July 16, 2023, The Holy Spirit and Jesus, And Us Pentecost 7

If you prefer to worship at home at this time or simply wish to listen to the service or sermon again,, you’re welcome to use the links below to have a time of worship at home. (Just click on the link to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

CALL TO WORSHIP:
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.
Holy Spirit, come alongside of us, comfort and counsel us, speak through us, and empower us to do God’s will. Amen.

HYMN Joy To The World, 246
Joy To The World (Lyric Video / Live At Mosaiek Theatre, Johannesburg, South Africa/2006)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SV_QLxXxjqU

A TIME OF PRAYER (Testimonies, Joys & Concerns)

Congregational Prayer − Dear Lord, This morning as I contemplate a new day, I ask you to help me. I want to be aware of your Spirit—leading me in the decisions I take, the conversations I have, and the work I do. I want to be more like you, Jesus, as I relate to the people I meet today—friends or strangers. 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 371 I Stand Amazed in the Presence
I Stand Amazed (Live) by Gaither Music TV
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwJ3aALR3Z4

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 Holy Spirit and Jesus, And Us
Text: John 20:21-22, 14:11, Mark 1:7-12, 13:11, Ephesians 5:15-20
Series: The Greatest Story Ever Retold

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

——————————————————————————————————–
SERMON NOTES

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.

Mark 1:7 And he preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8 I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” 9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens opened and the Spirit descending upon him like a dove; 11 and a voice came from heaven, “Thou art my beloved Son; with thee I am well pleased.” 12 The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness.

Mark 13:11 And when they bring you to trial and deliver you up, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say; but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.

John 14:11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me; or else believe me for the sake of the works themselves. 12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father.

Ephesians 5:15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, 16 making the most of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart, 20 always and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father.

————————————————————————————————————-

HYMN Spirit Song, 347
Spirit Song (Vineyard Music)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U55pmc65OhE

BENEDICTION 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.

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

The Holy Spirit and Jesus … and us.

You’ve heard me tell this story five times or so in the nine years we’ve been together. How, in my younger and more foolish days, I thought it was a smart idea to leave a Chicago Cubs game at 9 o’clock at night and drive all the way home from Chicago with my oldest son in the seat beside me. So there I am at 4 o’clock in the morning, driving up the interstate toward Quincy, Illinois, where I lived at that time. It’s about 1990, a long time ago, when all of a sudden, in the right headlight, I suddenly see a patch of brown fur. And that’s how I got my first deer … with a Ford Escort.

And I was very familiar with the interstate at that place. It goes north from Hannibal to Quincy. It was almost brand new. It was straight. There was no traffic on it. And I was very grateful for that because when I hit the deer, all of my headlights were gone, and I was driving in the dark. And I managed to slow down and pull over to the side of the road and turn on my flashers.

Now, you know how people are– 4 o’clock in the morning, car on the side of the road, flashers. I look back in the mirror behind me, and I don’t see any cars coming at all. But finally, a car comes. And I say, “Lord, I need your help.” And the car drives right past. And a few minutes later, another one comes and it drives right past. And I think to myself, “I’m going to be here all night.”

But I noticed that with my blinkers on, every other second I could see the road in front of me. So I started driving along the shoulder at about 20 miles an hour, trying to get to the next exit. And I could see just enough of the shoulder to make it. And way back behind me, I see lights that I know are from a semi because of how big it is. And the semi pulls up alongside of me, and I can just imagine the truck driver looking over at my car, wondering what kind of a crazy idiot is driving by his blinkers.

And lo and behold, the semi pulls back about 50 feet and turns on his brights. And now I can see the whole road in front of him. So I accelerated to the proper speed and he and I drove on up to the next exit. And it turned out to be a Bunny Bread truck. I’ve had a very warm place in my heart for Bunny Bread ever since that night. And he and I talked and I thanked him and he said, “I’m going on into town.” And I said, “Well, if you’ll light the way for me, that will be just great.” And I went up to a gas station and called the county sheriff to report a dead deer somewhere on the road.

And as I’m driving though– I want to tell you that thing that happens to pastors all the time happened to me, which is, Lord, why do you have things happen to me that go into a sermon? Because one of the words for the Holy Spirit in the New Testament is the Greek word Paraclete, which literally means one who comes alongside, just like that truck, to provide exactly the help that is needed, not more than is needed, just exactly what is needed. And I said to myself, for the rest of my life, this will be the best example I know of what it means to be the Paraclete.

