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Sunday School Lesson

March 8

Another Comforter

 

Devotional Reading: Psalm 23

Background Scripture:John 14:15-26

 

 

Focal Verses

John 14:15-26

 

15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.

 

16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;

 

17 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.

 

18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

 

19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.

 

20 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.

 

21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

 

22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?

 

23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

 

24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.

 

25 These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.

 

26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

 

Key Verse

The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. —John 14:26

 

Lesson Aims

After participating in this lesson, each learner will be able to:

1. Summarize Jesus’ promise of the Holy Spirit.

2. Explain the link between the presence of the Holy Spirit and living in loving obedience to Christ.

3. Write a prayer of thanks to God for the presence of the Holy Spirit in his or her life.

 

Introduction

 A. Abandoned!

 

“Sorry, I have to leave now.” Words like these have broken many hearts. Someone goes off to war, a dear friend moves far away, an elderly loved one passes on. There is likely a sad embrace, a final farewell, and cold reality sets in: abandoned!

 

For some, it is even worse. By one estimate, there are over 100 million people in our world who are faced with the harsh reality of being left as orphans. War, famine, and disease have no respect for the plight of little children. Parents are stripped from their lives; they are left all alone. They have little hope unless someone steps in to help. They feel—and often really are—abandoned (Lamentations 5:3).

 

For most of three years, Jesus had been the constant companion of His chosen 12. They had left everything to follow Him. But He was about to leave them. What would the sheep do if they were abandoned by their shepherd?

 

B. Lesson Background

 

Jesus came to reveal God to humanity. Jesus was the Word who “was God”; He was the Word who “was made flesh” (John 1:1, 14). He was the Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world (1:29). As the Gospel of John progresses, we see an increasing emphasis on the divine identity of Jesus. He was accused of “making himself equal with God” (5:18). He exhibited the power to raise the dead and the authority to pronounce judgment (5:21, 22). He said, “I and my Father are one” (10:30). His miracles confirmed that His claims were true (10:36-38).

 

The climax of Jesus’ claims came in the upper room in the final week before His death. There Jesus told His disciples that no one could come to the Father except through Him (John 14:6). Even more stunningly He said, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (14:9). Truly God was present with His people! But Jesus also had an unpleasant shock to give His disciples that night: He was leaving. Just when they were realizing that they had God’s presence in their very midst, it seemed that they were about to lose it!

 

It was in this setting that Jesus promised to send another Comforter—the Holy Spirit. From the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry, the Spirit had had an active role. The Spirit had descended as a dove to Jesus at His baptism (John 1:32). Nicodemus had been told of the need to be born of water and the Spirit in order to enter God’s kingdom (3:5). The woman at the well in Samaria learned that “God is a Spirit” and must be worshipped “in spirit and in truth” (4:24). Although the Holy Spirit had not yet been given, Jesus promised that one day the Spirit would be granted to all believers (7:39). And on a Thursday night in an upper room, Jesus made final preparations for that to be possible.

 

I. Promise of the Spirit

                                                                                  (John 14:15-17)

 

A. Initial Requirement (v. 15)

 

15. If ye love me, keep my commandments.

 

Interwoven with the promises of the coming Spirit is Jesus’ insistence that if we love Him we must keep His commandments. Love for Jesus must be more than a fleeting emotion. The Bible meaning of love includes loyalty and commitment. That is the kind of love Jesus meant when He said the greatest commandment is to love God with all one’s heart, soul, and mind (Matthew 22:37). We owe this kind of love to Jesus as God’s Son. Nothing less will do.

 

Love is at the core of our relationship with God and Jesus, and true love requires obedience. That is why Jesus repeats this concept of obedience in verse 21 and again in verses 23, 24 here in John 14. Real believers don’t just believe; they obey.

 

A tragic footnote must be added to these words of Jesus. When He says if ye love me, He is keenly aware that not all of His disciples do, in fact, love Him. Only minutes before, Jesus had dismissed Judas Iscariot out into the night to do what he was determined to do—betray his Lord to the temple authorities (see John 13:21-30). Believers will always show by their actions their response to Jesus’ fateful words if ye love me.

 

What Do You Think?

How does love for God compare and contrast with love in human to human relationships?

 

Points for Your Discussion

Ways they are similar

Ways they are different

 

B. Firm Promise (vv. 16, 17)

 

16. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever.

 

Jesus has already told His disciples that He will be with them only a little while longer (see John 13:33). As they puzzle over the meaning of those alarming words, Jesus makes the promise we see here. The Father always hears the Son (see 11:41, 42), and this prayer will be answered. The Comforter, by Jesus’ personal request, will soon be given.

 

But who will this Comforter be and what will He do? The main difficulty with the word comforter is its potentially wide range of meanings. Understanding comforter to signify “one who helps by consoling” is good as far as it goes, but there’s so much more here. The Greek word being translated is often found in legal settings to refer to someone who goes to court with another to help plead a case. (The same Greek word is translated advocate in 1 John 2:1, where it refers to Jesus.) In a more general sense, such a comforter might promise, “If you’re ever in trouble, I’ll be there for you.”

