Let us pray: Dear Savior, thank You for sending us the Holy Spirit, the Comforter from on high, in Your absence! Thank You for anticipating our anxieties in this life and sending us an antidote to them—lasting peace given by the Spirit of peace. May we always honor the Spirit of truth and never take for granted His glorious gifts. Amen
GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST AND FROM THE SPIRIT OF WISDOM, TRUTH, LOVE, AND PEACE!
TEXT: James 3: 17: “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.”
Fellow Redeemed Sinners Made Saints By the Power of the Holy Spirit:
Pentecost is the second oldest festival of the Christian Church—Easter being the first by 50 days. St. Luke provides us with the account of what occurred on that first Pentecost in the 2nd chapter of his book: the Acts of the Apostles. The reason so many pilgrims from across the Roman world were present in Jerusalem that day was that it was also a Jewish harvest festival. Their Spring is the equivalent of our Fall, hence the harvest time. Likewise, for them it was also a day to recall the giving of the Law to Moses on Sinai—to provide a harvest of righteousness. Obviously our wise God knew all this and used the circumstances to give birth to the New Testament Church. For many years Pentecost was also known as Whitsunday, or White Sunday. That stems from the ancient custom of baptizing people on this day into Christ, having the Spirit poured out upon them, and having those folks dress in white robes to mark their inner cleansing.
With the inner cleansing of baptism comes a wonderful fruit—peace. And God knows we need such inner peace, don’t we? For we live in a world filled with anxiety and uncertainty. Parents fight, children fight, nations fight. We even fight with ourselves as we struggle with the effects of sin. And yet, our gracious God has an antidote to all this inner turmoil. It is the gift of the Holy Spirit and the fruits of faith that He brings. Today I want to focus on this aspect of the Spirit’s coming by reminding you that:
WITH THE SPIRIT’S WISDOM COMES INNER PEACE
Worldly wisdom can be summed up in one short sentence: “The one who dies with the most toys wins.” We all have neighbors who subscribe to that creed. But, if we examine it, what are the results of living that way? They are: greed, selfishness, discontent over what you don’t have, and anxiety over death’s approach. Outwardly these people appear happy. But inwardly they are a mass of conflicting emotions. Contrast that with God’s definition of true wisdom: “Godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out, so having food and clothing let us be content with that.” A truly wise person is one who trusts in the Lord for everything and knows that in the end God will never disappoint. And only the Christian can do that because only the Christian has surrendered themselves to God’s wisdom instead of trusting in their own.
The Holy Spirit is the 3rd Person of the Trinity. And it is He Who is in charge of working repentance in our lives and faith in our souls. He applies and makes the blessings won by Christ on the cross our very own. St. Paul talks about this in 1st Corinthians when he writes: “It is because of Him (the Spirit) that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.” And so, today little Charles Desmond now rests in Christ’s loving arms because the Spirit has been poured out upon him in baptism—just like He was poured out upon you and me in years past.
Obviously the Holy Spirit brings Holy Wisdom. And in our lesson we have an outline of what that all entails. “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.”
When I recall my kindergarten days, I was exactly the same as all the other kids. Even though I was a Christian, I still had my old Adam. And I knew it. I knew that without Jesus in my life I wasn’t going to be pure, or peace loving, or considerate, or submissive, or full of mercy. Instead I would look out for myself and be totally ego driven. Little children don’t yet know how to hide their ulterior motives. So, they freely admit things like: “That’s my milk”—when it isn’t. Or, “That’s my toy”—when it isn’t. They race to be first in line. They don’t really care about anyone else. As I say, with age we get more adept at hiding that kind of selfish behavior, but it’s still there, isn’t it?
However, the Spirit tempers it and replaces it with something far superior. He gets us to think and act Christ-like, God-like. He causes us to realize that peace is superior to fighting because then everyone wins. He generates unselfish love toward others in our hearts—and friendships blossom. He causes us to become considerate of others. He shows us that being submissive and not thinking we know it all alleviates anxiety. He works mercy into our very soul because thereby He, through us, changes hearts for the better. Yes, He brings forth in us wonderful fruit, fruit of happiness and contentment with life. And because of that we can be impartial in how we judge others and sincere in our appreciation of their honest response. Yes, “peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.”
Left to our own devices, this world of ego-driven sinners has to always look over their shoulder wondering when the next shoe will drop upon their heads. For without God in your life all you have is you. And there is always someone or something bigger, stronger, smarter, or more powerful than you are—just waiting to take advantage of you. However, as a faith-filled child of the Holy Spirit you know that nothing is more powerful than He is. And through baptism, the Holy Supper, and the humble message of God’s love for you on the cross He transfers that power to you. He makes you right with Him. He makes you right inside. He fills you with eternal peace. And that peace shows itself in the fruits of your life.
In closing, I want to remind you that: With the Spirit’s Wisdom comes Inner Peace. That’s because as a Christian you know that life doesn’t revolve around you, it revolves around God. And He has made peace with us in Christ and now gives that peace to each of you! Amen