JOHN:The Book Of Heartfelt Belief
We Have A Comforter
Jerry A. Collins
We always appreciate it when somebody comes alongside of us to help us when we are in need of it. They become a source of comfort to us because of the support they are able to provide. When we moved last year thatís what you were to us. When we grieve or face a financial challenge or need to learn something new on our job we are so grateful for the one who appears on our behalf to help us through. Jesus has provided us with such a helper. Knowing He would be gone for a while, He left us with one who appears on our behalf as a helper until He returns. He has not left us helpless, to fend for ourselves and he tells us so in vs 18. In the meantime, we have a responsibility while Jesus is gone as well.
1. WE LOVE JESUS BY OBEYING HIS COMMANDMENTS 15 21 23
Jesus is asking us to do something that drove him while serving the disciples. While he was absent from the Father He proved His love for the Father by obeying His commandments to him 14:31. Even though the crowds, opponents and even his disciples wanted Jesus to obey them, He never wavered in His love for the Father as He obeyed everything the Father commanded Him. That will also include all of the experiences he is about to have as He obeys His Fatherís will for His death on the cross. We must follow Jesus example while we are absent from Him. So 3 times Jesus hammers this home to us. Lets observe a few things here:
(1) Jesus wants us to obey Him.This means that we cultivate teachable and humble thinking and attitudes. It means I get myself out of the way including my ambitions, my rights, myself, me needs, and submit myself to His. I think it is significant that Jesus did not tell us to experience Him. He does not want a superficial emotional, good-feeling relationship with us. That kind of relationship is fickle and it will not hold up under the rigors and demands of a walk of faith. Instead, He requires us to conform our will toward His. To decide to present our bodies to him as a living and holy sacrifice. Experiencing good feelings about Jesus will not motivate and sustain you to obey Him but choosing to do so will. (2) Specifically, we are to obey Christís commandments. That includes everything He has already taught the disciples and the rest of the New Testament that develops from the disciples. John tells us that His commandments are new 1 Jn 2:7 in the sense of replacing the Old commandments given to Israel thru Moses. The Law was good, Jesus fulfilled it. The commandments of Christ are better at connecting us to the heart of God. The Law established order for Israel and Christís commandments expand on that Law establishing maturity. Jesus commandments get us closer to the heart of God and give us a better opportunity to mature us than rule-keeping would. For instance, we know better what the mind of God is concerning adultery, murder, and loving our enemies and mates. Jesus expands these beyond just mere acts and obeying these commands of His will produce more maturity in our lives and conform us in greater measure into Christís character. We must never replace Christís commandments with mans rules. If we seriously pursue obeying Christ we will have enough to handle for a lifetime. I do not need your rules too. Besides, I am not asked to obey your rules nor will they get me any closer to the heart of God. (3) Jesus says obeying Him is how we love Him. Our definition of love comes from Christ, namely, that He laid down His life for us in sense that He did the best good for us which resulted in non-reciprocal giving. There is cost involved on my part to accomplish the best good from Godís point of view. So I choose to pray without ceasing, to be holy as He is holy, to love my wife as Christ loves the church, to not finish the day in bed until I deal with my anger, to not forsake gathering together with believers, to speak evil of noone, because keeping His commandments is how I love God. The vertical always governs the horizontal. My love for God, pleasing Him dictates actions.
2. THE HOLY SPIRIT HELPS US OBEY CHRISTíS COMMANDS
Jesus promises to ask His Father for a helper and by Acts 2:33 Peter recognized thatís just what Jesus had done when He went back to heaven. We observe from this:
(1) He is not a helper of a different kind but a helper like Jesus, another helper. Like Jesus acts of helping, serving, aiding, equipping while on earth so too the HS. He will come when Jesus leaves. (2) The difference is that He will remain forever. When he comes He does not leave. He will not come and go. he will stay. (3) He is the Spirit of truth. The content of this truth is Christís teachings and we can discern these teachings as truth via the HS. Now the world cannot do that He says vs 17. Since unbelievers cannot know the truth they cannot keep Christís commandments. They sin in ignorance not ignorance of existence of sin and a righteous standard but ignorance of any particular sin against Christís commandments. They make no difference to him without the HS. (4) He indwells us. The disciples had seen demonstrations of the HSís power in Christís miracles as well as theirs and in that sense He has been abiding with them vs 17. But when Jesus asks the Father for Him to come He will come into them. So we do not have to grope in the dark about the truth any longer. This is true for every believer. (5) He will teach us the truth vs 26. The content of that teaching is all that Christ has said as seen in the gospels and later in the rest of the NT. The HS will not give us extra-curricular revelation but that which is Christís teachings from the apostles themselves, namely, the Bible.
3. CHRISTIANITY IS ALL ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS
Here the Son asks the Father, the Father gives us the HS vs. 16. The HS indwells us vs 17. Jesus fellowships with the Father, we fellowship with Christ and Christ fellowships with us vs 20. Obeying Christ means we love Christ meaning we are loved by the Father meaning Christ loves us vs 21. Both the Father and the Son make their home in us vs 23. The point emphasizes the relational nature of Christianity. There are good relations in Gods household based on our obedience to the Sonís teachings. Christianity is also defined by relationships now!
For the disciples to understand all this:
(1) Jesus death had to occur.
(2) He had to rise again to vindicate claim and demonstrate victory.
(3) The Spirit had to come in Jesus place.