Skip to content

LSB Pentecost B Sermon – John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15

May 25, 2015

May 24, 2015 at Calvary Evangelical Lutheran Church – Mechanicsburg, PA

“And when [the Helper] comes, He will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see Me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.”

“When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place.…” That is how the recorder of the Acts of the Apostles begins his description of the event that the Church celebrates on this day. Today marks the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon Jesus’ apostles, just as He had promised them. During the Passover meal on the night that He was betrayed, Jesus had told His disciples about the Helper that would be sent to them. That Helper, the Holy Spirit, would be essential to their carrying out the new role that Jesus was assigning to them—to be His witnesses: “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.”

When the Holy Spirit is given to the apostles, they are empowered to fulfill the charge that Jesus had spoken to them. Recall what Jesus said to them after He had risen from the grave and appeared to His disciples: “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of My Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” 

The task that Jesus had established in those words began to be fulfilled as the Holy Spirit came to the apostles in the mighty rushing wind and tongues of flame. The apostles’ work started that day in the city of Jerusalem, as they proclaimed repentance and forgiveness of sins and bore witness about Jesus. That is the seen in the crowds’ response to what they were experiencing that day: “We hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.”

Jesus foretold the work that the Holy Spirit would do through the apostles, as witness would be borne by that Helper through their proclamation. Jesus also noted the result of that work: “And when [the Helper] comes, He will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see Me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.” 

As the Holy Spirit fulfills His role, the world is affected by it. He convicts the world, exposing what is lacking in the world and of reproving the world’s errors. Jesus states that the Holy Spirit will show what sin truly is. It’s not just a lack of external good works. No, it is unbelief, the failure to heed what the LORD says, particularly what He says concerning His Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth. The Holy Spirit also points out what righteousness is. Righteousness is not abiding by social norms. Rather, it is found in the works that Jesus performed and the teaching that He gave. The Holy Spirit demonstrates to the world that judgment has come. This isn’t an enforcement of the world’s chaotic condition or misguided sense of justice. Instead, it is a declaration that the true Lord of Creation has come and redeemed it, breaking the grasp that Satan has and restoring a new order within it.

This work that the Holy Spirit does is connected to the witness that He bears about Jesus. Remember that bearing witness about Jesus is the major task of the Holy Spirit: “He will bear witness about Me.” But bearing witness about Jesus is not simply mentioning that He existed. Nor is it just giving an account of the activities that Jesus performed. Rather, it is testifying to what Jesus said and did as the Messiah. It is a speaking about what Jesus accomplished to fulfill the promises that the Father had given and to complete the work that He had assigned. Bearing witness about Jesus is to speak about His eternal origin, His unique birth, His righteous life, His declaring of truth, His compassionate acts, His obedience and selflessness that led to His sacrificial death, and His glorious overcoming of death by His rising from the grave. That is what the Holy Spirit bears witness about to the world. And it is done through the apostles whom He empowers, so that people can say: “We hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.”

The significance of Pentecost is not really found in the strange events that took place in ancient Jerusalem. Sometimes, our minds can be so focused on them: the mighty rushing wind; the divided tongues of fire; the ability to speak in other tongues. Yes, these are the ways that the Holy Spirit’s outpouring was manifested. But the truly extraordinary event is that the people hear about the mighty works of God as the Holy Spirit empowers the apostles. And the importance of that is summarized in Peter’s connecting the LORD’s Old Testament promise to this proclamation: “And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” This is the desired outcome as the Holy Spirit bears witness about Jesus and convicts the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.

That is the outcome of the Holy Spirit’s work done among you. Through the apostles’ testimony that is recorded and continues to be repeated, you receive the witness borne by the Holy Spirit about Jesus. You are convicted concerning sin and righteousness and judgment. You have heard the mighty works of God being told to you. And that has changed you.

When you have heard Jesus’ teaching, you heard the LORD’s will. That includes the standard of holiness that all creation is bound to obey, including receiving Him as the LORD’s Messiah. Hearing this has exposed your failure to abide by this standard. When you have heard about Jesus’ actions, you heard how true righteousness has been shown by Him. But that also exposed where you are not always like Him, how you do not always do what Jesus did. When you have heard about the result of Jesus’ work, you heard how a new order is established in the world. But that also exposed how you were devoted to the chaotic way how this world operates. This is how you have been convicted concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.

But the Holy Spirit’s work done through the apostles’ testimony does not only convict. It also shows how the teaching and actions of Jesus have brought about redemption and salvation. Through your engagement in the Church, you have heard the mighty works of God being told to you. Those mighty works of God not only exposed faults, they also proved to be the overcoming of them. This is why Peter directs the crowds who saw the arrival of the Holy Spirit to the divine promise made: “And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” That promise is extended to you who have heard the witness borne by the Holy Spirit about Jesus: that He is the LORD’s Messiah who has come to atone for humanity’s sin and to bring mankind into everlasting fellowship with the Father.

This is the proclamation of repentance and forgiveness of sins done in the Christ’s name. That is the outcome of the witnessing that the Holy Spirit bears about Jesus. It is the purpose of all the apostolic testimony given about Jesus’ words and works. This is no ordinary speech! But it is a divine declaration that takes what belongs to Jesus and gives it to you. It takes that His holiness, His righteousness, and His absolution and bestows all them to you. So you are no longer just a group of people who have been convicted by the Holy Spirit, but individuals who have been sanctified and set apart by Him. For the Holy Spirit’s witness has directed you to call on the Lord Jesus’ name for salvation because of the mighty works that He has done.

You have benefited from the sending of the Holy Spirit. Jesus told His apostles: “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.” That Helper has come to the apostles. Through them, the witness about Jesus has been made. That witness you have received. Convicted by the Holy Spirit concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment, you have understood your need for aid. But hearing the witness of the Holy Spirit about Jesus, you know that He is your Redeemer. Repentance and forgiveness of sins in His name are yours. For as you call upon His name, you shall be saved—just as has been promised.

+ In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Advertisements
Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: