Grace to You Resources
Grace to You - Resource

Open your Bible to John, chapter 14.  It isn’t a challenge because the words are difficult.  It isn’t a challenge because we can’t understand the text.  It is a challenge because it presents to us the most inscrutable of all divine mysteries, the nature of the Trinity:  God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, three-in-one. 

There have been through the years, and even through the centuries, efforts made by preachers and teachers to try to explain the Trinity with illustrations.  I have read many of them, heard many of them, and found them all absolutely useless because the Trinity cannot be illustrated in anything that is within the framework of our created world.  It transcends creations.  It transcends human understanding.  There are inscrutable things in the Scripture.  There are divine mysteries that we can never comprehend that all have do with essentially the nature of God.  This one is the most challenging of all, that God is one, and yet three distinct persons at the same time.

The best way to understand the Trinity, first of all, is to start by realizing you’ll never fully understand it.  It may well be that even when we’re in our glorified form in heaven, there may be elements of God’s Trinitarian nature that will forever escape our comprehension because we will not, after all, be God, we will be human beings in a glorified and perfected form.  I think if you start by understanding that you will not ultimately, certainly in this life, grasp the fullness of the Trinity, and then move to understand no more or no less than what the Bible says about the Trinity, you’ll find exactly what God wants you to know.  We can understand the Trinity to the degree that the Scripture has declared it to us; and that is the opportunity we have before us this morning.

As believers, we have a heavenly inheritance promised to us.  We’re not Christians just for this life only – although this would be the best way to live this life – but we’re Christians because we anticipate the promises that God has given to those who believe in His Son and come to Him for salvation, the promises that basically are laid up in heaven for us.  We know we’re all going to live forever either in hell or heaven.  We desire to live in heaven.  That’s our desire, that’s our hope, that’s our longing, and that’s the promise of God to us, to spend forever in a place of peace and joy rather than a place of punishment and sorrow.

Simply stated, we are Christians because we desire heaven; we want to escape hell.  But as believers, we hold tightly, not just to the general idea of heaven, but to the specific reality of what heaven is.  It is a promise that is an inheritance to us.  It is an inheritance.  We are joint heirs with Christ.  We inherit heaven.  And Peter says it is a definite promise that cannot be voided, canceled, or altered.  In fact, he calls it an imperishable, undefiled, unfading inheritance reserved for us.

That’s our hope.  It is an inheritance beyond comprehension.  “Eye has not seen; ear has not heard.”  That is to say, we can’t grasp it empirically, we can’t grasp it experientially, we can’t grasp it scientifically; nor has it entered into the heart of man.  We can’t conjure it up intuitively.  We can’t sort of feel after it or find it in some mystical manner.  It is beyond comprehension.  However, though it is beyond comprehension, Paul did pray that the eyes of our minds, the eyes of our understanding, would be enlightened so we could grasp some of its glory.

So we approach the Scripture then with Ephesians 1:18 in mind saying, “Lord, at least give us some grasp of this inheritance that You have for us.”  And that’s what we’re going to look at in the text before us.  But I want to sum it up and then take you into the text.

When most people think about heaven, even Christian people, they think about a place; and it is a place.  It is a place defined and described as to its character, its nature, its components, and even its dimensions in the book of Revelation.  It is a place.

Most people, when they think about heaven, they think about it as a place where certain activities take place; and that is true.  There will be, around the throne of God in heaven, activities.  One of them obviously will be praise, and worship, and adoration.  That will be going on all the time.  There will be in heaven other activities as well.  We will serve the Lord in heaven.  We will serve throughout eternity in ways that are unimaginable to us.

So it is true; heaven is a place, and heaven is a place where there will be activity.  But if that’s all you think about heaven, then you miss the main event, you miss the main point.  Heaven is primarily a fulfilled relationship.  When you think about heaven, I want you to think about it that way.  It is the full presence of the triune God; the full, glorious presence of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  We will be in the full, complete, transcendent relationship with the Trinity.  That will define our existence.

So primarily – listen – heaven is a relationship.  It is a relationship.  It is communion.  It is fellowship at its purest and highest level.  That’s what heaven is.

All of our praise is response to the relationship.  All of our service is in view of the relationship.  We praise because of that relationship.  We serve because of that relationship.

