Turn in your Bible this morning to the fifteenth chapter of John. We come for our message this morning to this most important area. And some months ago when we began a series on the body of Christ in connection with our Ephesian series, we covered the two verses that we're going to cover this morning from a little bit different angle. The Holy Spirit has brought them again to our attention in our verse‑by‑verse series in the gospel of John. For you that are visiting, we might say that on Sunday nights we've been studying the book of Ephesians and Sunday morning the gospel of John. And we're pushing two years in John and we finally made it to chapter 15. We're really learning a lot of things. It's exciting. And we come this morning to these two verses, verses 26 and 27, in the gospel of John chapter 15.
And this is the first in what is a little section here in John dealing with the ministries of the Holy Spirit. Now Christ presented to His disciples in this little passage really beginning here in verse 26 and running through verse 15 of chapter 16, several of the ministries of the Holy Spirit. And we come to that little section this morning, beginning in verse 26.
Now to put you in perspective, it is the night before the death of Jesus Christ. His final night with His disciples before His crucifixion. And on this particular night He is well aware of the fact that they are indeed sorrowing. They have displayed that. They've even said rather wishfully that they would die with Him and for Him, if it need be. It doesn't turn out that way. They scattered when the time really came. But they were almost convinced in their minds that they'd rather die with Him than be without Him. And so at this point, Jesus is giving them these last promises to comfort their sorrow. And beginning in chapter 13, He began to comfort them.
The first thing He did was tell them of His love for them.
He spelled it out so clearly because He washed their feet. And then He told them this was the show of love. This was the display of love. And then He told them to do the same thing because the servant is not greater than his lord, they should be concerned with showing love in the same kind of humble service.
And so, He convinced them of His love for them.
Then in chapter 14 He began to detail some fantastic promises that were going to be theirs because He would go away.
So that rather than sorrowing about His leaving, they should rejoice about it because it was going to enable them to do things that they had been unable to do even when He was there.
Then to kind of wrap this whole area up, He begins to talk about the Holy Spirit. And I want to show you why. The Holy Spirit, and you have to get this cause it's the key to this whole section, the Holy Spirit makes possible all the promises of Jesus. Christ gives them these promises and He says, "Now, the Holy Spirit will come, dwell within you in order that all these promises can really operate." None of them could even happen apart from Him. So the Holy Spirit is the key to the whole thing. Christ could give all the promises that He gave and if He never gave them the Holy Spirit, they would never be able to make those promises happen. There would be no energy. There would be no power. There would be no resource to make those promises operative. And so He says, "Now on top of all of this, the Holy Spirit shall be yours and He'll make it all happen." And this, of course, then is the classic promise, the promise of the Holy Spirit.
Let me show you what I mean. In chapter 14, for example, verses 1 through 6, He promises them basically that He's going to go away in order that He might come back. I'm just going to go away, I've got some dwelling places in My Father's house and I'm getting ready for you. I'm going to come back and take you to be with Me when I get the Father's house ready.
Now that's the promise. Do you know who in the Bible is the guarantee of that promise? It is the Holy Spirit. For example, in 2 Corinthians chapter 5, we read the Holy Spirit being...we read of the Holy Spirit being the guarantee, 2 Corinthians 5:1, "For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands eternal in the heavens."
Now what's the guarantee of that? Verse 5, "We have the earnest of the Spirit." Now the word "earnest" is the word in the Greek arrabon and it means engagement ring or firstfruits or down payment. God says through Jesus Christ, I'm preparing a place for you, I'm going to come and get you to take you to be with Me, the guarantee of that's the Holy Spirit. The one who makes it happen is the Holy Spirit.
In chapter 14 in John's gospel and in verse 12, Jesus promised them that they would have power to do things that they didn't even have power to do when He was there. They would do greater things than He had done. That's a fantastic promise, John 14:12.
Now where are they going to get that kind of power? Acts 1:8, "Ye shall receive power after...what?...the Holy Spirit has come upon you." And once the Holy Spirit has come upon you, Ephesians 3:20, "You're able to do exceeding abundantly above all you can ask or think, according to the power that works within you." So Jesus made the promise of power and made it happen and made it possible by the coming of the Holy Spirit.
In John 14 verses 13 and 14, He promised them that He would hear and answer their prayers and supply all their needs when they asked in His name. And then in Romans 8 he says the Holy Spirit has been sent to dwell within you to help your prayers because you don't know what to pray for as you ought so the Holy Spirit makes intercession for you with groanings which cannot be uttered. And the result is all things work together for good to them that love God and are called according to His purpose.
In other words, the promise of answered prayer is made ours, is made possible by the direct prayer ministry of the Holy Spirit within us. Again, the Holy Spirit's the key to that promise. In John 14 verses 18 to 23, we saw that Jesus promised them a very unique thing, He promised them that He would come and abide within them and the Father would also come and abide within them.
Now who is the presence of God and the presence of Christ within us? It's the Holy Spirit called in Peter the Spirit of God, called in Romans the Spirit of Christ, called in other places the Holy Spirit.
