By on June 30, 2019

Scripture reading from John 14:7-27

Description of Paraclete




2 Comments to “Paraclete”

  1. Donald McMahon
    July 1, 2019

    John 14:7 (NIV84)
    7 If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

  2. Donald McMahon
    July 1, 2019

    “Paraclete” (John 14:8–27)(6.30.19)
    John 14:8–27 (NIV84)
    8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
    9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. 12 I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
    15 “If you love me, you will obey what I command. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— 17 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. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.”
    22 Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”
    23 Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 He 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.
    25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Counselor, 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. 27 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.”
    The word of God for the people of God.
    Title: PARACLETE
    Years ago, after it rained, I noticed a small puddle inside the back door. At first, I hoped it was just a random happenstance; maybe the wind was blowing from a weird angle or something like that. But no, it happened again.
    By the back door, there is no way to see above the ceiling and under the roofline. Using logic, it seemed likely that the problem was with the gutter right over the door. I cleaned the gutter. Nope that wasn’t it. Because the way the two rooflines came together there, that gutter handled a lot of water. Maybe water wasn’t flowing properly into the gutter. A couple more attempted fixes failed.
    Above the back door, and a little ways over, there was a deck off a second floor bedroom, kind of a balcony. Inspecting the deck revealed that some of the flashing was loose and some sealant had deteriorated. I removed the old sealant; re-nailed the flashing; and resealed. I crossed my fingers, but the leak was not fixed.
    Next, I checked all the shingles. It was difficult to squeeze under the deck and see everything. There were a couple of nail heads that had popped. I bought the right roofing sealant, cleaned away all debris, and sealed every wide gap and any potential water channel. Hoping against hope, but it still wasn’t fixed.
    This whole evolution took a couple of years. Maybe I was stubborn. Maybe I was naïve. Maybe I was in denial. But the fact was that this was a bigger problem than I could handle myself.
    So, I gave in and called the company that had previously shingled the roof. After all, I had a life-time guarantee. It turns out that the shingles had a life-time guarantee but the work only had a ten year guarantee. They gave me a big dollar estimate to re-shingle that portion of the roof. My response was resentment and the leak continued while I mulled over my options.
    Another solution did materialize. While riding a somewhat regular route on my bicycle, I often went by a house that was being renovated. One day, the man working on the house was outside and I stopped and spoke with him. He showed me the work he had been doing and it was high quality. So, I asked him to come look at my problem and give me an estimate.
    After a careful examination, Tony explained the situation to me. The whole design of that part of the house was unsound and problematic. The way the two roof lines came together and then to integrate a deck into that juncture was fundamentally unsound. Eventually, there would be another leak. There were too many vulnerabilities. Foundational flaws always lead to failure.
    The solution was a complete redesign. The deck had to go. The sliding door was replaced by a large picture window. The roof was opened up and the wet rafters had to be replaced, but more than that was needed. New rafters were installed at smoother angles, creating a simpler and more natural slope. And, he did it for less money than the other company had projected.
    Hopefully, you can see parallels and connections in this story to the way people live their lives. There is a chronic leak, a problem, a need in their lives. Sometimes they ignore it. At other times, they apply some type of Band-Aid; or, maybe they try a quick fix. After doing all the things they know how, assuming they have gotten over denial, they call in an alleged expert.
    Often unfortunately, they never come to the person that can tell them the truth. They never come to the person that explains the fundamental truths about their beliefs and how they are living those beliefs out. Sometimes they DO come to the realization that a dramatic change has to be made. They put their hand to the plow, but then they look back and their progress goes awry. Some people do hear the truth; they know it is true; yet, they don’t want to pay the price. They will not be obedient.
    This week, there were several interactions with people dealing with major issues. It is striking how often desperate calls to the church come from people with no relationship or at best a peripheral relationship with the church. They are not walking with the Lord. They don’t have a community of brothers and sisters to walk with them and encourage them. Then, when they have nowhere else to turn, they call us.
    On Tuesday, a woman called the church but I couldn’t understand her. It sounded like she was underwater. In fact, that was her metaphorical condition, underwater. She was emotional and she was on a cell phone with a bad connection. It took four tries to get her phone number correctly and I called her back on my cell phone. The connection was only marginally better. She needed money so she wouldn’t be put out of her home and she could pay it back on Saturday.
    On Thursday, I was called by a social worker from northern Ocean County. She worked for a foundation that helped people but their funding for June was already allocated. They were overwhelmed with the needs of the homeless. The social worker was calling on behalf of a woman needing help. This woman had my business card in her file and said we were the only ones who had helped her previously. The woman’s daughter was getting another blood transfusion. We were able to help with food and gas money.
    On Friday, I was working with Connie on VBS preparations when she was called for help. A family she has helped previously, had been evicted from their home the day before. They spent the night in a motel but were out of money and had no place to go. Connie was able to get them to the Atlantic City Rescue Mission and the social workers there are putting a plan together.
    Yes, we should be helping the poor, the hungry, and the oppressed when we can. It is part of our Wesleyan heritage to be involved in acts of mercy. Some people call it social holiness. Nowadays, it has evolved into a movement called Social Justice. This movement has taken on a life of its own to the point where it has become the primary focus of churches instead of sharing the Good News of Jesus the Christ.
