May 28, 2017

ONENESS:  JESUS WITH THE CHURCH

5/28/17 

(Sermon, "ONENESS:  JESUS WITH THE CHURCH" as Preached)

If you would prefer to listen to the following sermon, click here.

Open with "Music Player for Google Drive" or Download File

  (Sermon as Written)

John 14:15-31 (NIV)

“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.  Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me.  Because I live, you also will live.  On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.  Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”  Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”  Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.  All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.  You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.  I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me, but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me.  Come now; let us leave.”

 

We continue with the words of Jesus on the night of his arrest in the garden.  The Last Supper is over and these are his final words to the disciples.  Last week, we talked about Jesus’ relationship with God the Father.  Jesus said, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me?”  (John 14:9b-10a NIV)  This creates a “oneness” between God the Father and God the Son.  Trying to understand this relationship has developed the theology of the Trinity, a concept not specifically referred to the Bible.

But now Jesus continues his talk about “oneness” moving the information from Jesus and his Father to the relationship that exists between himself and his disciples.  Because of the information given in this text, we can assume this refers to future disciples as well.  That is, us, his church. 

In addition, Jesus introduces us to the third person of the Trinity, the Spirit of Truth, who is most often referred to in the News Testament as the Holy Spirit.  Jesus in this text calls him “another advocate.”  Another, because Jesus is our first advocate.  An advocate, because an advocate is “a person who speaks or writes in support or defense of a person, cause, etc. (usually followed by of); such as “an advocate of peace.” (dictionary.com)  This advocate, according to the text “lives with you and will be in you.” (John 14:17b)  Jesus goes on to say, “On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.”  (John 14:20 NIV)  It may be difficult to ascertain what day Jesus may be alluding to in this text, but it makes sense to me that he is talking about the day the Holy Spirit comes to the disciples.  For them it was the day of Pentecost, the day we celebrate next Sunday.  For us, it is the day we become a disciple of Jesus.  There it is, the “oneness” with Jesus as his Spirit of truth lives in us.  How can it be doubted that we are called to be one big happy family?  Yet, as Christians, we should be the first to admit that we are a long way from the truth of that “oneness.”

What have we missed?  In discussing the Holy Spirit’s coming, Jesus continues with this message “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  (John 14:26-27 NIV)  What have we missed?  We are not listening to the Holy Spirit’s teaching and we are not accepting his peace.

To listen to the Holy Spirit remind us of everything Jesus taught, we must first come to learn everything Jesus taught.  If someone were to read to you a list of 100 sayings and ask you to identify how many of those sayings Jesus said, would you be able to do it?  Perhaps I should hand out a test.  The directions would read, “Listed below are 100 sayings.  Identify those sayings that come from the mouth of Jesus.”  Would you pass or fail that test?  Only you can answer that question. 

Secondly, we refuse to accept the peace that Jesus offers.  “Peace in this world is always precarious, always threatened.  We can have it for a while, only to be robbed of it again.  Just as the surface of the ocean can be calm for a while, then erupt into violent swells, so our peace seems always at risk of falling apart.  Even those who have everything going for them—health, relationship, wealth—must live with the knowledge that at any moment these things can be taken away.

“Allowing God to order things in his way and in his time is hard because it means letting go of things we want to hold on to.  And letting go of things that really do need fixing can feel like injustice, irresponsibility, or indifference on our part.  Sometimes [we] have even felt guilty about trying to leave in God’s hands the things [we] know [we] cannot change, as if worrying about them means [we/re] doing something positive about them.  But that’s shallow thinking on [our] part.  [Peace] of soul is not equal to being in control.  Far below the surface of the ocean lie depths that are undisturbed by the fierce storms that rage above.  Where we see only choppy waves God sees the potential for calm and the path to peace and order.”[i]

If you remember nothing else from today, think of the videos shown the children.  We saw the waves of a ship trying to travel above the surface.  Then we saw the song from the “Little Mermaid” movie.  There was a spiritual lesson there for all of us.  We can ride with waves on the surface, hoping for calm waters.  Or, we can go to the place Sabastian sings about “Under the Sea.”

Darling it's better
Down where it's wetter
Take it from me
Up on the shore they work all day
Out in the sun they slave away
While we devotin'
Full time to floatin'
Under the sea

Nobody beat us
Fry us and eat us
In fricassee
We what the land folks loves to cook
Under the sea we off the hook
We got no troubles
Life is the bubbles
Under the sea (Under the sea)

“Have you noticed how easy it is to hand over the steering wheel of your life when the waters are calm?  It is easy to trust God when we have already engineered the outcome we want.  It isn’t so easy—but this is what we request in our prayer—to tell God we will no longer fight for absolute control because we trust his control is best.

“Peace does not begin with nations, or even among family members or friends.  It begins with our own humble relationship with God.  It begins when we pray, ‘God, grant me your peace, in your way, in your time.’ …

“We, like Saint Paul before his conversion, are often ‘kicking against the goads’ (Acts 26:14), resisting God’s plan for us, and this brings us stress and anxiety.  Worrying, because we fail to trust, we are left restless and agitated.”[ii]

“The great German theologian Karl Adam once write that ‘reality is the expression of the Father’s Will.’  Isn’t that consoling?  God’s will—the good he does and even the evil he permits in this fallen world—is never for our destruction, but always for our good!  Remember the words of Jeremiah: ‘For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope’ (Jeremiah 29:11).”[iii]

Let’s pray.

 


[i] Morris, Father Jonathan. The Way of Serenity. Harper Collins Publishing: New York, NY, 2014 p. 14.

[ii] Ibid. pp. 14-15.

[iii] Ibid. p. 17.

___________________________________________________________