Now, the word Paraclete is translated a variety of ways in the Bible translations we read. It’s translated as comforter, as counselor, as advocate, adviser, helper, and partner. But literally, what it means is one who comes alongside. And what God wants from us, after the day of Pentecost – and I’m not talking about the holiday we celebrate every year, but all the way back to the very first day of Pentecost – is that you and I serve the Lord Jesus Christ, in partnership with the Holy Spirit who comes alongside of us. A lot of sermons don’t talk much about that. But it’s something that’s very good for us to understand.

On Easter Sunday evening, Jesus said to the disciples– he said to them again, John 20:21, peace be with you. And then he says these words, which really need to sink in, “As the Father has sent me even so I send you.” In other words, “After Easter, here’s what I want. I’m going to send you. And you’re going to go through life doing everything that I did. The three years of preparation were so that you would understand.

But not only that, look at the 22nd verse, as you go forward– as the Father has sent me, even so, I send you. As you go forward, the Holy Spirit’s going to be there to help you. Verse 22, and when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “receive the Holy Spirit.” Now, this is 49 days before the day of Pentecost, when they were filled with the Holy Spirit. You see, it’s like you and I have this spiritual tank. Some days there’s just a little in there. On Easter Sunday, Jesus says, receive the Holy Spirit, and the tank begins to fill. But they are completely filled with the Spirit on the day of Pentecost.

And now, when Jesus says, follow me, he is coming back to the beginning of his ministry and saying, “As the Father sent me, I’m going to send you. We’re going to go through the years I spent with you in the gospels. Only now, you’re going to be the one that God uses to help people.” So let’s go back to that day.

Mark chapter 1 verse 7, and he, John the Baptist preached saying, after me comes he who is mightier than I, the thong of whose sandals, I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water. But he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit. Now, all the disciples were baptized, but then later on the day of Pentecost, they were filled with the Holy Spirit. Being filled with the Holy Spirit comes after baptism, but not necessarily right after baptism, because it came later in the lives of the disciples. But the point that this scripture is making is that what Jesus is here to do is to help people be filled with the Holy Spirit – for the Holy Spirit to surround you and be a part of your life and minister through you. The word baptize means to put into, to surround with, to immerse. And as we live our Christian life, we are meant to live surrounded by the presence of the Holy Spirit acting through us and acting around us.

And so here is the first day of the ministry of Jesus Christ. In those days, Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilean and was baptized by John and the Jordan. And when he came up out of the water immediately, he saw the heavens opened and the Spirit descending upon him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “Thou art my beloved son, with thee, I am well pleased.” This, by the way, is the first example of the teaching of the Trinity because you have the Father speaking, you have the Spirit descending to surround Jesus, and you have Jesus beginning his ministry surrounded by the Holy Spirit, which is the way God intends ministry to be.

And so Jesus is filled with the Holy Spirit on this day, and look at the first thing that happens when someone is filled with the Holy Spirit. Jesus, it says in verse 12, the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. When we are filled up with the Holy Spirit, we are drawn to want to pray. As the Father has sent me, I send you … and as Jesus was sent by the Holy Spirit and the Father to begin his days with prayer, we are also sent to pray. As the Holy Spirit fills us up, we will also be drawn to prayer. And we will see God answer our prayers because that’s really most of the work of the Holy Spirit.

And not only that, as Jesus went through his ministry, he said that every word that he said was what the Father gave him to say. When you and I are filled with the Holy Spirit, when the Holy Spirit surrounds us, we will find that we’ll be in situations where all of a sudden, we will understand that we’re supposed to say something. All of a sudden, the words that we’re supposed to say will appear. And in fact, Jesus predicted this in Mark 13:11: And when they bring you to trial and deliver you up, times that are very stressful. Jesus says this, “Do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say. But say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.” When you are surrounded by the Holy Spirit, and you find yourself in a situation where God wants to do something, if you listen quite often, words will appear in your mind to share. Sometimes the words will encourage someone. Sometimes the words will encourage someone by telling them to grow up and do better.

Now, how do I know the difference between my ego and the Holy Spirit? Well, a politician was once asked, “Senator, how did you learn to make such wise and good decisions?” And the senator said, “Well, that’s easy, son, it’s experience.” And then the senator was asked, “How is it that you are able to give such wise and good answers?” And the senator said, “That’s because of all the learning I’ve had from bad experiences.”

