Promises and Provisions of Great Comfort | John 14:15-26 | Dr. David Harrell
Shepherd’s Fire exists to proclaim the unsearchable riches of Christ through mass communications for the teaching ministry of Bible expositor David Harrell, with a special emphasis in encouraging and strengthening pastors and church leaders.
Each transcript is a rough approximation of the message preached and may occasionally misstate certain portions of the sermon and even misspell certain words. It should in no way be considered an edited document ready for print. Moreover, as in any transcription of the spoken word, the full intention and passion of the speaker cannot be fully captured and will in no way reflect the same style of a written document.
We return again this morning to John's Gospel, chapter 14, where we resume our verse-by-verse examination of this amazing section of Scripture where Jesus gives his farewell address to his disciples on the night before his death. May I remind you before we look at the text that Jesus' disciples are deeply troubled by Jesus' words of his imminent departure, of the betrayal that's going to happen by Judas, of Peter's denial. And yet he sets aside the horrific torture that awaits him and he seeks to comfort his disciples, to encourage them and prepare them for what lay ahead.
Prior to this section of Scripture, beginning in verse 15, we have learned that he has given them a new commandment to love one another as he loves them. He exhorted them to not let their hearts be troubled but believe in the Son as they believe in the Father. He assured them that he was going to his Father's house and there he would prepare a place for them and come and receive them unto himself. He encouraged them that he had paved the way for them to eventually be able to go where he is going because they ultimately knew the way, the truth and the life because they knew the Lord Jesus. He comforted them further by promising them that he would not withdraw his miraculous powers, the abilities that they had been given, but rather he would empower them for even greater works, referring to the spread of the Gospel. He further assured them that whatever they needed to accomplish the work to which they had been commissioned, he would supply it for them if they asked in his name.
Here in verses 15 through 26 that we will look at today, he continues to console them with some stunning promises and provisions that bring them great comfort, thus the title of my discourse to you this morning. He is going to send them a divine Helper in his place to come alongside them to strengthen them, to comfort them, to encourage them, guide and protect and so forth. He's going to promise that he's not going to leave them as orphans but will abide with them through the indwelling Spirit, that they will also be able to live eternally as he does and he promises that some day soon they will be able to experience the shared oneness of life with the Triune Godhead. Of course, all of these promises belong to every person united to Christ by grace through faith in him, having confessed him as their only hope of being reconciled to a holy God.
So in the foreboding gloom of that night, our precious Savior not only consoles the bewildered, depressed and frightened disciples but he sets our hearts ablaze with supernatural help and hope. He promises and delivers all we could possibly need to not only survive in this ordeal called life but to literally thrive in it. I pray that these truths will provide comfort to each of you. I'm sure that some of you are here today and for whatever reason, you are walking in some dark valley. I hope you will listen carefully. I hope you will absorb these great truths. I hope that you will celebrate them and live in light of them and then you will be able to say with the psalmist, "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for thou art with me. Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me."
I think it will be helpful to you if we examine this section of Scripture in 3 categories. His promises and provisions of great comfort will include 3 things. 1. The gift of the indwelling Spirit. Secondly, the inward manifestation of the Son. And finally, the loving favor of the Father. So let's begin by examining what Jesus says in verse 15, "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments." Now, at first glance, this may appear to be an abrupt shift in the narrative but upon closer inspection, we discover that it connects perfectly with what he has said earlier. Remember, he's been observing their troubled hearts over the prospect of him leaving and he has commanded them to get a hold of themselves to "Trust in me as you trust in God." And with the exercise of such faith, to know that, "Whatever you ask in my name," verse 13, "that I will do that the Father may be glorified in the Son." So in light of all of this he is saying, "Now, if you love me, you will keep my commandments." It's interesting, this is the first time in John's Gospel where John speaks of their love for him. Obviously, this also addresses our love for him.
