I want us to look at John 13, 14, 15, and 16, because I feel that this is a very important section of Scripture. There are many parts of Scripture that are very precious to the Christian. Some, obviously, are more endearing than others. But in my own life, and from my own standpoint, this I think is the most precious portion of the Word of God of all; John 13 to 16. It is because it has a lot of pathos, and it has a lot of emotion, a lot of sympathy, a lot of love. But more than that, because it is the legacy of Jesus Christ to His children, to His disciples, to His followers, to those of us who know and love Him. And as we mentioned to you last time, the last will and testament of Christ to His disciples certainly should be of great significance to us. When we realize that Jesus Christ, leaving this world, left us an incredible legacy, it’s going to enrich our lives to such a great extent that it behooves us to understand and appropriate these things that are in this passage. You’d have to say that these are the Christians’ most treasured possessions.
Now, you remember that John 13, 14, 15, and 16 all takes place at one time, in the upper room the night before Jesus was taken prisoner and crucified. This is His last time with His disciples. The first 12 chapters of John’s gospel deal with Jesus’ ministry to the broad area of Israel. Chapters 13 to 16 of John deal with Jesus’ ministry to the disciples, chapter 17, with His prayer to the Father, and chapter 18 and following, His death and resurrection. And so in this, the heart of this particular ministry of Christ to His disciples, is all unfolded here in John 13 to 16 as we see Him give promises to His own; promises that extend beyond those men to all who ever named the name of Christ.
He has announced to them that He’s going to die, and that’s a blow, and they’re very sorrowful; in the 16th chapter and the 6th verse, He says, “Sorrow has filled your heart because of what I’ve said to you.” Now, these disciples had put all of their confidence in Christ. They’d put all of their trust in Him, and I don’t mean that in a spiritual sense only. I mean that in a physical sense as well, and in an emotional sense, and even in an economic sense. They had trusted in Him for every single thing in their existence, and now He is announcing to them that He is leaving them. But He quickly says, “I have a legacy that I want to leave you.” This becomes the inheritance of every Christian who ever lives. This is the thing that Jesus designed to encourage the hearts of His disciples, to strengthen them in the time of great sorrow and great stress, as they would see Him taken prisoner and crucified.
Now, I mentioned last time, five out of the ten that I want to mention to you that are the legacy of Jesus to His children. The first thing that He left us is the proof of love, and that’s in chapter 13. He left us the proof of love. At the end of verse 1 in 13, it says that “He loved His own which were in the world unto perfection.” He loved them totally, and He wanted them to know He loved them, because they might feel that, because He was leaving, He was somewhat indifferent to their need. That He would have to be a little bit detached in order to leave them in such a dire circumstance without any resource. And so He wants them to now that isn’t at all the truth, but, indeed, He loves them, and He loves them to perfection. And so He, in John 13, washes their feet as a sign of His love to them, as a symbol of His love to them, He stoops to serve them in the most low kind of servitude that could be imagined. And He says, “Now, that’s love, and that’s the way I want you to love each other, with that kind of condescending service.” And so He gave them that beautiful proof of love.
But further in John 15 verse 12, you’ll remember, we studied verses 12 to 14 briefly, just pinpointing 13, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are My friends.” Jesus is here again proving His love by saying, “Now, the greatest love that a man could ever have for anybody would be to have him sacrifice his life for that person.” And Jesus says this, so that when He does it, they’ll remember that He said it, and see that is, indeed, an act of love. And so by the foot washing of John 13, and by the statement that “No greater love could anybody have than to die for his friends,” Jesus proves His love. He loves us.
The second thing that Jesus left as a legacy was not only the proof of love, but the hope of Heaven, chapter 14. He said, “I’m going away, but I’ll be back to get you, and I’m going to take you to a place that I’m now preparing for you. So stop letting your heart be troubled. If you trust God, you can trust Me.” And there’s a statement of His equality with God. “I’m going away to get your room ready in the Father’s house.” And so He promised them the hope of Heaven.
The third thing that he promised them that we saw last time was the guarantee of power, in John 14:11 and 12. He says, “You’ve seen My works, and they’re proof enough of who I am. But verily, verily I say unto you” – John 14:12 – “he that believes on Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater than these shall he do, because I go unto My Father.” Here is the promise or the guarantee of power. That because He goes to the Father, we and the disciples, primarily in view here, will be able to do greater works than He did. And we discussed what that means. It doesn’t mean that we will do works that are greater in power, for there couldn’t be any greater power than the power of God. We won’t do any works that are greater in kind, because you can’t do anything greater in kind than raise the dead and create things, and that’s what He did.
