In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
“But the Comforter, even the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said unto you.”
Prayer in Pulpit before Sermon:
Send, we beseech Thee, Almighty God, Thy Holy Spirit into our hearts, that He may rule and direct us according to Thy will, comfort us in all our temptations and afflictions, defend us from all error, and lead us into all truth, that we, being steadfast in the faith, may increase in love and all good works, and in the end obtain everlasting life; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord. Amen.
Grace, mercy, and peace be to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior + Jesus Christ. Amen.
In the beginning the Earth was waste and void; and darkness covered over the whole Earth. Then, the Spirit of the Lord God moved upon the face of the waters, and the Lord said, “Let there be light” and there was light. In this we see a picture of the Christian Church. We see a picture of our own conversion. For we were filled with darkness; our souls were a waste place and void of anything living. We were dead in our sins and trespasses and surrounded by the darkness of sin and death. But the Holy Ghost, through the pure preaching of the Word of God, and the right administration of the Blessed Sacraments, moved upon the face of us, and we were filled with the light of faith. We were dead, but were made alive. We were filled with the darkness of sin, but then the light of faith filled us to cling to the Lord God as our Lord and Savior.
This is the tremendous gift that the Lord + Jesus promises to give to His Apostles in the Gospel reading from the Apostle and Evangelist St. John. Judas, the one who was not the betrayer Iscariot, asked the Lord + Jesus why He would manifest Himself to His followers and not the world. It is because the world rejects Him. His followers—His disciples and Apostles—however, do not reject Him, but cling to Him in faith. They believe on Him with their whole heart. This is because the Holy Ghost has entered into their heart, just as the Lord + Jesus promises in this Gospel reading for this Feast of Pentecost.
The Holy Ghost, the Comforter, teaches us all things about the heavenly Father, and His Only- begotten Son, our Lord + Jesus, the Christ. He teaches us that we are saved from sin and death—that we are filled with light and faith—because the Father willed that the Son should come to this Earth and suffer and die for us poor sinners after perfectly fulfilling the Law. The Son obeyed His Father’s will and came to be our brother; a man just like us. He paid the penalty for all our sins. The Father and the Son in turn have sent us the Holy Ghost to be our Comforter; to preach into our ears the truth of all things: that we cannot save ourselves by our own working and obedience to the Law of God. We must have a Savior outside of ourselves. The Comforter teaches us that this Savior is the One Who became man for us, and suffered and died in our place to redeem us back from sin, death, and the power of the devil.
This is the tremendous gift that we celebrate today on this Feast of Pentecost! We celebrate that the Holy Ghost has entered into our world, and not just our world, but into our very hearts. Is that not what our Lord + Jesus promises us today in the Gospel reading from St. John? He promises that He and the Father would take their abode within us. Now to be clear, our Lord + Jesus is speaking about the unity of the Trinity. That there is One God in Three Persons, and that there are Three Persons in One God. Wherever the Holy Ghost dwells, there also the Father and the Son are dwelling. For as we confessed in the Athanasian Creed in great detail, there are not three Gods, but one God. Wherever the Holy Ghost is, there are also the Father and the Son.
This is why our Lord + Jesus can make the statement that the Father and the Son will come and take up their abode in those who cling to Him in faith. Or, as He puts it, “those who love Him.” Those who love Him are the ones who live in repentance, who have put off their former works of darkness. Mankind, in its hatred of the Lord God has forsaken the light and continues to live in darkness. The Spirit of the Lord God has been sent by the Father and the Son, He was poured out upon the face of the whole world in Jerusalem on the first Pentecost; He has moved over the face of the whole world to call all men to salvation in the Lord + Jesus, and the world has refused the light and continues to live in darkness.
For mankind loves the works of darkness. Mankind loves to sin; they love to remain in the works that please their own sinful hearts. Mankind loves to fulfill the desires of their covetous hearts—their concupiscent hearts. Mankind loves to live in the filth that surrounds them. The same is true of us when we continue to revel in our sinfulness; when we have no desire to change our sinful lives; when we just go on living our lives in their sinful ways as if the Holy Ghost has not been gifted to us through preaching and the Sacraments. The Holy Ghost has no desire to remain in a place filled with filth; in a home in which the owner has no desire to clean his home.