So, He makes the promise of divine indwelling and it becomes activated in the Holy Spirit. In John 14 verse 27, we saw another promise. He promised them that He would leave His peace with them...His peace. In chapter 13, He promised them love. In chapter 15 verse 11 He promised them joy. Love, peace and joy, those are all listed in Galatians 5:22 as fruits of what? Of the Spirit.
You see, then, the Holy Spirit's promise makes active or possible every other promise that Jesus Christ ever gave. And thus the Holy Spirit is the key to everything.
Now to give you a little insight into this, I think the Holy Spirit placed delicately John 16:14 where He did so that we could understand this. Notice verse 14 of chapter 16...we're still in the introduction. Here is the ministry of the Holy Spirit. "He shall glorify...what's the next word?...Me," and to whom does that refer? Jesus Christ. "For He shall receive of Mine and shall manifest it to you." In other words, the Holy Spirit's ministry is to take the promises of Christ and make them operative in the life of a Christian. You see, all of the promises of Christ if they were ours apart from the Holy Spirit would be worthless. He's the only one who can activate them.
And so it's a fantastic thing to realize what Jesus is saying to these disciples. He's saying, "Men, I'm not only laying out a whole bag of promises, but I'm giving you the energy and the power to make them all operate, to make them all realistic, to make them all functional in your life. I'm going to not only give it to you, I'm going to give it to you so you can make it happen." So, He gives them not only the promises but He gives them the indwelling Holy Spirit to energize the promises and make them operative in their lives.
Now there's one other thing that Jesus has promised and this brings us into chapter 15. The next thing that Jesus promises them is not a positive but it's a negative. He's given them a lot of positives and, you know, it's not all good. You've got to have a little bad in there to make the good good. And so, in chapter 15 He says, "Now there's one other thing I want to tell you, men, the world is going to despise you." Which must have come as some sort of a contrast in reference to the other promises. At the end of all those other promises, they must began to feel a...must have began to feel a little invincible, you know. "Boy, we've got it knocked, guys, this is going to be a real deal, you know, this is going to be great. We'll just move into the world with all this stuff and away we go." And Jesus says, "Just one other thing, fellas, the world is going to hate you, despise you, persecute you and kill you and think they're doing God favors when they do it," chapter 16 verses 1 and 2 tell about that.
Now in reference to that, you say, "Was that a promise that's going to be to every disciple?" Yes, I believe it is.
And we talked about that now for two Sundays so we'll...we won't belabor the point. But I do believe that the hatred of the world is part of the system of the world, that the world is at odds with Jesus Christ and with all those who follow Him. They hate us because we don't belong to the system. They hate us because they hated our Lord and He lives within us. They hate us because they don't know God. That's what Jesus said, those three things are the reason the world hates us. And if you're not too sure they hate you, then maybe they don't know you belong to Jesus.
So, with all of these good promises energized by the Spirit, He drops this bomb on them about the hatred of the world. And it perhaps at that point would have been very easy for them to collapse. But then He introduces the ministry of the Holy Spirit in relation to the hatred of the world. And that's in verses 26 and 27. You see, the Holy Spirit then has reference to every promise that Jesus made.
You say, "What's the Holy Spirit have to do with the hatred of the world?" Simple answer, He's the only one that can break that hatred. He's the only one that can break it.
Notice verse 26, "But when the Comforter is come whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, He shall testify of Me." In other words, it's going to be the testimony of the Holy Spirit that's going to confront the world. Verse 27, "And ye also shall bear witness because you've been with Me from the beginning."
In other words, the Holy Spirit's ministry then is toward the hostile world to communicate the truth of Jesus Christ. And really it involves two things. Over in chapter 16 verses 7 through 11 it involves the ministry of conviction. The Holy Spirit has to convict of sin. It also involves a clear witness to the person of Jesus Christ, that's the two‑fold ministry of the Holy Spirit toward the world. Number one, convict the world of sin...number two, present the world, Jesus Christ in all of His purity.
So, the Holy Spirit then moves into this promise as well.
He is the only one who is able to confront the hatred of the world and do something about it. We would have absolutely no hope. I mean, we'd be a wipe out in this world, we would have no way that we would ever be able to reach the world if it were not for the presence of the Spirit of God who is able to penetrate a man's heart and break down the barriers. We would be hopeless.
So, these words in verses 26 and 27, now mark it well, detail for us the character of the Holy Spirit's witness to the world. The world may hate us. The world may kill us. But in the Spirit's power and conviction, we can face the world with the gospel. We don't have to run and hide. We don't have to crawl in a monastery. We don't have to put our head under the covers.
We can face the world boldly because in the energy of the Holy Spirit we can meet this world, present the gospel of Jesus Christ with success.
Now do you see that every basic promise of Jesus then becomes possible in connection with the ministry of the Holy Spirit? The promises of Jesus are yours and mine because the Spirit is ours and the hatred of the world can be reversed because of the Holy Spirit dwelling within us.
Let me give you a verse just to kind of wrap it up. This is a very important verse. First Corinthians 2:12, listen to it, "Now we have received," talking about believers, a very important verse, get this one, "Now we have received not the spirit of the world," now watch this, "but the Spirit who is of God." Why do we receive the Holy Spirit? Why? Here it comes, "In order that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God."