The Lord wants them to keep trusting in him, to keep praying in his name, which means to pray consistently with what would bring him glory. In contexts therefore we can see how the love for Christ that we have is really the fuel of our faith and the ultimate goal of every prayer that is prayed in his name. John will later say in 1 John 3:22, "Whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight." So in essence, Jesus is saying, "Men, I know that you are profoundly distressed over my imminent departure and as you are all aware, I have demonstrated my love to you. A few minutes ago I washed your feet but now I wish to speak to you about your love for me. If you love me, you will keep my commandments including the new commandment that I just gave you to love one another as I have loved you."
Once again, later in 1 John 5:2, we read this, "By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome." The commandments that Jesus refers to here in verse 15 encompass the full revelation of God, his will found in Scripture. Now, bear in mind that every person who has truly been born again and made a new creature in Christ will be characterized by a life of humble and joyful obedience. Now, bear in mind, obedience is not the cause of salvation, it is the result of it. Paul says, "By the works of the law no flesh will be justified in God's sight," Romans 3:20. So keeping his Commandments is the surest way to validate genuine saving faith and love for God. But Jesus knew that his disciples, including all of us, would need supernatural help in order to keep his commandments, in order to serve, in order to glorify God so he's going to ask the Father for the Helper to be sent to them. So here is the first magnificent promise and provision: that of the great Comforter. 1. We see the gift of the indwelling Spirit. Again, verse 15, "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever."
Another Helper. This implies that they already had one and that one is Jesus and the term "another" in the original language is allos, not heteros. Allos meaning another of the same kind rather than another of a different kind. And so he's saying, "You are going to have another of the same kind, one exactly like me," basically. In the original language, another Paraclete. Paraclete is basically one who is called alongside someone who is in need to strengthen them and so forth. Also, in secular Greek, we learn that that term Paraclete carried the idea of an advocate or a witness in a court of law and it's interesting in 1 John 2:1, Jesus is called our advocate with the Father. In other words, the one who speaks in our defense. Jesus is our advocate in the court of heaven and even during his earthly ministry, he had the role of Paraclete.
But now Jesus makes this stunning promise of this provision for another supernatural Helper. Verse 17, "that is the Spirit of truth." He is the Spirit of truth in that he communicates the truth of both the incarnate as well as the written word. The incarnate Christ, the truth of him, and the truth of the Bible. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life." And a little later he will declare to the Father, "Thy word is truth." The Spirit is the spirit of these things. He is also the Spirit of the written word because he moved upon men to write it as we read in 2 Peter 1. He also illumines the minds of believers to be able to understand it.
We know, according to Scripture, that a natural man, a man without Christ, an unsaved man, a man that rejects Christ, does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, Paul tells us, for they are foolishness to him and he cannot understand them because they are spiritually appraised. That means that they literally have no capacity to discern divine truth because they are spiritually dead. They are unable to comprehend. It has nothing to do with intellect. It has everything to do with a spiritually dead heart that must be renewed by the Spirit of God. Child of God, were it not for the Spirit, where would we be? Think of that. Beloved, this is the Spirit of God that dwells within us. This is the supernatural, enabling power that we have to not only do the promised greater works that Jesus talked about in the realm of evangelism but also the enabling power to love Christ and keep his commandments.
What else does Jesus say? He promises the provision of the Spirit of truth, "whom the world cannot receive." It doesn't say they will not receive but they cannot receive. Why? Because it does not behold him or know him. Now, the term "world" in the original language that is used here, kosmos, speaks of the moral order that is in rebellion against God, a Satanic order, an organized system in opposition to God. The world, this world, cannot accept him because it neither sees him nor knows him. In other passages of Scripture we learn that those in the world like we were once, are spiritually blind. They are alienated from God. They are darkened in their understanding. They are ignorant of spiritual truths. They just can't see it. And also bear in mind that the world is utterly materialistic. If they cannot see it, they don't believe it so the idea of the Spirit of truth replacing the physical presence of Jesus, "Why, that's ridiculous." They didn't even believe in Jesus as the Son of God. In fact, the world is opposed to the Father, 1 John 2:16. John even tells us in 1 John 5:19, "that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one." The Lord tells us that Satan, the evil one, is a liar. He has been a liar from the beginning. He is the father of lies. There is no truth in him so it is for this reason that the world cannot know the Spirit of truth. They cannot know the truth. They cannot live the truth. They have no power at their disposal to change lives. Later in chapter 16, we read in verse 8 that he, "convicts the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment." Verse 13, he is called again, "the Spirit of truth. He will guide you into all truth."