See, here’s the deal. When you speak up, according to what the Holy Spirit wants you to say, you’ll have this sense of rightness. Now, one of the things they say about human intuition is that you and I know things without understanding exactly how we know them. Sometimes we know that a certain situation is safe, sometimes we just know that it’s not safe, and sometimes you will sense God wanting to speak through you. I am always aware when it seems to me that I’ve said what God wants me to say; I have a peace, I have a calmness, and it brings good results. And so consequently, over the years, I’ve become sensitive for the unusual or odd turn of phrase that occurs to me. This is what needs to be said. And I step out on faith and I say it. And when it’s the right thing to say, I see good results. When it’s the wrong thing to say, I say that I’m sorry and I try to learn from my mistake.

The main thing I’m still learning is when the Holy Spirit wants me to be quiet and listen. You can pray for that because I’m still learning that! But you see, in Mark chapter 13, Jesus predicted when you’re surrounded by the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit will sometimes give you words to say in a situation, and those words will help to do God’s will. Those words will show love to people around you.

When you are surrounded by the Holy Spirit, a third thing that happened to Jesus will begin to happen around you, and that is that miracles will happen. I want to draw your attention to the time where the woman decided that all she had to do to be healed was to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment. You remember that? She didn’t ask Jesus. She didn’t get advice from experts. She just made up her mind that that would work. And in the town of Magdala there’s this beautiful mural and you see just a tiny little bit of it on the picture, where the woman reaches out … and something happens … and instantly she’s healed.

And here’s the fact I want to draw your attention to. Jesus immediately stops in the crowd and he says, “Who touched me?” Now, why do I think that’s important? If we think seriously about this verse, then what Jesus was saying was, “A miracle just happened, and I don’t know what it was.” And friends, since Jesus is going to send us the same way the Father sent Jesus, this may happen to you also. You may just have this sense because you’re surrounded by the Holy Spirit, that God has done something. And you may, like Jesus, simply have to stop and ask, “Who touched me? What happened?”

But here’s what Jesus predicted in John 14:11: “Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me, or else believe me for the sake of the works themselves.” And then Jesus goes on to say this – I wonder if you’ve ever heard this preached in a sermon. Jesus says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do, and greater works than these will he do because I go to the Father.”

Now, the way to understand this is very simple. Our understanding of the doctrine of the dual nature of Jesus Christ: he is both Son of God and fully and completely human. Well, if he’s fully and completely human, how do these miracles happen? The answer is, It’s not the power of Jesus Christ as the son of God but as the power of the Holy Spirit acting through Jesus, that does every miracle.

And that’s why, brothers and sisters, God can work through you and me in every way that he worked through Jesus. It is possible. It is potential. Sadly, these verses have not been fulfilled as much as I wish they could be. But you see, here’s the reality, as you are surrounded by the Holy Spirit, every now and then, you will get this feeling: “God has answered somebody’s prayers today. God has blessed someone today. God has healed someone who’s sick.” Because it’s the Holy Spirit who ministers through you and me just as the Holy Spirit ministered through Jesus. So when Jesus says, “As the Father sent me, I send you.” He is sending you out to be a conduit for the Holy Spirit to do God’s will. So sometimes you will just have this sense: “God has done something wonderful.” And you can praise God for that.

Friends, so many wonderful things happen when we are surrounded by and filled with the Holy Spirit. This is something that is a gift to us from God, and as a gift, we need to claim it. So how is it that we become filled with the Holy Spirit? How?

Well, here are two principles first. The first one is to be aware of it and desire it and seek it. And the way we seek things from God is – number two – we ask for them.

Now, the Apostle Paul wrote the letter to the Ephesians, 27 years after Jesus died on the cross. 27 years later, he is saying to the people, “Be filled with the Holy Spirit.” You see, we are not filled one time for all time. We are filled up to do ministry as time goes on. And so Paul gives this advice to the people in Ephesus as ways to be filled with the Holy Spirit:

Ephesians 5:15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, 16 making the most of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart, 20 always and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father.

Verse 18, and do not get drunk with wine for that’s debauchery. But Paul says, “Be filled with the spirit.” Now, if you were filled with the Spirit one time for all time, you wouldn’t need to pray this. But because God is continually flowing and providing us with the power to do God’s will, we are filled and filled and filled again with the Spirit.

