CHRIST VINDICATED BY THE SPIRIT, Sermon #755
Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you (JOH 16:13-14).
Our Saviours remarks at the close of JOH 15 show Him speaking of the worlds hatred against the Father, Himself, and His disciples. JOH 15:21-23 says, "But all these things will they do unto you for my names sake, because they know not him that sent me. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin. He that hateth me hateth my Father also."
The Lord Jesus set an example for His church in being hated. He did not defend Himself. He did not vindicate His own name. The Holy Spirit vindicates the name of Christ. When people slander us, it is not for us to vindicate our own name.
In this context, our Lord also turned their eyes off from the flesh with the assurance of the sending of another Comforter. Their eyes were on fleshly things, what they were going to suffer in this world. He said in JOH 15:25-26, "But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause. But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me."
The Word is a sealed book as REV 5:1 says, "And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals." In verse 9 we read, "And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation." Those seals are unsealed, and we are given a right understanding of the Word. The world did not understand that it was bringing about the very purpose of the Father by crucifying Christ. They did not realize that it was the very redemption of the church that they were bringing about.
When the Holy Spirit gives us to understand this, then we understand the persecutions we go through. As John the Baptist said, He will increase, but I must decrease. That constant decreasing of the flesh is necessary for us to receive that Spirit of Truth. You and I can never receive that Spirit of Christ as long as we are puffed up in the flesh. We must understand that all of these things go contrary to sight. We cannot walk by sight, and this is what the apostles were doing. When the Holy Spirit would come, then they would understand the need for that blessed, atoning love of Christ.
This sets a blessed example for His flock. Our Saviour would die to vindicate His Fathers justice and His Name, but He would leave the vindication of His Name to another. You and I have the tendency by nature to vindicate our names when someone says something about us that is not true. What we see here though is that the Holy Spirit will vindicate the name of Jesus.
JOH 5:31-32 says, "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." If I have been wronged and I attempt to vindicate my name, it is a matter of he said versus I said. But here we have another Person vindicating Jesus.
The central theme of our text is the Holy Spirit vindicating Christs Name by glorifying Him. He will tell of the wonderful works that God has done. The beauty of this is seen in ACT 2:33, 36, "Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear . Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ." Peter and the other apostles were telling of what Christ had done, things they did not understand when the Lord Jesus spoke to them. All of their earthly expectations had to be taken away. He is pointing out that these things had to be. The Holy Spirit took those precious things of Christ and revealed it unto them.
The Lord Jesus told His disciples in JOH 16:12, "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now." The appropriate time was on the day of Pentecost, after He had been taken away, after they had seen Him ascend into heaven and they had received the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and they had received understanding of His mission and purpose.
The Saviours timing in what He told His disciples was crucial. They would be overwhelmed with sorrow at His departure, but they should not despair. This overwhelming sorrow meant that they could not fully grasp what Christ would have told them. They could not see beyond their circumstances.
JOH 16:32-33 says, "Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." This world will not be our haven of rest.
Our Lord Jesus is only glorified when we come to understand that it is in Him (not in this world) that our peace is to be found. We will not have peace in the circumstances that we are in. However, in those circumstances our peace is to be found in Christ. The Holy Spirit comes to us so we can have peace.
A man in my office told me yesterday, "We are going through such emotional and financial difficulties that we are at our wits end. I told him that any time we walk contrary to the will of God, confusion is our reward. We can only find peace by serving Christ. He said that they were looking for a church. I thought they might even be here this morning. He said that they realized they needed to go to church, but then he said he felt it was not really necessary to go to church, that they could love God without going to church. I replied, if you love God you will be in church, because He cautions us to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together.
The Holy Spirit gives us a right understanding. We start to see our every trial and struggle as foreordained of God. You and I in the flesh must decrease so that we no longer walk by sight, that we start walking by faith. The Holy Spirit will not exalt Himself. He comes to vindicate the name of Christ, to take the things of Christ and show them to us.
Who is this Spirit of Truth that will guide us into all truth? JOH 14:6 says, "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." I Am is the great Jehovah. The truth will vindicate Christ, who is Truth, and the truth will make you free.
It is as we receive the Spirit of Christ that we shall find that peace that passes all understanding in time of trial. JOH 14:27 says, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." This is found in the mental disposition of Christ, unconditionally giving ourselves into the hand of the Father.
As long as the Lord Jesus was in this world His disciples were walking by the sight of their eyes, looking for an earthly kingdom in which they should take part. Therefore, He departed to be rightly understood and glorified. Their lives in this world would be diametrically opposite to what they had expected. JOH 16:7 says, "Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you."
