Sermon June 26, 2022: How the Holy Spirit Communicates With Us (Pentecost 4)

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If you prefer to worship at home at this time or simply wish to listen to the service or sermon again, 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/724084028

Screencast-o-matic: https://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/c31OcbV0hW2

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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: The Prayer of St 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 We Would See Jesus
We Would See Jesus by Fairview Park United Methodist Church
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7oxhvzAs0Q

(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 − 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 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.

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 Jesus Loves Me
Gaither Vocal Band – Jesus Loves Me [Live]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQVOld9XFkM

(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: How the Holy Spirit Communicates With Us
John 14:25-26, 15:1-10, 8:28-36
Series: “The Acts of the Holy Spirit through the Apostles.”

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

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SERMON NOTES

John 14:25 “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.

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.

28 So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority but speak thus as the Father taught me. 29 And he who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what is pleasing to him.” 30 As he spoke thus, many believed in him. 31 Jesus then said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” 33 They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham, and have never been in bondage to any one. How is it that you say, ‘You will be made free’?” 34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, every one who commits sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not continue in the house for ever; the son continues for ever. 36 So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.

Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.   – Howard Thurman

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HYMN Wonderful Words Of Life
Allison Durham Speer, Wesley Pritchard, Sue Dodge, Larry Ford – Wonderful Words of Life
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q499q89HOpM

(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

All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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

TRANSCRIPT

Methodist missionary E. Stanley Jones suggested that the Book of Acts should be retitled as “The Acts of the Holy Spirit Through the Apostles.” And so many thousands of years ago, that term apostle had a very distinct meaning, but I would like to tell you the original meaning of the word is someone who is sent. Well, nowadays, brothers and sisters, we are the people who are sent.

And in this Pentecost season, we want to talk about how the Holy Spirit wants to act through us. And of course, a big part of that is for us to understand how the Holy Spirit communicates with us. In Jesus’s last evening that he spent with the disciples, he mentioned several things that the Holy Spirit, the paraclete, which is a Greek version of the word that is translated counselor, translated in the King James as comforter, translated elsewhere as helper, how the Holy Spirit would come alongside of us. That’s the literal meaning of the word in Greek, one who comes alongside to help, and it’s important for us in Pentecost to understand how the Holy Spirit wants to come alongside of us to do God’s will through us.

Let me remind you of something you already know, which is that Pastor Dave loves books. I got this from my father who taught me, even as a child, that inside of a book you could find a truth that would help you with a problem. And so I’ve always had this conviction that if I could go into a bookstore, all the books on the shelves, among all of those many books, I could find one that would help me deal with a problem I was having. And in my younger days, my 20s and 30s and 40s, to browse in the bookstore was my favorite thing to do.

My second favorite thing to do was to buy books. I’m not sure how many books I bought before Kim and I married, but I suspect it literally was three to four thousand books. Now, the other problem is, if you know me well, is my dad is German, my mom is Scottish. The thing I love most is buying books that were on sale! It’s true. Kim said to me, “Please stop buying books that collect dust,” so since then I bought Kindle books, and I have over 3,000 Kindle books. But the reason I have all of those books is I’m convinced when you walk into the store, and you look on those shelves, you can find a truth that can change your life. And if you can’t find it on the ground floor, look at the second floor. Maybe it’s up there. And I would spend many hours looking for truth and then bring truth home.

When I was in my 50s, I came to realize that even though in my conscious mind I knew I was looking for truth, what I was actually looking for in my searching was a savior. Because the savior has the truth that will solve our problems. The savior has the truth that will help us to see clearly the answer. And I realized that what I was actually looking for in the bookstore was my savior. Nonetheless, I have all these books, and in fact, I have more books than I have bookcases.

I have books in boxes. In fact, in my office at home, upstairs, I ran out of bookcases. I’ve got four feet of bookcases there, four feet of bookcases there, another bookcase here, another bookcase here. But there wasn’t enough. So I began to stack books up against the wall with the back out so I could see the titles, so I could hunt for things. And behind the door, I had books stacked up against the wall, literally 4-5 feet high.

A week and a half ago, Kim and I heard a gigantic thump. And I said to myself, something’s fallen on the roof. It sounded exactly like that. I got out, I walked around the entire house, looked at the roof, looked for branches, coconuts, I don’t know. Nothing on the roof.

A week later, I went into my office at home, upstairs, and looked in a direction I don’t normally look, and that five-foot-high stack of books … wasn’t quite so high. It had thumped onto the floor. This past week for this sermon, I started looking for a book. The title was something like the Small Church Pastor’s Handbook. It was published back in the ’80s. It has a beautiful quote in it that I wanted to share with you. And I looked and I looked and I looked. It’s a green book, I remember that. I looked and I looked and I looked, and I could not find it anywhere. Maybe I loaned it to someone. Maybe I’m just so disorganized. Maybe it’s at the bottom of that stack on the floor.