Now did you get that? Do you know why you and I have the believer...have the Holy Spirit within us? In order that we might what? Know the things that are freely given us of God.
The Holy Spirit is ours to reveal to us and to energize in us the promises of God. Do you see it? All these promises that Jesus laid out would be worthless if the Spirit of God wasn't there to energize them. And even in facing a hostile world, we can claim the promise of God that we can go into the world with success because of the Spirit of God, not because of our own abilities.
So, as we come to these two verses, verses 26 and 27, then we're going to see that the Holy Spirit's testimony to the world is powerful. And incidentally, it's through you and me that He testifies. The same power that makes the promises of Christ ours can empower us to confront a hating world with success to the glory of God.
Now you'll notice in verse 26, still in the introduction, short introduction, isn't it?...you'll notice the word "witness"
in verse 27 and the idea of testify in verse 26. Those are both legal words. In other words, they take us into the law courts.
We see the judge on the bench and the judge evidently is the world, we see the prisoner who is Jesus Christ, Satan is the prosecutor and the Holy Spirit is the parakletos which in Greek means counsel for the defense. And you and I are called into the court as witnesses. That's the scene. The world is judging Jesus Christ, Satan is prosecuting, the Holy Spirit is the counsel for the defense and we are the witnesses whom He calls into the court to testify concerning Jesus Christ. And the fantastic thing to realize is...just get this...we are so well briefed by the counsel for the defense that our testimony when given in His energy is absolutely potent. And you know something? We don't even need to plan anything, the counsel for the defense will give us the testimony to confront the world.
In Matthew chapter 10, and I think it begins in verse 16 or around there, yes, He says, "Behold I...Jesus talking...I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves, be ye therefore wise as serpents and harmless as doves." Now watch this. "But beware of men." Don't you like that? Watch out for people, they'll get you. "Beware of men for they will deliver you up to the counsels and they will scourge you in their synagogues and ye shall be brought before governors and kings for My sake for a testimony against them and the Gentiles."
Now watch this. "But when they deliver you up, be not anxious...don't worry about it, relax, everything's under control...don't worry about how or what you shall speak for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak."
You say, "Now where are you going to get that stuff? Where is it going to come from?" Verse 20, "For it is not ye that speak...watch this one...but the Spirit of your Father who does...what?...speaketh in you." Did you get that? Is that fantastic?
When you go out to share with the world, when you confront a hating world, it's not you that speak, it's the Spirit of God within you. Now there you have the testimony of the Holy Spirit to the world through the Christian. We're the vessels to carry the testimony. And so it is as in every other promise that Jesus ever gave, it becomes energized by the Holy Spirit. And praise the Lord, when you think about the fact that the Holy Spirit lives in your body, that means all the things that God has freely given, every promise of Christ, every single thing God ever asked you to do can be done in total power and total energy provided by the Holy Spirit. You're so adequate, it's unbelievable. We can confront the Christ‑hating world boldly.
Let me show you some people who did in Acts 17 verse...well, we'll look at verse 6, I think. Here are some people who hit the world with an effect. "And when they had found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren," this is in Thessalonica, when the church was just begun there, "they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city crying,"
and listen to this, here's their yell, "These are...these that have turned the world upside down are come here also." See. I'd say they had an effect on the system, wouldn't you? In terms of the analysis of the public, they had turned it upside down.
Verse 4, "They had preached, of course, and some of them believed and consorted with Paul and Silas and of the devout Greeks a great multitude and of the chief women, not a few." A lot of people were saved. Verse 5, "But the Jews who believed not moved with envy, took unto them certain base fellows," that means, you know, bad people, or, "vile fellows of the baser sort," that's the scum, "and gathered a company and set all the city in an uproar and assaulted the house of Jason and sought to bring them out to the people." You see, there's the dichotomy of reaction that the world always gives to the presentation of the gospel. Some believe and the rest of them get their gangs together to try to persecute. And their criticism was, "They have turned the world upside down." Listen, you can confront this hating world. In the energy of the Spirit of God, it can be done with great success.
All right, now in these two verses I want to show you the steps of the Spirit's witness. The Holy Spirit's witness...you have a little outline there that you can follow. And it brings the witness clear from God to us, this is very very simple but it's very very important. Here is the pattern for effective witness to a hostile world, here is the pattern for Holy Spirit witness. You really care about somebody? You really care about bringing them to Jesus Christ? You really care about evangelism?
You really care about winning your neighbor? Somebody in your family? Door to door? This is the pattern right here of witness. And it begins, first of all, Christian witness is to the world.
Now we've already kind of said this, but let me just give it to you again. Implied in verses 26 and 27 is an object that is unstated. To whom is our witness to be given? It's obvious from the context outside verses 26 and 27 that it is the world. The passage is embedded in a whole section that details the hostility of the world. Back in verse 18 it talks about the world, verse 19 and all the way down through verse 25, it's talking about a hating world. It picks it up again in chapter 16 and verses 1 and 2...1, 2 and 3, really...all dealing with the same hating world. So these two little verses of witness are slapped right in the middle of this whole area of the hatred of the world. The world then is our object. The world is the antagonist of the truth of the gospel. And we must be the antagonist of the world.
