CHRISTIAN PRIVILEGE

Jn 16:7 – But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.

In our toxic political environment we hear a lot about white privilege and American exceptionalism. I am not a politician and those topics are not what this is about but another kind of privilege and exceptionalism that we have as Christians. I have always believed that Christians have an unfair advantage in every arena that we are involved in, the Bible calls it the blessing of the Lord. In today’s verse Jesus pointed to where this privilege or advantage comes from. He was telling His followers that the result of His crucifixion and resurrection would be the coming of the Holy Spirit Who would anoint us to do great exploits in this life. Talk about exceptionalism, there is no other people who can come close to the power and favor on the Lord’s people. Here is how J.C. Ryle describes our advantage.

“If Christ had not died, risen again, and ascended up into heaven, it is plain that the Holy Spirit could not have come down with special power on the day of Pentecost, and bestowed His manifold gifts on the Church. Mysterious as it may be, there was a connection in the eternal counsels of God, between the ascension of Christ and the outpouring of the Spirit.

If Christ had remained bodily with the disciples, He could not have been in more places than one at the same time. The presence of the Spirit whom He sent down, would fill every place where believers were assembled in His name, in every part of the world.

If Christ had remained upon earth, and not gone up into heaven, He could not have become a High Priest for His people in the same full and perfect manner that He became after His ascension. He went away to sit down at the right hand of God, and to appear for us, in our human nature glorified, as our Advocate with the Father.”

And there you have it; His death, burial, resurrection, and glorification made it possible for us to be anointed with the power of His presence. Since He returned to heaven the Spirit is not limited by a human body to be in one place at a time, the Holy Spirit is working simultaneously in the whole world. He is also able to function as our High Priest before the Father in heaven. I have to say, I like the idea of being privileged.

YOUR ADVANTAGE

Jn.16:7 – But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.

What a shocking statement! Knowing all that Christ is, He said it was to the disciples advantage that He go away. How could that be possible? Jesus is the imprint of the Father, the Word Who became flesh. How on earth could it be better that He leave? The disciples had no way of knowing what He meant. The Holy Spirit would come only after Jesus left. That would be a radical game changer. Before the Holy Spirit came the disciples were fixated on an earthly kingdom. The coming of the Holy Spirit instantly changed their understanding of the kingdom of God. Before the Holy Spirit came the disciples did not have the anointing to teach and preach like Jesus did nor did they have the consistent anointing to heal the sick and cast out demons. The Holy Spirit would also change all of that. Here is how John Gill described this advantage or expediency that Jesus spoke of.

“The Spirit of God in some sense had come, before the death of Christ; he had appeared in the creation of all things out of nothing, as a joint Creator with the Father and Son; he was come as a spirit of prophecy upon the inspired writers, and others; the Old Testament saints had received him as a spirit of faith; he had been given to Christ as man, without measure, and the disciples had been partakers of his gifts and graces; but he was not come in so peculiar a manner as he afterwards did; as the promise of the Father, the glorifier of Christ, the comforter of his people, the spirit of truth, and the reprover of the world: there are reasons to be given, why the Spirit of God should not come in such a manner before…”

So we have access to far more than the Old Testament believers and the disciples before Pentecost. We have an anointing to testify to the gospel of Christ, we have power to prophecy, cast out demons, and heal the sick. It really is to our advantage that Jesus went away. He took His place at the Father’s right hand and the Holy Spirit began to be poured out on all flesh. More Lord !!!!

THE UNPOPULAR WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

John 16:8-11 – And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.

Look at what Jesus said the Holy Spirit would do when He comes. These verses are some of the most important in the Bible. The Holy Spirit would come to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgement.

First we will look at this unpopular word called sin. The Holy Spirit is the One who comes to us and reveals to us our own sinfulness. Only He can reveal to us that we are sinners in need of a Savior. For me it was as if someone had removed the covers off of my life, suddenly I realized how messed up I was. I was a sinner and I needed to change.

Next, let’s think about what Jesus meant by saying the Holy Spirit would convict us of righteousness. First of all, the Holy Spirit presents Jesus to us as the only righteous man that has ever lived. His life was perfect and seeing our sinfulness in light of His holiness can be quite devastating.The Holy Spirit brings us to the end of ourselves preparing to change our lives.

Finally He shows us about judgement. As Paul said, the wages of sin is death. All of us deserve judgement, all of us have violated the justice of God. We see our lives deserving God’s righteous judgement against sin. Now here comes the best part, Christ bore the wrath of God for us on the cross. He took all of our judgement on Himself at Calvary. God’s justice was satisfied, man’s sin was judged in Christ.

