John 16:1-15, “Beach Talk”
Do not fall away; I, Jesus Christ, am here for you!
How has your year been? Mine, not so well….. Sick, almost lost home, robbed, swindled by a friend, cheated by another, then in ministry churches burned, people killed, financial problems… But my point is not woe is me; rather, Our great comfort, no matter what, what we go through, what we fear, Christ is here and He sends His Holy Spirit to indwell in us. How great is that!
The precepts of our Lord are not just for academic, they are meant for our learning and growth as well as for spiritual nourishment, comfort, and hope and thus real tires on the road life.
Why, they are not just for study and pew-sitting, because we need their reality, their veracity. Why? We will be hurt, we will be persecuted, kicked out of prideful churches, unjustly fired from jobs, hated by family members, and any one by those who hate Jesus-who want to live their lives their way and do as they see fit.
Those of the devil will attack us, they want to get rid of the good people whose hearts are after Christ and whose wills are surrendered to God’s. They hate us, them because they love sin and we are Christ’s ambassadors; thus, they want you gone and dead so their arrogant, full and puffed-up selves can live and lead the way, because they do not know the One, True God.
Q: Have you ever considered that you may be persecuted, lose a job you like, kicked out of your church, lose a friend, or perhaps even lose your life through the people who are prideful? How does this make you feel?
So, be warned and take comfort that even when it does not look like it, God is in charge. He is! And, who you are in Christ and what you have in Him is far greater than anything you can lose here on earth. All this is temporary, but Christ and our place in Him are eternal. He tells us here in John 16, I will send you the Great Counselor, the Holy Spirit to teach you the Truth, lead, direct, inspire, comfort, and help you. He will help you convince others of me and for me, of God and His righteousness and the judgment to come. Thus, even in these harsh times, you will prevail to give Christ the Glory!
One of the striking key words in this passage is this, Service to God. It seems benign; yet, in the context is that when we are being persecuted, it is a way of worshiping God in the extreme, the honor of living and even dying for His sake (Isa. 66:5).
Yes, this is harsh, yet it is God’s kindness too. It was disturbing to the Disciples and to us what Jesus had to do for us! If Jesus had not lived to fulfill the Law and then died as a sacrifice to redeem us, we would be doomed because there would be no Gospel (Matt. 1:21; John 14:16-26).
So, our Hope to get through it all, so we do not get depressed, give up, or snap, rage, flip out, exit stage left….We have the Counselor / Helper / Advocate / Paraclete. The Holy Spirit, who is like a legal representative who helps by coming alongside, who consoles or comforts, strengthens and advocates for you.
The Holy Spirit who comes alongside us as our Comforter, which is the role model for our actions too.
The Holy Spirit is also the “successor” of Christ walking the earth, but not a replacement. He helps to carry on the work of our Lord in and through us. The Holy Spirit is also our Advocate who defends us, like in a heavenly court where Satan is the prosecutor, God is the merciful Judge, and Christ pays our penalty.
He also illuminates our minds, prompts our prayers, shows us the opportunities, and inspires our messages as we connect Christ to others in our encounters. Tells us, yes you can, you can do it!
He will….Convict / reprove. Meaning He will expose the facts, show fault, or tell someone real truth to be set right when they are doing something wrong and to summon him/her to repentance. One of the prime roles of the Holy Spirit is to illuminate Jesus to people so they can know of His existence, work, and saving grace. He is the prime testifier of Christ to the world and we are the vessels He uses to accomplish God’s purpose (John 3:16-18; 15:22-24; Rom. 1:18-28).
The Holy Spirit convicts, Guilt, exposes sin, and prepares people to receive Jesus. Because of Christ, we are not condemned; but, those who refuse Him will be. It is the world that is on trial; how the verdict goes is how we plead. If we plead the Blood of the Lamb and accept His grace, we are found not guilty, because He paid the fine that we can’t ever possibly pay (1 Cor. 2:10).
Q: Do you feel that you have been warned about trials and tribulations? How can you take comfort that even when it does not look like it, God is in charge?
When we are going through tough times, we may think, God does not care, he just has His favorites and I am not one of them, He is not as powerful as the Bible proclaims, or He just has given up on me, on America, on the Church. But, even though we may feel that way, these doubts are just not true.
What does this all come down to? We can Bear. Meaning more than you can presently comprehend or know. The Devil may bring charges against us, but God sends His Spirit as our defense (Matt. 5:22).
Q: What would it mean to you to be more empowered by God’s love through all situations and circumstances?
He will Guide. This is not about science and knowledge; rather, it involves preparation for faith by His lead and command. We are to have a trusting and prayerful dependence on the Holy Spirit, for He inspired the Word in its inception and inspires us now in our understating and application of it. In fact, we can’t properly grasp or apply His Word without His guidance in it (John 14:26; 15:26; 2 Peter 1:21; Eph. 4:18; Rev. 1:19).
This essence of who God is and what He did must pour into us from Christ and then stream out of us so we can touch others with God’s love.
This love is the definitive work of our God and the power we have as Christians. We are to be empowered by God’s love through all situations and circumstances, through our joys and moods, fears and opportunities. Then, we can practice the true love that we are given, which is the turning of our backs to what we want and our concerns and instead facing forward to others. This requires us to surrender our will to His.
Our partnership with God through faith is demonstrated by substance and connection. It is confirmed in how we choose to live our lives and touch others for Christ. It shows how our character, from our spiritual formation, is applied. If we ignore our brothers and sisters in the Lord or those in the world who are in need while we boast we are in Him, what good is our faith? Our pious demonstrations would be ineffectual, and even detrimental to others. Faith is not a substance meant to stand unused; rather, it is to be employed and infused by Christ (Luke 3:21; John 1:32-34; 3:34; Acts 1-21 John 3:16-20)!
And a closing thought, How can you allow the essence of who God is, pour into you, and then stream out so you can touch others with God’s love?