This is the manuscript for the sermon I preached at West Bradenton Baptist Southside on Sunday February 16, 2020.
Today we are continuing in our new series titled “The Holy Spirit”. There is so much written in the Bible about the Holy Spirit and yet it is a topic we seem to shy away from. The Spirit plays a significant role in the transformative life and church and yet so many neglects to acknowledge the importance of the Holy Spirit in our lives and churches. Last week we spent some time searching the Bible to answer the question… “What or who is the Holy Spirit?” The sermon is online now, and you can listen to it through our Facebook page or I can give you a physical copy of my manuscript from the sermon.
Today and next week we are going to spend some time parking in John chapter 14 where Jesus talks about the Holy Spirit and His purpose. In this passage Jesus’s actions are much like a parent preparing for leaving his children “home alone”, if you will, as he departs from this earth. His crucifixion is looming on the horizon and he has been giving his disciples instructions on how they should continue in him even after his departure from this world. As He prepares to leave this world Jesus is not going to abandon them or leave them orphaned when he does go. He ensures his followers that he will leave them fully equipped, well cared for and even though he will not be present with them physically, he will remain with them spiritually.
(Read John 14:15 - 21)
This is the first of many times Jesus specifically mentions the Holy Spirit. Up to this point he has referenced the Spirit very little, but in this “The Upper Room Discourse” Jesus introduces to his disciple the promise of another Counselor. In this passage He introduces them to the Holy Spirit (the Greek word paraclete) and the role He will play in the lives of believers.
Verse 15: In the previous verses Jesus gave the disciples the charge to love one another, to believe, to obey and to pray in his name. He speaks of the future and how after his departure from this world the disciples will do even greater things than they have witnessed up to this point.
In verse 15 He reminds his followers that if they truly love Him then they would obey his commands. If you go back to John chapter 13:34 Jesus gives a new command, ““I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another.” This was a command to love one another as Jesus had loved them (by loving them sacrificially.) He reminds them that words are empty if love is not practiced and obedience to Jesus is the sure sign of love. This is not a works based “if” and “then” kind of love and commitment. It is a “since you love me, you will keep my commandments” kind of commitment.
Verse 16, 17: Since the commandments are kept by his followers THEN Jesus will ask the Father to send another Counselor (or advocate) to be with them forever. This certainly was not a carrot he was dangling before them; this was a promise. The word translated in the Christian Standard Bible “Counselor”, or other versions call Him the “Helper” (ESV & NLT), “Advocate” (NIV), or “Comforter” (KJV) is the Greek word “paraclete” and is the Transliteration of a Greek word meaning “one who is called to someone’s aid” or “one who advocates for another… The Paraclete, also called “the Spirit of truth,” will lead them into all truth and aid them in their ability to recall correctly Jesus’ message. He is to become their special replacement for the departed Lord.” This is the “role”, if you will, of the Holy Spirit.
I find it interesting to note that Jesus is the original Paraclete’. If you notice Jesus says that the Father will send another Counselor. The Counselor or as Jesus calls him the Spirit of truth will be given by the Father and He will remain with the disciples forever. Obviously, Jesus will not and could not be with the disciples physically for much longer (this is the reason why he is giving this discourse) and even after his resurrection he is only going to be with them for a short time before he ascends to the Father. Through this promise of the Holy Spirit (or Spirit of Truth) we come to understand that through the Holy Spirit Jesus will dwell in or be in all who believe in him.
If you recall from last week I mentioned one of the challenges people have in trying to understand the Holy Spirit is that the world cannot know the Spirit of truth because world system is against God, it has no care for the works of the Spirit. Turn to I Cor. 2:14 and see that this passage tells us that a person who is godless (an unbeliever) cannot understand nor comprehend spiritual things. “But the person without the Spirit does not receive what comes from God’s Spirit, because it is foolishness to him; he is not able to understand it since it is evaluate] spiritually.” The unbeliever cannot receive what comes from God because it is folly or foolishness to them. However, those of us who do abide in and obey Jesus Christ can and do have the Spirit dwelling in us and we can understand and comprehend what comes from the Spirit because we have the mind of Christ in us.
