John 14, 15, 16.
Apart altogether from the intrinsic preciousness of the words of the Lord, which I have read to you this evening, they possess, without doubt, to every heart that loves Him, peculiar sweetness, from the circumstances in which they were uttered. It was the last day He had with His own here below. The false man, Judas, had gone out, and the Lord was left in the upper room, with the eleven men that really loved Him. That He loved them I need not say, but that they might know, more deeply than ever before, His love, He addresses them in the unspeakably touching way that we find in these three chapters. We all know the peculiar value that is attached to the last words of any one we have loved, after that one has passed away. It is little wonder, therefore, that the fourteenth of John has been a peculiarly precious part of the Word of God to His children. There are communications in it, however, which, I am bold to say, demand more careful consideration, and attention, than the Lord's people have as yet given them.
What the Lord brings out here will never be adequately understood, unless we bear in mind the fact that He was just going away; and not only was He going to the Father, but He was going back to heaven on new and righteous ground, that gave Him a just title to take others with Him to the place to which He was going. This comes out in what is found in chapters 12 and 13. In the twelfth chapter the Greeks came up, desirous of seeing Jesus (John 12:21). Philip and Andrew come and tell Jesus. He at once says, "The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say to you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides alone: but if it die, it brings forth much fruit." He brings out the stupendous truth that He must die, or be for ever alone — Himself the solitary, unique corn of wheat, the only sinless man whom the eye of God ever beheld. He must die, or abide alone for ever, as man before God. But He is prepared to die, to ensure having others with Him, and having died, and accomplished redemption, on that very basis it is, that He unites others with Himself in resurrection, and thus "brings forth much fruit." The blessed truths that the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth chapters of John unfold to us are based on the Lord's death, as foretold in John 12, and on His living ministry, as departed to the Father, given us in John 13.
Before Judas had gone out, the Lord had washed the disciples' feet. Peter did not understand, nor the rest of the disciples, what He meant by this act. What did He mean? Surely this. He would not only die to make them clean, but He would take His place in heaven as the One who would keep them clean. Do not forget this. The Lord died to make us clean, and lives to keep us clean. Precious Saviour! That is what is brought out in the thirteenth chapter. In the end of that chapter the Lord says, "Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him." This, I judge, is the Lord's moral, personal glory. He will yet appear in glory, and have all things subject to Him, but that is not the glory spoken of here. It is the cross which is really the glory of the Son of Man. Thence shines a moral glory that eclipses all other glory. in the cross He has established, and brought to light, all that God is — all that is found in His nature. By the words, "Now is the Son of man glorified," I do not doubt he anticipates the cross, with all its wonderful effects for God, and for man. Because, you see, in the cross He glorified God, infinitely, and absolutely, about sin. He went down to death, that in dying He might glorify all that God is, in His love, His holiness, and His majesty.
"God is light," and therefore hates, and must judge sin. He is righteous, holy, just, and abhorrent of evil. But it is equally true that "God is love." He is gracious, merciful, kind, and compassionate. Only in the cross are these apparently opposite characters reconciled. It is absolutely impossible to reconcile them elsewhere. But there we see His righteous judgment against sin exercised, while His infinite love to the sinner is manifested. Sin had brought in death, and only by death could sin be put away. Jesus was the only man on whom death had no claim, and He underwent death, that He might thus glorify God infinitely, and absolutely, in so dying. Obedience and love towards the Father, tested in circumstances that could not be equalled, were manifested in Him. No element of pressure whether from man, Satan, or God Himself, was wanting in the test. He was found perfect in obedience, as well as in love. Obedience led Him to be made sin, with all its terrible consequences — the forsaking of God, as His just judgment of sin. In that moment His love for His Father, and for us, was at its full height. What is God's answer to all this suffering, and devotion, on the part of the lowly Son of Man? Straightway He raises Him from the dead. Every other man was left in death, to lie there, and to see corruption, but this Man, who has glorified God to death, and in death, God raises from the dead — in token of His delight in Him. As we read in the sixth of Romans, He "was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father." The glory of the Father saluted Him in death, took Him out of death, and straightway glorified Him, at His own right hand. Yes, the Son of Man has been glorified, and God is glorified in Him. "If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself." This is as Man, clearly! God shall glorify Him, as man, in Himself, and not wait for future glory to display His worth, and His judgment thereof. God will take Him up, as man, and put him into the glory of God, "and shall straightway glorify him." He will lose no time in doing it.
