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Jesus' discourse on the World, the Holy Spirit, and acceptance in His Church

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The Upper Room Discourse of Jesus

Picture this scene in your mind:

It is Passover time.  The time when a lamb was slain to cover the sins of those who partook in the Passover meal.  Jesus has eaten the Passover meal with His disciples.  The Apostle John has recorded the sayings of Jesus in the book of John, starting in Chapter 13.  Jesus is preparing to go to the cross, and then to His Father.  Jesus is the ultimate Passover lamb, who would die for the sins of all the people in the world.  Jesus is preparing them, and us, for those things that will occur in our lives while He is away. 

In Chapters 13 to 16, Jesus described to His disciples how they were to be related to Him, to each other and to the world.

John 13 – the Last Supper: Jesus washes the disciples’ feet.  Jesus tells of His departure: and He gives a new command -  which is - His disciples and we are to love one another.

John 14 – Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life; Jesus is one with the Father; The HS will be given; and Satan, the ruler of this world is coming (14:30). 

John 15 – Jesus is the vine, His followers are the branches; Jesus describes how His followers are to be related to Him, to each other and to the world.

John 16 – Jesus warns His disciples of how they will be treated by the world; The HS is promised again; Jesus describes how the HS will minister to His disciples and to the world.  Jesus describes how His followers will be related to the world.

John 17 – Jesus’ High Priestly prayer for His followers.

If the church of Jesus Christ were a worldly corporation, Jesus would be putting down his rules and his corporate policies, in order to preserve His company.  We see, in Jesus’ words, that His Church will not be run like any world organization or world government.  Jesus will leave this world: but He will send His Spirit to direct His people.  Our conduct, in this world, is based on our love for the Savior.  Our conduct in His church is based on our love for the Savior.  Notice that the Bible does not record how we as Christians are supposed to protect the Church.  Jesus does not give directions what we must do to preserve the church, but how we must act, as we are persecuted.  The Church of Christ will never be over-run or defeated and dismantled by the world, or by the ruler of this world.

The books written by the Apostle John were written after 90AD.  Nero had been killing Christians since 64AD.  The Apostle John is the last of the living Apostles.  He is the Pastor of the church in Ephesus.  We see the backdrop of persecution by the world.  What does God instruct John to write about?  Does Jesus direct John to establish a moral majority, or a political party, or a righteous Army?  No, Jesus directs John to write about our relationship to Him, our relationship to each other as believers and then to write about  the non-violent attitude that Christians are to exhibit in this world.  The Christian must keep his/her eyes on Jesus, not on our job, not on our future, but on Jesus.

As John writes his 4 letters of John, 1 -3 John and Revelation, the world is violent towards and is mistreating the followers of Jesus - but Jesus’ followers are to be like sheep.  We are to be rightly related to Jesus first of all; then we are to be rightly related to each other.  The result will be that we will be ostracized by the world and persecuted for our faith.

So let’s take a look at what Jesus is telling His disciples and us.

Turn to John 16 (pray)

John 16:1 “These things I have spoken to you so that you may be kept from stumbling.

These things, what things? - Jesus is referring to all He has told them since Chapter 15.  (Stay attached to the vine – that is, Jesus, and bear fruit - the Father will prune each of us in order to bear much fruit: and in our Christian walk, forgiveness is commanded).

 The word “stumbling” means to be offended.  The world will try to be offensive to you (cause you to stumble in your Christian walk); your only means of holding off the offense is to keep/abide in the words of Jesus.  Jesus’ words will be our protection from the world’s offensive actions against us.  As you are rejected by the world, family and friends, you need to stay in the words of Jesus.  Jesus’ words will keep you from being tripped up by the world. (Repeat verse 1)

John 16:2 “They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God.

Being a Christian does not mean that you are going to have a wonderful life, with health, wealth and prosperity.  If you choose to follow Jesus, you will not be accepted by the religious norm.  If they persecuted the Good Shepherd, they will persecute His sheep.

