John 16:12-15

Sunday Morning Bible Study

January 23, 2011


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision

Israel Promo.  Tomorrow is the deadline to send in your deposit.

We are on the last night before Jesus dies.

Jesus has been preparing the guys for what’s up ahead of them after He leaves.

He’s told them that they’re going to face tremendous persecution.
He’s told them that they’re going to have another helper, the Holy Spirit.

16:12-15 Spiritual Growth

:12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.

:12 you cannotdunamai – to be able to do something; to be capable

:12 bearbastazo – to take up in order to carry; to bear what is burdensome

You can’t handle it.


Navigating in fog

I don’t know about you, but I don’t particularly enjoy driving in the fog.  I prefer to see where I’m going.  I want to know what’s up ahead.
Sometimes our lives are like driving in the fog.
We have lots of questions we want answers for.

What am I to do?  What’s up ahead?  What’s wrong with me???  Why???

PlaySubway” clip by Tim Hawkins.

Why don’t I know the answers?
Sometimes the answer is pretty plain (apologies to anyone who works at Subway) and I simply don’t want to acknowledge the truth.
Sometimes we’re just not ready to handle the information.

Maybe God knows that you can’t “bear” it.

There are some injuries so severe that a person has to be put into a medically induced coma – they will keep you asleep because you wouldn’t be able to bear the pain of the injury.

1.  Keep growing
I think that sometimes we aren't given the answers we're looking for because we aren't in a mature enough place to receive them.
You don’t discuss algebra with a baby. Usually.
The writer to Hebrews says:

(Heb 5:11–14 NLT) —11 There is much more we would like to say about this, but it is difficult to explain, especially since you are spiritually dull and don’t seem to listen.12 You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food.13 For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right.14 Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.

Maturity in the Lord comes from practicing and applying the things of God to our lives, learning to tell the difference between right and wrong, and doing the right things.

2.  Keep asking
On a tour of Florida, the Pope took a couple of days off to visit the coast for some sightseeing. He was cruising along the beach in the Pope-mobile when there was a frantic commotion just off shore. A helpless man, wearing a New York Yankee jersey, was struggling frantically to free himself from the jaws of a 25-foot shark.
As the Pope watched, horrified, a speedboat came racing up with three men wearing Boston Red Sox jerseys aboard. One quickly fired a harpoon into the shark’s side. The other two reached out and pulled the bleeding, semi-conscious Yankee fan from the water. Then using autographed David Ortiz baseball bats, the three Boston heroes beat the shark to death and hauled it into the boat.
Immediately the Pope shouted and summoned them to the beach. “I give you my blessing for your brave actions,” he told them. “I heard that there was some bitter hatred between Red Sox and Yankee fans, but now I have seen with my own eyes that this is not the truth.”
As the Pope drove off, the harpooner asked his buddies “Who was that?” It was the Pope,” one replied. “He is in direct contact with God and has access to all of God’s wisdom.” “Well,” the harpooner said, “He may have access to God’s wisdom but he doesn’t know squat about shark fishing. How’s the bait holding up?”

My point is that you might be the Pope, but you might not really know as much as you think you do.

James writes,

(Jas 1:5 NLT) If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.

Sometimes there are things that God wants you to know, and the only thing that’s keeping you from the answer is the fact that you’re not asking.

When God is ready, and you're ready, He'll give the answer.

3.  Keep trusting
I think there are times when God wants us to trust Him, even if He doesn't give us the answers we're asking for.

(Heb 11:6 NKJV) But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Trusting God pleases God.

In the movie “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”, Indiana Jones is working with his father to find the “Holy Grail”, the cup of Christ.  At the end of the movie, there are a set of challenges to overcome, and the bad guys have Indiana’s dad shot to force Indiana to retrieve the cup and heal his dad before he dies.  This is Indiana on the last puzzling challenge…

Play clip from Indiana Jones – the leap of faith

The Bible says:

(2 Co 5:7 NKJV) For we walk by faith, not by sight.