We must confront the world. We are just like these verses, embedded in a hostile world. And it is the object of our witness.
You say, "Well, that's rather obvious." Well, it may be to you, but it isn't to everybody. Some people, the only testimony they ever give is to somebody else who is a Christian. Or the only testimony they ever give is when they stand up in a testimony meeting. They've never confronted the world. The object of our witness is the world. When Jesus said, "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel," that's exactly what He meant. We must confront the system. And in order to do that effectively, watch this, we must be separated from the system. I mean, a criminal who is in prison doesn't go to the criminal in the next cell and talk to him about living a pure life and how to be rehabilitated. That's got to come from somebody who is on the outside, not in the same boat he's in. "Don't tell me about you, fella, you're in the same mess I'm in. Don't tell me how to live life." And if you and I as believers are sucked up and absorbed in the world, then we are in no position to confront the world.
That's why James says, "Friendship with the world is hostility toward God." That's why John says, "If any man love the world the love of the Father's not in him."
In other words, we must live diametrically opposed to the system. And if we don't, then at no point do we confront the system. We must be the conscience and the conviction of the world. We must indict its sin boldly. We must confront it and bring it the gospel. And it can't be done by being a part of it, that's how we lose the opportunity, not how we gain it. John said the world is passing away. It's nice to know, right? It's nice to know the system's on the way out. But until its finally expired, it is still the antagonist of the gospel of Jesus Christ and it is our enemy. Don't you think for a minute that the world is your friend, it is not. It is your enemy. The whole evil system that Satan has designed is out to destroy Christ and to destroy a system that God has built of righteousness. You realize that the...from the time of Lucifer's fall clear on out till the final time when he's cast into the pit forever, throughout all that time the one thing Satan wants to do is overthrow Christ and foul up God's plans. And the only reason that he manipulates the world in sin is to ultimately get at that particular goal or end. And so we can't have nothing to do with the system. Now that doesn't mean you don't love the people in the world, it just means you have nothing to do with the system.
You stand outside the system, you face it head on, and you confront it and convict it and spell out its sin. And we've been talking about that for two weeks.
So, the disciples are not to withdraw from the system. And neither are you, we are to confront it. It is the object of our testimony.
You say, "Well what if you really get it? I mean, if you get persecuted? What do you do, retaliate in anger? Lick your wounds in self‑pity and retreat to a Christian Bible study? What do you do?" I think the best thing probably to do would be to face it and just count it a great honor that you were counted worthy to share the sufferings of Christ. If they hated Him, they'll hate you if you're really effective. We're just talking this week about some of the young people in our church who have attempted to start Bible studies in certain schools and found it unable...found themselves unable to do it in the way that they wanted to do it. The world is set against Christianity. Its hostility may come out in different forms but it's hostile because it's Satan's system.
All right, then the world is the object of our witness. And I mean on a personal level. Those people who are trapped in Satan's system. They need to be confronted with their sin and exposed to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
All right, Christian witness then is to the world, we're going to hurry now. Secondly, Christian witness is of the Son.
To the world and of the Son. To whom do we testify? Jesus Christ. You'll notice verse 26, "When the comforter is come whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He shall testify of Me."
Christian witness is about Jesus Christ. Now that's simple enough. The world's hatred is focused on Christ. They hate us cause they hated Him. He's the key to the whole thing. And so what happens is in this particular situation, the world is the judge, judging the merits of Jesus Christ, it must be that in our witness we are presenting Christ. It is Him that they hate without a cause, they only hate us because we identify with Him.
And so it is Christ then who is the issue. They willfully reject the lovely Son of God. They willfully hate Him because they love their sin and they must be confronted with their sin and with Jesus Christ. We can't accommodate the world like so many people have done, water down Jesus Christ and don't...don't really emphasize His deity and don't get into all of His claims and so forth and so on...if you do that, you give the world a Christ who isn't Christ anyway and it won't do them any good. Or somebody else comes along and wants to remove the stumbling block and the offense of the cross. And what have you done when you've done that? You've likely continued the man's damnation because he cannot know a Christ who hasn't died on a cross and been buried and risen again. There is no Christ.
The Apostle Paul in Galatians chapter 1 said this, "But there are some that trouble you and pervert the gospel of Christ, but though we are an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than ye have received, let him be accursed." He says it twice just to make sure we don't miss it. Very important that we present Christ accurately.
I believe that most of Christian testimony winds up to be a rather limped presentation of Christ, surrounded mostly by sort of autobiography where we get wrapped into the situation of giving our own life story about what Christ has done for us without ever getting into the situation of detailing who He really is. I believe in this day we must stand very clearly and very strongly for things like the virgin birth of Jesus Christ.
His absolute perfection and sinlessness. The fact that He was God in human flesh. And never to make an excuse for any of this and never to minimize it, and never to back down...I don't care to whom we're speaking. We must talk about His substitionary death, His bodily resurrection, His physical ascension, His physical coming again, all of those details of the life of Christ must be the body of our witness. And if you really want to confront the world in the way that God designed you to confront the world, your witness will be about Jesus Christ, not about you, but about Him.