The Holy Spirit helps us to sort all of this out; first, I am a sinner in need of a Savior. Secondly, Christ was and is completely holy and righteous. Third, all sin requires judgement by a holy and just God. Finally, we begin to see the light breaking in on us, the righteous One took my sin, He actually became sin on my behalf at the cross. All of those who see this and believe it become justified, declared righteous by faith. We actually take on the very righteousness of Christ as a gift received by grace through faith. Until the Spirit opens our eyes the gospel seems like foolishness for weak minds. Once the Holy Spirit opens our eyes we truly see, the gospel is the wisdom of God and the power of God.

HELPING HAND

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He shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you.

John 16:15

Do you remember trying to read the Bible before you were born again? I actually tried to do that. I started with Genesis 1, just like I would have done with any book. How far did I get? Not very far. Without the Interpreter of scripture, the Holy Spirit, no one can get very far. For me, the Bible was a book of good stories with life lessons. It also seemed to have a healthy dose of rules. The lessons and the rules lost me quickly, I needed help just to read and comprehend the Bible. The help came when I accepted Christ. Seeing the Bible differently was one of the sure proofs to me of my salvation. I wanted to read the Bible and I actually grasped it. It became my food for nourishment, water for refreshing, the cleansing agent to clean my mind, my moral compass, and the source of guidance and instruction in my life. But more than any of those things, I clearly saw Jesus in the Bible. I began to see Him in the types and shadows of Old Testament stories, His grace and truth in the gospels, the message of salvation by grace through faith in His work in the epistles, and His majestic heavenly glory in the book of Revelations. This book is like no other. It contains layer after layer of the unveiling of the Glory of God. Here are some thoughts from Spurgeon on the helping hand in reading the Bible.

“There are times when all the promises and doctrines of the Bible are of no avail, unless a gracious hand shall apply them to us. We are thirsty, but too faint to crawl to the water-brook. When a soldier is wounded in battle it is of little use for him to know that there are those at the hospital who can bind up his wounds, and medicines there to ease all the pains which he now suffers: what he needs is to be carried thither, and to have the remedies applied. It is thus with our souls, and to meet this need there is one, even the Spirit of truth, who takes of the things of Jesus, and applies them to us.“

This Interpreter of scripture has walked with me now for many years. I am amazed as I read the same passages that I have read many times how He opens them again for me like its the first time. Actually, every time we open the scripture it is the first time, it is the first time we have seen each verse from this new heavenly perspective.

THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT

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If I go, I will send him [the Counselor] to you. He will bring glory to me by
taking from what is mine and making it known to you.

John 16:7,14
When I first began to pastor I remember struggling to lead people into the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. I was confident in preaching about salvation and leading people to Christ but Holy Spirit baptism was a little intimidating for me. After several years of struggling with this I saw something in the scripture that really helped me. It was actually in Peter’s explanation of the manifestation of tongues that gave me the insight that I needed. He said in Acts 2:33, “Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing”. Peter was saying that the outpouring of the Spirit which resulted in the 120 receiving the Spirit was connected to the exaltation of Jesus. His crucifixion was connected to salvation, His glorification was tied to the outpouring. That was a huge breakthrough for me. Here is how Andrew Murray describes this phenomenon.
“After His ascension to heaven, the crucified Christ was glorified on His throne at the right hand of God. And from that glory He sent the Holy Spirit to His disciples, fulfilling His promise to them. It is the Spirit that searches for the deep secrets of God, who is an indissoluble part of God, who was with Christ during His life on earth and at His death on the cross. The same Spirit would now support the disciples and make them aware of the presence of the glorified Christ. The Spirit of God would be their power in a life of obedience, and their instructor in all for which they had prayed. It would be by the power of the Holy Spirit that the disciples would defeat God’s enemies and proclaim the gospel to the world.”
From that time on it became easy for me to lead people into the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. Look to Jesus, He is seated in glory at the Father’s right hand. There is a River flowing out from Him for everyone who is thirsty. You too can be filled with the Holy Spirit, His presence is being poured out on all mankind today.

