This is the manuscript for the sermon I preached at West Bradenton Baptist Southside on Sunday, March 1, 2020.
For the past couple of weeks, we have looked at Jesus’ introduction of the Holy Spirit to the Disciples in his farewell discourse found in John 14. He speaks in this passage about the Father sending another Counselor (Advocate, Helper, Comforter) or more simply the Holy Spirit who will come to encourage, empower and exhort the disciples when He leaves this world. He tells them this so when he is gone, they can be assured that they will not be left alone but the Holy Spirit will come and dwell or manifest himself to them.
Today we are going to continue in the Gospel of John and look at today’s passage (John 15:26 – 16:33) where Jesus will send the spirit and testifies of him likens our joy in the persecution, suffering and tribulations to the pains and joys of childbirth. Our general theme for today is: Through sorrow and pain Jesus overcame the world and since Jesus overcame the world, we too may experience joy, peace and victory in our times of turmoil and suffering in our lives today. And this is attainable through the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
The Holy Spirit
In John chapter 15 Jesus has been speaking on the theme of love. He commands his disciples to love one another, love God, abide in Him and keep his commands. Since we love Jesus and abide in him the world (the godless system that is in direct rebellion to God) will ultimately hate us and hate him and the worldly people will eventually kill Him. He encourages his disciples to remain strong and to continue to love one another because when He is gone, they will be left on their own… Well not completely.
15:26 – 27: Jesus speaks about the Holy Spirit at the conclusion chapter 15 and reminds the disciples about the ongoing work the Holy Spirit in our lives. The Spirit is called the Counselor and his job will be to help the believer by abiding in him, teaching him all things and bearing witness of Jesus. The Spirit will guide believers in truth, He will glorify Jesus and He will declare to all what belongs to Him.
Vs. 5 – 7: Jesus reminds the disciples to not be full of sorrow because his departure from this world is not the end. His departure is for his glory and ultimately for our benefit, because in his absence the Spirit will be present in each believer and the result will be Jesus glorified through us by the Holy Spirit. If Jesus does not depart, then the Holy Spirit will not come and abide in the believer.
Vs. 8 – 11 : But when the Spirit comes he will convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgment. There are at least two views on what it means that the Spirit will convict the world of sin. The first (and what I think is most probable) refers to those who are in rebellion to God and how some will be convicted of the sins by the Holy Spirit and thus called to repentance. Francis Chan writes in his book FORGOTTEN GOD, “The Holy Spirit convicts’ people of sin. He does this both before we initially enter into right relationship with God and as we journey through this life as believers.”
The second view suggests that the Spirit will expose the guilt of world to the sin of unbelief. He will prove the world guilty because of their unbelief. I like what New Testament scholar Leon Morris writes, “The Spirit shows men (and no-one else can do this) that their righteousness before God depends not on their own efforts but on Christ’s atoning work for them”
The Holy Spirit also convicts the world concerning judgment where the world is judged guilty because the ruler of the world (Satan) has been judged guilty and condemned.
Vs. 12 – 14: Jesus has more things to say, but he cannot share these things now because they could not bear them at this moment. This tells us that Jesus was going to continue to speak and reveal after his departure (at least to the disciples). And in time the Holy Spirit will speak to them and guide them to the truths that they should know. When the time is right Jesus will reveal to the Spirit what needs to be known and the Spirit will reveal to us what Jesus has revealed to Him.
Then we see that ultimately the job of the Holy Spirit is to glorify Jesus Christ. The purpose of the Holy Spirit is not to draw attention to ourselves and make us look good and attractive, His job is to exalt Jesus and show his goodness to all. Francis Chan writes, “A sure sign of the Holy Spirit's working is that Christ is magnified, not people.”
Your Sorrow Turned to Joy
Vs 16 – 24: In a little while Jesus will not be seen by anyone. Then in a little while he will be seen once again. This probably refers to the death of Jesus and his post resurrection appearances. In his death he will be seen no more. In his resurrection he will appear once again to the disciples AND he will also be seen at his second coming.
However, for the time being the disciples will weep and lament over the loss of their Lord, leader and teacher. His death will bring great sadness among the disciples. Just as we mourn the loss of a loved one to death who was a believer, even though we know we will be reacquainted with that person in eternity. The world will not be sad, in fact they will rejoice over his death. Their hatred was so strong against Jesus and the Father that when Jesus is finally put to death the world will not be able to contain their enthusiasm and rejoicing.