So I had to reconstruct the quote from memory. And it was something like this: The purpose of the small church pastor is not to preach a certain number of sermons, visit a certain number of people in the hospital or nursing home, or in their homes, or attend a certain number of committee meetings. The true purpose of the pastor is to live such a life with people, connected to people, that people can truly sense that what we believe is genuinely true.

How do we have that sense such that people see us and believe that the truth about Jesus Christ that we hold in our hearts is genuinely true?

Here’s what Jesus said the Holy Spirit would do within us. John 14:25, “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Counselor, the Comforter, the Helper, the Paraclete, the one who comes alongside to help us, “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name,” will do what?

Look at the words, “He will teach you all things.” This is what Jesus said back when there were no bookstores. The Holy Spirit will teach you all things. And someone might ask, “How will the Holy Spirit teach us everything we need to know?” Look at the words. It’s very strange. The way the Holy Spirit will teach you everything you need to know according to this passage is this: “The Holy Spirit will bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”

Now, it’s possible that the Holy Spirit would guide you by reminding you of a passage from the Psalms. It’s possible that the Holy Spirit would teach you by causing you to turn somewhere in the prophets or somewhere in the first five books of the Old Testament. It’s possible, because we certainly do not wish to limit the Holy Spirit. But what Jesus clearly and explicitly says here is that the Holy Spirit will have a desire to bring to your remembrance everything Jesus said, and of course, along with that, everything Jesus did, because that’s what we need to know. By reminding us of the Savior, everything we need to know will be revealed to us. So the Paraclete comes alongside to answer the question, “What did Jesus say about this?”

A couple of other things about how Jesus spoke of Scripture. This is one of my favorites. John 15, the very next chapter, Jesus says, “I am the true vine. My Father is the vinedresser. 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.” You’ve heard me say this before, one of my pet peeves: preachers preach on this passage and they talk about how painful it is when God chooses to prune us, how terrible it is when God chooses to prune us. I want to say to you, “Ridiculous!”

My doctor would like me to lose 75 pounds, maybe more, but let’s just keep that in mind. You know what it is to be pruned? The farmer comes and takes away what you don’t need. The farmer comes and takes away what is holding you back. The farmer comes and takes away what is making you ill. The farmer comes and takes away probably what’s already half dead. Do you know what pruning is, brothers and sisters? You go to bed and you wake up the next morning and you’re 70 pounds lighter. Would anyone really complain about that?

But how exactly does God prune us? Look at the third verse. You are already made clean … Greek word, it’s the same word that’s translated pruning. You are pruned in other words by the word which I have spoken to you. You know what the pruning shears are, friends? Right here. The words of Jesus applied to your life will take away what you don’t need. They will take away what holds you back. They will take away what harms you. The words of Jesus will comb through your life and take out the tangles. Not only that, I think as an outcome of that activity, we will come to abide in Jesus, and Jesus will abide in us. When the Holy Spirit reminds us of everything Jesus said and everything Jesus did, that’s a great blessing to us.

Here’s another verse that Jesus said about his words from John 8, Jesus then said to the Jews who believed in him and I think to us today because we believe in him, “If you continue in my word,” and the word continue implies a consistent, regular practice. “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples.” This is the only place in the New Testament where Jesus indicates a requirement to be considered a disciple. “If you continue in My word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”

And the people listening to him say, “We are children of Abraham and we have never been in bondage to anyone,” which is not true. They were slaves in Egypt. They were under the oppression of the Roman government. But Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.”

Friends, if we continue in the words of Jesus– if we continue in the words of Jesus, they will reveal truth to us. And the greatest truth, of course, is all the sin that holds us back or damages our life. What’s the difference between right and wrong? You will find it in the words of Jesus. And if you continue in the words of Jesus, you will be quite surprised at what Jesus says is wrong, because when you compare the words of Jesus to what other people might want to tell you is wrong, you’ll find quite often that Jesus never said anything about that.

We need to know the words of Jesus. The picture on the screen is a picture of a country road south of Weatherford, Oklahoma. It looks like there is about a foot of water running across the road. But when that water drains down, you see that there is a — looks like about a 20-foot deep ditch where the water has washed away not only the road, but the earth under the road. If you tried to drive over what appears to be a tiny shallow bit of water, you would find yourself in a world of trouble because you don’t know the truth. To be honest, the truth can save your life. And if you allow the words of Jesus Christ to continually flow into your life, they will reveal the truth to you in a way that will enhance your life, but might even save your life.

During this sermon series, during the season of Pentecost, we’re talking about ways that the Holy Spirit works through us. And I’ve suggested to you that there are three things that are foundational.