So Jesus is saying this is the Spirit of truth whom the world cannot receive because it does not see him or know him. Then he says this, "but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you." This is really interesting. He abides, present tense. It's happening right now. "Disciples, it's happening right now." You see, he was present with the disciples in a general sense as he was with all Old Testament believers but on the day of Pentecost, something drastically different occurred. The Spirit came personally and permanently and intimately and took up residence within them as he has every believer since. And as a result, we are empowered to love God, to keep his commandments, to take up the task of ministry and evangelism. This is absolutely astounding. Again, this is why we love God.
We love God because he first loved us and now the Spirit of God inhabits us. I'm always fascinated with this, that God has redeemed us that he might inhabit us. In Romans 5:5, we read that it is "the Spirit of God who pours out within our hearts the love of God." In other words, the Spirit of God helps us have a subjective awareness of that objective reality that God loves us. In Romans 8:16 we read that, "the Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God." So folks, this is a magnificent provision that Jesus promises his troubled disciples. And dear Christian, bear in mind: love always precedes obedience. God's love for us preceded our love for him which results in our eager desire to keep his commandments. Please understand: if God's commandment, for example, for you to love him supremely, to love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, and even his second great commandment for you to love your neighbor as much as yourself, if you hear that and that is just simply not a priority in your life, you have no basis to say that you are a disciple of Christ. If you have no desire to know the word and the will of God, you've probably never been born again. If you have no yearning to know Christ. If you have no longing to experience more of his presence and his power. If you cannot say with great conviction that he is your greatest sense of joy and satisfaction, then you know nothing of the love of God. Love for God is what animates our hearts to faithful service and to happy submission to his word and to his will.
Now, every true believer loves Christ, right? Will you agree with me on that? Biblically every true believer loves Christ but none of us keep his commandments the way we need to do it, right? So how do you explain that? Well, in essence, what Scripture says is that we are not yet fully freed from the effects of our fallen nature. We are still incarcerated in our unredeemed humanness. The Apostle Paul struggled with this. Remember in Romans 7, for example, in verse 18 and following he says, "For I know that nothing good dwells in me," boy, I could say amen to that, "I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me." You remember, he goes on to lament, "Oh, wretched man that I am! Who will free me from this body of death?" and so forth. You see, though we are no longer slaves to sin, it always abides in us. I like to say sin no longer reigns but it remains.
However, because of our Spirit-empowered love for God, it is the Christian's steadfast desire in the core of his being and his heart to keep his commandments. It is the longing of our soul to be pleasing to him and it is the burning desire of our nature that the Holy Spirit continues to fan into greater and greater flames of yearning to be fully conformed to his will. Beloved, because of his infinite grace, God looks beyond our outward failures and he sees the heart that he has renewed within us. Though he sees our sin, he knows the deep yearning in our heart to be pleasing to him. Moreover, God is pleased with us because we are hidden in his beloved Son. He looks at us with our sin and he sees us clothed in the righteousness of Christ and he does not condemn us for the law of sin that is within us as Paul describes in Romans 7, the law of sin that wages war against the law of God in our inner man of which we joyfully concur but struggle to obey. So it's for this reason that Paul rejoices in Romans 8:1 and 2 and says, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." Now, there's the good news. No condemnation if we're in Christ Jesus. "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death."