You say, "Is it wrong to give my testimony?" Not entirely.
If it's in the context. It's wonderful to share what Jesus Christ has done for you, Paul even does that, but only in the light of the fact of who Jesus really is. More people have made a superficial commitment to a Christ who hasn't been totally presented to them and a commitment which couldn't be real because they really didn't know what they were doing. Then they've washed out and said later on in life, "Well, I tried that and it didn't work," and they were lost to the cause of Christ.
I mean, when you use the word "Jesus" today you may mean something or you may mean nothing. I mean, the word "Jesus" is kicked around and bantied around by everybody and it doesn't really mean anything. It's just a word.
The other night I happened to pass a store that said, "Occult Store," which is kind of weird. And I went into this place and there was somebody reading palms and so forth and so on, it was really a strange place. And they had the writings of Edgar Case and they had all kinds of garbage, you know, laid out all over everywhere and roots and herbs and bones and lizards and stuff that you needed to make up witch's brew and all of the demonic things that are going on in the occult today were available there. And you had the feeling, the sensations of just being closed in. It was just a fearful thing.
But I noticed sprinkled delicately everywhere through this place were little books entitled "The Sayings of Jesus....The Sayings of Jesus." And then that great classic, "Imitation of Christ," by Thomas Akempis. And I thought to myself, "Isn't that just exactly what Satan would do, sprinkle Jesus enough into this thing to fool people into thinking that Jesus was just part of the system, that there's no definitive character to Jesus at all?
He's just...He's just a word, He's just a guy who came along, said a lot of little nicies, see." I think we need to stand...I felt like picking up all those books about Jesus, you know, one by one and just buying them all to get them out of there. Except that I didn't want to give them my money. I thought about stealing them but that was even worse.
That Jesus is not just another philosopher, He's not just a cool cat, He's not just a good guy, He's not just a trip, He's not just better than drugs. He's God in human flesh, virgin born, sinlessly perfect, died, rose again, comes again physically, that's the Christ we have to tell this world about, not a watered‑down Jesus. Even the demons love us to present a Jesus who doesn't quite make it. Satan would like nothing better than for you and I to go out and witness to the world with a half‑baked Jesus who doesn't turn out to be the Christ of the Word of God because that just messes up the minds of people. All the songs keep singing about Jesus, you know. People haven't got any idea who He is. And we need to confront the world with the Jesus Christ of the Word of God.
You know, throughout the history of the true church, the testimony of the church has always been the testimony of Jesus...always...always. In Revelation chapter 1 verse 2, what's the reason for the book of Revelation? John says, "It was me who bore witness of the Word of God and of the testimony of Jesus Christ." Over in chapter 12 and verse 17, the same thing, "And the dragon was angry," that's Satan, "with the woman," that's Israel, "and went to make war with the remnant of her seed who kept the commandments of God and...watch this, here was the character of believers...and have the testimony of Jesus Christ."
And in fact in Revelation 19:10, John says the Spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus. In other words, the whole Old Testament is the testimony of Jesus, the whole New Testament is the testimony of Jesus. And so often we go out and give the testimony of us. It's not what the world needs to hear. It's the testimony of Jesus.
You say, "Was it even in the Old Testament?" What do you think the whole Old Testament was about? It was just about Jesus Christ. And, you know, the writers in the Old Testament, they were writing stuff they didn't even understand. I love 1 Peter chapter 1 cause it talks about the prophets writing about Jesus and then looking at what they wrote to try to figure out what it meant. They were under divine inspiration. Listen to this, he says the..."Of which salvation," he's talking about salvation, 1 Peter 1, "Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you, searching what person or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ who was in them did signify when he testified before hand the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow."
In other words, the Spirit directed them, they wrote it all down and then they kept looking at it wondering when it was all going to happen and what it all meant. It was all focused in on Jesus Christ and they were looking in to the future to see if they could get a picture of who this Christ would be. Jesus Christ is our message. The message of the church today is not politics, it's not social reform, it's not good deeds, it's not pious platitudes, it's not little sermonettes for Christianettes.
The message of the church today is Jesus Christ. Paul says, "I am determined to know nothing among you but Jesus Christ and Him...what?...crucified." That is our message to the world. You can spend your energies doing all kinds of dumb things circuiting your real point.
Now the Apostles didn't have any doubt about this. In Acts 1:8 Jesus said to them as clearly as you can hear it, He said, "After the Holy Spirit is come upon you, you shall receive power and you shall be witnesses...what?...unto Me," mu marturias(?), My witnesses. They didn't have any question, they knew exactly what it meant to give testimony to Jesus Christ.
You can read in Acts chapter 2, Acts chapter 3, Acts chapter 7, Acts chapter 10 sermons by Peter, Stephen, and then Peter again at the house of Cornelius, and you'll find that the central theme of every one of those sermons is Jesus Christ, crucified, risen. Always the same. This is something we need to learn To bring people to Jesus Christ, you must present Jesus Christ.
