Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sunday, May 10, 2009 Easter 5 Cantate John 16:5-15

"And now, I go up to the One Who sent Me; and no one of you asks me, `Where are you going?'; but because these things I have spoken to you, sorrow has filled your heart. But I Myself speak the truth to you, it is an advantage to you that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Paraclete will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. And having come, That One will convict the world concerning sin and concerning righteousness, and concerning judgment. Concerning sin on the one hand, because they do not believe in Me. Concerning righteousness, on the other hand, because I go up to the Father, and you no longer see Me. And concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged. Still, much I have to say to you, but you are not able to bear now. Yet whenever that One comes, the Spirit of truth, He will guide your way into all truth; for He will not speak from Himself, but what He hears, He will speak; and the things to come He will announce to you. That One will glorify Me, because of that which is Mine He will take and announce to you. All which the Father has is Mine; through this I said that out of Mine He takes and will announce to you.

In the Gospel today, Jesus gives His disciples fair warning that He is returning to the Father in heaven soon. Although He knows that it brings them sorrow, He then proceeds to tell them that the Spirit is coming to *convict* the world. And this news is supposed to be a comfort? Who wants to be convicted?! But it is the first task of the Holy Ghost, and a needful task that everybody be convicted by God's Law. That's why the Spirit pricks your conscience whenever you do wrong, convicting you of your own sin.

Yet that is not the only job of the Holy Spirit. He also has the task of *convincing* believers of the truth. After He points out your sin through God's Law, then He points out God's better way in the Gospel. This good message is one which convinces you that it is nowhere near enough to simply stop sinning and attempt to change your ways. The Spirit guides you to the Way of all Truth, which is Jesus Christ alone. He convinces you that success is not found in what you try to do, but in what your Savior accomplishes.

First, the Spirit convicts the world with respect to sin, namely the specific sin of unbelief. In the end, this is the only sin which is damnable, since by resisting the Spirit by not believing, a person rejects the only way of receiving the grace of God. Salvation comes through faith, and without it we are lost. May God bring us to repentance for our doubts, and for our shameless disregard of the Faith which we confess.

In you the Spirit has worked the gift of faith, creating a believer where a non-believer once stood! He did this when His gospel word first came into your life, probably at your Baptism. There the water and word forgave your sinful unbelief, and faith was given to you in your heart. Now you are a believer, trusting in Jesus and His truth--the faith of all the Saints which we believe from Holy Scripture. A baptized child of God, you now trust in Jesus and what He announces to you through His Spirit–your salvation!

Next, the Spirit convicts the world regarding righteousness. This one seems odd, since we would suppose that things that are *right* would not need to be convicted. But now that the Righteous One– Jesus has returned to the Father, there are many who assume His good works vanish with Him. So they try to substitute their own works for His. May God bring us to repentance for such self-righteousness.

But it is the Spirit Who convinces us of true righteousness. He teaches you about the first kind of righteousness, that of Jesus Himself who kept the Law perfectly in your stead. He did everything right, even his passive obedience of death on a cross where it was finished. This righteousness of Jesus is yours, given to you at the Lord's Supper when you eat of His perfect flesh and drink of His holy blood. Now, forgiven, He uses you to bless others for their sake in His second kind of righteousness–your good works.

Lastly, the Spirit convicts the world about judgment. The prince of this world, the devil, has been defeated and the cross and judged already. Yet many today will make their own judgments based upon whatever this world embraces. You too can quickly fall into the temptations of tolerance, greed, laziness, lust or envy. May God grant each of us repentance for those times we have readily embraced worldliness.

The Spirit convinces you of a better judgment. His gospel message announces to you a different judgment than Satan received. You are judged faith-full by the power of the Holy Ghost. You are judged righteous with Christ's Own righteousness credited to your account by faith. You are judged saved by grace, in the merits of Jesus alone. God's judgment glorifies the work of the only Savior of your soul. So convicted that your works merit nothing toward your salvation, you are convinced of the way of truth.

Hymns for today from LSB:
# 633 At the Lamb's High Feast We Sing lyrics
#556 Dear Christians One and All Rejoice lyrics
#478 The Day of Resurrection lyrics

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