John 15:26 “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of Truth who proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of Me. 27 And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with Me from the beginning.
John 16:4 But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. “And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you. 5 But now I go My way to Him that sent Me, and none of you asketh Me, ‘Whither goest Thou?’ 6 But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart. 7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is expedient for you that I go away, for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you. 8 And when He is come, He will reprove the world concerning sin, and concerning righteousness, and concerning judgment: 9 concerning sin, because they believe not in Me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I go to My Father and ye see Me no more; 11 concerning judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. 12 “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 13 However when He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth; for He shall not speak from Himself, but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak; and He will show you things to come. 14 He shall glorify Me, for He shall receive of Mine, and shall show it unto you.
15 All things that the Father hath are Mine; therefore I said that He shall take of Mine, and shall show it unto you.
“The term “collect” is traceable to the word in Gallican sacramentaries collecta, and even earlier to the Latin word collectio. Some have suggested that the term reflects the function of the prayer it described, namely that of gathering the people together for worship. In the Roman Use, the collecta is called the oratio. The Roman Use appears to be the source of the collect, as its style is Roman in its conciseness and clarity. ”
Jesus speaks these words concerning the coming “Spirit of Truth” who is also designated as the “Comforter. ” to his disciples just prior to His looming Crucifixion. He is seeking to console their sense of abandonment and fear, while at the same time suggesting that the Holy Spirit will sustain them in the context of fierce opposition.
The outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost is often expressed by the English Word Whitsunday or White Sunday. This has reference to the White garments worn by the newly baptized or to the gift of Wisdom by the Holy Spirit. This feast was a popular time for baptism especially in the Northern European Churches where climate led them to prefer Pentecost to Easter as the season for baptism. The liturgical color is Red as a reminder of the tongues of fire and the blood of the martyrs, the seed of the church. So this Sunday: Happy White Sunday!!
As we come to the text we are reminded of the greatness of the Holy Spirit. A 17th century Theologian once offered,
“The work of the Holy Spirit for the elect is as great as those of the Father or the Son. Why? Because all that Christ did would have profited us nothing, if the Holy Ghost did not come into our hearts and bring all home to us…. Christ leads us to the Father (as it were) with one hand, the Holy Ghost with the other. Christ showed His love for the elect by dying for them; the Spirit shows His love for the same people by indwelling them.”
17th Century Puritan
I.) The Outward Work Of The Spirit — To The World
He is the Primary Witness to Christ. One might say He is “God, the Evangelist.”
The context here in which the Spirit is spoken about is one of opposition by the world to the Disciples of Christ.
1.) So we might say that one of the outward works of the Spirit to the World is to sustain the Disciples as they bear up under the hatred of the World.
In vs. 26 we get the sense that they would be able to endure the world’s despite because the Holy Spirit testifies with us. Those first Disciples were not alone in their bearing witness work (27) but were sustained and strengthened by the Witness of the Holy Spirit in the Evangelism project.
Indeed the word here translated as “Comforter,” is the Greek Word “Parakletos.” It is often translated as “Advocate.” When used of the Holy Spirit the word is defined in the widest sense, as a helper, one who gives succor, and aide. The Spirit is One who has been summoned or called to the side of another–literally, as an “advocate,” or, by extension, a helper or legal representative in a trial or other arena of judgment.
As the Holy Spirit was ordained to take the place of Christ with the apostles (after his ascension to the Father), it was His work to lead them to a deeper knowledge of the gospel truth, and give them divine strength needed to enable them to undergo trials and persecutions on behalf of the divine kingdom.
As you read the book of Acts it is clear to see the opposition to the Disciples witness to Christ and yet the word of the Kingdom of God and the Resurrection of Christ went forward because of the witness of the Holy Spirit.
This reminds us that the Holy Spirit is the person of the Trinity associated with the successful spread of the Good News of Christ providing reconciliation for all those who would surrender to God’s love, dominion, and authority as placarded by Christ.
We need to take comfort when we are opposed by men, both within and outside the Church, that the Holy Spirit is greater than opposition arrayed against us. Because of His witness we can witness and we can be confident that the Spirit of God will triumph. We needs remember when we are opposed by the most vicious of men that if the Holy Spirit could turn the heart of Saul who loved to breathe out threats against the Church and persecute the Church, that the same Holy Spirit can overcome all opposition today.
On this Whitsunday we esteem the Spirit of Christ for the Holy Spirit is why you have an interest in Christ (Eph. 1:14).
He is the One who gives you confidence concerning being approved by God (Romans 8:15-16).
He is why you have an interest in bearing witness of and to Christ.
He is the reason that you have not folded to the opposition of the World.
He is the One who gives you understanding and fits you with resolve to press on so as to be always abounding in the work of the Lord.
Were it not for the Spirit of Christ you would have no interest in esteeming God’s commands. No interest in marrying in the Faith. No interest in staying in Christian marriages.
He will be the one who will sustain your faith in your dying moments, thus preparing you to meet the Lord Christ whom He is the Spirit of.