 

So then as Jesus announces that He is leaving, He also promises that someone else will come and replace Him. Furthermore, Jesus’ replacement is going to abide with the disciples forever. In the Old Testament, the Spirit of God came upon individuals somewhat sporadically and temporarily (examples: Judges 14:6, 19; 15:14). But for believers in Christ, the indwelling Spirit abides continually (see Acts 2:38; Ephesians 1:13, 14).

 

The God Who Is There

 

When I was a newlywed, panic would grip me when my husband said he needed to travel. I had lived with my family before marrying, and I had never lived alone. On those long nights on my own, my untamed imagination created miserable thoughts of things that could happen: fire, burglaries, physical attacks. To add to this, I was concerned that something might happen to him.

 

Years later, I read an article about prayer that suggested a time of quiet focus on the Lord. This was a new concept to me. I had thought prayer was offering up a list of needs, giving thanks, etc. (Similarly, I’ve been better at talking than listening in my human interactions). The suggestion was not to empty my mind in terms of trying to create a blank chalkboard, but to set aside concerns, considering instead the magnificence of the One who can handle them all. This refocus brought a keen awareness of God’s nearness. He had been there all along, just waiting for me to notice (Psalm 46:10).

 

I still miss my husband when he travels. But now I enjoy the opportunity for extra time to be in the company of the God who is there.—V. E.

 

17. 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.

 

God’s Spirit is the Spirit of truth because God himself is always true. God cannot lie (see Hebrews 6:18), and His Word is truth (see John 17:17). This same Spirit moved the men who wrote the prophecies of the Old Testament (see 2 Peter 1:21) to write infallible truth. Now the Spirit is coming to the disciples and to the church (compare John 15:26; 16:13).

 

But the Spirit will not indwell the people of the world—they cannot receive Him. God sends the Spirit into the hearts of those who are redeemed (see Galatians 4:6), not into the hearts of worldly people. Only the children of God have the Spirit of God, and only those who are led by the Spirit are His children (see Romans 8:14).

 

Jesus assures His disciples that they know the Spirit of truth. This must be puzzling to the disciples, but things will become much clearer to them after Jesus ascends to Heaven and the Day of Pentecost comes (see Acts 2:1-4).

 

What Do You Think?

When was a time your realization of the Spirit’s presence made the difference in how things turned out? How did you grow spiritually from this experience?

 

Points for Your Discussion

Regarding a moral dilemma

Regarding a counseling situation

Regarding a family crisis

Other

 

II. Assurance by the Son

                                                                                   (John 14:18-24)

 

A. Presence (v. 18)

 

18. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

 

Comfortless is a good figurative translation of a word that is literally “orphans.” Jesus fully understands that His disciples may feel forlorn and alone after He departs, so He is preparing for this. Just as God the Father had promised that He would not fail or forsake the children of Israel (see Deuteronomy 31:6), now God the Son makes a similar promise to His disciples. The children (see John 13:33) are not being abandoned.

 

The promise I will come to you has drawn three interpretations: (1) it refers to Jesus’ second coming (John 14:3), (2) it refers to the gift of the Holy Spirit (14:16, 17, 26), or (3) it refers to Jesus’ resurrection (20:19, 26). Based on what Jesus says in John 14:20 (below), the third proposal is probably the best.

 

B. Life (v. 19)

 

19. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.

 

On the very next day, Good Friday, Jesus will be crucified and buried. Never again does the unbelieving world see Him alive. (Individual exceptions to this statement include appearances to His half-brother James, who previously did not believe in Him, and to Saul of Tarsus; compare Mark 3:21; 6:3; John 7:5; Galatians 1:19; 1 Corinthians 15:5-8.) After His resurrection, Jesus will appear repeatedly to His disciples, in both small and large groups (see also John 16:16).

 

Jesus’ resurrection will give new hope to disciples: because I live, ye shall live also. His forthcoming victory over death will mean victory for all who follow Him. His resurrection will mean that they can live—really live—a whole new kind of life even while they are still on earth.

 

What Do You Think?

In what ways have you benefitted from lengthy personal time with another? How has that experience been an example for you?

Points for Your Discussion

Regarding a grandparent

Regarding a parent

Regarding a friend

Regarding a teacher

Other

 

C. Knowledge (v. 20)

 

20. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.

 

Jesus has already discussed His relationship with His Father (John 14:7-11). However, the disciples’ understanding of this relationship is not yet what it should be. The greater understanding will come on a certain day when they shall know that I am in my Father.

 

But when exactly is that day? Bible students have proposed three possibilities: (1) the day Jesus rises from the dead (John 2:22), (2) the day when Jesus is glorified (12:16), or (3) the day when the Holy Spirit comes (16:12-15). The strongest case probably can be made for the day of Jesus’ resurrection, given the last part of John 14:19, just considered above: “because I live, ye shall live also.”

