Let us pray.
Holy Spirit, spirit of truth, come into my heart, shed the brightness of thy light on all nations, that they may be one in faith and pleasing to thee.
Come, Holy Ghost, fill the hearts of thy faithful, and kindle in them the fire of they love.
Today’s readings gave me many opportunities for different sermons. We are told in Deuteronomy, the Acts of the Apostles and John’s Gospel about the love of God, which is agape, Divine love. We all know of God’s love by John 3:16. “For God so loved the world that he gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”
We are told in Deuteronomy and the Gospel of John to keep God’s commandments. In An Outline of the Faith in the Book of Common Prayer we are told that the purpose of the Ten Commandments is to define our relationship with God and our neighbors and Jesus told us “whoever has my commandments, and keeps them, He it is who loves me. And he who loves Me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”
In the Acts of the Apostles we hear about Philip, one of the seven, chosen to the duty “to serve tables” (Acts 6). In today’s reading Philip is doing the very diaconal ministry of proclaiming the good news about Jesus Christ.
In John’s gospel today Jesus also says that if we love him and keep his commandments he will ask his father and he will send to us a helper, the spirit of truth. I prayed and asked god which of these messages he would have me talk about. The Lord put on my heart to speak about the spirit of truth, the Holy Spirit.
After this sermon we will recite the Nicene Creed. We will say, “We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son He is worshipped and glorified. He has spoken through the prophets.”
Who is this Holy Spirit? Please notice that the Holy Spirit is a person not a thing, not a what is the Holy Spirit.
Please turn to page 852 in the Book of Common Prayer.
I will read the questions and I ask you to please respond with the answers.
The Holy Scriptures, the word of god, both old and new testaments, were written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. St Paul tells us in 2 Tim. 3:16-17 “all scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.’’ Holy Scripture, also known as the Bible, I find this awesome that we can take these words of God and hold them in our hands. We can read them, silently or better yet out loud, we can study them, talk about them and try to understand them.
As we read them we should pray as the psalmist did in Ps 119:118 “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.” We need to ask the Holy Spirit to help us better understand God’s word.
If we had read on to verse 26 in today’s Gospel reading we would have heard Jesus say “The helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things.”
I have noticed that the more I read Holy Scripture the better I understand. I will sometimes read something and all of a sudden I now know what it means in a deeper sense.
St. Paul wrote to the Ephesians saying “I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened. The wisdom of God is communicated to us by the Holy Spirit because the spirit knows God’s mind. We know this by St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, chapter 2: 10,11 “These things God has revealed to us through the spirit. For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him. So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.”
The spirit also does many more things which I won’t list because my DFC instructor told me not to make a list, but I will mention three more and then I will leave the rest for Fr. Wayne and Frank to talk about. There are the gifts of the spirit, found in 1 Cor. 12 and the fruit of the spirit found in the letter to the Galatians chapter 5. Both of these have been gone over before on our Wednesday night bible studies.
I would also like to speak about something which we briefly covered this past Wednesday, spiritual warfare. There is a battle going on between the kingdom of darkness and God’s kingdom of light. We are called to join in the battle. St Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:12 “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the spiritual forces of evil.” St Paul tells us in 1 Peter 5:8 “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” And later we will ask our heavenly Father to lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
Fr. Mike Flynn, an Episcopal priest and author, says in his book “Holy Vulnerability” that Andrew Murray once said “One does not take the Holy Spirit seriously without eventually having to take the unholy spirit seriously also.”
Satan’s attacks can come as temptations and after he has successfully tempted us. He accuses us. He tells us that we are unworthy of God’s love. He deceives us. In John 8:44 Jesus says the devil is the father of lies. The devil tries to harass us, by our getting sick, as he has done to me, for I am going to become a deacon and work to promote the Kingdom of God. He also lives to harass us by mechanical failures, cars breaking down, and appliances not working.
So what can we do? As God has called us to be his soldiers he will arm us and protect us with, as St Paul tells us in Ephesians chapter 6 the ARMOR of GOD. The girdle of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of peace, the helmet of salvation, the shield of faith and the sword of the spirit.
All the armor is defensive (for protection) except for one offensive weapon, the sword of the spirit. The sword of the spirit is the word of God, the Holy Bible. Take this sword with you wherever you go. *(share Mike Flynns protection prayer)
Lastly, I know that I said 3 but I will let (the gifts and fruit count as one) lastly by the grace of God (that’s for Mother Ellen, you can ask Frank what that means) St. Paul tells us in Romans 8:16-17 “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ.”
Heavenly Father, Abba, I thank you that we are your children and that we are heirs of thy heavenly kingdom and that by the offering of your son, Jesus, we are freed from the power of sin and reconciled to you. Thank you Abba.
Let us pray.
Come, O spirit of counsel, help and guide me in all my ways, that I may always do they holy will. Incline my heart to that which good, turn away from all that is evil, and direct me by the path of thy commandments to the goal of eternal life.
Come, O spirit of understanding, and enlighten my mind, that I may know and believe all the mysteries of salvation, and may merit at last to see the eternal light in thy light; and in the light of glory to have clear vision of thee and the Father and the Son. Amen