Author: Rosie Edwards (page 1 of 8)

How Far to Come Close – Jonathan Krause

Sermon, 1 Advent, Sunday 2nd December, 2018

Audio Message recorded at St Petri – Jonathan Krause

O that you would tear open the heavens and come down …  Isaiah 64:1

HOW FAR TO COME CLOSE?

Swords and spears …………..………….. rakes and shovels

War ……………………………………………..  Peace

Barren lands …………………..….…….….  blossom with flowers

Weak, trembling and worried ……..  Cheer up! Don’t be afraid!

Blind …………………………………..… .……  see

Ears of the deaf ………………..…..………  healed

Lame ……………………..…………………..….  Leap like deer

Desert ……………………………………….…..  Water will rush

Sorrows and worries ………………………. Celebrate and shout

Old man & barren woman …….…….   Baby

Pastor …………..…………………………………. Lost for words!

What is ………………………………………………..  What will be

God ………………………………………………………  Me

Tear open the heavens ……………………..  and come down

 

God has come close to us.   What next?

Let our lives radiate faith active in love.

How far must we go to come close?

Australia’s Median Household Wealth:  $292922

If you are on the single Age Pension  … you are in the top 7% of richest people in the world!

If you are are first year teacher in SA … you are in the Top 1% or richest people in the world.

How much do Australians spend on  Christmas decorations  $1 Billion

How much do Australians spend on food at Christsmas $20 Billion

How much do Australians spend in six weeks up to Christmas $50 Billion

What about the Boxing Day Sales after Christmas?  another $18 Billion

Australian spending in 9 weeks of Christmas and sales $68 Billion

UN:  Cost to end world hunger:  $41 Billion

They will pound the swords and spears …
… into rakes and shovels
(and hoes)  Isaiah 2:4

“In the first year, you gave me    the seeds, tools, and training …”  

“In the second year, you taught me how to harvest and gather the seeds.” 

“Then in the third year, I can help someone else.”

How far will you go to come close?

Young women and young men, together with the elderly, will celebrate and dance, because I will comfort them and turn their sorrow into happiness.

Jeremiah 31:13 (CEV)

A Reckless Love – Dr Steen Olsen

A Reckless Love Mark 12:38-44
St Petri Nuri 11/11/2018

38  As [Jesus] taught, he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, 39  and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honour at banquets! 40  They devour widows’ houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.” 41  He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. 42  A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. 43  Then he called his disciples and said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. 44  For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

What if Jesus came here this morning to watch how much each of us put in the offering plate?

The cheek of the man! Who does he think he is?  Doesn’t he know that is confidential?
He is breaking the Privacy Act!

A few years back in my first parish we managed to buy a modest church from the Exclusive Brethren.

At the dedication someone put a cheque for $2,000 in the offering – a vast sum in 1979!
[At the time a pastor’s salary was $7,570pa + car allowance of $1,050 and 4.7¢/km]
I just managed to intercept the treasurer running out the door, shouting at the top of her voice
“Who is this generous man?” – She was so excited

 

1) Jesus also observed many rich people giving large sums – that is as it should be!
Those who are wealthy should also pray for the gift of generosity – nothing wrong with that!

It is also not surprising that a poor widow should want to contribute something – that is also right
It is surprising that she should give everything she had to live on.  What is mind-blowing is Jesus’ comment is that
“this poor widow gave more than all the rich people.  ”What sort of reckless love is this demonstrating?

2) This woman is not tithing.  She is not saying, “10% for God, 90% for me!”
She is not at all concerned about doing her Christian or religious duty.  She is not worried about fulfilling the law of God.
Her life is not about obedience – it is far deeper than that.

3) We begin to understand the widow by contrasting her with the Scribes Jesus says that they are
all bound up in honour, respect, position and power.  And along the way they make a show of praying long prayers and rob poor widows no wonder “they will receive the greater condemnation.”

But these are among the respectable church people.  They are the sort of people we want to count as our friends
It is easy to look from afar and criticise

The Scribes have their lives in order they do their duty and fulfil their obligations they are a bit like me!