 

This signifies, as noted by G. R. Beasley-Murray, that Jesus “comes at Easter to be reunited with his disciples and to lift to a new plane his relationship with them.” The transformation of that relationship seems to be the intent of the phrases ye in me, and I in you. Jesus addresses the significance of this more fully in John 14:23, 24 (below) and in John 17.

 

D. Obedience (v. 21)

 

21. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

 

Jesus repeats the importance of keeping of His commandments (see v. 15, above; compare John 15:10). His teachings are not mere suggestions or general guidelines for an improved life; they are, rather, directives from the Lord to His servants. It is by keeping the Lord’s commands that His servants show that they love Him (compare 1 John 5:3, lesson 8; and 2 John 6, lesson 9). True discipleship must be more than mere lip service (see Luke 6:46).

 

True love is to be modeled on the Father’s own love for us: always loyal and committed. The harmonious oneness between Father and Son is so profound that to be loved by one is to be loved by the other. The result for the disciples in being so loved is that Jesus plans to manifest himself to them. This certainly happens after Jesus’ resurrection (John 20:19-29; 21:1-14).

Loved

While in high school, I worked with a classmate at a trendy clothing store for women. This young lady had caught the eye of the star quarterback at the state university. She loved to talk about her handsome beau, who was regularly featured in the media. The team was on a roll, and the fans relished every win.

 

One day she told me that she had gone to meet him at the airport as the team returned from a victorious away game. But she had been unable to get near the plane because of the sea of screaming fans present. As the players deplaned, the crowds pressed in. Her guy, however, was on the lookout for her. He used his powerful frame to snatch her up and carry her through the chaotic mass of humanity. She told of the thrilling experience with such detail and delight that I could literally feel the excitement with her.

 

Those in Christ are not just faces in the crowds on planet Earth. We are held up by the powerful, loving arms of our Creator. How can we not be exhilarated when we pause to think of life in the Spirit of the living God?!—V. E.

 

E. Clarification (vv. 22-24)

 

22. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?

 

Judas Iscariot has already departed to betray Jesus at this point (John 13:26-30). But there is another man named Judas among the 12 apostles (Luke 6:16; Acts 1:13); this Judas is also known as Thaddaeus (Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18).

 

Jesus has just stated that “Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me” (v. 19), and Judas is struggling to understand what this means. Judas isn’t asking how in terms of methods or procedures; rather, he is asking why, which is the sense of how is it that. Jesus’ answer follows.

 

What Do You Think?

When in a crisis situation, how do you know when it’s better to voice your concerns rather than remain quiet?

 

Points for Your Discussion

Regarding the nature of the crisis

Regarding who is “in charge”

Regarding the personalities of those present

Regarding the presence or absence of opponents

Other

 

23. Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

 

For the third time (see vv. 15, 21, above), Jesus emphasizes that those who love Him must keep His words. This time it is stated not as a command but as a simple fact. Whoever really loves the Lord will obey whatever He says.

 

When followers do obey their Lord, two things are promised to follow. First, the Father will love that person. Second, both the Father and the Son will come to that person and will make their abode with him. The word translated abode is the same that is translated “mansions” in John 14:2. In both places the emphasis is on the intended permanence of the dwelling place.

 

Therefore as Jesus departs to prepare the place of John 14:2, He is also making the believer to be a dwelling place for Him. The role of the Holy Spirit in this abiding is addressed in verses 25, 26, below.

 

24. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.

 

After saying that those who love Him will keep His commands, Jesus now states the flip side of this same truth: whoever does not love Him does not keep His sayings. After all, how can someone truly love Jesus but ignore what He says?

 

These commands/sayings are not just from Jesus; they are in fact those of the Father (compare John 7:16; 14:10). God has sent His Son to deliver the Father’s message and to show the Father’s love. Therefore, to disregard Jesus is to disregard God.

 

III. Purpose of the Spirit

 

                                                                                  (John 14:25, 26)

 

A. Son’s Present Message (v. 25)

 

25. These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.

 

Jesus has spoken many things to His disciples this night. He has instituted the Lord’s Supper, has demonstrated a servant spirit by washing their feet, and has taught them about the coming of the Comforter. While He is yet present with them, He has still more to teach. But their minds are able to absorb only so much (compare John 20:9). Even so, there is more to come, as the next verse shows.

 

B. Spirit’s Future Ministry (v. 26)

 

26. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

 

Jesus now summarizes the forthcoming ministry of the Comforter (see discussion on meaning of which on v. 16, above), who is also known as the Holy Ghost. This is God’s own Spirit, who will soon be sent to the apostles in the name of Jesus. The word Ghost here is translated from the same word as “Spirit” in verse 17, above. The King James Version usually uses the word Ghost when the word Holy precedes it. For a rendering of “Holy Spirit,” see Luke 11:13.

