Sunday, May 26, 2024

Sermon for the Feast of the Holy Trinity - Jn 3:1-15



                                                                                                 Jn 3:1-15



          Nicodemus had no idea what he was walking into.  You almost have to feel sorry for him.  He was not someone who was used to being out of his depth.  He was not used to situations where he was not in charge, and didn’t have a good understanding of what was going on.

          Nicodemus certainly was a person who was serious about faith in the God of Israel.  We learn that he was a Pharisee.  While we often have negative associations about the Pharisees, it is important to note that they were people who were committed to living according to God’s will.  They wanted to be faithful to God and they were willing to go beyond the way others lived in order to do so.

          Nicodemus was not just a Pharisee. We learn that he was “a ruler of the Jews.”  He was a person of importance and authority.  Others recognized his learning and wisdom.  In fact in our text Jesus describes him as “the teacher of Israel.”

It is clear that he had the very best intentions.  Our text tells us: “This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, ‘Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.’”  Nicodemus sought Jesus out.  Now to be sure, he did so at night. He did it in secrecy.  But nevertheless, he came to Jesus in order to talk with him.

Nicodemus could not have been more respectful.  He said that Jesus was a teacher who had come from God.  He declared that the miracles – the signs – that Jesus was performing showed that God was with him.  Clearly, he wanted to know more about Jesus and what God was doing through him.

So Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”  Jesus had begun, and now Nicodemus was just along for the ride, trying to comprehend what our Lord was saying.  Nicodemus could not understand what Jesus meant by “being born again.” He asked, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?”

Our Lord had spoken about being born again in order to enter the kingdom of God.  Now he added to this by saying, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”  Jesus explained that this being born again occurred by being born of water and the Spirit.

Then our Lord stated why this was necessary.  He said, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”  Jesus said that only the Spirit of God could produce that which is spiritual – that which has life with God.

Jesus stated that this work of the Spirit should not seem surprising.  He told Nicodemus, “Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

However, Nicodemus did marvel.  He was completely confused.  He had come to Jesus seeking to learn more about how God was at work in him, and instead he was completely befuddled by what Jesus had said.  He responded to our Lord, “How can these things be?”

Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things?”  Then he added, “If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things?  No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.”

          Nicodemus had come to Jesus and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.”  He said that Jesus was a teacher come from God and that God was with him.  He was right.  He also didn’t realize how incredibly short he was of the truth. And so our Lord takes Nicodemus for a deep dive into the problem that faces all people and God’s answer for it.  On this Trinity Sunday we reflect upon the manner in which God’s saving action has revealed him as the triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

          Jesus says that a person must be born again to see the kingdom of God.  This means it is not enough to be born.  Human life as it comes into the world is not capable of seeing God’s reign.  It cannot enter the kingdom of God.

          Our Lord tells us the reason for this when he says, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”  When Scripture sets flesh and Spirit in opposition to one another, it is not referring to flesh as our created, bodily nature.  Instead, when used in this way, “flesh” means our sinful, fallen nature. 

          Flesh describes the impact of sin on every person since the Fall of Adam.  We are conceived and enter the world as people who do not know God as he wants to be known.  We are not able to live perfectly according to his will.  Instead, we love ourselves more than God or our neighbor.  The result is that we deserve nothing except God’s wrath and eternal judgment.

          This was the situation from the moment that Adam sinned.  Yet in his love, God did not leave things there.  He promised a Savior as he said to the devil, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”  And then he worked through the course of the Old Testament to fulfill this promise.  He identified this descendant as coming from Abraham, and from the nation of Israel, and from the tribe of Judah, and from the house of David.

          In the Old Testament, God had revealed he is the only true God – the creator of heaven and earth. He told Israel, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.”  Yet in acting to save us God revealed more about himself. His saving act of love was also one of self-revelation.