Now, be careful. Don't use this as an excuse to somehow ignore the imperative commands of Scripture and lapse into some Antinomian leniency which inevitably leads to worldliness and pride and hypocrisy. That's as bad as falling off the other end of the spectrum into legalism which also leads to worldliness in an odd way and pride and hypocrisy. Both extremes are displeasing to the Lord. In other words, don't think your Christian life is nothing more than just kind of being passive, just kind of letting God do his thing. "I don't really have to give any effort. I just yield to him." Folks, the New Testament is filled with militant terms and commands that speak of the enormous effort and commitment that we must exert.
Let me give you a couple of examples. In 1 Corinthians 9, beginning in verse 24, the Apostle Paul say, "Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim." Boy, there is nothing passive in that statement. He's exerting himself. "I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified." Likewise, the writer of Hebrews says in Hebrews 12:1, "Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us."
John MacArthur said it well, he put it this way, quote, "The power of Christian living is entirely from the Holy Spirit just as the power of salvation is entirely in Jesus Christ but both in the justifying work of Christ and in the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, man's will is active and commitment is called for. The Christian is not to sit on the sidelines, as it were, and simply watch the Holy Spirit do battle for him. He is called to consider himself 'to be dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus,' to refuse to let 'sin reign in his mortal body,' to resist presenting 'the members of his body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness,' and rather to present them 'as instruments of righteous to God,'" Romans 6 and so forth.
You see, as believers, we are really commanded and therefore we must be committed to go where the Spirit of God guides us and to do what his word asks us to do. Let me give you an example. If we violate the command, if we just kind of ignore the very important command to walk by the Spirit, what's going to happen? Galatians 5. You're going to carry out the desires of your flesh, that's what it says. To walk by the Spirit requires us to submit to our resident teacher and strengthener who illumines our minds to understand the word and the will of God and empowers us to obey it. But we've got to choose to do it otherwise we can quench the Spirit. We can grieve the Spirit. We can forfeit blessing in our life. We can destroy our testimony. We can destroy our marriage, our family. We can subject ourselves to the Father's chastening and on and on it goes.
So, we must continually be engaged in laying aside the old self and putting on the new self, Ephesians 4. Not out of duty but out of desire. Hendrickson strikes the balance so well in his paraphrase of what Jesus is saying. He puts it this way, "If with love that is both intelligent and purposeful you will love me, you will accept, obey and stand guard over the rules which I have laid down for the regulation of your inner attitudes and outer conduct." I think that says it well.
Now, does this describe you? If it does, then you love God and he loves you. Later, John summarizes these great truths in 1 John 2, beginning in verse 3, he says, "By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments." Lots of times people say, "Well, I just don't know if I'm saved." Well, let's talk about your relationship with Christ. Do you understand the Gospel? Tell me about your conversion and eventually I'll get to this, "You know, what about your walk with him? Do you love what he loves? Hates what he hates? Do you obey the things that are in the word of God or at least try to?" And if there's that blank look, then chances are they don't know him. That's what it says here. "By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, 'I have come to know Him,' and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked." Folks, if you have no desire to be like Christ, you don't know him.
So, not only did Jesus promise to provide the gift of the indwelling Spirit to comfort them but, secondly, the inward manifestation of the Son. Notice verse 18, "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you." This is such a tender, compassionate promise and it is one that avails to each of us. Even as a loving father would not abandon his children to a wicked and violent world, he promises to come to them which he did. We know that he came to them physically immediately after the resurrection but you must understand this promise reaches far beyond the 40 days of his post-resurrection ministry. He came to them and he came to us, catch this, through his union with the Holy Spirit who was poured out upon them at Pentecost and who indwells every believer the moment they are born again. Romans 8:9 says, "If anyone doesn't have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him," and we must understand that the Lord Jesus abides with us through the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit was poured out, Christ came. Though invisible this very moment, the Lord Jesus Christ lives within you if you know Christ.
