"Reunited!" John 14:23-31

Series: Easter 2023

May 28, 2023
Rev. Nathan J. Rusert

We believe, teach, and confess: "I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength 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." On Pentecost we rejoice that God the Holy Spirit is still poured out upon us through the Gospel preached, poured, read, and fed us in Christ reconciling us to our God and Father. Sermon Text: John 14:23-31. Sermon Theme: "Reunited!" Preached for The Feast of Pentecost, 28-May-2023, at Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Tell City, Indiana by Rev. Nathan J. Rusert.

Episode Notes

The Feast of Pentecost                                                   28-May-2023
Sermon Text: John 14:23-31
Sermon Theme: “Reunited!”

I.N.R.I. A English Christian chaplain serving near the front line trenches in World War 1 wrote home saying: “Tell the Territorials and soldiers at home that they must know God before they come to the front if they would face what lies before them. We have no atheists in the trenches. Men are not ashamed to say that, though they never prayed before, they pray now with all their hearts.” On April 11, 1942 a widely distributed story from the Associated Press news service reported on the fighting and retreat of troops from Bataan in the Philippines. Lieutenant Colonel Warren J. Clear, an officer in the U.S. Army, described an incident during which he heard the foxhole adage spoken by an unnamed sergeant: “The officer said that he and a sergeant who shared the same fox-hole prayed audibly during one particularly heavy bombing attack. The sergeant, Clear related, observed afterward that “there are no atheists in fox-holes.” This weekend our nation remembers our soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen, doctors, and nurses who laid down their lives on battlefields around the world to secure our God given liberty.   Did the fear of death on the battlefield convert them to saving faith in the Triune God? Is crying out to a generic god of one’s imagination really prayer? How many after the fear of 9-11 remained faithful believers in a local congregation?
    Today, the 50th day after the victory was proclaimed: “Alleluia! Christ is risen!” For forty days after His physical resurrection Christ Jesus opened the Scriptures to His disciples teaching them of His Kingdom. Then He ascended to the Father’s right hand far above all heavens to be ever present with us True God/True Man. Fifty days after Pentecost the Jews celebrated the harvest of the first grain, the first fruits were offered back to the Giver - the Creator. It was on this day also that the Jews celebrated the Lord God descending upon Sinai speaking His Holy Ten Commandments to His children of Israel. The Law is the eternal good and gracious will of our heavenly Father, yet it cannot save. It keeps evil men in check. It exposes our sins as a mirror. It judges us guilty sinners against the Holy God who created us to be His own, but who by our sin have ran away from Him trusting our own ways.
    Dead in our trespasses and sins - fear cannot awaken us to saving faith in our crucified and risen King Jesus. We need the Lord and Giver of Life - God the Holy Spirit to “call us by the gospel, enlighten us with His gifts, sanctify, and keep us” in the one True Faith in Christ Jesus. We need the Gospel so that we might truly be: “Reunited!”
        God the Holy Spirit makes sinners holy by bringing them to fear, love, and trust in Jesus above all things. On the night He was betrayed Jesus taught His disciples at the Last Passover. (Jn. 14:23) Jesus preached, Joh 14:15-22 "If you love Me, keep My commandments. (16) And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— (17) the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. (18) I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. (19) "A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. (20) At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. (21) He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him." (22) Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, "Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?"   How can we love Jesus if we don’t know about Him? God the Holy Spirit teaches us about God the Father’s love in sending His only begotten Son into our flesh to take the place of us sinners that we might be brought Home to Him. St. John writes, 1Jn 4:8-10 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. (9) In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. (10) In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” God the Holy Spirit brings us to know Jesus through Christ’s Word. He opens our hearts to receive the seed of Christ’s Word as our own source of forgiveness, life, and salvation. He comforts us with Christ’s Word that we cling to Him trusting the Father’s love given us in His Son - our Savior - our Brother.