CHRIST IN ME

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

John 16:14
Our life is drastically different from the unsaved population of the world. It is way different than any of us can even perceive. We taste the edge of what has happened in our lives and it is annihilating. What makes our lives so different? We are actually inhabited by Christ. His Spirit is in us and on us, there couldn’t be anything more profound. The scary thing is this, some people think Christ is in them and are casual about it, how can you be casual about the greatest of all beings, the creator Himself, inhabiting us? He has brought us into the most profound life possible, we share the very life of Christ. His life in us should change everything; our purpose, our loves, the things we enjoy. He has not only given us life, He has become our life. Here are some thoughts from Andrew Murray about this supernatural existence we share.
“The fullness of the Godhead dwelt in Christ in order that the life of the Godhead might dwell in us. All this is in Christ. Our entire life exists in union with Christ. As the branch is in the vine, so we are in Christ and He in us. Each new day we must begin with this conviction: Christ lives in me and the Holy Spirit will make this a reality for me. Count on the quiet, unseen working of the Holy Spirit in your heart. This truth is so profound and so divine that it is almost beyond our grasp. Yet the Holy Spirit, who is God, will reveal it to us. Cling to Christ in childlike faith and trust that the Holy Spirit is at work in you in order that Christ living in you can be a reality. In childlike faith, fix your heart upon Christ on the cross and upon Christ on the throne. As you do this, the Holy Spirit will reveal Christ to you and in you. You will be able to confidently say, ‘Christ lives in me! Christ is my life!’”

So make a choice today, that from this day forward you are going to take advantage of this treasure that has been entrusted to you. Stir up His presence in your life; read your Bible with anticipation, drink in His presence in worship, pray in the Spirit. Make a determination that today, and everyday, you are going to enjoy this life that has been given to you.

REAL HELP IN A REAL WORLD

If I go, I will send him [the Counselor] to you. He will bring glory to me by
taking from what is mine and making it known to you.

Jn. 16:7,14
The Christian life is not hard to live, it is impossible. You heard me right, in our fallen state it is impossible to live the life the Bible clearly demands. That was the whole purpose of the law. The Law was designed to expose all of our flaws; and man, it really did that. The part that goes right to the heart of the problem is right in the Ten Commandments. You know the one, the one that talks about wanting what other people have. The one the Lord called coveting. It forbids coveting other people’s property, possessions, livestock, and even forbids coveting someone’s spouse. I know you have never violated that law! The only way out for us was forgiveness, regeneration, and continual fillings with the Holy Spirit. We need Christ in us and upon us to live the Christian life. Christianity is actually Christ living within us, living the life He demands. Here is how Andrew Murray described it.
“After His ascension to heaven, the crucified Christ was glorified on His throne at the right hand of God. And from that glory He sent the Holy Spirit to His disciples, fulfilling His promise to them. It is the Spirit that searches for the deep secrets of God, who is an indissoluble part of God, who was with Christ during His life on earth and at His death on the cross. The same Spirit would now support the disciples and make them aware of the presence of the glorified Christ. The Spirit of God would be their power in a life of obedience, and their instructor in all for which they had prayed. The Spirit is God. He wants to appropriate your entire life. He is not just a casual helper. No, your whole heart and life must be under the control of the Spirit—from hour to hour and from day to day. The Spirit, who surveys all the secrets of God, lays hold of your innermost being, where He reveals Christ as your master.”
This is why I love Christianity. The Holy Spirit comes and becomes real help in a very real world. The bottom line is this, I can’t but He can. He can and will live a different kind of life in each of us, all we need to do is become totally dependent on Him.

FLOWS, REVEALS, AND IMPARTS

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

JOHN 16:14
The book of John gives a glimpse into the very life of God. My Bible School teacher used to say that John 13-17 was a glimpse into the holy of holies. It starts with Jesus washing His disciples feet, moves into an amazing description of life in the Spirit that the disciples were about to enter into, it finishes on the holy ground of Christ praying for us in the garden of Gethsemane. For those who have ears to hear, this is like standing with Moses before the burning bush. Andrew Murray says that we learn from this passage that the Spirit flows from Christ, reveals Christ, and imparts Christ. Here is how he says it.
“The Holy Spirit flows from Christ, reveals Christ, and imparts Christ.Do you desire the Spirit? Have faith in Christ who gives the Spirit. Do you desire Christ? Trust the Spirit to reveal Christ to you. The Spirit is sent from Christ glorified in heaven to impart Christ glorified to us upon the earth. The fullness of the Godhead dwelt in Christ in order that the life of the Godhead might dwell in us. All this is in Christ. Our entire life exists in union with Christ. As the branch is in the vine, so we are in Christ and He in us. Each new day we must begin with this conviction: Christ lives in me and the Holy Spirit will make this a reality for me. Count on the quiet, unseen working of the Holy Spirit in your heart.”