But what He referred to here is that the extension of His power would be greater in terms of its spread than it had ever been during His ministry. The miracles of the early church were carried to a far broader area, geographically, than ever was done in the life of Jesus. And since that time, the miracle of transforming power and the act of salvation has been carried around the globe, and that’s what He had in mind. That just because I’m gone, it’s not going to make you impotent, but, rather, you’re going to be able to move out from here and extend the power of God to places it’s never touched in that way before – so the proof of love, the hope of Heaven, the guarantee of power.
And the fourth thing we saw last time was the assurance of supply – the assurance of supply, John 14:13, “Whatever you shall ask in My name, that will I do.” Fourteen says the same thing, “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” And here we find that Jesus is saying, “Look, I know it seems scary for Me to go, and you’re not going to have any resources, but let me hasten to add that you’ll have everything you need if you just ask for it.” And as we pointed out last time, prayer is the umbilical cord that connects us with the source of power, with the source of supply in Heaven. Christ has promised us that all things are ours. Paul echoed that when he said, “My God shall supply” – what – “all your needs according to His riches by Christ Jesus.” A great statement, “according to His riches,” not out of His riches, but according to it. He doesn’t give us out of; that is, a little piece of what He’s got. He gives us according to; in an equal measure to the supply does He give to meet the need. And so the promise of the Lord Jesus Christ, then, that we would have an assurance of supply, that we would never want for anything that was needful for us, but that we would have absolute supply. And that is to be gained to us by seeking the Father in prayer in order that, when He gives it, He may be glorified for having answered.
Then the fifth thing that we saw last time, and where we stopped, that the Lord gives us not only the proof of love, the hope of Heaven, the guarantee of power, the assurance of supply, but – and probably this has to be climactic, at least in that first five – the promise of the Holy Spirit. He says in verse 16 of chapter 14, “I will pray the Father, and He will give you another paraklētos, helper, supernatural helper, who will abide with you forever.” Verse 17 tells us who it is, “the Spirit of truth.” Verse 26: “But the Comforter, who is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name,” and here again, you have the same idea indicating the coming of the Holy Spirit to dwell within us for several reasons. We said last time that the Holy Spirit comes within us to empower us, Acts 1:8. “You shall receive power after the Spirit has come upon you.”
The Holy Spirit comes to comfort us. It talks about the comfort of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit comes to guarantee our inheritance. We have been given the earnest of the Spirit. The Spirit comes to seal our salvation. There are many things that the Spirit does. The gift of the Holy Spirit is given to us by Christ to equip us for the ministry that He calls us unto. So, as Christians, we are rich. We have the proof of love, the hope of Heaven, the guarantee of power, the assurance of supply, and the gift of the Holy Spirit. Now I want to give you the last five, and they’re very, very simple and very basic, and could be expanded much further than I’m going to this morning. I’m just going to barely touch the surface of them.
Number six, our Lord left us the possession of truth – the possession of truth. You know, it’s a frustrating world in which we live for the one who seeks for truth. I always think about the cynical response of Pilate, who said to Jesus, “What is truth?” He was at the point in his life where he was so wearied of the endeavor to find it that he had become cynical, and just was as if to say, “Ah, there is no truth.” The Bible talks about the fact that men seek the truth and never find it, that there is no end to the writing of books, but very little finding of the truth; that the philosophy of man is vain deceit. The struggle of man to uncover reality, and by that I mean the ultimate reality of destiny, of eternity, of origin, of salvation, of purpose, of being a part of some eternal continuum. All of that kind of truth is the thing that man so desperately searches for; that gnawing emptiness in his heart that can only be filled by knowing the reason for being. And yet Jesus gave us that.
Look at John, chapter 14, verse 17. In giving us the Spirit, it says, “even the Spirit of truth.” The Holy Spirit is inseparable from the truth, and when God gave us the Spirit – now mark it – when God gave us the Spirit, He gave us the resident truth teacher. The Spirit of God in the life of a believer is a subjective revealer of truth. That is, I mean subjective insofar as internally the Spirit of God leads us to the knowledge of truth. It’s a great, great reality, people, to know that the Lord Jesus Christ has granted to us a resident teacher of truth.
I want to draw you to 1 John for a minute, chapter 2 – 1 John, chapter 2, verse 20, and he’s comparing antichrists with true Christians here, showing the difference. But in verse 20, he zeroes in on one very basic difference, and there are several differences in verses 18 through 27. We’ll just pick out this one. The first difference is that true Christians, as opposed to antichrists, true Christians “have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.” We have an unction. The word in the Greek literally means ointment. We have an oil, an anointing, an unction. And that one is from the Holy One. From God Himself, from Christ, and you know, as a result of that, what? All things.
