March 14, 2021

GET UP AND GO

Passage: John 14:25-31

25 “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. 28 You heard me say to you, I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe. 30 I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, 31 but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.
— John 14:25-31, ESV

Few things are finer than sitting down to a dinner with people you love.  At the Last Supper, Jesus was joined by the twelve disciples, though one exited early to ply his trade as a traitor.  The Lord loved them perfectly, and they loved the Lord as best they could.  Their love, however, was about to be severely tested.

The mood had turned melancholy by the end of the meal, as the last Passover gave way to the first Lord’s Supper.  There was the veiled revelation of the betrayal, by Judas.  There was the shocking prediction of denial, by Simon Peter.  There was bread and wine, which Jesus made tokens of death and passed around the table.  The Lord made it clear He was going away, leaving the disciples to bear witness among hostile homies (the Jews) and sworn enemies (the Romans).

The Lord’s benediction, “Rise, and let us go from here,” was short but not necessarily sweet, at least not to the eleven Apostles, who would have preferred to stay in the upper room with Jesus forever.  But Christ’s words ended the meal and thrust them into the outside world in more ways than one, and they were going to need help.

A good worship service should be like this.  The church family gathers around a table lit with the glory of God.  We pray, praise, and preach the gospel in word and sacrament.  We feel the presence of the Lord while surrounded by people we love.  We feast together upon His word, and share Holy Communion.  When the worship is right we would stay in it forever.  But alas, the benediction comes and it is time to hear the Lord say, “Rise, let us go from here.”

There is a time to sit at the Lord’s feet in worship and there is a time to get up and go to bear witness for Him.  Worship is easy, witness is hard.  Help and a Helper is available.  Be sure to take these things with you when you get up and go:

The Spirit of God

“These things I have spoken to you,” Jesus said, include three years of discipling culminated by this final night in the upper room.  “These things” are the gospel, the good news of God’s salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.  From the virgin birth to the baptism in the Jordan to the last Passover, on to the cross and empty tomb, every thing Jesus said and did could be considered the proclamation of the gospel.

Straight forward it is, simplistic it is not.  This is why we need help to understand the gospel, accept the gospel, and share the gospel with others.  This is where the third person of the Trinity comes in, the “Helper,” the “Holy Spirit,” the Paraclete, who comes not to the world at large, but to every chosen child of God who trusts in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  The Holy Spirit is our teacher, remember-er, and communicator.

It is the Holy Spirit who translates the gospel from the Father, through the Son, into the mind, heart, and soul of the convert to Christianity.  It is the Holy Spirit who brings the gospel and the word of God to our remembrance throughout life, from conversion to consummation.  It is the Holy Spirit in us that empowers us to live holy and share the gospel boldly among family, friends, and people of the world.  Come to God the Father, through the person and work of God the Son, and take God the Spirit with you when you get up and go.

How do you think that those few men were able to preach with such power, form the church, and give us the written Gospels and New Testament?  “[The Holy Spirit] will teach you and bring to your remembrance all that [Jesus] has spoken.”  When they left the upper room, they took the Holy Spirit with them.  How can the church today, after hearing the gospel from the Holy Bible, after seeing the gospel in Holy Communion, keep Christ-centered and share Christ’s word with others in the days to come?  When you leave the worship service, take the Holy Spirit with you when you get up and go.

The Peace of Christ

“Peace I leave with you,” Jesus said, “My peace I give to you.”  The promise of peace comes in a flurry as Jesus’ ministry and John’s Gospel comes to a close  (ref. 14:27, 16:33, 20:19, and 20:21).  Remember how frightful those first followers were at this moment.  Remember how difficult it has been for you sometimes to stand for Christ when the world is falling around you.  We need grace to come to Christ, we need peace to get up and go for Christ.

Peace means we are never alone.  There was no contradiction, then, when Jesus said, “I am going away and I am coming to you,” and there is no contradiction now.  The first disciples were afraid to let Jesus go, so Jesus assured them He would never let them go.  “Let us go from here,” the Lord said.  Christians cannot see God, physically, right now, but we can be absolutely assured He is with us.  We are never alone, for the power of God the Father, the promise of God the Son, and the presence of the Holy Spirit, is always with us.

Peace means we can never fail.  Jesus words in the upper room had somehow left the apostles “troubled” and “afraid.”  They did not think they could face the world without Him physically in their midst.  But remember the context of these closing moments in the upper room.  Jesus had admonished them to love and obey Him, which as true believers, they would.  So we should know this and have this peace, as long as we believe in the Lord, love the Lord, and obey the Lord, we can never fail, no matter what the outcome.  God does not count numbers as the world does, He measures faith, love, and obedience.

Peace means we will never lose.  Within twenty-four hours, Jesus would be made to look like the biggest loser in the world, mocked, beaten, crucified.  The disciples would fairly well follow suit.  But just as Jesus rejoiced in the fact He was “going to the Father,” who was in a greater position in a greater place.  We too can rejoice to know that after our work on earth is done, we will go to the greater proximity of the Father, to the place of ultimate victory, where there is no more suffering, sickness, death, or loss.

Take the Spirit of God and the peace of God with you when you get up and go, and be sure to look where you are going.

The Identity of the Enemy

The “world” comes into view three times in this text.  It is never a pretty sight.  Jesus speaks of the planet in terms that make it inferior and adversarial, desperately wicked and desperately needy.  And though the world proves hostile to Christ and Christ followers, we are not to reciprocate when we get up and go.

Understand that our enemy is not the planet God created, nor the people in it He loves.  “The world” in this context speaks of the false religion, ungodly government, and popular culture under “the ruler of this world,” that is inherently against God, anti-Christ, and resistant to the Holy Spirit.   The first Christians confronted this in the anti-Christian religion of the Jews and the iron fisted government of the Romans.  We must face it today in the counterfeit gospel offered by most religion, even contemporary Christianity, and the ever increasing strong arm of the government against the religious freedom of the church.  Yet still we worship, and still we must get up and go.

For Jesus there was no retreat from the cross, and for His followers there can be no retreat from the world.  We must realize this world is not our home and it is not our friend.  Most religious bodies today are more corrupt than the Pharisees and Sadducees put together, and our own twenty-first century government resembles first century Rome in more ways than we care to imagine.  Like Walt Kelly’s Okefenokee comic strip swamp rat Pogo the Possum said, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

Just remember how Jesus taught us to approach our enemies, “So that the world may know that I love the Father,” and so they may know the Father loves the world (ref. 3:16).  We must identify the enemy, get up and go to them with love, when it is time to get up and go.

The Lordship of Christ

We cannot stay in the upper room all the time.  We must get up and go to the world, with the Spirit of God and the peace of Christ.  But there is one more supreme thing to take with you when you get up and go.  Permeating this text, and virtually every text of Scripture, is the lordship of Jesus Christ.

Lordship means that Jesus has conquered sin and death.  He crowned Himself and He crowns His followers with life.  The whole of the conversation that took place in that upper room was the “going away” of Christ to the cross and His promised resurrection and return.  “I will come to you,” was the Lord’s promise before He told the disciples to get up and go.  It may have taken fifty days for them to fully understand, but by Pentecost they were fully living and preaching the salvation and lordship of Jesus Christ.

Lordship means that Jesus has conquered you.  You have surrendered to the gospel.  You are indwelled by the Spirit.  You live a life of love and obedience to Jesus Christ and God’s word.  You find yourself in His house with His people on the Lord’s Day, then, you get up and go.

Go with the Holy Spirit.  Go with the peace of Christ.  Go into the world with wisdom and love.  Carry the banner of the lordship of Christ.  When worship is over, get up and go.

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