 

Jesus also adds information about what the apostles can expect the Holy Spirit to do. First, He shall teach you all things. This will become the basis of the inspiration of the men who will write the New Testament. Things that they do not know will be taught to them by the Holy Spirit. Like the prophets of old, they will be moved by the Spirit to write Scripture.

 

The Spirit will also remind them of things previously seen and heard. Since two of those present, namely Matthew and John, will later write Gospels of Jesus’ life, it will be vital for them to be able to recall accurate details of what they have witnessed. Even as they write decades later, their thoughts on the life of Jesus will be clear and correct.

 

In an indirect way, the work of the Spirit to teach and to remind is a promise to all of us. First through Scripture and then through His indwelling presence, the Spirit leads us toward the truth and to recall it. The Spirit is our helper, indeed!

 

What Do You Think?

When was a time that recall of a Scripture helped you make a right choice? What did you learn from this experience?

 

Points for Your Discussion

When you needed comfort

When you needed boldness or confidence

When you needed to resist temptation

Other

 

Conclusion

A. Abandoned? Never!

The disciples in the upper room were startled, even frightened, to hear that their shepherd was going to leave them. They did not really understand about the good shepherd laying down His life for His sheep (see John 10:11), and they certainly did not want to be left alone. Their lack of understanding was still evident at the empty tomb (20:9), and again at the ascension (Acts 1:6). But was their Lord going to abandon them? Never!

One of the most precious promises in the Bible, stated in both the Old and New Testaments, is God’s promise not to abandon His people (see Joshua 1:5; Hebrews 13:5). Even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, our shepherd is with us (Psalm 23:4). Even if a cruel cross should slay our shepherd, He rises again and is always with us. We are not forsaken.

 

As we are reminded each Christmas season, one of the names of Jesus is Immanuel, which means “God with us.” That truth transcends the miracle of the incarnation in the first century to become true for believers in every generation. When Jesus was no longer to be present on earth physically, He promised the Holy Spirit to be sent as God’s own presence within us. Because we have this divine presence, we are never abandoned.

 

B. Prayer

Father, we thank You for Your promise that You will never leave us. Help us sense Your constant presence as You dwell in our hearts. May we show You our love every day through our obedience. In the name of Jesus, amen.

 

C. Thought to Remember

We have the promised Spirit of God.

 

How to Say It

Judas Iscariot Joo-dus Iss-care-ee-ut.

Nicodemus Nick-uh-dee-mus.

Samaria Suh-mare-ee-uh.

Thaddaeus Tha-dee-us.

 

Kids’ Corner

The Promise of a Comforter

Sunday, March 8, 2015

                                           

Lesson:John 14:15-26

 

Time of Action:30 A.D.

 

Place of the action: Jerusalem

                                                                                                

Golden Text:“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:26).

 

I.  INTRODUCTION.  As children many of us have probably felt the terror of not being able to find our parents in a large grocery or department store.  When Jesus was crucified, His disciples felt as if He had abandoned them.  However, He had promised that after He went to the Father, another Caretaker would come---the Holy Spirit.

 

II. BACKGROUND FOR THE LESSON.  Our lesson takes place in the upper room where Jesus and His disciples had gathered for His last Passover meal.  While there, He had taught them spiritual lessons by washing their feet (see John 13:1-17).  He announced that He would be betrayed and Judas left to meet with Jesus’ enemies (see John 13:18-30).  Jesus also declared that He would be leaving them and that Peter would deny Him (see John 13:31-38).  Finally, in what we call the Upper Room Discourse, Jesus began to teach the disciples to prepare them for challenging days ahead (see chapters 14-16).  Jesus encouraged His followers by promising them an eternal home which He was the only way to (see John 14:1-11).  He also told them that their ministry would be even more productive than His if they depended on him in prayer (see John 14:12-14).  This is where our lesson begins.

  

III. EXHORTATION AND ENCOURAGEMENT (John 14:15-21)

 

     A. The obedience of love (John 14:14).  Our first verse says “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”  In John 14:12-14, Jesus encouraged the Eleven (Judas had left the group) by promising them effectiveness in ministry and in prayer.  His commitment to do whatever they asked in His name seems to include anything they would ask for.  However, He qualified this promise by saying “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”  This puts Jesus’ promise to answer prayer in proper perspective.  If the disciples expected to have their prayers answered, they must be obedient servants who love their Master.  The same truth applies to believers today.  Jesus was saying that genuine love for Him will be shown by obeying His commandments or His words (see John 14:22-23).  The term “commandments” included all the teachings Jesus had given them both verbally and by example.  Note:  By making obedience the measure of love, Jesus reaffirmed the standard God set in the Old Testament (see Deuteronomy 6:4-5; 10:12-13; 11:1, 13-14, 22-23; 19:9; 30:16, 20).  We should be motivated to obey Jesus Christ not by fear of Him, but by love for Him.  Jesus has set the example for us in this.  His love for His Father was shown in unconditional obedience to Him (see John 5:30).  Now He asked His disciples to follow His example.

