THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH WHOM THE WORLD CANNOT RECEIVE, #701
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. (JOH 14:16-17).
In 1CO 2:9-12 we see how the Apostle Paul was telling the church at Corinth, "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God."
He not only gives us the Holy Spirit as a Comforter, but He is the revealer of all things of Christ. This is teaching us that as long as our hearts are in the world, we cannot receive that spirit of truth. We cannot serve two masters. Two waters cannot come out of one fountain. We cannot have the spirit of the world and the Spirit of God.
Whereas our text speaks of "another Comforter," we must rightly understand the blessed harmony of the Trinity that is maintained throughout Scripture. There are three Persons in the Godhead, but there is one God. The Lord Jesus said, "I and the Father are one." When He is speaking of the Holy Spirit, He is speaking of the spirit that proceeds from the Father and the Son. It is the Spirit of Christ. The three Persons of the Godhead are brought forth in one verse. Verse 20 shows the family relationship, the oneness that the church comes into with the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. "At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you." He not only sends us a Comforter to stand on the outside and place His arm around our neck, but we have a Comforter who is the spirit of truth who comes to dwell in us. The Spirit searches the hidden things of God and reveals them to those who keep His commandments. You and I by nature are not children of God. You and I by nature are children of the world, but He has adopted those who are His into the oneness there is with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
The word Comforter comes from the Greek word parakletos (par-ak'-lay-tos), which means "an intercessor, consoler; advocate, comforter." When the Lord Jesus told His disciples He would send "another Comforter," He did not say a "different Comforter," but an "additional Comforter." This word another comes from the Greek word allos (al'-los), which also means "more," that is, more than one. In other words, you will have more than one Comforter. That does not mean that the Lord Jesus will no longer comfort, but that He will also let the Holy Spirit come and dwell within us and comfort us. The Comforter is also an intercessor. He intercedes for us. He consoles us. He is an advocate. He presents our case before the Lord as a mediator.
The Holy Spirit "consoles" those who are in Christ by letting Christ stand before the eye of your faith, and you will see how Christ stood in that exact spot, that you are fellowshipping in His suffering. We read in PHI 2:1-2, "If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind."
Is there too big a sacrifice for you and me to make to obey His commandments? The Holy Spirit of truth takes the consolation there is in Christ and sets it up before our eyes. Then we see that the price we pay is small compared with the price that was paid on our behalf.
We read in 2TH 2:16-17, "Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work." We find our comfort in every good word and work, in obeying Jesus Christ.
This same Greek word that is rendered "Comforter" in our text, is also translated as "Advocate" in 1JO 2:1, "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." An advocate is one who intercedes, one who pleads your cause. We have not lost the consolation of Christ Himself. Christ dwells within us as well as the Holy Spirit.
HEB 7:25 says, "Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them." We also read of the Holy Spirit making intercession for us in ROM 8:26, "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered." The Lord Jesus as our Advocate can come before the court of heaven and He can plead His own righteousness. He can plead His own obedience. He has satisfied the law on our behalf, and now justice demands an acquittal, but the Holy Spirit also intercedes on our behalf, because we come before the Lord and we have no words to speak. We cannot find words to express what is in our souls. I have found in my own life that sometimes the shortest prayer is the most powerful. "Lord, help me," and then the Holy Spirit intercedes.
The consolation our Saviour left with His church is that though His physical presence would no longer be known or felt in this world, His presence would remain with us through His Spirit, which would dwell within our hearts. Christ is as ever present today as He was in the flesh. The Apostle Paul testifies of the indwelling of Christ in GAL 2:20, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." Not by faith in the Son of God, but by the faith of the Son of God. The Holy Spirit of truth does not work independent of Christ or the Word of truth, which is Christ. It is the Spirit of truth, and Christ is the way, the truth and the life.
In JOH 14:26 we read, "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." He is not going to come with some new doctrine and teach you something that is outside of Christ.
The Spirit of Truth is none other than the Spirit of Christ. He is sent by Christ and the Father. When the Holy Spirit reveals Christ before the eyes of your faith, He is bringing back to your mind what is written in the Holy Word of God. He opens your understanding to understand it. He opens your understanding to make the connection of how it applies to you, but He does not teach anything that is outside of the Word. By faith you are able to receive the things of the Holy Spirit because they are given unto you. The gift of faith is a gift of God. Our text does not say the world "will not," but "cannot receive" the Spirit of truth. They cannot see Him with the naked eye. They do not know Him personally. They do not know Him as a literal Person. Therefore they cannot believe it. The world does not walk by faith, but by the sight of their eyes.