And what happens is, “We are filled with the spirit,” Paul says, “addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the lord with all your heart.” Now, think about what that means literally. What that literally means is just like in a Broadway play when I walk up to Glenn Doolin on Sunday morning and shake his hand, I should start singing a hymn to him. That’s a little unusual. We don’t do that today! Some of us here will probably wouldn’t want us to sing a hymn at you! But that’s what Paul’s talking about. Just being in each other’s presence causes us to sing and rejoice and make melody to the lord with all our hearts. And, verse 20: Always and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to God the Father. These things were what Paul recommended to them as ways to be filled with a Holy Spirit.

Third, let the Holy Spirit guide you; let the Paraclete guide you. Just like training a skill, just like training a muscle, you practice, and God works with you. The basketball player in the picture on the screen is showing the perfect form for a jump shot. But what you may not know is this basketball player has shot that shot thousands and thousands and thousands of times. And when he jumps up, his hands automatically move because his muscles have been trained to do this in precisely the right way. As you practice working with the Holy Spirit, you will become accustomed to functioning in precisely the best way for God’s Spirit to work through you. Practice, and let the Paraclete guide you.

In addition to that, number four, do maintenance on your spirituality. John Wesley had three rules. We began this year talking about them in sermons: to do no harm, do all the good you can, but then the third rule was this very odd phrase, attend upon all the ordinances of God. There are certain things that we can do that deepen us spiritually, that fill us with the presence of God and the Holy Spirit. And John Wesley lists them as this: the public worship of God, thank you for being here this morning; the ministry of the word, listening to Bible teachers, either by reading it or listening to it in a sermon expounded; attending upon the Supper of the Lord – taking communion deepens your spirituality. Pray with your family. Pray in private. Search the scriptures for the answers on how to live your life. And then also fasting or abstinence as a way of prayer. These things are ways that we do maintenance on the spiritual tank that holds the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Doing maintenance is an important part of remaining filled with the Holy Spirit.

And finally, finally this, #5, stay full. I hope you don’t have this tendency that I have had in my life, which is I drive and drive and drive and drive and drive and drive, and don’t pay any attention to how much gas I have till it’s in the lower fourth of the tank. And then I look at the gas gauge and I think to myself, “I can make it to a gas station that’s selling it cheaper than that one because, Lord knows, that will save me 5 cents a gallon.” That adds up.

And so I drive by a gas station because I think I can make it to the next one. I can make it to the next one, and then the light pops up and says, “You have 25 miles left.” I can make it. “You have 12 miles left.” I can make it. And I’ll be honest with you, as I get closer to empty, the harder I pray, and frequently, I have made it. But the Lord has taught me a lesson. A couple of times I have run out of gas by the side of the road and had to walk to the station, and then walk back.

It makes sense brothers and sisters. If you want God to flow through you, if you want God to answer your prayers for the people around you, if you want God to help your neighbors and help your family, the smartest thing to do is to stay full so that whatever potential there is for God to work through you, the Holy Spirit is there to do that work.

And another thing that helps us to stay full, I think, is what we talked about last week, #6, which is that we are blessed if we are people who humble ourselves, who pray and seek God’s face, and as God guides us, if we turn away from our wicked ways, things that we should not do. And then here’s the promise from God, “I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” I think we can claim that promise for ourselves as we stay clean, as we stay humble, as we turn from our wicked ways, whatever those might be … we will find that our capacity to be filled with the Holy Spirit is fulfilled. We will find that God is able to answer our prayers and help the people around us to the degree that we are able to humble ourselves in this way.

Please pray with me. Lord Jesus, thank you for whatever is in our spiritual tank this morning. But our prayer is this, Lord, we know that as the tank becomes full, as your Holy Spirit surrounds us, your Holy Spirit begins to overflow and flow from us into the lives of people we encounter, people we care about, people we pray for. And I thank you, Lord Jesus, that you sent the Holy Spirit to come alongside of us in the same way that the Holy Spirit came alongside of you. And so that Holy Spirit draws us to prayer just like the Holy Spirit drew you into prayer. The Holy Spirit gives us words to say when we don’t understand how to respond to someone’s hurt. The Holy Spirit causes miracles to happen, because Lord, that’s your desire. That’s your will. You want to answer the prayers of your people. And so, Lord, help us to be sensitive to this partnership we have with the presence of the Holy Spirit coming alongside of us to provide exactly the help that is needed. Coming alongside of us to do God’s will and to minister through us. Lord, we pray that your word about greater miracles happening would come to pass today in the lives of the people we care about, in this community that surrounds our church. Lord, may your will be done on earth right here as it is done in heaven. 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 )
 

This entry was posted in Past Attend "Worship at Home". Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.