Here, then, is the basis, the foundation, the groundwork, of all that comes out in the three chapters — of which I would now speak, specially as regards the coming, and personal presence, of the Holy Ghost, as sent down from the ascended Saviour in glory. You see God has glorified the Son of Man, by taking Him out of death, and therefore Satan is utterly defeated, and redemption accomplished; and although you do not get all the fruits of the cross stated here, nevertheless the deliverance, and blessing of the believer is supposed to be known, and is anticipatively brought out by the Lord in the fourteenth chapter. The basis is laid, and now, viewed as raised from the dead, and having passed into glory, He proposes to His disciples this incomparable blessing — the coming of the other Comforter, the Holy Ghost, as a divine Person to dwell on earth. The personal presence of the Spirit of God on earth, to abide, and dwell in those who are Christ's, I am bold to say, is a truth of transcendent importance for every Christian. Hence I press it upon you.
The great thought, in each of these three chapters, is the personal presence, on earth, of the Paraclete — the Comforter. Here it is that for the first time the Holy Ghost is called "The Spirit of truth," proceeding from the Father, and coming to earth, to abide in the believer. He is given by the ascended Man in glory to His people here on earth. No doubt the Spirit of God wrought in Old Testament times; no doubt we read of the Spirit of God coming upon certain believers; and, as we have already seen, upon certain unbelievers in Old Testament days — for there could not be a greater sinner than Balaam, yet the Holy Ghost came upon him. The Holy Ghost had come upon man, but He was liable to, yea, often did, leave him. Even David, fearing such a sad issue, as the fruit of sin, said, "Take not thy Holy Spirit from me." No Christian could now, in the day of the Holy Ghost, intelligently or rightly pray that prayer, for reasons I shall show you, as I pass along. What the Lord here affirms is that, when come, the Comforter should abide.
As we have already observed, John's gospel opens with the fact that in Jesus, at the moment of His baptism, the delight of God was manifested by the voice which said, "Thou art my beloved Son; in thee have I found my delight" (Luke 3:22, N. Trans.). At that moment the Holy Ghost fell upon Him, and abode upon Him. After the scene at the baptism it says, "And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said to me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizes with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God" (John 1:32-34). Now you will find that what characterises Christianity is that which marked, and marks, Christ as Man. In Him God delights. At His baptism the Spirit of God descended upon Him as Man — Man as God would have Him be, sinless, obedient, perfect. His reception of the Holy Ghost then was the expression, and manifestation of the delight of God in Him personally. Thirty years of lowly grace, self-abnegation, and subjection to the will of God, in scenes veiled to mortal eyes, are followed by this public testimony to His moral worth, and glorious perfection as a Man.
All this was a testimony merely to what He was in Himself, and it was for Himself, and Himself alone. Now we reach a point in John's gospel where the consequences of His yet deeper and fuller obedience to God's will are brought out. He was about to go to the cross, and accomplish that atoning work, which was the result of His utter devotion to the glory of God. As a direct result of this work, and His consequent exaltation, He unfolds to the disciples this marvellous truth, that the Spirit of God — the third Person in the Trinity - would come into this scene, in an altogether new way, and new character, and for a new object. When come He would abide, and, therefore, the present moment is really the day of the Holy Ghost. The present moment, among all the dispensations, is really the day of the Spirit of God. The millennial day is the "day of Christ." I do not doubt for one moment — no serious man could — that the Holy Ghost will be here in that day in a special manner, but, never again, will the blessing, that is connected with the presence of the Spirit of God, rise to the level, or lead the soul up to the wonderful heights that mark this our day, when, redemption accomplished, and the Saviour, the Son of Man, passed into glory, the Holy Ghost has come down to indwell the believer, and unite him to, and give him the sense of being one with, that rejected Saviour, who now is at God's right hand.
