Conduits of the Holy Spirit, John 7:37-39


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“Conduits of the Holy Spirit”

John 7:37-39

November 17, 2019

Faith Presbyterian Church – Morning Service

Pr. Nicoletti

 

Our Scripture reading this morning is from the Gospel of John, chapter seven, verses thirty-seven through thirty-nine.

 

In the first portion of John chapter seven we read of Jesus’s conversations with his brothers leading up to the Feast of Booths in Jerusalem. Then, in the middle portion of chapter seven we read of Jesus’s interactions with the crowds gathered in Jerusalem at some point towards the middle of the festival. And now, in the last portion of the chapter, we read of what happened towards the end of the festival.

 

With that context in mind, we come to John chapter seven, verses thirty-seven through thirty-nine.

 

Please do listen carefully, for this is God’s word for us this morning.

 

7:37 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

 

This is the word of the Lord.  (Thanks be to God.)

 

“All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” [1 Peter 1:24-25]

 

Let’s pray …

 

Lord, we rejoice at your word,

like one who finds great spoil.

We hate falsehood,

but we love your commandments.

We know that those who love your law have peace,

and nothing can make them stumble.

And so help us now to keep your testimonies from the heart,

and to love them exceedingly.

Help us to pursue a life of faithfulness,

knowing that all our ways are before you.

Grant this, we ask, for Jesus’s sake. Amen.

[Based on Psalm 119:162-163, 165, 167-168]

 

There is a gap of a few days between our text this morning and the one we looked at last Lord’s Day.

 

The conversation we looked at last week occurred in the middle of the seven- or eight-day Feast of Booths, and it ended with the chief priests and Pharisees sending officers to arrest Jesus. This morning we pick up on the last day of the feast. We may be led to wonder if Jesus intentionally laid low for a few days after the orders for his arrest had been issued.

 

In any case, now, on the last day of the feast, he appears again in public and cries out “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”

 

One of the first things to notice is Jesus’s starting assumption. He begins with the phrase “If anyone thirsts …” and as he says that, we need to recognize that the way he is using the phrase here, he seems to assume that those around him do in fact thirst. Jesus assumes that his audience is thirsty.

 

But, of course, Jesus is also not speaking of literal thirst. What then is Jesus’s opening assumption?

 

Jesus begins with the assumption, or rather he begins by first implying the claim, that our hearts are spiritually thirsty.

 

Our hearts are spiritually thirsty.

 

This is Jesus’s claim about those he cries out to. What does it really mean, though? And where do we see it around us?

 

I was thinking on this this week, and as I did, I was struck by some of the obvious facts about our culture that most of the time we don’t even stop to think about.

 

For so many people, for so much of human history, survival has been the driving force. Humans were driven by the pursuit of their own survival and the survival of those they cared for. For much of human history, most people lived under a very real possibility of losing those things they needed to survive – often even from one season to the next or one harvest to the next.

 

But now today, most of us in our country – not necessarily all of us, but most of us – live in some of the safest and most prosperous communities in the history of the world. Now, I know, we can always find safer and more prosperous communities and desire to be a part of those … but compared to the ancient world, or the medieval world, or the world of the industrial revolution – compared to most countries in most periods of earlier history, most people in our country today live very safe and secure lives.

 

The chances in the United States of being invaded by a rival tribe and plundered, enslaved, or killed are relatively low. And for all the economic problems and injustices that may exist, the chances of starving to death in America are pretty low as well.

 

And yet … at the same time … on the whole we are a people driven by anxiety. We are not a people known for our contentment. But instead, we are a people who are often in frantic pursuit … of something. We are a people whose hearts are thirsty.

 

For some of us it is success that we look to, to quench that thirst. I’m not entirely sure why … but earlier this week I found myself reading an article in The New Yorker on the recent career moves of Jeremy Renner. The article drew attention to Renner’s recent attempts to go from his career as an actor to a career in music. And the author reflected on the fact that this is not an uncommon move: for successful musicians to try to become actors or successful actors to try to become musicians. She also wondered why it was so common. “Perhaps,” she writes, “when a celebrity achieves one kind of fame and finds it lacking, it’s normal to think ‘Maybe this is the wrong kind [of fame]?’ and then to attempt to achieve adulation through some other medium.” Then she says this – she says: “Renner reminds us that our quest for satisfaction is truly endless.” [Petrusich]

 

In other words … we are a people whose hearts are thirsty.

