John 16: The Advantage
“But I tell you the truth, it is for your good, (advantage, NKJV) that I am going away. Unless I go away the Counselor (Comforter) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” (John 16: 7)
ADVANTAGE is a condition or circumstance that puts one in a favorable or superior position. We will through this study learn about the Holy Spirit who is our Advantage and gives us the advantage.
Now before we learn more about the Holy Spirit, the Counselor, Helper, Comforter, let us begin with the bad news first.
Jesus tells the disciples in John 15: 18:“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.”
HATE- To feel intense or passionate dislike for someone. The opposite of love. Intense hostility and aversion, usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury. When you read that definition it really hits home as to what we see on the news and hear about in our communities.
Jesus tells the disciples and us, who are believers, since the world hated Him, they will also hate us. If they persecuted Him, they will persecute us. We are beginning to see this happen in America. It has been happening in other parts of the world for some time now. I believe our modern definition of hate reveals their reasons- fear, anger and sense of injury. Anger that God calls sin- sin. Fear that God and His Word are true and thus convicts them and can send them to a place called hell.
Now when Jesus speaks of the world He is not speaking of the earth, this globe which He created. He is speaking of the culture, the society without God. And we know from the beginning Jesus told us the way which leads to eternal life is through the strait gate and the narrow way and few enter in; while the way which seems right to man, which leads to destruction is through the wide gate and the broad way, which many enter. As President Obama said, “we are no longer just a Christian nation.” This is a statistical fact. The decline of the church is well documented. The unbelievers are many, the believers are few.
Now the world system is based on conformity. They want us to stay in step with its advances and freedoms as they redefine what is right and wrong. They believe knowledge has advanced to the degree, we no longer accept the Bible as truth. Oh, they say, it has some good principles, but it is an ancient book filled with myths, promoting bigotry, and intolerance and is not accepting of other’s beliefs. * Be sure you understand, we believe a person has the right to believe what they believe, but we do not have to accept it as true or equal to our beliefs. They believe they have advanced to the point they have the wisdom to decide for themselves what is right and wrong. Behind all of these beliefs is the father of lies, the deceiver from the beginning, Satan. This philosophy is nothing new or advanced, it is as old as the Garden of Eden. And Cain was its first convert who started the first religion based on doing what one thought was right in their own eyes. He was also the first murderer.
John has chosen to share with us the signs, or miracles Jesus performed which those who witnessed them, could not explain away. Jesus taught as no man had taught. He did works which no one had done. He walked on water, He spoke to the wind and the waves and they obeyed. He changed water into wine; multiplied loaves and fed thousands; cleansed the leper; gave sight to the blind and raised a rotting corpse to life. There has never been, since the beginning of time, a time when God has left Himself without witnesses. Each of us as believers are witnesses to the miracle of becoming new creatures.
So the world hated Jesus in light of what He had done. Their rejection and hatred of Him was not based on lack of evidence. It was based on willful ignorance. This is the verdict, light has come into the world, but men preferred darkness because their deeds were evil. (John 3) Jesus said, “They hated me without reason.” (John 15: 25) This rejection and hatred was foretold in the Old Testament in many places including Psalm 35:19. “When the Counselor (Comforter, KJV) comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of Truth, who goes out from the Father, He will testify about me. And you also must testify (bear witness, KJV) for you have been with me from the beginning.” In John 14: 26, Jesus said, “I will ask the Father and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever.” In John 15: 26, Jesus says, “When the Counselor comes whom I will send to you…” The Holy Spirit, who is a person, who is referred to by Jesus as he, is sent by the Father and the Son. For Jesus said I am in the Father and the Father is in me- they are one and the Spirit is also one with them. He was there in the beginning, the Spirit of God hovered above the waters in Genesis 1: 2 and was in them and with them, when they said in Genesis 1:26 -Let US make man in our image … It has always been One God in Three Persons, the Trinity.
Now we know the world society and culture today draw their sustenance and satisfaction from the vine of the earth. This is their system of government, philosophy and economics which leaves God out. It promotes the works of the flesh- which are clearly articulated in Galatians 5. Read the paper and follow the news and you will see our government has changed it laws to accommodate this society and economy which is based on the vine of the earth, not the true vine. Read the local newspaper, and you will see it is not just happening in the big cities, it is everywhere. In the last part of the 20th century this vine of the earth began to grow and spread its tentacles into every area of our lives and culture. Removing prayer and the Word of God from our public schools, abortion on demand, legalized gambling, prostitution and drugs became the laws of the land. This world society and culture demanded those rights and those who spoke against these changes were deemed intolerant. Then in the 21st century, believing themselves to be “enlightened”, they made same-sex marriage legal. They want us to tolerate their beliefs while they will not tolerate ours. Paul was right when he told Timothy in the later days we would see people abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared with a hot iron.
Somehow the world does not want to believe the story of creation, the flood, and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Again Paul says they are always learning, never coming to the truth. Peter says, ‘that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts. And saying, where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation. For this they are willingly ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of the water by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. And by the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the Day of Judgment and destruction of ungodly men.’ (2 Peter 3)
THE HOLY SPIRIT, OUR ADVANTAGE.
