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John 15:18-27 & 16:1-15

All that evening, Jesus had been equipping His disciples for the days ahead.

It's not that He hadn't been teaching them on a daily basis, but now there was a special need. 

He was leaving, but He wasn’t going to leave them in the lurch.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

In His example of foot washing, He had demonstrated the servant attitude.

And if we read carefully, I think we will discover an important lesson in daily cleansing for service.

But He couldn't teach them everything right now.

The fact of the matter was, the disciples weren't ready yet --- "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now."

Yes, we must walk before we can run, and the disciples must pass through some very unique experiences before they would be ready.   

In short, their need for a teacher went way beyond their Master’s availability.

Jesus knew that, and He was going to do something about it --- "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever.” 

And then He gave them His parting gift --- "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you.”

This was no idle promise.

That very night He would start down the path that led to the cross.

And on that cross, He would finally bring peace between God and man.

Yes, there would soon be a way for God's enemies to become His children.

But He had another gift of peace to give them, and I think this was the one He was referring to in the upper room.

It was His abiding peace, given to His disciples in the midst of a world of tribulation. 

Finally, Jesus elevated His disciples from the status of servants to the privileged position of friends. 

John 15:14-15 "Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
15: Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you."

We touched upon the subject of friendship in last week’s lesson.

But I would like to pursue it a little further.

V 14 --- "Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you."

There are different kinds of friendships with differing requirements.

For instance, take the case of a couple of boys who are buddies.

They go fishing together.

They play hockey together.

They're friends, and they're equals.

Their friendship doesn't depend on one being obedient to the other.

But then we have the relationship between a father and his son.

Hopefully they can be friends, but they're not buddies.

That's because, within the framework of the family, they are not equals. 

Certainly dad should be sensitive to his son’s needs, but he is in charge. 

Consequently, if their relationship is to remain undisturbed, the son must be obedient to his father.

That's the kind of friendship we have with Christ --- "Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you."

Yes, we’re friends, but we’re not equals.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

In evangelical circles today, it's quite popular to say, Jesus is a friend of mine. 

In a way, that's all right, but it puts Jesus on our level.

In actual fact, we didn't choose Him, He chose us.

And by doing so, He lifted us into the realm of His friendship.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

And, before we leave the plus side of friendship, let's talk about relationships.

I'm sure you've all heard the saying --- Any friend of yours is a friend of mine.

That’s friendship by association, isn't it?

Do you know who Jesus’ friends are? 

Yes, they’re your brothers and sisters in the Lord.

Someone has drawn an analogy between this relationship and the spokes of a wheel.

In the analogy, Jesus is the hub, and believers are the spokes.

So the closer you get to the hub, the closer you get to the spokes.

In other words, the closer you get to Jesus, the more automatic His new commandment should become --- "That ye love one another, as I have loved you."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Today, a so-called prosperity gospel has become popular.

According to its promises, God's people can be rich, happy, powerful, successful, and healthy if they meet certain conditions.

It’s a false gospel, and Jesus never preached it.

Certainly He told His disciples about His friendship with all of its benefits; but now He was going to tell them about the other side of the coin.

V 18-19 "If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
19: If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you."

Yes, the disciples’ enemies would be Jesus’ old enemies.

In short, they would be hated by association.

And it's still the same today.

People judge you by the friends you keep, and Jesus has a lot of enemies.

So the temptation is, and we all do it, the temptation is to keep our mouths shut and blend in with the crowd.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Now Peter wasn't that kind of a guy.

No, he wasn't in the habit of backing up from a fight --- "Although all shall be offended, yet will not I."

And he really meant it!  And He really proved it!

When the crowd came to arrest Jesus, did Peter run?

No way!

And don't forget the odds were 11 men against a company with swords and staves.

Yes, they were badly outnumbered, but who do you think started the fight?

You guessed it --- "Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest's servant, and cut off his right ear."

It wasn’t very smart, but it was courageous!

Yes, when the battle lines were clearly drawn, you could always depend upon Peter.

But when he was warming himself at the enemy's fire, he could be defeated by a mere damsel --- "Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee .
70: But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest."

That's our biggest danger, isn't it?

In the relatively tolerant country we live in, it's very easy to sidestep the issue in order to keep the peace.

But Jesus expects loyalty.

And what friend wouldn't? 

Matthew 10:32-33 "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.
33: But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven."

