+ Ninth Sunday after Pentecost +
July 25, 2010
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 to those who ask him!”
“There are basically two approaches to life” says Mark Batterson, pastor of National Community Church in Washington, D.C.; “playing to win and playing not to lose. Too many of us are tentatively playing the game of life as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death. We need to take our cues from the early believers who competed for the Kingdom.
There is nothing remotely passive about following Christ. Some of us approach our relationship with Christ like we’re called to play a “prevent defense” when we ought to be in a “two minute offense”. Some of us see faithfulness in making no turnovers when faithfulness is scoring touchdowns. Faithfulness has nothing to do with maintaining the status quo or holding the fort. It has everything to do with competing for the Kingdom and storming the gates of hell.” Challenging words for those of us who believe and confess correctly that God has done everything necessary for our salvation and that we only need to passively receive His gifts of forgiveness, life and salvation. What happens once we receive those gifts, however, is another story. As our Lord teaches to pray to the Father for His Kingdom to come, to continually ask, seek and knock, we discover what a mighty, living active faith we have been given in the Christian life – a faith that depends from beginning to end on continually receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit.
1. We WANT to give what is best for others
a. We are, sadly, evil – we don’t know what is best.
b. Sometimes, we still know how to give good gifts to our children “Bless them with a rich measure of Your Holy Spirit!”
2. The Father ALWAYS gives the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!
a. God invites to keep on asking, seeking and knocking. Story of “Push Back”!
The enemy comes to steal – we give! To kill – we love! To destroy – we build up!
b. God longs to give us the best gift, the Holy Spirit who calls, gathers, enlightens and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith.
Come, Holy Ghost, God and Lord,
with all Your graces now outpoured
On each believer's mind and heart;
Your fervent love to them impart.
Lord, by the brightness of Your light
In holy faith Your Church unite;
From ev'ry land and ev'ry tongue
This to Your praise, O Lord, our God, be sung:
Come, holy Light, guide divine,
Now cause the Word of life to shine.
Teach us to know our God aright
And call Him Father with delight.
From ev'ry error keep us free;
Let non but Christ our master be
That we in living faith abide,
In Him, our Lord, with all our might confide.
Come, holy Fire, comfort true,
Grant us the will Your work to do
And in Your service to abide;
Let trials turn us not aside.
Lord, by Your pow'r prepare each heart,
And to our weakness strenght impart
That bravely here we may contend,
Through life and death to You, our Lord, ascend.
--"Come, Holy Gost, God and Lord" LSB 497