It is well that you should read the scriptures which refer to the millennial day of the Lord. There will be no rent veil then. There will be then again a veil unrent, and the worshippers will be outside. The privilege of going inside the veil to worship, in the full and rich enjoyment of the Father, and the Son, absolutely revealed — the veil in fact done away — is the peculiar blessing connected with Christianity now, and can only be enjoyed by the presence of the indwelling Spirit. This new action of the Holy Ghost we will now therefore contemplate.
The Lord, in the fourteenth of John, tells His disciples that He is going away. The way in which He breaks the news is like Himself He produces a void to more than fill it again. "In my Father's house are many mansions, if it were not so, I would have told you, I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to myself; that where I am there ye may be also." And is that place prepared, or is it being got ready? Clearly, the former, I judge. You might say, How? It was prepared, I apprehend, when, as the victorious Son of Man, the Lord stepped up into the Father's house, entering the glory as the head of a new race, a new creation, a new order of things. When, as man, He passed into God's glory righteously, and on the ground of that redemption by which God was glorified, the place was prepared for us, and we prepared for it. The very fact of His thus entering into it, and His being there, is the title of the believer in Him to be where He is. His going there on the ground of redemption gives us title, and fits us, as brought into His new place, to be there. In John 13 He prepares us for the enjoyment of the place, and in John 14 prepares the place for us; His entrance leaves nothing to be done for us to enter, save His coming back to gather in the co-heirs with Himself
The Lord then speaks of the way to the Father — Himself — and of the manner in which we treat that which flows from His lips. "If ye love me, keep my commandments." The way in which the coming of the Comforter is connected with this is noticeable, and I believe there is a great moral lesson here, viz., that unless there is love for the Lord, and His behests, we shall not get the enjoyment of that, which He speaks of in this chapter. Be that as it may, observe the order, "If ye love me, keep my commandments, and I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever." The Lord had been their Comforter while here, and now He was going away. In John's first epistle we read, "If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" (1 John 2:1). Now the word there rendered "advocate" is the same word that is translated "Comforter," twice in the fourteenth of John, once in the fifteenth, and once in the sixteenth. Only five times in Scripture do we find the word; on four occasions applied to the Holy Ghost, viewed as come to earth, and once to the Lord Himself, when in glory. We have therefore, you see, in that sense, two Comforters, and yet the word Comforter can never fully express what the Greek word parakletos means. There is indeed the sense of an Advocate, as given in John's epistle, "If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." The Lord Jesus occupies this character, as well as that of a Priest. As a Priest He maintains His people before God. As an Advocate He pleads with the Father, for the erring child that has turned aside. As a priest He maintains the believer, if in weakness here, in consistency with the place, that the value of His blood has set him in, before God. His advocacy, however, is with the Father, on behalf of, and of course only realised by, those who are God's children, and has to do with the restoration of communion, when it has been interrupted by any allowance of the flesh.
Here, however, the Spirit of God is called the "Comforter." The fact is that the word thus rendered here as "Comforter," and in John's epistle as "Advocate," means both, and a great deal more than these both taken together. It is more than a comforter, and more than an advocate. It doubtless carries both thoughts, but is wider, and fuller than either, presenting the idea of One who acts for us in whatever we have need of Him. I have no doubt the thought conveyed is, that the Holy Ghost, when come, would occupy Himself with the interests, the comfort, the happiness, the blessing, the prosperity, the needs, the difficulties, the trials, and the temptations of every child of God.
He is the Comforter, however, only of believers. We must distinctly understand, that in this character He has nothing to do with the worldling, though He may have somewhat to say to the world, as a matter of testimony. He will surely testify against the world, while He will sweetly comfort and sustain the feeblest believer in Jesus. "I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter," and observe, "that he may abide with you for ever." The great thought in this chapter is the abiding presence of this blessed "Spirit of truth," as He is also, for the first time, styled. It is to be observed, that in all three chapters the Lord calls Him "the Spirit of truth" (John 14:17, John 15:26, John 16:13). In John's first epistle he says, "the Spirit is truth" (ver. 6). Here the Lord designates Him as "the Spirit of truth," and we may be sure that there is a meaning in, and a reason for, any change in the words of Scripture. The Lord, in the fourteenth chapter, says, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no man comes to the Father but by me." Yes, Christ is the Truth; and the Holy Ghost is the Spirit of Truth.
