Sunday, May 15, 2005


Feast of Pentecost
May 15, 2005
John 20:22
When God is Your Mother

INTRODUCTION:  Today is confirmation Sunday – it’s also the feast day of Pentecost – the birthday of missions. Ironically, it’s the church holiday when I was confirmed some 34 years ago.

Today is a day in which we focus on the 3rd person of the Trinity – the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is best known as the creative agent of God. When Adam was created God breathed into him, and Adam became a person – a living soul. The Holy Spirit is given credit in Genesis for creating the universes. Everything we see about us has come from Him.

John explains to us the events which took place on that first Easter he reminds us; "On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” - John 20:19 

On that first Easter Jesus breathed the Spirit on His disciples. And the result? There is a new creation. On this Pentecost Sunday, May 15, 2005 - the day of your confirmation – a day in which each of us vow to remain faithful to Jesus - may we each remember this eternal truth – the Holy Spirit is like a mother who gives birth in us to be a new creation in Jesus Christ.

The Holy Spirit is our mother –

I.        He gives us spiritual birth so that we become a new creature.

A.     To be a Christian is to be born again of the Spirit of God. What does it mean to be “born again”?

1.      To be “born again” simply means that we are born spiritually. We are born physically and we are born spiritually.

2.      Each of us will experience 3 important birthdays in our lives; to be born physically – when you are given life on this earth, to be born spiritually - in baptism, to be born in glory – when we take a walk from the kingdom of grace into the kingdom of glory. Today we affirm the new birth the Spirit gave to you when you were baptized. 

B.     Born into a relationship with Jesus Christ.

1.      If there is anything you would remember from your Catechism instruction and this day of your confirmation it would be that ours is not a religion. – A religion is based on working your way up the ladder of perfection or reaching some level of spirituality. To the contrary; ours is a relationship with the person of Jesus Christ. As Christ has established this relationship with you – so walk with Him – every day – remember His last five words He spoke before His Ascension – “I am with you always” – not a wish - but a reality we know by faith.

2.      The 2nd  point I would have you remember from your instruction is the fact that the most important points of our faith can all be boiled down to two words – DO and DONE.  Do throws us back into the Law which none of us can fulfill. It only shows us our failures and drags us down. Done; on the other hand, reminds us of all that has been worked out by our Savior. At the bloody cross and the empty tomb our salvation was worked out completely – There’s nothing else that we need to do – Jesus has done it all!

Transition: The Holy Spirit is our mother. He gives us spiritual birth so that we become a new creature. He places us into a new family.

II.     The Spirit gives us birth into a new family – the Church.

A.     Pentecost is the birthday of missions.

1.      It was the day in which the Spirit said Go – Go into the world and be My disciples. Today the same Spirit is giving you His marching orders – Go!

2.      Go into the world and be Jesus’ disciple. May it never be said that people are surprised that you are a Christian! Bloom where you’re planted – become salt and light in this world – be a sermon in shoes!

B.     The Spirit gathers believers into the church.

1.      It’s more then any human organization – it is Holy people and sheep who gather to hear the words of their Shepherd.

2.       Come regularly – to Hear Jesus’ word – to receive His Supper – to receive His purpose, promise and peace!

C.    The result – that you might be a new people of God.

1.      You experience daily – the forgiveness of sins, life and salvation – as the Savior comes to you through His Word.

2.      Here you grow in grace and in favor with God and your neighbor. Enjoying your brothers and sisters in Christ. Grow in your faith as whole families come together to be the body of Christ at this place!

3.      Where you pray for these brothers and sisters in Christ and where they approach the throne room of God with their petitions on your behalf.

CONCLUSION: The Hebrew word for the Holy Spirit is the word “breath” or “wind” - To live is to breathe. On that first Easter night Jesus breathes the Spirit on His disciples.  What Jesus’ disciples experienced we all need – We want and need the Spirit’s life as much as possible. As the Spirit has directed you these many years we have His promise that He will continue to guide and direct you – Fare thee well child of God! Be a witness – live as salt and light in this world. 

Sunday, May 1, 2005

Confirmation 2005

May 1, 2005
John 14: 1-14
Jesus said, “I am the Way”

INTRODUCTION: Standing here before you today makes me feel, well, a little dated.  {In your words, “old!”} With the exception of Kevin I’ve had the privilege of baptizing you and together all of us in this parish have watched you grow up among us. It’s been a privilege to be a part of your life as together we’ve studied Scripture, prayed, and talked about these matters of faith. 

Each confirmation class takes on it’s own personality and you are quite unique in a number of ways; particularly since every single one of you can trace your family roots back to the original Buuck brother which founded this parish! True, you may be an 8th generation member of this congregation but today you write a new chapter as you pledge yourselves to remain faithful to Christ in time and eternity.-for you share a common family history that is thicker then blood - and that is the walk of faith. 

The text you have chosen is taken from Jesus’ words recorded in John chapter 14. What would the Savior say to you this day? He would remind us; “Do not be worried our upset – believe in God – believe also in Me.” (v.1) Jesus your Savior is the only way to God.  He is the way - the only way; the truth - the only truth; and He is the life – for He offers us life eternal as a gift.

I.                    Jesus would remind us that He is the one and only way to life everlasting with the Father.

A.     As the author and finisher of our faith He has created mansions glorious for us.

1.      He reminds us that there are many rooms in our Father’s house. We don’t have to worry that we’ll some day find a “no vacancy” sign in heaven – there is always room for us.

2. Jesus has said, “I am going to prepare a place for you.”

a.       This would suggest to us that in heaven there is personal space for us.

b.      This personal space has been made specifically for you.

c.       You place in glory was individually created by your own redeemer.

3.      If this were not so He would have said so. But since it is as He has promised we believe it as fact.

B.      We will be ushered into these mansions by our gracious Savior.

1.      Notice His promise; “After I go and prepare a place for you I will come back and take you to Myself.”  What a great time to be alive – in the next few years you’ll be making decisions on your career, your family, where you will live –

But ultimately that’s only half the equation – Jesus here reminds us that our ultimate goal is to be with Him in glory – He will receive us only when our work here is done.

2.      Notice a second blessing “You will be where I am.”

Transition: Not only is Jesus the only way to everlasting life – only through Him do we gain access to the Father.

II.                 We come to the Father through Jesus the Son.

A.      Through Him and Him alone we gain access to the Father.

1.      “I am the way the truth and the life, no one goes to the Father except through Me.”

a.       He is not one among many “gods”. And there are many from which people choose these days…and in this culture the most popular idol begging to be served is the self!

b.      Yet Jesus would remind us -There are no other options. We come to the Father through Jesus the Son – He is the only way; the only truth; the only way to find life!

2.      Recall Jesus’ word to Philip “Whoever has seen Me has seen the Father. Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me?” (v.9) How you will answer this question will determine you destiny – Seeking Him you will find fulfillment.

B.      The result of our life in Him is the resulting life everlasting.

1.      “If you ask Me anything in My name I will do it.” How then should we pray?

a.       Temporal gifts and blessings – conditionally – “Thy will be done.”

b.      Spiritual gifts and blessings – unconditionally – Requests such as, forgiveness, life, salvation never have to be begged or asked for.  They come from the gracious hand of our Savior.

2.      We live our lives by the words of the hymn, “I’m but a stranger here – heaven is my home.” On earth we are but pilgrims and strangers. Thus we live balanced lives – with our feet on the ground and our eyes heavenward. We experience the here and now as we await eternity!

CONCLUSION: Jesus – He is the way, the only way; the truth, the only truth; and the life – He offers us life eternal, which comes from our gracious heavenly Father.