Showing posts from May, 2015

Sermon on John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15, for Pentecost, "The Holy Spirit"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Last week we talked about bearing witness, or “taking the stand” for Jesus, as we are called by God to testify about who Jesus is and what He has done for us. Today is Pentecost, the celebration of the giving of the Holy Spirit to the Christian Church. It was the day when the apostles of Jesus first gave public witness of what they had seen of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Jesus tells us in the Gospel of John, that one of the primary jobs of the Holy Spirit is also to testify or bear witness about Him. In the Gospel reading Jesus gives His disciples a preview of the coming and work of the Holy Spirit. The key work of the Spirit is to point people to Jesus. He doesn’t take the disciples in a different direction than where Jesus has led them, but continues on the same mission for which Jesus had prepared them. If we step back a moment from this reading, we see that all three persons of the Trinity—Father, So

Sermon on 1 John 5:9-15, for the 7th Sunday of Easter, Confirmation Sunday, "Take the Stand"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Today the youth of our congregation are called to testify—to declare their testimony before God and before us. When someone is “called to testify”, we usually think of a witness in a courtroom. They are asked to speak about what they’ve seen. To be a witness, or give testimony, meant the same in Bible times. John writes his letter with this strong opening and conclusion, testifying about what he and others saw with their very own eyes—concerning Jesus’ death and resurrection—and how God Himself gave witness to about His Son. It’s a little tricky that in English we have several words for the same idea, but to bear witness or give testimony, to testify, all mean the same thing. It’s speaking out about what you see or know. Our youth will (have) testify about their faith—declaring to you that the Christian faith in which they were baptized is their faith today. Each of us as Christians may at any time in our l

Sermon on 1 John 5:1-8, for the 6th Sunday of Easter, Mother's Day, "Faith in Jesus is Victory!"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. As we’ve been reading through the book of 1 John these past weeks in church, the themes of faith and love have echoed again and again. Last week it was about hearing God’s Word of Truth and believing and confessing Jesus in the flesh. It was about God’s first-love coming to us, and producing love in us in return. Building on that same thought, that faith and love are inseparable, today we hear in 1 John 5:1: “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of Him.” This is family-talk. It’s saying that we are children of God, born of God because we’re believers in Jesus Christ. As part of God’s family we love both our heavenly Father and other believers born of Him as well. Church, your fellow Christians, is your family. Even if your natural family is no longer living or is far from you, your fellow believers are God’s famil