Consider this! If we invite over friends or relatives for a party or celebration, what do we do? We clean our house! We put away the laundry, do the dishes, sweep and or vacuum the house, make the beds, clean the toilet, and the like. We do all this because we do not want our guest seeing the shape of our house in which we normally live. Unfortunately, we do not do this with the Holy Ghost. Our Lord + Jesus tells us that through the Holy Ghost, He and the Father would take up their abode within us. The Spirit of the Lord God desires to move over our dark faces filled with sin, and shed the light of salvation found in the Lord + Jesus alone into our hearts, and we treat this gift with disdain by remaining in our sins and trespasses.
The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, Who have placed their name on us in the waters of Holy Baptism, are pushed aside by us when we refuse to repent of our sins, and continue to live unholy lives. The Triune Lord God desires to come and dwell within us; to take up their abode within us, and unlike the guest coming to our earthly house, we do not clean up our spiritual house but continue to live in the refuse and filth that we normally live in every day of our lives. And we expect the Triune Lord God to come and take up His abode with us?
This is why the Holy Ghost continues to teach us all things. He teaches us through the preaching of the Law to turn from our sinfulness; to turn from the filth in which we live our normal lives, and turn to the Lord + Jesus in repentance. Those who love Him keep His commandments; they keep His Word, as the Lord + Jesus tells us in the Gospel reading. Since we cannot ever hope to be fully obedient to His Commandments; since we cannot ever so proper love for the Lord + Jesus by our works, the Holy Ghost teaches us to trust in the works and merits of the Christ. He teaches us to forsake ourselves, our works, our sins, and in repentance, turn to the Christ; to His suffering and death on the tree of the holy cross.
For as the Spirit of the Lord moved upon the face of the waters at the beginning of creation, beginning the process where the Triune Lord God would create a people with whom He would make His abode and dwelling, our Lord + Jesus, in the process of time, also came down from Heaven to make His abode in our flesh, so that He could fulfill that which we are unable to fulfill. He cleaned up the filth of our house by His obedience to the Law of God. He cleansed our dark hearts by pouring out His blood on the tree of the holy cross, so that through Holy Baptism, our hearts may be thoroughly washed clean and pure from the refuse of sin. He did all this so that He and the Father might take up their abode within us. They abide within us through the Holy Ghost Who was granted to us as a tremendous gift from the Father and the Son.
Through the means of grace, the Holy Ghost takes up residence within our hearts. He cleanses us from all sins and trespasses, and makes us a new creation. Whenever we humbly confess our sins, and desire with the assistance of the Holy Ghost to amend our sinful lives, He takes up His abode within us. This is why is it so important for us to be here in this place today. For it is through the means of grace delivered to us by the Church that the Holy Ghost cleanses us of all the filth of sin that is within us. Wherever two or three are gathered in the Lord’s Name, there the Holy Ghost is creating and renewing us poor sinners. It is here that He is baptizing, absolving, preaching, feeding, and comforting and consoling us with the hope that is found only in the Lord + Jesus and His works and merits.
It is this great gift of the Holy Ghost which we celebrate today on this Feast of Pentecost. Just as the Spirit of the Lord God moved upon the face of the waste and void and dark earth at the beginning of creation, He moves over the face of the whole world to fill it with the light of faith in the One and Only Savior of the world. Let us therefore, my dear friends, rejoice this day that the Holy Ghost has been gifted to us. Let us rejoice that we have not rejected or resisted Him, but have welcomed Him into our humble and repentant hearts so that we may have the Father and the Son, with the Holy Ghost, abiding within us, and making within us their home.
Let us rejoice, my dear friends, on this Feast of Pentecost that He has renewed the face of the whole earth, and has filled the hearts of the faithful, and kindled in them the fire of the Lord God’s love. With this love, let us love one another, and rejoice that we have been made a new creation by Him. We have been created, redeemed, and sanctified by the Triune Lord God to be His people, and He has come to us to be our God. Thanks be to God! In the Name of our Lord + Jesus, the Christ. Amen.
Prayer in Pulpit after Sermon:
Almighty God, be pleased to accompany Thy Word with Thy Holy Spirit and grant that Thy Word would increase faith in us; bring into the Way of Truth all such as have erred; turn the hearts of the unrepentant; and for sake of Thy Name grant succor to all heavy hearts and those who are heavy-laden, that they may through the mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ be relieved and preserved so that they succumb not to the temptation of despair but rather that they gain the victory over the world, the flesh, and the devil; through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with the Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever One God, world without end. Amen.
The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Amen.
Soli Deo Gloria!