 

     B. The coming of the Comforter (John 14:16-17).

           1. (vs. 16).  Jesus continued to say in this verse “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever.”  In order to help the disciples keep His commands, Jesus said that He would “pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter.”  The word “pray” used here is the Greek word for “ask.”  In answer to His Son’s request, God the Father would send the Holy Spirit to take Jesus’ place to help the disciples.  The Holy Spirit is here called “another Comforter.”  The Greek word for “Comforter” is “parakletos” and can also be rendered “Advocate.”  It literally means one called alongside to give aid and was often used of someone who gives legal aid in a court of law.  Jesus is described this way in I John 2:1, referring to Him as our “Advocate” or a legal counselor who intercedes for us and represents the believer before the Father to turn aside the accusations of Satan (see Romans 8:34; Revelation 12:10).  However, the meaning of the term “Comforter” in our text refers exclusively to the Holy Spirit and is used in the general sense of “helper.”  The Greek word for “another” means another of the same kind.  In other words, the Holy Spirit would be another Person like Jesus, helping His own just as Jesus did.  Therefore, the disciples wouldn’t experience any loss spiritually once Jesus departed.  Jesus told His disciples that this new Advocate or Helper would “abide with you for ever.”  Jesus had been with His followers only temporarily, but the One who replaced Him would be with everyone who trusted in Him permanently.  In other words, the Holy Spirit would permanently indwell all future believers (see I Corinthians 6:19).  Note:  Jesus was ready to finish His earthly ministry and leave the earth, but the Holy Spirit’s work in Christians would last forever.  As a human being, Jesus was limited by time and space in His ministry.  The Holy Spirit is not.  The Holy Spirit had not yet come and started His work.  That would happen on the Day of Pentecost, when the Holy Ghoset came upon the church (see Acts 2:1-4, 33).  From that point on, the Holy Ghost has permanently indwelled all who have placed their faith in Christ (see Romans 8:9; I Corinthians 6:19; Ephesians 1:12-14).

           2. (vs. 17).  In this verse Jesus continued describing the Holy Spirit by saying “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.”  Jesus called the Holy Spirit, “the Spirit of truth” because He would bear witness of Christ who is the Truth (see John 14:6).  He would also increase the apostles’ understanding of Christ (see John 15:26; 16:13).  During His earthly ministry, Jesus validated who He was through miracles (see Matthew 12:28).  But now that He was going away, the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus would send in His place, would be a witness in each believer.  Jesus went on to say that the Holy Spirit is One “whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him.”  Here, “the world” refers to the unsaved, who are spiritually blind and under the rebellious order of Satan.  They can only understand material things of this life (see I Corinthians 2:14; I John 4:3-6).  As a result, the unbelieving world has no understanding of the Holy Spirit or His work.  Unfortunately, the Holy Spirit’s presence goes unnoticed by unbelievers.  In contrast to the world or unbelievers Jesus said to His disciples “but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.”  The disciples knew the Spirit through personal experience both by observing Jesus’ works and by performing miracles themselves (see Matthew 12:28; Mark 6:12-13).  But something even better was in store for them, for Jesus said the Holy Spirit “dwelleth with you” meaning He “remains with you.”  Note:  The Holy Spirit’s coming at Pentecost would set the disciples and all later believers apart from Old Testament saints.  In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit came upon select persons temporarily for specific ministries (see Numbers 11:25; Judges 3:9-10; Judges 6:34-35; Judges 14:5-6, 19; 15:14; I Samuel 16:13; I Chronicles 12:18; II Chronicles 1-2; 24:20).  Jesus said that now, the Spirit would permanently indwell everyone who trusted Christ for salvation (see Roman 8:9; I Corinthians 12:13).  Every believer without exception is now indwelled by the Holy Spirit (see I Corinthians 6:19).

 

     C.  The comfort of Jesus (John 14:18-20).

           1. (vs. 18).  Jesus now says “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.”  Jesus made a promise to His disciples saying “I will not leave you comfortless.”  The Greek word used for “comfortless” literally means orphans.  Jesus was speaking figuratively.  He meant that He wouldn’t leave the disciples feeling bereaved, alone and helpless when he died.  The Holy Spirit would come upon them to guide and support them just as Jesus had done.  Many believe that Jesus’ further promise that “I will come to you” refers to His continuing presence through the Holy Spirit.  However, since His words were personal, it seems more likely that Jesus was referring to His appearances to His followers after His resurrection (see Matthew 28:16-20; Mark 16:9, 12, 14; Luke 24:13-32, 34, 36-43; John 20:11-18, 19-31; 21:1-3; Acts 1:3-8; 9:1-19; 22:3-16).  For sure, when they saw Jesus after His crucifixion they didn’t feel comfortless.