 

Of course, success like Renner’s is not achieved by most. But our culture also offers a variety of other ways to try to satisfy the thirst of our souls.

 

According to Nielson’s 2018 study, the average American adult spends almost five hours a day watching television. Time magazine reports that one of the most popular pornographic websites in the U.S. all by itself, as a single website, transmits more data to viewers every five minutes than all the data in the entire contents of the New York Public Library. [Luscombe] According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 10.3 million Americans abused prescription opioids in 2018 alone.

 

Whether we pursue it in some sort of achievement or some form of pleasure, we are a people whose hearts are spiritually thirsty.

 

Our physical needs are satisfied … but our hearts are not. We pour in, and pour in, and pour in, but our thirst is not quenched.

 

It reminds me of some of the old Looney Tunes cartoons, where a character would be stranded in a desert without water for one reason or another. And as they went longer and longer in the sun and as they got thirstier and thirstier, they’d eventually think they could see an oasis on the horizon – usually with a couple palm trees and a pool of water. And the cartoon character would then run to the trees and the water they saw, and when they got there, they’d start shoveling the water into their mouths … and then the mirage … the delusion … would disappear … and they would realize that they were shoveling sand into their mouths the whole time.

 

That is in many ways a picture not only of our culture specifically, but of fallen human beings in general, seeking satisfaction from worldly things when their souls are spiritually thirsty.

 

Some of us chase such mirages … but alternatively, others of us, when we see through the mirage, when we don’t try to drink the sand, we instead despair that we are still thirsty, but will never be satisfied.

 

We are a bit like the Israelites in Exodus chapter seventeen.

 

In Exodus 17 we see Israel in the wilderness, shortly after the Lord had rescued them from Egypt. And they have no water. And when they do not see any water, their first response is to quarrel, and their second response is to despair. They cry out to Moses “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?”

 

They cry out in despair because they thirst, and they are just sure that their thirst will never be satisfied, and that they will perish.

 

And sometimes we can be the same way. Our hearts thirst. And we seek satisfaction in many things. But nothing quenches our thirst. And so we despair. We conclude that there is nothing that can satisfy our thirst.

 

Our hearts are spiritually thirsty, and in response we often either drink the sand, or cynically conclude that we will never be satisfied.

 

What does that look like for you?

 

What are the things that you chase after for satisfaction, but that in the end only leave you more thirsty? What are the mirages you chase – the delusions you pursue … only to find that you are shoveling sand into your mouth?

 

Or on the other hand, when do you sound a bit like the Israelites in Exodus 17? When do you feel your thirst, look around you at the desert, and then throw up your hands in despair, declaring that there is no satisfaction to be found?

 

What does spiritual thirst look like for you?

 

Many have tried to quench their thirst with success or pleasure and have in the end been dissatisfied. Many have despaired that satisfaction is not possible.

 

But C.S. Lewis, in his essay “The Weight of Glory” takes aim at both of these approaches.

 

Though he applies it to a different aspect of the Christian life, Lewis points out that the situation we find ourselves in in this life is that, he says: “we remain conscious of a desire which no natural happiness will satisfy.” Then he goes on to ask: “Is there any reason to suppose that reality offers any satisfaction to [our desire]?”

 

He admits that many have responded to such a question by pointing out that their being hungry doesn’t prove that they have bread – just that they want bread.

 

“But,” Lewis writes, “I think […] that […] misses the point. A man’s physical hunger does not prove that [that] man will get any bread; he may die of starvation on a raft in the Atlantic. But surely a man’s hunger does prove that he comes of a race which repairs its body by eating and inhabits a world where eatable substance exists.” [Lewis, 32]

 

In other words, physical hunger is proof that we are beings designed for physical food, living in a world where physical food really does exist.

 

And in a similar way, our spiritual thirst is proof that we are beings designed for spiritual water, and that we live in a world where spiritual water exists.

 

The question then is what is that spiritual water – that living water – and where do we get it?

 

I mentioned Israel in Exodus 17 a few minutes ago, lamenting their thirst and their lack of water.

 

As some of you will remember, the Lord provided the physical water they needed. He called on Moses to take his staff, and bring it to the Mount of Horeb. And there, the Lord said he would stand before Moses. And Moses was to strike the rock before him with his staff, and then water would miraculously flow from the rock, for God’s people. Moses did as he was commanded, and by God’s grace and power, water flowed from that rock, and the people’s thirst was quenched.

