November 2008

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From the editor: "Immanuel" (Is 7.14; 8.8; Mt 1.23)
J Grant

Creation’s Story (23): Science and Scripture
R W Cargill

A Series of Letters on Bible Study (4): Recognising the Genres
D Newell

Book Review

Memories of Bethany (2)
J Voisey

Yokes Heavy and Light
W W Fereday

Sticking up for Jacob (9) - Last days in Egypt (1)
G Hutchinson

Question Box

The Thistle and the Leper
J Gibson

Notebook: Introduction To The Tabernacle (2)
J Grant

The Upper Room Ministry (4)
C Jones

A Profile of David (1 Samuel 16)
R Dawes

Into All The World: Literature Work in Brazil
W Watterson

Whose faith follow: Mr G Harold German (1904-1990)
M Brown

The Lord’s Work & Workers

With Christ

Forthcoming Meetings

Notices

The Upper Room Ministry (4)

C Jones, Cardiff

John Chapter 14

Another Comforter

Obedience to the Lord is a consequence and evidence of love to Him (v.15), and it was to His disciples, who loved Him, that the Holy Spirit was to be given. The Lord would return to heaven but He would ask His Father to give the disciples "another Comforter", the Holy Spirit. "Another" (Gk. allos) here means another of the same kind, a Divine Person. "Comforter" (Gk. parakletos) means one who has been called alongside to help (v.16).

The Holy Spirit is a Divine Person. In the Old Testament we read of Him coming upon men to empower them to perform specific service for God (Ex 31.3-5; Judg 14.6; 2 Sam 23.2; 1 Chr 28.12). He inspired men to prophesy and write the Scriptures (2 Tim 3.16; 1 Pet 1.11; 2 Pet 1.21). All believers are indwelt by the Holy Spirit from the moment they are saved (1 Cor 6.19). Being indwelt by the Spirit is not the same as being filled with the Spirit (Acts 4.31; Eph 5.18). Whereas all believers are permanently indwelt by the Spirit, a believer will only be filled with the Spirit when he is completely obedient and yielded to the revealed will of God. The Spirit would comfort and empower the disciples after their Lord and Saviour had gone away. He would be with them to strengthen, comfort and encourage them. The Lord had been with them for a few years only, but the Holy Spirit would abide with them forever.

The Holy Spirit is "the Spirit of truth" (v.17). He causes men to know the truth and always seeks to glorify not Himself, but Christ, who is the truth (v.6). The Spirit leads men to Christ that they might be saved and love and serve Him. Unbelievers cannot see the Holy Spirit and so do not believe in Him or know Him, for "the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (1 Cor 2.14). The disciples knew the Spirit for He had worked in their lives and through the Lord. Up to this point in time the Spirit had dwelt with them, but in the future He would be in them permanently (v.17).The Lord was not going to desert them and leave them like desolate, exposed and comfortless orphans. The Holy Spirit would come to them, and the Lord came to them after His resurrection (v.18) when He was seen by the disciples and many other believers. His resurrection assures believers that they also will be raised one day from among the dead (v.19).

The Spirit enables us to know that Christ lives. We see Him by faith and by the Spirit. He dwells within us. The believer enjoys a wonderful and secure union with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Christ is in the Father, believers are in Christ, and Christ is in believers by the Spirit (v.20). Obeying the Lord’s commands is evidence of loving Him (v.21). God is love (1 Jn 4.8), and loves the world (Jn 3.16), but those who love His Son are loved by the Father and the Son in a special way, and the Lord promises to reveal Himself to them in a full and blessed way.

Judas (not Judas Iscariot) did not fully understand what the Lord was teaching, and asked, "Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?" (v.22). It would seem that Judas was looking for the immediate establishment of a kingdom on earth. The Lord was not thinking, at this time, of manifesting Himself to the world but to individuals. It would be a spiritual manifestation by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God. The Lord explained to Judas that the believer who loves and obeys the Lord will be loved by His Father and will experience close communion and a deepening spiritual relationship with both the Father and the Son through the indwelling Spirit (v.23). As a believer meditates on the written Word of God, the Holy Spirit will reveal to him the will of God and give him an insight into the mind of God. Blessing is promised to the one who obeys the teachings and commandments found in the Word of God. He who does not love the Lord will not keep His sayings. He will reject the words of the Father and the Son (v.24).

While He was with them the Lord had taught the disciples many things; there was a limit to what they could learn at present, but the Father would send the Holy Spirit. He came on the day of Pentecost. He would teach the disciples and bring the sayings of the Lord to remembrance (vv.25,26) teaching them all the truths God would have them to know and teach others.

The Lord now clearly identifies the Comforter as the Holy Spirit whom the Father would send in the Lord’s Name. The Spirit would exalt Christ, draw people to Him, and teach them "all things" that believers need to know about the Lord Jesus Christ, His Person, work, and glories. The Lord said the Spirit would bring "all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you" (v.26). The disciples would not be left to rely upon their own fallible memories.

Peace I leave with you

The Lord had been preparing "His own", whom He loved, for His departure out of this world to go to His Father. He sought to teach them things which would comfort and be a blessing to them. He said, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you…Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (v.27). The peace enjoyed by the believer who loves and obeys the Lord is not the transient, shallow, passing peace which can be enjoyed by those who are lost. It is a peace that passes all understanding (Phil 4.7). It is part of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5.22). This peace garrisons the believer’s heart and is independent of surrounding circumstances.

The Lord told the disciples of events that would come to pass so that when these things happened they might realise and believe that all is under the control of God. He was going away but He would return. They should rejoice and be glad that He, whom they loved, was going back to His omnipotent Father, for then His sufferings would be over. He would be glorified in heaven and would intercede on behalf of believers as their great High Priest (Heb 2.17,18; 4.14-16; 7.25). The Lord said, "My Father is greater than I". God was greater in the sense that the Lord was incarnate and, as a consequence, was in a position of submissiveness to His Father at that time (vv.28,29).

The Lord had little more to tell His disciples. Soon He would be crucified. His victory over Satan, sin, and death was assured for He is eternally holy and without sin (2 Cor 5.21; 1 Pet 2.22; 1 Jn 3.5; Heb 4.15), and Satan would find no flaw or weakness in Him (v.30).

The Lord’s suffering and death glorified His Father, whom He loved (v.31). He was "obedient unto death, even the death of the cross" (Phil 2.8), and He consumed the wrath of God against the sin of the world (Jn 1.29; 1 Jn 2.2). His death was not natural but supernatural, for, having completed the work He came to do. He cried in triumph, "It is finished", reclined His head and dismissed His spirit (Jn 19.30). The Lord closed this part of the discourse by saying, "Arise, let us go hence" (v.31). He was determined to go forth, taking His disciples with Him, to complete every detail of the work His beloved Father had given Him to do.

To be continued.

 

 

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