           2. (vs. 19).  Jesus went on to say “Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.”  The phrase “Yet a little while” refers to the hours remaining until Jesus’ crucifixion the next day.  Jesus said that after He was crucified, “the world seeth me no more.”  In other words, since no unsaved person would see Him in His resurrected state, He could say “the world seeth me no more.”  Then Jesus said to His disciples, “but ye see me.”  This phrase is in the present tense indicating that the disciples and other believers would keep seeing the resurrected Jesus in their mind’s eye as a result of the Holy Spirit’s ongoing teaching ministry.  As the Spirit glorified Christ, He would show them new truths about Him (see John 16:14).  In the last part of this verse Jesus said “because I live, ye shall live also.”  This phrase is in the future tense and it emphasizes that Christ’s resurrection would be the basis and assurance of the believers’ new life (see Romans 6:4-8; I Corinthians 15:20-22).

           3. (vs. 20).  Jesus continued to say “At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.”  Since Jesus had just spoken of His resurrection, most likely the phrase “At that day” refers to it.  That’s when the disciples would first understand the meaning of “I am in my Father, and ye in me.”  After Jesus’ resurrection, His disciples would know that He and His Father were one in life and purpose.  The Father-Son union is absolute, unchangeable, and unique.  It’s a model of the union believers have with the Saviour and each other after they place their faith in Christ (see John 17:20-23; I Corinthians 12:13).  Jesus referred to this mutual union between He and believers as “ye in me, and I in you.”  He later illustrated this union by telling the parable of the Vine and the branches (see John 15:1-11).  The Bible describes this union using a human body to represent believers whose Head is Christ (see I Corinthians 12:12-27).

 

     D. The call to obedience repeated (John 14:21).  In this verse Jesus said “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.”  To show the importance of obedience and love, Jesus explained the principle He stated earlier in verse 15, that love and obedience go hand in hand.  First He said here that “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me.”  Jesus was saying that a truly saved person not only has or possesses His commandments, but he also keeps or obeys them.  Having eternal life motivates the believer to lovingly obey the Lord.  Then Jesus said “and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him.”  In other words, the believer who demonstrates love for Christ by obeying Him is rewarded by becoming the special recipient of the love of both the Father and the Son.  Since the Father loves the Son (see Matthew 3:17), He also loves those who receive His Son (see I John 4:7-12).  Since the Father and the Son are one (see John 10:30), they love the same people.  Note:  Saving faith is the basis for our union with God and the loving deeds we do for Him (see Galatians 5:6; I John 5:3-4).  If we try to gain God’s favor by good works, we will be rejected (see Romans 4:4-5; Philippians 3:4-9).  The one whose love is demonstrated by obedience will have the love of both the Father and the Son.  Jesus also promised here that not only would He and the Father love the obedient believer, but in addition He said I “will manifest myself to him.”  Though Jesus wouldn’t continue to show Himself physically as He did after the resurrection, He would always be with His own (see Matthew 28:20; Galatians 2:20). 

 

IV. INSTRUCTION AND ILLUMINATION (John 14:22-26)

 

     A.  A disciple’s question (John 14:22).  This verse says “Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?”  One of the eleven disciples who were still present (Judas Iscariot had already left the room at this point; see John 13:26-30) had a question for Jesus.  We are told that the disciple’s name was “Judas…not Iscariot.”  The Apostle John was careful to let his readers know that this Judas was not Judas Iscariot who would betray Jesus.  He asked the Lord “how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?”  This question was prompted by Jesus’ words that He would come to them again, but the world wouldn’t see Him.  If Jesus’ kingdom would be a real, visible, earthly kingdom over the entire world, Judas couldn’t understand how Christ could “manifest” or show Himself to His disciples but not to the world.  But why would Jesus reveal Himself only to the disciples and not to the world after His resurrection?  Jesus knew that revealing Himself to the unsaved after His resurrection wouldn’t necessarily persuade them to believe in Him (see Luke 16:31).  The risen Lord’s desire to manifest Himself to His disciples only would be to strengthen His relationship with them and the reason is clear: they would be the ones who would evangelize the lost.  Note:  Luke is the only Gospel that includes a disciple with the name Judas other than Judas Iscariot.  In Luke’s Gospel, this Judas is called “Judas the brother of James” (see Luke 6:16; Acts 1:13).  This Judas who asked the question was probably the man also called Thaddaeus (see Mark 3:18) or Lebbaeus (see Matthew 10:3).  We come to this conclusion by studying the four lists of the disciples in the Bible (see Matthew 10:2-4; Mark 3:16-19: Luke 6:14-16; Acts 1:13).  By the end of the first century around 90 A.D. when John wrote his gospel, the name “Judas” had become a notorious synonym for a betrayer.  Few, if any parents today are willing to name a child Judas.  The Apostle John protected the reputation of Jesus’ questioner from Judas the betrayer by inserting the words “not Iscariot.”  He didn’t want any misunderstanding.

