“You Are Not Alone” / Cantate 2017 / John 16:5-15Pr. Christopher Gillespie
May 14, 2017
In Name of the + Jesus. Amen.
“Now I go away to Him who sent Me, and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart.”
You are not alone. You have not been left with your sin, abandoned to fear of judgment, and condemned to death. Not a single one of you is alone, abandoned, forsaken, or condemned. No other faith, religion, piety, or practice that will absolve you, acquit you, and save you from death. You are not alone with your sorrow
The reason is simple: No other faith trusts in Jesus Christ. In no one but Christ is forgiveness of all sin, complete justification before God the Father, and the resurrection of the body. There is no other access to God, no other way to unburden your conscience, and no other way to suffer, weep, and grieve with hope.
Jesus spoke of “going to the Father.” But He doesn’t leave you behind. This is the culmination of all the work of your salvation: his death on the cross, His resurrection from the grave, and even His ascension to the right hand of the Father. As He takes His place at the right hand, you know for certain that everything needed for your forgiveness, righteousness, and resurrection is accomplished.
“Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.”
You are not alone. You are not friendless orphans. This is the truth, begun when the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostolic church at Pentecost. Jesus tells you that He sends to you the Paraclete, translated helper, comforter, or advocate. The Paraclete (Holy Spirit) pleads and intercedes for you. He is your help and our comfort.
He is Christ’s Spirit as we rightly confess in the Creed. Of this Spirit, Isaiah says: “The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon [the Messiah], The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.” (Isaiah 11:2) Therefore, the Spirit’s presence is Christ’s presence.
This is the same Spirit who first called you to listen to Jesus. This is the same Spirit who brought you into the body of Jesus by Holy Baptism. This is the same Spirit who fills your ears today with Jesus’s Word. This is the same Spirit who works repentance, faith, and love in you to keep you with Jesus until He comes again. Called, gathered, enlightened, and sanctified.
“When [the Paraclete] has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.”
Jesus is describing what the Paraclete’s work is and precisely how revolutionary it is. The Holy Spirit convicts or reproves the world concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment. The Spirit doesn’t hack and slash away at the world. The Spirit doesn’t introduce new rules and laws. He simply comes and preaches the God’s Word and especially the Gospel. He comes not to abuse and punish but to comfort and correct.
Don’t be deceived. There is no other way to be forgiven, saved, and resurrected. There is salvation in no one else, in no other name than Jesus Christ. This must be given to you, a good gift and perfect gift, coming down from the Father of lights. Your song is a new song. Your life is a new life. Your citizenship is from above. You are first-fruits of His new creation. Christ’s kingdom is not of this world. The Christian message is not of this world. You can search for another truth, another way, another life but you will fail.
Therefore, the Spirit must come and reprove the world of sin, both obvious vices and the sin of the heart. The Paraclete cuts through all our defenses and show the chief sin, the original sin of unbelief. Everyone is convicted on this count, because if one rejects being called s sinner or sinful, they are rejecting the Word and work of the Spirit.
The world sets up false saviors to cover our unbelief, some Moses, others Mohammed, the Gentile false gods, false Christians who trust in their works, the rich with their wealth, the wise with their street smarts, the powerful with their power, and the rest with their opinions. The Spirit convicts everyone of their idolatry that amounts to unbelief.
The Spirit reproves of righteousness. The world has its imaginary righteousness. That is, doing, saying, or thinking the “right” thing. We call this justice—social, political, ethical, moral. But usually this “justice” are our ideas of what we think. But this righteousness is not what God has called right. Here, the Spirit says that the only righteousness that stands before God, is that Christ died for our sins and rose again and ascended into heaven to the Father, and regained for us the righteousness snd innocence which Adam lost in the fall.
And the Spirit convicts of judgment. The arrogance of our sin clouds our judgment. We need the Spirit to constantly remind us that the devil no longer reigns. Christ has conquered the devil in His saving work. The Holy Spirit preaches this truth until the last day when finally Satan and all his horde will be cast into the lake of fire. No matter what your conscience may tell you, this is the truth. All demonic activity, all the lies of the devil have been conquered in the blood of Jesus, the Lord of all truth.
The Spirit is constantly with you. Everything the Spirit does He does to keep you with Jesus. We have all truth in the Holy Scriptures. We have true doctrine in the Catechism, namely the Ten Commandments, the Articles of the Creed, the Daily Prayers, the Our Father, Holy Baptism, Holy Absolution, and the Sacrament of Christ’s body and blood. In addition, we have the Table of Duties, questions from the Holy Scriptures in which we are to examine ourselves daily, repent, and bear fruit in keeping with repentance.
You are not alone. You have the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit gives you Jesus. It is His work to take Jesus’s words and declare them to you, His Church. The Spirit points back to what Jesus said and did for the salvation of the world. He does this work to strengthen you in the faith, sustain you in all trials, recall and explain for you Christ’s words, and so guide you into all truth, and finally bring us all to the heavenly fatherland of eternal life. Amen.
The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Amen.
Rev. Christopher R. Gillespie
Grace Lutheran Church