Sermon 6/13/2021: The Lessons of the Comforter (Pentecost 04)

At this time, due to Coronavirus concerns, many are not quite ready to return to face to face worship. If this includes you, please click on the link below to watch the entire worship service as a video on your home computer, tablet or smartphone:

Link to Video:

Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/562286040

Screencast-o-matic: https://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/cr1l3HVh979

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If you would prefer not to view the video, you’re welcome to use the links below to have a time of worship at home. (Just right click on the link to “open link in a new tab” to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

CALL TO WORSHIP: Let us dedicate ourselves to the service of Jesus by joining in the Prayer of Saint Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy
O Divine Master, grant that I may
Not so much seek to be consoled as to console
To be understood, as to understand
To be loved, as to love
For it is in giving that we receive
And it’s in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it’s in dying that we are born to Eternal Life
Amen

HYMN Trust and Obey
Trust and Obey – Delran UMC Virtual Choir (Mother’s Day 2020)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1tUsyJm1vI

(Just right click on the link to “open link in a new tab” to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

A TIME OF PRAYER (Testimonies, Joys & Concerns)

Congregational Prayer: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

Please pray for yourself and your neighbors, lifting up your needs to God while giving thanks for answered prayer.

The Lord’s Prayer: Our Father, who art in heaven; hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

HYMN Majesty
Bill & Gloria Gaither – Majesty (Live)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gr2jpojRb5o

(Just right click on the link to “open link in a new tab” to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

MOMENTS WITH THE CHILDREN – If you are blessed to have children with you, ask them what they are thankful for, and then thank God together!

GIVING OF OUR TITHES AND OFFERINGS – these can be mailed to the church office.

MESSAGE: The Lessons of the Comforter
Text: John 14:22-29, 15:1-10
Series: The Gifts of the Comforter

Right-click, open in new tab to play … Sermon audioSermon slides as a PDF file.

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SERMON NOTES

John 14:22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” 23 Jesus answered him, “If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 He who does not love me does not keep my words; and the word which you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me. 25 “These things I have spoken to you, while I am still with you. 26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. 28 You heard me say to you, ‘I go away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I go to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place, you may believe.

John 15:1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples. 9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.

John 20:21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

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HYMN Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus
TIS SO SWEET TO TRUST IN JESUS performed by Casting Crowns
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DdgkvnsHjM

(Just right click on the link to “open link in a new tab” to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

BENEDICTION: Please recommit your life to follow Jesus as Savior and Lord with the words of The Centering Prayer:

Lord Jesus, today I am far less than the person I want to be or can be with your help.
I ask today that you would be more and more the center of my life.
Guide me to all that is good, cleanse me from all that is not.
Teach me Your ways and form in me Your nature.
Help me to serve you in flow as I am gifted.
Help me to notice my neighbor and work through me to redeem my neighborhood.
I am a sinner; please be my Shepherd, my Savior and my Lord. Amen.

If you worship at home, please let us know so we can pray for you!

TRANSCRIPT

The Lessons of the Comforter … and the lesson really basically simply is this: God intends to work through people like you and like me. “As the father has sent me,” Jesus told us, “Even so, I send you.” You and I are sent to make a difference in people’s lives.

And if you’re like me, the first question you want to ask is, “Well, what is it I’m supposed to do? What am I supposed to do?” And the answer, of course, is that the Holy Spirit’s going to tell you.

And of course, it helps if you’re familiar with the story. One of the most delightful things about falling in love is what the person you love likes. And Kim’s favorite movie of all time is the movie Airplane!, an absolutely ridiculous movie that if you haven’t seen it, you need to go see it. Find a way to rent it or look at it. Kim has probably half, if not three-fourths, if not all of the dialogue memorized. You see, she’s familiar with the story.

One of the jokes is that if you use the word, “Surely,” in a sentence, she will look at you and glare and say, “Don’t call me Shirley.”

It took me three times this afternoon to get her to glare at me and say, “Don’t call me Shirley.”

And I told her I wanted to talk about this movie and how wonderful it was and the message, and that started an over a five-minute monologue of jokes from the movie Airplane! It was absolutely marvelous. But it was easy for her. You know why? It was easy because she’s familiar with the story. And that means that when it’s time for her to speak, she has no trouble remembering what to say.