The Holy Spirit is like a powerful river flowing from the Father and the Son seated on the throne of God. It is flowing out from Jesus and flows over us, healing and restoring the broken parts of our lives. This river of the Spirit of God reveals Jesus. It opens our eyes to His glory, opens our heart to His great work of redemption, and opens ours ears to His magnificent word. It is the Holy Spirit that makes Jesus and His work come alive in our lives. Finally, the Holy Spirit imparts the life of God in our soul. The very nature of the Son, the Spirit of Sonship or adoption, comes into our lives and permeates our whole being. We take on a new nature and become different kinds of people. Drink in His Spirit today; He will restore you, refresh you, reveal Christ to you, and impart His amazing love into your soul.

I LEAVE YOU MY PEACE

John 16:33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.

The times that Jesus lived in could be characterized by lots of things, it wasn’t noted as a time of peace. It started at His birth, Jerusalem was said to be in an uproar at the news the wise men brought about the birth of a Jewish king. Herod went on a rampage killing male children under two years of age. It wasn’t much better during His ministry years. Think about it, his home town friends tried to throw Jesus off a cliff. Then there was the constant attack of the Pharisees and Saducees that was relentless through His entire ministry. Then there were the suicidal maniacs that He dealt with, outrageous storms, betrayal on His staff, and abandonment from all His friends. It ended with the suicide of one of His disciples and His execution from an unholy alliance between King Herod, the Roman governor Pontius Pilate, and the high priest of Israel. Doesn’t sound like much peace; unless. Unless you knew the spiritual peace that Jesus lived in. Nothing fazed Him because of the peace that resonated in His life from His relationship with His Father. This was the same peace He had enjoyed from eternity, the peace of God. This is the peace that Jesus offered His disciples in today’s verse. This is the same peace He offers us today. Here is an excerpt from Jonathan Edwards on today’s verse.

“He had no earthly estate to leave to his disciples who were as it were his family: but he had peace to give them. It was his peace that he gave them; as it was the same kind of peace which he himself enjoyed. The same excellent and divine peace which he ever had in God; and which he was about to receive in his exalted state in a vastly greater perfection and fullness: for the happiness Christ gives to his people, is a participation of his own happiness: agreeable to what Christ says in this same dying discourse of his, “These things have I said unto you, that my joy might remain in you.” And in his prayer that he made with his disciples at the conclusion of this discourse; “And now come I unto thee, and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. And the glory which thou gavest me, I have given them.”
There you have it, there is a peace available to Christians that is bigger than all the stress in this world. The way things are going, we need it now more than ever. So we have two ways to live, trying to be at peace by fixing our broken world or living in a state of peace that flows from intimacy with God.

TRUTH

John 16:13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth…

I love this title or description of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth. In the original language of the New Testament the word translated truth is aletheia. It’s meaning is quite descriptive. This word truth means more than just correct or accurate information. It literally means the substance or essence of a matter. What Jesus is saying is that the Holy Spirit makes spiritual things real to us. You could call the Holy Spirit the Spirit of reality. When He comes upon us the Bible becomes real, Christ steps as a living Person into our lives, the Father’s love becomes precious to us, and we become aware of our need for salvation. Here are some thoughts by Spurgeon on the Spirit of Truth.

“Once let the truth of God obtain an entrance into the human heart and subdue the whole man unto itself, no power human or infernal can dislodge it. We entertain it not as a guest but as the master of the house—this is a Christian necessity, he is no Christian who doth not thus believe. Those who feel the vital power of the gospel, and know the might of the Holy Ghost as He opens, applies, and seals the Lord’s Word, would sooner be torn to pieces than be rent away from the gospel of their salvation. What a thousand mercies are wrapt up in the assurance that the truth will be with us for ever; will be our living support, our dying comfort, our rising song, our eternal glory; this is Christian privilege, without it our faith were little worth. Some truths we outgrow and leave behind, for they are but rudiments and lessons for beginners, but we cannot thus deal with Divine truth, for though it is sweet food for babes, it is in the highest sense strong meat for men.”

At the end of the day that is what all of us are looking for, we just want our Christian faith to be real. We are all tired of fake people, empty promises, and religious hype. To taste something that has the flavor of reality means everything, that is the role of the Holy Spirit. Without Him, religion is a form pumped up by human effort. With Him, it becomes joy unspeakable and full of glory.