June 9, 2019
Dave Zuleger (South Campus) | John 16:7-15
“Nevertheless, 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. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.”—John 16:7–15
Introduction: The Chaos of Sin and Longing for Home
I was praying recently about what to preach through when we have campus-specific sermons for the rest of 2019. I wanted a series that would build on where we’ve been as a campus. After praying over this, I would love to zoom in on how the Holy Spirit that dwells in us and among us as a blood-bought family seeks to glorify Jesus in us and through us all the time.
Why do that?
Because we live between the first and second coming of Jesus. His first coming dealt the decisive blow to sin, death, and Satan. But, in his second coming, sin and death will be done away with for good.
Therefore, even though we are redeemed from sin, the chaos of sin and the suffering that goes with it does not just disappear. It seems like the news is filled with story after story of the results of sin—greed, corruption, abuse of power, sexual scandals, and everything else. Our own hearts and lives are still filled with sin that still clings too closely—anger, pride, selfishness, self-righteousness, lust, apathy, bitterness, and gossip. We see the fruit of that sin in all sorts of broken homes, addictions, and abuses. And we see the brokenness of suffering—diseases, disabilities, and death. The redemption of Jesus doesn’t immediately pluck us out of the chaos of sin. The place we are now leaves us longing for something more.
In the beginning, human beings were made in the image of God to enjoy the presence of God and worship the perfect power of God. That is what we are longing for. We are longing to again enjoy God’s presence and power. We were made to find our home in the presence and power of God, but sin entered the world and made us forget where home is and run after other things.
But, then Jesus entered the chaos of sin, lived a perfect life, died the death we deserved to die, and rose again so that all who would trust him would be reconciled to God—rescued from their guilt and shame to remember that their ultimate home is in the presence of God now and forever—even in the midst of the chaos. And Jesus sends the Spirit to remind us of home in the midst of chaos.
There are some days where I’m going from meeting to meeting and it just feels chaotic, hard, and distracting. And I’ll get this feeling in my heart—a longing for home—but more particularly, it’s this longing to walk through the doors of my house and hug my wife, dance with my girls, and wrestle my boys. In the midst of the chaos, I have a longing for home. A longing for my people.
Jesus knew that even though he had made a way home for all who believed in him, he was still leaving people in the chaos of sin. And in knowing that, the Father and Son promised to leave behind the Holy Spirit who would come and remind us in the midst of the chaos that we have a home, and his name is Jesus. Home is a person.
So, as we walk through this series, the goal is that as a blood-bought family we’d begin to see the theme verse for this series in John 16:7 where Jesus says of the Spirit, “He will glorify me.” That is what the Spirit is doing in this moment and every moment.
I am praying that as we take this year to look at the work of the Spirit to glorify Jesus, we will hit our knees and pray for more of his power and presence to break through the sin and suffering and glorify Jesus in us and through us as a blood-bought family.
To start the series, I thought we’d let Jesus tell us what he’s sending the Spirit to accomplish. John 13–16 are often called the “Farewell Discourse” and include the chapters right before Jesus is going to head to the cross. He is passing along final encouragements to the disciples because he knows he’ll soon be leaving them.
In John 14:1–5 Jesus tells the disciples that he is going away soon to prepare a home for them and that he will come again to get them. They want to know how to get there. They want to be with him. The disciples are troubled that he is leaving. And if you read through chapters 14–16 you would find out that their troubles are understandable. Jesus warns them that it is not going to be easy. Persecution will come. People will want to hurt them. In this world they will have trouble. But they must cling to him, because he is the way, the truth, and the life.
So, how will this foolish, fearful, and distracted group of people endure? Look at verses 16–17:
“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.”
The Father will send another Helper: the Spirit of Truth. He will be a special gift to those who have trusted Jesus. The world cannot receive him. But he will dwell in the followers of Jesus, which means he will be with them and helping them all the time! In verse 18, Jesus says that when the Spirit comes, it will be as if he himself was coming to them!