Friends, you and I at one time or another are going to be sitting on a park bench next to someone, maybe a complete stranger, maybe a close friend. And we’re going to feel that prompting in our hearts that we should say something. That we should share something. And something we should keep in mind is there are no coincidences. This conversation is a part of God’s plan. God has planned for us to have this conversation for centuries. You see, everything in your life is either a sequel or a prequel. Everything that happens all fits together. Everything tells a story. And sooner or later, it will come time for you to say your lines. Don’t get stage fright. Don’t get alarmed because you really just have a small part in this story of the Gospel – this story of how much God loves people. You’re not even the hero of the story because we know that Jesus is the hero of the story. But on this particular day, at that park bench or at that table in a restaurant or wherever it might be, you’re going to be a part of God communicating the love of Jesus Christ. You’re going to be a part of God communicating God’s willingness to forgive people. You’re going to become a part of God’s willingness to help people with healing, with hope. Whatever it might be, you will have a part to play. There are no coincidences at all. And you see, when you have something to say, it really, really helps if you’re familiar with the story.

“I have questions,” you say. And of course, you want to understand, but you don’t know in that moment for certain what you are supposed to do or what you are supposed to say. And what I want to say to you is the scripture that we’re looking at today will answer these questions in a very clear and specific way.

How is it that the Spirit will answer your questions? Well, here it is. John chapter 14, beginning with verse 22. Judas, not Judas Iscariot, but the other one. Judas said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest, reveal, show yourself to us and not to the world?” Verse 23. Jesus answered him. “If a man loves me, he will keep my word.” That’s important. “And my Father will love him and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me does not keep my words. And the word which you hear is not mine, but the Father’s, who sent me. These things I’ve spoken to you while I am still with you.”
Now, look at verse 26 very carefully. “But the counselor, the comforter, the paraclete, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”

In fact, I want to be very, very blunt. How will the Holy Spirit teach you everything you need to know? The Holy Spirit will remind you of everything Jesus said and did.

And friends, that’s everything you’ll ever need to know. And that’s why it’s good to be familiar with the story. Verse 27. Jesus goes on to say– these are good words for us when we feel anxious. “Peace, I leave with you. My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, ‘I go away and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it takes place so that when it does take place you may believe.”

And then, next verse comes to the 15th chapter where Jesus says, “I am the true vine. My father is the vinedresser, the gardener. Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away. Every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes that it may bear more fruit.”

Take a close look at verse three. You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you. Everything that Jesus said, everything that Jesus did, friends, cleans us up but keeps us focused on what’s important. It’s what we need to know.

“Abide in me,” Jesus says, “and I in you.” As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine. Neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine. You are the branches. He who abides in me and I in him, he is that bears much fruit for a part for me you can do nothing. If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers. And the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned.

But here, look a verse seven. If you abide in me. Now, that’s a connection between the plant and the root. And we all know that the plant withers without what the root sends to it. But that’s not all it says. If you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.

Do you want your prayers to come true? Do you want what you ask for to happen? When you pray for someone else who is in desperate need, do you want them to receive the help that they need? If that’s what you want, you need to let the words of Jesus Christ abide in you. You need to be not only familiar with the story, but you need to read those words over and over again, because they are words of power. They are a means by which God answers prayer. If my words abide in you, ask whatever you will and it shall be done for you.

By this, my father is glorified that you bear much fruit. And so prove to be my disciples. It glorifies God when people talk about answered prayers, not because you prayed them, but because it proves that God is a God that answers prayer. It proves that God is a God that cares for us. That’s why the Father is glorified when your prayers are answered. So verse nine: as the Father has loved me, so I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments … and how can you keep the commands of Jesus if you’re not familiar with them? If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love just as I have kept my father’s commandments and abide in his love. You’ll be more and more like Jesus.

You see, God intends to work through you. Yes, ordinary, fallible, mistake prone, clumsy you. All the same applies to me! God intends to work through you … as the father has sent me, even so, I send you. And just like Moses, we can think of dozens of other people who are smarter, better looking, more influential. And just like Moses, God looks at us and says, “I’ve chosen you. I want you. I want to work through you.”