Now, that doesn’t mean all things in terms of all things in the universe, equal to God. First Corinthians 13:9 says, “Now we know in part; someday we’ll know as we are known.” So it isn’t the idea that we know everything there is to know, but that we know all things that pertain, to use Peter’s words, to life and godliness. We know all things necessary for understanding salvation and consequent behavior. We know all things needful to be known, because we have a resident truth teacher. Subjectively does He work on our conscience to bring our conscience into conformity to God’s truth.
Now notice verse 21. “I have written unto you because you know the truth.” Do you see it? And in the middle, he said, “Not because you don’t know the truth, but because you know it.” “I am writing to you” – now, watch this – “I am writing to you these things because you know the truth.” You say, “What’s the point of that?” You have the subjective truth teacher. Now watch. And now I am giving you the objective revelation, and the combination of both of those is equipping you. And it is only when you have – listen – it is only when you have the resident truth teacher that you are able to understand this, right? First Corinthians tells us that so very clearly in chapter 2. “The natural man cannot understand the things of God.” The only way we can understand the things of God is to have the Spirit of God. In 1 Corinthians, later on in 12, it says, “No man can even say Jesus is Lord but by the Spirit of God.”
So we have the resident truth teacher, John says, “Consequently, I write unto you the objective revelation, and you will understand it, and that they will come together to give you the composite truth that God wants you to have.” Truth as objective theology, and truth as personal direction in your life by the Holy Spirit applying the Word. Now go down to verse 27. And he further discusses this – in verse 27, he says, “But the anointing which you have received of Him abides” – where – “in you.” Now, who is the anointing, did we say? Who is the unction? Who is the ointment? The oil? The Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit abides in you. This is beautiful. Look at all these things about the Holy Spirit. He proceeds from Christ. You have received of Him. He is internal, in you. He is permanent, abides, present continuous. He is sufficient.
“You need not that any man teach you.” You say, “Well, then go home, MacArthur, and leave us alone.” No, I’m not going to go home. That doesn’t talk me out of a job. You say, “Well, it says right there we don’t need any man to teach us.” Yes, but I want to interpret that, if you’ll allow me the privilege – and I’m going to do it anyway. What it means is that we are not dependent on human teaching. We do not need to hear human teaching. Now, that doesn’t mean, “Oh, I can take my kids out of school. They don’t need to learn anything.” But, no, it doesn’t mean that. It is referring to teaching about salvation in this whole context; teaching about godliness, teaching about eternal truth in relationship to God. When it comes to all of that, people, we do not need men to teach us. We are taught by the Holy Spirit.
Now, sometimes the Holy Spirit teaches you through me, but it’s still the Holy Spirit, right? You don’t need to study human approaches to religion. As I’ve told you before, the only time that human religion is ever right is when it intersects with the Scripture. And when it does that, you don’t need human religion, ’cause you’ve got the Scripture already. The rest of the time, it’s wrong, and you sure don’t need it then. So the point is, the Word of God, granted to us objectively, combines with the anointing of God, who is the Holy Spirit residing in us, permanently, who supplies the application of the truth so that we know the truth. Now, that is the legacy of Jesus to us. Just think of it, people. Just think of it. When you want to know an answer to anything, you can go right to this book. It’s here. This is the treasury out of which your life is governed.
Now, go back to John chapter 14 for a minute, and then we’ll look at a couple of other things, say some more. But John 14, further I want to add 26, verse 26, and here we get to the objective part again. “But the Comforter, who is the Holy Spirit” – or the Spirit of truth – “whom the Father will send in My name” – that is consistent with My person. He will be equal to Me – “He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatever I have said unto you.”
Now, beloved, I want you to know first of all, that that verse doesn’t have a first primary application to all Christians. It has a primary application to the writers of the New Testament, to the apostolic preachers in the early era of the church. And what it is, is a promise of verbal inspiration. Notice, He is saying, “Now, I’m going to go away, but when the Spirit comes” – here comes point one – “He will teach you all things that you have not yet learned, but that you must know to have the total picture of salvation. And He will also bring all the past things that I’ve taught to your remembrance.”
Now, there you have the two facets of the New Testament. You have in the first thing, “He will bring all things to your remembrance,” the record of the gospels in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. And when they sat down to write those gospels, they had to remember the things that Jesus said, right? Because those four gospels record the life of Christ. How would they ever remember them? Oh, it says right there. “The Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all those things, and bring things to your” – what – “remembrance, whatever I have said unto you.” When the New Testament records in the gospels the words of Jesus, are they then accurate? They better be accurate. The Holy Spirit is doing it, and He never makes a mistake, and He never lies. According to 1 John 2, “There is no lie in Him. He is the Spirit of truth.” Verse 17 says, so when the Spirit of God brings things to your remembrance, they will be accurate. So you can read the gospels, beloved, and read the life of Christ there, and have absolute confidence because of the promise of Jesus that what you are reading is, in fact, His very word.