 

The Apostle Paul comments on this story in First Corinthians 10. There he tells us that Israel, having been rescued from Egypt “All drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.”

 

The people of Israel were physically thirsty, with no means to quench their thirst. And they came to the Rock that was Christ, and from it flowed water that satisfied and sustained them.

 

And what we see in types in Exodus 17, Jesus declares openly here in John chapter seven.

 

Jesus says “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” And the Apostle John adds: “Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive.”

 

What we see in John 7:37-39 is that Christ quenches our spiritual thirst with the Holy Spirit, and then makes us conduits of the Holy Spirit to others.

 

Christ quenches our spiritual thirst with the Holy Spirit, and then makes us conduits – makes us channels, makes us rivers – of the Holy Spirit to others.

 

This morning we will take a few minutes to consider each of those aspects: how Christ quenches our thirst, and how he makes us into conduits.

 

So first: Christ quenches our spiritual thirst with the Holy Spirit.

 

Jesus calls on those who hear him to come to him and drink, because he can quench their thirst. And what the Apostle John tells us is that what he has to offer them to quench their thirst is the Holy Spirit.

 

Now, that connection between water, the Messiah, and the Holy Spirit would not have been a surprise to the first-century Jews gathered at the Feast of Booths.

 

Though it was not commanded in Scripture, by the first century there was a special water ceremony that was part of the seventh day of the Feast of Booths. So, depending on how John is counting the days of the feast, Jesus cried out these words about living water either on the same day as this water ceremony or the day immediately after it.

 

In the ceremony in Jerusalem a golden container was filled with water from the pool of Siloam, carried in a procession to the temple, and then offered to God with the morning sacrifice, along with the daily drink-offering of wine, poured out before the Lord. There were at least three associations with the pouring out of the water in this rite. One was a remembrance of the Lord’s provision of water to Israel in the desert – the story from Exodus 17 we’ve already spoken about. The second association was with the coming of the messianic age. The third was with the pouring out of the Spirit of God in the last days.

 

All three of those themes were evoked in the ceremony, and so the Jews gathered together that day would have the events of Exodus 17, of the coming of the Messiah, and of the great pouring out of the Holy Spirit all in mind. [Carson, 321-322]

 

And into that context, Jesus speaks the words of our text.

 

But as he evokes those themes, Jesus takes them and then presses those who are gathered further to consider their need, their thirst for the Holy Spirit right then and there. Drawing from the words of Isaiah [55:1], Jesus connects the needs of their hearts to the pouring out of the Holy Spirit, and he tells them that they can receive what they thirst for through him, just as Israel received water through the rock.

 

Jesus is reminding them, and he reminds us, that as human beings we are made to draw our life and our satisfaction from the Holy Spirit of God. Our hearts were designed to drink of God’s Spirit just as much as our physical bodies were designed to drink of physical water. Our hearts long for communion with God, the only one who can satisfy our souls … and so, much of our striving and grasping in this life is actually seeking after God.

 

Though we strive after worldly achievement in order to find rest and satisfaction, Saint Augustine, who was very familiar with the life of striving after worldly success, when he finally came to know Christ and to drink of the living water that is the Holy Spirit, he could say in response to God “You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” [Confessions, I,1,1]

 

Though we strive after distraction and stimulation and pleasure, as the twentieth century Scottish writer Bruce Marshall has said (in a quote often misattributed to G. K. Chesterton): “The young man who rings the bell at the brothel is unconsciously looking for God.” [Stanton]

 

We were made to be creatures who drink of the Holy Spirit, who comes to us through Christ, and our souls thirst until we come to Christ and drink.

 

Now … even we who do come … we do not come perfectly. As we remain imperfect and inconsistent in this life, our attendance to the living water of the Holy Spirit is also imperfect and inconsistent. And as Augustine points out, the thirst-quenching living water of the Holy Spirit that we receive in this life is in many ways a token – a foretaste – of the full and eternal satisfaction we will find and drink deeply of in the life to come. [Homilies on the Gospel of John, Homily 32.6]

 

Nonetheless, the satisfaction we receive in this life through the Holy Spirit is real, even if it is incomplete. God made us to drink deeply of his Spirit, and he offers his Spirit to us in this life to quench our thirst. And there is no magic to receiving that living water – no special techniques. Jesus simply says, “Come to me and drink.”

