Another True Friend
John 14:12-31 Another True Friend Introduction: I love any opportunity to teach on the Holy Spirit. Particularly because I believe that this is one of the most confusing and distorted doctrines and practices of the church. Example: There are usually two extremes. Either we believe in some sort of “earn the Holy Spirit” kind of teaching -through things like the holiness movement. Or we have more of a “let go and let God” -simply do nothing except receive the Holy Spirit and give over complete control teaching -seen in holy roller/ experimental, and experiential “Christianity”. Because of the first kind of teaching most Christians - especially those who haven’t grown up in the church or with any sort of moral compass feel that they can never attain to “Life in the Holy Spirit.” Because of the latter kind of thinking many of us equate weird things, eccentric phrases and practices, with the person and the practice of the Holy Spirit. I hope this teaching will give us some clarity and vitality to our lives as Christians who believe in and depend on the Holy Spirit. It must be remembered that these chapters, are Jesus’ last will and testament. Jesus is preparing his disciples for their world mission. In these chapters he will continually refer to the fact that he is going away to the father and he is sending his disciples just as he had been sent by the Father. We disciples, who have been incorporated into his Church, will want to receive these chapters as especially given to us and so to be especially grateful for and conscious of our inheritance and mission. Truly without these chapters teaching and truth we cannot continue Jesus mission.. Now, remember how Jesus began this section? He began it with these words, “Let not your heart be troubled..” Jesus, in this chapter, again is giving the Disciples reason for comfort, peace and assurance… but isn’t that what every living person longs for? We all want to have a life free from a troubled, or anxious heart.. but live a little while and you realize, that on this planet, that isn’t possible. Life is hard, it’s filled with both good and bad, joys and heartache and so Jesus is giving his followers something that will bolster all the tuff stuff that life will throw at them…..Something that will comfort troubled hearts. 1. What is Jesus doing to calm his disciples troubled hearts? Giving the Holy Spirit - The True Friend 1. Jesus, who is, in person, the truth (John 14:6) and the disciples special friend (John 15:15) now gives his disciples a promise that in his coming absence, "the Spirit of Truth” will constantly be with them, encouraging disciples with their truth friend Jesus. 2. Jesus calls him the “helper” the Greek word is “Paraklete” - One called alongside to help. But the meaning of this word is much fuller than that, carrying a variety of meaning and depth. Paraklete is an exhorter, a comforter, an encourager, and one who entreats. It can also be translated counsellor, helper, comforter and advocate… Jesus says specifically that he is giving them another Paraklete (helper) - implying strongly that Jesus is the first helper. This second helper then is the Holy Spirit. He will fulfill a parallel role to the role of Jesus - he is literally another Christ. 3. Fredrick Bruner has translated “helper” as "The True Friend” - I was so refreshed when I read that. If many of us were asked what name we would give to the person who stepped in for us in an emergency situation, we would most likely choose something along the lines of true friend. Isn’t this such a great definition of a true friend - the one who encourages you, speaks the truth to you, exhorts you to do what is right and true, the one who comforts you, the one who is your advocate…etc….. Jesus promises that this true friend will always be with his disciples. 2. What does this True Friend, the Holy Spirit, do to calm our troubled hearts? 1. Presence 1. Through the Holy Spirit the disciples will become locked into the Triune life and community of God. vs 20-24 1. I think that it is clear from this passage that before the Holy Spirit is or does anything else he is all about presence. The presence of Jesus; the presence of the triune God. 2. This idea of presence is often taken for granted or assumed because we have only lived post resurrection, ascension and post Pentecost. But before Pentecost the Spirit of God only anointed, filled, or came upon, prophets, priests and kings and particularly that of the nation of Israel. 3. But the scripture foretold a time when God’s Spirit, his own presence would be with all people (all meaning -irrespective of persons - young, old, male, female, rich, poor, slave, free, Jew, Gentile). This event when God would give his Spirit is something that the scripture constantly pointed to and waited for - The New Covenant. 1. “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” - Jeremiah 31:33-34 4. This is beautiful because at this point our studies in the book of John are coming full circle - In our first study we saw how the whole mission of God has been to bring his lost creation back into the life of God, the dance of the triune community. 1. "The ultimate reason that God creates, says Jonathan Edwards, is not to remedy some lack in God, but to extend that perfect internal communication of the triune God’s goodness and love….The ultimate end of creation, then, is union in love between God and loving creatures.” -George Marsden 5. Here we now see how that idea becomes a reality.. It is through the indwelling of the Spirit of God that we are brought into this fellowship of the triune God…… 6. It is by the Spirit that the Father and the Son will make their home in the hearts of the disciples. It is by the Indwelling of the Spirit that we will “know that Jesus is in the Father, and we are in Jesus, and Jesus is in us.” The gulf that for so long had separated Creator from creation, Holy God from sinners will be bridged…fulfilling the ancient promise, “I will dwell among them and be their God.” 2. The Spirit will unite the disciples with the risen Jesus in a new and deep communion, especially for evangelistic mission. 