Give Us the Spirit of Your Kingdom

March 18, 2020

Sermon 1694                         John 16.13-15                           March 18, 2020

I grew up on silly TV skits.  A guy trying to return a dead parrot.  A shaky dentist giving himself the Novocain shot.  Imagine you were in one.  There’s a great sale going on.  You saw it on TV, heard about it on the radio.  You go to the store and the sales clerk waxes rhapsodically about the big sale and once in a lifetime deals.  “How can I get in on it?” you breathlessly ask, a pawn in the diabolical clutches of the local advertising agency.

“I can’t give it to you.”

“You can’t give it to me?”

“No.”

“Why?”

“I’m not authorized to do that?”

“But you’re the salesman!”

“I’m just here to get people excited about the sale.”

“You do a good job, but how do I get the deal?”

“See Freddy on loading dock B, but don’t say I told you.”

You know where this is going.

Some people think entrance into the kingdom of God is like that.  You have to know someone.  Somebody can put a word in with somebody else.  Christians like to keep it hush hush.

Nothing is farther from the truth.  Oh, it is a sweet deal, the best there is.  Oh, there is someone we have to see.  But it isn’t some dock worker doing a side hustle ripping off both his boss and you.  Let Jesus arouse our appetite.

Give Us the Spirit of Your Kingdom

  1. To be won over by truthful words (13).

  2. To show up with truthful lives (15-16).

“But when he, the spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all 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 (13)”

A lot of those advertisements for sales just don’t pan out.  You have a Queen size bed, but the price reduction is only on a King.  There are military discounts, but only if you are a first-time buyer.  The Holy Spirit always pans out.  There is no fine print.  Give us the Spirit of your kingdom to be won over by truthful words.  Jesus calls the Holy Spirit the Spirit of truth.  We could rightly take it that Jesus is saying the Holy Spirit is truthful.  He never twists words.  He never gives half the story.  He never embellishes to make a point or to soften the blow.  He always tells the truth.  And we would be right.  The Holy Spirit is all of that and more.  Reliable.  Faithful.  You can depend on the information you are getting from the Holy Spirit.  What a refreshing change in a world where we are hammered by all sorts of conflicting sets of facts and realities!

But I don’t think that goes far enough.  Jesus says the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth.  The Holy Spirit is the one who reveals the truth to us.

Anybody who has travelled abroad knows how much you need to have an interpreter.  If you travelled in a group so you wouldn’t need an interpreter, and the group leader took care of everything for you, you had an interpreter!  How do we know what God is saying to us?  It really is like God is speaking a different language to us.  Because of the sinful world we live in and the sin which lives inside us, we speak a language of being as good as I have to and as bad as I can get away with.  We speak a language of you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.  We speak a language of getting what you deserve and then some.  That’s Law language.

God speaks a different language.  Oh, he knows Law language.  He tells us to stop playing around with it.  Sure I know Spanish.  You just add an o to everything.  Taco.  Toro.  Spaghettie-Os.  God’s Law language says we do not please him with our half-hearted lives and short spiritual attention spans.  God’s Law language says we are dead to him.  We don’t like God’s Law language because it shows us what frauds we are.

But God’s native language is Gospel language and that’s the one we don’t even understand.  The Gospel language is Jesus Christ coming to seek and to save that which was lost.  The Gospel language is that God freely forgives us all our sins for the sake of Jesus.  The Gospel language is that we are all sons and daughters of God, for we did not receive a spirit of slavery but a spirit of sonship by which we cry “Abba,” Father.

That’s Gospel language.  That’s Jesus talk.

It wins us over.  Why do we love Jesus so much?  Why do we decorate our churches with pictures and statues of him?  Because of his great love for us.  “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends (John 15.13).”  Jesus laid down his life for us.  He paid for all our sins.  He died that we might live, with God forever in heaven.

That’s what won us over.  It wasn’t Law language—what will you do for God so God will be nice to you?  It was Gospel language—God loved us freely, without any reason or cause in us.  We are his beloved because of his good pleasure.  The Holy Spirit is a great interpreter to get that across to us.  Thank God he gave us the Spirit of his Kingdom.