 

And if the metaphor is still too opaque for us, Augustine, in his sermon explains: “If we are thirsty, let us go not on our feet but on our heartfelt sentiments; let us go by loving, not by traveling. It is one thing for the body to travel, another for the heart; the body travels by moving from place to place; the heart by changing its feelings and sentiments. If you now love one thing where you used to love another, your heart is not in the same place as it used to be.” [Homilies on the Gospel of John, Homily 32.1]

 

In other words, if you want to drink of the living water that is the Holy Spirit, your calling is to come to Christ in faith and love. Your calling is to seek him, and to trust him. You do this in your heart, but you do it by the means of grace he has given his people – by God’s Word, by prayer, and by the sacraments.

 

This is one of those applications that seems almost silly to say because it is so obvious … yet we as Christians still so often fail to actually do it.

 

It means that when you feel the thirst of your soul, and when you are drawn to chasing the created things around you to quench your thirst: whether through success or pleasure or something else … when you are running after the mirages of this world and about to scoop a handful of sand into your mouth … you must instead come to Jesus and drink from him. You must turn from the worldly pleasures, or step back from the worldly pursuits, and spend time in prayer and in the Scriptures. Come to Christ in your heart through those means and he will provide his Holy Spirit for you to drink.

 

It also means that if you have despaired of any hope of finding satisfaction for the thirst in your heart, then the calling on you too is to rise, to come to Christ, and by drawing close to him in Scripture and prayer, drink deeply.

 

And, whichever category you fall into, if you do come to him, and then step back, but you don’t feel as if your thirst has been quenched … don’t assume that you have not received anything. Assume instead that you have a lot more drinking to do before you begin to feel satisfied. Many of us draw close to Christ through the means of grace far too infrequently … and we need to drink deeply many times to make up for our negligence.

 

Christ quenches our spiritual thirst through the Holy Spirit. That is the first half of what we see in our text.

 

The second half is that Christ then makes us conduits of the Holy Spirit to others.

 

Christ then makes us conduits – he makes us channels – of the Holy Spirit to others.

 

And that is the surprising change in verse thirty-eight. After urging people to come to him and to drink, Jesus then says, “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”

 

A shift has happened. In verse thirty-seven, the living water was coming to the believer through Christ. But now in verse thirty-eight the living water is flowing out from the believer. What is going on here?

 

Well, first of all, the source of the living water has not changed. Jesus remains the source. He is the Rock out of which the water of the Holy Spirit flows to God’s people. We are not the source.

 

But we are a river. We are a conduit. We are a channel. We are a pipeline through which Christ brings living water to others. How else can we understand verse thirty-eight? God’s people are meant to receive the grace and the blessing and the thirst-quenching power of the Holy Spirit, but that grace and blessing and satisfaction is not to end with them. They are to become channels of it to other people – they are to become a conduit, a river, by which Christ can bless others.

 

That is what Jesus calls us to in our text.

 

And if that is so, we need to ask ourselves three questions:

  • Who is thirsty around you?
  • How do you normally respond to their thirst?
  • And what would it look like for you to be a channel, a river, a conduit, of the Holy Spirit in their life instead?

 

Let’s consider each of those questions.

 

First, who is thirsty around you?

 

Who is it around you in your life whose spiritual thirst is obviously clear? Who is it around you who you see chasing after mirages and shoveling sand into their mouths? Who is it around you that you see despairing and hopeless that they will ever have the longings of their hearts satisfied?

 

It could be a non-Christian that you know, of course, whether a friend, a co-worker, a neighbor, or a family member. But it also could be a Christian. It could be a Christian who is neglecting what is available to them in Christ (as we all are to one extent or another), and who instead of coming to Christ for the satisfaction of their souls is seeking it in the world or becoming hopeless that satisfaction is even possible.

 

In any case, who is it in your life, who you can see is spiritually thirsty? That’s the first question.

 

Second, how do you normally respond to that person’s spiritual thirst? What is your typical response to them?

 

When people around us are spiritually thirsty and seek to quench their thirst from the wrong things… when they misdirect their spiritual thirst … I think our response is often either frustration … or approval.

 

Let me explain what I mean.

 

Some responses to spiritual thirst that lead to chasing after mirages and trying to drink the sand almost immediately (and often in very obvious ways) cause collateral damage in someone’s life.