You may be rejected by Family and friends; but now you have a new family and a better friend.  Notice that it is the Jesus words of Jesus that will keep us from stumbling.  As the world rejects us, we will need something to hold us up.  That will be the Words of Jesus.  Those words found in your Bible.  You will outcasts from the world’s religions and the religious majority, and some of God’s saints will be killed, by those who think they are serving God in the act of killing the true child of God. 

Also notice the expression: The hour has come - in this world, everyone who kills a Christian is thinking that they are offering a good work to God.  You can look on the internet at sites for Christian persecution, and see that, today, many Christians have been tortured and martyred for their faith in Jesus.

“An hour is coming”- this tells us that God is aware of the times and He allows these trials and persecutions to begin at a certain hour in history; and He will also stop these  trials and persecutions at a certain hour in history.  You see, God is in control.  God is allowing His children to be persecuted just like His Son was persecuted.  If you follow Jesus, you must follow where the Shepherd leads.

There are several “time” expressions used in the Bible, and especially in this section that we are looking at today.

In John 13:1 we read “Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that “His hour” has come that He would depart out of this world to the Father,….”

In John 13:31 Jesus said “NOW is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him”

In John 14:20 Jesus said “In That Day you will know that I am in the My Father and you in Me and I in you.”

So be aware of these special “time” expressions.  They tell you that God knows all that is going to happen in your life; and He allows it to happen.

Now back to John chapter 16:

In verse 33, of this same chapter, Jesus states that we will have tribulation in this world.  Verses 1,2 and 33 are the rock and hard place that we Christians will find ourselves, as we live for Jesus.  Between these verses, Jesus is telling us how we ought to live as we are persecuted, maligned, beaten, misused, abused and sometimes killed for our faith in Jesus.

Remember that at the time that the book of John was written, the Roman Empire was persecuting Christians because Christianity was not acknowledged as a legal “religion” of the state.  Also during this time, Christians were being ejected from the synagogues because the Jews would not tolerate them anymore.  So Christians were caught between a rock and a hard place.  God was allowing this, for His honor and glory. 

We should not take persecution personally.  All persecution is ordained by your heavenly Father.  Remember also, that some of us used to be on the other side, living in darkness,  finding fault with those who claimed to be cleansed from their sins.  But now, we are in God’s family, and we have a new nature to live by, a new conscience to guide us, and a new family name to honor in our living.


John 16:3 “These things they will do because they have not known the Father or Me.

The people, who do not know Jesus, and are not His, do not belong to the Father and are not acknowledged by the Father as belonging to Him. 

This goes with John 3:36  and John 5:24. 

John 3:36 “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

John 5:24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

The world does not know the Father because they do not know Jesus, the Son of God.  The only door to God is through Jesus.  If a person does not know Jesus, they do not know God.

The world is hostile towards Jesus, God’s Son.  And we read in Chapter 15 and 16 that if the world rejected God’s Son, they will also reject those who believe in God’s Son.  I am not to take it personally; but I am to have the right attitude towards my persecutors, while I am being subjected to their persecution.  Remember that before you accepted Jesus as your Savior, you were part of the world and were to some extent comfortable in going down that broad road that leads to destruction.  The only way off that road is through faith in Jesus Christ.

Look at what Jesus said in

John Chapter 15: 18-21, 23

John 15:18 “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you.
John 15:19 “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.
John 15:20 “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also.
John 15:21 “But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me.
John 15:22 “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.
John 15:23 “He who hates Me hates My Father also.
[1]


John 16:4 “But these things I have spoken to you, so that when their hour comes, you may remember that I told you of them. These things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you.
John 16:5 “But now I am going to Him who sent Me; and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’
John 16:6 “But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart.

Notice that God again says that the world will have a certain hour or time to do their will; and we should not be shocked.  Don’t miss those “time” words that God places in His word.  Such words as “then, their hour, at that time, now, in that day”.

Jesus is telling His disciples and us, that when you see these things happening in your life, know that their hour has come.  The world, and the ruler of this world, Satan, have an appointed time in which they can inflict persecution upon the followers of Jesus.

