020

Today is the Feast of Pentecost in the church year. It is the Day we celebrate and give thanks to God for the gift of the Holy Spirit. On that Day of Pentecost in the Jewish calendar long ago, God gave the Holy Spirit to Christ’s people and the church was born. And the Holy Spirit has sustained and kept the church in faith in Christ through the Gospel ever since.

The Holy Spirit is true God, with the Father, and the Son. “Who has measured the Spirit of the Lord,” says Isaiah (Isaiah 40:13 ESV). That is to say, the Spirit is beyond measure. The Spirit searches out everything, even the depth of God, says Paul (1 Corinthians 2:10). The Spirit must be God to be able to search the depths of God.

Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit for His ministry. This is “the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord” (Isaiah 11:2 ESV). The Holy Spirit glorifies Christ and directs us to Him (John 16:14). The Holy Spirit lives in seeking the well-being of the other as the love of God is poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5).

 It is important to know the work of the Spirit. There is much talk of spirituality today. And often it is urged that we must have spirit and zeal in pursuit of a cause. Yet, wanton, lawless, and unrestrained violence and destruction and callous disregard for the life of a person under one’s power are not the work of the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God does not live in the usurpation of authority, hate, or anarchy, but in seeking the well-being of the other.

Now the Holy Spirit brings the comfort of God to us, and I want to talk about this in two ways. We see these ways in our readings this morning. One way is through preaching and teaching the Gospel of Christ. We see this in the reading from Acts 2. On the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit moved the Apostles to preach the Gospel of Christ. When the Spirit came upon them, the Apostles began to speak as the Spirit gave them utterance (Acts 2:4). And the Spirit moved them to speak “the mighty works of God” (Acts 2:11 ESV).

The works of God in view were the things Jesus did by which He was attested as the Christ, the Son of God (Acts 2:22). They also include how God’s Son died for our sins and was raised again from the dead by God the Father (Romans 4:25). These are the mighty works of God because they defeat all sin, the devil, and the arrogance, wickedness, cruelty, and lawlessness of the world. Christ’s death and resurrection defeats death itself and is the antidote to the fear of death and the slavery this fear brings.

This is what the Spirit preaches. He speaks it in our ears and presents it to us in Sacraments. These are mysteries of God’s grace in Christ, baptism and Holy Communion. This is the first comfort.

Here is the second comfort. The Holy Spirit does more than just preach and teach it to our ears and present the Sacraments to our senses. The Holy Spirit gets this preaching and teaching into our hearts, into our inner-most being. The inner-most being is that place in us where faith and our deepest convictions lie; that place where our wills are moved; that place where our view of reality is shaped; that place where we might say is the seat and inspiration of what we are most passionate about and what we value the most.

Jesus proclaims this in our Gospel reading. It is the last and great day of the ancient Israelite feast of tabernacles. Jesus cries out, “Whoever is thirsty, let that person come to me and drink. Because I give a living water that shall be a river flowing out of the person’s inner-most being” (John 7:37-38). The Apostle John explains that Jesus was talking about the Holy Spirit which those who believe in Jesus receive.

I am using the term “inner-most being” because the word in Greek Jesus uses here is not kardia, the word usually translated with the English word “heart.” Jesus uses the word koilia. In this context, it refers to a person’s inner-most being.

You believe that Jesus is the Christ sent from the Father and your Savior from sin and death. Who taught you to believe that? Aw yes, the Spirit of God. He has done that through the spoken good news of Jesus and His Sacraments. He has done that by taking that good news and planting it deep in your soul to inspire you to believe. Jesus Himself tells you. Come to Jesus and your thirsty soul shall drink. Say yes to Jesus, who is your Savior, the comfort, consolation, and promise your soul thirsts for, and your soul has drunk of the living-water, the Spirit. Jesus tells you this. The evidence of this is your faith in Christ, the fact of your faith.

The Apostle Paul speaks of this beautifully in a couple of places. One place is in Romans 8:16-17, where he says: “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit, [your spirit,] that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him” (Romans 8:16-17).

Another place is in Ephesians 3, starting at verse 14, where the Apostle says: “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:14-19).

The Apostle wonderfully unpacks the gift of the words Jesus spoke in our Gospel reading about the living-water flowing out of your inner most being. The Spirit communicates and communes with your inner-being. And there the Spirit brings Christ Himself to dwell in your hearts through faith. There the Holy Spirit roots you and grounds you in the love of God in Christ Jesus, that amazing grace-love that gives sacrificially for the life of the sinner (Romans 5:6-8). You are rooted and grounded in God’s love in Christ in your inner most being because the Spirit has caused you to believe in Christ there, and brings Christ to you there.

Does the world rage in tyranny and lawlessness around you? Yet, you are rooted and grounded in God’s love in Christ in your inner most being because God has given His Spirit to you there, you who hope in Christ.

What threat comes from death? You are rooted and grounded in God’s love in Christ in your inner most being because God has given His Spirit to you there. Death cannot overcome this. Your body and flesh may fail but this rooting and grounding in Christ will never fail.

How are you sorely tempted to hate and despair of God’s presence as you view and experience tyranny and lawlessness in our times? The Holy Spirit is the love of God poured into your hearts and flowing out of them like a river of living water.

You and I are still in the flesh and still in the world. The Spirit gives holy and amazing consolation to your heart; a mighty and powerful grounding in Christ. And so God gives the Spirit as power to strengthen you to keep the faith in Christ, to hope for the best, to work for the best, in truly seeking the good of others in an imperfect, often cruel, and many times difficult and confused world.

Rejoice today dear Christian for the great gift from on high that God gives to you in your life here; the gift of the Spirit. For this is the gift of the eyes of your faith seeing Christ, your Redeemer and Reconciler. The Spirit is the gift of being rooted and grounded in God’s love in Christ; yes, the gift of the Father by which He brings the whole fullness of God to your thirsty soul. And as your soul drinks this water that the Spirit is through faith in Christ, you have life in God, and such life forever.

Amen.



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