“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”
The Holy Spirit is a person. The third person of our triune God. And when he comes to live inside of us to help us, Jesus says he comes to dwell in us.
So, in verses 1–5, Jesus leaves to prepare a home for us to dwell with him in his glory forever. But, until then, he promises to come and make his home with us by the Spirit. Do you feel the amazing grace of that? Do you feel his commitment to us? Do you feel his unwavering love to not let us fall away? He says something similar in verse 23:
“If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”
There is this all-in love commitment to those who belong to Jesus from the Father and the Son. We’re not just a part of the family in concept, but they come to us! Jesus and the Father do not leave us orphans to navigate this chaos on our own. They come to dwell with us. This is a 24/7 promise to be with us.
Can you imagine an orphan born just living on his own—needing to provide for himself in every way in a dangerous city? Wouldn’t it be the best news if a good, strong family came right to where he was living and said, “Listen, we are building a home in the country for you to come and live with us soon. You’ll be safe and provided for there forever. But, we decided that until that is ready, we would come and live with you to make sure you got there.”
This is the love of God for you by the Spirit if you’ve trusted in Christ. You’re not on your own no matter what is going on. He sees you. He knows you. He’s with you. He won’t leave you or forsake you. He’s with you in disease and death. He’s with you in your rough days and good days of parenting. He’s with you in your work. He’s with you in the broken relationships. He’s with you in your fears. He’s with you in everything and at every moment.
This is not just some high theological idea. This is God entering into the “every day” of your life. Jesus has paid for your sins and promises to come to you by the Spirit in all the nitty-gritty details of life.
And in verses 26–27, we see that when the Spirit comes, he doesn’t just maintain status quo, but he keeps teaching us, keeps pointing us to Jesus, and therefore brings us peace:
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
So, the Spirit teaches and reminds us of Jesus and brings peace. But, it’s not the peace of this world. It’s not the peace of a comfortable family, the right political party in office, a nice retirement, popularity, or power. It’s a peace that is created as the Spirit teaches us and shapes us by pointing us back to our home in Jesus and transforming slowly into a family resemblance. True peace for the Christian comes in fellowship with Jesus and ever-increasing obedience.
The Helper is called the Holy Spirit and the Spirit of Truth. So, part of the comfort of the Spirit for believers is to be set free from false comforts of sin and run to Jesus more quickly. More quickly realizing sin, more quickly confessing of sin, and more quickly turning from sin to Jesus.
So, the Spirit is going to call us away from everything in our lives not seeking the glory of Christ. The Spirit is going to remind us where our true home is now and that might mean making us find new routes in our lives. He’s going live inside us to prompt us that where we want to turn left toward sin, we need to turn right to our new home—Jesus.
And again, he’s going to do this right where you are. He lives in you. He’s going to do this while you are frustrated at work, changing dirty diapers, by healing you of a disease, or by pointing to goodness of Jesus at the funeral. He wants to do this at summer camp coming up for our youth. He might do this through miraculous gifts poured out on us and he will surely do it through the everyday reading of the word of God in the morning with no one else around.
So, the comfort of home for the Christian comes with the presence and power of the Spirit making his home in us to bring us true peace that comes as he prompts us to remember Jesus, find rest in him, and turn from sin until the day we go to the home Jesus has prepared for us.
Now, if you turn to chapter 16, Jesus opens by stating that the world will be against those who walk with Jesus. But, he still must go away. Then he says this in verses 7–8:
“Nevertheless, 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. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.”
Jesus says it is better that he goes away so that he can send them the Holy Spirit. Why? Because the Spirit has work to do in the power of the Name of Jesus through the disciples. His work is to convict the world. The idea of “convict” here is to reveal to the world the error of its ways. It’s as if the Holy Spirit comes as a spotlight to shine into the darkness of the world and expose the lies. Listen to verses 9–11:
“Concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.”
