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The Upper Room Ministry (7)

C Jones, Cardiff

John Chapter 15 (cont.)

The world hateth you

All the persecution the disciples would experience would be because they were followers of the Lord Jesus Christ and would prove that the persecutors did not know His Father (v.21). Hatred of believers amounts to, and derives from, hatred of God, for "the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be" (Rom 8.7). Unbelievers neither know the Father nor the Son, despite the fact that the Lord came into the world and did wonderful things which proved His deity. Men said that He spoke like no man had ever spoken (Jn 7.46), and that "He hath done all things well" (Mk 7.37). He said to men, "Which of you convinceth me of sin?" (Jn 8.46). There was now no excuse for their sin of enmity and hatred against the Lord (v.22). The Lord said, "I and my Father are one" (Jn 10.30). He who does not honour the Son does not honour the Father (Jn 5.23), and he who denies the Son does not have the Father (1 Jn 2.23). Those who hate the Lord hate His Father also (v.23). Men had seen the Lord’s unique works and heard His words, and their hatred made it obvious that they were sinners opposed to both the Lord and His Father (v.24).

The Lord gave no cause for people to hate Him (v.25). He is "altogether lovely" (Song 5.16). On the cross, He loved, without a cause, those who made Him experience such agony, and He prayed for them, saying, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Lk 23.34). The cause of the people’s hatred was in their sinful selves, and in hating the Lord they fulfilled prophecy (Ps 35.19; 69.4). God loved the world (Jn 3.16). There was no cause in the sinful world to draw out God’s love. The cause of God’s love was in Himself (1 Jn 4.8; Rom 5.8). As believers, we need to be very careful to ensure that unbelievers have no just cause or excuse to hate us and find fault with us in any way.

The Lord told the disciples that God the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, the Comforter, would be sent by Him from the Father and would proceed from the Father. The Spirit was to testify to all that the Lord Jesus Christ is. He would testify of, and exalt, no other (v.26). The Spirit would testify to the disciples and teach them. The disciples, empowered by the Spirit, would bear witness, communicating to the sinful, antagonistic world what had been taught to them, by the Spirit, of the glorious Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ (v.27).

The disciples had been with the Lord from the beginning of His earthly, public ministry. Before those of us who are believers can testify and bear witness to the Lord Jesus Christ in this evil world where we are hated, we must spend time alone with Him. Time must be spent in prayer and in study and meditation on His written Word under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. When they were persecuted by the religious world, Peter and John spoke and witnessed in such a forthright, courageous manner, and with such power, that those who opposed them, "when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus" (Acts 4.13).

John Chapter 16

The Lord’s final teaching to His disciples as they made their way to Gethsemane is recorded in John 16. He was preparing them, with words of love, warning, comfort, and encouragement, for the experiences they were to pass through in the future.

These things will they do unto you

The Lord had been telling His disciples about witnessing for Him in a hostile world in which they would be persecuted. He had told them about the need to love one another, and about the coming of the Holy Spirit (15.26). All the things recorded in John 13-15 were to prepare the disciples so that they would not be surprised, stumbled or "offended" when the events of which He had told them would come to pass after His crucifixion and return to His Father in heaven (v.1).

The Lord warned them that they would suffer religious persecution by being put "out of the synagogues". Being put out of the synagogues would have a terrible impact on their families and their social relationships. Some would kill the disciples in their mistaken zeal, thinking that they were doing a service for God (v.2). It is possible to be sincere and zealous, but the zeal can be based on ignorance of the Word of God and the will of God (Rom 10.2). Before being saved, Paul was zealous and fanatical in his persecution of believers (Acts 7.58; 8.1,3; 9.1,2; 22.3,4; 26.9-12). All these things would happen to the disciples because their persecutors did not believe in the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ and knew neither the Lord nor His Father (v.3).

The Lord told the disciples these things so that when they would be assailed by trouble and persecution they would remember the things which, in His omnipotence, He had told them, and they would be comforted by thoughts of His love and power and their faith would be strengthened. There had been no need to tell them of these things earlier because He had been with them to care for and protect them (v.4), but circumstances were going to change. They would no longer have the Lord’s bodily presence with them for He was going to return to His Father who had sent Him. Although both Peter and Thomas had already raised questions as to where the Lord was going (Jn 13.36; 14.5), the Lord now invited His disciples to learn more about the reasons for His departure (v.5). All that the Lord had told them of His going away and of coming events had caused them to experience great sadness, and sorrow had filled their hearts (v.6). The Lord wanted them to realise that it was necessary for Him to leave them, and He wanted them to know more of the blessed, joyous consequences that would result from His glorious victory over Satan, sin, death, and hell, and His return to His Father in heaven. We, like the disciples, can be so concerned with the difficulties we anticipate having to face in the future that we lose the enjoyment of the Lord’s presence and the opportunities to serve Him in the present.

He will guide you into all truth

The disciples were sorrowful, and the Lord said to them, "It is expedient for you that I go away" (v.7). It was expedient for several reasons. The disciples would have to exercise faith in One they could no longer see and touch, and only after the Lord’s departure to be with His Father in heaven would the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, come. The Spirit would dwell within them permanently (1 Cor 6.19; Jn 14.16,17), and minister Christ to them, and through them to others.

The Spirit convicts people of sin (v.8). Without conviction of sin there can be no repentance and without repentance there can be no salvation. The gospel, presented in the power of the Spirit, will reveal to men their sinfulness, their need of salvation, and the Lord Jesus Christ as the one and only Saviour (Jn 14.6; Acts 4.12). Those who reject the gospel commit the great sin of unbelief (v.9; Jn 3.18). The Lord’s resurrection and return to His Father would vindicate Him, reveal His righteousness and holiness, and prove that all He said was true (v.10).

Satan, the prince of this world, was judged and defeated when the Lord was crucified. The Lord suffered and died, "that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil" (Heb 2.14). There is judgment ahead for unbelievers, and the Spirit warns the world of coming judgment (v.11). Paul spoke to Felix of "righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come" (Acts 24.25). If Felix would not be saved he would suffer judgment and eternal separation from God in the lake of fire (Rev 20.13-15). Felix was convicted of sin, he "trembled", but sent Paul away saying, "When I have a convenient season, I will call for thee" (Acts 24.25).

To be continued.


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