The widow is reckless.  She gives away all she has to live on
Does she die of hunger? Or perhaps head down to the Salvos?

We are not told what becomes of her and it is not important for the story.  It would take us down wrong paths, discussions about social welfare and the like.

4) This poor widow has no one to rely on but God.  Her faith is that God will not fail her
Perhaps it is a ‘hope against hope’ and she has reached the point of desperation there is nothing else she can do except throw herself on the mercy of God

Perhaps she recognises what the rich often miss, that our lives are totally dependent on God, even when things are going wel.

The poor widow didn’t make a donation, she offered her life.

You have probably heard the story about a pig and a hen:
Early one morning a pig and hen were walking down the streetThey to an open café that had a sign in the window “Bacon & Eggs”
The chook said, “I famished – let’s go in and eat.”
The pig replied, “No way birdbrain! It’s ok for you. You are only being asked for a donation. For me it is total commitment!”

Rom 12:1-2 – “I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God–what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

5) So who do you personally identify with? Think about it. The Scribes or the poor widow?
Do you see something of the Scribe’s attitude in your own life?  Concern for self, how others look at you?
Are you more concerned about yourself than showing mercy to the needy?
When I look in the mirror I see a Scribe lurking beneath the respectable exterior. all is not well with me, and if I am honest the condemnation of which Jesus speaks is richly deserved.

6) Does the poor widow remind you of someone you know?  When I look in the mirror, I have to confess that I see too little of her.
I would like to be more like her than I am.

Today it reminds us of the end of The Great War, exactly 100 years ago sadly a second conflict meant The Great War became the first WW
They went to war & millions sacrificed their lives, also a reckless love  Over 400k Australians enlisted out of 5M and over 60k were killed 1 in 7 they gave everything for others, including life itself – no small offering

But the poor widow also reminds us of someone else – the one who is telling the story – Jesus
Like the poor widow Jesus foolishly-lavishly gives every last bit of himself for us
By human standards Jesus death was insignificant – one among millions of unjust executions but like the widow’s mite it is more significant than all the rest.
Jesus lived and died for others  He totally depended on God  When he died he took our sin upon himself …
So we are forgiven, even for being Scribe-like  That is good news, because we can’t do anything about it ourselves…

7) You can’t make yourself like the widow by an act of your will like making a decision or a commitment
just as we can’t control things around us and make sure everything goes well for us so we can’t make ourselves better people we are totally dependent on God and his promises

8) The good news is that by his Spirit at work in us, Jesus empowers us to be more like himself – and like the widow dependent on God concerned for the poor and needy trusting that God will provide,
that his plans are always good and for our blessing.  What that means for each of us will vary depending on God’s call to us and the circumstances he places us into.
We may not be called to lay down our lives for others in a war or even to give away all our possessions
But we are being empowered to be more like Jesus who died for us, so that we might be forgiven and live in him

This is the reckless love of a Christian we don’t know exactly what the future holds
even our best, most careful plans can go wrong and the shadow of the cross falls over them.
But in the spirit of the poor widow who laid down her life as an offering to God we too can trust God and let our lives be an offering.  Amen.

 

Reformation Message – Bishop David Altus – Sunday 28 October

Sermon, Reformation

Sunday October 28, 2018, St Petri

Bishop David Altus

 

Romans 1:16-17

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

 

Every year at this time we get a reminder about what a Lutheran congregation stands for.

Do you know what you stand for and do you value it?

In life generally we’d rather know than not know what people stand for, even if it is only so we can shoot them down! We look at our political parties and leaders and ask “what do you stand for?” – that I should trust you and vote for you? When our AFL team doesn’t do so well fans lament that “We don’t know what our club stands for anymore.”

Someone  said: “If you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything”

  • So what do you stand for St Petri?
  • Why you here?
  • What matters, and matters most to you?
  • What are you known for and want to be known for?
  • What is worth “going to the wall over together?” Is it the walls of the church and which way round they are? Or what happens here inside them, or outside them?