Yet Jesus says in his departure (death) their sorrow will turn to joy. In his death, resurrection and eventual ascension the plan of redemption will be complete. Through his death sin can be forgiven, eternal life can be given, and true joy, peace and freedom can be found to those who believe in faith and commit their lives to Jesus Christ.
Ultimately the result will be joy amid mourning, suffering and persecution… just like the joy of childbirth. I am certain that any woman who has gone through the pain of childbirth actually enjoyed in the moment the pain involved. However, the outcome is a beautiful life that has the potential to bring inexplicable joy to the parent(s). Isn’t it nice to know we are all the product of someone’s pain?
I don’t believe Jesus is giving a case for all suffering leading to happiness. Some suffering does in fact lead to much pain. I think Jesus is telling the disciples that joy can be found amid suffering. The same goes for us today we may be miserable, in pain and suffering but we can still have joy in us that is given by Jesus. It is when we keep our eyes on the prize (in this case it’s Jesus) we will get through the difficulties in life. What is best about this joy is that it is given by Jesus and he promises that nobody (no human) can take that joy from us.
I Have Overcome the World
Vs. 25 – 33: Jesus tells the disciples that he has been speaking figuratively up to this point. A time is coming when he will not have to speak figuratively, but he can speak plainly for them to understand. It is suggested that Jesus is talking about the coming of the Holy Spirit and some have suggested he is talking about his post resurrection appearance (Acts 1:3) where he speaks to them openly about the Kingdom of God.
Regardless, the time is coming when his death will cause the disciples to scatter abroad and go back to their everyday lives. We see this is the case after Jesus is crucified many of the disciples went back to their old ways of life. He has told the disciples all the things he has so they may have peace in the time of turmoil that is coming up. The reality is persecution is on the horizon. The trials and tribulations the disciples will face will not come to an end once Jesus is crucified. In fact, this is just the beginning. During this time of persecution, the disciples may feel alone and abandoned but peace will come to them through the Holy Spirit because this peace is grounded in the fact that Jesus has overcome the world. The world will cause great persecution and trials, but Jesus tells the disciples to have courage and know he has overcome the world. The world has no power over them.
I take this to be a promise for all Christians. The Apostle John writes in his epistle and in Revelation about Christians being overcomers. Four times in his Epistle (Read I John 2:13, 14, 4:4 & 5:4) he reminds the believer that he/she has also overcome the world because we are born of God. In Revelation 3:21 Jesus gives a promise to those who are overcomers (conquerors) will be given the right to sit with Him on His throne.
As believers we need continual reminding about the fact that we are overcomers… We are victorious in this life because of Jesus and through the abiding of the Holy Spirit in us. The world has no hold on us, and we are not slaves to this world. Thus, I believe that since we are overcomers we need to live as overcomers. The words Jesus speaks to us show that there is nothing the world can do to take away our joy. It can and certainly will try it’s hardest to beat us down, try to cause us to doubt, and take away a joy that cannot be taken away so let us start living as victorious Christians. Let us acknowledge and believe that in turmoil, pain, suffering, and persecution that through the indwelling Holy Spirit in us, joy can be found. Let this truth also be our foundation. Of course, we live in a time of uncertainty, violence, godlessness, a moralism and turmoil and this should not affect our lives in the least. We have overcome the world because we belong to God, the Spirit abides in us and He is the ultimate victor thus enabling us to live victorious lives as well.
Chan, Francis (2009) Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit (Kindle Location 18). Kindle Edition.
Biblical Studies Press. (2006; 2006). The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible. Biblical Studies Press.
 Chan, Francis (2009) Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit (Kindle Location 572). Kindle Edition.
Jeff has been in full-time ministry for thirty years. He currently serves as Executive Director at Anchor House Ministry at SeaPort Manatee in Palmetto, FL and he is a part-time Campus Pastor at West Bradenton Southside in Bradenton, Florida.
Jeff Has authored A Lent Devotional (A Spiritual Journey to Lent) an Advent Devotional (The Advent of Jesus) and a devotional on the book of James (James: Where Faith and Life Meet). All three are available on Amazon.
He is married to Carrie and they have four children, Micaiah, Gabe, Simon, and Berea.
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