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Sermon for Pentecost 2020 – 31 May

I focus on today’s gospel reading and a bit more of John as we look at what Jesus had to say about the Holy Spirit. For a start, Jesus often acknowledges that He and the Father are one, and that He is in the Father and the Father is in Him.

Let’s look at John 737 On the last and greatest day of the festival [feast of tabernacles], Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.’[c] 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.

Whoever believes in Jesus, from them flow streams of living water, or, if you wish, the Holy Spirit.  To receive the Holy Spirit we need to believe in Jesus.  If we do, then the Holy Spirit flows from WITHIN us like streams of living water.

A few things to note.  If the Spirit flows from within us, it means that we do not always remain filled with the Spirit.  Any time we minister, pray, or do something in the name of, and to the glory of, Jesus, the Holy Spirit flows from within us, emptying our reserves.  In addition, we are clay pots that are cracked and porous, which means that the Spirit leaks from us too.  This means that we should come to God frequently (Daily?) and ask to be filled, to be renewed and revived.

Secondly, if the Spirit flows from within us, it means that the Spirit dwells in us, and the Spirit and Christ are one, Christ is one with the Father, therefore the Spirit is one with the Father, which means that the Father, Christ and the Spirit, God in His fullness, dwells within us.  Is that not great news, we have been chosen to be the vessels that “contain” God in the world today.

Next, in John 14 Jesus says that if we love him, then we will keep his commands and that he will send another advocate to help and be with us forever, the Spirit of truth who lives IN us.  (verses 15-17).  The important part here is that the Spirit dwells IN us, unlike the prophets and kings of the Old Testament, ON whom the Spirit of God rested.  The Spirit lives in us, empowering us, advocating for us, counselling us, reminding us of the truth. Within us lives God, this means that we are Genesis 1 and 2 people, we are made in God’s image, who lives in and through us.

Jesus continues, in chapter 15, to tell us that the Spirit, the Advocate, will teach us all things and remind us of Christ’s teaching.  The same Spirit testifies about Christ.  Here is some more comfort, for me at least.  The Spirit, who dwells in me, testifies about Christ.  In other words, the way I live, the way I speak, the way I treat ALL people and ALL of God’s creation, should testify to the world that Christ dwells in us, by the Spirit.  In other words, I can preach the gospel at all times, and where necessary, use words.

I let John 16:7ff speak for itself, having recently celebrated Christ’s ascension: But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.

Advocate – a person who publicly supports or recommends a particular cause or policy. a person who puts a case on someone else’s behalf.

In SA advocate is also Counsellor – one who gives advice.  Some versions of the bible refer to HS as counsellor

In conclusion, we need to come to God, daily, to ask for a fresh indwelling of the Spirit, in order that the world may see, and experience the Spirit’s testimony about God, through and within us. Let us pray now, for the Spirit.