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Archive for May 19th, 2019

The Work of the Holy Spirit:  The Apostle Peter Baptized Cornelius | made w/ Imgflip meme maker

Text:  St. John 16:  When the Spirit of truth comes,  he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you

 I’ve been an unofficial tour guide here and when my parents lived in Vienna, Virginia outside of Washington, D.C. for our guests, family and friends.  As a tour guide, I want to show our guests all the highlights of an area. Here, Lee Chapel, the W and L, VMI, the VMI museum, the art stores in downtown and the like. The Lord uses the word “guide” to describe the work of the Holy Spirit.  The word guide in New Testament Greek is: ὁδηγήσει, literally to guide along the road, way, kind of a tour guide. To guide along the road, odos, as in  I am the Odos, The Road, The Way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but by Me”.

 A tour guide, by showing the best of town, city or nation gives the assertion that this is the entire truth of the area.   No tour guide is going to show you the low lights of a town or city or nation. Oh, here are the slums where all the poor people live.  I could take you out in Rockbridge County for a tour of rural poverty. In many cities, Oh, over there is the abortion clinic.  Over there is where prostitution is rampant.  Here in this house there was a gruesome murder.  The old Adam does not like the whole truth, in fact, he cannot take the truth of where he lives…especially how he lives and has lived.  The Lord then comes quickly with the message of forgiveness and eternal life in the Lord Jesus Christ. For the Lord came to His house and our homes.

The tour guide, the Holy Spirit, unlike a human tour guide, will show you all the sights, high and low. The Holy Spirit spoke by the prophets from Moses to Malachi preaching the Word of God to a wayward Israel in its depths, so that we too may be guided by the Lord.  He filled Saul and David to rule according to the Word of God, but when David committed adultery and was ruled damned by  his sin, the Holy Spirit showed him his sin through Nathan the prophet so David repented.

Thus David is rebuked by Nathan, and in his terror he says 56 (Il Sam. 12:13), “I have sinned against the Lord.” This is contrition. Then he hears the absolution (Il Sam. 12: 14), “The Lord has put away your sin; you shall not die.” This voice encourages David and by faith it sustains; justifies, and quickens him.

His Law shows that the Lord goes not forget sin and through Jesus Christ, His Gospel forgives sinners. 

A human tour guide does not like to show the bad sights.  He wants to cast a blind eye toward such.  The Holy Spirit, who leads into all the truth, points out the bad sights. The Lord has no blind eye. The Holy Spirit tour-guides you into all the truth. The truth is both  Law and Gospel, the Word of God. The principle is the 10 Commandments, the guide of right and wrong which shows us when we have strayed off the right path and what the right path is. 

“Isa. 28: 21, “The Lord will be wroth, to do his deed—strange is his deed! and to work his work—alien is his work!” He calls it God’s alien work to terrify because God’s own proper work is to make alive and console. But he terrifies, he says, to make room for consolation and quickening because hearts that do not feel God’s wrath in their smugness spurn consolation.”

The Holy Spirit, the Guide, the very will of the Lord is to show us all the highlights, all the light and glory of Jesus Christ.  Through the hard and narrow gate of the Law showing us the terror of God’s wrath towards sin, the Lord teaches us His proper work, what He wants to do:  show us Jesus and His wounds which are the immeasurable riches of His grace. He leads us to the day when the kingdom of this world becomes the Kingdom of our God and of His Christ. 

The Lord, the Holy Spirit, has a guidebook with which He is intimately known and shows us the way: The Bible.  Your word is a lamp to my feet/and a light to my path. (Psalm 119: 105)

St. Paul wrote to Timothy regarding this guidebook:

 “…continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3)

The Lord guided Timothy by His Word growing up with the goal always of salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. He taught Timothy out of His guide Book from the time he was born.  The Lord’s guide Book is replete with the journeys and travels of the narratives of the frailties and fears, faith and hope, repentance and forgiveness of people like you and me.  The Holy Spirit warns:  “Bridge out!”  “Detour”, “Dead-end”, “Wrong Way”.  He exhorts, This way, the one Way.   Through it all and now in the fullness of Jesus Christ, the Lord the Holy Spirit declares all that Jesus taught and did, and shows us the things to come, the new heavens and the new earth. A tour guide is particularly important in a foreign country: he can speak the language.  The Holy Spirit is well versed in the language of the Kingdom of God that we hear in “…our own tongues the mighty works of God” (Acts 2).  Through His Word, the Holy Spirit who inspired this Book will equip us for freedom in Jesus Christ in faith, not to go my way, which is death, but His way, which is eternal life, trained in Christ’s righteousness alone, equipped for every good work to help and serve our neighbor.   

The Holy Spirit guides, teaches, glories in the Word made flesh Jesus Christ who fulfilled the Law by which we know we were lost, afraid, and dead in our sin, at our wit’s end, a dead end.  He became lost for our sake, crucified, dead and buried and risen to find us, as He found the disciples. He cried out in dereliction, My God, my God why have you forsaken me?   Sin is death and no tour guide in this world will ever show you this sight and teach you this.  The Holy Spirit does as He points the crucifixion of the Author of Life. Jesus said I am the Way, the Road, the path. His crucifixion is where and when the Holy Spirit will always guide us where in His perfect freedom Jesus Christ went to die, to lay down His life, to take it up again.  The lowest of the low lights in all history is where the depths of God’s love was poured out for us all.  

How precious is your steadfast love, O God! 

The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house,
    and you give them drink from the river of your delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
    in your light do we see light.

Along His way we meet people groping in the darkness, they too need the guidance of His Word, His forgiveness. How can you tell who the tour guide is in a city in the midst of his fellow travelers?  Easy:  the tour guide is holding up an umbrella, a sign, a flag for the group to see and follow.  For the way is always marked by the Cross, the signpost of freed travelers. The Holy Spirit lifts high the Cross of Christ for all to see and so follow our Lord!  No thanks to foes who hate and hide the Cross. St. Paul wrote to the Galatians, It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified.  The Apostle Paul  portrayed the Crucifixion of Christ as if he, in effect  put it in on a billboard for all to see, so we know the Way (Galatians 3:1). We cannot find our way without a guide and we have one, and the Holy Spirit is all truth, a compass, lodestar, a non-failing GPS.   His Word in His words are “trustworthy and true” and His Word is solid and certain, as solid and certain as the nails in His hands which finally could not hold Him:  Jesus Christ.   

The peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.  Amen.

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