2.) Another outward works of the Spirit to the World is to do the work of Evangelism
According to the text, the promised Spirit will bring the world to the recognition of the meaning and reality of sin, righteousness, and judgment. Another way of saying this is that the Spirit will expose to the outsiders, to those who do not believe, the error of their unbelief.
Not to believe is the greatest sin according to John’s Gospel, and that sin keeps one outside the community. The Spirit, thus, has the function of continuing to confront the world (outsiders) with the presence of Jesus after his ascension.
(a.)In pursuit of making Christ known to the world the Spirit of Christ is said in the text to be one who convicts the world of sin (8).
The verb here in the Greek means to literally ‘to show someone his sin and summon him to repentance’ (TDNT). The English word “expose” captures some of what is intended here. The Spirit will expose the world’s sin.
Of course moderns don’t like the notion of “sin.” It is considered one of those “cringe” words that we try to avoid. Sin reminds us that there is a standard. It reminds us that truth is not person or cultural variable. And yet we hear our Lord Christ saying that the Holy Spirit will convict the world of Sin.
We see this activity operating immediately upon the consequence of the Holy Spirit’s arrival at Pentecost.
Peter begins to speak of, “Jesus of Nazareth, a Man approved of God … as you yourselves know. Peter tells them his Jewish audience that they, via the Romans had crucified the Messiah. Acts then tells us that the listeners, “were cut to the heart.”
The Holy Spirit as witness, empowered Peter’s witness, and convicted Peter’s listeners of their sin.
We should note already at this point that it is only the Holy Spirit who can open blinded eyes. He alone can convict of sin.
Ours is to bear witness to the Truth, but it is the Spirit of Christ’s work to cause men to see that of which we are witnessing.
Those outside of Christ are like blind men sitting in a darkened room. We can and must shine the word of God’s light but a light turned on, while dispelling the darkness of a dark room will not help blind men to see. Only the Spirit of the living Christ can open blind eyes to see the light of our witness and yet His opening of blind eyes normatively happens in the context of the light be flicked on.
This reminds us, in the context of his Johannine passage, that if our witness is to be to successful to the end of moving people towards Christ it is dependent upon the Spirit’s witness.
Too often in the Church today we have forgotten this. We have thought it our job to do the converting. But that is a job only the Spirit of Christ is qualified to do.
We have employed techniques to convict. Lowered lights. Psychological pressure. Raised hands. When those didn’t have the desired results we began to dumb the message down in order to make it easier for people to accept.
Puritan Wm. Gurnall reminds us
“God never laid it on thee to convert those he sends thee to. No; to publish the Gospel is thy duty.”
Likewise Puritan Joseph Alleine,
“Ministers knock at the door of men’s hearts, the Spirit comes with the Key and opens the door.”
We do serious and long lasting harm when we see it as our role to convict of sin. We cannot convict of Sin. Only the Spirit of Christ can do that. Ours is to, like the sower in the parable, to cast the seed. The Spirit’s job it to convict the world of sin.
We can not force people to convert. This is readily seen when after an Evangelism effort with Mormons Anthony was told, “Yeah, we see the contradictions in what we are saying but we don’t care.”
(b.) The Spirit will do the work of convicting regarding righteousness
This conviction regarding righteousness is in relation to Christ going to the Father (10)
The Jews had insisted that Jesus was unrighteous. A criminal worthy of death. The work of the Spirit is to convince men that the Lord Christ was, not only the righteous one, but also that He was the essence of the righteousness of the Father.
Again, men will not be convinced of this outside of the work of the Spirit.
I was viewing a documentary yesterday titled “Marching to Zion.” In it there were several Rabbis interviewed and the hostility towards Christ remains palpable. Clearly they remain unconvinced of Christ’s righteousness.
But not only is it the Spirit’s work to convict demonstrate that Christ was the righteous one but also the Spirit works to convince men that it is the Righteousness of Christ that they need for their righteousness. The Spirit alone shows men that their righteousness before God depends not on their own efforts but on Christ’s atoning work for them.
This conviction of sin and righteousness then go together. What good would it do to be convicted of sin if there was not an answer for that sin one is convicted of? No, not only does the Spirit convict the world of sin but He convicts it also of the answer to sin … the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
(c.) the spirit will do the work of convicting of judgment
The judgment has to do with the triumph of Christ over Satan. Satan, as the prince of this world, has been judged and condemned. The Spirit in testifying to the Gospel reveals that the one judged on the cross was Satan. This is significant in the Gospel presentation because inasmuch as Satan has been judged and condemned so it is the case that all those who belong to “their Father, the devil” are judged along with the prince of this world.
It is significant that all three of these (sin, righteousness, and judgment) are all to be understood because of they relate to the finished work of Christ. This is why we must preach Christ when we speak of these matters. When we speak of sin we must emphasize that its greatest (though not only) expression is in the refusal to believe on Christ. When we speak of righteousness we must speak of the Righteousness that can only be given by the Christ who was vindicated as righteous before the Father. When we speak of a judgment to come we must speak of the judgement of Christ that will land on all men if they remain in the one who has been already judged.
II.) The Inward Work of The Spirit — In The Church (13-15)