Isn’t that a great confidence? When I go to the Bible, I don’t need to speculate about whether it’s accurate or not. If Jesus said, “When it comes there, it’ll be accurate,” then I’ll take His word, won’t you? And so He says, “When you remember to write the gospels, you will remember accurately by the Spirit.” But there’s a further point. “Also, I will continue to teach you all things.” And that begins at the Book of Acts and goes to the end of Revelation. “There is more yet to say, and I will teach you that through the Holy Spirit.” And so you have the Book of Acts, and all the letters of Paul, and the general epistles, and then the Book of Revelation. And this is a promise of verbal inspiration. This is a promise of divine accuracy. This is the promise that when I pick up this Scripture, and I start to read it, I can be confident that this is accurate, because Jesus promised me it would be. Jesus promised me that this would be recorded from the mind of the Holy Spirit, who is called the Spirit of what? Truth. This is the truth.
And so we find the promise twofold, then: that you will remember and you will learn new things. The apostle Paul kind of gives testimony to that in the third chapter of Ephesians, where he says, “If you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God given me toward you,” in other words, “If you have heard about my ministry, if you’re heard about what God’s called me to do” – here it is – “how that, by revelation, He made known unto me the mystery.” Now skip to verse 5, “Which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it is now revealed to His holy apostles and prophets” – watch – “by the Spirit.” Paul says, “I’m writing all these things by the Spirit. All the mysteries that were never revealed and have been given to me by revelation of God are from the Holy Spirit, who is called the Spirit of truth.”
So Paul says, “You can trust everything I write.” Jesus says, “You can trust everything that I’m going to bring to your remembrance.” And when those early men wrote, and when those early apostles preached, God inspired them to speak the truth and remember the words of Jesus with absolute accuracy. And when they began to teach new truth, the Spirit of God gave them new revelation which then penned to constitute the New Testament. And people, this whole thing comes together to say to us that we have the truth. Not only the objective, biblical truth, but the subjective resident truth teacher, and the combination of those two things guarantees to us the knowledge of the truth. And I would venture to say, beloved, that a man or a woman would have to be a fool not to study the truth. Wouldn’t he? It is the truth that blesses us. It is when we obey the truth that God is able to respond in blessing. Imagine sometime how it would be to be without the Word of God.
Like in the history of Israel when they forgot the Word of God, and they just fell apart. Why? Because they had no guidelines. I think about my own life. Nothing happens in my life that I don’t think about it through the grid of Scripture. Everything that happens to me, I think, “Well, now, how does this relate to Scripture? What is the biblical pattern here? What is the biblical standard here? What does Scripture say about this, so that I know how to behave?” We meet together as elders making a lot of decisions, and the things that we’re concerned about in those decisions are the things of the Scripture. What does God have to say about this? What is His word to us about this? It’s tremendous to be able to have a resource like this. To be able to go and say, “This is what God wants, and this is what, if we obey, we’ll be blessed.” When you open the Word of God, you have that marvelous truth that the world does not know.
Now, look at 16:12, and I’ll show you one of my favorite little short statements. Of all the statements of Jesus, I love this one as well as any. John 16:12, it’s still talking about the same idea. “I have yet many things to say unto you.” Stop right there. I just love that. That is so personal. He doesn’t say, “Now, there are more edicts coming from the throne.” He says, “I have a lot to say to you.” That’s very personal, isn’t it? I don’t know how you feel, but when I pick up the Scripture, I get involved in a conversation with Jesus, because I realize everything that is said in the New Testament comes from Him. He’s just letting the Holy Spirit be the agent of transportation to get it to us. The Holy Spirit’s sort of a supernatural mailman. But Jesus is the one who wrote the letter.
You say, “Where do you get that, John?” Verse 13, “Nevertheless, when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth; for He shall not speak of Himself, but whatever He shall hear” – from whom – “from Me, that shall He speak; and will show you things to come. He shall glorify Me, for He shall receive of Mine, and show it unto you.” See? The Holy Spirit takes the letter of Christ to His own and delivers it. And this New Testament is God’s word, the word from the Son through the Spirit to the believer. “I have many things to say to you, but you can’t handle them now, so I have to wait a little while, and I’ll have the Holy Spirit bring them to you later.” And I’m sure the disciples got excited when they heard that.
