Sunday, April 15, 2018

May 20th, 2018 Pentecost Worship Service Sermon
John 16:4b-15
"The Spirit of Truth’s Guidance"

4b I did not tell you this from the beginning because I was with you,
5 but now I am going to him who sent me. None of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 Rather, you are filled with grief because I have said these things. 7 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. 8 When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 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.
12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He 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 glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”


Today we celebrate Pentecost, which is an event that happened 50 days after Jesus’ resurrection and described in Acts 2.
Jesus died on the Cross, was resurrected 3 days later and then, he showed the resurrected himself to the disciples and many other people.
Before this resurrected Jesus was taken up to heaven, he said “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
The disciples who received power of the Holy Spirit will be Christ’ witnesses in all Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth. These words from Jesus shows the following hope:
Through the Holy Spirit, God gives strength to those who are in sorrow and sadness, and through faith we will be strengthened.
We can change. This is the hope for all Christians, that everyone who received His power will be used for His work.
50 days after Jesus Christ’ resurrection, the following event happened when people gathered.
It was the same time as a Jewish festival, called “Pentecost” in Greek, which means the “50th” because this happens on the 50th day after Passover feast.
2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[a] as the Spirit enabled them.
Acts 2 described how people who witnessed this were surprised, and after that, through Peter’s sermon 3,000 people were baptized and became believers.
Why our church regards Pentecost as a special occasion? Why do we keep celebrating it every year at our worship service?
For us, do we come to worship service at church out of our own willingness and thought?
Of course we can say that we choose which church we want to go to. However, we are called by God even before we think about it. It’s only because we are led by the invisible spirit of God, which is the Holy Spirit, we can come to worship at church every week.
It is said that church, a gathering of people who believe in Christ, started from this event of Pentecost. As the “beginning of the church”, Pentecost is a very special event.
That’s why we are celebrating Pentecost, when people were first filled by the Holy Spirit, and a Christian church wer started, as a special event every year.
And actually before Jesus was crucified on the Cross, He left a promise “after I go away I will send the Holy Spirit to the disciples” which is mentioned in John 16 and our today’s bible passage.
Today, let’s listen to God’s words for us through Jesus’ words “sending the Holy Spirit” to the disciples in John 16.
4b I did not tell you this from the beginning because I was with you, 5 but now I am going to him who sent me. None of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 Rather, you are filled with grief because I have said these things.
I think the words “these things” refer to what Jesus previously said to the disciples as follows:
‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’
 “I am going away” – this is the prediction of Jesus’ own death.

If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.
They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God.
This means "By following Jesus several trials are awaiting you". The persecution of the disciples was foretold.
Until then, the disciples have believed, “If we follow Jesus, a rosy future will come to both ourselves and the whole country of Judea. It’s definitely the right thing to do to follow Him.” But when they heard what Jesus was saying at that time, it seems things are different from their expectations. So, the disciples started feeling anxious and they became sad.
To have faith does not mean that suffering and sadness disappear from our lives. Even though we believe in Jesus and have faith, unpleasant, unexpected and painful things still happen in our lives.
Rather, because we have faith, we may have sufferings and sorrows that we may not feel so if we don’t have faith in the first place.
Thoughts such as "If God exists, why does this happen?", or "Even though I do believe in God, why do painful things happen to me?"…
Jesus’ Words in verse 6 (“Rather, you are filled with grief because I have said these things”) shows how Jesus knows really well our feeling of being filled with grief.
 “You are filled with grief” is the word of Jesus who accepts humans’ sorrow as his own sorrow, empathizes with us, and mourns together with us.
But at the same time Jesus also said, “None of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’.” These are His words of encouragement: " Raise your eyes and turn your eyes forward because there is hope that your current sorrows will turn into joy”.
It’s important for us to face the reality of our sorrows earnestly. It’s also important to really feel the feeling of “sadness”.
But at the same time, we should not forget that we can leave our sorrows and pains to Jesus. We have hope that by our faith in Jesus Christ, our sorrows will be turned into joy.
John 16:33 says: 
33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Based on the words of Jesus, that He has overcome troubles of this world, we can have certain hope despite our sufferings.
Now let’s read John 16 verse 7:
“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.“
 “I am going away” – This means His physical death, that His life on earth will end and He will be going away from the disciples.

The disciples might have thought “Jesus is going away from us.. We will never want it to happen”. But Jesus said this had to happen for the sake of the disciples.
Jesus said in verse 7, “Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” The Advocate here is the Holy Spirit. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit, also called the “Spirit of Truth” in verse 13, “will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.”
Although Jesus left the disciples, He sent the Holy Spirit to guide them afterwards.
  
 We living today now are also be able to believe that the words of the Bible is the messages for us from God, and those are the words of truth through the Holy Spirit.
Although we have faith, there are still many things that we don’t know and understand. Regarding the importance of accepting that we know nothing, Paul says:
2 Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know.” (1 Corinthians 8:2)
In our lives, there are a lot of things we do not understand, a lot of things we cannot answer. Rather, I think it is okay to say there’s so little that we know.
But Jesus has promised that by the help of The Holy Spirit that He sent to us, the meanings and significance of various things we don’t understand will be gradually revealed to us.
Today Jesus is not with us in a visible form, so we may sometimes feel anxious and unsure about our faith.
Even so, we should not worry because all of our anxieties and lack of confidence are covered by God and the invisible Holy Spirit is guiding us each day. The fact that we are gathering to worship at church today and receiving power from the Word of God is the evidence that we are led by the Holy Spirit.
Now, let’s read the last verses (John 16:14-15):
“He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you.  All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”
 “All that belongs to the Father is mine” – this means all that belongs to God the Father also belongs to God the Son, Jesus Christ. God the Father and the Son Jesus Christ is completely one body.
Then, The Holy Spirit that Jesus sent to us enlightens us about various things, helping us to understand the meaning of God’s words in the Bible, and the Holy Spirit helps so that the words of the Bible will make our lives live. He is our helper. 
As we are guided by the Holy Spirit, the goal of our church life where we walk together with our family in Christ is to be united as one, the same as the Trinity (God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit completely as one). This is our ultimate goal. 
What is written in Ephesians 4:13 can be said as our goal as a community of believers.
13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
 Today as we remember the Pentecost, let’s give thanks again to God for His presence as the Holy Spirit in our lives, and for His guidance to our church until this day.
Let’s ask God to help us so that we can keep striving to realize a fellowship of God’s love in this family of believers who have the same faith and led by the Holy Spirit.
Also, let’s pray and ask God to help us face our circumstances earnestly and to keep living by faith each day, having hope in Jesus Christ despite our sufferings and sorrows.
Let’s surrender ourselves to the guidance of The Holy Spirit and walk each day with Him as well this week.
Let’s pray.