Monday, 31 May 2010

Sermon Notes for Trinity Sunday: with reference to John 16.12-15

(Bible passages are from John 16)
I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. (v12)
This is still true of us. What might Jesus have still to say to us that we can’t bear? Things like: “If anyone would come after me, let them deny themselves and take up their crosses daily and follow me. For whoever would save their lives will lose them, but whoever loses their lives for my sake will save them. (Lk 9)

Things like “forgive one another from the heart.”

Things like “love God with everything,” “love one another,” “love your enemies!”

Things like “go sell your possessions and give to the poor.”

Things like “earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.”

Why can’t we bear them? Because of our sin which is rooted in our selfishness and pride. The sin which enables us to look down on others because they are eccentric or not as polite and well dressed as us; people like Elwood P Dowd in Harvey or the people who come to Hope Street Church in the hall.

Do you think we all have our lives together from Jesus point of view? If Jesus were to judge us the way in which we judge them we would be in big trouble.

We can’t bear what Jesus wants to say to us because, we think that to desire the spiritual gifts and get them would make us look strange to the people around us, the people we might want to empress, the people with whom we want to belong. And if we did get them, we might have to give something up.

We can’t bear them because, as we heard last week, the world cannot receive the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, through whom Jesus speaks today. The world in which we live, neither sees him nor knows Him and we’re deeply, sinfully entangled in that world.

Which is exactly why we need the ministry of the Holy Spirit; because He will convict us of our sin (John 16.8), and He will always and in all ways point us to Jesus who keeps saying things to us we choose not to bear.
When he, the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, (v13)
What is truth? Paul says truth is in Jesus (Eph 4.21). Jesus says I am the truth (John 14.6).

The Holy Spirit,
will not speak on his own, he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will bring glory to me by taking what is mine and making it known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you. 
The Holy Spirit always glorifies Jesus. He lifts up, exalts, magnifies and explains Jesus. The Holy Spirit takes what is the essence and the wonder and the beauty of Jesus and makes it known to us. To refuse to be filled with Him, the Holy Spirit, renders us unable to know Him.

But if we do have the nerve to bear what Jesus wants to say to us, we can change the world. If we can allow ourselves to be open to the truth, the Holy Spirit will bring glory to Jesus through us.

I want us to look higher this morning, this 126th year in our history. To think of this church and what we do as more than some liturgical, upper middle class opiate to support and justify our comfortable lifestyles.

I’m reading Carmine Gallo’s, The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience. In 1983, when Apple CEO Steve Jobs was trying to recruit CEO John Scully from Pepsi, John wasn’t all that keen, it would mean less money and moving his family from New York to California. And then Steve Jobs said,
Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or do you want a chance to change the world?
Do we want to spend the rest of our lives doing a “sugared” form worship, and sort-of, when-we-have-the-time, mildly suggesting, a watered down, sweetened form of the Gospel which just encourages people to continue to float along in lives which conform to the standards of our subversively corrupt world? Or do we want them to experience such a transformation that their lives become so wonderfully rich, vibrant and full-on that they're never the same, and the world is changed for Jesus in an insanely great way.

Each of us must choose.