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1 Let us pray: Heavenly Father, You not only sent Your Son into this world to live and to die for us, but You also sent us Your Holy Spirit. We come to You today to thank You for sending us the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, who not only strengthens our faith in You and Your Word but who also dwells in us. In Jesus name we pray. Amen. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. The portion of Scripture before us today is found in the Gospel according to Saint John, the sixteenth chapter beginning at the fifth verse, and we read in Jesus name: "But now I go away to Him who sent Me, and none of you asks Me,`Where are You going?' 6 "But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7 "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 depart, I will send Him to you. 8 "And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 "of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 "of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 11 "of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. 12 "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 "However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 "He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. 15 "All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you. Heavenly Father, these are Your words. Sanctify us by the truth. Your word is truth. Amen. Dear Redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb,

2 Having four children, one major task that we undertake with each one is getting them to do things on their own. Maybe it is having the child use the fork or spoon themselves, I know Katy is fond of that one. Maybe it is walking on their own, I know I really like that one means less work for me. Maybe it is the first time that they go potty on their own that one is potentially the biggest milestone until they can drive a car. Yet, for all the times we want our children to do things on their own I think it is just as useful to teach them that there are things that they cannot do on their own, ever. On their own they cannot have a child, for it takes two people for that. Also, on their own they cannot save the world because they are not Superman and also that has already been done by Jesus Christ. And maybe just as important our children need to know that on their own they cannot believe in Jesus Christ but how often do we spend time teaching them that? You see, in order for us to know Jesus Christ, and know Him as our Savior, we need the Holy Spirit. For it is the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, strengthens our faith, and truly teaches us who our Savior is, through God s Word and Sacraments. Thus, as we continue to bring up little children, and as we live ourselves, we should keep one thing in mind The Holy Spirit will guide you into all truth. I know it is very in vogue to teach that people can do anything they want. In fact, I m pretty sure it is ingrained in children from birth that they can be anything that they want to be. You want to be president, just try hard enough. You want to be an astronaut, do it. You want to be a major league baseball player, just keep trying and you can do anything. Now, while I am not saying that we should not encourage our children, I do think that a little responsible encouragement is

3 appropriate.to the kid who can t throw a baseball in a straight line to save his life, maybe we don t tell him to keep pursuing a baseball career even in high school. To the child who has a fear of heights, we may want to help them choose a different career than astronaut. And to the child who does not like being the center of attention, maybe just maybe, we encourage him to not seek political office. And in the same vain, I think it is imperative of us as responsible adults to teach our children that they cannot come to Jesus on their own. There is no amount of self-will, determination, or trying that will afford them the opportunity to believe in Jesus on their own. In fact, to imply otherwise is a lie and direct contradiction of our catechism. Quick quiz, what is the third article? I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the lie everlasting. Amen. And 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. But do you believe that? Do you believe that faith and salvation is something that is completely out of your control? Do you honestly believe that this whole Jesus thing has little to nothing to do with you? Because I don t know if you do.

4 We say it with words, but we all know that our actions are completely different. If our actions agreed with what we believed, we would spend much more time in God s Word and in our catechisms instead of in front of the television. If we truly believed what the third article explanation says, we would spend much more time praying to the Holy Spirit and thanking Him for all that He continues to do for me to this very day. But our actions don t always line up this way, do they? Very often it is easy to fall into the false belief that we can do something for our salvation and we can, on our own, believe in Jesus. For example, how many of you have friends who belong to a church that believes that they can or must choose Jesus and how many of you have corrected them? How many of us watch movies put out by Christians and then adopt their terms in our own language, we say things like they ve made their decision or THEY truly do believe. Putting the onus of believing on them and what they do instead of on the Holy Spirit and what He does. It is not me who believes, I can t. Of my own power I can do NOTHING, I can believe NOTHING, of my own power. Left to myself I walk away from God, I run away from God. Left to myself I want nothing to do with God and will figure it out on my own. Left to myself, God is an afterthought, if He is a thought at all. Left to myself And that false theology comes into our own lives at times. We think that we have decided for Jesus. We believe that we are the important person in our faith. We, at times, firmly believe that it is our decision to be a Christian and belong to this church after all think about how we treat evangelism. Evangelism with strangers is less about bringing the word of God to people and