Give us the Spirit of the Kingdom that we may show up with truthful lives.

“He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you.  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.”

Athletes carry out what they know.  That’s why certain coaches consistently have winning seasons.  The players maybe are just good, not great.  But the coach brings out the best in them by teaching them.  They adjust to the opponent’s tactics and more often than not, win.  “They showed up tonight!” the commentator crows after the final buzzer.

We show up with truthful lives.  I am a terrible liar.  I always was.  I was put in charge of my sister and baby brother one Saturday night when my parents went out.  I was, probably in ninth grade, my sister was a seventh grader.  But my buddies called me up and came over so we rode our bikes over to one of their houses, watched a movie and then I rode my bike back home before my folks got home.  The other two were in bed, safe and sound.  My sister had both feet on the ground.  The next morning my mom asked me if I had gone somewhere.  “No.”  Then why are there bike marks in the driveway?  It had snowed while I was gone and I hadn’t noticed riding my bike through the newly fallen snow.  Like I said, a terrible liar.

But as we grow up, we can lie just as terribly, especially if we feel we are responsible for people.  Do we tell the whole truth?  Do we sugar-coat it?  Do we try to weasel through a situation?

I hope the Spirit of the Kingdom has shown through my actions over the past week or so.  Bravery and bluster do no good when you are fighting the coronavirus.  But man does not live on bread alone.  The human spirit must be fed.  Without the Word of God, we die a thousand deaths every day.

I hope the Spirit of the Kingdom has shown through my truthful words to you in these troubled days, as well as your truthful words to others.  Easy to start rumors.  Easy to bend the truth to fit our own convenient set of assumptions.  Surprisingly easy to lie and no one will remember later who said what.  But that’s not the Spirit of the Kingdom.

The Spirit of the Kingdom allows us to show up with truthful lives.  If we say we are praying for you, we are.  If we are saying, don’t worry, if you need groceries or if you need medicine and you can’t get out because you are self-isolating or the doctor told you it was better to be sick at home than to be sick in a hospital, then we are going to be there for you.  We’ve got your back.  If we say we are going to try to the best of our ability to put something online so you can join in a worship service at home, we will.

But truthful lives mean more than truthful words.  The Holy Spirit makes us show up with lives that are, I hate to use this trendy word, but here it is, authentic.  What you see is what you get.  It isn’t the way the world interprets that.  “You gotta accept me, warts and all,” basically baptizing all terrible behavior because that’s the way we are.  No.  What we mean is we are inside the way we are outside.  If we act like your friend we are.  If we say we care, we do.  If we pray for you it is not for your grisly and untimely demise, but that life goes better for you, even if you are our enemy.  And the best way an unbeliever’s life can go better is for him to come to faith.  That’s authentic.

There’s blessing for us when we are authentic.  We are following the Holy Spirit’s guidance.  You got a car with tires that are not aligned, those tires really aren’t going where you are steering the car and you are going to wear out those tires very quickly.  We are aligned with the Spirit of the Kingdom.  We are going to last.

Here’s another blessing.  You don’t have to think so hard.  Keeping track of all those lies is hard!  When we show up with truthful lives we can relax.  We can put all that unused brain power to work trying to serve people and find satisfaction in the reality the Holy Spirit offers us.

Here’s the final blessing.  We are going to win.  We are going to be in heaven, because that’s where the Spirit of the Kingdom is leading us.  He won’t be happy until we reach our heavenly goal.  And he won’t stop working on us until we reach our heavenly goal.  What blessed assurance is ours!

Give Us the Spirit of Your Kingdom

  1. To be won over by truthful words (13).

  2. To show up with truthful lives (15-16).

In troubled times like ours, I miss those silly days where an absolutely ridiculous skit could give half the nation sides aching from laughter.  When I was a child, I thought like a child.  We are growing up quickly now, aren’t we?  Through all the hardships God is giving us the Spirt of his kingdom.  And it’s the real deal.

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