The dominant reality is the relationship.  We will have a relationship with God that is absolutely perfect and complete, as full and complete as is possible in an eternally perfected human being.  This is what heaven is.  It is a relationship brought to its absolute perfect fulfillment.  It is defined as peace and joy because that is drawn out of that relationship.  That’s what your inheritance is.  To put it simply, heaven is the presence of the triune God.  Your inheritance is God; your inheritance is the Son; your inheritance is the Holy Spirit.  The triune God is your inheritance.

Now, why am I pressing this?  Because in the text before us in John 14, our Lord promises to grant to us a preview of this full presence, a preview of this full presence.  We now, as believers, possess a down payment on the full presence of the Trinity that we will experience in heaven.  Now, again, I can’t go beyond saying that because we can’t comprehend what that would be like.  But we do know this: we in the current form that we are in, in this current form, we are not fitted for that kind of full relationship.  We need a different body because this one can’t function in eternity.  This is a dying body.  From the day that you were born, you began to die.  It’s only a question of when you do.

Life is really death.  It’s just a constant, inexorable movement toward leaving this world.  These are bodies that die; and along the way, they are troubled, and sick, and injured, and wounded, and inept, and inadequate, and disabled, and et cetera, et cetera.  We struggle not only with the physical part of our bodies, but the mental part as well.  We have limits to our understanding, our capacity.

We struggle emotionally.  We struggle in terms of sin and temptation.  So we not only need a different outside, we need a different inside.  If we’re going to be in the full Trinitarian presence of God forever, in perfect righteousness, joy, and peace, we’ve got to swap this for another one.  That is the promise of Scripture, that when a believer dies, there is a complete transformation; that believer’s spirit enters heaven.  And one day, there will be a resurrection of a new and glorified body like the resurrection body of Christ, to join that spirit and to become that eternal being to enjoy the full presence of the triune God.  So when you think about heaven, think about a relationship: perfect, fulfilling relationship with the Father; perfect, fulfilling relationship with the Son; perfect, fulfilling relationship with the Holy Spirit.

Now all of that to say this: in the text in front of you, our Lord promises to give His disciples, including us, a preview of this full presence – a down payment, if you will – on the eternal heavenly celestial communion with God, and give it to us here and now, here and now, so that as a believer right now, you are in complete communion – to the degree that it’s possible in the form we’re in – you’re in complete, personal communion with the Trinity.

I don’t know if you think of your Christian life that way, but that is reality, and we don’t feel that He’s far off from us, but that He’s near.  We are called upon to call on Him.

It works out that way with the Son.  You have a love for Christ.  You’re being conformed to the image of Christ.  It’s one way to define a Christian as somebody who has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  Don’t we use that language?  We talk about that because there is a real life communion with Christ.

The apostle Paul talks about being in Christ and Christ being in us.  And, of course, you recognize that the Holy Spirit lives in you, right?  You are the temple of the Spirit of God.  You are the very house in which the Holy Spirit dwells.  And you can be led by the Spirit, and are led by the Spirit, and filled with the Spirit, and enabled by the Spirit, and gifted by the Spirit, and taught by the Spirit, and illuminated by the Spirit. 

So to put it simply, obviously you are already a citizen of heaven because you already have communion with the triune God.  You already are in constant communion with the Father whose life you share, with the Son whose life you share, with the Spirit whose life you share, who you are as a Christian.  This is the preview of the fullness of that communion that you will enjoy in heaven.  Now all of that comes through the text that lies in front of us in John, chapter 14.  Let me start at verse 15.  John 14:15, and I’ll read down to verse 24.

“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.  I will ask the Father, and He will give you another helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him.  But you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.

“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.  After a little while, the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also.  In that day, you will know that I am in the Father, and you in Me, and I in you.  He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who love Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.”

Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, what then has happened that You’re going to disclose Yourself to us and not the world?”  Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.  He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.”

Now there are no difficult English words there, but that is about as profound a portion of Scripture as you have ever heard read because it takes you into the impossibly comprehensive and complex elements of Trinitarian life.  “I am in the Father, the Father’s in Me.  I will send the Holy Spirit.  I will come to you; the Father will come; We will come make Our abode.”

