Still There Every Morning

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This weeks message discusses the restlessness and needs that mankind is searching for and how those needs are fully met in the coming of the Holy Spirit who gives us the things we truly need - Companionship, Connection and a Coach.

 STILL THERE IN THE MORNING -THE COMFORTER WHO NEVER LEAVES US Message given via Zoom for Churches Across Canada Craig Minke – May 17 The theme for this week is proclaiming and living by the power of the Spirit. • In Acts 17, Paul spoke boldly and respectfully to the officials at Areopagus with the power of the Spirit. We too can speak out of our faith as we are guided and led and inspired by the Holy Spirit. • In I Peter 3, Peter encourages his community and ours to always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks about the hope that is within us. Be ready to give an answer of the hope that lies within us. In Vancouver our Life Groups are presently going through a DVD series entitled “Everyday Questions” put our by Ravi Zacharias organization. Focus is on helping us to Sharing our Faith, Sharing the hope we have as believers in Christ. • The passage that I will be focusing on this morning in found in John 14. My message is entitled “Still There in the Morning—the Comforter Who Never Leaves Us” ◦ In this account of the gospels Jesus tells us that he will not leave us orphaned, but will send the Comforter to us, the Holy Spirit. ◦ Some of the most encouraging verses and comforting words are recorded for us in Jesus’ last discourse. Lets read some of those scriptures: JN 14:15-21 15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever,  17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. 18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.  19 Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.  20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.  21 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.” (ESV) Today we live in a world that has never been so connected, so in contact with one another. • We are seeing this during this COVID-19 pandemic, that in spite of our isolation we can still connect with the world around, with neighbors, family, friends and coworkers. • The current situation has enabled us to connect with other across the nation of Canada in meetings like this ◦ All with the click of a zoom link ◦ Or the call in of a phone line. • The demand and the need for personal connection has never been higher than our day today. • People may have to isolate but they do not want to be alone. • Look at the world when it comes to social media FACEBOOK (2.5 billion) (1/3 the world’s population) YOU TUBE (2.0 billion) (again almost 1/3 of the world) WHATSAPP (2.0 billion) (about ¼ of the world) MESSENGER (1.3 billion) WE CHAT (1.2 billion) INSTAGRAM (1 billion) TIK TOK (800 million) (most installed app in 2019) QQ (800 million) LINKED IN (675 million) TUMBLR (640 million) QZONE (630 million) WEIBO (600 million) SINA WEIBO (500 million) REDDIT (430 million) KUAISHOU (400 million) SNAPCHAT (400 million) GOOGLE PLUS (400 million) TWITTER (390 million) PINTEREST (370 million) • Perspective Canada population is 37 million • Current population of the USA 328 million VIBER (260 million) LINE (203 million) TELEGRAM (200 million) FLICKR (60 million) MEDIUM (60 million) • The tiniest social media platform has almost double the entire population of Canada • People have never been more connected but yet have never felt so alone. • More seem to be appearing daily, many of us show our age when we have never heard of many of these, myself included but the subscribers online are in the multi-millions, billions • Looking at these stats shows that people are connecting online and not just a few people but literally over half of the earth population. • If we want to take the gospel to a hurting world. Social media opens up many doors and ways to connect with people like never before in history of mankind. • Can Christians and the church be more effective in reaching out to others on social media – THE THINK THE ANSWER IS A BIG RESOUNDING YES. So why do people crave social media, why is there such a craving to be linked in with others. • People want to be connected, people want to be loved. • People want to be included. • People don’t want to wake up at the end of life all alone. • This being said many still go through their lives and look back wishing had done things differently, spent time with their family or loved ones, or spent less time in the office at work. • Even though we live in an unprecedented world social media world ◦ many people still feel deeply alone, probably more so than any other time in history. ◦ suicides are at an all time high ◦ people crave deep relationships but they are not finding them in social media. Today we live in a society that offers us many“solutions” to life’s drudgeries. Often the media promotes other things that they think can fill that need of loneliness or being alone. • Maybe it a having a successful career thinking everyone will admire your achievements • Maybe it is getting rich and feeling money can make you happy • Maybe is promoting a loose lifestyle thinking that sheer pleasure will bring people happiness • Maybe it fame thinking if everyone knows you and loves you, then you will be happy. • But over time each of these self created hopes for love, and meaning and relationship quickly fade into insignificance • They get old and still that aching and hunger for love, belonging, meaning still is there. • People are restless, wanting something more, not sure what they are looking for but UNHAPPY WITH THE STATUS QUO King Solomon one of the wisest men who ever lived went though this same scenario himself. He tells us about it in: ECCL 2:3-11  3 I searched with my heart how to cheer my body with wine—my heart still guiding me with wisdom—and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the children of man to do under heaven during the few days of their life.  4 I made great works. I built houses and planted vineyards for myself.  