Tag Archives: testimony of God

Sixth Sunday of Easter

The Hope That Is Within

One of the names of Jesus is Emmanuel, which means “God with us.” What does that mean? Yes, God came to earth. He was God incarnate. God took on flesh and became one of us. Is he still one of us? Is he still with us?

Before his departure, before the cross, Jesus told his disciples:

”If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.”   (John 14:15-17)

Not only God with us but God in us. That changes everything. That transforms our lives. He has something in it that the world does not have, but that the world needs. The Apostle Peter wrote:

Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and respect. Maintain a good conscience so that, when you are maligned, those who abuse you for your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame.   (1 Peter 3:15-16)

We live in a complex and challenging world, yet we have hope for something greater. And we have a taste of that something more significant. Does the world see that new life in it?

This new life was purchased for us on the cross. Reading from John’a Gospel:

On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.’ ” Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive, for as yet there was no Spirit because Jesus was not yet glorified.   (John 7:37-39)

Before receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit, we need to have our souls cleansed by the blood that Jesus shed for us on the cross. Only when Jesus defeated hell and the grave could we receive this gift. Reading from Ephesians:

Therefore it is said,

“When he ascended on high, he made captivity itself a captive;[b]
    he gave gifts to his people.”   (Ephesians 4:8)

By his sacrifice, Jesus made good on his promise:

”I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.”   (John 14:18-21)

Today, do we have a hope within us that all the world needs to see? Are we able to give an account of the hope that we have within us? As disciples of Christ, the Holy Spirit is our legacy. If we do not know this gift, then we may simply ask for it. Jesus said:

“So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asked for[a] a fish, would give a snake instead of a fish? Or if the child asked for an egg, would give a scorpion? If you, then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit[b] to those who ask him!”   (Luke 11:9-13)

To hold dear to this gift we must love Jesus more than this world. When the Apostle Peter was questioned by those in religious authority he said:

“We must obey God rather than any human authority.The God of our ancestors raised up Jesus, whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior that he might give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.”   (Acts 5:29-32)

We are living in a time of great spiritual warfare. The Apostle Paul reminds us that this was true in his day:

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on the evil day and, having prevailed against everything, to stand firm. Stand, therefore, and belt your waist with truth and put on the breastplate of righteousness and lace up your sandals in preparation for the gospel of peace. With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.   (Ephesians 6:13-17)

Jesus wants us to use the Spirit he has given us. He wants us to prevail. He wants us to occupy until he comes again. By the Holy Spirit, we can stand against the evil of this day. We can speak God’s word with authority. Church, let us go to battle in his name. The Apostle John reminds us:

By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. And this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. Little children, you are from God and have conquered them, for the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.   (1 John 4d:2-4)

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