Notice the kindness of the Lord Jesus as He looked upon these forlorn 11 men with whom He had spent the last 3.5 years. “Because I have said these things you are filled with grief. But I tell you the truth; it is for your advantage that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.
The Holy Spirit is a person, not an “it.” He is always referred to as he or him. You cannot have a personal relationship with an “it”, you can only have a personal relationship with another person.
Here are some of His names which also speak of his activity in our lives: comforter, counselor, advocate, helper, paraclete (one who comes alongside) convicter of sin, deposit, seal, earnest, guide, teacher, revealer of truth, the spirit of truth, spirit of God, spirit of the Lord Jesus, spirit of life, witness. Remember this, from the very beginning, God decreed it was not good for man to be alone. He created us for a relationship with Him and with one another. The Bible is based on two commands: to love the Lord, thy God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself.
His primary purpose for which he was sent to earth was to exalt the Son of God. He energizes us believers so we can bear witness and carry out the Great Commission. He gives us gifts, power, and sheds the love of God abroad in our hearts, and produces the fruit of the Spirit in our lives.
“When he comes, he will convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgement.” Let’s look at those three activities:
Convict the world of sin: “In regard to sin, because men do not believe in me.” The only way man gets converted is to be convicted. I was so convicted of my sin on September 16, 1977, I could not live that way anymore. Man will not get saved, until they are convinced they need a Savior. First step of AA was we came to believe we were powerless over alcohol and our lives had become unmanageable. Came to believe a Higher Power could restore us to sanity.
Righteousness- righteousness speaks of the righteousness of Christ. The Holy Spirit’s work is to convince anyone who has asked the Lord to save them they now have a right standing with God. We have been justified. We have peace with God through Christ Jesus’s redeeming work.
And judgment refers to the judgment of the prince, the ruler of this world system, the devil is dethroned. And greater is He who is in you than the one in the world.
The Holy Spirit enters into your life, the moment you believe. You are indwelt and sealed once and forever. You are now a partaker of His Divine Life. The Spirit baptizes you into Christ. It is the picture of a cloth being immersed into a dye. The dye changes the cloth into something which did not exist before. It is a new creation and so are we from the moment we are saved.
In I Corinthians 2, Paul tells us: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him, but God has revealed it to us by His Spirit. The Spirit searches all the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man, except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.” (The Spirit of God is God. He is eternal, has always existed. He has all knowledge. He has all power. He is omnipresent. All of these are attributes which only God possesses. And now God indwells you. You are not alone. You have the Advantage, you have God living within you and with you. Your body is His temple. Your heart is His throne. He will never leave you, but you can grieve Him. Scripture confirm he is one and the same as God. In Acts 5, we read the story of Ananias and Sapphira. Peter says to Ananias: You have lived to the Holy Spirit. Then Peter says you have not lied to men but to God. Peter knew God and the Holy Spirit were one and the same. ) Paul continues in 1 Cor 2: “WE have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.”
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth who reveals the truths of God to us:
- Holy Spirit reveals to us the realm of spiritual victory.
- He reveals the heart of God to us.
- He reveals the wisdom of God to us.
- He reveals our need for God to us.
- It begins with conviction of sin in order for us to get saved.
- Once saved, He convinces us of our right standing with God.
The natural man when he looks at the word of God cannot understand the spiritual truths, the supernatural cannot be understood by the natural. ‘Their minds are veiled when they read Moses. But whenever they turn to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is that Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass(mirror) the glory of the Lord are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.’ The Spirit of God uses the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God to make us like the Son of God. (2 Cor. 3)
The Word of God changes us, transforms us from the inside out. It occurs when we study the Word of God, and study for the purpose of obedience. We must hear, read, study, meditate, memorize and all for the purpose of doing it.
If the Holy Spirit is our teacher, we are then His students. He will test us. So we must study to show ourselves approved a workman who needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth. Any workman knows the vocabulary and language of his/her occupation and field of work. So should we as God’s co-laborers understand the language of the Gospel and be able to explain the message of salvation.
We have a three fold enemy of our souls: the world, the flesh and the devil. They conspire to conform us to this world’s thinking and behavior. The weapons they use are: lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride of life. Notice the three-fold enemy uses three weapons. How do we combat these enemies?
God has not given us a sprit of fear but of love, power and a sound mind. We have a three- fold God: God the Father, Son and Spirit who has given us these three- fold weapons: love, power and a sound mind.
The Spirit enables us and energizes with the same power which resurrected the Lord Jesus.
The Father enriches us with His love. For God is love and we love Him, because He first loved us.
The Son, who is the Word of God, transforms our minds so we can have the mind of Christ.
It is up to you how much time you spend in the Word of God. There is in my opinion, no more important spiritual discipline than the intake of God’s word. It needs to be done daily.
Remember faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.
Study the Word. Meditate on the Word. Now you are prepared to pray. These three go together and it is meditation which links the Word of God to our prayers and prayer life.
If you continue in my word, you are my disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. And if the Son sets you free, you are free indeed. (John 8)
Make 2018 a year spent in God’s Word and you will be blessed, strengthened, encouraged, comforted, guided, taught, and experience freedom. But more important, your understanding and faith will grow and – you will become more like Him.