John 16:5-7 “But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart. 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.”
We discussed some of these principles previously. Jesus is instructing His disciples that His departure back to the Father, from which He came, is imminent, lying just around the corner.
Imagine the consternation gripping their hearts: previously bound by the lies of religion, the pathway to God having been obscured by the leavened doctrines of the Pharisees, they have found the truth in Jesus; and now, He is departing.
Nevertheless, the assurance given to them and all believers for the millennia to come is that this is expedient, meaning it's going to be profitable, resulting in what's best for the kingdom of God. It must be understood that this is God's plan, and while the disciples didn't understand it then, God has been, for thousands of years before their time, and for thousands of years after their existence bringing about this eternal plan, which was foreordained before the foundations of the earth (1 Peter 1:18).
I have also mentioned many times the progression of God's plan. Simply stated, “He has progressively and methodically revealed Himself and His plan throughout thousands of years of human history.” From The Fall [of Adam & Eve] to The Ascension [of Christ,] we see His hand effecting salvation through the progressive revelation starting with the innocent skins following the fall in the garden, then intersecting through the Levitical sacrifices performed in the tabernacle, and finally climaxing on the cross of Calvary, where sin's back was broken (Colossians 2:13-15) and the fulfillment of the promised restoration procured.
However, it should also be noted that along the way there has been an ever narrowing gap between the believer and the presence of the living God. As the plan of redemption (simply meaning to be bought back with a purchase price, and what might we propose that to be?) has moved forward, another glorious phenomenon has taken place. The presence of God has been consistently brought closer to the hearts of those willing to embrace His plan.
Consider the pre-Fall state of the first family's [Adam & Eve’s] fellowship with the Lord: "...they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden." (Genesis 3:8)
Quite obvious are two facts: before the fall, the first family enjoyed an incredible intimacy with God; yet, the fall changed the dynamics of this relationship. Nevertheless, we immediately see God's plan of restoration, bringing His presence back to us flying into effect.
The sacrifice [of the innocent animal] in the garden allowed a semblance of fellowship to be restored; the covering of the innocent animal was a far cry from the fulfillment to be found in the death of God's own Son; however, within this move, we see restoration moving forward.
It should be noted that God is a moving forward God. Many people struggle through their whole life of Christianity for one reason: they simply can't believe what God's Word says about the exchange that took place at the cross-- He took their guilty past and gave them His righteousness.
Whether or not the reason they don’t ever get that revelation is because their preacher won't make sure they know it (sometimes he also doesn't know and sometimes he assumes they know) or whether they have unbelief and refuse to learn for themselves (I've been there), they flounder in Christian mediocrity, at best, and God has so much more for them.
When any man, woman, or child who calls themselves Christian doesn't understand that the cross of Christ has resulted in a complete position change, a translation from darkness to light, a translation from our guilt to His righteousness, that Christian, is easy prey for the liar, who is a master of doubt, condemnation, and fear. He holds untold millions under the sway of his age old lie, "You are guilty!"
But glory hallelujah, that's not the report for the believer in Christ; for this position change has resulted in the righteousness of the Christ clothing the sinner with His own righteousness (Galatians 3:27).
From the garden, God's presence led Israel in the wilderness as the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night (Exodus 13:21). Furthermore, His presence, as a consuming fire would engulf the sacrifices they offered, which showed acceptance towards their obedience for recognizing that their sin could only be assuaged by the offering up of innocent blood to pay the penalty for their guilt. Any gospel that refuses to expose man's guilt and the cross as the pardon is no gospel at all. And any man, who refuses to recognize that without faith in the sacrifice of Christ he is altogether undone and separate from the presence of God, can be no Christian at all.
Lastly, regarding the wilderness Tabernacle, God's presence would show up as the Shekinah glory in the Holy of Holies behind the veil, the place, which was known as the innermost sanctuary. God had instructed Moses: "And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them." (Exodus 25:8)
The progression is becoming clear: God wants to have relationship with humanity, and He is committed to getting His presence back into communion with us. However, it should be noted with which such toil God works this plan (sacrifices, wanderings, tabernacles and temples). I speak from a human perspective. At the same time, the reader should take notice of the mercy of God but also the severity of sin. God's justice and righteousness will not allow the sweeping away of or a winking at sin; rather, the plan must be worked through the ages. And all the while, in Old Testament and New alike, names are added daily to the book, which records the genealogy of those who have joined the eternal family of faith through God's sacrificial provision, exchanging guilt for righteousness, condemnation for freedom, and eternal death for eternal life.