          In our text Jesus refers to ascending and descending into heaven.  He describes himself as the One who has descended from heaven.  We learn in John’s Gospel that Jesus is the Son of God sent into the world.  Just after our text we hear: “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”

          By sending the Son, God revealed himself as the Father. Yet we learn that the Son who was sent is also God.  Referring to the Son, John says at the beginning of the Gospel, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”  Later John adds, “No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known.”

          The Father sent the Son into the world. The Son entered the world as he became man without ceasing to be God.  John tells us, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”  And we learn that the Son became man through the work of the Spirit of God. The angel Gabriel told Mary, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy--the Son of God.”

          The Son of God became man for a purpose.  He became man to be nailed to a cross.  We hear in our text, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.”  By his death Jesus freed us from sin and from the devil’s power.  Jesus said during Holy Week, “Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”

          The Son of God became flesh to die for us.  But he also became flesh to restore our flesh to life.  On the third day, God raised Jesus from the dead through the work of the Spirit.  He raised Jesus with a body that can never die again – flesh that can never experience death.  This resurrection and transformation is what awaits us when Jesus returns on the Last Day.  Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we will be too.

          The Son of God descended from heaven in the incarnation.  However, on the evening of Maundy Thursday Jesus told the disciples, “I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father.”  Jesus said that he would ascend to the Father.  But also promised that he would send the Spirit who proceeds from the Father – the Spirit who is also the Spirit of Christ.

Earlier this month we celebrated the ascension of our Lord.  Jesus withdrew his visible presence as he was seated at God’s right hand.  Last Sunday we celebrated Pentecost.  As he promised, the ascended Lord sent the Spirit upon his Church. 

The Spirit is the One who makes Jesus known to us.  Jesus said, “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.”  The Spirit calls us to faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  And through faith in Jesus we are brought to the Father.  Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

          There is only one God.  This has not changed.  God is one.  But by acting to save us, God has revealed that he is not just one.  He is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  He is three in one – the Holy Trinity.  Scripture teaches us that the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God.  Each person of Trinity is God, and yet there is only one God.

          This is not something that reason can understand.  It is what God has revealed about himself.  And guess what? You are not capable of wrapping your mind around God.  We can describe what Scripture teaches us about the Trinity, even if we can’t explain how it works.  But it is essential that we confess this truth because every willful denial of the Trinity is a denial and rejection of the God who has saved us.

          You know the Trinity because you know Jesus Christ – the Son of God sent by the Father and incarnate through the work of the Spirit.  As our Lord commanded, you have been baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Through the water of baptism your sins have been washed away.  In Holy Baptism you were born again of water and the Spirit, just as our Lord says this morning.  You are God’s children who will enter the kingdom of God – life with the Triune God that will have no end.   






Sunday, May 19, 2024

Sermon for the Feast of Pentecost - Gen 11:1-9



                                                                                      Gen 11:1-9



          Our congregation is blessed to have two men who will begin study at our seminaries in the coming school year.  But before they can officially become students, they both have some work to do.  Technically, Greek and Hebrew are prerequisites for being students at the seminary.  The seminaries teach these languages, but they are not for seminary credit. They are pre-seminary classes.

          Joe Musolino will start Greek this summer at the Ft. Wayne seminary.  Chris Atlee learned Greek while in college.  But once the school year starts, both Joe and Chris will have to learn Hebrew.  When it is all done, they will have invested significant effort in being able to read the languages in which God’s Word was written.

It would certainly be easier for everyone if there was only one language.  However, we learn in our text this morning why there are multiple languages in the world.  It is judgment upon sinful man’s pride.  These languages are part of the division that sin has created in our world. Yet on the Day of Pentecost the risen Lord poured forth his Spirit in order to unite all people in himself.

Our text begins by telling us that after the flood people had the same language.  As they migrated from the east, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.  They decided to apply their technology in this setting. They said, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.”  In place of stones, they had the bricks that they made, and they had bitumen for mortar.  They had everything they needed to build.