That means that sometimes we don’t see what the answer is, but we step out anyway.

:13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.

:13 guidehodegeo (“the way” + “to lead”) – lead on one’s way; to give guidance to

One of the first names that Christians used to identify themselves with was “The Way” (Greek: “hodos”), a word built into our word “guide”.

(Ac 9:1–2 NKJV) —1 Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.


The journey

Living the life of a Christian is like being on a journey.  It’s about moving from one point to the next.  The Holy Spirit wants to be our guide on the “way”.
Are you progressing in life?  Are you letting God guide you and change you?  Or do you get “stuck” from time to time?
The cynic will say, “People don’t change”.
There’s a lot of truth in that.  Most people don’t change.
But when we actually let God become a part of things in our lives, as we learn to let Him lead us and we actually follow, things do change.
The story of the three “Lord of the Rings” books/movies follows the adventure of Frodo Baggins as he carries the mysterious “ring” to the fires of Mount Doom at Mordor.
When Frodo first gets the ring, I didn’t think it seemed like a big thing.  But it will be three movies and hundreds of hours before the “journey” is over.
Play “Frodo and the Ring” clip.
The first step as a Christian starts by realizing your need for God.
It starts with realizing that you are a sinner.
It starts by realizing that Jesus Christ died on a cross to pay for your sins.
It starts by opening your heart to trust Jesus and letting Him into your life.

But that’s only the first step.

The Holy Spirit promises to be my Guide.  I am not alone on this journey.

:13 truthaletheia (“not” + “hidden”) – what is true in any matter under consideration; truth about God; freedom from deceit

The Holy Spirit is called the “Spirit of Truth”, and He guides us into all “truth”.

This is partly talking about having correct theology, a correct view of God, but I believe that since the concept of “truth” is bigger than just spiritual doctrine, and so the work of the Holy Spirit is about more than just correct doctrine.


Rigorous Honesty

The concept of cultivating truth and reality in a Christian’s life is what “journey” is all about.
Too often we fall into the trap of thinking that the way out of our messy life is to dig a hole and bury our problems.
We come to church and see all the “nice” people.  We think that in order to fit in we must cover up the reality of who we are and also pretend to be “nice”.
The Romans had a phrase which has come into our English language as the word “sincere”.
In Latin, the phrase means literally, “without wax”.
The concept comes out of the Roman marketplace, where people bought and sold all sorts of items, including pottery and sculptures.  The problem with both pottery and sculptures is that if they break, they lose their value.  There was nothing you could do to fix a cracked pot or a broken statue, except to cover up the problem.  Tricky pottery merchants developed a technique of mixing wax and clay and using the mixture to cover over any cracks or breaks.
When you bought a piece of pottery or a sculpture, you’d ask the merchant, “Is it “sincere”?  Is it without wax?  Is it the real thing?

If the piece was not “sincere”, and you took your pot home to cook your pasta, the wax would melt, and your dinner would be ruined.  Your statue might look good in the morning, but when the afternoon sun begins to melt the wax, you’ve got a sculpture without an arm.

God wants His people to be “sincere”.

He wants us to be the real thing.

God can still use cracked pots, but it’s much harder for Him to use waxed pots.

For us, growing up means learning to use less “wax”

Paul wrote,
(Eph 4:15 NKJV) but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—

Growing up as a Christian is directly connected to what we do with “truth”.

John wrote,
(1 Jn 1:7 NKJV) But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

Walking “in the light” is like walking “uncovered”, walking in truth.

Some mistakenly think that forgiveness comes when I straighten my life out. Forgiveness comes when I stop hiding my problem and admit it.

:13 He will tellanaggello (“into the midst” + “messenger”) – to announce, make known; to report, rehearse

The Holy Spirit will clue the disciples in to what’s up ahead on the trail.