The work of the Spirit is to expose to the world that they are sinners that have not yet believed in the Savior, Jesus. The Spirit means to shine the light on all the false pursuits of “home” that the world will run after and show them to be not only ultimately unfulfilling, but damning. He means to expose the greed, the abuse, the lust, the self-righteousness, the anger, and self-trust of those who would rely on religious performance for salvation as evil. He does this and shows the world it needs a Savior and points to one named Jesus who can save them and satisfy their thirsty souls.
The Spirit means to expose to the world the perfect life, innocent death, conquering resurrection, and authenticating ascension of Jesus. Jesus is going to the Father and won’t be seen anymore, and the Spirit will be at work to point to the sinless righteousness of the person and work of Jesus Christ in contrast to unrighteous sinners.
And if all have sinned and there is only one perfect, holy Savior, then the Spirit means to expose to the world that judgment is coming for all who don’t align with Jesus. The devil’s judgment started when he chose to ignore the glory of God and was thrown from heaven, and it was sealed by the death and resurrection of Jesus to confirm that the victory belongs to God. And all who reject Jesus are doing what the devil did—going their own way, ignoring the glory of God, and will stand in judgment with him as his children instead of belonging to the blood-bought family.
All humans are made in the image of God to enjoy fellowship with God and worship in his glory. That is where true home is for all humans. So, the Spirit brings the comfort of home to the blood-bought family, and the Spirit brings the conviction of home for all those living outside of the family. How could we summarize the work of the Spirit? Listen to verse 14:
“He will glorify me [Jesus], for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.”
The person of the Spirit is at work in the chaos of sin and suffering now to glorify Jesus by comforting believers with the true peace of walking in the light of knowing Jesus and convicting the world that doesn’t yet know him and walks in darkness.
Now, let me connect those two ideas. I think Jesus wants us to see that the work of comforting the Spirit does in us is meant to then overflow to the work of convicting the Spirit does through us. Between chapters 14 and 16 are these verses about what the Spirit will do:
“But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.”—John 15:26–27
The Spirit of truth bears witness to us about Jesus. And then we bear witness to others. The Spirit is teaching us to abide at home more closely with Jesus all the time and invite others into the blood-bought family with us.
The Spirit dwells in believers to glorify Jesus in all things. He reminds us that Jesus is our Savior, that Jesus is Lord, that Jesus is righteous, that Jesus is our superior peace, that Jesus is better than anything we could ever find in this world, that Jesus is our true comfort, that Jesus is our healer, and that Jesus is our defender. The Spirit means to glorify Jesus in every way in our lives. The Spirit means to have us walk with Jesus more closely every moment of our lives – that means every moment. This is what the Spirit is doing and he lives in us. There are no off days. There are no cheat days. We have been saved by the blood of Jesus and inhabited by the Spirit of God to live lives that point to the greatness of Jesus. This is true joy.
And as we are transformed to abide more with Jesus, to remember who he is in every moment, and to glorify him, the Spirit will use us to bear witness to others. In other words, we are comforted to call others home to Jesus with us. Let me give you an example of the difference the Spirit makes.
Do you remember the disciples who never understood, who scattered and abandoned Jesus; Peter who denied Jesus, and then the disciples hiding away in a room sad after the death of Jesus? Not a picture of courageous missionaries. But, what happens later?
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”—Acts 1:8
Jesus says the Spirit is going to come and use this weak, foolish, and scared band of people to take his name to the ends of the earth. And listen to what happens in Acts 5:40–42 after the disciples have been called and told to stop speaking of Jesus:
And when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus.
They are not hiding in a house anymore with the doors locked, they are going house to house and teaching publicly in the temple that Jesus is the Messiah, the Savior of the world. They are preaching to convict the world to come to him. What’s the difference? The Spirit of Truth, the Helper, has come and is constantly comforting them by reminding them of Jesus and helping them abide with him; therefore. their lives are being lived more and more to glorify Christ. And when you see Jesus, that clearly and savor him that deeply, you’ll want to spread his Name so others can come into the blood-bought family with you. This is the convicting work of the Spirit—and he’s doing it through the comforted family of God.