In John's epistle, as I have already said, the Spirit is said to be "truth," and the reason is simple. Christ is the truth objectively. We have all truth in Christ, for God is perfectly revealed in Him, and having the truth as to God, we have the truth about ourselves, and everything manifested in relation to Him. But the Holy Ghost is also called "truth," as it is He, and He only, who can make the truth good, experimentally, and who is the power of it in the heart of the saint. Nevertheless I quite admit, that if walking carelessly, or grieving Him, we may have the Spirit of God, without getting the experimental sense, of what is normally coupled with His indwelling presence.
It is very important to see that the Lord Jesus is the truth. He is the truth about everything. You could not rightly say, God is the truth. Christ is that; for Christ is the revelation — the absolutely perfect revelation — of all that God is. He is the truth about everything. He is the truth about God, about His love, His righteousness, His holiness, His sense of sin, His judgment of sin, and, more than that, He is the truth about man. In His life He was what a man ought to be, absolutely for God, in blessed perfection; and in His death He was the truth, as to the final consequences of our utter ruin, as sinners, under the judgment of God. He has taken our place on the cross, in grace, and, blessed be God, ended it for ever. Yes! Christ is the truth about everything, and the man that has Christ has the truth, and he that has not Christ has not the truth — no matter what he may have.
But here, you see, the Holy Ghost is called, "the Spirit of truth whom the world cannot receive." Why? "Because it sees him not, neither knows him; but ye know him; for he dwells with you, and shall be in you." The Spirit of truth! Could I expect a world of falsehood to receive Him? Nay. And why cannot it receive Him? The Lord tells us, "It sees him not, neither knows him." He is outside the world. You have come into an out-of-the-world atmosphere, when you come to the fourteenth of John. Perhaps some one may say, I know very little about that atmosphere. The reason is not far to seek. You are too much in, and of, the world, to know much about this atmosphere. That is a very hard saying, you think. Well, I pray you weigh it, as I repeat, that we are in a very out-of-the-world atmosphere, in the fourteenth of John. You are in the atmosphere where the Son reveals the Father, and the Father bears witness to the Son. The world has refused and rejected Him, who was incarnate, and cannot receive the Spirit, because it sees Him not, neither knows Him. The Holy Ghost was never incarnate. What the world sees it is prepared to believe. What it does not see it declines to believe, hence "the world cannot receive him, because it sees him not, neither knows him." He was not presented to the world, as an object, to be received by it. What does the world know about the abiding presence of the Holy Ghost? Nothing. It is the truth carrying with it the sweetest, richest, and most blessed consequences to the believer. But the world receives Him not; for though the Holy Ghost has a certain relation to the world — as we shall see presently in the sixteenth chapter, — yet it is unaware of His existence, or presence in its midst, as it sees Him not.
But, says Jesus, "Ye know him, for he dwells with you, and shall be in you." Of course this was not true at the moment the Lord spoke to His disciples. He is anticipating the cross, with its effects, and what would be, in the day of the Holy Ghost. "He dwells with you, and shall be in you." The tenses are really the same in each part of the statement, both alike referring to the consequences of His death, and going to the Father (John 13:1), but, nevertheless, we have two totally distinct truths presented. "He dwells with you," collectively — and should not leave them, as Jesus did. If you have somebody dwelling with you, we naturally expect to find him in your house. You of course say, But that will be a real person. That is the whole point here. It is as a Divine Person He is to come, and abide. But, you say, I never thought of the Spirit of God as a Person, is He not an influence merely? You would think so if you heard the prayers of Christendom week by week. If you judged by them, you would think He was only an influence, to be constantly, and repeatedly poured out. Mark the Lord's words, "He dwells with you," i.e., in the company, God's family, collectively. "And shall be in you." This, as clearly, is the individual! What can be more blessed than to think of the family of God, thus provided for in the absence of the Lord, the Holy Spirit, that other Comforter, dwelling with them, in their very midst; or of the individual, as born of the Spirit, redeemed by the Saviour's blood, and brought to God, cleansed, and forgiven, and then having the Spirit dwelling in him? Jesus, who had been with them, was going away, but the other Comforter should come, and be with them, and in them "for ever."