I just want to draw you down to take a kind of a bird’s eye look.  “First, I will send the Holy Spirit – ” Jesus says, “ – then I will come to you.  Then the Father will come to you.”  Summed up, the end of verse 23, “We will come; We.  We will come.”

This incredible text lays out the reality that our Lord promised Trinitarian presence to His disciples that, “You are the temple of God; that you are the abiding place of the Son, and you are the sanctuary of the Holy Spirit all at the same time, and all of that will unfold.”  Now it’s going to take some effort to unfold that, and I’m not going to try to do it this morning, but we’ll get started.

Now keep in mind that our Lord is addressing His disciples on Thursday night of Passion Week, and they know He’s going to die.  He has told them He would be arrested; He would be beaten, mistreated; He’ll go through a trial; He’ll be crucified; He’ll rise again; and then He’s going to heaven, go back to the Father.  They’re having trouble with this, lots of trouble.  In fact, chapter 14 begins with that:  “Stop letting your hearts be troubled.  Stop letting your hearts be troubled.  I’m going to deal with the trouble that you’re feeling.”

They were frightened, they were fearful, they were anxious, they were doubting, because Jesus was everything to them.  He was absolutely everything to them.  Everything at every level of their life came through Him; He was it.  All their dependencies were on Him for absolutely everything; and now He is leaving and they’re filled with fear, and anxiety, and dread.  And so that Thursday night, He unpacks to them the very night in which He was betrayed.

Judas is now gone.  He left, as we saw back in chapter 13.  Judas is gone to start the process of Jesus’ arrest later in the middle of the night, and it all takes place late in the darkness that night.  Then in the morning, fake trials are held; and by the next day, Friday, He’s on the cross.  So this is the end.  They know this is happening because He keeps telling them.

He has to get His arms around them.  He has to strengthen them for what they are about to face. Consequently, He spends that evening unfolding these promises.  He started in Chapter 13 talking about love so very, very important.  Chapter 14, He said that Peter would deny Him, and He dismissed Judas to betray Him.  Those things happened.  Disciples were loved; disciples were troubled.

Now in 14 begins the promises, and the first one that I’m calling you to take a look at that is of such credible importance is the one that we just read, starting in verse 15.  He has already promised them that they would do greater works than He did – greater in extent, not greater in kind.  He already promised them that He would answer their prayers and provide everything that they needed if it was in His name to His glory and to His purpose.  He’s made some promises about the fact that they’re going to continue to work and they’re going to continue to be able to have access to the supply that He has in heaven to provide for that ministry.

But now comes the ultimate personal promise.  It’s really a staggering one.  But before we get into the promise in verse 16, there’s a qualifier in verse 15.  Look at it:  “If you love Me, you’ll keep my commandments.”

Now that answers the question, “Why is that here?”  It’s here because it defines for whom these promises are given.  To whom does He make such promises – promises that, “You’ll do greater works than these because I go to the Father,” promises that, “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do,” that He’s made in the previous passage, promises that the Trinity is going to come and take up residence?  To whom does He make such promises?  Answer:  “Those who love Me and keep my commandments.”

That is the prevailing Johannine definition of a Christian.  You will see this in John’s writings everywhere.  For example, if you just drop down to verse 21:  “He who has My commandments and keeps them, obeys them, is the one who loves Me.”  Or you could look at verse 23:  “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word.”  And then verse 24:  “He who does not love Me, does not keep My words.”

All right, let’s just make it simple.  How can you tell a true Christian?  A true Christian loves and obeys.  Sum it up: a true Christian loves and obeys.  It’s not about a profession.  “Many will say unto Me, ‘Lord, Lord, I did this; I did that; I did the other thing.’  I will say to them, ‘Depart from Me, I never knew you.’”

How do you know a true Christian?  A true Christian loves the Lord, and consequently obeys.  Love is the motive and obedience is the action.  This is the consistent, prevailing truth

Go to chapter 15.  John makes another statement that essentially says the same thing.  John 15:10, “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.”  How do you know that Jesus loved the Father?  How do you know Jesus loved the Father?  Because He what?  He obeyed the Father.  That’s the model; that’s the pattern.  That’s the model.