This does not mean the Spirit has no role in the unbeliever’s life. We know this to be true because none of us can be called Christians if it weren’t so. The scripture tells us that the Spirit is the one who calls or awakens the dead man or woman to Christ and draws himself to the sinner. John chapter 16 shows us that the Spirit is the one who draws us to Jesus.
It is here in John 14:16, 17 that Jesus speaks of the one who remains in the world and cannot see the Spirit at work because he cannot humanly comprehend the Spirit and the Spirit has not enlightened him. But the one who believes in Jesus not only knows and comprehends the work of the Spirit, he receives the Spirit and the Spirit abides in Him forever.
Verse 18: It is in this verse that Jesus assures the disciples that they will not be left alone once He is gone. He will not abandon or leave the believers ill equipped. After his death and resurrection, the Spirit will be given to them (which we see right before Jesus ascends to heaven and at Pentecost when multiple disciples receive the Spirit). Jesus gives his disciples comfort in the truth that when he goes away, they will not be left to fend for themselves. He tells them that He is coming back to them and there are three ways this has/could be interpreted.
Verse 19: “In a little while…” is a reference to Jesus’ impending death. In a short period of time he will be handed over to the authorities and he will be crucified on the cross. This absolutely must happen; Jesus must give up his life so God’s plan of redemption can be complete. When he departs from this world, he will no longer be visible to the outside world. However, as people who obey his commands and believe in Him (Christians) they we will see him again. He will not only physically appear to the disciple’s post resurrection several times, but he also makes a promise that when he rises again, they will also receive the resurrection of life.
Since Jesus is alive, and as a result we are as well. His death and resurrection are for God’s glory and our benefit. In his departure we not only receive the Spirit; we also receive life eternal.
Verse 20: At the time when he reveals himself (both physically and through the coming of the Spirit) the disciples will then know that Jesus and the Father are one. They will have an “aha” moment where all becomes crystal clear regarding his teachings of the unity of Father and Son. Not only will they know the Father and Son are one, but they will also know that those who are in Christ are also unified in Him.
Verse 21: This is the promise Jesus makes… The ones who keep and obey Jesus’ commandments will show their love for him AND the one who loves Jesus will also be loved by the Father.
This promise Jesus makes to the disciples about not abandoning them and through giving the Spirit was not a one time offer for the disciples only. This promise is still available for us today. As followers of Jesus we, unfortunately, do not have the privilege of walking with a physical Jesus at our side. However, we have the Holy Spirit in us which we know is even more beneficial than having a physical Jesus on earth. Through the Holy Spirit Jesus resides in all who have placed their faith in him and obey his commands. We know from the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 6:19 that we are the new Temple in which the Holy Spirit lives. It is our bodies which serve as the Temple of the Spirit. Being that the Spirit lives in us we need to remember the words of Jesus in John 14:12, ““Truly I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do. And he will do even greater works than these, because I am going to the Father.” This is Jesus’ promise that we will do far greater works when we receive the Holy Spirit. We are blessed individuals. We not only have the promise of life both here and for all eternity, we also have the Spirit of truth or the Holy Spirit in us. Jesus abides in us; he is here today and through his Spirit we can and will do great things in his name and for his glory. What those “far greater things” are, we can only wait and see as we pray for the Holy Spirit to move in our lives, and in our church so that we can be a church who is Spirit-filled and Spirit-led.
 Elwell, W. A., & Comfort, P. W. (2001). In Tyndale Bible dictionary (p. 990). Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.
Jeff has been in ministry for well over two decades. He currently serves as Campus Pastor at West Bradenton Baptist Southside Campus in Bradenton, Florida.
Jeff Has authored an Advent Devotional (The Advent of Jesus) and a devotional on the book of James (James: Where Faith and Life Meet). Both are available on Amazon.
He is married to Carrie and they have four children, Micaiah, Gabe, Simon, and Berea.
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