I can understand now, the apostle Paul, when he says, "What! know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which is in you?" (1 Cor. 6:19). This is individual, whereas, you observe, that Paul speaks of the corporate aspect of His presence in a previous verse (1 Cor. 3:16). Have you learned, beloved fellow-Christian, that "your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?" Paul thus addresses the fleshly-minded Corinthian, and no more important, or practical truth could a Christian receive than this. For instance, he may say, I will go to such and such a place. Well, you will have to take the Holy Ghost with you. What! I shall have to take the Holy Ghost with me? Yes, you cannot leave Him outside. Why? Because the Lord here says, He shall "abide with you for ever."
This is the great outstanding truth of Christianity, in connection with the Spirit of God, that He abides, when He comes. Yes, let us thank God that, in spite of all the failure individually, and in the Church of God, since the day of Pentecost until now, the Holy Ghost is still here. That is just what we find in the closing verses of Scripture. "The Spirit and the Bride, say, Come" (Rev. 22:17). Yes, infidel as the Church has been, faithless as Christians have been, thank God! the Holy Ghost has been faithful. "He dwells with you, and shall be in you." I know no truth more sanctifying to the Christian than that his body is the temple of the Holy Ghost. Not even the truth of the Lord's coming is more powerful in this way, albeit we read, "Every man that has this hope in him, purifies himself, even as he (Christ) is pure" (1 John 3:3). You will notice that the Lord is coming — not yet come — whereas we know that the Holy Ghost has come, and that He dwells in the body of every believer.
This, then, is the incomparable blessing that the Lord proposes to His loved ones here, and thus one is prepared to understand what He means, by adding, "I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you." How are they comforted? By the possession of the Comforter, whose blessed work it is to occupy the heart with, and give us to realise the presence of Jesus with us here below. The Comforter gives us the realisation of what it is to be in Christ, and to have Christ in us, and leads us on, in ever-deepening knowledge of God our Father. But how does the Lord come to us now? He is in glory at God's right hand. How then does He come to us? Do you ask that question? I am afraid you cannot have touched this out-of-the-world atmosphere, and learned how to breathe it, if you so query. He says, and surely means it, when He says, "I will come to you." Clearly this is by the Holy Ghost, and for a deeper realisation of His presence than even the disciples knew, before He went away, and sent the Spirit. And what is the work of that Spirit? To show the things of Christ to us, and to bring us into the enjoyed presence of the Lord Jesus. It is a spiritual atmosphere, I quite admit, hence if your soul and mine get exercised about how little we have lived in it, the more deeply so the better.
"I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you." Touching words! He was going away, but adds, Yet a little while, and the world sees me no more but ye see me." The truth of this we find reiterated, as Paul says, We see Jesus . . . crowned with glory and honour (Heb. 2:9). Do you see Him? The world sees Him no more, but we see Him, by the power, and the direct effect of the Holy Ghost's indwelling. Sad would it be to miss in any way the realisation of it.
But what blessed words do we now hear, dear trembling fellow-believers in the Gospel, "Because I live, ye shall live also." He is our life. Because He lives, we live also. Have you any doubts? You say, I often have doubts. Have you? Where do they come from? Has He any? I am speaking of Christ. Listen, "Because I live, ye shall live also." My life is bound up in His. I have said before, and say it again, It will be time for me to have doubts and fears, when I find that Christ has them. You say, That is a very strong statement. I admit it. But is it not true? I was a sinner, under sentence of death, and He went to the cross, and bore my sins, died my death, and took the judgment due to me upon Himself, and all the waves and billows of God's righteous wrath, which should have rolled over me, swept over Him. He was on the cross for my sins, and my sin. He underwent death, was buried and was raised for me, and now I know the truth of the apostle Paul's words, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me" (Gal. 2:20). Ah! beloved friend, when you reach that ground, you will become a bright, happy Christian. You say, I have not touched it. Why have you not? Does not your Lord here teach you to touch it, "Because I live," He says, who is our life, "ye shall live also," — a dependent life then, moment by moment hanging upon Him, but a life that can never fail as long as He lives.