This is another mystery of the unity of the Triune Godhead beyond our ability to understand but we know, according to Scripture, dear friends, that it is the Spirit of God who reveals Christ to us. It is the Spirit who exalts Christ, who applies the merits of Christ to our hearts, who helps us experience his love, who empowers us to love him in return and obey his commandments. Did not God say through the prophet Isaiah that "they shall call his name Immanuel which translated means God with us"? What a precious provision. "I will come to you," he says. For this reason later on just before he ascended back into glory, he gave us all a command to, "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you and lo I am with you always, even to the end of days." Now, how can that be possible? Through the Holy Spirit.
Child of God, let this sink in: every twice born saint presently has at their disposal and for their enjoyment the inward manifestation of the Son of God. For this reason Paul says in Galatians 2:20, "Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me." This is the glorious promise, that mystery that Paul preached among the Gentiles which is "Christ in you, the hope of glory," Colossians 1:27.
Dear Christian, hear me: do you want to see Jesus right now? Do you want to hear his voice? Then meditate upon his word and the Spirit will reveal him to you. The Spirit will make his word come alive to your soul and through it Christ draws near and the Incarnate Word manifests himself to us. Do you want to commune with him? Then get on your knees. Speak with him because he has come to you. We need to all rest in the great passage that says that he will "never leave us nor forsake us."
Well, Jesus went on to say in verse 19, "After a little while the world will no longer see Me." It is interesting as we look at the New Testament record, we learn that in the 40 days of his post-resurrection ministry, there is no indication in Scripture that Jesus appeared to anyone except his disciples. And how sad, think about this: the last sighting of Jesus that the world has seen is him hanging on a cross, having been tortured to a point where he was beyond human recognition. And because the world does not love him, because they prefer darkness rather than light, because they walk in the futility of their minds and unbelief, they cannot enjoy the indwelling presence of the Spirit so they have no means to be able to see, much less enjoy, the presence of the Son of God within them. Thus Jesus' solemn statement, "The world will no longer see Me." Now, he was referring to the dispensation between that time and when he would come again because, certainly, they will see him when he comes in judgment when he returns. According to Revelation 1:7, we read, "Behold, he is coming with the clouds and every eye will see him."
Paul elaborated on this in 2 Thessalonians 1:7, there is a day coming "when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus." Indeed, the world will see him some day but when they do, they will see his eyes aflame in vengeance and judgment at the great white throne judgment. No longer will they see a suffering Savior but they will see the sovereign Lord of glory who has authority to judge and Jesus will say to them, "Depart from me accursed ones into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels." And Paul says in 2 Thessalonians 1:9 that they "will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power."
So, again, Jesus says, "After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also." What a comforting promise. Yes, they saw him after his resurrection but they continued to see him as we do through the eyes of faith and through the revelation of the Spirit of God as he enables us to see Christ in all of his glory through his word and through his works. The same is true for us every day and one day we are going to see him face-to-face, isn't that incredible news? 1 John 3:2, "When He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is." Friends, some day our faith will turn to sight. How I long for that day. In fact, John tells us in Revelation 22:4 that we shall "see His face." We shall see his face. And he goes on to say, "and His name shall be on our foreheads." I don't understand any of that. All I know is that it's going to be glorious.
Back to verse 19, "because I live, you will live also." In other words, because of Christ and the regenerating work of the Spirit, we are alive in him. We are united to him. We are in Christ. We read that all through the New Testament. He abides in us. He is the source of our spiritual life, our eternal life. Romans 8:10, "If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness." Again, Galatians 2:20, "I have been crucified with Christ," Paul says, "and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me." Folks, this is staggering. We exist in him spiritually, not physically. We know, according to Scripture, that Christ came to the earth not only to pay the penalty for our sin but to establish an intimate, living, eternal union with us whereby we become one with him. Galatians 3:28 says that we "are all one in Christ Jesus." 1 Corinthians 1:30, "But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus."