Can you imagine how excited they got one day when the Spirit of God came on them and they began to write, or when they stood up to preach, and God just flowed through them, and they spoke divine reality, divine truth, in fulfillment of that? If you can keep that little statement in mind, it’ll help you in your Bible study. John 16:12, “I have yet many things to say to you.” Prayer, we always say, is talking to the Lord. Reading the Bible is the Lord talking to us. I go in for my study every day to study the Word of God, and always, in my mind, is the desire that God would reveal Himself, and so I always pray that God will help me as I study, and somehow get around my frailties and the confusion that may be in my mind at any given time.
And I think to myself, as I get into the Word of God, “This is not academic. This is not some great, big thing that was dropped out of Heaven. This isn’t like the law of Sinai, carved with a flaming finger on a stone, and then, you know, handed down to men with thunder and lightning. This is Jesus saying, “Hey, MacArthur, I have a few things to say to you today.” And as long as I can conceive of that personal intimacy, Bible study becomes, for me, communion rather than academics. Jesus is talking to me, and I always say to myself, “Lord, speak to me.” Don’t you say that? “Speak to me in Your Word.” And that’s really what it is, and the Holy Spirit will speak to us the words of Christ. That’s a great, great promise; just a great promise.
If you look at John 15:26, a further note on this, “When the Comforter is come, whom I will send you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, He shall testify” – watch – “of Me.” Now watch this. “And you also shall bear witness, because you’ve been with me from the beginning. And you are the guys,” He says to those disciples, “who are going to write it all down. You’re the key. It’s going to come to you, and you’re going to put it down.” People, you put all these scriptures together, and what you’ve got is the promise of the New Testament. Do you understand that?
Jesus left us the New Testament. This is His legacy. You open it up, and He speaks to you, and it is alive. The Bible says for itself, “The Word of God is alive.” Right? Hebrews 4:12. It is alive, and it penetrates, and it divides. It has ability to give life. It has ability to transform life. It has ability to sustain life. It is alive. And so we see the Word of God as the living legacy of Jesus, who has something to say to us. Well, let’s go to the seventh. He gave us the proof of love, the hope of Heaven, the guarantee of power, the assurance of supply, the gift of the Spirit, the possession of divine truth.
Number seven: the legacy of peace – the legacy of peace. Boy, that’s something the world would do well to find. Verse 27 of chapter 14, in His conversation here, He also promised them peace. “Peace I leave with you” – I like this. Whose peace? “My peace I give unto you; not as the world gives give I unto you. Stop letting your heart be troubled. Stop letting it be afraid.” A legacy of peace; what is he talking about? Well, there’s two kinds of peace in scripture. There’s the peace with God that is talked about in Romans 5:1, “We have peace with God.” You know what that means? You know what peace with God means? Means the war is over. It’s like a treaty. In Ephesians, Paul says, “We were enemies and alienated from the life of God” – and so forth – and we were at war with God, and we received Jesus Christ, and we were at peace with God. In fact, Paul calls it in Ephesians 6:16, “The gospel of peace.”
What is the good news of peace? That a man can stop his rebellion, and be at peace with God; that God will be on our side. That He would be for us. And the Bible says, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” He is all powerful. And that’s the promise, that when we become Christians and put our faith in Christ, God gets over on our team. And that’s why, in Ephesians, chapter 6, verse 15, he says, “When you’re fighting Satan, have your feet shod with this knowledge.” And they used to wear hobnail boots that held the ground real well when they would fight. And he’s saying, “The way to keep a firm stand is to remember that you’re at peace with God, and He’s on your team.” And when you get into a battle with Satan, all you have to say, ‘God, sic them. God is on my team. That is fabulous. And if God is for me, look out everybody. You’re in a lot of trouble.
Now, that’s the point. Peace with God means God is on my team. What a confidence. The Quechua Indians in Ecuador have a word for peace that means to sit down in your heart. That just means to be at home, be at rest, and sit down in your heart. You get into a war, just sit down, let Him fight it. But that isn’t really the peace that he’s talking about here. I just threw that in. It was good, though, wasn’t it? But in verse 27, He has a different kind of peace in mind. “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give unto you, not as the world gives, give I unto you. Stop letting your heart be troubled.” That’s not the objective peace of relationship to God, that’s the subjective peace of tranquility of mind, but it sure comes out of the first, doesn’t it? That’s why I gave it to you.