Don't put any stock in quickie conversions, zap‑zap‑zap and you're in. If they do not understand fully and totally who the person of Jesus Christ is, it's a very superficial commitment.
They must understand it.
So, all Spirit‑energized witness is then to the world of the Son. Now if your testimony is not of the Son, it's not of the Spirit. Because the Spirit's ministry is to show the things of the Son. What did we read in chapter 16 verse 14? Very simple.
"He shall glorify Me." The Holy Spirit will always give glory to Jesus Christ. If your testimony is less than a full presentation of Jesus Christ, it is not of the Spirit. It is not complete.
You say, "Well does that mean that every time you want to talk to somebody about the Lord you've got to sit them down and give them a great long lecture on theology?" No, it doesn't mean that. You say, "I could never witness because I can't delineate the doctrine of the amuzio(?)," you know. Or, "I don't know the difference between sublapsarianism, infralapsarianism and a Labrador Retriever," you know, or anything, see. "I'm not too sure about any of that stuff. I don't know theology from what."
No, I'm not saying that and it may take you one, two, three or four occasions to give the full presentation of Christ. But don't push for that commitment until you get to that point.
So often I share the gospel even last week with someone and a person who wanted me to share with this individual kept saying, "You know,...push...you know, get them to make a decision...humph, humph," you know. And I wouldn't do it. I said no. I said, "Until it's clear and until the Spirit of God is moving and until the Father draws, I don't want any superficial commitment. I want a complete understanding of who Jesus Christ is, what sin is, and a total commitment that comes in desperation when there's no other way."
All right, then, Christian witness is to the world and of the Son. And if it's of the Spirit, that's what it will be. All right, and thirdly, Christian witness is to the world, of the Son, from the Father...from the Father. Verse 26, "But when the comforter is come whom I will send unto you from the Father."
Now originally witness comes from the Father. Now this is a fabulous thing. I want you to get this. The Spirit testifies but where did the Spirit come from? Came from the Father.
Christ asked the Father to send the Spirit. So the Father then really starts the whole deal.
Now this gets us into the mysteries of the trinity. This verse is a good verse to teach the trinity. You've got the Son talking, the Spirit being sent from the Father. They're all right there. They're all right there. But, you see, this gives us the kind of the mystery of the trinity because in John 14, for example, verse 16 says, "I will pray to the Father and He shall give you another comforter." Verse 26, "But the comforter who is the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in My name." In one case Christ asking for the Spirit, and in another case the Father sending the Spirit. And you say, "Well, I don't understand the inter working of the trinity." Well, that's good, you don't need to understand it cause you weren't expected to understand it.
Our little brains can't handle that.
I spoke at the University of California at Santa Barbara the other night, UCSB which has really been a kind of a hot spot.
And this kid came up to me afterwards and said, "Well, I can't understand this and I can't understand that and I can't understand the other thing." And he said, "Can you answer these things for me." He wasn't a Christian. I said, "No, I don't understand any of them either." He says, "You don't? But you're a Bible teacher." I said, "I know but I have the same capacity that you do, I've got this puny little head and only so much can get in it and I'm out...I don't know the answers anyway." I said, "The difference between you and me is I trust God, you don't." That's the difference. I don't know these things but I trust God.
And so, I don't understand the trinity but I do know that Jesus says here, and you can read it as clearly as I can, that I will send the Spirit, I will send unto you from the Father the Spirit. In one case the Father sends it, and in another case Christ sends it. Whatever. I think it again is God's way of showing us that you can't pinpoint the trinity. You can't fall into the error of subbaalianism(?) or what was called Modelistic(?) Monarchianism...that's one for me...which was a system...a system whereby they said that God was only one thing at a time. For a while He was the Father, for a while He was the Son and for a while He was the Spirit, He just put on different masks. I don't think you can say that because Scripture interchanges their activity so frequently that it keeps the mystery of the trinity always involved with each other.
All right, so anyway, testimony comes from the Father.
We'll leave it at that. The trinity is the perfect harmony of equals.
Now Jesus emphasizes then that the Spirit will be sent from the Father to them. Now this is important because, you see, they knew that He came from the Father and He's going to go away and He's going to say to them, "Now I'm going to send the Spirit from the Father. He'll be equal to Me, guys, there's not going to be any lessening of anything." Remember back in 14 when He said I'll send another comforter and He used the Greek word allos which means another of the exact kind as myself? He was giving them confidence that the Spirit would also be supernatural, that He would be equal to Himself. And just as behind the incarnation and the mission of Jesus Christ we have the eternal generation of the Father, so behind the mission of the Holy Spirit we also have the eternal generation of the Father. The Father then sends the Spirit.
That makes the Holy Spirit the best witness because He comes from God. That means He was with Christ for all eternity before Jesus was ever born into this world. And if the Spirit of God has been with Christ for all eternity, then He ought to know a lot about Him, right? And He's even called the Spirit of Christ.
And so the Holy Spirit comes as a qualified witness from the Father.
Now you'll notice that He says, "I will send...I will send."
