John 15:26–16:15 comment (0)
January 2, 2014
By Dale Younce
Related Scripture: John 15:26–16:15
Explore the Bible
Professor of Christian Ministries, University of Mobile
DEPEND ON THE SPIRIT
For some, the Holy Spirit seems to be “the forgotten Member of the Trinity.” Many Christians have been taught very little about the reality of the Spirit’s presence and power. Others have witnessed a misguided emphasis on the Holy Spirit or have seen the abuse/misuse of the Spirit’s gifts, so they are leery of too much talk about the Spirit. Yet the Holy Spirit is God’s abiding presence in, among and with Christians. He is the best Gift a believer can ever receive. We can and should depend constantly on His presence and power in living as Jesus’ followers.
When Testimony Meets Hostility (15:26–16:4)
On Thursday night before He was crucified on Friday, Jesus prepared His men for the days ahead when they would face opposition, hostility and persecution. In fact, the hostility will be so intense that those persons who want to kill Christians will think that they are serving God. (See Saul in Acts 8:1 before he became a Christian.) Jesus promised the disciples that, when the Holy Spirit came to them, He would empower them to testify truthfully and faithfully about Jesus, even in situations where their testimony was met with danger.
Jesus described the Holy Spirit as “the Helper.” This term combines the ideas of encouraging, comforting, strengthening, exhorting and advising. These are the various ministries of the Holy Spirit to us, in us and through us. This is seen especially clearly in witnessing: “He will bear witness of Me and you will bear witness also.” We can depend upon the Holy Spirit to give us courage and clarity so that we are enabled to tell about Jesus even in costly circumstances.
When Sorrow Fills the Heart (16:5–7)
Jesus had told the disciples that He was going away (John 14:1–3) and now He had mentioned persecution that was to come in their ministry for Christ. As a result, these men were overwhelmed with sorrow. However, Jesus made it clear that the disciples would not be left without help and power. In fact, it would be to the advantage of the disciples if Jesus went away; for then He would send the Helper to empower them, to encourage them, to teach them. Of course, the Holy Spirit had been in the world before this, but He was now coming in a new capacity, to convict the world and to minister to the redeemed. The truth is that we can depend upon the Holy Spirit to be present with us and to comfort us whenever our hearts are filled with sorrow.
When Satan Seems in Control (16:8–11)
Jesus explained that the Spirit’s work would include convicting the world of sin, righteousness and judgment. The word “convict” (“reprove” in the KJV) is a legal term referring to the action of an attorney in presenting evidence that convinces a jury to convict an individual. Here it is the purpose of the Holy Spirit to bring about conviction of the need for the Savior. The purpose of this conviction is not to condemn but to save. The Holy Spirit convicts the world of one specific sin, namely, the sin of unbelief, the failure to trust Jesus as Messiah and Son of God. What ultimately condemns people to hell is the unwillingness to trust Jesus. The Holy Spirit convicts the world of righteousness, in the sense of shattering the pretentions of self-righteousness. The standard of righteousness is Jesus Himself: no one compares with Him. All others are sinners. The presence of the Holy Spirit convicts the world of coming judgment. His presence means Satan has already been condemned at the cross and all who reject the Savior will share Satan’s horrible judgment. The reality of the Holy Spirit brings encouragement to us when Satan seems to be in control.
When More Understanding Is Needed (16:12–15)
Jesus declared that the Spirit would guide His disciples into all truth, empowering them to carry forth the message of the gospel. Therefore we too can depend upon the Holy Spirit to help us understand, apply and tell others about all the truth Jesus reveals.