The Lord then adds: "At that day" — the day of the Holy Ghost" ye shall know that I am in the Father, and ye in me, and I in you." We are in that day now. The disciples should have seen the Father in Him during His sojourn here on earth, however little intelligence they had, as He said to them, "Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that has seen me has seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak to you I speak not of myself; but the Father that dwells in me, he does the works." But in the day when the Holy Ghost should have come, they should know Jesus, as being in the Father. This was in the divine glory of His Person, and this His own were to know, and, furthermore, that they were in Him, and He in them.
What a blessed statement of the believer's position! And that both in its privileges, and its responsibility; for if I am in Christ, in divine righteousness before God, He is in me, in life, in this world. And let men say what they will, it is His will that I should know this. "At that day ye shall know" — not hope or doubt, but have the simple confidence of faith, by the power of the Holy Ghost's indwelling. But if Christ be in me, as life, He ought to be seen in me, before men. "Ye in me." That is the truth of Ephesians. God has raised us up together, and set us in heavenly places, in Christ. When I come to the Epistle to the Philippians I find Paul saying, "For me to live is Christ." That is Christ in us. God wants to see Christ in you before man, and that is what the Lord, in germ, unfolds here. "In that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you."
I press this; because it will not do for the believer to simply say, I rest upon Scripture, and upon the Word of God. He must not be satisfied without experimentally having the comfort of the Holy Ghost — the witness of the Spirit of God. Paul says in Romans, "As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God" (Rom. 8:14). Nay more, "The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God" (ver. 16). Am I then to be content merely with the fact that I am forgiven, and saved, as the consequence of Christ's death, and resurrection? Am I to rest in that? What would you think of the man who only knew that he was married because his wife's name was in the registrar's book? Little good, or comfort, would the relationship be to him, if he only knew that she was his wife, because her name so appeared. And is not the Holy Spirit to be, to the new man, the evidence and witness of our new place, and of the actual relationship in which we stand to God our Father? Of course. The Holy Ghost feeds the new man, comforts him, ministers to him, and unfolds the beauties and glories of Christ to him. These things are to be known, and if you do not know them, you have need to know them. "In that day shall ye know," says Jesus — and not merely as a matter of the acceptance of the doctrine of Scripture — "that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you."
But the Lord continues to instruct, and there is great moral beauty in His next words, "He that has my commandments, and keeps them, he it is that loves me: and he that loves me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. . . . If a man love me, he will keep my words; and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and make our abode with him" (vers. 21-23). We now see how Christ should be expressed, in the believer, as his life. Love and obedience are the blessed principles of that life. The one that loves Him keeps His words. There is a difference between keeping His commandments, and keeping His words. A command is a distinct injunction. Of course, you would not like to disobey His commands, but do you keep His words? What does that mean? Let me illustrate.
A loving mother goes out from her house one morning, but before doing so she calls her daughter, and says, "My child, you do so and so," naming several things, "while I am out, and when I come back I shall have to do so and so," naming another half-dozen things. When she comes back she finds that her child has been obedient, and has done the things commanded her, but when she turns to do the things she meant to do herself, she finds all done. She says to her daughter, "I did not tell you to do these things." "No," replies the child, "but I thought you would be pleased if I did them." She has kept her mother's words. You see the meaning of the action — affection prompted it — and our affection is what the Lord prizes above all. Note what the Lord says here — "If a man love me he will keep my words; and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and make our abode with him." Suppose you keep His commandments, what follows? — "I will love him, and will manifest myself to him." Keep my commandments, says the Lord, and I will pay you a visit; keep My word, and My Father and I will make our abode with you. We will not be content with merely paying you a visit, but We will come permanently to abide with you, that you may enjoy Our company. There are unfathomable depths of blessedness in the communion of the Holy Ghost, which the Lord lays before us in this scripture, and may we each seek more and more to know them, for it is by the Holy Ghost, that this abiding of the Father and the Son is realised.
