The Mission of the Comforter

John 14 - 16

J. N. Darby.

The British Herald, 1875, pp. 78, 79.

Scripture Readings at Malvern 1873
Notes by one present

There are two ways in which the Holy Ghost is spoken of in John 14 and in the two last verses of John 15. In ch. 14 it is the Father who sends the Holy Ghost in Christ's name; in ch. 15 it is Christ who sends Him. In ch. 14, He is putting us in relationship with the Father; in ch. 15 and in the beginning of ch. 16, you have the revelation of the glory of the Son of Man; towards the world in ch. 16; and towards the saints in ch. 15; looking up in 14, and looking down in 15 and 16.

In the beginning of ch. 14 He is comforting them about His going away, and the first thing He mentions is, that He is coming back again to receive them to Himself; and He shows them that in virtue of what He was down here on this earth before the Holy Ghost came, they knew where He was going, and they knew the way.

In this second part the Holy Ghost would become the Comforter, and they would know what they could not know when Christ was upon the earth —

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

When the Comforter was come was the point. Christ could not abide with them. He had to do the work of atonement and go away; but this other Comforter would abide with them — "Even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive," etc.

That is never said of Christ, for He was presented in the world to be received, and they would not have Him; but there He was. (One sees the fruit of it in the disciples.)

Sees Him not, neither knows Him, but ye know Him, and the reason is that He abides with you, and is in you. That is in contrast with Christ, for He could not abide, and though He was with them He was not in them. He will be in you which I cannot be while I am down here.

Ver. 18 — "I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you." That's in spirit. It's put together in Rom. 8. By the Holy Ghost we see Him by faith — "Because I live ye shall live also." Christ being our life, because He lives we live, and before we can die spiritually He must die.

"If any man have not the Spirit of Christ he is none of His," (Rom. 8:9) he is not in his place as a Christian. Egypt was not Israel's place, but God had come down and taken them up, the blood being on the doorpost; but they were not with God till He brought them out of Egypt.

The leper was washed before He was anointed. You must fit the knowledge you are bringing in to what is there already. Salvation is a positive actual deliverance out of the state I was in before.

The Holy Ghost gives me the consciousness of my relationship with the Father, and is the earnest of the inheritance which I have not got at all; I am going to get the inheritance.

The Christian is a person who has got the Holy Ghost between Christ's first coming and His second. The work is perfect, for it has saved me, and put me in acceptance with God; but I have not an atom of the effect of it. I look back and see all the value of the cross, and for the present I am in Christ, and what have you got? God can't be in me, and not give me a number of other wonderful things besides. Of course it must produce a wonderful effect.

Till Christ as man went into heaven the Holy Ghost never came down on earth. Till He went and presented His blood, and took man's place, the Holy Ghost could not come down as a witness of it. The Church is founded upon the denial of Judaism.

I don't know I am "in Christ" till I am sealed with the Holy Ghost: I may know I am forgiven. When I talk of my guilt, I talk of what I have done; but when I talk of being lost, I talk of what Adam has done. I know I am in Christ by the Holy Ghost which He has given me. What I get in Christ is this, that there is none righteous, no not one — not a righteous person in the place. Are we all that God would have us according to His thoughts of Christ?

Where am Ito find righteousness now? I will tell you; there is a Man sitting at the right hand of God; He deserved it, and God has set Him up there. The world will never see Christ again except in judgment. It is God's righteousness instead of myself. I get the Lord Jesus Christ giving me the transcript of what the law is — "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart," etc. Christ has come, and He has glorified God, and has shown what God is at all cost; it cost Him His life, and drinking that dreadful cup, He has shown what God is, and perfectly glorified Him, and that in the place of sin.

When He was made sin, that was the very time when obedience was perfect, and love was perfect, and all that God was in His righteousness and hatred against sin and love for the sinner. — "Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him."

He sets Christ as Man at the right hand of God. Now you go and imitate God. What is your example? Christ. You must give yourself up entirely, because Christ did. If they were always grieving the Spirit, the Spirit must occupy them with your own state, and very well He does, too!

If I say I am in Christ, I say Christ is in me, and my business is to show out Christ, and nothing else. It is having Christ always before us, and really walking in the presence of God. The great secret is to be more with God than anybody, and if not, we shall go astray. The moment I get away from the conscious presence of God, self has a certain place; whereas, if I am really in the presence of God, I am nothing. I am more what I am before Him, than what I am in His power for others. You are not competent to discern the will of God if you are not with Him: "the secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him." If power rests upon me, that does not put me in the presence of God as to my conscience or heart. It may be for others, but we have to be before God Himself, or else we shall never keep straight; and for that we must be in the path of God for Him to lead us. I cannot realize God's presence out of the path of His will. The instant we lose the sense of dependence we are in danger. Obedience and dependence, those are the two living principles of the new man. "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."

I do get another principle to help us through, and that is, confidence in God. I cannot depend if I have not confidence. We do need confidence, or we have not courage to go through sacrifices, if I have not confidence in God's faithfulness. It is everything; whatever I do, I ought to do it as serving Christ — "Whatsoever ye do, in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus." I believe the presence of the Holy Ghost is important in the whole path.

In this part of John you don't get sovereign grace dealing with the sinner. What you get is the Father dealing with the children. "If a man love me, he will keep my words, and my Father will love him," etc. If a man love Christ, he will keep His commandments, and then there is all this manifestation of Christ to him — "We will come unto him, and make our abode with him." All this is connected with Christian responsibility. I could not abide in Christ if I was not there (i.e., "in Christ"). The Lord keep us in His presence, and give us the consciousness of it, and possession through the Holy Ghost!