People often want me to make more of a stand on moral or political issues to set society straight or to take stand on issues in the church – as long as I stand on their side!

 

Martin Luther was known for three words:  “Here I stand”

He said those words to the face of an emperor, and to his church. An emperor and church who had put on the table the books Luther had written and demanded a retraction. But Luther said “I can’t and I won’t recant!”

He stood there and would not budge because of what he had discovered in the gospel – the good news of God’s grace, God’s undeserved kindness and love for him and everyone in Jesus Christ. Grace that justified the unrighteous Luther.

He had first discovered that good news in passages like Romans 1:16-17 and it led him to say with St Paul  “I am not ashamed of the gospel”. He devoted the rest of his life and put his life on the line for that Gospel.

 

All of us have numerous experiences in life where we have felt ashamed. We can be ashamed of our thoughts words and actions and ashamed of our bodies. Ashamed of ourselves and each other. Ashamed of our public persona and our inner private world.

Some feel ashamed of our church right now, divided as we seem to be on some things. Some have left because of that. Some would have left if the recent decision went the other way a few weeks ago at Synod.

Luther felt ashamed before God and he feared God.

  • He retreated to monastery to live a “religious life”
  • He tried doing good things 24 hrs a day
  • He tried confessing his sins until he was blue in face and exhausted

Nothing set him free from doubt about himself and his goodness and doubt about God and what God thought of him. Nothing worked, except Romans 1:16-17

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

The good news of Christ is the power that blew away his shame and guilt, any uncertainty about where he stood with God, any uncertainty about entry to heaven when he died.

The Gospel of what Jesus did when he lived and died for him blew away like dynamite (that’s the Greek word for power here) – it blew up and blew away any self-doubt, any self-righteousness, any pride in his own goodness and standing before God.

Being set right, being able to stand and walk and run and live in God’s presence freely now and forever is a gift, he discovered.

  • God gives what he expects and wants for, and in us.
  • God gives his own rightness so we don’t need to be “self”-righteous.

We see it and I believe it when we look at the cross and Jesus dying for me.

To the proud that good news says “you can’t earn or deserve it”

To the crushed and broken it says “you don’t have to earn or deserve it”

The gospel of being saved by God’s grace alone, received by faith alone, in Christ alone.

  • Lutherans live and breathe that Gospel.
  • We stand and we walk in its power.
  • We die in its grace and hope.

That’s what enabled Luther to stand in front of his church and state when they challenged and condemned him. He was willing to go to the wall and die for it just as St Paul was.

 “Here I stand” – what else can I do, he said.

Our Lutheran confessional writings, the teachings we believe express the gospel clearly tell us that the church stands or falls on the gospel, on what we teach and believe about Jesus and God’s justifying grace to us in him. Full stop. Nothing else

 

The danger existed in Paul’s day and Luther’s day and in our day right now in our LCA to add a law to the gospel, thinking:

“We will only be a genuine church of Jesus if we ordain women”

Or “We will cease to be true church of Jesus if we ordain women”

As important an issue as this has been and will continue to be,

  • Don’t let this issue become either a new law or a new gospel.
  • Don’t let it overshadow Christ, as convicted and conflicted about this and other issues as we are.
  • Don’t make it the unforgivable sin – either way.
  • Don’t let it be what defines the church.
  • Don’t break the church that Christ died for any further than it already is.

Luther had many issues with his church but never thought of leaving it. He thought a lot about reforming it from the inside out – and he endured the pain for that until he was kicked out… for proclaiming the gospel.

What we go to the wall over, argue over, leave the church over even, says a lot about what we stand for. What might those things be for you?

Buildings? (I know you have a meeting about buildings today)

Music and songs?

Theological issues?

Moral issues?

They are all important, but one day we will “hit the wall” when we all go to our graves.

What will we stand on then, what will matter most or at all as we are about to meet God who gave us life and to whom we are accountable?