When did the Spirit finally come? In Acts chapter 2 on the day of Pentecost, the fulfilling of that promise...I will send. God keeps His promises, doesn't He? So the Holy Spirit will come from the Father at Pentecost to witness to the Son and He'll indwell the believers. Jesus said earlier in chapter 14, "He's with you but He shall be...where?...in you."
All right, so that means...now I'm going to get the point of this little idea... that means that the Father is the chief witness, right? Because He sends the Holy Spirit. The Father is most concerned about the testimony of Jesus. That's His thing.
The Father really cares about the testimony of Jesus. We've seen this in John already in several places.
Back in chapter 5...you don't need to turn to it, I'll just read you a couple of verses there...chapter 5 verse 31, "If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true. There is another that beareth witness of Me and I know that the witness which He witnesseth of Me is true." Who is this other one that bears witness? Verse 36, "But I have greater witness than that of John for the works which the Father hath given Me to finish, the same works that I do bear witness of Me that the Father hath sent Me."
Verse 37, "And the Father Himself who hath sent Me hath born witness of Me." Verse 39, "Search the Scriptures for in them ye think ye have eternal life and they are they which testify of Me."
Then in chapter 8 of John and verse 14, similarly it says, "Though I bear witness of Myself, My witness is true for I know that where I came...I know from where I came and where I go, but ye cannot tell from where I come and where I go." Jesus said I could bear witness of Myself, that should be sufficient because I came from God. But just to please and just to qualify Myself even to a greater degree, the Father has made clear testimony regarding Me.
And how did the Father testify to Christ? First of all, in the Old Testament. Jesus said, "Search the Scriptures..." what was He talking about? The Old Testament. "For in them ye think ye have eternal life and they are they which testify of Me."
Throughout the Old Testament the Father was testifying to Jesus Christ. Remember on the road to Emmaus, Luke 24, Jesus stopped with the two disciples and He taught them the things concerning Himself out of the Old Testament, that's the Father's testimony to Jesus.
The second way the Father testified to Jesus Christ was through the works that Jesus did. We just read that in John 5.
Through the works that Jesus did, the Father was giving testimony. Verse 25 of chapter 10, "I told you and you believed not, the works that I do in My Father's name, they bear witness of Me." In other words, the works that He did were the Father's testimony.
Then I think also God gave testimony to Jesus several times by the direct statement, "Thou art My beloved Son," or "This is My beloved Son, hear Him."
So, God is concerned with testimony to Jesus. That's the passion of God to bring to men the testimony of Jesus that men might see Him and know Him for who He is. The Old Testament, the mighty works of Jesus, the words which He spoke, the signs by which He manifested His glory and the words that proceeded directly out of the mouth of God were the Father's testimony to Jesus Christ. And we have all this recorded in the New Testament.
What does that say to you? Just this, if we are to bear fruitful witness to the world, if we are to proclaim the testimony of Jesus to the world, then we will be found constantly‑‑watch it‑‑constantly with a Bible in our hands for it is in the Bible that we read the Father's testimony to the Son.
And certainly, friends, there is in no way in which we could enhance the testimony of the Father to the Son. If you want to give effective testimony to the world, use the Word of God. That is the Father's testimony to the Son. The Word then is the key to our witness. Use the Scriptures, use the Word, that's the pattern for witness.
All right, then as individual disciples, we simply support the Father's testimony by taking the Father's testimony, Old Testament and New Testament, and delineating it and presenting it to the world. Christian witness then is to the world of the Son from the Father. Fourthly, Christian witness‑‑and we've already dealt with this‑‑is through the Spirit. But I want to detail some things...through the Spirit. "But 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 of Me."
The Holy Spirit then is the real key to this whole thing.
The Father's testimony is born to the world by the Holy Spirit.
I mean, who was it that inspired the Old Testament? The Holy Spirit. Who was it that really worked through Jesus Christ the works of the Father? The Holy Spirit. That's why He said you've blasphemed the Holy Spirit, when they attributed His works to Satan. It's the Holy Spirit. And so it is the Holy Spirit who is the Father's chief witness. Jesus plainly declares that the testimony of the Father comes through the Holy Spirit. He's the instrument of witness. He's the key to witness. And He always testifies in connection with the Word. If you give your testimony‑‑watch this‑‑clearly about Jesus Christ, convicting men of sin and using the Word of God, you have given a Spirit‑ controlled and Spirit‑energized witness. Because the Spirit always gives a clear presentation of Christ, always convicts of sin and is always concerned about the Word of God, the testimony of the Father. That is Spirit‑filled testimony...Spirit‑ energized testimony.
Now you'll notice that He's called the Spirit of truth. And it's good to know that because He never tells anything but the truth. He is the perfect witness. He not only leads men to truth but He is truth in essence. He is the key, the power for our witness. The Father sends the Spirit and He directs the witness. He testifies. That's again over in chapter 16 verse 14, "He shall glorify Me." But verse 15, "All things that the Father hath are Mine, therefore said I, He shall take of Mine and show it to you." The Spirit dispenses the things of Christ to the believer but He also shows the world, He also witnesses to the world of the truth of Jesus Christ.
Let me give you a verse that perhaps you've never read.
