The Ministry of the Holy Spirit

Gospel of John #44: An exposition of John 16:12-16. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, November 6, 2011.

It was an eventful evening.  Our Lord and his disciples gathered in the upper room to share the Passover meal.  It was during that meal he stunned them with the announcement that there was a betrayer in their midst.  How was that possible?  How could they not have known?  Who was it?  While they were still reeling from the revelation he hit them again.  “Peter, before tomorrow morning you will deny that you even know me.”  These revelations along with news of his arrest and brutal death was more than they could handle.  In love and kindness our Lord sought to equip and encourage his shell-shocked followers.  He told them he would send a Helper to remind them of all that he had told them and to guide them.  He reminded them that their life was in him.  He was the vine, they were the branches and as they abide in him they would bear much fruit but apart them him they could do nothing.  He told them, in advance, that the world would hate them just as it hated him.  In the face of that hostility they were to proclaim the Gospel and stand their ground.  Information was coming fast and furious.  Trying to take it all in was a bit like drinking from a fire hose!  It must have seemed like a dream.  It couldn’t be happening.  Not like this.  Not now.  So much of what he said that night seemed impossible to believe.  What he said next was outrageous!  Our text is found in chapter 16 of John beginning with verse 5.

Text: John 16:5-15

It seems blasphemous to even think it.
I can’t even imagine what their response would have been that night.
“I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away…”

How can that be?
He is the Christ.
He is the Lord’s anointed.
What about the kingdom?
How is it advantageous to the kingdom for the king to go away?

Think about what Jesus said.  Let it settle in.  Have you ever thought, “Oh, I wish I could have been there and walked with Jesus?”  Have you ever wished you could have been there when he opened the eyes of the blind, made the lame to walk?  Would you have liked to taste the fish and loaves as part of that vast multitude fed by the boy’s lunch?  Yet Jesus said you are in a better position.  It is to your advantage he’s no longer here.  Does that make sense to you?  How can that be?

As we look carefully at what our Lord said in this text we discover that…
Thesis: We are blessed beyond measure by our Lord’s departure from this earth.

That just sounds so wrong.
How is that possible?
The answer is found in the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
We Baptist get a little antsy when it comes to talking about the 3rd person of the Trinity.

“Be careful preacher, we don’t want to do what they have done.  We don’t want to become fanatics!”  I don’t know too many Baptist who are on the verge of getting fanatical about the Holy Spirit.  Truth be told I’d rather calm down and fanatic than try and resurrect a corpse!  The fact is we have nothing to fear from the Holy Spirit.  You cannot be saved apart from the work of the Holy Spirit.  Unless the Spirit illumines your understanding and quickens your heart you will never believe the Gospel.  Apart from the Spirit’s power and enabling you cannot grow in your faith or serve Christ and his kingdom.  Every child of God is a charismatic (little c) grace-gifted, spirit empowered believer.

In our text our Lord gives two reasons for why his departure is to our advantage.

  1. Because when he departs, the Lord Jesus will send the Holy Spirit in full convicting power.  (16:7-11)
  2. We are blessed because of the Spirit’s confirming work in the life of every believer.  (16:12-15)
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