 

     B. Jesus’ answer (John 14:23-24). 

           1. (vs. 23).  This verse says “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.”  Jesus’ response to Judas’ (Thaddaeus) question focused on the importance of a life of love and obedience.  Jesus was saying that those who truly love Him, will “keep my words” meaning they will obey His words.  The term “my words” refers to Jesus’ teachings, and is the same thing as His commandments in verse 21.  Those who love and obey Jesus will in turn be loved by the Father.  In addition to the obedient and loving servant having the love of the Father, Jesus said that He and His Father “will come unto him, and make our abode with him.”  The word “abode” is the singular for the same word translated “mansions” in John 14:2.  It speaks of a dwelling place or room.  Jesus had already declared that the Spirit will dwell in the believer in verse 16, and now He was promising that those who love and obey Him would become the present dwellings of Him and His Father as well.  Note:  Where there is no obedience to Christ, there is no love.  Obeying Christ---keeping His commandments and doing His will---is the only sure test of love for Him.  Love and obedience are so inseparable that to claim to love the Lord and not obey Him is a false claim.  All that we profess to believe, claim to know, and seek to achieve is meaningless and worthless without love for and obedience to Christ. 

           2. (vs. 24).  Jesus continued to say in this verse “He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.”  Unlike those who loved Jesus, those who don’t love Him won’t “keep” or obey His “sayings” meaning His words.  Love should always be the motivation for true obedience.  Works done out of fear, pride, or mere duty can never produce the closeness brought about by love.  But Jesus added something vitally important here.  He said that “the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.”  Disobedience is doubly serious because the words that Jesus spoke to His disciples were not His own.  His words came from the Father who had sent Him.  The truth here is that when we disobey Christ’s words we are also disobeying God’s words.  Jesus confirmed that He and the Father who sent Him into the world are always in perfect harmony and He spoke only what was in agreement with His Father’s will (see John 5:17-20; 8:28-29; 10:30; 12:49; 14:10; 17:1-4).  Jesus always took the role of the obedient Son.  Note:  There have always been cults that claim to be worshipping the true God while rejecting the claims and teachings of Jesus.  But this is impossible, for Jesus is God’s supreme revelation of Himself (see John 8:19).  Those who reject Jesus’ authority are rejecting His Father’s authority as well (see I John 2:22-23; II John 1:9).

 

     C. The Spirit’s continuing teaching (John 14:25-26).

           1. (vs. 25).  Now Jesus said in this verse “These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.”  Jesus knew that more revelation was forthcoming but He first mentioned “These things” which most likely referred to everything He had just taught them in the Upper Room.  However, the phrase “These things” no doubt also included all of His teachings given so far while “being yet present with” them in His physical body.  The disciples were not able to comprehend His words fully or even remember their full content.  To leave them in this condition when He departed would have been disastrous.  During His three years of public ministry, Jesus had taught His disciples only as much truth as they were able to receive at that stage of their spiritual growth.  Much more truth remained to be revealed (see John 16:12-13).

           2. (vs. 26).  In our final verse, Jesus continued to say “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”  Anticipating that more revelation would be needed and forthcoming, Jesus told His disciples that “the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things.”  Jesus promised that the Holy Ghost would give the disciples further understanding.  As Jesus had come in the Father’s name, likewise the Father would send the Spirit in Jesus’ name.  The phrase “in my name” means that the Holy Ghost would officially represent Jesus on earth and carry the same divine authority Jesus had.  Jesus told His disciples that the “Comforter” or Helper who is the “Holy Ghost” or God’s Spirit “shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”  This promise, by interpretation, was made specifically to the apostles, not to all believers.  They were the ones who heard Jesus speak and the ones who needed the Holy Spirit’s help in reminding them of what they may have forgotten.  This promise committed the Holy Spirit to teach the apostles the meaning of Jesus’ words and to remind them even of teachings they may have forgotten.  This was essential for the apostles.  As the continuing witnesses of Christ on earth, they would have to give the gospel message accurately.  Therefore it was necessary for the Spirit to “bring all things to (their) remembrance.”  Like us, the apostles were human and prone to forgetting or confusing things they had heard Jesus say.  They would need the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit to ensure that all of Christ’s words were passed on with accuracy.  The very words of Jesus would be brought back to their memories by the Holy Ghost.  Jesus was not promising unlimited knowledge to His disciples.  The promise is limited by the words “whatsoever I have said unto you.”  In other words, the Holy Spirit would remind them accurately of everything that Jesus had said during His earthly ministry.  Note:  This explains how the Apostle John could write his Gospel with such depth and detail.  The Holy Spirit was present to bring to his remembrance all that was important to record.  John was able to write such a detailed account some sixty years after it all happened.  How were writers such as Luke and Paul able to produce texts that don’t contradict even the smallest detail of what the rest of the New Testament says?  The answer to this question is found in the work of the Holy Spirit (see II Timothy 3:16-17; II Peter 1:20-21).       

