Summary: Sermon for the 6th Sunday of Easter, Year C, 2013
John 14: 23 – 39 Keeping The Word
Intro: According to legend, a desert wanderer discovered a spring of cool, crystal-clear water. It tasted so good, he filled a leather container with the precious liquid so he could bring it to the king. After a long journey, he presented his gift to the king, who drank it with great pleasure and lavishly thanked the wanderer, who went away with a happy heart. The king’s son tasted the water and spit it out. It had picked up the smell of the old leather canteen and had become foul. The boy asked his father why he pretended to like the awful tasting waters. The king said, “Son, that man gave me a gift from his heart. It wasn’t the water I enjoyed; it was the sweet taste of his generosity. When someone give you something with genuine love, the thing given is simply the container. The real gift, the real legacy is the thought inside. (from Christmas_story_lovers email group.)
I. There are a lot of legacies we can leave behind. Some strive to leave vast estates of money or land. Others have buildings built in their honor so that their name might live on. Jesus
A. Jesus is talking about the real legacy we can leave behind: love. Verse 23 – “IF anyone loves me . .” Do you love Christ? How do you love Him?
B. “he will obey my teaching.” – Loving Christ involves more than Sunday Christianity, singing in the choir, serving on a committee, or the Session. Loving Jesus means that His will not mine must be done. Sometimes, loving Christ involves a willingness to change.
C. What kind of legacy are you leaving behind? Is it one of self-centeredness and selfish thinking of what you want or getting your way? Or is it one of loving one another, sharing the faith and putting others first?
II. Setting aside self, changing directions, reaching out to others. This is the love Christ commands us to share. --- YOU can do this!
A. Have you ever watched the TV program “Dancing With The Stars.” They find celebrities who will come on TV and do ballroom and Latin dances. --- The “stars” are not alone; but, are provided an expert to work with them, show them the steps and dance along with them.
B. Verse 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.” (Counselor = parakleetos = para means beside / Kaleoo means I call / therefore a counselor is “someone called along side.” Advocate, Helper, Comforter)
C. Just like the stars on “Dancing With The Stars,” we are not left to dance the dance of life. We have a coach / a helper to dance along with us showing the steps and enabling us.
III. Because we have this helper, we need not fear. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
A. We all have fears. What do you fear? Heights, small spaces, people, growing old, loosing control, change. Where does our fear come from?
B. The old hymn, “Amazing Grace” says, “Twas grace that taught my heart to fear and grace my fears relieved.” --- I John 4: 18 says, “Perfect love casts out fear.”
C. When your heart is filled with love of God, you don’t have to look in the Book of Order to decide what to do. No one has to look over your shoulder to make sure you do the right thing. You do it for one reason alone. You do it because you love Jesus and you want to please him in any way you can. The work of the Lord happens on earth because He has captured our hearts with His love.
Conclu: This week, Lisa reminded me of a story about a father and son. The son had a terrible habit of saying to people whatever he thought regardless of whether he hurt their feelings or not. The father told the son that he wanted him to pound a nail into the wooden fence along the side of their property every time he was tempted to say or do something without thinking first. Soon, the fence was full of nails and the son began to realize just how much he needed to change. The father told him that now that he understood the magnitude of his problem, that every time he thought about how his words or actions would affect someone, he should remove a nail from the fence. The day came when all the nails had been removed. As the father and son looked at the holes left by all the nails, the father reminded the son that though the nails had been removed, the scars they made were left behind. --- Keeping the word of Christ is just that important. When we fail to love, when we fail to keep the words of Christ in our minds and hearts and on our lips, the scars, our legacy remains.