And so they said: “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.”  In their sinful pride they decided to build a city with a great tower. They were determined to make a name for themselves and prevent themselves from being dispersed.

Technology continues to be a false god in our day.  Science is held up as a god that can solve all our problems.  In areas such recombinant DNA and cloning people don’t ask whether they should, just because they can.  Babies killed in abortion are harvested for the raw materials used in research.  And the benefits of technology become a false god. The internet delivers the pornography that is viewed by some many.  The phone in our hand becomes the most important object of our attention as we view social media, watch YouTube videos, and listen to podcasts.

We learn in our text that Yahweh came down to see the city that was being built.  He said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them.”   A united humanity would have few limits in accomplishing its sinful will. 

So God said, “Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another's speech.”

With the language barrier in place, the people left off building the city. Yahweh dispersed them over the face of the earth.  We learn that name of the place was called Babel, because there Yahweh confused the language of all the earth.

          The confusion of the languages was God’s judgment against against sinful pride.  And in their sin people have embraced these differences in order to hate and harm others.  They have made war upon one another and have even tried to wipe out whole groups of people who were different.

          It is this sin that cuts us off from God.  We may not have engaged in war or genocide, but hate is in our heart too.  And that’s not all that is in there.  Jesus said, “For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.

All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

          However, God did not abandon us to sin.  St Paul told the Galatians, “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.”  God sent his Son into the world as he was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. 

Christ was born under the law and lived perfectly as he fulfilled it for us.  The law of God threatens it curse against all who break it and sin against God. However, Jesus freed us from the slavery of the law’s curse.  He did so by being cursed in our place.  Paul says, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us--for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.’”

God did this because we were cut off from him by our sin.  But now through the death of Jesus God has brought us to himself.  Paul told the Corinthians, “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.”

Jesus Christ died on the cross and was buried.  But on Easter God defeated death as he raised Jesus from the dead.  The risen Lord was with his church for forty days as the apostles and others encountered him both in Judea and in Galilee.  He told them not to depart from Jerusalem because they would receive the Holy Spirit.  He said, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

At the end of forty days, Jesus ascended into heaven.  He withdrew his visible presence as he was exalted to the right hand of God.  For ten days the believers waited.  Then on Pentecost there suddenly came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.  Divided tongues as of fire appeared on each of them.  They were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages.

There were living in Jerusalem devout Jews from all parts of the Mediterranean and Near Eastern world.  They were amazed to hear these Galilean individuals speaking in their own language as they proclaimed the mighty works of God.  In response to the accusation of scoffers that they were just drunk, Peter declared that what was happening was a fulfillment of God’s word.  As Joel had prophesied, God was pouring out his Spirit.

Peter declared that this event had been caused by Jesus Christ.  Christ had been delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God as he was killed at the hands of lawless men. But death could not hold him.  Peter announced: “This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses.

Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing.”

          On Pentecost the risen and exalted Lord poured forth the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit is the continuing presence of the Lord, and the power of the Gospel. The Spirit carries out the end time work of God as he calls people to faith.  The Holy Spirit has called you to faith through the word and baptism.

          Jesus had said that the Spirit would enable the disciples to be his witnesses in Judea, and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.  The global nature of this work was indicated right from the start as the Spirit enabled the disciples to speak the good news about Jesus Christ in the many different languages that were present in Jerusalem.

          Those hearing these different languages in Jerusalem were Jews.  But in the Book of Acts we see how God led his church first to proclaim the Gospel to Samaritans, and then to Gentiles.  God made it known that Jesus Christ was the Savior for all people. 

          Sin brought division among people – divisions of language and nationality and ethnic groups that have resulted in hatred and strife.  Jesus came to reconcile us to God.  Through the work of the Spirit he also reconciles and unites people to one another in his Church.

          Through baptism, the Spirit joins all believers together as the body of Christ.  Paul told the Corinthians, “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body--Jews or Greeks, slaves or free--and all were made to drink of one Spirit.”  People of all languages have now been united in Christ.

