Summary: It is more than education we need, we need the illumination of the Spirit. It is more than planning we need, but the leading of the Spirit. It is more than praying we need, but listening to the Holy Spirit.
Christianity is hopeless without the Holy Spirit. He is God’s agent on earth today.
• Without Him, there is a disconnection with God; the line is cut off. We won’t fully understand God’s will.
• The Holy Spirit reveals the will of God. He reminds us of the words of Jesus; he guides us into all truth; he enlightens and he convicts.
Jesus said to His disciples: “it is for your good that I am going away.” It is not for MY good but for YOUR good! How could that be?
• He says, “Unless I go away, the Counsellor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” (John 16:7)
• Someone would take his place – the Holy Spirit. And Jesus knew how desperately in need of the Holy Spirit we are. He asked them to WAIT for Him to come.
This came as a shock to the disciples, who had given up everything to follow Jesus.
• They had spent 3 years staying with Him, travelling with Him, listening and learning from Him, and relying on Him for almost everything. And now He is leaving.
• It would be almost impossible for them to understand any benefit that would come out from His leaving.
Yet Jesus knew IT WAS GOOD. He knew the Holy Spirit and what the Spirit can do in their lives. Jesus can only dwell WITH them, but the Holy Spirit will dwell IN them.
• We saw the result of this in the Acts of the Apostles. The disciples experienced the presence and the power of God when the Holy Spirit came upon them.
• His arrival is GOOD in at least TWO WAYS:
(i) The Holy Spirit can be with them wherever they are, because He dwells IN them. Jesus can only be physically present WITH them (and with only some at any point of time), but the Holy Spirit dwells in our heart today. Wherever we are, He is present to help us.
(ii) Jesus says the Holy Spirit will GUIDE us into all truth. He CONVICTS us (16:8), He ENLIGHTENS us (16:4 ‘making it known to us’), and “will TEACH you all things and will REMIND you of everything I have said to you.” (14:26)
Without Him, we cannot know God, understand His Word or experience His power.
(1) It’s more than EDUCATION we need, but the ILLUMINATION of the Holy Spirit
Jesus: “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear” (16:12) without the aid of the Holy Spirit.
• You look at the disciples – they spent 3 years with Jesus, listening and learning from Him, every day! And they participated in His ministry and saw the miracles.
• And at the end of this full-time, on-the-job, intensive course, the result was: one betrayed him, one denied knowing him 3 times; all of them fled into hiding in fear at his arrest; only one standing at the foot of the cross, and one doubted He rose from the death.
• How’s that for a class of 12 students who have undergone a 3-year immersion course!
• And this was the result! They still did not fully understand Jesus and the salvation plan of God!
In fact, for most part of their schooling days, they did not understand what the teacher was saying (sound familiar?).
• They misread Jesus’ intentions, said the wrong words, did the foolish things, and were more concerned about themselves than God.
Let me show you one interesting incident in Mark 8.
• At one point in the ministry, they had forgotten to bring bread on board the ship and were discussing about the problem (Mark 8).
• Mark 8:17-21 “Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: "Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? 18Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember? 19When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?" "Twelve," they replied. 20 "And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?" They answered, "Seven." 21He said to them, "Do you still not understand?"
The problem does not lie with the Teacher, but with the students.
• Without the aid of the Holy Spirit, we do have a problem understanding spiritual truths.
• The disciples had 3 years of daily conversations with Jesus. That’s 1,095 schooling days. If we meet only once a week to learn the Word, that’s 21 years!