It’s because I have God on my side that I’m at peace. I’m first of all at peace with God, and because I’m at peace with God, I’m at peace with myself. Whenever I get into the place where I might start to worry, I say, “What am I worryied about? God’s on my team, and if He’s on my team, what am I going to worry about?” Look at Philippians 4, I think would us, maybe, to get an idea about this, Philippians 4:7. “And the peace of God” – you notice the distinction? When you have peace with God, you receive the peace of God. This is the subjective tranquility that comes with the objective fact of your identification as part of God’s team. Then you have “Peace of God, which passes all understanding.”
It’s the kind of peace that doesn’t make sense. It’s just ridiculous to have that much peace in the situation you’re in. And what does this peace do? It guards, and it’s a military term meaning to stand on guard – it stands on guard over your heart and your mind; keeps you from blowing your cork and losing your cool and winding up in a padded cell. What does? The peace of God that comes when you recognize you’re at peace with God. When I realize that God is on my team, I don’t have anything to worry about. And the true realization that God is on my side ought to give me peace with myself, so that I can settle down in my heart and be at rest. And when everything else is exploding around me, I can be the one at peace, and nobody’ll understand it.
The thing that makes it possible goes back to verse 5 of Philippians 4, the end of the verse, “The Lord is at hand.” That isn’t talking about the Second Coming, that’s talking about the presence of the Lord. The Lord is here, right? “The Lord is at hand. Consequently, be anxious for” – what – “nothing.” What are you worried about? The Lord is here, and He’s on your team. What are you worried about? You say, “But I’ve got problems.” You do? Well, do this: in everything by prayer, supplication, with thanksgiving, just let your requests – what – just tell Him, “Lord, I got a problem.” Let Him take care of it. He’s always there. The Lord is at hand. Don’t worry. Pray about it, and the result will be, verse 7: ”And the peace of God will guard your mind.”
Let me tell you something, I don’t believe the peace of God’ll really guard your mind. Recognize, number one, you’re at peace with God. He’s always there, and, instead of worrying, you pray and turn it over to Him. Then you’re going to have the peace of God. And so the marvelous promise that Jesus gave was, “I’m going to give you My peace.” The same beautiful, unruffled serenity that marked Him can mark you. No fear, peace. You know why Jesus had such peace? Think about it. Going to the cross, He could’ve been a nervous wreck. Think how you’d have been. But He went with absolute serenity, absolute peace. You know why? Because He knew the Father was standing by, right? He knew the Father was standing by, and you have the same right to go through any trial with peace, because you know the Father’s standing by.
All right, 16:33 of John, he adds a further thought on this, going back to the same idea. “These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me” – and that’s the only place you’ll ever find peace – “you might have peace.” Maybe it be known, for all time, to all the world, to anybody who ever hears it, that the only place you’ll ever find peace is in Him. “In the world, you will have tribulation,” but don’t worry about that. “I have already overcome the world.” Don’t worry about the world. You’re going to have trouble. It’s all right. I’ve already overcome it. I’m in control. Be at peace. And I really think that as you meditate on who God is, on the fact that He’s on your team, the result can be peace.
There’s an eighth thing, just quickly, that He gives us in our legacy, and that is the promise of fruit – the promise of fruit. That’s in John 15, verse 5. “I am the vine, you’re the branches. He that abides in Me” – and I believe that’s referring to a Christian there, any Christian abides in Christ – “He that abides in Me and I in Him, the same brings forth much fruit.” Oh, that’s good. Boy, you know, He says we are characterized by fruit. Do you know there’s no such thing as a no-fruit Christian? That’s right. You can’t be a no-fruit Christian, ‘cause all Christians have to have some fruit. “By their fruits, you shall” – what – “know them.” That’s the identifying mark.
I’m confident that some Christians are little fruits. I shouldn’t say it that way. Some Christians bear little fruit. Some Christians are fruit Christians, and some Christians are much fruit Christians, but there’s no such thing as no-fruit Christian. You know, all of us, beloved, have been promised by Jesus that we’ll bear fruit. Say, “What’s fruit?” Good deeds, righteous deeds, winning people to Christ. We’ve gone over that before. But let me give you just a general thought. Fruit is the product of a life that has a continuing life. Fruit is something that lives beyond me; something that I reproduce. Isn’t it exciting to have a part of the eternal continuum by producing fruit that is going to be there when you’re gone?
Look at verse 16 of John 15. This is fabulous. “You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you” – I’m sure about that – “and ordained you” – now, this isn’t an option, this is a promise – “that you should go and bring forth fruit.” Now you see? Christians are going to have fruit. And I love this next one – oh, exciting – “and that your fruit should” – what – “remain.” Isn’t that exciting? Christians are not flash in the pans. Christians don’t just live to eat, to eliminate, to eat, to eliminate, and die someday, and go in a pine box on boxing day, and goodbye, so long. Christians are a part of an eternal continuum. They are a part of a product that’ll go throughout eternity, like ripples in an endless eternal pond. And you and I have lives that’ll reverberate through the corridors of Heaven forever and ever and ever and ever and ever. Isn’t that a super promise?