So what’s going to happen if God is working through you? Well, first, one is when you have an opportunity to sit on the park bench next to someone who might need your prayers. You won’t walk in the other direction. Don’t be afraid of someone who might need your prayers. You’ll sit down, you’ll say hello. You’ll say, how are you? You will listen and be kind and caring. And while that person is speaking, in fact, sometimes, even if they refuse to speak, you will get a sense in your heart of what they need from you in prayer.

But here’s the point of this particular passage of scripture. The form that that sense, that word of wisdom and knowledge will come to you will be as a reminder, a reminder of something that Jesus did or said. The Spirit will work through you by reminding you about Jesus and whatever comes to your mind about something Jesus said or did, whether it’s from your life, words out of a hymn, or words right out of the gospel: this memory that comes to you will show you how you are to pray.

You will find this is easier and easier as you become more and more familiar with the story. And then you can be faithful and pray according to what God seems to tell you. Now, let’s assume … maybe it’s possible … that you get it wrong. But God still knows why you’re praying. Have faith and step out in prayer for the people you talk to. Because you see, God intends to work through you. There are no coincidences. Every person you encounter, you have an opportunity to influence them, perhaps in a very, very small way.

But powerful things grow from tiny seeds. And the Holy Spirit will prune you. The Holy Spirit will clean you up, help you focus, declutter your life by reminding you about Jesus. And then we’ll need to be faithful and, of course, we’ll need to be familiar with the story. You’ll be reminded by the spirit of something Jesus said or did, and this will guide you away from what’s not fruitful. It will guide you toward what is fruitful.

But the most important thing is very simple, if God intends to work through you, let yourself be guided. Because, you see, God intends to work through you. We might wish for it to be different, but that’s the choice for all time. And if God is working through you, the Spirit is going to teach you by reminding you about Jesus. Something Jesus said, something Jesus did. It will come into your mind. If you have time, you may want to look that passage of scripture up. It will be on your mind. It will wake you up in the middle of the night. It will come to mind while you are driving. The Spirit will teach you by reminding you of something Jesus said or did and you can be faithful to this leading by the Spirit, by turning that insight, whatever it might be, into a prayer. And it will come more and more easily if you’re familiar with a story. Read the Bible. Spend time thinking about it. Be familiar with the good news. And God will use your familiarity more and more.

Now be yourself, because that’s why God chose you. He wanted to bring this good news in a container that is just like you. Be yourself … but let God use you. Learn and grow, speak of that thing, pray about that thing that you remember from the life of Jesus. And in all things, when you interact with other people, let Jesus be your model.

Please pray with me: Lord Jesus, there were times when you healed people. Lord, help us to pray prayers for people to be healed.
Lord, there were times when you commanded the devil to stop. Lord, it might not be out loud, but there are times when we will find we need to command the devil to stop.
Lord, there were times that you broke bread and shared it with people, and strangely, there was enough bread for thousands of people. Sometimes, Lord, the story of you sharing with others will remind us that we should share because that’s what people do when they love other people.
Lord, I ask that you would remind us of everything you said and did to the point where we’re so familiar with the story. And that we are willing to let you be our model when we think about how we should pray, and when we think about what we should say, when we think about what we should do. And we ask these things in the name of Jesus Christ who loved us. Amen.

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION: Let’s have a conversation! Please reflect upon the questions below as you consider the material presented above. In a comment, share your thoughts and additional questions. What would you like to know?

What grabbed your attention?
What is the human need or problem?
What questions do you have about any quotes provided?
Does the Bible say anything about this?
What solutions do you see for the problem?
What specifically could we begin to do to make a change?

Additional Resources
Kinmundy United Methodist Church is located at 308 E. Third Street, Kinmundy, IL 62854. Worship begins at 9 am Sundays. The building is handicap accessible.
Wesley United Methodist Church is located at 3381 Kinoka Road, Patoka, IL 62875 in the country between Kinmundy and Patoka. Worship begins at 10.45 am Sundays.
VISION: We are a functional family of God, where Jesus is Lord and people grow.
MISSION: Every layperson is called to carry out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20); every layperson is called to be missional. (¶126 of the 2016 Book of Discipline)
Paradigm: There are two kinds of people in this world: people who need to become disciples and disciples who need to become disciple makers.

(If you wish, you can listen to the Prayer of St. Francis being sung:
Sarah McLachlan – Prayer of St. Francis
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agPnMxp5Occ )
 

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