A most glorious proclamation is made in the first chapter of John's gospel, "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." (John 1:14)
The word ‘dwelt’ literally means "to tabernacle." In other words, God spoke in Exodus saying, "And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them." And as He turns the pages from the Old to the New covenant, His presence tabernacles with us in Jesus, the literal presence of God (Philippians 2:6-8; John 1:14; Colossians 2:15) made flesh becomes us and reveals God to us in such a personal way that those who went before us (the disciples) were able to see Him, hear Him, and even touch the Word of life (2 Peter 1:16-18; 1 John 1:1-4).
The next step is where Jesus promises a "new thing." What was the new thing you ask? The "new thing" was the fact that there was about to be a magnanimous shift in the kingdom of God; for Jesus promised His disciples that the presence of the Holy Spirit would be making a change of residence. Once the work of the cross was completed and man's sin atoned (Hebrews 10:8-18); the Holy Spirit would make His abode in the human heart upon salvation (John 14:17).
Think about that child of God. What a wonderful plan, what commitment God has to restoring His presence to us.
Now, after this detour, we must return to our original thought: Jesus is going away so that the Comforter can come. It should be pointed out that one crucial point of expedience related to Jesus’ departure and the Comforter’s coming is that of geographical access. While God is certainly not opposed to crossing natural boundaries and proving Himself miraculous, He often works within the natural laws He created to sustain this earthly realm. The presence of the Holy Spirit “tabernacling” in the hearts of believers has resulted in an ever growing, global presence of Jesus as the Gospel message has gone forth through the millennia. Whereas, during our Lord’s physical presence upon this earth, He was somewhat restrained by logistics and time, meaning, for the most part, He didn’t work in two separate locations at once, now, His presence is active all over the world at once, through this organism we call the Church, He reveals His love to this lost and dying world.
Comforter- the Greek New Testament word here is: Parakletos. Greek words are commonly compounded with added meaning taking place with the addition of prefixes and suffixes. In this particular case the word para, which is a preposition meaning "along side" or "beside," has been added to the word kletos, which is derived from the word "kaleo," which is where we get our word ‘call’ from, and this is the exact meaning to call.
Therefore, when the word is seen from its proper perspective, the Comforter is the Holy Spirit. He is the one who has been “called alongside to help.” It should probably not be thought of as in reference to His calling alongside our outside. For instance, in this Acts passage, David expresses, "For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved:" (Acts 2:25)
As I have so strenuously attempted to explain with all the dialogue of God progressively moving His Spirit towards us, the climax point of God's movement, at least on this side of eternity, is the cross of Christ, allowing God’s Spirit to reside in our person.
John 14:17-18 “Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.”
In this passage, the reader's attention is focused towards the contrasting words: "with you" vs. "in you."
Previously, through all the OT movement of God, the Holy Spirit merely dwelt "with" the inhabitants of Israel, as they were God's chosen people. While there were isolated instances where God allowed His Spirit to indwell His servants in order to accomplish specific tasks: Bezaleel (when creating the articles of the tabernacle) and Ezekiel on several occasions when God asked Him to prophecy, His presence did not make His abode in the hearts of man until the finished work of the cross.
Because the sin debt could not be removed in the Old Testament economy, "For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins." (Hebrews 10:4), the Holy Spirit could not use the human “tent” as His tabernacle.
But once the blood of the Eternal Lamb, which was slain before the foundations of the earth, was offered, and the sin debt paid in full, the Holy Spirit could then make us His abode.
Therefore, when we consider the concept of the Comforter or parakletos (one called alongside to help), we should understand that He is alongside us on the inside. The Holy Spirit is sharing habitation with our spirit man. Remember the Ezekiel passage we spoke of last time, "...ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness,... A new heart also will I give you,...a new spirit will I put within you: and... And I will put my spirit within you...” (Ezekiel 36:25-27).
It is of the utmost importance that we gain revelation that the very God of glory, who scattered the stars in the skies and breathed life into a lump of clay now lives in this mortal vessel.
Furthermore, the finished work of Jesus on the cross is what allows all this to take place, because it is our faith in God's eternal plan (Jesus Christ and Him crucified), which allows us to receive the gift of righteousness (Romans 5:17), allowing the Holy Spirit to make our heart His home, allowing us to have unfettered access to the presence of God.
What is the purpose of the comfort?
While I certainly don't want to take away from the truth that God is very concerned about our well being in the daily struggles of life, the context of this passage is quite clear: the Comforter will be needed, because as the followers of God move forward with the Gospel message through the annals of human history, those believers can expect persecution; therefore, believers will need a comforter/ counselor/ advocate to see them through.
