John 14:16-18; 16:7-15

JESUS: THE GIFT GIVER

14: 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.

16: But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned. 12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”

 

          Our focus throughout the Christmas season has been on the gift that God gave to us in the person of Jesus Christ. I’m sure we have heard many, many sermons with that as the main topic. I have preached a few of those over the years. And there is nothing wrong with that. But this year I intentionally didn’t do that because I wanted to preach about another great gift that Jesus Himself gives to all those who He saves.

          Jesus promised to give this gift first to His disciples. If you remember the sermon from a couple of chapels ago, Jesus and His disciples were making their way from the room where they had just celebrated the Passover meal and were heading to the garden of Gethsemane where he would be betrayed into the hands of the authorities. On the way to the garden the disciples were of course anxious because Jesus had told them that he was going to be leaving them.

          Jesus gave them a lot of teachings as He tried to encourage them and comfort them. In the two passages we are looking at this Morning He tells them about His Spirit. In the first of our two passages, (14:16-18) He has made a promise to His disciples that when He goes away, He will ask His father to send them a great gift. That gift is the Holy Spirit of God. So even though the second and main passage in chapter (16:7-15) is all about Jesus the focus is upon the Gift. So, in this morning’s sermon I want to clear up some of the misunderstandings that tend to surround the Holy Spirit.

          Jesus says in verse 7 of our passage to His disciples that it is for their own ‘good’ that He go away. I’m sure the disciples are thinking that they would still much rather have Jesus with them. Therefore, in order to understand how this would be ‘good’ for them we need to know some things about the Holy Spirit.

          The first thing we should note is that the Holy Spirit is a “He” and not an “it”! The Bible teaches that He is co-equal with God the Father and God the Son. We also see his status as a person as the Bible uses pronouns when referring to Him. Within our main passage alone the Holy Spirit is referred to ‘He’ or ‘Him’ 13 times. And even one time with the possessive pronoun ‘His’

          Here are some other truths that point to the Holy Spirit being a person and not just an impersonal force:

        In Ephesians 4:30 it says, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption”. Grieve means to make sad or sorry. 1 Thessalonians 5:19 says, “Do not quench the Spirit”. To quench something means to ‘extinguish’ or ‘suppress’ it. And also, we read the account of Ananias and Saphira in Acts chapter 5.  In verses 3 and 4 we find out that the Spirit can be lied to, and that it is also equal to lying to God. These are all things that indicate that the Spirit is a person because these things; grieving, quenching, and lying, cannot be done to an impersonal force.

 

          Also, in verse 7 I want you to note that the Spirit is called the ‘advocate’. This is the English translation of the Greek word ‘parakletos’. The Greek word refers to an assistant or helper. The image that this word ‘parakletos’ would give to the original readers is of the Holy Spirit coming alongside the believer to help in the believer’s Christian journey. That is also how he helps us, by encouraging us, teaching us the things we need to know and aiding us in our understanding of God’s Word and will. We could even think of the Holy Spirit as being the believer’s best friend on earth!

        In fact, it would be impossible to live as a Christian or do the work that God gives us to do without the Holy Spirit giving us direction every moment. We should also know that even Jesus as a man lived under the power of the Holy Spirit. This can be seen when we read in Philippians 2:6-8, that, “[Jesus], being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!We need to be reminded that Jesus did not come to this world to live as a God in a man’s skin. He came to live as a man who fulfilled all the requirements of God’s righteous standards. This kind of righteous life could only be lived under the power of the Spirit of God.

        In verse 16 of today’s shorter passage found in John chapter 14, we see that according to the Bible the Spirit is given to believers by the Father. And what is even more tremendous is that He never leaves us. This is a comforting truth for believers. Why? Because the Bible also teaches that the Spirit of God comes into a believer’s life at the exact moment of conversion.

This is also great news because unfortunately there are many groups that claim to be Christian but still teach that even though a person must be saved by faith in Jesus, they add to that and say only after a period of time when the person has fulfilled a list of demands, can they then receive the Holy Spirit.