On Easter Sunday evening, Jesus said to the disciples gathered in the upper room, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” Now, let that sink in for a moment. Jesus Christ was sent to be the Savior. He was baptized and filled by the Holy Spirit, rose up, filled in the power of the Holy Spirit and went out to do his ministry. And now on the day of resurrection, Jesus looks out over the disciples and he says, “The way the Father sent me… Now, even so, exactly the same way, I think you could interpret it to me, now I’m going to send you to do the same things.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

When you study how Jesus did what Jesus did, God spoke to Jesus. And Jesus said that he never said a word that the Father did not tell Him to say. And Jesus did these miracles. But we also understand by the scripture that Jesus was fully human, just like you and I, with all of our human limitations. Well, if that’s true, how could Jesus do all these miracles? And the answer is God acted through the Holy Spirit, through Jesus. And so, friends, now, you and I, God can act through us, through the Holy Spirit to do amazing things.

Well, Pastor Dave, how do I know what God wants me to do when I’m sent to do something? Well, what the Holy Spirit is there to do is help you answer a question. And when you find yourself going through your day, you’re in a situation and you wonder, “What does God want me to do?” You can pray a simple prayer. You can ask the Holy Spirit, “What would Jesus do?” Because remember, what the Holy Spirit wants to do is to show you what Jesus would do, so that you could be inspired, so that you could be instructed, so that you could see, “Oh, first do this, first do that.” So that you could pray a certain way for God to act. Sometimes, so that you could say to a person, “This reminds me of something Jesus said.” And you can tell them what Jesus said. What would Jesus do? The Holy Spirit will answer that and will tell you.
Ephesians 2:10 says that we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. And what that means is, as you go through your day, from one thing to another, you will find along the way people that God has brought into your proximity, because there’s something that God wants to do. And you know what we call those people? They are neighbors. And what the scripture says is we’re to love our neighbors.

Well, Lord, how am I supposed to show your love here? The prayer you ask, the question you ask is, “What would Jesus do?” And then be guided, be inspired, because whatever Jesus would do, it’s probably right for us to do. It’s probably right for us to be like Him. So people along your way as you go through your day, they are there on purpose. They are your micro-mission field, the ten to twelve people you interact with every week. God is going to use you to bless those ten or twelve people. And God is going to use the person sitting next to you to bless a different ten or twelve people. And God is going to use the person across the room to bless another ten or twelve people. And in this way, through us, God can bless an entire community, an entire county, an entire region. But how we know what to do is we can pray that prayer, “What would Jesus do?”, and be guided by the memory of Jesus that comes to us.

When the temple was rebuilt, the Jewish people were sent from Babylon back to Jerusalem, and their leader was told that, “The goals of God would be achieved, not by human might, not by power, but by My Spirit,” says the Lord of hosts. So, how can we receive guidance? We can understand how the Holy Spirit communicates with us.

The Holy Spirit chooses to communicate with us according to this verse in John chapter 14, by reminding us of what Jesus said and did. Friends, if you never pick up the Bible, if you never read the chapters in the Gospels, if you are unfamiliar with what Jesus said or did, it’s going to be a lot more difficult for you to be able to hear from God what you or I need to do in a particular moment. But you know something? Just like when you drive down a road at night, you don’t need to see all the way to your destination. If you can see what’s right in front of you clearly, it will be safe for you to move forward.

So, I’d like to encourage you, we talked about this at the beginning of Lent, to consider going for a disciple walk. What’s a disciple walk? Well, you open up the Gospels and you read each day a chapter. You start with the book of Matthew. That would mean that this morning, like me, you’d open up and read Matthew 26 because you’re wanting to become familiar with what Jesus said and did, so that the Holy Spirit can remind you in any given moment when you need guidance, what Jesus would do. If you feed your minds with the words of Jesus, the Holy Spirit will remind you when you need that reminder.

Let the words of the hymn inspire you: We would see Jesus in the early morning, still, as of old, he calleth, “Follow me.” Let us arise all meaner service scorning, Lord, we are Thine. We give ourselves to Thee.

Please pray with me, “Lord Jesus, you said you would not leave us alone, but you would send us a comforter, someone who would come alongside of us to help and to guide us. And, Lord, thank you for the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Lord, help our ears and eyes and minds to be open, knowing that what the Holy Spirit is likely to do because you said so. Help our eyes and ears and minds to be open so that in the moment we need Your guidance, we would be reminded of the example you set, of the instructions you left, so that we could repeat, now, what you did back then … as an example of how to treat people, how to love people, how to teach people, an example of what the truth is, not only to guide us, but others. Lord, may we clearly hear all these reminders to turn our eyes upon Jesus and be guided by all he said and did. And we ask this in the name of Jesus Christ. 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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