He also wants to be those things for us as we find ourselves in the mess of life upon this fallen world. Sadly, much of this mess is self inflicted-- not always, but usually. The journey from selfishness (born of Adam) to selflessness (born of Christ) is rife with confusion, chaos, and calamity; nevertheless, you can be assured of some things if you're a child of the living God:
(1) This place is not your home, so there is always hope in the future
(2) Jesus has already won the victory. Whether you are experiencing it in your life or not isn't evidence that can refute the facts that Jesus was victorious, through the cross, over death, Hell, and the grave
(3) If you will learn to believe that you are a new creation in Christ, literally, in God's mind your "old man" has been done away with, and a "new man" has been resurrected with Jesus, and if you begin to believe this, then…
(4) You will see the grace of God, in the indwelling person of the Holy Spirit going to work on your behalf.
What I'm talking about is a spiritual miracle where God begins to heal His people's land. He does this not because they are good enough, fast enough, go to church enough, or pray enough... But instead, they were told the truth about the New Covenant, they placed and kept their faith there, and because that is God's eternal plan, He blesses them by bringing peace through grace, which is dispensed by the person of the Holy Spirit, and all this is predicated on the believer's willingness to continue trusting in the finished work of Jesus for that is righteousness God can accept and that is the place where grace can flow.
John 16:8-11 “And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.”
First in order for this next passage of scripture is to get a handle on this King James word "reprove."
So let's examine this word in a variety of ways in order to attempt a proper understanding. The Greek meaning is:
ελεγχω elegcho; of uncertain affinity; to confute, admonish:— convict, convince, tell a fault, rebuke, reprove
The English dictionary describes the word as such: to criticize or correct.
And various other words from other translators, in their attempt, to capture the meaning are: prove, correct, convince.
So for the disciples and us as believers, He is the Comforter, and for the world, He is the "reprover."
As Jesus promised, He ultimately resurrected from the dead and ascended to the Father, which resulted in the coming of the Holy Spirit. Now, to me what's interesting is that the work of the Holy Spirit is affecting the church and the world through His residence in the heart of believer's.
In other words, it is through the witness of the followers of Christ, as they proclaim and live this Gospel message that the Holy Spirit comforts the church and convinces the world system they are wrong.
We are the mouthpieces from which the Spirit of God chooses to do His work; our presence is salt upon the earth and light in the midst of darkness (Matthew 5:13-16). That's why I become enraged when modern preachers say things like, "Preach the gospel and use words only when necessary." No! Christian don't believe that! Yes, your actions, empowered by the grace of God, must emulate the love of the Savior. However, without words, the world may be led to believe that we are influenced by the deceptive angels of light who teach the Buddha's doctrine of progressive reincarnations, where the spirit moves higher towards the destination of Nirvana, as it practices better Karma (works) through each stage of its vegetable or animal kingdom existence.
In other words, Buddhists are taught to treat people right also, but the underlying spirit driving their purposes are demon spirits and fallen angels. There are probably people reading right now who think I'm a fool for writing this, thinking I'm so unskilled and unlearned about the arts of Eastern Mysticism. No! You're the unlearned one. By Aleister Crowley's own admission,…who is he you might ask? He is the most powerful Satanist that lived in the past 100 years, and was a practitioner of various forms of metaphysical cults. Furthermore, he was a practitioner of the ancient art of Buddhist Transcendental Meditation, becoming convinced of its otherworldly power when he paid a visit to a man whom he used to practice the occult arts with, who had travelled to Tibet to learn the way of the Buddha from the monks in the mountains; and upon entering the room in which his friend was, he found him levitating several feet within the air. I can assure you this man was experiencing a spiritual phenomenon, but this was not the Holy Spirit; rather, these were demon spirits.
My point is that the Holy Spirit produces His effect upon the world through us, His people, the vessels He has recreated in Christ (Galatians 2:20), and if God's people are silent then how will the world ever know the love of Jesus.
John 16:8-11 "... He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged."
Regarding the word "world," the word Kosmos is used in the Greek, describing a specific order or arrangement and its inhabitants, so the context we are dealing with is the fallen world of which Satan has been given dominion through Adam's disobedience; furthermore, included is the idea of the spiritual influence of the anti-Christ agenda upon the inhabitants of the world.
Within the context of this framework, we are reminded of the separating line of the believer in Christ from the inhabitants of the world system. We are the ekklesia (Greek for church) ek= out; klesia= called, so the word "church," in the Greek literally means, "the called out ones." God, through the foolishness of preaching has…called us out of darkness into His marvelous light, and through this peculiar group of people (1 Peter 2:9), He chooses to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus, through which the Holy Spirit's presence begins to convict, convince, even prove to the world some things about sin, righteousness, and judgment.
John 16:9 "...Of sin, because they believe not on me..."
There is no other way to say it other than this, "When man finds himself outside the forgiveness of Jesus, He is guilty of sin in God's eyes."
We have already discussed at length that the plan of God regarding sin was foreordained before the foundation of the earth (1 Peter1:18), the remedy offered was Jesus' sacrifice, and a rejection of that sacrifice leaves man outside the forgiveness of God.
