Easter 7—Exaudi (Jn 15,26—16,4; Ezek 36,22–28)

Artwork by Full of Eyes

Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

᛭ INI ᛭

Alleluia! Jesus Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

What we need most of all, the Spirit’s in the business of delivering. What we need to hear the most, the Spirit’s in the business of speaking.

We need Jesus. We really do. Each day. Every day. Jesus FOR YOU.

((5. Oops!: Our hearts are full of uncleannesses.))

As we go about our daily lives there’s no lack of worry and trouble. There may be gas shortages, but there’s no shortage of stress. And everything might go up in price to buy (down in price to sell), but worry—well, that’s given out for free.

Our hearts are anxious. Our hearts are full of worry and sadness. Our hearts are full of doubt. We put on a good front, but it’s just a facade, fake, false. We might be able fool others with a smile or a joke, but we can’t fool the person looking back in the mirror.

Besides that, we can’t fool the One who knows everything: Jesus, or His Father, or even the Holy Spirit. “The Spirit searches everything.” Our Triune knows our worry, our doubt, our fear, our anxiety, our sadness. He knows our hearts are full of those things, but He also knows where they come from. And the truth is, whatever worry, sadness, fear, doubt, even anxiety that you have, it all comes from the same place: your heart.

((4. Ugh!: Our heart is the source of uncleanness and idols.))

It’s not that worry and fear and sadness come from outside our hearts to fill them. Now, those things are all caused by the things we experience everyday. But it’s not as if those things come home to roost in our hearts. Rather what we experience joins up with our hearts, and then fear, doubt, and all the rest well up from within our hearts.

These things are signs that we have a spiritual heart problem because they’re all signs that we don’t “fear, love, and trust in God above all things.” We love other things, trust other things, fear other things.

Our heart is a sinful heart.“Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, unchastity, thefts, false witness, blasphemies,” Jesus says. [[Difference between heart today and Bible.]]

But it’s not just our heart that’s corrupted by sin. “Heart, soul, mind, and strength,” and even conscience. The corruption of sin runs deep. It’s our flesh and blood. Our human nature. “Body, soul, eyes, ears, all my members.” The whole kit and caboodle. In ourselves, left to ourselves, there is no hide nor hair that is without sin and its deep-seeded influences.

There’s no amount of behavior modification that’ll do it either. In fact, any thought or desire to make that a thing, well that’s just another outpouring of our sinful hearts. “None can remove sins poisoned dart, Nor purify our guileful heart, So deep is our corruption.”

But that doesn’t stop humanity from trying. The world is full of religions that pander to this innate need of ours to better ourselves, to overcome our own obstacles, to workout our own faults and failures, to exorcise our personal demons and skeletons. This too is unbelief. To trust our own “reason and strength” to save us, rather than “fear, love, and trust in God above all things.”

This affects Christian thinking, too. Methods. Progress. It’s why we can delude ourselves into thinking that people are actually Christians when they somewhat follow only the second table of the Law. Good worldly behavior means Christian. The delusion that the behavior of the First Table, things like praying, reading your Bible, coming to church—well, don’t actually matter too much. “Show me your faith apart from works, and I will show you my faith by my works,” says James.

((3. Aha!: Jesus promises a clean heart by the Sprit.))

Sounds like we need a new heart, a clean heart. Sounds like the prayer from Psalm 51 is always important for us to pray as individuals, as families, as a congregation, as a dual parish, as a school association: “Create in me a clean heart.”

That’s exactly what Jesus promises! A clean heart! Heart made new. Forgiven heart. Washed heart. “I will sprinkle clean waters over you, and you will be clean. I will put a new heart within you,” He promises through Ezekiel. “I will cleanse you from all your uncleanness and from all your false gods.”

He does it. Not you. See, we need Jesus. We really do. Each day. Every day. Jesus FOR YOU.

That’s what Jesus does, but He’s not alone in His doing. He tag teams with the Spirit, teams up with Him, they work together. (They have eternal union with each other, after all.) Jesus also promises the Spirit: “When the Comforter comes, whom I will send from the Father, the Spirit of the Truth who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness about Me.” “I will put My Spirit within you.”

((2. Whee!: THE HOLY SPIRIT CLEANSES YOUR HEART WITH THE BLOOD OF JESUS.))

And now we get to the solution to our spiritual heart problem. Like I said at the beginning: What we need most of all, the Spirit’s in the business of delivering. What we need to hear the most, the Spirit’s in the business of speaking. Need a clean heart? Hear made new? Refurbished? Forgiven? Heart made alive? The Holy Spirit is the One who takes care of that, not you.

THE HOLY SPIRIT CLEANSES YOUR HEART WITH THE BLOOD OF JESUS.

The same blood that Jesus shed for you on Calvary. All your sins, all your sins, all your sins, all your sins cleansed, washed away, paid for with His blood. Not just “sins” as some idea. No, every last doubt, each worry, all your fears, your anxiety, your doubt, your dread, your bad behavior, your good behavior—all, all, all drowned in the depth of His blood. “The blood of Jesus cleanses us from all our sins.” (1 Jn 1)

The shedding of His blood does it. Calvary does it. “For without the shedding of blood,” Jesus’ blood, “there is no forgiveness.” (Heb 9) But His blood was shed, therefore forgiveness. “We have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” (Col 2)

Not just the shedding of it—the sprinkling of it, too. “I will sprinkle clean waters over you, and you will be clean.” That’s the Sprit’s job—“washing of rebirth and renewal in the Holy Spirit.” That’s Holy Baptism. There the “water combined with God’s Word” became rosy red with the blood of Jesus, as the Spirit created a new heart within you.

He continues to sprinkle the blood of the covenant, Jesus’ blood, over you, over your heart, your soul, your mind, your strength, and your conscience. A droplet here. A droplet there. One drop enough to sanctify you and your whole day. Each day. Every day. Jesus every day, by the Spirit.

Here a sprinkle. A psalm, a Bible reading, a devotion. There a sprinkle. An absolution from me. A word of forgiveness from you. Every where a sprinkle, sprinkle. Well, more like a fire hose with this one: “The body and blood of Jesus for you for the forgiveness of all your sins.”

THE HOLY SPIRIT CLEANSES YOUR HEART WITH THE BLOOD OF JESUS.

((1. Yeah!: The Spirit’s not done with you yet.))

But the Spirit’s not quite done with you yet. He’s only just begun. He’s made you holy, made you a saint. He’ll make a Christian out of you yet. Always beginning His work anew, each day, everyday, because you’re a sinner and a saint.

“The end of all things is at hand.” Jesus has died, risen, and ascended. He will come again in glory to be our Judge. In the meantime He’s promised and sends the Spirit, and He “will cause you to walk in the Lord’s Word, to cherish His righteousness, and do it!”

With hearts cleansed by Jesus’ blood, in all the ways the Spirit sprinkles that blood upon you, but especially in the Lord’s Supper, there you will be strengthened in faith toward God and in fervent love toward each other. As Peter said, “Always have fervent love toward one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.” You toward others.

THE HOLY SPIRIT CLEANSES YOUR HEART WITH THE BLOOD OF JESUS.

That’s what we need, and so the Spirit’s in the business of delivering. We need Jesus. We really do. Each day. Every day. Jesus FOR YOU. We need His blood to cleanse us. It has and does.

The Spirit teams up with Jesus to do it. Bible, Forgiving one another, Sermons, the Supper. You don’t do it. It’s a gift.

“Now the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely, and your spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful. He will surely do it.”

᛭ INI ᛭

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