Life In The Spirit Glorifies God

John 15: 26 27 and 16: 12 15.

Introduction

There is probably, in the Church today, no subject more abused than the gift of the Holy Spirit. It has been mangled by many shrewd religious entrepreneurs who make outrageous claims, supposedly in the name of God, but in fact to distract attention from their lack of Biblical knowledge and depth of spiritual understanding.

We do not need these self-seeking operators to hijack any part of our religious heritage, especially the gift of the Holy Spirit. The only source we need to approach is the Holy Bible and those whom our Lord commissioned to pass on its treasures. These always show, in some way, the Holy Spirit in the context of the Holy Trinity. Our meditation below attempts to demonstrate the mutual indwelling of each member of the Holy Trinity, and our personal relationship with each.

Some Notes On The Text
First: From John 15

Verse 26

When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me.

Our text combines two readings about the role of the Holy Spirit. Verse 26 and 27 of Chapter 15 are complex but contain wonderful truths. The core of Jesus statement is “I will send the Spirit from the Father, and he will be a witness for me just as I expect you to be witnesses for me, witnesses of the truth”. Jesus, in the first instance, is referring to the gift of the Spirit at Pentecost: his gift to the Church. This is the day when the breath of God came into the framework already existing, and completed the union of the disciples with their Lord and with one another in him.

The Spirit, “goes out from the Father”, we are told. We do not need to be confused. The Scriptures talk of both the Father and the Son sending the Holy Spirit. Elsewhere we read that the Holy Spirit is “of the Son”; and that Jesus breathed on the disciples and they received the Holy Spirit: the same Spirit who sent Jesus out into the desert. The Holy Trinity is our model of loving service and mutual support and each member is constantly exemplifying love, service, listening, obedience and affirmation in relation to the other members. The phrase “from the Father” does not imply separation from the Father. The Spirit does not ‘leave’ the source, but links the disciple with the source. This is crucial in our understanding of our relationship with God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and the place of prayer and meditation in this relationship.

Verse 27


And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.

The Spirit and the disciple are tasked with performing the same mission together.

Secondly: From John 16

Verse 12

I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.

When Jesus declares in verse 12, “I have much more to say to you”, he is developing an exciting idea in the minds of his hearers. He is saying, in effect, that no difference can be made between things he has taught orally, and those taught later by the Apostles aided by the Holy Spirit. This is very important in understanding the place of Scripture in the Church, and the fact that it does not contain all that God has revealed to mankind (John 21: 25).

Verse 13

But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.

Then in verse 13 he returns to his theme begun in verse 26: “….when the Spirit will not merely teach but guide you into the truth so that you see it from within and not as an onlooker”.

In the same verse Jesus gives us a beautiful picture of the inner workings of the Holy Trinity. “The Spirit will speak only what he hears. Therefore, because he proceeds from the source of all truth, the Father, he can guide you into all truth.” 

These words give the disciples present, and future generations of believers great confidence that they would be safe from deviation provided they too remained ever listening to the Word from the Father and carrying out all that he commanded. Those who seek the truth can rest assured that they will be lead into a full apprehension of the Truth. Thus we can say that Christian revelation is not a passive reception of understanding. Our spiritual understanding will depend also on our zeal, searching, effort, commitment, application, listening, attention and (take note) the priority we give to God’s message in our daily lives.

Verse 14

He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you.

When we go to read verse 14, we may get the impression that Jesus’ revelation of God’s love was incomplete, or imperfect, which the Holy Spirit would supplement. This is not so. The revelation of Jesus is a full and perfect revelation, but it is imperfectly received. Thus the Holy Spirit illumines the heart to bring home to it the things of Jesus Christ. Thus the Spirit does not so much bring new knowledge as the power of Jesus’ word, which is ever new in the process of confronting fresh ranges of hearers.

Verse 15

All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.

Our reading closes with Jesus reminding us of the most amazing heritage into which we are born again. If we would but listen to what he is saying, take it to heart in silent wonder, and let it rule in our lives, the whole world would hear the Gospel message of Jesus Christ.

Conclusion

It is in the Spirit of these promises recorded in St. John’s Gospel that we have followed the last dozen to fifteen weeks. We hope that you will continue to meditate on the Word — the Word within the words — and be greatly blessed in his service. In our day, as in ancient times, God pleads for his people to keep their attention fixed firmly upon him:

“Israel, if you would but listen to me!” (Ps 81: 8)

Next Page Home Site Map Search Disclaimer
 

Copyright © 2000 Community of Affirmation