5 more about how we can convince people how great our programs are. Evangelism among friends becomes less about telling people they are sinners and that they have a Savior but more about telling people that whatever they do is okay so long as they go to any church. Evangelism with family is not about the truth and purity of God s Word as it is taught in our church but more about moral philosophizing and making sure that they hear something. Yet what did Jesus say was the job, the purpose of the Holy Spirit? Jesus said, And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 "of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 "of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 11 "of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. The Holy Spirit is here to convict us of our sins because often times we do not believe in the Jesus of the Bible. Maybe we believe in the Jesus of our mind or the Jesus of the society, but the Jesus of the Bible we don t have time to know Him because that Bible is a big and boring book. The Holy Spirit is also here to convict us of righteousness because when we have false ideas our righteousness comes from ourselves and not from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We don t see Jesus and we adopt the adage, Out of sight, out of mind. Yet, it is Jesus Christ, and Him alone, who has made us righteous. And the Holy Spirit is here to convict us of judgment. The ruler of the world, the devil, is judged and has been judged He is guilty and he will remain in his sin. And like satan, if we do not repent of our sins and beg forgiveness of Jesus Christ, we too will remain in our sins and end up with satan in hell. Yet, now that the Holy Spirit has come two things are true: the first, Jesus has lived and

6 died for us and all people. Jesus, on this Maundy Thursday evening, told His disciples that He was going to send the Spirit and in doing so Jesus had to go away. Jesus lived and died on this earth for you and for me. Jesus lived and died on this earth to redeem us from all of our sins. Jesus lived and died so that we would never have to suffer for our sins in hell and this He did for us. The second thing that we take away from the coming of the Holy Spirit is that He has come to teach us Jesus words and His truth. For as Jesus says in our text, However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 "He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. Now that the Spirit has come He has come to proclaim Jesus Christ and Him crucified for all the world. The Spirit has come to call us to Him through the words of God. The Spirit has come so that we do not wander aimlessly. The Spirit has come and because of that we are benefitting. For when we read and hear God s Word it is the Spirit, who is placed in us, working within us taking those words and placing them ever deeper into our hearts. When we participate in the Lord s Supper it is the Spirit who allows us to know that our sins are indeed forgiven because of the promise of Jesus Christ. And when we are baptized the Holy Spirit is placed with in us because of the Word of God. The Holy Spirit is using the Means of Grace to not only give us faith but to strengthen that faith. He gives us faith, He strengthens our faith, He calls us, He enlightens and teaches us, He sanctifies us and still He allows us to take credit for it.

7 By ourselves we can do nothing, but because of the Holy Spirit we have Jesus as our Lord and Savior. And in having Jesus we have salvation and life eternal because of what God has done for us. God, the Father, has created us and sustains us in this world. God, the Son, lived the perfect life and died the innocent death for us. God, the Holy Spirit, creates and sustains faith in our hearts and to this day continues to sanctify us. God, the blessed Trinity, has done all of this and He continues to do all of this. Dear friends in Christ, we can do nothing on our own. We are like little children who need help with everything. We need the Holy Spirit as we read God s Word so that we know it is meant for us. We need the Holy Spirit as we live in this life so that we can confront sin and run from it into the waiting arms of God our Father. And we need the Holy Spirit so that we can be children of God for it is the Holy Spirit who has called me by the gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith. Thanks be to God that He has sent the Holy Spirit into my heart and has claimed me as His own. Thanks be to God that the Holy Spirit has done all of the work, for being a sinful person this is far too great a responsibility for me. And thanks be to God that the Holy Spirit still, to this day, continues in creating, sustaining, and strengthening my faith in my Savior, Jesus Christ. Dear friends, thanks be to God. Amen.

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