Verse 5 says “But now I am going off (going, leading, in front, as a shepherd) to Him who sent Me.  This shows us that the Good Shepherd is in control of your trials/persecutions; and He is going before us into tribulation to prepare the way.  Then His sheep will follow Him in the same path, with persecutions, trials and rejections. 

Also notice in verse 5 that Jesus was sent to us by His Father.  Jesus is the first Apostle (sent one).  Jesus is now turning to His disciples and making them His Apostles (sent ones).   

The people of the world, at that time, would have understood the Gospel, that was being preached.  Jesus was presented as the Son of God, who came to earth to die for the sins of the world.  Over 500 of His followers claimed to have seen Jesus after He rose from the dead.  His followers were preachers of - a risen Savior;  peace with God;  a non-violent life style; wishing good upon those who did them evil: and submission to the rulers of this world..  The world wished the worse on the followers of Jesus; the followers of Jesus wished the best on those outside the church. 

You can see that John is not preaching contention, or a political movement, but submission to God’s will.  Jesus told His disciples of an hour when the Ruler of this world would be allowed to inflict persecution upon the followers of Jesus; and that the followers of Jesus were to exhibit love for the brothers and sisters in the faith; as well as forgiveness to their persecutors.


John 16:7 “But I tell you the truth, it is 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 will send Him to you.

Jesus, who is truth, in John 14:6, is telling them the truth.  Jesus is going away, but He is sending “The Helper”, so His disciples, and we, will not be alone.  Jesus, the only One of a Kind God, did not leave us here to be abused by the World, alone, as orphans.  He sends us “The Helper”.

This is the second time that Jesus is telling His disciples and us, that He is sending the HS to us.  We see this also in John 15:26

John 15:26 “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,
[2]

The Helper, also called the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete and the Spirit of Jesus.  Think of this – Jesus came from the Father to live here for 30 years and then to return to the Father.  The Holy Spirit came from the Father and the Son and is still here in this world for almost 2000 years.  

Now we know that Jesus went back to the Father by way of the cross, the perfect sacrifice for our sins.  It was important for Jesus to go back to the Father, so that the HS could come and indwell believers: so, now, the HS can comfort us, watch over us, reveal truth to us, and especially, reveal Christ to us.  We, who believe/trust in Jesus, have God’s power indwelling us, encouraging us to go forth: yes, some to go forth to offer their lives in the ultimate sacrifice; but all of us offering our lives for the good of God’s Church, which is Christ’s church, during this Age of the Gentiles, Age of the HS.

Also notice that the Father sent the Son (in verse 5).  This does not make the Son to be any lesser in position, as a lesser god, but it does show us that the Son had taken on a subservient role here on earth.  Also notice, in John 15:26 and 16:7, that the HS was sent by the Son.  The Son came to us from the Father; and the HS came to us, from the Father and the Son. 

I do not know of anyone who questions the deity of the HS, but many in the world question the deity of Jesus.  All cults and non-Christian religions reject the deity of Jesus Christ.  Yes, Jesus was subservient to the Father, but Jesus is still God.  The Son chose to take on a servant’s role, while living here on this earth; but watch out, when Jesus returns to this earth, He will not act like a lamb anymore.  

Notice, in these passages, how Jesus is setting up His Kingdom?  Such a difference from those kingdoms already in existence.  The Roman Empire was based on a strong army, to preserve order.  The rule of Herod, in Judea, was based on fear, and a powerful army.  But Jesus’ kingdom is based on faith, love, and submission. 


John 16:8 “And He (the HS, that one), when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment;
John 16:9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me;
John 16:10 and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me;
John 16:11 and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.

In verses 9, we have the reason a person will not go to heaven.  It is based on their belief or trust in Jesus.  If you do not trust in Jesus for your salvation, you will not make it to heaven.  Did He die for you?  Did He die for your own personal sins- those sins that you personally committed?  Is there anything you have to do in order to appease an angry God?  What must you do in order to be saved?  The Bible says - only trust in Jesus.  What if you believe in Jesus but still need to make sacrifices for your daily sins?  You are not trusting in Jesus.