5 I made myself gardens and parks, and planted in them all kinds of fruit trees.  6 I made myself pools from which to water the forest of growing trees.  7 I bought male and female slaves, and had slaves who were born in my house. I had also great possessions of herds and flocks, more than any who had been before me in Jerusalem.  8 I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and provinces. I got singers, both men and women, and many concubines, the delight of the sons of man. 9 So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my wisdom remained with me.  10 And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil.  11 Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun. Today we live in a world • that is looking for happiness, • looking for love • a world wanting to love and the need to be loved • looking for fun • looking for fulfillment in all the wrong places. • Wanting companionship, friendship, NO ONE LIKES TO BE ALONE. Brethren this is why the words given in John 14 offer us so much more that what the world can offer us OR WHAT SOCIAL MEDIA CAN OFFER. The short passage we read in John 14 is from the beginning of Jesus’ farewell discourse. • He spends the following chapters in John 14, 15, 16, 17 etc telling his disciples what life will be like in this new community after he is ascended back to the Father. • The important theme of this passage is found in verse 18 where he says JN 14:18 18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.  People in Jesus’ time, as people in our time, had been given false hopes by false prophets offering false gods (money, fame, career, success, fortune). • Every one of these prophesied movements or “messiahs” or “false gods” disappeared quickly—they were crushed by the Roman state or “these things” showed themselves to be the charlatans they were. • On this last evening, Jesus was assuring his disciples that though he wasn’t going to be around forever as they knew him, he promised to be with them in a different way, and they would figure out this new life together. Jesus would not leave his followers alone to wander the wilderness and deserts of life to try and figure things out for themselves King Solomon tells of the painful reality of a life lived for momentary pleasures and thrills. He lays bare the reality that all those things, and every distraction in life will eventually fade and be gone, leaving us all alone and disappointed again. HOWEVER JESUS’S MESSAGE THAT HE LEFT HIS FOLLOWERS WAS VERY DIFFERENT BEFORE HE ASCENDED INTO THE HEAVENS His message is that he will be with us, not just in our memories or in the memories of the community, BUT IN THE PERSON OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. • He tells us that he will NOT LEAVE US • He will NOT FADE • He will NOT LET US DOWN • He says “I WILL NOT LEAVE YOUR ORPHANED, BUT WILL COME TO US. LET’S TALK ABOUT WHAT THIS PASSAGE MEANS FOR US TODAY! • How does this passage apply to God, which should always be our first question before applying it to ourselves. • In this passage speaks out strongly about the Holy Spirit, who is our: Companion Connection Coach FIRST, WE SEE THAT THE HOLY SPIRIT IS “OUR COMPANION” • We have read about this in John already • This is Jesus’ promise not to leave us orphaned, not to abandon us. • The Spirit, throughout Scripture, is God’s personal presence. • In the OT, he the Holy Spirit appeared infrequently: ◦ enabling Joseph to interpret dreams or ◦ the prophets to speak truth in dark times. • But through the cross and resurrection, which were to come shortly after Jesus spoke these words, Jesus healed our connection with God. ◦ Now the Holy Spirit lives in us as a community and as individual believers. ◦ The re-creation of the universe starts with us as our God’s healed people, spreading his love through the world. In this world which is messed up we now see: • Jesus is now here with us guiding, supporting and helping us. • In the person of the Holy Spirit, he is reforming us into his image. • He is “there in the morning” in the sense that he walks through life with us. ◦ We don’t have to go through life and wake up alone, empty, unfulfilled, he is there waiting for us when we wake from our slumber. ◦ His mercies are new every morning as the as we go to him in prayer. • Through all the dull gray and empty frustration that life hands us, we are not alone. • And isn’t that often our worst fear? ◦ That’s one of the most common, almost cliché, images in a horror movie—alone-ness. ◦ The bad guys always find you when you’re alone. ◦ It’s a universal fear. There are many ways we experience the presence of the companionship of the Holy Spirit: • Sometimes we experience the Spirit’s company as a calm assurance in our own hearts that we aren’t by ourselves. • Sometimes he speaks his love for us through people who appear at the most uncanny times to remind us that we aren’t forgotten. • Sometimes he speaks to us right out of the Word, as if Jesus has been reading our mail and knows exactly what we were looking for. And the message is impressed on us over and over. • Jesus is present and active in the world, and • He is so powerful and awesome that he has each of us in mind all the time, and • He touches our lives through his Spirit on earth. So, the Spirit is our companion. Remember his words “I will not leave you orphaned; I will come to you.” SECONDLY WE SEE THE HOLY SPIRIT IS OUR CONNECTION The