Now, to be fair to Peter, he wasn't living in a relatively tolerant country.

His Master was on trial for His life, and for all he knew, he might be next.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Yes, persecution was coming, and Jesus needed to prepare His disciples.

V 19-21 "If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
20: Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
21: But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me."

Yes, it would be for His "name's sake," and also because they were different ---"If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you."

Actually, that's one reason why they hated Jesus.

He was different.

He was sinless, and they were not.

He spoke the truth without fear or favour, and they spoke lies.

In a word, He was light and they were darkness --- and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil."

And now He had chosen the disciples --- "ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.”

That made them different.

And we are different.

Because of Jesus’ work on the cross, we have been brought into God's family.

That makes us strangers and pilgrims in the earth, citizens of another world. 

Also, we are members of the bride of Christ; joined to our Heavenly Bridegroom for better and for worse.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

History tells us that Jesus’ disciples paid the ultimate price.

And I suppose that's not too surprising when you consider the fact that they lived with the generation that had crucified their Lord.

Yes, all of them, except possibly John, were martyred for their faith.

And for 300 years, from Nero to Diocletian, the church endured constant, and at times, overwhelming tribulation.

And even today, Christians in China , and in many ­ Muslim countries, know what it is like to be persecuted and even to die for their faith.

It’s our fellowship of suffering --- Philippians 1:29 "For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.”

However, as in every circumstance, Jesus is our example --- Heb 12:3 "For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds."

Let's take a few minutes to do just that.

Shortly after His triumphal entry into the city of Jerusalem where He had every right to take His place as Israel 's King, He was crucified outside the gate.

Yes, outside the gate.

Do you know the significance of that?

Let's look at Hebrews 13:11-14 "For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp."

The sacrifices, which were offered in the tabernacle, were divided into two types.

First of all, we have the sweet-savour offerings.

These offerings were given to the priests for their food. 

And they speak of Christ’s matchless character, the delight of His Father, and food for our souls.

But the sin offerings, which picture Christ on the cross, where He was made "sin for us, who knew no sin," were burned "without the camp."

And Christ suffered outside the city of the King.

Yes, outside the very city He should have been ruling from.

And now we come to V 13 of Hebrews 13 "Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.
14: For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come."

The words, "Let us" indicate a choice --- "Let us go forth therefore unto him.”

No, we don't have to go, but that's where our Friend is.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

And now, it seems, Jesus paused on His way to the garden to reflect upon the generation He had lived with, and the one that He was about to leave.

V 22-25 "If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin.
23: He that hateth me hateth my Father also.
24: If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.
25: But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause."   

Notice the words "come," "spoken," and "done" in verses 22 and 24.   

Yes, Jesus had come to them, the only generation in world history, to be visited by the Son of God.

And He had spoken to them.

Remember the words of the officers that had been sent to arrest Him? --- "Never man spake like this man."

And He had done many miracles, miracles that clearly proclaimed Him as the Son of God.

What a tremendous privilege, and what a terrible response ---"but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

V 22 "If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin.”

And we must remember that this generation would form the disciples’ mission field.

However, they wouldn't be operating in their own power.

V 26 "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:"

Not only would the Holy Spirit usher in the birth of the Church of Jesus Christ, but He would empower it.

And in addition to His ministry of teaching and bringing to remembrance, He would give testimony to the Son of God.

Yes, under His direction, the New Testament would be written, God's first written communication in 400 years. 

And there would be more! 

V 27 "And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning."

Yes, the apostles were unique in that they had been eyewitnesses.

They had traveled with Jesus for 3-1/2 years.

Under the Holy Spirit's direction, some of them would write scripture, while others would be a living testimony to their Saviour.

Certainly, this was a very unique time in the church history, but, in actual fact, we are all witnesses.

1 Peter 2:9 "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

As we begin Chapter 16, Jesus is still talking about persecution.

It's not that He wanted to scare them. His only purpose was to prepare them.

Yes, in most cases, nothing is as scary as the unknown. 

That's why the dentist says, "Now this is going to hurt a bit."

That's why the surgeon explains the upcoming operation.

They can't eliminate the problem, but they can prepare you for it.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

V 1 "These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended."

The word "offended," as it is used here, means to cause to stumble.

Jesus didn't want His disciples to stumble in the face of persecution.

V 2 "They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service."

And that's exactly what happened.