But, further, the Holy Ghost was to come in Christ's name. Observe, too, that in the fourteenth chapter the Father sends the Spirit, "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 to you" (ver. 26). The Father sends the Spirit to represent Jesus, when thus gone away, and to take His place. He has come in His name, so whatever might have been the relation of the disciples to the Lord, while He was here, whether it was a question of obedience, or subjection, that place was henceforth to be theirs in a new order of blessing, and privilege, by the Holy Ghost: and yet Christians are in doubt as to the presence of this blessed Spirit. I press this aspect of the truth, that the Father would send Him "in my name." Though the Spirit of God has come in the name of the Lord Jesus, yet Christ does not abandon His Lordship. The Holy Ghost does not come to displace the Lord, for that would be to dislocate the affections of the heart of the disciple. The Spirit of God has come, however, and He is here, in the name of the Lord Jesus, bringing to our remembrance all He said — that is, all He was — leading us into the communion of all that was thus presented, in His commandments, and His words, which were the perfect expression of Himself to His disciples.
Having developed this presentation of the Spirit of God, the Lord goes on to add another most important part of His service, when come, "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 to you." Coupled with delight in His word, comes the ministry of the Spirit, "He shall teach you all things," and that is why it says in the First Epistle of John, "Ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things" (1 John 2:20). Even the youngest Christian has a perfect competency, by the Holy Ghost, to know what is the truth, for the point is, that the Christian has this competency, in every sense, to learn, and know the truth, and to glory in it. "He shall teach you all things." And, further, "bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said to you." I do not doubt that what the Lord speaks of here in the twenty-sixth verse, we have, first of all, fulfilled in the records of the words of Jesus, in the four gospels, which are not a mere human recital of things that happened in the life of Jesus, but a divinely given, and divinely expressed, communication thereof The Holy Ghost is the power in us of entering into that which is thus laid before us. The expression "shall bring all things to your remembrance" is therefore absolutely fulfilled in the writings of the four evangelists.
Coming now to John 15, you have another point. We read there — "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceeds from the Father, he shall testify of me." In the fourteenth chapter you have — "He shall bring all things to your remembrance whatsoever I have said to you," i.e., on earth. In the fifteenth chapter the Comforter would give a new testimony to the earth-rejected, but now heaven-welcomed, and glorified, Son of Man. "He shall testify of me." Where do I find that fulfilled? I believe, primarily, in the Acts of the Apostles, and the epistles of Paul. In the Acts there is a very distinct fulfilment of this verse, while there is also the testimony to the ascended Saviour in the writings of Paul. I do not altogether eliminate the writings of James, Peter, John, and Jude, but in them there is not exactly a new testimony. There are very comforting things found in these epistles, but they do not present a new revelation. It is specifically in the writings of Paul that you have the new testimony to the heavenly Saviour, and to the relationship of the saints to that Saviour.
When you come to John 16, and the thirteenth verse, you find the Lord says, "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth; for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak, and he will show you things to come." Especially in the writings of John, in the Revelation, we have the fulfilment of that verse. The fourteenth chapter states that the Spirit of God should bring to remembrance what Jesus spoke on earth, for communion. In the fifteenth we have the new revelation of what is the truth for the Christian now, in connection with the heavenly Saviour, rejected by the world, and power conferred to be His witnesses (vers. 26, 27). In the sixteenth chapter we read, "He will show you things to come." I would not confine the meaning of this merely to the book of Revelation. I think, particularly speaking, however, that it does refer to the prophetic truth there unfolded. The Spirit, however, abides, and I believe, that by the Holy Ghost, the saints are here enabled to see things in God's light, and to measure, and weigh them properly, to appraise that which is all around them in the world, and judge of all divinely, because the Holy Ghost leads the soul into the apprehension, and use, of the light which God has given it.