What if you believe in Jesus and Buddha that both can get you into heaven?  You are not trusting in Jesus.

You see, trusting in Jesus is the only way.  Why? Because He is the Son of God: the Savior who took your sins and died for them and paid the penalty for them.  He will not share His sacrificial offering with any other attempt to save.  There are no other doors or ways into heaven.  Jesus is not just a part of the door to heaven: He is the door.

We also see in verses 8-11, the purpose for Jesus sending the HS to the general populace of the world:

The Holy Spirit will convict anyone of the sin of rejecting Jesus as Savior.

The Holy Spirit will convict anyone of NOT being right with God.  Jesus performed the righteous act of saving all our souls.  The Holy Spirit will convict anyone who is trying to save themselves through their own “good” deeds.

The Holy Spirit will convict all people of the judgment that is coming.

In those days, there were many religions and many ways to God; but John is stating that there is only one way to God.  The Roman government persecuted anyone who did not believe in their way about their gods.  John writes about true faith, and that is a non-aggressive attitude towards those who reject Jesus; but also about the true faith that saves, which is in Jesus alone.

(Back to John 16) Jesus just described the office/purpose of the Holy Spirit as related to the world in general.  It is the HS’ business to convict.  We believers are not in that business.  We have been given different orders – we are to give out the good news of Jesus Christ, as stated in Matt 28:18-20.  If we do our job, the HS can do His job. 


John 16:12 “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.
John 16:13 “But when He (that one), the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for 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.
John 16:14 “He (that one) will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you.

Jesus now tells us what the Holy Spirit will do, in His ministry on this earth.  If you see anyone presenting a different Holy Spirit; that other spirit is not Christ’s Spirit.  Because the purpose of the Holy Spirit is to:

  1. guide us into all truth,
  2. not speak of Himself:
  3. speak only what He hears from the Father and the Son,
  4. only glorify Jesus.

The Father and the Son sent the Spirit.  The Spirit only speaks what He hears.  The Holy Spirit only glorifies Jesus. 

This was also stated in John 15:26

John 15:26 “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,
[3]

Have you noticed that the HS’s purpose is to reveal the Son to us; and to always testify of Jesus?  Do you see another thing here?  The HS is submissive to instruction from Heaven.  He limits Himself in this ministry to the Father’s will.  Just like the Son limited Himself:

Also notice that the subject of everything is Jesus.  Why is Jesus so important?  Because it is your belief in Jesus that will determine your eternal destiny.  It is not your understanding of the HS that will save you.  It is Jesus. 

Jesus came to do the Father’s will (Matt 11:27, 16:17).  The HS came to speak the words of Jesus (John 1:18, 3:35, 6:57, 5:19-20, 30).


John 16:15 “All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He (the HS) takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.

Jesus is telling His disciples that He owns the cattle on the thousand hills.  Jesus owns this universe.  Jesus determines who belongs to Him.  Jesus determines who goes to heaven. 

The HS will take the things of God, and the Son, and reveal to us.  That is the HS’s ministry.  The HS does not desire worship, nor notoriety.  The HS only desires to take the things of the Father and the Son and reveal them to the believers of Jesus.

Application:

  1. we Christians need to set our minds rightly about this world, and our role in it.  The world hates Jesus; and will hate Christians; if we truly follow Jesus.
  2. We need to be about our Father’s business – Matt 28:18-20
  3. We need to honor the Son of God in our living.  Living righteous lives will allow the HS to use us to convict the world of unrighteous living.
  4. We need to depend upon the HS for our daily walk, enlightenment as we read the Word of God.
  5. Jesus’ words are our pillow on which to lay our heads after a day of struggle with this world, as we forgive offenses and pray for those who are lost and living in darkness around us.


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[1]  New American Standard Bible : 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995.

[2]  New American Standard Bible : 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995.

[3]  New American Standard Bible : 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995.

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