It is only by the Spirit of Truth, or the Spirit of Christ, that this wilderness becomes a fruitful field. It can become an oasis in a desert will all the trials that come upon us. The Holy Spirit gives us a right attitude toward what we are going through. ISA 32:14-15 says, "Because the palaces shall be forsaken; the multitude of the city shall be left; the forts and towers shall be for dens for ever, a joy of wild asses, a pasture of flocks; Until the spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest." Until the Holy Spirit is poured out on us, everything of this life is empty. That which was so empty becomes so full. The only difference is the Holy Spirit poured upon us, and we start seeing things with a spiritual view instead of from a standpoint of the flesh.
This blessed spiritual state, which was a prophecy of Pentecost, could not be received by the disciples of Christ as long as Jesus was in the world, and they still walked by the sight of their eyes. As long as they had their hearts set on an earthly kingdom there was no place for this in their hearts. When this was removed and the Holy Spirit came upon them, they had a right understanding of the atonement of Christ.
Even though our Saviour is seated at the right hand of the Father interceding for us, we yet have a Divine Person of the Godhead with us, not only on earth but within us. Jesus was telling them that after His departure the Holy Spirit would come to take His place. 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." The Holy Spirit comes to take His abode in the hearts of Gods people and to take the precious things of Christ and reveal them unto us. This is where we find the peace of Christ, and where we can have all of our frustrations removed. We can have peace with what God has for us. We have been bought with the price of His blood. We are not our own. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would glorify Him. The central purpose of the Gospel is that Christ might be glorified.
It is impossible for our human mind to rightly evaluate the gift of the Holy Spirit of Truth, that is, the Spirit of Christ. He not only dwells in us, but He glorifies Christ by filling us with the peace of Christ and causing us to walk in that Spirit. The world marvels when it sees that we can go through trying circumstances and have perfect peace. We are not frustrated like they are. We can have joy in tribulation, and this glorifies Christ. It causes us to walk in that Spirit of Christ. Christ is in us. Christ in you the hope of glory. It is a light on the hill.
ROM 15:13-14 says, "Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another." No depression is godliness. We have joy and peace in believing, a joy that the world knows nothing of.
Our best righteousness is filthy rags. How can you and I be full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and be able also to admonish one another? Because we have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, because we have the Spirit of Christ dwelling in us. The Father can see Christ in us and look upon that as goodness.
It is also through the Spirit of Truth that not only Christ is glorified, but we shall be glorified with Him. ROM 8:15-17 says, "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." We fellowship in His suffering. We fellowship in what He suffered on our behalf, but we will also fellowship in His glory.
Christ is also glorified in that while He is in heaven interceding for us at the right hand of the Father, the Spirit of Truth intercedes in our prayers. The Lord Jesus intercedes and lays our needs before the Father, but our needs come before Him as the Holy Spirit intercedes in us. The Holy Spirit, in our hearts, gives us that Spirit of Christ, so we ask in a right spirit. The Holy Spirit in us makes our prayers acceptable at Gods throne.
ROM 8:26-27 says, "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. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God." You and I have a tendency to come before the Lord and tell Him, Do this, grant this, deliver me here, instead of asking, What will you have me to do? However, the Holy Spirit intercedes and asks according to the will of God because He knows the will of God. That is why His intercession makes our prayers acceptable, otherwise we ask for things that are not the will of God. We need to ask the Lord to give us the wisdom to discern His will.
It is the Spirit of Truth who gives us the seal or evidence of our redemption. EPH 4:29-30 says, "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption."
Our actions and attitudes evidence this seal of the Spirit as we see from the following verses. EPH 4:31-32 says, "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christs sake hath forgiven you." If we have received the Spirit of Christ, it will be revealed by our attitudes toward our fellow man. The Holy Spirit teaches us what we ought to be by taking Christ and lifting Him up before the eye of faith so we can see what He did.
We have an important lesson to learn from these verses. As long as you and I are walking after the flesh we are not ready to receive the Holy Spirit revealing Christ. The first process is the undressing before we go into the dressing room. We will not be dressed with the robe of Christs righteousness until we have been undressed and washed from our filthiness.
Few things are more frustrating than to try teach something where there is no understanding to receive. Therefore, it is important for spiritual leaders to "speak a word in season." The Holy Spirit will not attempt to teach a person who has no place for what is being taught. Our hearts must be prepared before the Spirit will give us these truths.
This is also a lesson to teachers. We do not cast our pearls before swine. We do not take those precious things of Christ and put them in front of people who will trample them. We must first start talking about repentance. There must be a right spirit to receive before you take the blessed things of Christ and present them.
ISA 50:4-5 says, "The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned. The Lord GOD hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back." If a person is not weary, he is not interested in the bread of life. We have to discern by what we hear, when it is time to speak.
The Lord Jesus told His disciples that they were not ready to receive all the truth. You need to first go through denying me, Peter. You need to understand that you are still standing too high in your own sight. They first had to see Christ ascending from the Mount of Olives. They had to realize that His kingdom was not of this world.