Turn back again to the fourteenth chapter for a moment as it is important to see how the truth regarding the Comforter comes out. Observe it is the Father who sends Him in the fourteenth chapter. In the fifteenth chapter the Lord says of the Comforter, "whom I will send to you from the Father." It is the Lord Himself, as the ascended man, who sends down the Spirit, although He proceeds from the Father. Observe that beautiful link — "which proceeds from the Father." So in the Acts, in the second chapter you have — "Having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he has shed forth this, which ye now see and hear" (Acts 2:33). It is therefore the world-rejected, but the ascended, and glorified Saviour, that sends down the Holy Ghost.
In the sixteenth chapter, at the seventh verse, the Lord says, "It is expedient for you that I go away." (John 16:7) What He had told them had filled their hearts with sorrow, and He says now, "It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send him to you." And when He is come, what will He do? You now get the true relation of the Spirit of God to the world. "And when he is come he will reprove (convince) the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they believe not on me." Not of sins — not of man being an ungodly person, not because of the broken law; but the point is this — the sin of the world is that they believed not on Jesus. If I might so say, when the Holy Ghost came down, the first question He asked was, Where is Jesus? The world replied, He is not here. But He was here? Yes, but He is not here now. Where is He? Oh! He died, the world replies. How did He die? We killed Him. You killed Him? God has raised Him from the dead, and put Him into glory. There is then a breach between God and the world that nothing can bridge. The Holy Ghost convinces the world of sin by His very presence; He came consequent on Jesus' rejection It would not have Him. What is the next thing? "He will convince the world of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more." He leaves the world in its own darkness. "I go to the Father." The Holy Ghost convinces the world that righteousness can only be found in one place. And where is it? In that Man at God's right hand. He is the only righteous One — the One who has died for man, and whom God has raised to glory. He is our righteousness, and if you want righteousness you must be found in Him — not having your own righteousness, but "that which is through the faith of Christ," as Paul beautifully says (Phil. 3:9). There is now righteousness in the Father's presence. It is in the Person of that Man, who died, and whom God raised.
But further, the Spirit of God, when come, should also "convince the world of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged." Satan did sorry work in getting man to join with man, in the day that the Saviour died. He got them to combine and coalesce. Prince and peasant, priest and people, chief and subaltern, Greek and Gentile — he got them all to combine against Christ. As you know, Herod and Pilate shook hands over the murder of Christ. But Satan did it to his own discomfiture, and destruction, for God has bruised his head. And here the Spirit convinces of "judgment, because the prince of this world is judged." Judgment is not yet executed, but Satan is a defeated foe, for Christ has risen from the dead. Good news for sinners that! The very moment, when it looked as if He were in the grasp of Satan, was just the opportunity that the Saviour took to do His mighty work, and burst open the door of the prison where Satan's captives were. And now, the door is burst open, and the shackles, and fetters, of the captives and slaves of sin, are broken. Satan is a beaten foe, and let me tell you this — If you go to Jesus you will be saved. I recommend you to do so.
But the Lord, speaking further of the Spirit, says, "He shall not speak of himself." The Spirit of God would glorify Him. That is His business. His only thought is to glorify Jesus, the exalted One, and to delight your heart with Jesus. "He shall glorify me, for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it to you." But all things belong to Him, as Man, before God. "All things that the Father has are mine; therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall show it to you." The essence of Christianity is this, I have to do with the Father, and I know the Father, from the knowledge I have of Him who is the Son. "Therefore said I, he shall take of mine and shall show it to you." What are these things? The Father's things? You have all these that He has entered into before the Father. Gone on high, He sends to those that trust and believe in Him, the Holy Ghost, to dwell in them, and to show these things to them — to make known to the heart of the believer, the present enjoyment of that which the Christian will enjoy for ever. Oh! beloved friends, what a wonderful truth is this that a divine person - the Holy Ghost — has come to earth, and dwells in the Christian personally, and among believers collectively. May He take of the things of Jesus, and make them better known to our hearts.