In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father, and from our LORD and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
The sermon text for this 6th Sunday after Pentecost, is taken from the epistle lesson just read.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, becausethe Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
We’ve all been in this situation. We are trying to explain something to someone else and we just can’t seem to get the right words out of our mouths. The person sits across the table from us with a bewildered look on their face, trying to understand what it is that we are trying to say, but just can’t seem to understand it. And it isn’t that person’s fault, it’s ours. We just can’t seem to get the right words out to truly explain what it is that we are trying to communicate. Ever had a situation like that? Sure you have.
In our text today we have a similar situation, only here, it is us trying to pray to our heavenly Father and as is usual – we’re lousing that up big time.
St. Paul writes in our text today…
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought…
We are in need of help all the time for we are, as the text puts it, weak. You know it and I know it. When we pray we often times pray selfishly for what we want. I need this or I need that. LORD please take this burden, this thorn in the flesh away from me. I can’t bear it. LORD if you will only do this one thing for me I promise __________ – and then you fill in the blank. We shout at God that it isn’t fair. We get mad at God when it doesn‘t go our way.
As I said we need help – but in reality we need more than help – we need an intervention!
And so Jesus promises His Holy Spirit to intercede for us. St. Paul writes…
but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
The words we can’t quite seem to pray – the words we can’t quite seem to come up with to truly say what is in our hearts – it is here that the Holy Spirit steps in and takes over. He searches our hearts and knows what it is that we mean to say – but with sinful lips and minds are unable to speak. He steps in and does what is needed – the Holy Spirit becomes a kind of interpreter, only instead of translating German into English, the Holy Spirit is instead translating sinfulness into holiness! He is able to speak the most eloquent prayer that we cannot begin to form ourselves – that says all of the right things – that speaks what is on our faithful hearts, not on our sinful lips.
We often times find ourselves on our knees in prayer when things are not going our way – and that’s as it should be, for we are to turn to our LORD in times of trouble. And you know what? He promises to listen and to deliver. He promises to hear and to save. And He keeps every single one of those promises – ALWAYS.
But it isn’t always the way that we want is it? We, as Christians know better than to pray selfishly, yet even though we know better this is often times exactly what we do. St. Paul says the same thing when he writes…
For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.
Again we must thank God the Father for His gift of Jesus and His Holy Spirit. For in the gift of the Holy Spirit we have an intercessor, one who goes before the throne of the Almighty and places our prayers before His Heavenly altar – the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When we pray for relief from the suffering of this world, the Holy Spirit bears those prayers to Heaven and our Father hears them.
And He sends comfort our way. Sometimes in the lifting of the source of the pain. Sometimes in the soothing words of His Holy Scriptures. We have some of those peaceful words spoken to us today by St. Paul. He writes…
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us… we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience… And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified… What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
And we have this hope because of the Cross of our Savior – Jesus Christ. We know that this suffering will only be for a little while. There will be relief. God promises that. The relief and promise we have are here in the Cross of Christ – through the forgiveness of sins first promised in the Garden of Eden. And with that promise comes another promise – redemption, restoration, a right relationship with our Father in Heaven. We are made Holy through the blood of the Lamb – the Sacrifice – that is Jesus on the altar of His Cross.
And now that we are forgiven, now that we are restored, we now have through water and the Word the gift of the Holy Spirit. In our Baptism this gift was given freely without any merit or worthiness in us. And this is the gift that keeps on giving isn’t it? For we are washed clean daily through this miracle that is Baptism. And we have the gift of the Holy Spirit – our Intercessor – the One who prays the perfect prayer from our hearts to the Father’s ears.
Today we still speak with unholy lips – one day we will be able to speak with perfected, holy lips and we will be able to speak directly to the Father, all because of the death and resurrection of Jesus. What a glorious day that will be when we are all in Heaven with our heavenly Father for all eternity speaking and laughing and joyful, without the pain and suffering of this world weighing us down. We will be in peace, forever and ever, and truly through this right understanding of the cross of Christ we already have that peace which passes all understanding. God is good isn’t He? Amen.
The peace of the LORD which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.