Let me ask you a question: How many of you would truly or honesty admit that you like or embrace change?
The very word “change” can conjure up thoughts and emotions such as pain and discomfort. If we let it, change can make us get caught up in worry; or worse yet it can paralyze us with fear. Fear of the unknown.
Or maybe the thought of “change” provokes feelings of dis-ease or dissatisfaction. Which more often than not leads us to become critical. Critical in spirit, which often leads to gossip and slander and other such ungodly behaviors.
I would feel pretty safe in saying that for the most part, we as human beings don’t embrace change easily. And if we as Christians are not careful, we too can fall into these traps set by the evil one!
I remember one particular situation in which the nurse my special needs son had for quite some time decided out of the blue (as far as I was concerned) to leave us and take a more challenging case. I was devastated. But when I talked it over with my husband, he said to me, “Terri, why do you always think things are going to get worse? You know, they can get better.”
And guess what? He was right! As much as we loved her, it was time for her to go where she felt her nursing skills were more greatly required. In the process, God brought another nurse who was what Matthew and our family needed at that time!
In this lesson, Jesus was about to leave this earth and return home to His Father in heaven. He spent His last few hours trying to prepare His disciples for this change that was about to take place. And in doing so, Jesus promised to send another, just like Himself, who would comfort them in His physical absence.
It was one who would teach, train, equip, and empower them to live the life of obedience Jesus had called them to. And then Jesus assured His disciples that this change will result in peace. His peace!
Though Jesus had to leave them, He would send another, just like Himself.
And this one would continue to provide all that they needed, just as Jesus had done for them over the past three years.
I believe our truth to live by from this lesson is this:
The Spirit of Truth makes His home in the heart of every believer.
Now with that in mind, please open up your Bibles or take out your smartphones and head to John 14 where we will pick up this week’s lesson in verse 15.
If you remember from the last lesson, Jesus had promised the disciples in John 14:12 that they would do even greater works than He had done. Meaning that His disciples were going to build His church. And therefore, since He wouldn’t be with them physically, they would now need to seek Jesus through the power of prayer. Jesus promised that whatever they asked in His name and according to His will, He would do.
And then Jesus added, if you love me, if you truly love me, you will obey what I command! Jesus was saying I am going to do my part. I am going to uphold each and every one of my promises. Now it’s up to you to follow through and do what I ask of you! And as you do, this will be the proof of your love for me.
And because you cannot do this work on your own, I will ask the Father. I already know that He will give you another Counselor who will be with you forever.
Jesus was speaking here of the person of the Holy Spirit. We know that He is a person and not an “it” by the very words Jesus used. Jesus said that “I” (being a personal pronoun) will ask the “Father” (another personal pronoun). And “He” (referring to the Father) will send “another” not an it, who will be known to you as a Counselor, Advocate, or Comforter.
What Jesus was saying is that the One the Father would send in Jesus’ place after He had returned to heaven would be a different person. Yet so exactly like Jesus, it would be as if Jesus were there. And not only that, Jesus promised that this One, this Counselor, Comforter, and Advocate would be with them forever.
And though the word “Trinity” is not found in Scripture, we find it does describe the God of Scripture—one God existing eternally as three distinct persons, each fully and equally God.
We could take this a little further by saying that, broadly speaking, God the Father plans redemption; God the Son executes redemption; while the Holy Spirit applies redemption to our hearts. He makes us alive in Christ and able to understand God’s purpose and plan of redemption.
Therefore, Jesus was saying that He would live in believers in the person of the Holy Spirit, but only after His death, resurrection, and ascension. And so unless Jesus went to the cross in obedience to His Father, the Holy Spirit could not and would not come. Not to mention that there would be no need because there would be no redemption.
Jesus went on to identify the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of Truth. Not only would the Holy Spirit comfort and counsel God’s people, but He would and does lead God’s people into the truth of the Scriptures.
He is the One who illuminates our minds and gives us a greater understanding of who God is and what God is saying to us as we study and take God’s Word in for ourselves.
The Holy Spirit unfolds the truths of God’s Word before us, growing us in the knowledge, understanding, and wisdom of God.
It is the Holy Spirit who convicts us of our wrongs and enables us to confess our sinful and rebellious ways, and then turn and walk in the righteousness of God.
It is the Holy Spirit who purifies us and consecrates our lives. He enables us to speak the truth of God. And He empowers us to explain these spiritual truths to others.
The Holy Spirit also encourages us through the Word of God to stand firm, to hold to the things we know to be true. And He transforms our lives, so we are no longer the people we used to be!
It is the person of the Holy Spirit who constantly and continuously works out God’s good and perfect will in our daily lives.