        God the Holy Spirit keeps us in Jesus’ Word as the Father draws near to us through His incarnate Son to make His Home among us. A soldier on the battlefield looks towards home for comfort. The Holy Spirit brings Home to us within Christ’s Church. (Jn.14:23) The devil hardens our stubborn sinful heart turning us back to self love and away from Christ’s living Spirit filled Word. Satan lies - he is the father of lies a murderer from the beginning. His lie is that God’s Word isn’t true, that God really doesn’t care for you, love you, and he is withholding power from you. Beware of the lying spirit of the fallen angel. Cling to Christ’s Word - always gather together, even if the congregation is only two or three, in Christ’s Name - there Father, Son, and Holy Spirit draw near forgiving you with Christ’s blood, filling you with joy and peace by the Holy Spirit, embracing you with the Father’s love.
          Sunday morning, fifty days after Passover, the disciples of Jesus gathered in the large upper room where Jesus had instituted the Lord’s Supper. They were a congregation gathered around Christ’s Word - for they were sitting as the Apostles preached the Words and promises of Jesus to them. As they preach - God the Holy Spirit is poured out upon them through Christ’s Word. Tongues of fire - sanctifying their mouths, opening their lips to declare the praises of the Father in Christ Jesus. Learn well from them to distinguish God the Holy Spirit from the lying spirits. The men stand to preach, not about themselves, or their feelings, or their experiences, or about their own holiness - they stand and preach Christ crucified for sinners, raised to reunite us to our heavenly Father present in His Word. Their preaching leads even infants of whole families to baptism as the Holy Spirit adds 3,000 to the Church. This is what Jesus promises (Jn.14:25,26) Our Lord spoke these words during His days of humiliation. He limited Himself to be present in one place at one time for those 33 years. His exaltation began with His descent into hell as the risen God/Man proclaiming victory over Satan and all his demonic host. Risen from the grave proclaiming us reconciled to our God and Father through Him. He ascends now present here with us one Christ - God/Man - breathing forth God the Holy Spirit through His Word.
      God the Holy Spirit teaches us all things through the Scriptures show us how Moses, the Prophets, the Psalms are all about the Father’s love given sinners in the flesh and blood of His only begotten Son Christ Jesus. God the Holy Spirit comforts us through Jesus’ Word. Crushed by sin - He speaks, “Be of good cheer, your sins are forgiven you.” Grieving at the grave - He speaks, “I am the Resurrection and the Life.” Lonely - He speaks, ‘I am with you always.” As you are dying He speaks - “Because I live you shall live also.” Remember the promises that God the Father makes to you in Jesus as the Holy Spirit strengthens and comforts you in all trials.
      The war to end all wars - World War 1 - didn’t! The poppies still grow in Flanders field - wars and rumors of wars still abound - the torch of man’s hatred for man burns bright as many long for conflict. There is only One True Spirit of Peace - He is God the Holy Spirit who seals to us the peace won for us by the Prince of Peace in the battle endured for sinners upon Calvary. Remember what Jesus preaches to you this day, (Jn.14:27) God the Holy Spirit gives us Christ’s cross won, empty tomb certified peace through His Word. This peace is above all human understanding - it is a peace that Christian soldiers have facing death - whether they are on a battlefield or a hospice bed. The world’s peace is a cessation of outward conflict - Christ’s peace flows from a heart reunited with its loving Father and Creator as the Holy Spirit keeps in Jesus’ Word and faith until it dies.
      Our peace was won for us on the cross. (Jn 14:28-31) Proclaimed to the world by His resurrected body. Assured to us by His physical ascension and enthronement as our blood Brother. Poured out upon us by God the Holy Spirit calling us to turn away from the lie that we can choose our own path to God - to cling only to He who is The Way, The Truth, The Life - the only One who brings us to the Father through His flesh and blood by His Spirit. Rejoice! He has went to the Father for you! Rejoice! The Father and the Son send the Holy Spirit upon you today still through the preaching of Christ’s Word. Satan speaks lying words and feigns rulership over this world. He is defeated. Don’t listen to his lies. Don’t fear the anti-Christian power he wields persecuting the Church. He is defeated by the cross! He is powerless before Christ’s Word. God the Holy Spirit seals this victory to you. When the Law of God cuts you to the heart exposing your sin and the hell you deserve - that you cry out, “What shall we do?” Hear Christ’s preaching through His Apostles: “Act 2:38-39 Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (39) For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call." Remember! Live in your baptism! The Holy Spirit poured out upon your infant head, united you with Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension - His victory is your victory. His Home is your Home as the Father draws near to you in Jesus by the Holy Spirit. There may be atheists in foxholes - there are none in baptism - as they remember Jesus’ Word, “Given and shed for you.” “Be at peace,” God the Holy Spirit assures you, ‘You are forgiven!” Reunited - Home! Amen.

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