          The Spirit has joined all believers together in Christ.  We are united by faith in the Lord Jesus.  Paul told the Colossians, “Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.”

God had taken Israel into the covenant and made the nation his own. But he did so in order work through Israel and bring a blessing to all nations.  Now in Christ, God has included all believers in his people.  The Gentiles have been grafted into Israel. The Church is the Israel of God, which is made up of both Jews and Gentiles. 

God’s people is no longer located in a particular strip of land on the eastern end of the Mediterranean.  God’s people is no longer tied to one ethnic heritage.  Instead, through the work of the Spirit God’s people includes all who have been baptized into Christ.

Diognetus was a Christian writer in the second or third century A.D.  He said that Christians are not pagans or Jews.  Instead, they are a “third race.”  He captured the fact the Spirit poured out on Pentecost has united us in a way that has no parallel.  Christians have been united by the Spirit in something that is completely not of this world.  We are God’s creation in Christ.

Because God has done this for us; because God has done this to us, it now directly impacts the way we treat one another.  Paul told the Colossians, “Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”

The Spirit has joined us together as those who are forgiven in Christ.  Through the work of the Spirit we also now forgive one another. We show compassion and kindness towards each other. We choose to be patient as we deal with one another.  The Spirit of Christ poured out on Pentecost leads us to walk in love.

Sin brought division and hatred into the world.  It put us under God’s judgment.  Through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God has reconciled us to himself. On Pentecost the risen and exalted Lord poured forth the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit has united peoples of all languages and nationalities into one people – the people of God.  He has joined us together as the body of Christ.  We live by faith in Christ and show love to one another as we look for his return in glory on the Last Day.


Sunday, May 12, 2024

Sermon for the Seventh Sunday of Easter - Jn 15:26-16:4


Easter 7

                                                                                      Jn 15:26-16:4




I think most people want to be liked.  I certainly do. There are very few people who really don’t care what others think about them.  Now it is important that we are authentic and genuine – that we aren’t simply trying to gain the favor of others.  But in general, it’s probably not a good thing if a person really doesn’t care at all. 

A person’s reputation – his or her name – is an important thing.  It is the blessing that is protected by the Eighth Commandment.  We should care about our reputation, just as we seek to protect that of others.  Where we have a good reputation, people are going to be positive toward us.  They are going to like us. And that’s a good thing.

However, in our Gospel lesson this morning Jesus tells his disciples that those who believe in him will not be liked by others.  In fact, he says that others will reject them in society, and even try to kill them.  Jesus tells us that we will experience rejection in the world.  But through the work of the Holy Spirit whom the Lord has sent, we know Jesus and therefore we know the Father.  Because of Jesus the risen Lord we have life with God that no one can take away from us.

The texts at the end of the season of Easter prepare us for Pentecost.  In this section of John’s Gospel, Jesus tells the disciples that he will be leaving them.  He will be returning to the Father. Of course, to the disciples, this sounds like a bad thing.  However, Jesus says that it is actually a good thing for them.  Our Lord says, “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.

On Thursday we celebrated the Feast of the Ascension of Our Lord.  Jesus ascended into heaven as he returned to the Father and was glorified.  He was exalted as Lord over all as Jesus was seated at the right hand of God.  As he promised, the Lord has sent forth the Spirit.  And in our text today, Jesus tells us what the Spirit does.

He says, “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.” The work of the Spirit is to bear witness about Jesus. 

The Spirit does this through the work of the apostles.  Jesus says that they will also bear witness because they have been with him since the beginning.  The apostles were with Jesus from the beginning of his ministry until his death. Then they were witnesses to the resurrection as they ate and drank with the Lord.  They were with him in the area of Jerusalem, and they were with him in the north in Galilee. They were with the risen Lord for forty days, and then they saw him depart in the ascension.