On Tuesday I will stand at a graveside. You won’t be there, but you will, because I will be representing you at the funeral of NSW bishop James Haak who died suddenly last weekend in North Adelaide aged 59.

What we stand for and what he stood for will be made crystal clear at his funeral. I expect to hear from Bishop Henderson the gospel. Our confidence and hope in the face of death is not that James was male nor female, a pastor, a bishop even a family man or all round nice guy.

James died a righteous man because he died in Christ, and that’s all.

Our confidence is in Christ alone, who gives us God’s grace alone, and we will stand there at his grave with faith alone in God’s word alone.

That’s what I expect to here on Tuesday or I will be posting some theses of my own on the front door of LCA HQ at 197 Archer St on Wed morning!

The power of God will be at work in grieving hearts in the face of sin and death as Bishop John proclaims what Lutherans expect him to proclaim. There is nothing else that will be able to cut it on Tuesday than the gospel.

At the recent synod after the debate and vote and after reflection by delegates expressing sadness at division in church, it was Bishop James Haak who proposed a motion, which Synod passed almost unanimously and without debate: ‘that Synod acknowledges the deep hurt and harm to individuals and groups that has been occasioned over the past years in the course of the debate regarding ordination; repents of the hurt, and seeks forgiveness and reconciliation with one another’.

 

Repentance – that’s the call in the first of Luther’s 95 theses that started the Reformation.

Standing begins on our knees, in repentance, looking for and depending on God’s grace to us individually and together. Recognising our own need for the gospel and receiving the gospel, as has happened here today.

 

And standing on the gospel is not standing still. You can’t stand still when you experience the power of the gospel. You have to live it and express it and share it. It has its inbuilt power to want others to enjoy it too.

At same time as Martin Luther made his discovery and went to the wall and world over it, another Martin (of Basle) also discovered the gospel and he wrote: “O most merciful Christ I know that I can only be saved by your blood. Holy Jesus I acknowledge thy sufferings for me, I love you, I love you”. Then he took his witness to Jesus and hid it in a cavity of his cell wall in the monastery where it stayed for 100 years, while others around him were striving to find their own way to God. He enjoyed it himself but hid the dynamite of the gospel.

By all means say with Martin Luther “here we stand” by grace alone, faith alone, in Christ alone.

Stand firm, but don’t stand still, and don’t be ashamed of the gospel, it is God’s power to save you and all who believe it. Our privilege is not only to live in that Gospel but to share it.

Job – Resurection Faith – Audio Sermon Pastor Trevor Reu

St Petri Audio Sermon – Sunday 14th October

Job – Resurrection Faith – Pastor Trevor Reu

One of the great books in the Bible is the book of Job.  It deals with two of the greatest predicaments facing the human race.  The problem of human suffering and whether a person will live again after death.

Job is a good man who suffers greatly – he loses his children, his property and is afflicted with a dreaded disease.  His friends visit him and try to help him by attempting to explain his suffering.  Instead of helping and comforting Job they only make matters worse.

Whatever argument they put forward as to why Job is suffering, Job has a counter argument.

Job has his problems with God too, and he on occasions challenges him.  But he does not lose faith in God.  he still has confidence in his saving help.  He declares, “I know that my Redeemer lives … I shall see God”.

Going the Distance

Going the Distance – Audio Sermon  Pastor Robert Voigt

Sunday 7th October – Pastor Robert Voigt

St Michael & All Angels – Audio Sermon Pastor Robert Voigt

Audio of Sermon preached on Sunday 30th September – Pastor Robert Voigt

The Feast of St Michael & All Angels – St Petri Lutheran Church

When the Good News is All Bad. Audio Sermon – Pastor Noel Due

Sunday 2nd September

Pastor Noel Due

To whom shall we go? Audio sermon Pastor Robert Voigt

Sunday 26th August

Joshua 24:1, 2a, 14-18

Then Joshua assembled all the tribes of Israel at Shechem. He summoned the elders, leaders, judges and officials of Israel, and they presented themselves before God.