I think this covers two different subjects:

1.  Prophetic events
A few weeks ago we spent some time talking about the End Times.  Some of the prophecies we’ve looked at are things that the Holy Spirit gave to the apostles.  He told them of things that were far distant in their future.
2.  Personal revelation
I think there may even be times when the Holy Spirit will give you a nudge or a warning about what’s around the corner in your own personal life.
This happened in Paul's life:

In Acts 21, a prophet named Agabus showed up and warned Paul that he was going to be captured by the Jews in Jerusalem, and handed over to the Gentiles. (Acts 21:10-11)

Where we need to be careful is learning to discern when God is leading me and when it’s just my own desires or fears that I’m listening to.
Be very careful about stating emphatically that God has told you to do such and such.  Most of the time it is far better to say, “I THINK that God is leading me to do this…”

:14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.

:14 glorifydoxazo – to praise, magnify; to honor; to make glorious, adorn with luster

:14 declareanaggello (“into the midst” + “messenger”) – to announce, make known; to report, bring back tidings, rehearse

The exact same word that is translated “He will tell” in verse 13.


Exalting Him above…

Part of the work of the Holy Spirit is to glorify or “exalt” Jesus Christ.
When the Holy Spirit is at work in us, He wants to do this same work of exalting Jesus Christ.
I came across an interesting prayer of A.W. Tozer:
O God, be Thou exalted over my possessions.

Nothing of earth’s treasures shall seem dear unto me if only Thou art glorified in my life.

Be Thou exalted over my friendships.

I am determined that Thou shalt be above all, though I must stand deserted and alone in the midst of the earth.

Be Thou exalted above my comforts.

Though it mean the loss of bodily comforts and the carrying of heavy crosses, I shall keep my vow made this day before Thee.

Be Thou exalted over my reputation.

Make me ambitious to please Thee even if as a result I must sink into obscurity and my name be forgotten as a dream.

Rise, O Lord, into Thy proper place of honor, above my ambitions, above my likes and dislikes, above my family, my health and even my life itself. Let me decrease that Thou mayest increase; let me sink that Thou mayest rise above. Ride forth upon me as Thou didst ride into Jerusalem mounted upon the humble little beast, a colt, the foal of an ass, and let me hear the children cry to Thee, “Hosanna in the highest.” 

A.W. Tozer:  The Pursuit of God, 101-102.

:15 All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.

:15 He will take of Mine

We get a glimpse of the Trinity at work.

They all share the same “stuff”.
The Father’s “things” belong to Jesus.  The Holy Spirit shares what Jesus has.


God’s Stuff

The disciples have spent the last three years living, walking, and talking with Jesus.
He has been their Teacher.
But He’s leaving and they’re getting a new Teacher.
Do you remember in grade school what it was like getting a “substitute teacher”?
The Holy Spirit was the “substitute”.
How did you treat the new Teacher?
The point is that even though the new Teacher may be a little different, He is using the same materials, the same “stuff”.
I really appreciate and admire Pastor Chuck.

I think he’s definitely a pastor I wouldn’t mind being like.

When we left the Baptist church to become involved with Calvary Chapel, I found that I had a problem.

I was used to having a pastor I could sit down and talk to, who knew me, and had a relationship with me.

I kind of felt close to Chuck, but only because I had listened to about a billion hours of his tapes.  In reality, I didn’t really know him and he certainly didn’t know me.

I’ve had times in my life where I wished that I could call Chuck up and say, “What should I do in this situation?”

Years ago I even tried writing a letter or two to Chuck, but didn’t get a response.

I struggled with that until I began to realize that Chuck has a million people pulling at him at the same time, and he is only one guy.  Now that I’m a pastor, even though we only have a small church, I know that I can’t keep up with everything I could respond to either.  I’d hate to be in Chuck’s shoes.

And then one day it hit me, I don’t need to get a response from Chuck Smith.  Chuck loves and follows the same God that I do.  Chuck has the same Holy Spirit that I do.

There is a sense in which each of us has the same advantage and access to God.

I think it’s great when people appreciate their pastors.
But don’t lose sight of this – you shouldn’t be here to listen to me, you should be here to listen to the same God I listen to.

All the Father has belongs to Jesus.

Jesus shares with the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is here to share with you.