In chapter 15, He says, “No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave – ” verse 15 “ – doesn’t know what his master is doing; but I’ve called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I’ve made known to you.”  This is Jesus talking about His obedience to the Father:  “I showed you My obedience to the Father.”  That’s the true proof of love.

How serious was it?  Verse 13:  “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”  He is the model of love.  He loved the Father enough to do the Father’s will, even when it meant laying down His life.  So a relationship with God basically manifests itself on the basis of love, demonstrated in obedience.

You’ll find the same emphasis made as well, chapter 17, verse 6:  “I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world.  They were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.  They have kept Your word.”  This is always going to be John’s standard for manifesting true salvation.

Look at 1 John for a moment and I’ll show you just a couple of parallels there; again, the same apostle John writing.  This is an emphasis that the Holy Spirit had him make.  Verse 3, 1 John 2:3, “By this we know that we have come to know Him.”  How do you know that you know Him?  How do you know that you know the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous?  If we keep His commandments.

“The one who says, ‘I have come to know Him,’ and doesn’t keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected.  By this we know we are in Him.”  Again, it’s love and obedience.  It’s always love and obedience.  John makes this point again, and again, and again.

Chapter 4 is no different.  John speaks to the same issue in chapter 4, verse 19:  “We love, because He first loved us.  If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he’s a liar.”  So if you say you love God and you don’t obey His commandments, you’re a liar.  If you say you love God and you hate your brother, you’re a liar, because hating your brother is a violation of the second commandment:  “You love your neighbor as yourself.”

It’s always the emphasis that John makes.  Everyone who loves God, obeys; and obedience starts with obeying the first commandment:  “Love the Lord your God, and then the second, your neighbor as yourself.”

Chapter 5 of 1 John:  “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments.  For this is the love of God that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.”

So how do we define a Christian?  Love and obedience – an eager obedience, a joyful obedience, a happy obedience, a thankful obedience.  That’s a characteristic of a believer.  “If you continue in My word,” Jesus said in John 8:31, “you’re my real disciple.  You’re the real thing.”

You know, when we look at people, we look at their action and try to interpret their hearts.  We look at people’s action and try to understand their heart because that’s all we can do.  But that’s deceptive because people can do the action without the heart.

God doesn’t view people that way.  He looks at the heart and interprets the action.  We look at the action and interpret the heart.  God looks at the heart and interprets the action.  And what is God looking for?  Not just obedience, but obedience motivated by love for Him, love for Him – love for Him that transcends, love for self, the love of a true worshipper.

This all kind of came into clarity with Peter, John 21, when Peter decided he was going to defect from his calling and went back to fishing.  The Lord showed up in Galilee – you remember – and He said to Peter, “Do you love Me?  If you love Me, feed My sheep.  Do you love Me?  Shepherd My sheep.  Do you love Me?” third time, “feed My sheep.

“In other words, don’t talk to Me about sentimental love.  Don’t talk to Me about some kind of sloppy spiritual feeling or some emotion.  If you love Me, do what I called you to do.  Do what I called you to do.  Do what I commanded you to do.”  Love and obedience are always the defining reality of true believers; and that is the starting point, folks.  That’s the starting point.

So back to John 14, and in John 14, our Lord reminds us that it is those who love Him and obey His commandments, and He reminds us three times: once in verse 15, a second time in verse 21, and again in verse 23, and then reverses it in verse 24.  Really four times makes reference to this idea.

The promise that He’s going to give now of Trinitarian presence as a kind of a preview of heaven is for those who are true believers, manifestly so because of their love and obedience, love and obedience.  They are the true lovers of the Lord Jesus Christ.  And, by the way, 1 Corinthians 16:22 says, “If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, he’s anathema, let him be damned.”  If he does love Christ, it’ll show up in His obedience.

All right, so this is giving to us the recipients of this promise; and not just this promise, but all the rest of the promises in chapter 14, 15, 16.  Let’s unpack it then.  First of all, the presence of the Holy Spirit, then the presence of the Son, and then the presence of the Spirit is promised to the true believer.  Let’s begin with the presence of the Holy Spirit in verse 16.