The apostles were witnesses to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  But we learn that their witness is not simply their own.  Instead, it is the Spirit who is at work through them in order to point to Jesus.  Our Lord said, “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”

The Spirit has used the apostles to make Jesus known to us.  Jesus said, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.”

The Spirit borne witness of the apostles has revealed the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ to us.  John the Baptist had declared about Jesus, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes the sin of the world.”  The Son of God entered into the world as he was sent forth by the Father.  He became flesh in the incarnation in order to suffer and die for us.  Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” 

Jesus lay down his life as he was lifted up on the cross.  There he cried out “It is finished” as he won for us forgiveness and salvation.  John tells us in his first letter, “He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.”

Jesus lay down his life. But then he took it up again.  On the third day he rose from the dead.  Because he has, we have life.  We have life with God that will never end.  We will have resurrection life on the Last Day.  Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.”  And then he added: “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.”

You have that life now because you have been born again of water and the Spirit.  Because of Jesus, we now know God as our Father.  John said in his first letter, “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.”

This is the blessing that we have.  Yet in our text, the Lord prepares us for what we will encounter.  He says, “I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away. They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God.”  Jesus tells us that we will receive opposition from the world – even persecution.

          Our Lord tells us that there is a reason for this. He says, “And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me.”  We know the Father through Jesus the Son. Christ has revealed him to us.  But for the world, things are very different.

          Our Lord said that the world “hates me because I testify of it, that its deeds are evil.”  The Lord Jesus reveals God’s will.  Through his apostles he makes known how we are to live.  But John’s Gospel tells us, “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.”

          The works of the world are evil.  This is a world that denies that truth exists.  It denies that God exists, or that he can be known as it revels in agnosticism and rejects faith.  It selfishly kills the unborn in abortion so that it will not be inconvenienced. It perverts the use of sexuality in every possible way. It holds marriage in contempt. It denies the basic difference between man and woman, and threatens all would disagree.

          In the previous chapter Jesus said, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”

          The Lord has called us out of the world through the work of the Holy Spirit.  We know Jesus, and therefore we know the Father.  We know God’s holy will for life.  Christ prepares us for the fact that the world will hate us because of this.  He said, “Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.” Then he added, “But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.”

          We must be ready for this.  We must expect it.  Being a Christian in this world is not going to get easier.  It is going to get harder. This will require us to have a firm faith in Jesus Christ.  We will need to put Jesus at the center of all that we think and do. Our faith in Jesus will have to guide our lives.

          Why can we do this in confidence?  We can because Jesus is the risen Lord.  He said, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”  Jesus overcame it through his death and resurrection for us.  As John tells us in his first letter: “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”

          You have been called out of the world through the word of the Gospel.  The chain of sharing the Gospel began with the apostles.  In the next chapter Jesus prays to the Father for them.  He says, “As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.”  The Holy Spirit has used them as witnesses to Jesus. Many bore witness by giving their lives in the confidence that because of Jesus they already had eternal life.

          God loved you in Christ by sending his Son.  He called you out of the world through the Gospel.  Yet this action is part of God’s love for the whole world.  We learn in John’s Gospel, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”

         Now, we who have received this love in Christ are sent to share the witness of the apostles with others.  We give witness to Jesus Christ by what we do.  At the Last Supper our Lord said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

        We also share Jesus by what we say.  Sometimes this will mean talking about how Jesus Christ died and rose from the dead in order to give us forgiveness and life with God.  But sometimes – in fact quite often – it is as simple as inviting someone we know to come to church. 

        In our text today, Jesus says that he will send the Helper – the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit will bear witness about Jesus, and he will enable the apostles to bear witness.  Through their witness the Spirit has called us out of the world.  Jesus prepares us for the rejection and persecution that we will receive because of him.  But we know the crucified and risen Lord who has overcome sin and death.  Because of him we already have eternal life now, and he will raise us up on the Last Day.  Confident in our risen Lord, we share him with others in what we do and say.