John 16: 5-15
In the Name of +Jesus+ Amen
There is an old joke. You may have heard it. How many Lutherans does it take to change a lightbulb? Change?? We say it all the time. I don’t like change. I am comfortable the way things are. What’s the matter with the way we are doing it right now? Why do I have to change?
Let me ask you this. Would you like to continue sheltering in your homes? Would you like to keep social distancing? Would you like to continue your schooling, your meetings and your social life on Zoom or FB live? Would you like to continue having the important events in your life canceled?
Before you answer, let me remind you that if you answer No to any of the things I just asked you, you are agreeing you want change.
If we are honest with ourselves, change is not really what bothers us. It’s what change brings with it. Change often bring with it uncertainty.
Uncertainty brings with it fear
, that in the change we will lose something
we like. And fear paralyzes us.
This morning is our first Sunday morning together in 6 weeks. Even now as we get together again there is some fear of change. Fear of being around people and the increased threat of the Corona Virus.
There is some uncertainty, at least for those of you who are here because your pew is not where it was the last time you came and worshiped.
And for some, even as things begin to open up again it seems easier and safer to just stay home.
What change really shows us,………. is what we are trusting in.
In John 16 Jesus is talking to His disciples about change. He tells them they will face hostility from the unbelieving world. And if that were not enough, He also tells them He is going to the one who sent Him.
They did not like change either. Jesus tells us sorrow filled their hearts. Uncertainty, fear, loss all swirling through their heads and the result was sorrow over change.
Then Jesus says this. “It is to your advantage that I go away.”
Jesus knew His work on the cross would soon be done. His death assured all of us that when change comes and brings with it its gang of uncertainty, fear, and loss
, they cannot change Jesus’ promises to you.
Jesus promises the disciples that this change would be good
. Jesus would go to the cross and the grave giving us forgiveness for all our sin and peace with God our Father.
Jesus would go into Hell and declare victory over the evil one. Never again would death be able to separate us for the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Jesus would go out
from the tomb. He would go to His fearful disciples and say peace be with you. Jesus would go back to be with His Father after all the work forgiving your sins was accomplished, then He would send us God the Holy Spirit.
You know from first-hand experience why Jesus leaving the Disciples would cause them sorrow. Someone leaving our lives causes change, uncertainty, and fear of loss. Your best friend moves away. Your kids move out and go to college. Your family member goes to be with Jesus.
Jesus leaving is just the opposite of being separated from someone we love. Jesus promised, He will not leave us as orphans, alone, and abandoned. He will send us the councilor, the paraclete. Jesus will send us the Holy Spirit, so we are never alone.
When we talk about changing things in our lives, it’s easy to change the things I don’t like or care about. Go ahead cancel all the sports for this season. It really won’t affect me at all. But it’s another story to change things I love.
Now my gods are being challenged. Now the things I love are being exposed for what they are, earthly idols I set up to satisfy all my wants and desires. The Holy Spirit comes to kill all our false gods. Everything we fear love and trust in that is not Father Son and Holy Spirit has to die.
Here is the rub. I don’t want to change. My old sinful Adam and yours too wants to stay the same. It’s hard enough to sit in a different seat this morning, let along give up my security in my false gods.
You see We all want to be god, and we are perfectly happy in our own little kingdom ruling over all our pleasures.
We may be content in that but the Holy Spirit is not. He comes to change us. Not to take from us but to give us what we could never get on our own. The Holy Spirit comes to give us eternal life instead of eternal fire and suffering in hell. The Holy Spirit breaks into our self-centered kingdoms and reveals every false hollow and empty god we worship.
God’s Word of Law continues to break the illusions your false God’s offer you. And when we see our false gods for what they are,…… and we are scared of change,…. God’s Word of Gospel points us to Jesus. No words of condemnation, no I told you so. Only Jesus, and His promise that you are forgiven. Your past,…….. all your mistakes, …….covered by Jesus blood from the cross. Your fear of leaving everything you love,……. changed by faith,….. that Jesus promises to you are more than enough for everything in your life.
The Holy Spirit changes us from trusting ourselves and all our false gods to trusting Jesus and His promises to you.
When the Holy Spirit comes into our lives, He changes us so we see our forgiveness is in Jesus alone. Now think about this for a minute. God our Father would not even let Moses look at Him because His Glory was too great for any man to see. The Holy Spirit comes into our lives and kills every false god we trust in. Every good work I do to prove to God I am a good person gone.
Every confidence I have that I will get to heaven because I am at least as good,…. if not better than many,…..gone. All my good works to impress people and God, gone. I am left to stand before a Holy and righteous God bringing only my sin and rebellion. That should scare all of us. But it doesn’t because of the Holy Spirit.
All we can offer to God is our brokenness, but that is covered by Jesus’ blood. The Holy Spirit comes to us through God’s Word or in Holy Baptism and gives us faith to see that Jesus has dressed us to meet God our Father. He has covered our nakedness with the finest wedding clothes. When God sees us, He does not see our sin, He sees His Son’s perfect life death and resurrection. By Faith, we have no fear of God. By faith, we believe Jesus alone has opened the way of salvation for all of us.
Jesus tells the disciples the Holy Spirit has one more important work. He takes away our fear of losing this world and gives us the absolute confidence that all who believe and are baptized will be saved.
Dear saint when you close your eyes in death you have nothing to fear. Some people mistakenly think we can’t be sure of life in heaven with God our Father. They think that St. Peter stands at the pearly gates with all our sins recorded and he will weigh out our good works against our sin. If you have done more good than bad you get in. That is not true.
You have been judged already. When you were baptized you were judged not guilty. Your Baptism connected you to Jesus’ death on the cross. His blood covered all your sin. Right there you were judged innocent, forgiven, and righteous in God’s eyes.
That is what awaits you in heaven. No judging. No fear of people finding out all your sins. All of that was taken by Jesus when He changed you from sinner to saint with HIS death and resurrection.
In the Name of +Jesus+ Amen.