I want to finish our seven-week look at the Holy Spirit today by looking at a characteristic or work of the Holy Spirit that should always be at the forefront of any discussions about Him. We have alluded to the point I want to make today during these seven weeks but I want to finish this series with a more detailed look at this point to help keep us all grounded regarding the work of the Holy Spirit. Our focus passage for today is taken from the Gospel of John and was spoken by our Lord to His disciples the last night before His arrest and crucifixion. We started our review of the Holy Spirit looking at that intimate time between Jesus and His disciples. Today, we will finish, looking at a passage from those same intimate moments.
John 16:12-15 (NIV)
12) I have much more to say to you, much more than you can bear now. 13) But when He, the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the 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. 14) He will glorify Me because it is from Me that He will receive what He will make known to You. 15) All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from Me what He will make known to you.
In verse 12 above, we see Jesus telling his beloved disciples that He has much, much more to say to them but will not be able to since this is his last few hours with them before the horrific crucifixion is to occur. He has prepared them for this greatest event in history but He has taken them just so far. Jesus knows the trauma they will go through will be part of what prepares them for their future planned roles in His kingdom. The Bible points to an overarching, all encompassing, central event. That event is the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Christ. There is no way the disciples could understand that part because it had not occurred yet. This event was however going to begin in just a few hours.
From verse 13 we see that Jesus tells them the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, this other Advocate as we covered several weeks back; He is coming and He will be the one that reveals all of these additional things Jesus desires to say to them. It is He that will guide them through all of this further revelation that is spoken of throughout the Word of God. This revelation that will come through the Holy Spirit, will be these “much more”things they could not now bear.
We have another key point in verse 13 that needs highlighting to help us understand the ultimate role of the Holy Spirit. Jesus tells the disciples that the Holy Spirit “will not speak on His own” meaning He will not speak on His own initiative. Just as Christ spoke or acted only as the Father instructed Him, so the Holy Spirit will only tell you what He hears from Christ. Jesus says that whatever you need to hear, I will tell the Spirit and He will tell you. This is how it works. As Romans 11:36 says, “all things come from Him and through Him and are for Him. To Him be the glory forever, Amen!” The “Him” is Jesus!!
Another point from verse 13 is that the Spirit is to guide into not just “truth”, but “all the truth”. Christ is telling us that the Holy Spirit will reveal to them how He has been prophesied and written about throughout the entire Word of God even more clearly than He did through His own preaching the last three years. He is there in all of it. This “all the truth” also includes the additional truths that they will need after His resurrection to then go and preach the powerful messages they did and establish the church. As one theologian said, if it were not for the work of the Holy Spirit there would be no gospel, no faith, no church, no Christianity in the world at all. Considering that statement, how often do we mention His work daily in our lives or in our church services?
As you move to verse 14 and 15 you see all three persons of the Godhead. You see the Father, the Son (referenced as Me since Jesus is the one speaking), and the Spirit. None of us doubt that all things belong to the Father. Christians say often that “God owns everything”. Here in this passage, Jesus says that all that belongs to the Father also belongs to Him. Jesus is telling us that all that the Father has will be made known to us through Jesus Christ. They cannot be known without them coming through Him. Why did God set it up this way? Because it is through this that all glory goes back to the Son in recognition of what He did on the cross. It is part of that “joy set before Him” that Christ could see in the future that helped Him endure the agony of the cross as described in Hebrews 12:2. We will look at Hebrews 12:2 in depth in a future note at some point. Oh, how glorious that passage is, telling us to “Look to Jesus”.
There is no salvation without all three that are mentioned in verse 14 and 15; the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. This is another reason when we observe the ordinance of Baptism we baptize in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. All three are involved. All three play a role. When we baptize a new Christian in water, we symbolize our prior dead spirit has now been resurrected as a new creation. We acknowledge this occurs through the work of calling (Father), redeeming (Son), regenerating and sealing (Holy spirit), this new child of God as explained most clearly in Ephesians, chapter 1. We symbolize their work and their work alone on behalf of this “born again”, new creation.
Colossians 1:19 tells us that “it pleased the Father that in Him (meaning Christ) should all fulness dwell”. Christ then makes all of this fulness available to us. He does this through the Holy Spirit. The preachers from a century or more ago often used the example of a pipe, a conduit as the old English preachers called it that water flowed through, to describe how we obtain this fulness of God. They described the Holy Spirit as this pipe or conduit laid from the great fountain or throne of God and Christ, all the way to us. The Holy Spirit, the third person of the trinity, it is He that receives the things of Christ and then delivers them over to us. We literally receive via the Spirit, through Christ, all that belongs to the Father. Said another way, you cannot access the Father except through the Spirit and the Son. This “pipe” description may be why Ken Thomas wrote the great short hymn known most simply as “The Doxology” in 1674. That hymn goes as follows:
Praise Him from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
I grew up singing that short hymn many, many a Sunday morning in church. Everyone knew it. You did not need a hymnal or an overhead. It has been sung in many traditional churches for hundreds of years and reveals and retells a powerful aspect regarding the basis of our praise. We praise Him acknowledging that all blessings flow from Him, from His glorious throne through that conduit of the Holy Spirit that leads to the temple of the Holy Spirit inside each of us (1 Corinthians 6:19). Let all on earth, every living creature praise Him. Let all hosts within the heavens praise Him. Our praise goes to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit for they have worked together for all eternity (the first relationship) and they all work together now in our salvation and our daily lives.
So, what does this passage from John tell us the main aim of all of this revelation from the Father, given to Christ and delivered to us through the Holy Spirit is to be about? Remember that the Holy Spirit has worked all through creation. It was He that brooded over the waters in Genesis 1:2. The Holy Spirit could speak to us about anything from the dawn of time. The Holy Spirit can handle any topic He so chooses, but this passage says He confines or restricts Himself to the things which Christ calls “mine”. To put it simply, the Holy Spirit came to glorify Christ by disclosing truth about and from Christ. Just as the Son glorifies the Father, so the Holy Spirit glorifies the Son.
The Holy Spirit does not come to glorify us. He does not come to glorify our church or specific denomination or non-denomination. He does not come to glorify some magnificent teaching or arrangement of doctrines. He does not even come to glorify Himself, as mighty and powerful and eternal as He is. No. The Holy Spirit comes to glorify Christ by revealing those things that belong to Christ. What belongs to Christ? All that belongs to the Father, and that is everything! If we preach or sing or teach and do not include Christ, we must ask whether the Holy Spirit can anoint such activity. Churches today abound that share a social gospel, one which tells us how to get along with each other in this world and reach our human potential out of our own internal mindsets and self-discipline. The power to change lives does not come through such, let’s call it “advice”. The power to change lives comes through the Gospel (Romans 1:16), and the Gospel is about Christ. The Gospel glorifies Christ. If we want the Holy Spirit in our daily lives and in our worship, we must include Christ.
I pray you have received revelation, strength and encouragement about our Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit through these last seven weeks. May you continue to Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. May you receive from the One through whom all blessings flow; that heavenly, spiritual conduit that leads to the throne of God where the Father is seated with the Son, our first Advocate. He is there ever interceding on your behalf. You are literally “in Him”.