Think of how the Apostle Paul needed a thorn in the flesh in order to bear the knowledge he had received. 2CO 12:7 says, "And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure." The Holy Spirit speaks a word in season to the weary. He does not give understanding to those who have not been humbled. He does not take a man such as the Apostle Paul and exalt him to the third heaven that He might become exalted in Himself. A preparation goes with that. That is what the Lord Jesus was telling His disciples. You cannot grasp it now. You are not prepared to hear what has to be told you.
It is only the Spirit of Truth who can guide us through these trials and keep us in all Truth. Paul said he would glory in tribulations, that Christ might be glorified. That is not of the flesh.
The Holy Spirits title of the Spirit of Truth reveals His qualifications to guide the flock of Christ because of His absolute incapacity of error. The Holy Spirit is incapable of error, and that is why He is so fully qualified to guide. He knows every thought and intent of our hearts. 1JO 4:4-6, "Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error." The language of the world is all that which is walking by sight, but the language of those who are of God is walking by faith, walking by knowledge obtained by the Holy Spirit.
Two spirits are in the worldthe Spirit of Truth and the spirit of error. A lying spirit leads the spiritually blind. Look at MAT 15:14, "Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch." He is talking of blind leaders who have not received spiritual insight. These blind leaders had made a philosophy and a private interpretation and they had come up with so many commandments of men that they made the Word of God of none effect. If someone is a spiritual leader, what is his sense of direction? Is it the Word of God?
The Spirit of Truth cannot be separated from the written Word. Christ the Incarnate Word is also called the Truth. JOH 17:17 says, "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth." The witness of truth is in the Word of God, and if it is not in the Word it is not of the Spirit. I hear so many people say that God told them something. I ask them what verse that is from and they reply, Oh no, I was just looking out the window and God spoke to me and He said some far off thing that had nothing to do with Scripture. The Spirit of Truth is the Word of God, and if it is not in the Word of God it is a deceiving spirit.
All truth is given by inspiration of the Spirit of Truth. 2PE 1:20-21 says, "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." The Holy Spirit is the One who gave them the inspiration to write the Word of God.
Not only was it the Spirit of Truth who inspired the men who wrote the Written Word of Truth, but He reserved all interpretation of the Written Word to Himself. We must not start interpreting the Word of God. Those who penned the Word of God were not given license to add any private interpretation. They wrote as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
1CO 2:9-11 says, "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." This is why nothing can be added to the Word of God. Here is the interpretation of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit takes the Word of God and reveals it in us. The Spirit of Truth is in the Word, and anything we try to claim outside of the Word is not of the Spirit of Truth.
Before a person can see, he must have sight and light. You can have 20-20 vision and be in a pitch dark room and not see anything more than someone who is blind. On the other hand, just being in the light does not mean that you can see if you do not have eyesight. Eyes cannot see in darkness, nor does light show anything to those who do not have sight. We must have spiritual eyes to see, and we must have the enlightening of the Holy Spirit to understand before we will rightly see and understand what the Spirit of Truth is telling us.
Even so we are dependent upon the quickening grace of God to give us spiritual sight, as well as the illuminating light of the Spirit of Truth to guide us into the perfect will of God. We cannot entrust the illumination of our understanding to any interpreter except the Spirit of Truth. He is the only Infallible Guide.
Of the hypocritical spiritual authorities in His day our Saviour said in MAT 15:8-9, "This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." The Lord wants the heart, and it is by the Spirit of Truth that the heart is made right before God. They were void of the Spirit of Truth. They were teaching their philosophy and their human interpretations of the Word. He calls them hypocrites, and they were the most holy people in Israel at the time.
The Holy Spirit will open our understanding and guide our hearts into the truth. The Lord has sent pastors to bring the Word of God, but the pastor cannot lead you into all truth. Only the Holy Spirit can open your understanding, and then a word is brought home in your heart, and then the Holy Spirit causes it to multiply like bread in the hands of the disciples and it makes a full meal for your soul. I have had that happen to me many times. I have been in churches when the pastor was deliberately using everything he could find in the Word of God to slaughter me, and the thing that was amazing was that I was following along in the Scriptures, and when I took the scriptures that he was using and read them in context, the verses that he did not read, the Lord used them to feed me, and used it to give me such blessings. The Lord knows your heart. He knows what you need, and He is able to give a word in season, and that word is fitting to your circumstances. It is not the pastor who feeds you. It is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth who takes the Word and applies it in your heart.
This blessed Spirit of Truth not only guides those who are naturally spiritually blind, but He also teaches the babes in Christ how to walk. ROM 8:14 says, "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." The Apostle Paul was lead into path of humility by the Lord giving him a thorn in the flesh so that he was qualified to be a partaker of the knowledge that the Holy Spirit gave Him. He does not apply the Spirit of Truth to a proud spirit.
He also guides travelers through this wilderness journey into the strait and narrow way. MAT 7:13-14 says, "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait [difficult to stand] is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."
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