Sunday, July 19th, 2020

The Comfort of the Holy Spirit


[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, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. (Romans 8:26–27)


In the Name of Jesus, Amen.


We are living in days where it’s confusing to know what to do, what to believe, where to get help even. What help is there for us in these difficult times? It’s confusing to know what to expect, how long with this struggle or that one happen? How long before things feel “normal again”? What’s happening with our children, schools, the economy, the sickness all around us? We can see division and violence all around us. We see a world ravaged by sin, death and the devil.  Yet here, this morning, gathered as the Lord’s people to His name, around His Word, St. Paul tells us that we have a helper, we’re not alone, someone is praying for us, with us, through us in the midst of it all.


We don’t know how to pray as we ought, Paul says.


We shouldn’t be surprised by this difficulty and our weakness as Paul calls it, since we are born as sinners, and live in a world with sinners, all of us. With that sin, rather than look to our Creator, we have a propensity to try to fix everything ourselves, take control, straighten it out, clean it up, justify ourselves through what we do. Paul ended Romans 7 confessing his inability to fix the problem of sin himself, with the law, after trying to do good, and escape his own sinful flesh, but he couldn’t. You can’t run and hide from sin, it’s absolutely everywhere, and its in our hearts, it’s our Old Adam or sinful flesh. So we hear from the Scriptures that the problem isn’t those bad people out there, but truly according to Jesus, it’s what comes out of us, not what goes into us that’s the real issue. It’s our own sinful hearts, that which we confess at the start of every Divine Service as our confession. Paul cries out at the end of CH. 7 “What a wretched man that I am, who will free me from this body of death?” Then, immediately he begins to proclaim Jesus, and thanks God for our rescue, our redemption.


Romans 8 then begins

“[1] There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. [2] For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. [3] For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, [4] in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:1–4)


So, while we are still here in our sinful flesh, at the same time, we are clean, we are Christ’s, baptized into His name, free from sin and death because of what Jesus has accomplished for us, because of what He through the means of the Holy Spirit delivers to us even now, in the midst of our struggle, our suffering, our weakness.


While in our sinful flesh, we have no idea how to pray, what to pray or even a desire to pray, but the Holy Spirit, Paul says is with us in our weakness, praying for us, interceding, showing us what to pray. Giving us His Words that are not even our own to speak on behalf of ourselves, our families, and our neighbor.


Just as our weakness is real, so then is the present help and care of the Holy Spirit for us. His name is upon us, His gifts are ours, just as certainly as Christ is risen from the dead.  All that He won is given to us fully. For our Lord loves us, He cares for us, He knows us more than we can ever know ourselves, and brings His cleansing Word of comfort to us, the declaration that all sin is forgiven and Jesus is the light of the world even in our darkest of nights.


The Spirit bring this Gospel to you and says:

Cast you cares on Him (Peter encourages us) for He cares for you.

Don’t worry about what you will eat or drink, or what you will wear, for even more than His care for the birds or the flowers is His care for you. You are His child, bought with His precious blood.


Make no mistake the suffering is real, the groanings are real, but even more, the gifts of the Resurrected Lord are real, and yours by grace through faith. This is the hope Paul speaks of in our text this morning, substantive hope, not just wishful thinking, but the eternal reality, now and forever from heaven’s courtroom brought right to you.


So the Spirit teaches us to pray and look outside ourselves and our own capabilities, and instead looking to our loving Father in heaven for “Thy will be done On earth as it is in heaven” for “our daily bread” to be “Forgiven our trespasses” to be “delivered from temptation and the enemies of sin, death and the devil”


In Morning and Evening Prayer, when we pray:

Into your hands I commend myself, my body and soul and “all things” this is a recognition of the reality of the work of the Spirit bringing the comfort of Jesus’ dying and rising for us. It all in His hands, and He is present to help the weak, the poor in spirit, those sick, and those who mourn. He brings His Word, His Gospel of comfort. He brings Himself to answer our plea for help.


Our Lord doesn’t come as we would expect in outward power, but according to Paul it seems like foolishness when we look with the eyes of our sinful flesh, but the eyes of faith look to what appears weak, and ordinary. He comes to you where He has located Himself, in weakness, in a Word of comfort spoken, in water, in bread and wine. This is how He comes to you and His church, so that our boasting is of nothing in us, but in Christ alone. He comes to us even this morning, in the midst of all kinds of seeming uncertainty, to certainly deliver Himself for us, as our Savior and Lord, as our true friend.  The unknowable God of the mountains, the lightning and thunder, has become the baby in the manger. The innocent One became the sinner, bleeding on a cross for you. Taking death for you. He is the One, who once for all has suffered in your place for your sins, that you may have the gift of His hope, definite assurance that you are forgiven, and He is with you and for you. He comes to you in His true Body and blood shed for you for the forgiveness of your sin, for You are His very own, His child, His bride, today and always.



2 Corinthians 13:3–4

“ [4] For he was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but in dealing with you we will live with him by the power of God.”


IN the Name of Jesus, Amen.