    There is no doubt that there are great, great needs. Wherever we look, there are desperate people. It is overwhelming. At minimum, it is discouraging to see how little impact we are having on the condition of this broken world. Apparently, there are underlying issues that need to be addressed that cannot be healed with our First Aid kits.
    Mark Galli is editor in chief of Christianity Today and an author. This week, he had a very interesting article published, “The Church’s Sickness Unto Death,” (Our missional activism threatens to kill us. [but] It doesn’t have to.) He is referring to the Social Justice issues. He starts the article with this statement:
    “In my last few essays, I’ve been arguing that American Christianity, and evangelical Christianity particularly, thinks about the church in mostly instrumental ways. The church’s core identity is summed up in what it’s called to do, in most cases, one form of mission activity or another. Without denying the urgency to love our neighbors, I’ve been saying that our horizontal concerns for the neighbor have all but eclipsed our passion for God.”
    Galli goes on to lay out the argument that the church was not designed to make the horizontal relationship primary. We are not gifted nor equipped to have sustained success in this area. Yes, we can participate and help other organizations and parachurch organizations. A great example for us is UMCOR, the United Methodist Committee on Relief. So, those Christians that focus on all the unmet needs become disillusioned with the local church and they drop out. They have a fundamental misunderstanding of the place of the Church in this world.
    The mission that must be our primary focus is sharing the vertical relationship. The Body of Christ is uniquely called, uniquely gifted, and uniquely empowered for spreading the gospel. That is why the Church was created. These were Jesus’ departing words in Matthew 28:18–20 (NIV84), often called the Great Commission.
    18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
    With this departing command, Jesus ascended to the right hand of the Father. The promised Spirit of Truth was sent on Pentecost. Since this past Pentecost Sunday, I have been preaching about the Holy Spirit each week. Unintentionally, this sharing about the third person of the Trinity has become a sermon series.
    As a matter of fact, today’s scripture is saturated with the concept of the Trinity. First we have the explicit declaration of Jesus of his identification with the Father. I am in the Father and the Father is in me. If you have seen Jesus, you have seen the Father. If you have seen Jesus, you have seen God! Because Jesus is God. Even the words Jesus is speaking are the words of the Father.
    Jesus is going to ask the Father to send another Counselor; another Helper; another Teacher; another Advocate: These are all functions of the Paraclete. This is the Greek word for the one that walks alongside. Another Paraclete means that Jesus is the first Paraclete. And, this Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, is also God.
    Now, the Paraclete is going to be “in” them individually and “with” them corporately. It is the same for us. The Paraclete is within every believer and is the very lifeblood of the Body of Christ. This is why it was better that Jesus return to the Father. Now through the second Paraclete, the first Paraclete, and the Father can all dwell with us individually and as the Church. The Church has and will continue to further the Kingdom purposes of God.
    What glorious promises we are given. The Holy Spirit will be in and with us. Jesus will come to us. Because Jesus lives, we also will live. Jesus is in the Father; we are in Jesus; Jesus is in us. Can you wrap your minds around this marvelous proclamation? The Godhead will make their home with us. Here is the crucial point of life: There can be no other abode that can compare with a life in God. The Devil and the world want you to compromise that belief. They want to deceive you with a counterfeit.
    Like Philip, everyone of us wants to see God. We want to know God to the fullest extent possible. If you do not, then you are not one of God’s children. You cannot live and abide in God. Three times in this section of scripture, and in other places, there is a direct correlation established to loving God and obedience to the Lord’s commands. Love and obedience are part and parcel to the love of the Father and the Son. The Paraclete enables us to love God and to be obedient. He reminds us of Jesus’ teaching. He will teach us ALL things. With all kinds of confusing and mixed signals out there, listen to the Paraclete, the Spirit of Truth.
    This blossoming relationship is not for us to hoard but to proclaim. It is for kingdom purposes. Through our prayers, we are to participate in and continue the mission Jesus started: the revelation of God the Father. It is to glorify the Father; and, it is possible through the authority, character, nature, and power of the NAME Jesus.
    “Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid,” Jesus said. Jesus is preparing them for his death, burial, resurrection, and ascension. What was going to happen was completely outside the disciples’ comprehension. They were going to experience more than one significant emotional event, life changing, life transforming. There was going to be trouble; but, Jesus promised a supernatural peace. This was a peace possible despite circumstances.
    Surely the rain falls on everyone. The scriptures say that rain falls on the righteous and the wicked. Rain can be a blessing and in other cases it can be judgment. An old saying goes, “into every life a little rain must fall.” The key issue is how we respond to the Paraclete’s guidance. Too many people think they must just live with their leaky roof.
    Surely you can see that this world is a dark and dismal place for most people. They do not understand what is really going on. They have believed lies, half-truths, and the deceptions of the Devil. They cannot accept the Paraclete because they neither see him nor know him. Therefore, they are not equipped to see the fundamental flaws in the house design in which they live.
    The Church is not supposed to be the handyman going around fixing symptoms of sadness, stress, and strife. Instead, the Church is to be the vehicle by which our Trinitarian God is proclaimed. That is our mission commanded by our Lord Jesus.
    Once this proclamation is received through grace by faith in the Lord Jesus, the Paraclete begins the total renovation that is needed in each person’s heart. It is not enough to get the front steps leveled. It is not enough to get a second layer of shingles put over the old layer. It is not adding insulation or repainting. What we need is every foundational block, every supportive timber, and every system to be reformed into their original godly design.
    Know God. Love God. Obey God. Pray to God. Listen to God. Abide in God. All, for the Glory of God.
    Amen and amen. Let us pray.


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