Joshua said to all the people, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says:

14 “Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

16 Then the people answered, “Far be it from us to forsake the Lord to serve other gods! 17 It was the Lord our God himself who brought us and our parents up out of Egypt, from that land of slavery, and performed those great signs before our eyes. He protected us on our entire journey and among all the nations through which we travelled. 18 And the Lord drove out before us all the nations, including the Amorites, who lived in the land. We too will serve the Lord, because he is our God.”

Compassion – Audio Sermon Pastor Robert Voigt – 22 July 2018

“Compassion”  St Petri Sermon  – 22nd July, 2018  – Pastor Robert Voigt

Jesus was moved with compassion  – Matthew 9:36

Mark 6:34 (NIV)

34 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.

Matthew 9:36 (NIV)

36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.

Psalm 51:1 NIV

 

But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.                                                                          Psalm 86:15 NIV

 

When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.  Matthew 14:14 NIV

 

Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat.”  Matthew 15:32 NIV

 

Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes,  Matthew 20:34 NIV

 

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.  Ephesians 4:32 NIV

 

Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.  1 Peter 3:8 NIV

 

“People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

 

“We hear again and again, from the unchurched and from local churches who are deeply engaged with the unchurched in their communities, that loving genuine relationships are the only remaining currency readily exchanged between the churched and the churchless.”  –       George Barna.

Pentecost conversation – Audio – Bishop John Henderson

Pentecost Sunday – St Petri Lutheran Church  20/05/2018

Sermon – Bishop John Henderson   “Pentecost Conversation”

John 15:26, 27; 16:4b-15

The Work of the Spirit of Truth

When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father – the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father – he will testify about me.  And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning

I did not tell you this from the beginning because I was with you, but now I am going to him who sent me. None of you asks me, “Where are you going?” Rather, you are filled with grief because I have said these things.  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. When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment:  about sin, because people do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.

 ‘I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.  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. 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.’

Dear friends in Christ,

There’s a conversation going on today between the Father,
the Son and the Holy Spirit.

You can listen to it by tuning in to this morning’s Gospel reading.
And tune in you should, because the conversation’s about you.

God sees what’s going on in this world and in your life. God is concerned for you. God knows that, left to ourselves, we humans fall into destructive spirals that will see the end of us.

God isn’t prepared just to sit silently by to watch us suffer. God is a God of engagement, conversation and dialogue. God wants relationships. That’s why God speaks to us through the Word, because God wants to communicate with us. The conversation begins in creation: ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness.’ God’s image is about relatedness, connection and community. We are relational beings. God creates us to gather, use language and, by nature, build communities. The Triune God makes us in that image.

But the image is now corrupted. We see it all around in the disruption and fracturing of relationships and communities. Sin reveals itself most clearly in the ways we deal with one another. Jesus taught us to pray, ‘Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.’ We can be legends in our own living rooms, but out in the community we discover who we really are. We see the sin that fractures and breaks the relationships for which God created us.

The first broken relationship is with God. In Genesis three Adam and Eve turned their backs on the divine conversation and perfect community they enjoyed with God. They decided to go it alone. That’s what sin is. Ever since God has been working to bring us back into the loving, communal relationship between creator and created which is our fulfilment.

Jesus is the centre of God’s work for us. He’s the divine-human Son of God, a standing invitation to bring us out of the darkness to re-join God in the light of a perfect relationship, to join once more in the divine conversation. God created you for that.

The conversation recorded in the gospels goes something like this. Jesus has finished what he came for. He was born, he lived among us, taught us, shared the Word and gave us the Father’s gifts. Yet we rejected him, judged him, and crucified him. The Father didn’t stop there, however. He raised his Son from the dead. Last week, if you were in church, you would have heard the risen Jesus talking about going back to his Father. He did that to clear the way for the Spirit to come and the conversation to go on. That’s why he sends the Holy Spirit. The Spirit puts us in permanent contact with God. In the Spirit we can participate in the divine relationship, just as God always wanted. That’s why God gathers his church – it is a community of believers joined together in a Spirit-led conversation with their Creator and Saviour God. It’s a foretaste of heaven.