1. Though Jesus is in fact leaving the disciples he will, truly, actually be with them, through the presence of the Holy Spirit… 2. Judas (not Iscariot ) asks, “How is this gonna happen? How are we going to see you but the world won’t.” How then can people come to know Jesus? Jesus in short tells him that Jesus’ own Spirit will be in his people, working and speaking through them to the world. 3. Jesus will reveal himself to people in the same way he did to the first disciples - person to person, friend to friend, through individual human beings who love him and his word; in short, through people who simply want to be real Christians…. 3. The Spirit will impart to us the peace (Shalom) of Jesus 1. How many times does Jesus tell the disciples to be at peace or not to fear and how often does he give them reason to be at peace…. with the power of his presence.. 2. Shalom is the holistic peace, the positive peace of God that is only available by God’s personal presence… 3. The worlds peace is shallow and fickle in comparison, Jesus continues (think of political rallies all over the world and of their speeches and promises - of peace, prosperity and happiness. Think of the most famous peace treaty of history - the Pax Romana - it came through death and destruction..) and even the worlds way of giving peace is not Jesus’ way. 4. Jesus gives peace by supplying the means of peace - His Holy Spirit. We can truly say as the Psalmist, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will not fear, for YOU are with me.” 5. The one who raised the dead, calmed the storms, provided food for thousands, cleansed the lepers, gave sight to the blind, provided wine when it ran out, cleansed people of evil spirits, healed the common cold and illness, and infection, made the blind see, and the lame walk, the one who was killed, buried and rose again three days later promises his very presence to be always with us. How can we not be at peace?? What can possibly stop Jesus or his plans and purposes for our lives? 6. The True friend, the Holy Spirit, will give us true communion, fellowship, friendship and peace , by giving us the presence of the Father, Son and Spirit. 2. Power 1. With this presence of God comes power to follow Jesus, to obey Jesus, and to continually learn of Jesus. 2. The Spirit imparts power for the service of following Jesus. 1. “Greater things you will do because I go to the Father.” 2. Jesus’ going to the Father is what releases the Spirit into the world… 3. Greater works can only be seen as a quantitative, in the sense of their scope, and not qualitative greatness. Jesus own ministry was confined to Israel. But the disciples mission will be to the ends of the earth till the end of the age. 4. The Holy Spirit supplies all of the power, wisdom and strength disciples need to continue Christ mission to the world. This is in fact the same Spirit that anointed Jesus to say and do all that he did in his earthly ministry. 3. The Spirit will teach.. 1. He will not teach “new truth.” God has spoken fully and completely in his Son. The role of the Spirit will be to remind us, to give us insight, to make alive, real and true the word of God, especially in the person of Christ. The Holy Spirit we learn as we go along, constantly points to, defers to, glorifies, makes real, and builds up Jesus… 2. “The Holy Spirit does not teach an encyclopedic ‘everything’”. It’s a contextual everything. He teaches us everything we need to know to be christian disciples in the world, by reminding us of Christ teaching, and causing it to come alive to our hearts…He teaches us everything we need for life and godliness. 4. The Spirit will support disciples in their loving obedience to the teaching of Jesus… 1. This new life of communion with the resurrected Christ will be expressed in loving obedience…Jesus insist on this, no less than, three times in this passage. 2. Love for Christ implies obedience to him. Obedience is the evidence of love… Again the scripture foretold, that the Spirit would bring obedience from the heart, a new power to love God and to keep his commandments. 3. How do we receive this True Friend, the Holy Spirit? 1. If we do not understand Jesus’ commands as gracious invitations rather than as legal demands, we will miss the heart of the entire Gospel…Jesus gives the Holy Spirit to these weak, abandoning disciples, not to a group of people who always got it right…. 2. There is wide belief in the church that Christians must do special things, in addition to believing in Jesus, in order to get the Holy Spirit (holiness movement) Baptism of the Holy Spirit..etc. As though the Spirit is more difficult to get than Jesus…. 3. There is not a special overcomer, deeper life, or spiritual champion secret - all that kind of teaching has done more harm than good. It has harmed not helped. We see here simple, honest Christian people who want to believe their lord, to love his church and world, and do not feel especially accomplished in any of these desires…To these “poor in spirit” “hungering for righteousness”, wanting a right heart, believer’s Jesus promises his special presence. Jesus is promising the Spirit, not conditioning it…. 4. “When we hear Jesus saying to every one of us who wants to be a real christian, ‘let’s be friends, and I promise to become more and more real to you,” then we have understood our text..’” - Bruner. 1. Relax, there is nothing God the Father wants more than to dwell with men. It’s why he sent his Son to the demoralizing, excruciating, death of the Cross, as our substitute. So that the way of salvation could be cleared of the barrier of sin, So his Spirit could once again dwell among men…. You want the Spirit? God wants it more. And to want to believe is an authentic form of believing. 2. If you are a genuine follower of Jesus Christ then you already have the Holy Spirit - the true friend, possibly what you are lacking is that cultivation of God’s work by his Spirit in your life… We aren’t robots, - the Bible tells us, “To work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.. while knowing that it is God who works in us to will and to do of his good pleasure.” 1. You want to know Jesus better, you want to follow Him more closely and love him more dearly? Wonderful! he has given you a wonderful friend to encourage and strengthen you to do so - the Spirit of Truth.