August 9, 2022

Peace and Joy 12-06-2022

12th June 2022 (Trinity Sunday)

Sermon Title: Peace and Joy
(Romans 5:1–5 & John 16:12–15)

                                                                                  By Heeyoung Lim

Today is Trinity Sunday. There is one God in whom there are three “persons” who share one “substance” and God has a name that denotes Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. However, we cannot perfectly explain and analyse the doctrine of Trinity. When Christians pray and confess, typically they address the Father, through the Son, in the Spirit. When they proclaim the gospel in Christ, they do so in the name of God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

God is our Creator; God has made such an amazing world and cares about it. We are called to care for it, too. May we celebrate the joy of God’s creation. However, we know that some have experienced floods, fires, other climate disasters, or wars while some have faced abuse, conflict, and damage. 

Life comes to its fullness when we celebrate creation and cry out for justice for those who are unable to enjoy the fullness of life because of oppression by others. Care must be given to those who are suffering from it so that we do not ignore the difficulties or the feeling of abandonment by God that may have come with them. As God always cares for us and hears us, may we hear each other’s voice and care for each other.

In John 16, the Spirit is described as an existence that will care for and guide the entire community after Jesus departs, offering what these disciples need in a moment of anxiety. We can be so caught up in our doing each day that we fail to celebrate simply being. We sometimes overlook the amazing world God has created for us. May we all pause to simply let ourselves be and appreciate what God has given us in our world. On this Trinity Sunday, may we celebrate God’s presence with us and the peace and joy that brings.

Today’s text mostly concerns the activity of the Spirit in advancing the teaching ministry of Jesus, specifically in facilitating within the Christian community. In John’s Gospel, that revelation brought by Jesus is given less to individuals and more to the community of Jesus’ disciples. In verses 12–15, it is within the community that the Spirit works. The promise of the text is not that the Spirit will enhance an individual’s mystical relationship with Jesus. Of course, individuals are also led by the Holy Spirit, but the focus of today’s text is more about communities. The beneficiary of the Spirit’s activity is the community, which will be led “into all the truth” (v. 13).

In John’s Gospel, “truth” is a reference to Jesus, who is “the truth” (14:6). So, the “truth” into which the community is to be guided has to do with Jesus himself, providing both greater clarity about all that he has said and deeper conviction regarding who he is. Jesus’ promise is not that the community will have advanced knowledge of future events, but that it will be able to grasp the meaning of Jesus’ revelation and remain faithful, no matter what the circumstances.

Also writing of God’s amazing love and care, Paul states in Romans 5:1–5 that God’s presence with us since the beginning of time is active in creation through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. He assures the Christians in Rome that God is with us whatever we face, whatever we endure, and whatever we survive.

How can people have peace with God? What does it mean to be considered righteous in God’s sight?  In Romans 5, Paul explains the benefits and the basis of finding peace with God. “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1). The righteous man has peace with God but affliction in the world, because he lives in the Spirit.

Closeness to God, hope in the future, knowing the love of God, being saved from the wrath of God and more are benefits of finding peace with God. Peace with God is what the gospel produces in the life of the person who receives the gospel message. It is the greatest need of humans, for if any person has peace with God, all other needs will be met.

Jesus tells the disciples in John 16:12–15 that he has much more to tell them and that the Spirit of Truth will lead them and guide them in truth. God does not abandon us. As in John 16:14-15, when truth is communicated and believed, it brings glory to God. The Holy Spirit will glorify the Son of God by telling Christians about God’s truth. God’s truth will be continually fulfilled when people in our day read the Scriptures and know more about Jesus and live by the gospel because the Holy Spirit reveals and explains it. In verse 16, the Lord emphasized the purpose of truth by reminding the disciples one more time that he was leaving.

The Holy Spirit comes to us, carries out the ministry to the world through us, and enables us to communicate with God and teaches us to understand what Jesus speaks. The Bible calls us to cast ourselves upon God’s grace and to place our faith in Jesus. Spiritual failure will turn to success in Jesus, and our faith will be fruitful when Jesus returns. Meanwhile, we can delight that the Holy Spirit works wonders in our hearts.

God’s truth comes to us through creation, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the Scriptures. Jesus has sent the Holy Spirit to handle the Word of truth carefully. May we grasp and receive truth, joy, faith, and peace in the Holy Spirit when Jesus speaks, or the Scriptures tell us. The Spirit brings conviction to the world, and we are his instruments.

We long for true peace and joy in Christ, but sometimes the struggles we face in the world come because of our relationship with Jesus. However, Jesus alone can turn our grief to joy, and the Spirit of truth will guide us into truth. May we strongly trust the fact that the Lord gives us peace and joy in a troubling and dark world.

We cannot receive true peace and joy apart from God. Peace with God depends on His being at peace with us. We are loved by God, and the scriptures make this clear over and over again. Indeed, God delights in all creation. Hopefully we can open our minds and hearts to experience God in a variety of ways. Just as Trinity is very relational, God wants us to be inter-relational with God in our daily lives. 

Are we ready to join the Joy God gives us? How will we respond to God’s creation, Jesus’ salvation, and the Holy Spirit’s companionship? Through Jesus’ example, teaching, and love, we are made to understand and to rejoice in God’s love for us and to learn to love one another as neighbours dwelling close to the heart of God with the Son in the unity of love.  May we show the world God’s love by words and deeds and embody God’s love for it. Meanwhile the Holy Spirit is with us always, guiding us on the way of love, creating a space for us and in us to be His children and instruments.

The Trinity presented to us in John is a manifestation of God’s love for us, evidence of God’s presence that allows us to see ourselves embraced by it.  We all have different circumstances and difficulties, but may we always enjoy the joy and peace that the Lord gives us.

Thanks be to God! Amen.
(Ref. Bible, commentaries, theological books, UCA materials)