Now, this is an amazing concept that we can't fully understand but the Spirit does give us some figures in Scripture to help us get a little bit of an understanding of this mystery. We see, for example, in Romans 7:4 that we are joined or married to Christ. You get a sense of the union there. In Ephesians 5, there is the description of the bride and the bridegroom. We belong to him and we enjoy the intimate spiritual oneness of a relationship and everything that belongs to him belongs to us. Because of this, he will one day "present to himself the church in all her glory having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing but that she should be holy and blameless." Likewise in John 15, we have the figure of the vine and the branches, that pictures that the life-giving organic bond that we have in Christ, the likeness of our nature, the eternal impartation of life and the ability to bear spiritual fruit. In John 6, we have the figure of the body and food. We have life by partaking of Christ even as Christ had life by partaking of the Father. In Ephesians 1, there is the figure of the head and the body. And the body of Christ is pictured in 1 Corinthians 12:27 where we read, "Now you are Christ's body, and individually members of it." We're part of a spiritual organism therefore we cannot function outside of the body as independent organs. We all respond to the head of the body who is the Lord Jesus Christ, not the pope, and together we serve his purposes. John 17:21, we have the figure of God the Father and God the Son and the oneness we share with him and on and on it goes.
Folks, please understand: because of our union with Christ, there is no condemnation because we are in Christ. In Christ, we are free from the law, Paul tells us. We possess the righteousness of God in him. We are complete in him. The dead in Christ will rise first and it just goes on. You see, this is a supernatural union authored by God himself. It is a living union by which Christ's life becomes ours. He does not work upon us from the outside but from the inside where he abides. It's an indissoluble union, one that can never be severed. If you're in Christ, you are not going to lose your salvation. It's a mysterious union in that it has no parallel. There is no analogy in the human experience and that's why Paul says in Colossians 1:26 that this is "the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations which is Christ in you, the hope of glory." Literally, our union with Christ is the basis of salvation and of all of the blessings that we can enjoy. Said differently, you cannot bypass the Lord Jesus Christ and come to God through any other way nor can you find any spiritual blessing apart from being in Christ and all of this is a work of the Spirit.
Next, Jesus says, "In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you." What day is he talking about? The day of Pentecost when the Spirit would be poured out upon them. Indeed, when the Spirit came upon them, he began to guide them into all truth. They began to get this stuff. They began to understand this glorious union between the Father and the Son which is the pattern for spiritual relationship that every believer enjoys in Christ.
And in verse 21, he goes on again and says, "He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him." We know all through the New Testament that the Father loved the Son because of his obedience and likewise, he loves the believer who is united to the Son who obeys his commandments.
So Jesus offers great comfort to all of his disciples including us through these promises. Through first, the gift of the indwelling Spirit. Secondly, the inward manifestation of the Son. And then finally, 3. The loving favor of the Father. Again, notice verse 21, "He who has My commandments and keeps them," in other words, the one who has that sincere yearning within his heart and keeps the precepts which he has already as an abiding possession, "this is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me," he says, "will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him." Now, think about this: we know that the Father's love precedes and here we see it even follows our love for him. First his love animates our heart's desire to keep Christ's commandments, to come to Christ, believe the Gospel and so forth. Then the Father loves us in return. We love and obey Jesus and he loves us in exactly the same way he loves and obeys the Father and the Father loves him. But what is fascinating and I want you to understand this, even though the Father and the Son are and will forever be 2 distinct divine persons, in reality the 2 are one and the same. For this reason, Romans 8:39, Paul speaks of "the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." And many other passages. Then at the end of verse 21, Jesus says, "and I," the idea here "and I too, will love him," love this believer, "and will disclose Myself to him." Once again, the Son discloses or manifests himself to us through the Spirit.