All right, now they’re in a panic because He’s leaving.  He says, “I will ask the Father,” and, again, the whole Trinity is involved in this on all levels.  “I will ask the Father,” there’s the Son and the Father, “and He will give you another Helper,” that’s the Holy Spirit.

You have the Trinity in that verse:  “I,” the Son; “the Father,” the Father; “the Helper,” the Spirit.  “I will ask the Father.  He will give you another Helper, another Comforter, that He may be with your forever.”  Now listen, I told you heaven is going to be primarily a relationship, and I tell you that, so is the Christian life.  It is not primarily activity, it is primarily a loving relationship that results in obedient behavior; but it is at the core, a relationship.

So what our Lord says is, “Not that I’m going to give you more instructions, it’s not that I’m going to give you more duties, it’s not that I’m going to give you more responsibilities.  I’m going to ask the Father and He’s going to give you the Helper so that you have the internal resident power of God to do what has been commanded.”  It’s personal:  “I will give you,” personal, individual, relational.  “I will give you the Helper.  I will ask the Father.”

By the way, in Luke 11:13, Jesus said to His disciples, “If you ask the Father, He’ll give you the Holy Spirit.”  Well, Jesus didn’t wait for them to ask, He interceded.  He’s the intercessor and He asked.  “I’ll ask the Father and He’ll give you the Comforter, the Helper.”

Now this is a very general word.  It’s the word Paraclete.  That’s the transliteration in English.  Greek it’s Paraklētos.  Klētos is a verb form of a verb kaleō which means to call, pará  means alongside like parallel – to call somebody alongside.  That’s what the word means, somebody called alongside.  Very, very general.

Called alongside for what?  For anything and everything that you would need.  Could be an intercessor, could be an advocate, could be a comforter, could be an encourager, could be a teacher, could be somebody to warn you – somebody called alongside, somebody with more wisdom, somebody with more truth, somebody with more power, somebody with more experience, somebody with more knowledge than you have.  Not somebody less than you, but somebody infinitely more than you on all levels of capability.

That’s the Helper.  I know in many Bibles it says the Comforter, but that’s such a very small sort of narrow understanding of what the role of the Holy Spirit is.  Certainly there’s that.  Certainly He’s there to comfort, and does.  But far beyond that, to help at every level where we need help.

Now notice this:  “I will ask the Father and He’ll give you another.”  In the Greek language, there are two words for another.  In English, there’s just one.  If I say, “Another something,” that doesn’t tell you anything about it.  It’s just other than the one that you have in mind.  No, it’s another person; or, no, it’s another event, or whatever.  You don’t have anything in the word “another” that tells you anything.

That’s not true in Greek.  In Greek, there’s a word heterosHeteros means another, but it means another of a different kind from which we get heterodox or heterogeneous.  It means it’s different; another of a different kind.

For example, another Jesus is heteros Iēsous.  In Galatians 1, “If anybody preaches another Jesus, let him be damned.”  So that word means another of a different kind.

Then they have the word állosÁllos is used here.  It means another of the exact same kind; and Jesus uses that:  “I will give you állos Paraklētos.  I will give you another exactly like I am, which is to say that I’m going to send you a Helper exactly like the Helper that I have been,” and that defines for you the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

All you have to do is look at the ministry of Jesus.  What did He do for them?  He did everything for them.  He answered every question they ever had.  He provided everything they needed.  He supplied all their protection, all their provision, all their instruction, all their wisdom, all their knowledge.

Everything came from Him.  He interpreted all their experiences.  He not only told them the meaning of what had happened and was happening.  He explained to them what was coming ahead and what was going to happen.  He explained to them the significance of divine revelation in the past.  He did everything.

He was absolutely everything to them, and He says, “I’m going away, but I’m going to give you a Helper, a Paraklētos, exactly like Me.  And here’s the good news; He is coming that He may be with you forever.  He is not going to be with you for three years like I have been.  He’s going to be with forever.  He will be with you through your entire life here and through your entire life in heaven.  He will be with you.”

That’s why in chapter 16 and verse 7, He said, “I tell you the truth, it’s to your advantage that I go away.  For if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you.  But if I go, I’ll send Him.