        The truth of the matter is, if you do not have the Spirit of God, then you do not have the Son of God. This is what the apostle Paul teaches us in Romans 8:9 when he writes, “You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ”.

 

        This teaching of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer reveals just how tremendous this great gift really is. What this means is that God in the person of the Holy Spirit is able to do something that Jesus in His human body could never do.  Because of His physical human nature first Jesus was confined to one geographical place at a time. Even though Jesus was 100% God, He was also 100% a physical man, that fact also made it impossible for Him to enter into another physical being. Now, because of God’s great grace and mercy, , He is able to live inside every believer, in the person of God the Holy Spirit, at all times!   

        Our passage also tells us about the work of the Holy Spirit in this sinful world. He is at work in the lives of sinners in two major ways. In verse 8 we read that He points out the wrong and sin that is in the world and the second way He works is that He directs the sinner, whom God has called, towards the truth. He reveals the truth to those whom God has called.  The truths of Romans 3:10 that, “There is no one righteous, not even one.” And Romans 3:23 that, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” become very clear to the person who, up until that time, has even denied that they are sinners. However, when the Spirit of God convicts them, the sinner knows they are guilty.

        Not only does the Holy Spirit convict the sinner of their unrighteousness but He also convinces them of their unbelief. Now some people will tell you that all sins are equal in God’s sight. But I think we all know that is a ridiculous statement. Of course, all sin deserves the punishment of eternal separation because sin cannot be in God’s presence. But I think we cannot put the person who steals a biscuit from the market, or gets angry with their brother and calls him a fool, on the same level of sinfulness as say the person who murders a child. However, there is one thing that all sins do have in common. That is, they can be forgiven by our merciful God.

        Unfortunately, there is one sin that cannot be forgiven and that is the worst sin a person can commit. Do you know what it is? Do you think it is murder? Or abortion, or adultery, or blasphemy? Well, it’s none of those. The worst sin that a person can commit is found in John 8:24, “I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am he, you will indeed die in your sins”. Unbelief is the worst sin that a person can commit because that is the only sin that will definitely send a person to Hell.

        Of course, the Holy Spirit may convict us of the bad news and that is always uncomfortable, but along with His revealing the bad news He then points us to where salvation can be found. He leads us to a verse like John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life “.

        The Holy Spirit’s job is not only to convict us of our sin but then point us towards the truth that Jesus has paid the price for all our sins through His death on the cross. Jesus’ payment has been accepted by the Father and no further payment is required. Now, anyone who places their faith in Jesus will be saved and also declared righteous by God. That is also the clear teaching of the Bible which we find in Romans 4:24, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. We receive the benefits of Christ’s righteousness because they will be credited to us. That means there is hope for those who respond to His call upon their lives.

        There is another thing in our passage that involves the convicting work of the Holy Spirit in peoples lives. Through the activity of the Holy Spirit people become aware of the reality that Judgement and condemnation is coming. Sure, we joke about hell and may even use it as a derogatory term in everyday language. One of the Holy Spirit’s main purposes is to convict and remind people of the approaching judgment.

        The great news is, as I have mentioned before, that He does not leave us with that fearful truth and watch us struggle and be tormented with that knowledge. He teaches us that, by dying on the cross, Jesus satisfied the justice of God against sin. Satan and sin have already been judged and all that remains is for the final death sentence to be carried out.

        Thankfully, the Holy Spirit is also at work in the lives of the believers as well. In fact, he is more active in the believer than the unbeliever and several ways are found right here in our passages. We will also look and a couple of other important ways found elsewhere in the Bible.

        In chapter 14 verse 17 it says that “he lives with you and will be in you.” Here we discover that He lives inside every believer. There are no exceptions. Whoever has the Son has the Spirit. Verse 13 of chapter 16 tells us that, “he will guide you into all the truth.” He is with us in order to give direction to our lives through the Word of God by helping us to see the ways of God, and the will of God.