                                   

V. Conclusion

  Jesus promised the disciples that the Holy Spirit would help them remember all that He had said.  The Spirit would unveil the truth and make its meaning clear and understandable.  How encouraging it is to know that the Spirit will teach us and help us understand God’s truth.  We don’t need to fear the troubled world around us, for the Comforter dwells within us and brings us peace.  The disciples experienced the joy of the Saviour’s personal presence.  We also experience the joy of His presence through the Holy Spirit.

 

 

PRACTICAL POINTS:

 1.  We prove our love for God by keeping His commandments (John 14:15; I John 2:3-5).

2.  The Comforter is a good name for the Holy Spirit, for He is a constant source of help and strength in the life of a believer (John 14:16-18).

3.  The only way to have a right relationship with God the Father is through His Son (John 14:19-20).

4.  Faith and obedience are rewarded by a greater knowledge of God (John 14:21-22).

5.  The claim to love God is empty and false if it’s not accompanied with obedience (John 14:23-25).

6.  The Bible becomes an interesting book when we have the Holy Spirit as our Teacher (John 14:26).     

 

 

Questions for Discussion and Thinking Further

 

1. What are some of the things you can do if you love Jesus?

Obey Jesus.

Believe what Jesus taught.

Try to follow His example.

Tell others about Jesus and why they should trust Him too.

Love the Father and His Word, the Bible.

Love the Holy Spirit and not grieve the Holy Spirit.

Meet and worship with other Christians.

Support your church and world missions.

Other ideas?

 

2. Who is the Advocate and what will He do?

The Holy Spirit – the Spirit of Truth.

He will be with Jesus’ followers forever.

He will be within Jesus’ followers and never leave them.

He will teach believers what they need to know.

He will help believers understand and apply the Word of God, the Bible.

He will remind believers of what Jesus taught and what Jesus meant then and today.

Other ideas?

 

3. Why does the world not receive the Advocate?

The world cannot receive the Advocate, the Spirit of Truth, because the world does not

see Him or know Him. The Advocate abides with Jesus’ disciples, because Jesus is filled

with the Spirit of Truth, but the world does not see or know the Spirit of Truth in Jesus.

The world does not want to obey the Scriptures or God, but the world rebels against

God, His rule, and His commands. 2

 

4. Why do some people neglect or refuse to keep Jesus’ words?

Because they do not love Jesus, they do not heed what Jesus said or obey Him.

 

5. What is the result of loving Jesus and keeping His word?

The Father and the Son will love us and make their home with us. The Holy Spirit will be

with us and in us forever.

 

 

 

Word Search

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Name _____________________

 

The Promise of a Comforter

 

F S E D I B A B Q U Q U J B K

Y D I A J Q U C F A T H E R O

M P N Q Z P L O T V K V G Z C

H Y F I J C T M R M P L B H L

R Q P H M E I M U S C H E Y A

U E L Z A E Z A T O P L P Z E

K O V C U S R N H G P I T A V

C R H E T V I D B E R F R R E

V P X Q R H G M R I N Y E I R

E H W O M O Z E V O U C S U T

V A Z P J N F N D R E O G A D

O N R E C S J T B I W M Y L V

L E S E P V Z S V D L R O W O

J D H K R H O E X I U M S C R

K S R S V E T A C O V D A G Z

Commandments

Love

Father

Advocate

Forever

Spirit

Truth

Abides

World

Receive

Orphaned

Reveal

Keep

Teach

Helper

Remind

 

 

 

True and False Test

Sunday, March 8, 2015

 

Name _____________________

 

The Promise of a Comforter

 

Circle the true or false answers. Correct the false statements by restating them.

 

1. Because Jesus died on the cross, obeying God is now optional for believers. True or

False

2. Obedience and service can be signs of true love. True or False

3. Jesus never gave commandments for people to obey. True or False

4. Jesus will ask the Father to send the Advocate to those who love Him. True or False

5. The Advocate will come and go depending on the attitude of a believer. True or False

6. Those who live for this world and not for God need to learn that the Spirit lives in

them. True or False

7. When Jesus ascended into heaven, He left His followers as abandoned orphans. True

or False

8. Jesus lives in those who love God the Father and Him. True or False

9. The Father and Jesus will love those who have and keep their commandments. True

or False

10. The Holy Spirit, the Advocate, will remind us of what Jesus said. True or False

 

Answers to the True and False Test

John 14:15-31

Sunday, March 8, 2015

 

1.   False

2.   True

3.   False

4.   True

5.   False

6.   False

7.   False

8.   True

9.   True

10. True

 

CLOSING PRAYER

Father, we thank You for Your promise that You will never leave us. Help us sense Your constant presence as You dwell in our hearts. May we show You our love every day through our obedience. In the name of Jesus, amen.