“I could be in another town, I could be in another building, I could be down the road and I’m not there; but I’m going to send somebody.  And here I am leaving after three years.  I’m sending someone exactly like Myself – ” listen “ – who will do for you everything that I have done, who will be your teacher, your illuminator, who will warn you about temptation, who will draw you to God, who will teach you how to worship, who will help you fight temptation, who will make all necessary protections and provisions, who does it all; another exactly like Myself; and He will be with you forever.

“And, of course, when you go into heaven, your relationship to Him will instantaneously become everything that it could be and should be in its perfection, forever, permanent.”  They’re not losing anything, it’s better.  It’s better to go, so He can send the Spirit who will never leave them.

And then verse 17:  “He is the Spirit of truth.”  Of course, He is, because God is truth.  And Jesus said earlier in the chapter, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  He will be what I was to you; and I am the truth, and He is the truth; and everything He tells you will be the truth.  By the way, whom the world cannot receive because it doesn’t see Him or know Him.  But you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.”  So much to say about that.

Let me have you focus on this:  “He abides, but you will know Him.  You already know Him.  The world doesn’t know Him.  The world doesn’t know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you.”

What is that about?  How did the Holy Spirit abide with them?  Listen, in the person of Christ, in the person of Christ.  That is the primary point of that statement.  “He abides with you.”

Who was it that gave life in the womb of Mary?  It was the Holy Spirit, right, who conceived in her womb.  It was the Holy Spirit who moved in the fetus in the womb.  It was the Holy Spirit who was at the baptism of Jesus, and descended from heaven, and rested upon Him.  And the Holy Spirit led Him into ministry, and the Holy Spirit led Him into the wilderness to be tempted, and the Holy Spirit empowered Him and enabled Him; and Jesus committed all the credit for His ministry to the Holy Spirit.

You remember how Matthew 12, the Pharisees and the Jewish leaders said He does what He does by the power of whom?  Beelzebub, the Devil, hell.  That’s proof that the world cannot receive the Holy Spirit because it doesn’t see Him or know Him.  The Holy Spirit was there three years, working through Christ, and they couldn’t recognize the Holy Spirit at all, and they attributed His work to the Devil.

That’s how blind the world is.  “But you know Him because He abides with you.  The Holy Spirit’s been here, doing His work in Me.”  That’s why Jesus said to those who said He did what He did by the power of Satan, “You have blasphemed, not Me; you’ve blasphemed the Holy Spirit.”

“The Spirit of truth has been with you in Me.  It is better for Me to go so that He can move from being with you in Me to being in you.”  What an incredible promise.  What an astonishing reality that is: stunning.

Now why is He called the Spirit of truth?  Because He’s going to have an initial task.  He’s called the Spirit of truth.  Why?  Just quickly in the last few minutes, verse 26:  “The Paraclete, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in My name,” here’s why He’s called the Spirit of truth, “He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.”  He’s called the Spirit of truth because He is going to bring the truth to them.

Look at chapter 15, verse 26:  “When the Helper comes whom I will send to you from the Father – ” sometimes He says the Father will send Him.  Sometimes He says, “I will send Him.”

Again, the Trinity is all involved.  “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me, and you will testify also because you’ve been with Me from the beginning.”

And then drop down to verse 13 of chapter 16.  “When He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth.  He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak, and He will disclose to you what is to come.  He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and disclose it to you.  All things that are Mine come from the Father; therefore, I said He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.”

What in the world is this about?  Here it is.  This is an initial primary promise by the Lord Himself that the Holy Spirit will come to the 11 disciples and those associated with Him for the purpose of writing the New Testament, for the purpose of writing the New Testament.  “When the Spirit of truth comes, when the Spirit of truth comes, He will teach you all things, bring to remembrance all that I have said.  He will testify of Me.  He will take what the Father has given to Me and give it to you.” 

Let me just put this all together.  The revelation originates with God.  God discloses that revelation in Christ.  Christ lives and teaches and ministers, and then the Holy Spirit comes, takes all of that and reveals it to the apostles, who then write it down.  In fact, in 2 Peter, that’s exactly what Peter said:  “Men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”

No prophecy of scripture is from anyone’s own origination or interpretation.  No prophecy of scripture was ever made by an act of human will; men moved by the Holy Spirit.  So understand this: the Father has the revelation, He discloses it initially in Christ who is the living revelation of God.  Then Christ sends the Holy Spirit who brings to mind all that Christ taught and all that Christ did so that the gospels can be written accurately, and instructs all the writers of the New Testament about all the revelation of God so that they can write it down accurately.  He is the Spirit of truth.  Christ is the truth and God is true, God is true. 