But I don't think the Christians would have ever guessed that one of their chief persecutors would become a champion for the faith. 

Truly, His ways are "--- past finding out!"

V 3-6 "And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.
4: But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you.
5: But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou?
6: But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart."

In good times and in bad, Jesus had always been there.

Now He was leaving, and their hearts were filled with sorrow.

V 7 "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."

Apparently, it was necessary that Jesus take His place at the right hand of His Father before He could send the Comforter.

And because of the mystery of the Trinity, when the Holy spirit arrived, it would be like having Jesus back again!

But with one difference, and it was a big one.  They wouldn't be able to see the Holy Spirit.

For 3-1/2 years, they had depended upon Jesus’ bodily presence.

That's quite apparent when we read John's first epistle. ---"That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life.”

Now they must rely upon the eye of faith.

Actually, they would be operating under the same conditions that we do today.

We can't see Him, but He’s there.

His methods haven't changed, and neither have His benefits.

He is still our teacher and guide, and He still supplies the necessary power to fulfill the great commission.

V 8-11 "And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
9: Of sin, because they believe not on me;
10: Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;
11: Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged."

V8 says "--- he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment."

Let's look at these three things in the light of the Gospel.

As far as the world is concerned, the Holy Spirit's ministry is one of reproof.

Certainly we must do our best to be kind and friendly when we talk to someone about his or her soul, but our basic message will probably come across as a reproof. 

The word, "reprove," as it is used in V 8, means to convict, to bring in a verdict of guilty.

And the first work of the Holy Spirit is to convict a person of his or her sin. 

Most people don't like the word sin.

They don't sin - they make a mistake.

They didn’t lie, they simply misspoke.

Certainly we must be sensitive to their feelings, but sooner or later, a person must see himself as God sees him. 

No, you can’t be saved until you realize you are lost.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Next, the Holy Spirit must reprove the sinner concerning his righteousness.

Again, he must see himself as God sees him. 

Even though Isaiah was speaking about Israel when he wrote Isaiah 64:6, he also described the condition of all men --- "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away."

Romans 3:22 sums it all up this way, --- "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

Yes, the Holy Spirit must deal with the matter of "righteousness.”

We must face the fact that our righteousness and our good works can never justify us in the sight of God.

However, Christ’s righteousness can.

At the cross, Jesus bore "--- our sins in his own body on the tree.”

And because of that, not only has our debt been paid, but we can be clothed in Christ’s righteousness.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Finally, the Holy Spirit must warn the poor sinner of the nearness of judgment.

As Romans 1:18 says, "--- the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Yes, the Holy Spirit must "--- reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

And then in verses 9-11, Jesus takes the subject a step further. 

V 9-11 "Of sin, because they believe not on me;
10: Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;
11: Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

--- "Of sin, because they believe not on me.”

In the final analysis, the only unpardonable sin is rejecting God's Son.

If a man has a fatal but curable disease and he refuses treatment, he has no hope of recovery.

Yes, he will die.

Not so much because the disease was fatal, but because he spurned the remedy. 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

--- "Of righteousness, because I go to my Father.”

Not only is Jesus our Saviour, but He is also our Advocate.

And in every case when Satan accuses the brethren, Jesus is able to point to His substitutionary death, and His personal righteousness.

As 1 John 2:1 tells us, we have "an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

And then we read --- "Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged."

Satan is in view here, and he is a defeated foe.

We first hear of his defeat in Genesis 3:15 "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

V 12 "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now."

No, Jesus couldn't teach His disciples everything they need to know before He left.

Their further education would be turned over to the Holy Spirit.

And certainly the disciples would need His revelation and support.

V 13 "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come."

No, He will "--- not speak of himself.”

In many ways, the Holy Spirit would operate under the same parameters as Jesus had during His earthly ministry.

Remember what Jesus told His disciples, in John 14:10 "Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works."

Now the Holy Spirit was to speak on the behalf of the Son --- but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
14: He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you."

Yes, the Holy Spirit is the Author, Teacher, and Interpreter of the Word of God.

And when it comes to the Word of God, it’s all about Jesus.

V 14 "He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you."

Yes, in the Old Testament scriptures, we see Jesus in type.

The New Testament is all about His earthly ministry, and His bride.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

In next week's lesson, Jesus gets very specific about His departure --- "I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father."

It wasn't comforting, but it was necessary.


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