The Spirit of truth! – John 16:1-15
By Pastor Lee Hemen
November 8, 2015
Contrary to popular opinion, truth is not relative. Truth is truth and sometimes it can be hard to swallow, especially if one is caught in a lie. Yet there are those who hate the truth because it exposes them for what they are, phonies. Christians are to live by the truth no matter what the consequences. In fact, we are to be guided by the truth. Not like the mother who invited the neighbors to dinner and asked her son to pray over the meal. Being a bit shy, because he was put on the spot by his mom, the son lamented, “I don’t know what to say!” His mother encouraged, “Just say what you heard your father say at breakfast.” Obediently the little boy bowed his head and repeated, “Oh Lord, we’ve got those awful people coming over for dinner!”
Jesus continued here in John’s gospel to relate exactly what the Holy Spirit’s job would be in the life of a believer. He relates that more than just a comforter or encourager, the Spirit would be the one who would help his disciples to speak the truth concerning Jesus. In fact, he would be the Spirit of truth. Let’s discover what that means for our lives this morning…
READ: John 16:1-15
In today’s world we discover so many who are aggressively against Christianity. Why does the world hate believers so much? John tells us that it is because…
I. Evil hates the Spirit of Truth! (John 16:1-4 NIV)
All this I have told you so that you will not go astray. They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God. They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. I have told you this, so that when the time comes you will remember that I warned you. I did not tell you this at first because I was with you.
1. Jesus knew his followers would face persecution simply because they would follow him and so he confesses to them, “All this I have told you so that you will not go astray.” Jesus was not fooled; he knew it would be tough on his disciples after he had gone back to the right hand of God in heaven. And he tells them the truth that he knew as soon as they declared themselves his disciples “They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God.” We see this occurring today with Islam and how it treats believers in its midst and we find it socially where if a believer states they disagree with homosexuality or gay marriage they are shunned, sued, or deemed as fanatical. Evil folks want their evil to be seen as good and want to hide the truth. Isaiah prophetically told his listeners thousands of years before Jesus, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” (Isaiah 5:20 NIV) And Paul would later write, “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.” (1 Corinthians 13:6 NIV) Jesus continued his discourse by relating to the disciples that the ungodly world “will do such things because they have not known the Father or me.” Those who profess godliness but have not trusted Jesus do not know God at all and so they become angered at those who do and therefore hate them because the truth of their own disobedience is exposed. Jesus goes on to tell them, “I have told you this, so that when the time comes you will remember that I warned you. I did not tell you this at first because I was with you.” Evil hates the Spirit of Truth!
EXAMPLE: It has often perplexed me why those who often need God the most reject him the most. Paul reminds us that, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:4 NIV) In fact “the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18 NIV) Paul goes on to state that “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:14 NIV) We need to remember that if they hated Jesus, they will hate us as well because evil hates godliness. Evil hates the Spirit of Truth!
I am glad that when and if I ever need to go to court I can have an advocate, legal assistance to help me with my case before the court. And what is truly glorious is the fact that the Supreme Judge of all things has provided all of his children with such a heavenly advocate, especially when we are before his court! John relates that…
II. The Spirit of Truth is our counselor! (John 16:5-11 NIV)
Now I am going to him who sent me, yet none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ Because I have said these things, you are filled with grief. But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.
1. Jesus was saddened because he had to go through what he had to do in order to save the world from its sin. And he was saddened because his friends, those he had chosen personally, would have to watch and experience it as well, but there was hope in what would seem a hopeless situation. And so readily confesses to them, “Now I am going to him who sent me, yet none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?'” Jesus was headed back to his rightful place and he was following the plan of God, yet none of his disciples could understand and they were filled with their own grief that they would be separated from Jesus. In a moment Jesus would tell them, “I tell you the truth; you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.” (John 16:20 NIV) And in fact no one would be able to rob them of their joy! (v. 22) Jesus relates to them the reason this has to happen, “But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” Counselor is the Greek word paraklētos used to describe legal assistants who would plead legal cases! All of Jesus’ disciples, even those of us today, would never be separated from him again because his presence and power is now expressed in the existence and manifestation of the Spirit of Truth in our lives! The wonderful and gracious truth Jesus tells them is that “When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.” The Spirit of Truth’s presence in the lives of Jesus’ followers would do the convicting of those who do not believe and would now judge the world for its sin. And now Satan and those who continue to not believe in Jesus are exposed for their lie because of the Spirit of Truth! The Spirit of Truth is our counselor!
EXAMPLE: We often misunderstand the grace of God in our lives. It is not some mystical magical mysterious thing. The grace of God is the presence of God now manifested in our lives through the Spirit of truth. Where people had to make sacrifice after sacrifice and continually try to prove their love for God by doing good works, we now enjoy the presence of God simply because of Jesus when we trust him with our lives. That is the only sacrifice God requires–ourselves. This is why John began his gospel by telling us that “to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God–children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. (John 1:12-13 NIV) Paul would say, “For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” (Romans 8:13-16 NIV) We have peace with God because of Jesus and we have the presence of God because of his Spirit. The Spirit of Truth is our counselor!
We live in a world of sarcasm and doubt. So much so we do not trust our leaders, our teachers, our parents, our bosses, or just about anyone; even God! Yet we can trust Jesus and we can trust there is a God who loves us and has provided for us. How do I know this to be true? John tells us that…
III. We know God because we know the Spirit of truth! (John 16:12-15 NIV)
I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all 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. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.
1. Can you imagine never experiencing the Spirit of Truth in one’s life and now being told they would continually from now on? How was this possible? What would he do exactly and how would he do it? I am sure these were some of the questions that popped into the minds of the disciples. Jesus therefore tells them, “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.” What they did not fully comprehend was that he would have to suffer, die, and be buried in a cold dark tomb. Yet there would follow his resurrection and his ascension as well! However he now gives them words of hope and joy. They would not have to worry because “when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.” The truth of God is Jesus Christ. The truth the world needs is Jesus Christ. The truth that needs to be shared with a sin-darkened world is Jesus Christ! And believers have the Sprit of truth to guide them in all truth! All the truth concerning Jesus, who he is, why he came, and what they are to do. In fact, “He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” We often get anxious concerning what will happen before it does happen. What if this, what if that, what if the world gets hit by an asteroid! When Jesus would die and be buried, many of his own followers would wonder what in the world is going to happen now. Yet, they would need to trust just as we do this morning, that Jesus has amply provided us with the Spirit of truth for every contingency in life. We often forget that everything we do in life is to bring glory and honor to God through Jesus. This is why he now relates to his followers, “He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you.” All of Jesus will be ours and we bring glory to him because of the Spirit of truth! How is this possible? Simple, Jesus tells us the truth, “All that belongs to the Father is mine.” Just as the Spirit of truth proceeds from God so does he give those who have trusted him everything that is his! A godly parent always wants to share the very best with his children and so it is with God the Father through Jesus and the Spirit of truth, “That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.” We know God and we know Jesus because he has given those of us who know him his Spirit of truth! We know God because we know the Spirit of truth!
EXAMPLE: I am often baffled by believers who live in constant spiritual bewilderment. Here’s what I mean: They are never certain if they are truly God’s or not. Let me put your doubt and fears to rest dear child of God, if you have trusted Jesus you have the Sprit of truth in your life. This is why Paul would write, “Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” (2 Corinthians 1:21-22 NIV) And he continued by stating that “you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession–to the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:13-14 NIV) We know God because we know the Spirit of truth!
Evil hates the Spirit of Truth! The Spirit of Truth is our counselor! We know God because we know the Spirit of truth!
This article is copyrighted © 2015 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.