The conference a few weeks ago on inerrancy, this point was made so very strongly by Sinclair Ferguson.  “You have a God who is true.  You have a Christ who is truth.  You have a Spirit who is truth, who reveals the revelation from God, to the Father, to the Spirit, to the apostles, who write it down.”

All Scripture is God-breathed through the Spirit, not from any human mind.  So if you attack the inerrancy of Scripture, you have made an assault on the Trinity, you have assaulted the Trinity.  The God of truth revealed His truth perfectly in His Son.  His Son then sent the Spirit to reveal His truth perfectly in the Scripture.

So as believers, you say, “How does this apply to us?”  Well, I’m not waiting for revelation from heaven.  I don’t have any promise that somehow the Lord’s going to supernaturally make me remember something Jesus said that wasn’t written down; that’s not for me.  What this guarantees to me is that this book is true.  That’s all I need; that’s all I need.  I don’t need anything else.  I don’t need private revelations; I don’t need the Lord giving me remembrances of things that Jesus did that nobody knows about; I don’t need to know ancient things about the apostle Paul.  I just need this book, but I need this book to be absolutely accurate.

And here you have the Trinity engaged in the process of the writing of Scripture.  All that is the Father’s, He gives to the Son.  “What is the Father’s becomes the Mine.  What is Mine, I give to the Spirit.  The Spirit gives to you, you write it down, and all that is the Father’s and the Son’s and the Spirit’s becomes ours.”

You can’t tamper with the doctrine of scriptural authority and inerrancy without assaulting the divine Trinity.  First Corinthians 2:16, “We have here the mind of Christ.”  This is the mind of Christ.

The world has no organ of discernment.  Now you say, “Well, is this just a promise for the inspiration of Scripture?”  No, because the Holy Spirit is also the Helper.  And one of the things He does to help us, 1 John 2:20 and 27, John says, “As He becomes an anointing that teaches us all things,” so He becomes a resident illuminator.  First Corinthians 2 says the same thing that, “The Spirit teaches us the meaning of Scripture.”  So we have the Spirit-inspired text; and living in us, we have the author who discloses its meaning to us.

Of course, the world – part of the king of darkness, under the rule of Satan, who is a liar and a murderer – Jesus said, “Because I speak the truth – ” in John 8 “ – you don’t understand Me.”

Of course they don’t get it.  Of course the world doesn’t understand; but we do.  So the first of these amazing promises of divine presence is that, “The Spirit has been with you in Me, and He will now be in you forever.”  And the first task will be to bring to your remembrance the full revelation of the Father, to the Son, through the Spirit, that you can write it down.  Holy men of God wrote as they were moved by the Spirit of God.

Now, that only gets us one-third through.  Next time, the presence of the Son and the presence of the Father.

Lord, thank You, again, for this rich, wonderful portion of the Scripture.  To be a Christian is just a supernatural and amazing thing.  It isn’t just about escaping hell; it isn’t just about being delivered from sin.  This is beyond what we could ever imagine, that You would come to us in Your full Trinitarian glory and make us Your sanctuary.

It’s just a staggering reality.  We would want the fullness of the Holy Spirit, fullness of the Son, fullness of the Father.  And one day, we’ll have that relationship in all its perfection.  But until then, may we be faithful to Your presence in our lives, to love and obey, to love and obey.

Father, I pray that You will do a saving work in the hearts of any here today, who sins have not been forgiven, who have not come to You for forgiveness, and salvation, and grace, and mercy.  I pray, Lord, that You would open their hearts to the truth, that they would embrace the death and resurrection of the Savior on their behalf, be saved from judgment. 

For those of us who are believers, who are marked by love and obedience, increase our love and increase our obedience, and our usefulness to You.  Increase our joy and the priviledge that is ours, to have this relationship that we have with You even now.

 

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Grace to You
Unleashing God’s Truth, One Verse at a Time

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