You know, when I think about that, it kinda makes this whole deal down here on earth insignificant. So many times, we work, you know, to rack it up in this world. And we die, and it’s all still here. Thank God that He promised us that there’s going to be something that’s just going to reverberate throughout eternity. Every time I lead somebody to Jesus Christ, I just think about the eternal consequences of that. I’m a Christian today because somebody was a Christian in my family way back when, and somebody led my grandfather to Christ, and somebody led my father to Christ, and on and on it goes, and my children, and on and on, and somebody way back when that was a Christian led somebody else to Christ. I mean the generation of Christians is fantastic. And my righteous deeds in this life, though they be few, will affect somebody else, and somebody else will get his life changed, and somebody else will get his life changed, and this thing will go on forever.
I got a letter this week from a lady, and she says, “I just want to tell you one thing very, very exciting in our family. I gave a tape of yours to my brother, and he listened to that tape, and bowed his head afterwards all by himself and invited Jesus Christ into his life, and he came back and thanked me. And he’s so thrilled, and he wants more tapes, and I just want to say thanks.” Well, you know, that just thrills me. You know, I want to do more in this world than just die, and say, “It’s all over with. Who was he?” I don’t want to just be a marker in a cemetery, because I believe that life was meant to be more than that. And so Jesus Christ says, “Indeed it is; you’re going to have fruit that’ll remain.” What a promise; to be a part of an eternal continuum. Who would settle for anything less than that? I can’t imagine people who just want to spin their wheels and live like existentialists today, and blow it all out, and die, and kiss it off, and that’s the end of everything, when by knowing Jesus Christ your life is invaded by a divine power that enables you to produce fruit that’ll remain forever. That gives meaning to life.
Well, there’s a ninth thing. This is the only negative one. But you gotta have that, ’cause it’s gotta keep it realistic. And that is the pain of persecution. One thing we can expect is to be persecuted. You can’t be this kind of people living in this kind of world without getting some flack. John 15:18, “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.” Jesus says, “Don’t be so shocked. You’re going to go out there, and you’re going to go out there with that message, and you’re going to be hot to tell it to everybody, and all of a sudden, you’re going to realize they hate you. But don’t be too surprised. After all, they hated Me.” And frankly, folks, there was nothing in Him to hate, and there are some things in us that just aren’t really that lovable. “If you were of the world” – verse 19 – “the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”
Now, what He means there is the world is Satan’s evil system. And the minute you were saved, you were translated out of that system, right? “We have overcome the world,” John 5 says, “and what is it that overcomes the world? Even our” – what – “our faith.” So by faith in Christ, we are out of the world, taken out of the world. We stand aside from the world, apart from the world. We are not the world, so the world doesn’t accept us. Verse 20, “Remember the word that I said to you: ‘The servant is not greater than his lord.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept My saying, they will keep yours also.” Some will believe; the majority will persecute.
“But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake.” They’re not really after you. It’s not that they dislike you. It’s that they hate Me and resent Me, because they know not Him that sent Me. “If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin. But now they have no cloak for their sin.” The thing they reject, you see, the thing the world hates is the message of sin. Isn’t that right? The reason they reject Christ is because He comes and unmasks them, and they can’t hide their sin anymore. And so they hate us, and so they hate Him. In verse 23, “He that hateth Me hates My Father.” They hate all involved. “If I had not done among them the works which no other man did, they had not had sin.” You see? They – they wouldn’t had that tremendous revelation of sin unless they had seen Christ. “Now, they have seen and hated both Me and My Father.”
In verse 25, He says, “They hated Me without a cause.” Chapter 16, verse 1, He says, “These things have I spoken unto you, that you shouldn’t be offended.” Don’t be shocked and offended when it happens. “They’re going to put you out of the synagogues.” And they did that, believe me. They threw the Christians out of the synagogue. We find that even in the Book of Acts. “Yea, the time comes that whoever kills you will think he does God service.” You know who that is? That’s the prophecy of one guy I can think of, Paul. And there were others. “And these things will they do unto you because they have not known the Father, nor Me.”
