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The Certainty of Faith–Exaudi Sermon


 

Holy Spirit painting

Exaudi

St. Peter Lutheran Church

St. John 15:26-16:4

May 20, 2012

“The Holy Spirit’s Certain Witness”

Alleluia!  Christ is risen!

 

Beloved congregation, called and gathered by the Holy Spirit:

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

  1. 1.       Intro: Ein Feste Burg, verses 4 (3?) (2?)

 

This certainty of Luther: take they our life, goods, fame, child, and wife, though these all be gone…the kingdom ours remaineth.  This is the certainty of Christian faith—a faith so certain “one would die one hundred deaths for it.”

 

Certainty.  Other illustrations (guy from Saxony at Augsburg 1530 who preferred the removal of head to removal of Christ his Lord.)

 

Luther: Pastor must not pray Lord’s Prayer after sermon, because he should be so certain that what he has preached is God’s Word that he has no sin to confess.  If he does not have this certainty, he should stop preaching.

 

Calvoer: “No; one must be certain.  Here the good hope is not enough.”

 

  1. 2.       Person of the Holy Spirit (whom I will send you from the Father, who proceeds from the Father)
  2. 3.      His witness—certain and comforting.
    1. a.        His witness sure because He is God, likewise more comforting than the devil’s attacks.
    2. b.      False doctrine: we can’t be sure what Scripture says, at least not on every article of doctrine.  This sentiment among liberal protestants and conservatives.  Thus the reformation is undone.
      1. a.       Synergism—Scripture needs us to interpret it; it is no longer the authority.  God does not speak clearly in His word.
      2. b.      Works righteousness
      3. c.       Papacy
        1.                                                                           i.      If we can’t be sure of Scripture then we become subject to men.
        2.                                                                         ii.      Church council, voters’ assembly, conventions—such as the ELCA’s, which overturned the Bible’s judgment on homosexual behavior.

 

  1. 4.       Spirit’s witness—to Jesus.  He bears witness to Christ only, and thus makes us certain that salvation has been accomplished—outside of our hearts, on the cross, and revealed and firmly promised in the Word.
    1. a.       Crucified for our sins
    2. b.      Raised for justification
    3. c.       Reigns at right hand
    4. d.      Judgment day
    5. e.       Esp. certain promise of salvation
    6. f.        To Jesus only!

 

  1. 5.       Witness leads to witness—church’s witness.  (The Holy Spirit’s witness leads inevitably to the witness of the believer.)
  2. 6.      World’s reaction
    1. a.       Excommunication
      1.                                                               i.      Jews
      2.                                                             ii.      Rome/luther
      3.                                                           iii.      We don’t fear excommunication
        1. 1.      But we should fear excommunication of true church
        2. 2.      Papacy is not the church
        3.                                                            iv.       Apostle’s message upsetting, condemns flesh.
        4. b.       Killing.
          1.                                                               i.      World considers Christians evil; it is good when they die.
          2.                                                             ii.      The shock of recognition when reading this passage as an adult in my twenties for the first time after studying liberal arts at a state school and realizing the hatred so many of my peers had for Christianity, as though it were the one evil thing, the one thing not to be tolerated in the country.
  3. 7.       Our struggle against spirit
    1. a.       Self reliance
      1.                                                               i.      Obama—homosexuality.
        1. 1.      Yes, Obama was wrong.  Jesus says, Love your neighbor as yourself—not meaning that society should approve of what is contrary to the moral law.
        2. 2.      But I had not said anything about this because too often our focus on the moral decline of our nation keeps us from pulling the timber out of our own eyes.
        3.                                                             ii.      If you see floodwaters rising, what should your life be?
          1. 1.      Does it appear that God’s wrath is hanging over our country?  Yes, and we can note this.
          2. 2.      But the judgment hangs over us as well.
          3. 3.      Why is it that as the pews empty out, so many of us pray so little and have convinced ourselves that everything but the word of God is the issue?
          4. b.      Despising word
            1.                                                               i.      The Holy Spirit bears witness to Jesus, grants certainty among us, pointing to Christ alone, our salvation.
            2.                                                             ii.      My fear: I have warned and preached again and again that we need to give more careful attention to the word, and begin to pray because of the trouble that hangs over us.  But my fear is that this warning has been ignored and rejected as though it were simply a man’s opinion, not God’s own word to us.

 

  1. 8.       Spirit’s witness

Christ alone

The Spirit still bears witness to Jesus in our midst;

To all those troubled over their flesh and its rebellion against God, its frequent despising of Him and His Word; to all those who wonder whether they will persevere or fall away, knowing their own weakness, the Spirit points to Christ.

By His wounds we are healed.

In His resurrection death is destroyed.

In Him we are whole.

He is our justification, sanctification, perseverance, glorification, our mediator and intercessor when we do not know how to pray, our paraclete interceding for us at the Father’s right hand, and the brother who reigns on the throne of God forever and ever and gives us His Spirit, who enables us to witness and to be joyful in the midst of the opposition of the world.

 

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ…

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