Now, "Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, 'Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to us and not to the world?'" Said differently, "Lord, I don't get it," and I'm sure he's speaking for the rest of the guys. Now, you've got to understand what's going on here. Remember that they were all confused about the kingdom. They could not reconcile in their minds how Jesus could possibly come and establish his glorious kingdom and yet not disclose himself to the world. "How are you going to pull that off?" The inauguration of the messianic kingdom would stun the world and it will stun the world one day when it happens with inexpressible grandeur in his self-disclosure. So Judas is saying, "How is it that you are going to do this?" Well, what he didn't understand is that the Lord is not going to establish the kingdom right then. Because of their unbelief, it would be postponed. He was coming to first give himself as a sacrifice. They didn't understand all of this. Ah, but they did later. As a footnote, in the 40 days between our Lord's resurrection and his ascension, he explains all of this in great detail as you look at the Gospel record. When Pentecost came and the Spirit came to them, they got it. He's the Spirit of truth. The light bulbs began to come on.
But for now Jesus explains that this theophany, in other words, this manifestation of himself, what he's referring to here is a manifestation that would occur in their hearts, in the hearts of those who were obedient to him. That's why he says in verse 23, "Jesus answered and said to him, 'If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We,'" there's the Triune Godhead. Do you want a manifestation? Here it is, "We're going to come to you and make Our abode with you." The Father and the Son will manifest themselves to the believer through the Spirit. And dear friends, it is in that disclosure that we find our greatest joy and our greatest satisfaction in life but such a disclosure is not possible for those who reject Jesus.
Notice what he says in verse 24, "He who does not love Me does not keep My words." They want nothing to do with the Gospel. "And the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father's who sent Me." In other words, "You reject me as the Lord Jesus Christ, you reject God," the Father and the Son being one in essence.
Then as if to say, "Look guys, I know all of this is very confusing to you. I know that you need much more instruction," so he says this in verse 25, "These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. But the Helper," the Paraclete, "the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you." And that's exactly what happened after Pentecost, as I say, they began to get it. The only reason we get it is because of the Spirit. This was also basically a promise to the apostles for the divine inspiration that would soon be theirs, the supernatural guidance that they would enjoy to be able to write the inspired, inerrant, infallible, authoritative, all-sufficient word of the living God, the Bible. And to be sure, these were magnificent promises of great provision but they didn't experience the full force of these comforting words until the Spirit came upon them.
Dear saints, the same power, the same presence, the same favor, belongs to all of us. The question is: what are you doing with these great truths? With the power that you have within you? With the ability to literally see and hear the Son and to enjoy the favor of the Father? Sadly, many Christians do this: they show up to church on Sunday, they hear the preacher preach, they sing a few songs. They basically forget about everything they've heard because they are kind of tired, they need to get ready for Monday morning. So they exhaust themselves on Monday morning, come home, get something to eat, watch TV, hunker down in their easy chair, go to bed and do that day in and day out. The weekend comes, try to have a little bit of fun, enjoy yourself. Oh, we need to do the church thing again. Then you just keep doing this over and over and over. Have a few weeks of vacation. You spend a lot of money you probably don't have and then have to go back to work to pay off that debt. And you do that year in and year out until one day it's time to retire. Then you get old and you get feeble and you die. Now, is that how you want to live your life? What an absolute waste.
Dear friends, are you going to live that way or are you going to set your mind on the things above? Not on the things of this earth. Are you going to start laying up your treasures in heaven, not on earth? Are you going to start giving your life for the glory of Christ and enjoy all of the blessings that can be yours? Are you going to discover, develop your gifts and live for his glory?
Dear friends, don't waste your life. It's not very long. Don't miss the opportunities you have to serve the living God. Don't forfeit blessing and heavenly reward because you're sucked in to this ridiculous culture that causes us to move in the very opposite direction that God wants us to pursue. Then maybe someday with Paul we can all say, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing," at Calvary Bible Church and every other church throughout redemptive history.
Dear friends, may we all rejoice in these great truths and live consistently with them, that in all things Christ might have the preeminence.
Father, thank you for allowing us to hear your word and thank you, Spirit of God, for illuminating our minds that we might understand it and I pray now that you might cause it to bear much fruit in our hearts for our good and for your glory. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Shepherd’s Fire exists to proclaim the unsearchable riches of Christ through mass communications for the teaching ministry of Bible expositor David Harrell, with a special emphasis in encouraging and strengthening pastors and church leaders.