Therefore, when the Comforter preaches the gospel of Jesus Christ through the preacher or believer alike in his daily walk through the world around him, the Holy Spirit does His work of convincing. It is at this point that the age old choice must be confronted-- will the hearer believe, from the heart (inner man) the truth spoken and receive the forgiveness purchased by Jesus? Or will he/ she ignore the reproof of the comforter and remain on the sin guilty side of the cross?
John 16:10 "...He will reprove...and of righteousness...of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me know more..."
Not only does the Holy Spirit convince the world of sin, but also of true righteousness. You see man can attempt in His endless endeavors to produce righteousness through his sin sickened body, but every grave marker that marks the spot of another departed soul preaches a message all its own. The message preached-- you ask?
"The wages of sin is death" is the message and every tombstone signaling from the soil of this fallen earth is the illustration that all the righteous acts of both sinner and saint alike cannot and do not save a man from the curse of sin.
Jesus' death tells an altogether different story; for if a man sojourn to the place where they say His body was laid to rest, there are no bones to see. Jesus was accused by Israel and crucified by Rome as a guilty man, but He was vindicated by the Father through His resurrection from the grave as Peter eloquently preached in the book of Acts:
Acts 2:22-24 “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.”
We are promised that if we through faith accept the sacrifice of Jesus for our sin that: "the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you." (Romans 8:11)
The resurrection proves His righteousness. The wages of sin is death for mortal man, passed through the annals of time from our father Adam, we are all found guilty outside of Christ; however, He became us, so He could destroy the power Satan held over humanity through sin and death:
"Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage." (Hebrews 2:14-15)
The resurrection is paramount to our Christian faith. There are so many Biblical truths proven through Jesus' resurrection. As we are studying now, the resurrection proves Jesus was the sinless Lamb, who was slain before the foundation of the earth; for if He had a blemish, He would not have risen, because He would have been guilty rather than innocent.
In addition, because He is risen, we are assured that through faith in His sacrifice all our sin is atoned, because He: "Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it."(Acts 2:24) paid our penalty in full.
Since He is risen, we can be certain that our sin is atoned; and because He is true righteousness and we have been clothed with Him (Galatians 3:27), we can be sure that we have been made the righteousness of God through Him:
2 Corinthians 5:21 “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
The resurrection of Jesus testifies to a dying world the righteousness of God. The Comforter's presence and testimony of the resurrection, empowered the disciples to testify to the righteousness of Jesus, disregarding their own lives, they preached the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus, which ultimately resulted in their own deaths: Mark had a noose placed around his neck and was dragged behind a chariot through the streets of Alexandria Egypt; Andrew was crucified in Greece; Bartholomew, also known as Nathaniel, the one found under the fig tree, had his skin flayed from his body and was ultimately beheaded for Jesus; lastly, Thomas, the very one who doubted the Resurrection to begin with, after being invited to stick his fingers in Jesus' nail printed hands and thrust his hand within His pierced side, evangelized India and ultimately faced his demise as he was run through with a spear for his refusal to shrink back from the Gospel's testimony.
Let every believer be reminded that our Jesus is not dead... "No! He is alive. God's not dead-- no! He is alive... God's not dead-- no! He is alive-- I feel Him all over me!"
And the Holy Spirit is in the ministry of convincing the world that their dead works cannot produce righteousness because Jesus alone is the righteousness of God.
11 "... He will reprove the world of...judgment, because the prince of this world is judged."
Through Jesus' sacrifice and vindicated resurrection, the prince of this world has faced judgment. Mankind can scoff at the Word of God if that is what they choose to do; nevertheless, God continues to methodically move towards the fulfillment of His plan.
Satan, in his fallen state, is the nemesis to God and all that God plans for His beautiful creation-- humanity. Jesus judged Satan's lies and all the fruit of sin that emanates from those lies. The power of the prince of darkness and his resulting plans of sin to destroy the human race has been brought under trial. Satan is found condemned, and while he continues to wreak havoc upon this earth for this period of time known as the Church Age, the day is rapidly approaching where the final sentence of his judgment will be executed.
With this in mind, it is of the utmost importance that, we, as the followers of God, be about our Father's business, which is allowing the Holy Spirit to testify to the truths about this trial. The devil is found guilty; he and his kingdom have been judged; the day of salvation is now; believe on the sacrifice of The Lord Jesus as payment for the penalty of your sin, so you can receive the gift of His righteousness, or refuse and share the demise of the liar in the eternal lake of fire (Revelation 19:20; 20:10, 15).
So I close with this child of God, "please allow the Comforter to do His work through you, so the eternal souls crossing your path won't meet the demise of eternal death without at least having had the opportunity to make a choice about the Gospel message. ~Matt