The words Jesus speaks in today’s gospel reading are much more than history. He spoke them millennia ago and he still speaks them today. The word of God connects past, present and future, God’s eternal now. This very morning, Pentecost Sunday 20th May 2018, Jesus is promising to send us the Advocate, the Spirit of truth.

His actual word is Paraclete, and it’s to translate it into English. It literally translates as ‘One who comes near’. Jesus sends us the Holy Spirit, the God who has come near. Our eternal, conversational, relational, creator God is as close to you as the air you are breathing, as close as the sound waves reaching your ears, as close as the light striking your retinas. As close as the thoughts inside your brain. The Paraclete continues what began in creation. God is with you, in this very moment, right now.

The Paraclete is the Spirit of truth. Not truth like a courtroom where judge and jury forensically distinguish between the innocent and the guilty. Not truth like a science lab, where through hypothesis, trial and error, sorting through the data, scientists test their theories.

This is more. It’s truth of purpose, identity and relationship. Who am I? Who are you? Who is God? How do I know that? Can I trust you? God, why did you make me in the first place?

These are the truths of the Paraclete. His message from the Father is fundamentally, ‘I know you, I love you and I want to be with you, and you with me. I will wait for you as long as it takes.’

Jesus shows us what this looks like in Luke 15 in the parable of the Waiting Father. Sometimes called the Prodigal Son. The parable tells of a father and two sons. Both sons are essentially prodigals. The love of the father binds the story together. Whatever shame they cause him and however much it costs him he loves them equally and patiently waits for both of them. This is our heavenly Father waiting for humankind to come back home.

In this morning’s gospel reading Jesus gives us three key words that are central to the Paraclete’s message. They might jolt us a bit, but we must face up to them for the relationship to be real. They are sin, righteousness, and judgement.

They jolt us because they are unpopular words today. We frequently block them out of our conversations because they sound negative and out of step with the times. We prefer to speak more comforting, affirming words like spirituality, love and peace. But we can’t have those things until we have dealt with our most pressing problems: sin, righteousness and judgement.

We have already talked about sin today. We have considered how God responded to sin by sending Jesus. Faith in Jesus Christ is our number one priority. Without faith we are without hope, lost in sin.

‘About righteousness,’ Jesus says, ‘because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer.’ A few minutes ago we said just that in the Creed. When Jesus’ returned to his Father he did not leave us alone. He opened the floodgates to the full indwelling of God. Our Small Catechism teaches the same thing: ‘the Holy Spirit has called me through the Gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, and sanctified and preserved me in true faith, just as he calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth and preserves it in union with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. Galatians 3 affirms, ‘the righteous shall live by faith.’

And finally, ‘about judgement, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.’ This is all the forces and powers of darkness that want to smother the light of Jesus and steal the children away from the Father. We call it the devil. There’s a dark mystery in that name and it’s just too dangerous for us to go there. Only Christ can do that.

The light of Christ expels the darkness. In him darkness is condemned. In the past, it’s true, we have sided with the darkness instead of Christ and so deserve judgement. But that hasn’t stopped God loving us. Christ takes our place. He takes our death. Just when darkness thinks it has won, God raises Jesus from the dead. He just won’t let the ruler of this world have you, as God’s Word says in Romans 8, ‘there is … no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.’
So these three words – sin, righteousness and judgement – are how God begins his Pentecost conversation with you. Jesus explains that knowing each of one these words assures us of God’s love and salvation.

The Paraclete brings you the message he hears from the Father. And everything the Father has also belongs to Jesus. Father, Son and Holy Spirit, three persons in one God, working together to bring you back to life, to relationship, to community, to be the person you were created to be.
Do not doubt that God loves you, has a permanent place for you and is right here, right now, closer to you than you are to yourself. You have received the Holy Spirit who will always be with you, guiding you into all truth, and showing you what is to come.

Praise God for all his love, and for sending the Spirit so we, and all believers, may have true, saving faith in Christ our Lord.

Amen.

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