Redeemer Evangelical Lutheran Church

2022 Easter 5 H Sermon

Sing a New Song

John 16:5-15

May 15, 2022 anno Domini – Redeemer

Today’s introit invites us to sing to the Lord a new song. We sing because this isn’t the same old song – this isn’t a song about pleasure or perversion. This isn’t a sad ballad of love lost that reminisces about the good old days. The Lord’s song isn’t my song or your song. We don’t write the lyrics or compose the tune. That is why only faith can sing the Lord’s song. Apart from faith God’s Word is as pleasing to your ears as your daughter’s first practice session on her brand-new clarinet.

In today’s Gospel the 12 had nothing to sing about. Jesus was going away to His Father by means of the cross. Even though Jesus had repeated the refrain of His crucifixion to His disciples it just didn’t harmonize with their hopes. They thought Jesus was heading for a great crescendo where everyone would rise to their feet like we do at the national anthem and swear allegiance to Jesus. But they were beginning to realize the sweet song of Jesus was going to have a bitter ending. At Jesus’ Word sorrow filled their hearts because He wasn’t singing their song.

This is why the hymns of the Church are at odds with the songs of the world. Jesus wins by losing. He succeeds by failing. He lives by dying and by dying He brings life to the world. By going away He draws closer to all people. By His departure to the Father His disciples do not lose Him. They gain the Helper, the Holy Spirit.

The three persons of the Holy Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are equally eternal, almighty, Divine, but from a human perspective they seem to be in competition – not against each other, but in a competition of love and grace for you. The Father desires to restore you to your place as His child so He selflessly sends His Son as the sacrifice for your sins. The Son gladly accepts His Father’s command and takes up residence in a very dangerous place, the womb of an unmarried woman. His life is in danger from the moment of conception, yet He joyfully goes about His task. Throughout His life, Jesus of Nazareth marches to a different tune. He dines with the least and the lost. He forgives sinners and rebukes the self-righteous. The world hates Him and finally kills Him. The Son dies to satisfy His Father’s desire for you and to quench His Father’s anger at your sin. When the Son rises from the dead, it’s as if the Spirit says, “OK guys, let me loose. I have love to proclaim, forgiveness to give, and mercy to share.” The night Jesus rose from the dead He turned the Holy Spirit loose when He said to His apostles, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

Note the different melody of God’s love for you. He loves with the truth. The world loves with lies. The world’s song has one refrain, “Whatever I love is true. If I love myself by thinking I am a pink unicorn then it is true – I am a unicorn and you’d better call me Pinky.” Jesus loves by going to the cross for your sins. He will not deny who you are. He says, “I tell you the truth.” God calls a thing what it is, and He calls us on it if we don’t go along with Him. You enjoy speaking ill of another person because it makes you feel good. God says at the least you’re bearing false testimony, at the worst you are a murderer. You are quick to speak, slow to hear, and easy to anger. God asks, “Has your anger every worked righteousness? Has it done any good? You can spend hours on your screen, but neglect to receive with meekness His implanted Word, and then wonder why you are so weak in the face of temptation.

Your conviction for your sin is the first task of the Holy Spirit When He comes He will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.

But the Spirit does not convict you to imprison you. He convicts you to free you. There is one way out of sin (it’s the truth and it is offensive). That way is the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Jesus did what you cannot do. He was the perfect son who never disobeyed His mother or Father. He was the perfect man who never withheld anything from His bride. He loves her (you) even when you aren’t lovely. He laid down His life for His bride. He took His wife’s sins and covered them up by dying for them. You are the bride of Christ. You are a child of your heavenly Father. You are forgiven. All is right between you and God by Christ alone.

Finally, the Spirit convicts the world of judgment because the ruler of this world is judged. The Devil is the biggest loser of all time. He lost heaven by his rebellion. He lost his power over the world at the cross. Soon He will lose his freedom to torment and tempt us. In case you haven’t noticed the world is coming to an end. We aren’t evolving. We’re devolving. It’s going to get worse and then the final judgment will come.

This is how God’s song is discordant with the world’s song. The world sings, “I did it my way” or “I want to do it my way.” The world sings about me and my self-chosen identity. We see the blatant examples of this when a man believes he is a woman or as one of the best sellers on Amazon says, when Johnny thinks he is a walrus. Tempting us toward an identity crisis is the Devil’s siren song from the very beginning. He didn’t want God to call the tune when he was an angel, so he self-identified as God and convinced Eve to join him in the chorus.

What is the subject of your song? Is it you? Are your ballads boasting of your accomplishments? I’m a pastor. I’ve been successful. My children all turned out great. Or do you sing dirges of despair? I struggle with depression. My kids want nothing to do with church. My marriage is a sham. The new song of the Lord is a completely different tune. You are not identified by the mental illness from which you suffer or the sins you committed. Nor is your greatness in raising 2.7 above average children or in securing enough money to retire in your 50s. This is the Lord’s tune – you are His baptized child, a sinner made righteous by the work of Christ alone, who will escape the judgment, be set free from sin, death, and the devil, and will enjoy that identity for all eternity.

I’m sure that when you turned to the hymn of the day you were overjoyed to see 10 verses. By verse 3 you were probably on the lake catching a 30-inch walleye. Go home and reread or sing that hymn from your hymnal. I dare you to find a better hymn to sing the Lord’s song. There’s a reason that hymn has lasted 500 years. It is good and true. It’s a bit Martin Luther’s song and then beginning in verse 5 God sings. He sings His Son into the world. Then Jesus sings of His work and His spirit.

You’ll never hear what we sing at Redeemer on the radio. God willing you will never hear anything at Redeemer that sounds like your playlist. Why? Because we sing to the Lord a new song, the song of His marvelous deeds. He has saved us from our sin by the work of His son alone. His song is a solo, but He sings it for us, that we might join in the heavenly chorus. In the name of Jesus. Amen.