“Get ready,” He says. “I have to promise you this, too. It isn’t going to be easy. Because you’re going to be identified with Me, the world that hates Me is going to hate you.” We just can’t fit into the system, and the system rejects us. Now, that doesn’t mean you go and sulk in a corner, and try to bring your experiential, obnoxious qualities up to match your position. That doesn’t mean that you want to be an obnoxious person, because you just sorta want to exalt yourself in that situation. You want to be as loving and gentle and kind and thoughtful and generous as you can be in the midst of the world, like Jesus was, and you should make sure that if they do hate you, it isn’t that they hate you for your personality, but rather for the truth that you speak. All these things are ours; got to expect them. I’m glad He told us about this one, aren’t you? Because it might a little shocking if we didn’t expect it.
There’s a tenth and a last, and I’ll quickly give this to you. The last thing He gave us was the pledge of joy – the pledge of joy, and I have to show you this. This is so good. John 15:11, “These things have I spoken to you, that My joy might remain in you” – whose joy? My joy – “and that your joy might be full.” I’ve been telling you all this legacy. I mean I’ve given you all these things so that you might be joyful. Beloved, I would say to you that the reason I put joy last is because joy is the result of everything He said. When I think of everything He’s left me, I can’t help but be joyful. And even though I have trouble in life, I still can’t help but be joyful, because I know that when the trouble’s over, that great things are going to be there. Look at 16:20, John 16:20. This is one of my favorite statements of our Lord also.
He says, “Verily, verily I say to you, you shall weep and lament, and the world will rejoice.” In other words, it’s going to seem a little incongruous to you, because the world’s going to be so happy and really partying it up, and you’re going to be in a corner crying. “And you shall be sorrowful, but” – hang on – “your sorrow will be turned into joy.” I like that. “Your sorrow will be turned into joy.” Now, what does he mean by that? People say, “Well, it means that you’ll have some terrible circumstances and some sorrowful ones, and then later, the Lord’ll bring you some happy ones, and they’ll be nice, and then you’ll have more bad ones, circumstances, and then” – that
isn’t what it means. No. Look at verse 21. The illustration clears it up.
“A woman, when she’s in birth pains” – this is right at the hour of delivery – “has sorrow.” Yeah, there’s pain there, and there’s crying, and there’s anguish, and agony, and all that. And, of course, in that period of time, they didn’t have the nice little things that can kind of alleviate that that they do today, and so the woman was in pain. “But as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembers no more the anguish for joy that a man is born into the world.” And I would have to add it isn’t even half bad when a woman is born. But the point of verse is that the same event that causes the pain causes the joy. Do you understand that? That is a very important truth.
Jesus is saying, “In childbirth, there is terrible anguish, but immediately it issues in joy, and the anguish is forgotten.” And what our Lord promises us is this. You are going to have pained circumstances, but those are the very circumstances out of which will come the greatest joy. Remember what we learned in 1 Corinthians 10:13? “The way out of trials is” – what – “through them.” And the light at the end of the tunnel is joy. He’s not saying, “Oh, I’ll give you different, happy circumstances instead of your sad ones.” He’s saying, “Right out of those sad ones will come joy – if you just believe and wait for it.”
What a legacy, beloved. Do you see it? The proof of love, the hope of Heaven, power, the supply, the Holy Spirit, the truth, His peace, fruitfulness, persecution, joy – all of those things are ours. I want to sum it up with this thought, great thought. Do you know why all these things are ours? Do you know why? Listen to this. Because He is ours. You want to hear something kind of exciting? When He went away, He never really went away at all. You say, “Well, what do you mean by that?” Look at John 14:20, and we’ll close with this thought. John 14:20. Well, back up to verse 18. “I will not leave you comfortless.” What’s the next line? “I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world seeth Me no more, but you will see Me.” You say, “What do you mean?”
“At that day, you shall know that I am in My Father, and ye in Me, and I” – where – “in you.” I’m going to go away in physical form, but I’m going to be in you in spiritual form. That’s the point. In verse 23, He says the same thing. “We will come” – at the end of the verse – “unto him and make Our abode with him.” Listen, people, the reason that all of the legacy of Christ is mine is because Christ is mine. He went away physically, but He never went away, and He indwells every single believer with His own marvelous presence. This is yours if you believe. I trust you do. Let’s pray.
Thank You, Father, for our time this morning. Thank You for Your truth, how it speaks, how it penetrates our heart, how it draws out from us gratitude and thankfulness. I pray, Lord, that You would teach us in terms of practical things to apply what we’ve learned, and that we would, too, praise You for the gifts that You’ve given so freely. To those of us who never did anything to earn them, all by grace. It’s just beyond words to express our gratitude. And I would pray for anyone here who’s never reached their hand out to take the legacy of Jesus by faith, that Your Spirit would move in their heart and they would do it even this day. I pray in Christ’s name. Amen.
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