 

When someone turns to drug or alcohol abuse to try to satisfy their spiritual thirst, it usually begins to create problems in their own life and in the lives of others that quickly frustrate and even anger other people. Their sin, their idolatry, their misdirected spiritual thirst makes our own lives more difficult. And so we respond with anger – anger that is usually not primarily generated by the righteousness of God, but by indignation about the difficulties being created for us.

 

And to a lesser extent the same dynamic can be at work by those who embrace entertainment or sloth or some other problem-causing diversion or stimulation for satisfaction.

 

And in such cases, one typical way of responding to misdirected spiritual thirst is anger and frustration.

 

On the other hand, when someone close to us turns to achievement or worldly success in order to satisfy their spiritual thirst … there can sometimes be a whole bunch of immediate benefits to us.

 

If you have a coworker or an employee who is seeking to satisfy the spiritual thirst of their heart through success in their career, that could be a big help to you. They might make your job easier. Or they might make your department or company more profitable. Their misdirected spiritual thirst can yield material gain for you.

 

In a similar way, the child who is seeking to satisfy the spiritual thirst of their heart through good grades and achievements in school can make a parent quite proud. They reflect well on us before others. They get us the approval of others. We can tell ourselves that we are the grounds of their success … rather than their misdirected spiritual thirst being the basis for their hard work … and so in the end, we respond to their idolatry with approval.

 

And this pattern of idolatry approval can appear in all sorts of places – even in those you’d not expect it.

 

Think, for example, of pastors. Even … and maybe especially … a pastor’s misdirected spiritual thirst can be approved of and encouraged by the people of God. If a minister tries to satisfy the spiritual thirst of his heart with his congregation’s approval … then the more thirsty he is for them to like him, the more and more approval he is likely to receive. Of course, when it’s stated so baldly, we’d sincerely say that that is not what we want from a pastor. But people are usually pretty pleased by a minister who is desperate for their approval. In the short-term at least, the misdirected spiritual thirst of a minister can be treated as a blessing by a congregation.

 

Augustine, in The City of God addresses how common this same pattern is in the world, and how it leads men to live lives that others would praise. He writes: “For the sake of […] one vice – that is, the love of praise – these men suppressed the love of riches and many other vices.” [V.13; p. 163]

 

Of course, eventually these attempts to satisfy one’s spiritual thirst through worldly approval and success do collapse – eventually the mirage disappears, and the person realizes that they are shoveling sand into their mouths.

 

But until that happens, many people will continue to cheer them on. And then, when the illusion does fall away, those same people will respond with frustration and confusion when the person abandons the pile of sand they had been trying to drink.

 

Misdirected spiritual thirst can take many forms, and depending on how it affects us, we typically respond with either frustration, or approval.

 

So … the first question for us again is: Who is spiritually thirsty around you – whether they are Christians or non-Christians?

 

The second question is: How do you normally respond to that person’s thirst?

 

Third, and finally we need to ask: What would it look like for you to be a conduit, a channel, a river of the Holy Spirit in that person’s life instead?

 

What would it look like for you to be a conduit of the Holy Spirit in that person’s life instead?

 

And as we begin to consider that, we need to remember again what we are in this picture – in Jesus’s metaphor. We are not the water. We cannot satisfy or fix the other person ourselves. The Holy Spirit is the water.

 

We also are not a funnel, that can be placed in the person’s mouth to force them to drink against their will. The other person has to decide to come to Jesus and drink.

 

But we are called to be a channel, a conduit of the Holy Spirit in that work. We are called, as verse thirty-eight says, to have the living water of the Holy Spirit flowing out of our hearts and to those around us.

 

It means we are called to be, as Martin Luther and C.S. Lewis have suggested, “little Christs” to those around us. Not that we are the source of their salvation or the source of the Spirit to them, but that we are his representatives – that by his power, through his grace, we are his hands and feet, and he offers his Spirit to those around us through us. [Luther, 76; Lewis, 171]

 

First that means that we must respond to such people with love and kindness. As they chase mirages, we do not begin by disparaging them, but by seeking to help them. Jesus does not begin in our text by chastising the people for not already finding the spiritual water they need – he begins by expressing his sincere desire to help them.

 

Second, it means naming their thirst to them. Jesus does that briefly here, but throughout his ministry Jesus identified the ways that those around him were seeking the wrong things. He began his ministry saying, “Repent and believe” … which on some level is another way of saying: “In anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.”

