31 May 2020
When the Counselor comes
“Now I am going to Him who sent me”
The Day of Pentecost marked a turning point in the early Christian church. Pentecost, a Jewish feast, was celebrated fifty days after Passover; as pilgrims had come to Jerusalem from all over the world to celebrate the event.
We all know the familiar story of what occurred on that Sunday. The Apostles were gathered in the Upper Room. It was the same room where they had seen Christ after His resurrection. It was the same room where they celebrated the Last Supper.
“And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues of fire, distributed and resting on each of them. And they were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” -Acts 2:2-4
Christ had promised His Apostles that He would send His Holy Spirit. On Pentecost they were granted this gift. The Apostles went out and began to preach the Gospel in all the languages of those who were gathered there. They spoke. And many were converted and baptized that day.
The remarkable spectacle was impossible to miss. The sights and sounds were caught by enough eyes and ears that the story spread quickly. A great multitude gathering to hear the disciples preach the Gospel in their own native languages. About three thousand, three thousand, souls were added to the church that day.
Jesus refers to the Spirit as “the Comforter.” Other words that could be inserted here is “an advocate,” “a helper,” “a counselor,” “a supporter” and “a sponsor.”
The Spirit is often called an advocate. An advocate is a defense attorney; one who speaks for a defendant before the judge in a court of law.
As Jesus promises us that the comforter will come this can only be good news for you. It is the Spirit Himself who will plead your case before the mercy seat of the Father.
Jesus reminds us: “it is a good thing that I go (back to the Father) for unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.”
Jesus has ascended back to the Father and the Spirit has come. So what will the Spirit do, now that He has come? Jesus answers this question in the words of our text for this morning.
When the good counselor comes…He will convict the world of guilt.
1. In regards to sin
He’ll talk about sin and the fact that man by himself cannot come to the Lord nor can he believe in Christ by himself. Sin blinds him to God.
Paul explains, “But the natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.”- 1 Corinthians 2:14 It will take the Holy Spirit to bring man to the knowledge of salvation.
Luther explains, I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith. In the same way He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. In this Christian church He daily and richly forgives all my sins and the sins of all believers. On the Last Day He will raise me and all the dead, and give eternal life to me and all believers in Christ.
Now, you can know naturally that there is a God; namely that God exists through creation and the conscience.
Creation tells us that there is a God who has established this world. The grandeur, the splendor, the majesty of the Lord’s handiwork can be seen all around as we behold the beauty of Creation. We see this especially in springtime.
The conscience tells us that there is a system of justice and natural law common to all men. The conscience; is being personally aware of what is right and wrong. The conscience is what you use to guide your actions to do right. The conscience forms your personal ethics that keep you from cheating, lying or stealing.
It is only by the Holy Spirit working through His Word that man comes to the right knowledge of God. The Spirit leads us to a supernatural or a revealed knowledge of God. This comes through the proclamation of the Gospel.
When Jesus rose from the dead, He gave your life meaning and worth. For His resurrection announces that your every dissatisfaction with church, family, life, yourself, it's all buried forever. Instead, you are righteous in God's sight and an inheritor of eternal life.
So that you would hear and believe these glorious new realities which are yours by Jesus' blood and merit, He gathered His church back together again and gave them one command, one singular task, "Preach this Gospel."
It's today, on Pentecost, that His disciples began to fulfill those marching orders. For when the Spirit descended upon them in that heavenly display of wind and fire, a true miracle was worked in their mouths.
On Easter, Jesus' grave opened to reveal He had risen in victory. So too, on Pentecost, dead mouths, empty caverns, came to life, praising the living God, as the disciples preached the good news found in Jesus' name for all to hear.
The real miracle of Pentecost is not the amazing sounds and sights.
No, the true Pentecost miracle is what can only be beheld by faith, the glorious good news that the Son of God died and rose again for you.
Transition: When the Spirit comes He will convict the world concerning sin and concerning righteousness.
2. The Spirit will convict the world in regards to righteousness.
Jesus said: “Because I am going back to the Father, where you cannot see me no longer.”
For a period of 40 days Jesus walked and talked and conversed with His disciples to convince them that He was truly alive and risen from the dead. On the 40th day He ascended into heaven. That was His coronation day. He now lives and reigns with the Father forever in glory.
We cannot see the Savior any more. The Spirit has appeared to convict and convince you that Jesus continues to rule and reign throughout all eternity. Because of the Holy Spirit’s work you are convinced that your sins truly are forgiven.
The Holy Spirit assures you that though your sins rise up to condemn you because of Christ’s glorious gross and His victory over the grave all sin is forgiven - period! It is the Holy Spirit that converts and persuades you that you truly are forgiven. What’s more He gives you His promise. “Because I live, you shall live also.”
Hear Luther speak these words of encouragement, “Do not despair after sin, but lift your eyes on high to where Christ intercedes for us. He is our Advocate. He intercedes for us and says, “Father I have suffered for this person; I am looking after him.”
The Spirit speaks to you about what is right in God’s sight. In this natural world, which is shrouded by sin, it is often hard to discern - what exactly is the will of God our Father. It is the Holy Spirit, the helper that enables us to see the will of God for your life.
How can we discern the will of God for our lives? We find God’s will being perfected in us as He turns us back to His Word.
It is there, in the Word, that we see clearly what God would want you to know. It is only in and through the Word that you know the Father’s perfect will.
Peter reminds us in his second epistle, “No prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” - 2 Peter 1:21
Or, as David teaches in Psalm 119:105, “Thy Word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.”
Transition: When the Spirit comes. He will convict the world concerning sin, concerning righteousness and concerning judgment.
3. In regards to judgment
The Savior proclaims, “Because the prince of this world now stands condemned.”
Jesus entered time and space to defeat the works of the world, the devil and the flesh. On the cross sin, and Satan fell; their power was swallowed up in defeat.
The Holy Spirit convinces you that this is in fact your reality. Because of the empty tomb this thing we commonly call death has also been defeated. Our common enemies have all been defeated.
The old evil foe – the devil - he is already sentenced to death. The devil stands convicted. He is already defeated. He cannot harm you. As the Scriptures proclaim, “Greater is he that is in you then he that is in this world.”
Your advocate, the Spirit reminds you of this reality – in Christ’s glorious cross and empty tomb you stand victorious for all of your enemies. They have been trampled under the Savior’s feet.
The Spirit has been sent to convict the world and convince you that Jesus directs your life. He sustains you. He guides you now and directs your future. All that bothers and concerns you; what troubles you encounter in this life cannot rob you of your confidence in Christ. The Spirit guarantees it. He is your helper.
The Savior rules upon His throne. And the Spirit stands as your advocate to defend and sustain you. The Advocate, the Spirit of truth, convicts the world with respect to sin, righteousness and judgment.
The Sprit stands for you; to intercede and plead your case before the Father’s glorious throne.
All is well. The Spirit has come. As promised by the Savior.
Words – 1,740
Passive Sentences –15%
Readability – 76.0%
Reading Level –6.1
Pr. Tim Daub’s Pentecost Homily, delivered May 20, 2018 Prince of Peace Lutheran Church Hecla, South Dakota
Luther’s Works, American Edition 30:326 copyright © Concordia Publishing St. Louis Fortress Philadelphia, 1955-86
Image of the Holy Spirit, copyright © Ed Riojas, Higher Things