Read John 16
Trouble was coming and Jesus was speaking beyond his journey to the cross. He was telling his disciples that they would have trouble come upon them because of him.
In the previous chapter, Jesus told his disciples that the world would hate them because a of him. Now he tells them that hate will be manifested in actions. People will want to kill them and think such actions to be a good, a godly thing.
They will be thrown out, kicked out, barred from the synagogues. What does this tell us? Their troubles will not be so much from the Romans who regarded one building like another. If you were not causing trouble for the empire and paid your taxes, Rome did not care if you worshiped Jehovah or Baal or made up a different God each week. It would be the religious Jews who would wage war against those who followed the way that Jesus had given.
If you were to flip ahead in your Bibles to Acts, you would find one notable Pharisee named Saul who made it his mission in life to persecute the followers of the Way. Jesus warned his disciples that this was where they would engage their first opposition.
Jesus told his disciples that they needed to know what was ahead of them so they did not fall away, so they did not give up. Jesus told his disciples that he didn’t tell them this earlier because he was with them. Remember how so many times it looked like the religious Jews would seize Jesus but they could not because his time had not yet come.
Now Jesus was leaving. His time had come. Now was the time for the disciples to call it quits or to Christian Up and live out their purpose. Jesus had prepared them for 3 years.
Jesus told his friends that this was something of a phased operation. Jesus would go home to his Father and the Advocate—the Holy Spirit would come.
OBTW—Jesus and the Spirit would have the best turn-over brief ever. Everything that Jesus had learned from his Father and observed in the world would be given to the Spirit. There would be no need for introductions and orientation. The Spirit would arrive and the Lord’s work would continue and grow without missing a step. It would a hit the deck running turnover.
You have heard of a seamless transition before. This was the mother of all seamless transitions. We have never walked through Galilee or Samaria or Judea with Jesus, but because the Spirit has and knows everything that Jesus did, having the Spirit dwelling within us is like walking with Jesus, maybe with fewer parables.
The Spirit will also do seven things that I will specifically enumerate. Make no mistake, the Spirit is not limited by my list.
1. Guide you in the truth. The Spirit—the Advocate or Comforter or Helper—will guide you. The Spirit will not force you but guide you. He will make your path straight. You must choose to stay on that path.
2. He will speak in one accord with Jesus and the Father.
3. He will give you insight as to what is to come. Never discount good reconnaissance. Without reconnaissance, you are subject to ambush. We know there is trouble ahead.
4. He will bring glory to the name of Jesus. Jesus did his part. Now it’s time for the Spirit to go to work on us and the world. We have a commission to deliver the gospel. The Spirit does the work of conviction. The Spirit moves upon the unbeliever. We deliver. The Spirit moves. This brings glory to God.
5. He will convict the world of sin because they do not believe in Jesus. Why do we preach Jesus? Jesus is the lifeline for the world. The world will never be able to comply with the Law given at Sinai. Only Jesus did that. The Spirit will use the law to convict hearts and turn them to Jesus.
6. The Spirit will reveal righteousness to us and help us live in righteousness that we gained from the death and resurrection of Jesus. We did not earn righteousness, but the Spirit will help us remain in the righteousness that we have been given by the blood of Jesus.
7. He will convince you that the devil—the prince of the world—has been condemned. The world will still look like a mess. There is trouble all around us, but the one who concocts evil in the world has already been condemned.
Jesus told his followers that everything that belongs to the Father has been given to him and he likewise has held nothing back from the Spirit of Truth.
When we say trust in the Lord with all your heart, we are saying trust in the Spirit that lives within you, knowing that the Spirit is in perfect accord with Jesus who is in perfect harmony with the Father.
When we say lean not on your own understanding, we acknowledge that the Spirit of Truth resides in our very being and we don’t’ have to decide which network to watch to get the truth. We do have to be on guard that we are listening to God’s own Spirit and not our own ego and selfish desires.
When we acknowledge God and his Spirit in all our ways, we are divorcing the old self and committing to a monogamous relationship with God through his Spirit.
When we think that he will direct our paths, we believe with all of our hearts that the Spirit of Truth will illuminate the path that God desires for us.
For those of you who bet that Tom couldn’t work Proverbs 3:5-6 into a message from John 16, you can pay up now.
Jesus did two things to prepare his disciples to continue his work once he was gone. First, he told them that trouble awaited them. He gave them a good reconnaissance of the years ahead. Second, he reminded them once again that they would not be left alone and that the Spirit who would come would propel them into the world fully equipped for what was ahead.
We know the same things. We will be hated and opposed by those who do not know God and we don’t run our races alone.
You know there are significant challenges ahead because you follow Jesus.
The Spirit of God goes with you wherever you go.