word for the study of the Holy Spirit is “pneumatology.” • This comes from the root of “pneuma,” which is associated with wind or breath, as in pneumonia or pneumatic drill. • This is the admittedly mysterious presence of God who “hovers over the face of the waters” in Genesis 1, and who comes and goes throughout the Old Testament. ◦ Wind. ◦ Air. ◦ Or the Hebrew word “ruach”—which means to breath. Jesus’ coming to earth, re-connected us to the life of God. • He went through life as the sinless person and made humanity “right” so that relationships could be restored. • The Spirit doesn’t come into the community once every few centuries with a brief word or spectacle, but lives in us now and is especially strong when we’re together in unity as the body of Christ. • That is why meeting together is so important. Meeting together as the body Christ is like the huddle of a football team before they go out to battle. • Jesus speaks about this later in the farewell discourse: • Let look at that passage JN 16:7-8 7 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.  8 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: (ESV) • The helper here is the Holy Spirit, who convicts the world concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment. • The Holy Spirit speaks to us about ◦ the way to life, ◦ the standards of living as God’s chosen people in the world. When this connection starts to work, it can be uncomfortable. • Many Christians tell the story of coming into the family of God and not being able to re-connect with the old sins like they used to. • Suddenly, the blackout drunk doesn’t make you forget like it used to. • The gossip isn’t quite as sweet. • The licentious relationship shows itself for the pathetic thing it is. There’s a bigger soul at work within you. • Your connection with heaven is healing and this is the work of the Holy Spirit. • C.S. Lewis, the great British theologian, described the beginning of the Christian life beautifully in his book Mere Christianity: It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. And so on, all day. Standing back from all your natural fussings and frettings; coming in out of the wind. Listening to that other voice—that larger, stronger, quieter life that is coming through. • This is the Holy Spirit, who will bring you to greater depth and strength than you ever thought possible. • From the most amazing work ◦ being done in deep jungle orphanages ◦ to the suburbanite who learns to finally listen to his wife, ◦ the Spirit is at work in the world. • So, the Holy Spirit is our connection. AND FINALLY THE 3RD POINT IS THE HOLY SPIRIT IS ALSO OUR COACH • Every culture around us has sports. • Every culture has a coach or some similar figure. ◦ Usually a rugged person who ▪ He might be a little tough on you, ▪ but really He or she wants the best for you in the end, ▪ May be someone you may not always like, ▪ but you know he or she loves you. ▪ (Sometimes we learn that only after years of reflection!) JESUS SAID IN JN 14:15 “If you love me, you will keep my commands”  • Jesus says in verse 15 here and several other places. • It can be helpful to dig into the Greek at this point. • The word “keep” ◦ doesn’t just mean obey, ◦ as if the only person who truly loves Jesus is the person who never sins. ◦ If that’s the case, then the only person who loves Jesus is only Jesus! “Keep” here in Greek is tereo which means something more like “hold dear” or “regard.” • A model prisoner could “keep” the rules of the prison and hate every one of them and the guards who enforce them. • But tereo means: • you love the ways that Christ is showing you coaching you by the Holy Spirit and by his Word, and you see in those the secret to life. • Our moral, ethical, and emotional lives change when we are in touch with the Spirit. When you look back at King Solomon you see that there is far more in life than the temporary pleasures and diversions he lived for. • You know there is a better, stronger, freer way of living than living for yourself. We as believers strive to hold dear the teaching of God, with the limited strength that we have. • We discover that we are far from perfect and we fail miserably at times • But the blessing is that it doesn’t depend on you or me. • God can’t love you any more or less than he does right now. • So following God’s way isn’t about winning God’s favor, ◦ it’s about living the best life. ◦ it’s playing the game the coach’s way. Jesus in these verses is telling the disciples about the future. • Life is about to change drastically again for them. • It’s a transition of considerable force—the kingdom is coming and it’s going to come through you. Let’s read the words Jesus speaks in” MATT 14:19 Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.  • Jesus paved the way for us. • He didn’t just leave us to try and figure things out on our own. The Greek word Paraclete is only found in the passages of John 14-16. • This word for the Holy Spirit has been translated in many different ways such as ADVOCATE, COMFORTER, COUNSELLOR, FRIEND, AND HELPER OR COACH, OR SIMPLY PARACLETE. • One way to translate this word is the “one called alongside.” • The Holy Spirit is the advocate and comforter who was called alongside us. • He walks with us, alongside us as COMPANION, CONNECTION AND OUR COACH. Jesus is with us by the Spirit to bring about the NEW LIFE of the kingdom IN US, AND WE WILL NEVER BE THE SAME. Jesus offers us so much more than, • the world offers us, • than what social media offers us, • than what Solomon’s wisdom found in all his pursuits. Thank you Father, Son and Holy Spirit for giving us a COMPANION, for giving us CONNECTION and for being our COACH. CLOSING PRAYER
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