First John 5:6, at least in this context, 1 John 5:6, "This is He that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ." Listen, not by water only but by water and blood, "And it is the Spirit that beareth witness because the Spirit is truth." If the Spirit is truth, He must bear witness to Christ because Christ is truth.
And so, the chief witness in the world is the Holy Spirit.
Witnessing has always been done by the Spirit.
In Acts chapter 2 verse 32, we read this, "This Jesus hath God raised up whereof we are all witnesses," that's Peter talking. "Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He hath shed forth this which ye now see and hear." You know who made possible all that witnessing going on on the day of Pentecost? The coming of the Holy Spirit. He is the key to witnessing.
A little further on in Acts 5, this is really exciting.
"Then Peter and the other Apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a prince and a Savior to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins," this is bold preaching. Now listen to this verse. "And we are His witnesses of these things," watch this, "and so also is the Holy Spirit." You see?
They always saw their witness in connection with the Holy Spirit.
And the Holy Spirit's witness is always concerned with the total presentation of Christ...I'm going to say it again...conviction of sin and the use of the Word. That is Spirit‑energized witness.
In Acts 4:31, "When they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit." And what do you think happened? "They spoke the Word with boldness." When they were filled with the Spirit they had a witness because the Spirit is concerned with testifying to Jesus Christ. Let me say something else, friends.
There's no such thing as a Spirit‑filled Christian who doesn't have a witness. That's the Spirit's ministry.
You say, "Well, I'm Spirit‑filled, and I just sit around a lot." Oh yeah...Spirit‑filled people confront the world because that's what the Spirit directs them to do. And even in a special sense, in Acts...pardon me...in Hebrews 2, the Spirit has done this, Hebrews 2:3 says, 2:4, "God also bearing them witness...that is the Apostles...with signs and wonders and diverse miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit." The Apostles were given special supernatural gifts by the Holy Spirit in order to dispense the gospel.
So, you see, the Holy Spirit is the key to witness. He's the defense lawyer that meets the prosecution. He is the one that brings before the world the claims of Jesus Christ.
You say, "Does He do it by Himself?" No, lastly, very quickly, Christian witness is in the believers.
Where does the Holy Spirit dwell? Where does He dwell?
Within us, doesn't He? So where is His witness? It's within us.
He doesn't have any voice that's audible. We are used by the Holy Spirit to accomplish the witness. That's why you see in Acts 1:8 it says, "That ye shall receive power after the Holy Spirit has come upon you and ye shall be...what?...witnesses."
That's the natural response to the filling of the Spirit. When you're Spirit‑filled, you witness, you confront the world.
In Romans chapter 15 verse 19, "Through mighty signs and wonders by the power of the Spirit of God so that from Jerusalem and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ." What enabled Paul to preach the gospel of Christ?
The filling of the Holy Spirit, the power of the Holy Spirit.
That is the last step, my friends, in God's design of witness.
Witness is what? To the word of the Son from the Father through the Spirit in the believer...you're the last link in the whole chain of witness. The Holy Spirit has not made a physical manifestation in our world today in one single body, did you know that? Jesus was here in one body, the Holy Spirit hasn't done that. The Holy Spirit embodies a total church. Ephesians 2:22, "We are together an habitation of the Spirit." And it is through us that He wants to witness to the world, to reach the world, to communicate with the world the claims of Jesus Christ. We are the last link in God's design to reach a world.
In verse 27 He says, "And ye also shall bear witness,"
you're the last link. And then He gives a qualification for being a witness, "Cause you've been with Me." And for the disciples, they had been with Him from the beginning.
What is it that makes a guy a legitimate witness? He has to have seen what happened. He has to have experienced it. You can't go into a court and witness unless you've seen what happened. I saw an attempted murder, that qualified me one time.
And I went to court and gave my testimony. The only person who can give a testimony is somebody whose experienced something.
So, you see, that takes the testimony of Jesus out of the total academic atmosphere and puts in it that warmth of personal experience. But our testimony is not the personal experience, that's the motive for our testimony. That may elucidate our testimony. Our testimony is a testimony of Jesus, the conviction of sin, and the use of the Word of God in the energy of the Spirit.
You're the final step. I'm the final step. How tragic it would be if it broke down with us. You say, "Oh, it wouldn't do that. No, God would never let that...you mean me? Oh, oh, you mean God's going to blow the Kingdom for me? Oh no. If I don't do mine, something else will happen. Oh yeah, somebody will pick up the pieces."
Oh really? I close with this and I'm just going to read it.
Romans 10, "How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed and how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard and how shall they hear without a preacher and how shall they preach except they be sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace and bring glad tidings of good things. So then, faith cometh by hearing and hearing by a speech about Jesus Christ." Did you get that?
Our Father, we pray this morning that You'd give us boldness to face the world and give a speech about Jesus Christ. Not about ourselves, but about Jesus Christ. God, we realize that we're the last link in a chain of witness. O God, how sad that they cannot hear except there be a preacher and they cannot preach except they be sent. God, I pray that here all of us will go to this world in the energy of the Spirit to give a Spirit‑ directed testimony, a speech about Jesus, about sin and from the Word, to confront this world. We pray in Christ's name. Amen.
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