 

We show love and kindness to those who are spiritually thirsty around us, we help them to see their spiritual thirst, and then we lovingly speak the truth of Christ and the gospel to them. And as we do, the living water that is the Holy Spirit will flow like a river from Christ, through us, and to them.

 

And we are called to do this not just for non-Christians we know, but also for Christians – in some ways we should be doing this most often for our brothers and sisters in Christ. This is how we build one another up in Christ – this is how we minister to one another.

 

Now … in cases when someone is expressing their spiritual thirst in ways that frustrate us, the challenge will be to show the love, kindness, and patience of Christ to them – along with sympathy that is rooted in the recognition that left to ourselves we would be doing the same sorts of things they are.

 

On the other hand, in cases when someone is misdirecting their spiritual thirst in ways that benefit us … the challenge is to maintain the priorities of Christ. Whether dealing with a coworker, a child, or someone else, it can be very tempting to encourage or at least allow idolatries in others that we personally benefit from. But our calling is to have the priorities of Christ. Out of love for the other person, we are to show them that they are chasing a mirage – that they are shoveling sand into their mouths, and then we are to direct or redirect them to have their thirst quenched in Christ.

 

That doesn’t mean they should stop pursuing success in the various areas mentioned. They should pursue success, but for different reasons. They should work, but it should not be their chief end – it should not be the place they seek living water.

 

So: What would it look like for you to be a conduit – a channel – of the Holy Spirit in the lives of others?

 

First, we respond to those who have misdirected their thirst with love and kindness.

 

Second, we lovingly name their thirst to them.

 

And third, we speak the truth of Christ and the gospel to them. And as we do, the living water that is the Holy Spirit will flow like a river, from Christ, through us, and to them.

 

That is what is pictured for us in verse thirty-eight.

 

We are surrounded by a world that is either trying to drink sand … or despairing that they are thirsty creatures living in a universe with no water.

 

And we – you and I – often join the world in doing the same things: whether filling our mouths with sand, or despairing of our hopeless condition.

 

We are creatures whose hearts are spiritually thirsty, and we are surrounded by others who are the same.

 

And to us, Jesus Christ says: “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”

 

Christ quenches our spiritual thirst with the Holy Spirit, and then makes us channels of the Holy Spirit to others.

 

And so, let us come to him by faith and drink.

 

Let us have compassion on those around us.

 

Let us unmask to them their spiritual thirst.

 

And then, let us be conduits of the Holy Spirit in their lives.

 

This is what Christ has called us to. This is the gift that Christ has given us.

 

Amen.

 

 

 

This sermon draws on material from:

Augustine. The Confessions. Translated by J.G. Pilkington. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, Vol. 1. Edited by Philip Schaff. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1887.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. (http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/110101.htm).

Augustine. The City of God. Introduction and Translation by William Babcock. Hyde Park, NY: New City Press, 2012.

Carson, D.A. The Gospel According to John. PNTC. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1991.

Lewis, C.S. Mere Christianity. New York, NY: Touchstone, 1943 (1996 Edition)

Lewis, C. S. “The Weight of Glory” In The Weight of Glory. New York, NY: HarperCollins, 1949 (2001 Edition)

Luscombe, Belinda. “Why Are We All Having So Little Sex.” TIME Magazine. October 26, 2018. https://time.com/5297145/is-sex-dead/

Luther, Martin. “The Freedom of a Christian” in Martin Luther: Selections from His Writings. Edited by John Dillenberger. New York, NY: Anchor Books Doubleday, 1961.

Nielson. “Time Flies: U.S. Adults Now Spend Nearly Half a Day Interacting with Media. July 31, 2018. https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/article/2018/time-flies-us-adults-now-spend-nearly-half-a-day-interacting-with-media/

Petrusich, Amanda. “Jeremy Renner’s Strange Summer.” The New Yorker. September 6, 2019. https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/jeremy-renners-strange-summer

Stanton, Glenn. “FactChecker: C.S. Lewis and G.K. Chesterton Quotes.” April 14, 2013. The Gospel Coalition. https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/factchecker-c-s-lewis-and-g-k-chesterton-quotes/

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “What is the U.S. Opioid Epidemic?” https://www.hhs.gov/opioids/about-the-epidemic/index.html