What are we saved from? What is salvation? This is what so many people misunderstand. Is salvation nothing more than a fire escape from hell? In MAT 1:21 we read, "And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins." It does not say He will save them in their sins; He saves them from their sins. He delivers His people from the power of sin. He delivers them from serving sin. We have no merit in what we have done. We have done what we have done because the Holy Spirit has given us new desires, given us a holy reverence for God.
See how that harmonizes with EPH 2:8-10, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." We are a new creation with new desires and new attitudes, a desire to serve the Lord. That new desire to serve Him according to His perfect will is the work of grace.
The Scriptures tell us in 1JO 2:16-17, "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever." This is the difference between the Holy Spirit and the spirit of the world. We do not have the spirit of the world. If the Lord has saved us from our sins, we are delivered from the power of the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life.
We cannot do the will of God in our own strength. That is the fruit of the Spirit. It is an automatic effect. It is not something that you labor at. It is the highest delight and pleasure of your life. One of the most powerful proofs that you have grace in your hearts is that you have a desire to do the will of God.
1JO 5:19 says, "The whole world lieth in wickedness." Of the wicked one the Lord Jesus said in JOH 8:44b, "He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it."
The distinctions that God gives in His Word are as striking as the contrast between life and death. You either have that love and reverence for God and His perfect will or you are of the wicked one. One time the Lord used a strange set of circumstances to give me peace and consolation to confirm to me that I did have grace in my heart. I went to a bar to see a man I was looking for. The man was not there, but I caught the eye of another man and a young woman playing pool. Just watching them for a few minutes I could see such a totally different spirit. I could see that what he was having pleasure with was to me was so empty. I did not belong with that crowd. My pleasure was to do what was pleasing to the Lord.
The world that lies in wickedness cannot receive the spirit of truth. 1CO 2:14 tells us, "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."
We must have a spiritual eye to see with a spiritual eye, with the eye of faith. We see this in JOH 6:40, "And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day." We see the Son by the eye of faith, but the world walks by sight. Those who are of the world cannot see Him because as we see in JOH 3:3, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." The word kingdom means to come under the rule and reign of a king, that we come under the rule of Christ as Lord.
1CO 6:19-20 says, "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are Gods." That again draws us right back to what the Lord Jesus says, If you love me, you will keep my commandments. The Holy Spirit dwells within you, therefore glorify God in your body and in your attitude, which are Gods.
This distinction between the true church and the spirit of the world is not because of anything in or about us. It is not because we are any different. It is solely on the basis of the Fathers free sovereign choice and the redemption of His Son. Look at HEB 10:14, "For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified" or set apart. He set them apart for His own use. This work of sanctification is attributed to the Holy Spirit of truth, so see what is our evidence of that work of grace in HEB 10:15-17, "Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more."
You and I have children. Are they children because they obey? No. They obey because they are children. Do you and I become pardoned because we obey? No. We obey because we have already received the pardon. Should the pardon be the first thing we are concerned about in this life? No. We need to examine whether we have part in that covenant, that "I will put my laws into their hearts." We find the pardon in that He will remember our sins and iniquities no more.
Look at the contrast between the righteous and the wicked in ROM 8:5, "For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit." Where are we? What is our heart fixed on? Is it fixed on the things of this world? Do we serve the things of the flesh? In verses 6 to 8 we read, "For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God."
When we have skipped that first commandment of the law of love, that is, to love God with our hearts, souls and minds, we are in the flesh, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. We can legalistically put on all the love we want for our friends and neighbors, but if it is not motivated by a heart of love for God, we are of the flesh.
If a young man is dating my daughter, he may call me Mr. Bouma, but when he marries my daughter, then he may call me father. The adoption we have in Christ we receive of the Spirit. We are not orphans. We are not without a home. We are not without a father and a mother. We are the children of God. If you adopt a child you cannot disinherit him. You can disinherit one of your own children, but you cannot disinherit an adopted child.
We read in ROM 8:15-17, "For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together."
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