        In Ephesians 5:18 we read, “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit,The filling of the Holy Spirit gives believers not only His presence but also His power which enables us to serve the Lord in a way that brings the most glory to God. This is a command, and it is given in the sense that we are to continue being filled with the Spirit! Not just whenever we need an extra dose of spiritual energy or power, but continually.

          We are not filled with the Spirit for our own benefit or to glorify ourselves. We need to remember that the Holy Spirit’s main purpose is to point people to Christ. Any ministry that focuses more of their attention on the power of the Holy Spirit is missing the whole point of His coming. Any Spirit filled ministry will always be lifting up Jesus and testifying about His saving work.

          When we see the power of the Holy Spirit at work in the lives of Jesus’ disciples what do we see? Acts 1:8 tells us what that empowerment will look like, But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” And that is exactly what happened”. We read about a group of terrified men who were hiding in an upper room. When the Holy Spirit came upon them, he stayed with them, and transformed them into a group who took the world by storm. Yes, they performed many signs, but like Jesus, those were just to confirm the message and were not an end in themselves. It is very important for believers in today’s world to know  that wherever the spirit is present, Christ’s name alone, will be proclaimed, and He will be magnified.

          The Spirit’s continual presence in the believer’s life brings to us the benefit of His ministry of encouragement. As we go through life’s trials, He is able to support us because He has also faced all of life’s difficult times in the person of Jesus. This is His promise in Hebrews 5:13 when He says, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

          I think by now I have made the point of these passages abundantly clear. The Holy Spirit is a wonderful gift. Now, I want to point out three awesome truths from our first passage in John chapter 14 that show just how great a gift He really is.

          First in verse 17 we are told that He is present with us ‘forever’. Think about it, there is no where we can go and find ourselves separated from the presence of God. We experience His imminent presence by simply yielding our lives to Christ. This means we repent of anxious worrying and instead trust God with our cares. This is actually a command in the Bible. It is found in Philippians 4:6-7, Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. By yielding to Him, He won’t just be in us but will also be able to live through us.

          In verse 16 we have noted that the moment a person is saved the Holy Spirit comes to live permanently with them by the grace of God. This truth is made even more wonderful when we read Ephesians 4:30 which says, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. This indwelling is there until our life on earth is over.

          This truth of being permanently indwelt by the Holy Spirit disputes one of the most confusing teachings that is well known in some churches. Some churches teach that if a person sins after being saved then they lose their salvation and also the Holy Spirit. But nothing could be further from the truth! We have learned that the Bible teaches that yes, we can quench the Spirit and also grieve the Spirit. But according to Ephesians 4:3 which we quoted earlier the Holy Spirit is sealed inside believers and 2 Timothy 2:13 promises that, if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself. The truth is you cannot escape from the Holy Spirit because He lives in you as a constant guarantee that you belong to God.

          Also, in verse 16 we find that the Holy Spirit is the most active in our day to day lives. Believers depend upon him the most. I would like to encourage my brothers and sisters that, instead of ignoring Him, let’s celebrate this wonderful gift we have been given by allowing Him to live through us as we seek to serve the Lord.

 

So, in conclusion let me ask you, where does this message find you today?

 

          Are you struggling with sin in your life? Maybe you know that you are a sinner and that if your where to die you would find yourself in Hell. Let me say that those thoughts are the Holy Spirit speaking to you. My challenge to you this morning is to run and fall at the feet of Jesus admitting that you need Him and that only He can save you.

 

          Maybe you are already saved, but you are still trying to live your own life with your own power and energy. I would also challenge you to run back to Jesus and confess your sins. His promise is that he will forgive you and use you again for His glory.

 

          Or maybe you are already saved but are struggling with hardships and difficulties in your life. My challenge to you is that you would also run to Jesus and lay all of your cares and concerns before Him. And the One who says that he cares for you will come beside you in the person of the Holy Spirit and carry you through these difficult times.

          So, wherever the Lord finds you this morning please know that you do not have to remain there. Allow Jesus to do His great work in you by coming to Him in humility and repentance. Come and experience the great gift from the One who has given the gift of the Holy Spirit.