Disclaimer: Because the sermon below sat on the pulpit, the actual sermon may not be what is written below...just the general direction.

GOSPEL READING: John 14:22-29

22. Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will reveal yourself to us, and not to the world?” 23. Jesus answered him, “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me. 25. “I have said these things to you while I am still with you. 26. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.

27. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. 28. You heard me say to you, “I am going away, and I am coming to you.' If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. 29. And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe. 30. I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no power over me; 31. but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father.

Rise, let us be on our way.

Sermon for May 26, 2019 

 

 

Verse 30 is probably one of the most overlooked verses in the Bible. 30. I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming.  

How did he come?  It was in the form of those who follow his ways. And who is it that Jesus acknowledged as the ruler of the world?  Satan, of course.  In order to understand this, you have to have studied the entire Bible and other Jewish literature, but most of us are not even interested in reading the Gospels, let alone all the other books.  What we want is a condensed, “Cliffs Notes,” version.

The “Cliff’s Notes” version is this: Before Jesus came, earth was under the authority and watch-care of another who Jesus called by name in Matthew 4:10—Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! for it is written, “Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’”

The fact that Satan had the authority comes from the same wilderness temptation, but from the Book of Luke 4:6—And the devil said to him, “To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. 7. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.”

Satan was put in charge of our world from the beginning. His original mission was to teach, instruct and guide. However, like us he had (and still has) free will; and he is still here working behind the scenes in the affairs of humanity.  He will remain here until the Second Coming.  Want to know why our world is in such a mess?  It’s not him per se, but those who follow him.

However, since the time of Jesus, we have a choice who we will serve. In the parable of the sheep and the goats, the poor goat came to metaphorically represent the devil and his followers. Jesus is the shepherd of the sheep.  Today we’re all in one grouping or the other.  The important thing is that we have a choice between two different alternatives; life or death; light or darkness.

Now this morning Judas asked a question: “Lord, how is it that you will reveal yourself to us, and not to the world?” Jesus answer was rather indirect: If a man loves me, he will keep my word. My Father will love him, and we will come to him, and make our home with him.” This also applies to you and I—if we love Him and keep His word, both He and the Father will make their home in us.

How He does do that is in the form of the Holy Spirit.  But at that time they did not. So Jesus’ answer would have been confusing.  But to us, we know that all who respond to Jesus’ call, and whose hearts are open, the spirit finds lodgment in our hearts—God and Jesus in the form of the Holy Spirit enter into us.

The whole of creation is God responsive—He is the glue that holds everything together—He is in all creation except men and women because we, alone, have the gift of free will. And because we have free will, He only enters those who desire His presence—and the only ones who desire His presence are those who have the personality potential to be kind and loving.

“Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.” His word—basically—is to love one another. And to love irrespective of any other detail, such as race or nationality. Only by this will we be known as His disciples.

In order for the Holy Spirit to enter into us and make us His home, we must be sensitive—which is also indicative of a loving disposition. We must be both sensitive and aware of our surroundings.  Look at it this way—how can we be sensitive to the soft, still voice calling to us if we’re not sensitive to our surroundings—to nature, the stars and all things created by God?

Just prior to coming to Reedsport I led a group of teens in what was called, “Art Night,” on the first Friday of the month. The only requirement was age and an openness to art in all its forms.  At that time we lived in the country. On one particular Friday we started the evening with an outside writing exercise in which everyone went outside and walked around the property and gained knowledge of what was there by utilizing all five senses.  They were to take notes and then come in and write about what they experienced.  

After ten minutes of sensory perceptions, they then came in and wrote for ten minutes.

The writing that came in from these young people was really amazing.  They had walked along or sat and truly, for a few minutes, became totally involved, totally engrossed in their surroundings.  And what they wrote about was far beyond their young capabilities.

When we’re surrounded by beauty and nature and are fully cognizant of where we are, something mysterious happens—we become aware of “more.” It’s at that time that our sixth sense kicks in. We then begin to recognize another reality—nothing you can put your finger on—you can’t pin it down and say—“Ah, that’s it!”  No, we can’t.  But we are aware of more.

When the Holy Spirit makes His home in us, He’s fully aware of where He is; and those who are aware—who are awake and sensitive to their surroundings, know they’re not alone.

What an honor that the Father, Son and Spirit choose to make their home in YOU. They can only do it to those sensitive enough to recognize the TRUTH of Jesus through His words. And when we do, man what a blessing!

What if you don’t think you have a loving spirit? I know that I certainly would not have thought that I did.  In fact, I thought I was rather coarse.

Well, here’s the deal: if you feel attracted to the teachings of Jesus as they are presented in the Gospels, then you’re more sensitive than you realize—deep down inside your soul has responded.  God takes us as we are, where we are, at whatever level we’re on and works His wonders in us for as long as it takes to gently alter our perspectives.

What are those words of Jesus that we have to keep?  That’s easy—Jesus started this morning’s discourse with, “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them…” The words of Jesus are all about love—just a few verses earlier in the previous chapter Jesus told His disciples—34. I give you a new commandment: love one another; you must love one another just as I have loved you.  35. It is by your love for one another, that everyone will recognize you as my disciples.

It is by our love for one another that the Holy Spirit finds lodgment in our hearts, minds and souls and calls us home.  Those who love unselfishly cannot help but do the will of God. And for those who do, the obstacles of life hold no fear. That’s why Jesus could say, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.

You are the children of God—Home to the Divine—what do you have to fear? Even death has no hold over you.

Just give your life to God and let Him take care of the details.

Amen