Summary: how the Holy Spirit enables us to testify to the truth just like on Pentecost
June 3, 2001 John 15:26-27
“When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me. 27 And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.
It was about two years ago that Priceline sent me two airplane tickets to Hawaii - with someone else’s name on them. I had ordered some tickets through Priceline a few years prior to that, so I thought, “Priceline must have accidentally sent me this man’s tickets.” When I realized the mistake, I then tried to phone this man so that he could pick up his tickets from me. He wasn’t home. But after further investigation, I realized that it was MY credit card number that was used to purchase the tickets. Now we had a problem. Come to find out, this man had subscribed to pornographic web sights, ordered things on line - and ordered over 1,000 dollars worth of airline tickets after stealing my credit card number from the gas station he worked at.
The time came for our day in court. I couldn’t wait for justice to be done. But once I was face to face with the man and his wife who had wronged me - it was more difficult than I thought it would be. The attorney asked me privately - while I was within twenty feet of the man - what I wanted done with the man. I told him to prosecute - but it was kind of difficult. It got me to thinking how difficult it would be - if this were a high profile case. If I were called to testify against someone who was powerful - someone whom I knew had done something wrong.
This morning talks about testifying - about Jesus. The disciples were called on to tell people about Jesus. This would not easy, for they were facing a hostile crowd as well. Just after today’s text, Jesus warned them - They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God. It would be difficult for them to testify to the truth. But that’s what Jesus called them to do. And that’s what Jesus calls on us to do as well.
Testify to the Truth
I. With the Spirit of Truth
When you think about testifying in court - what comes to mind today are the high powered attorneys. Most of us are very familiar with Johnny Cochrane for instance. During the presidential elections we would see attorneys on TV every day. The purpose of these men and women is to speak on behalf of their clients. To either try to draw the truth out or defend the truth eloquently and according to the law.
That picture of the “defense lawyer or prosecuting attorney” is really what this text is drawing for us. Jesus wanted his disciples to testify to the truth. But he didn’t leave them on their own. He said that the “Counselor” would come. That word is literally referring to someone who speaks on behalf of another person - like a defense attorney. (1 John 2:1) Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit as an attorney for the disciples.
Let’s draw the picture then - you’ve got the devil - the father of lies - on the one side. And you’ve got the disciples on the other side - with the Holy Spirit as their spokesman. And who is the jury? The world - who is a slave to - the devil.
In the time of the disciples - you could see the court go in session immediately. After Jesus rose from the dead - the devil immediately called his lying witnesses to the stand - the soldiers. He paid them to testify that Jesus’ body had been stolen. But the disciples had SEEN Jesus rise from the dead. Yet their lives were in danger. As witnesses of the truth - the devil had made it difficult for them to testify. The religious world was against them. The government was against them. Their own neighbors were against them. It was impossible for these untrained speakers to testify to the truth without losing the case.
And so, Jesus promised them in today’s text - that He would send the Professional - the Holy Spirit to help them win the case. This happened on what we now know as Pentecost. While the disciples were in a house - not preaching - scared for their lives most likely. That was when the Holy Spirit descended on them. Through a tongue of fire - the Holy Spirit rested on each of them. Then the Holy Spirit changed their tongues - so they could speak in different languages. He gave them the courage to go out the Feast of Weeks. Many people from all over the world were in Jerusalem at this time - from Media, Egypt, all over the place. They came to give the Lord the first fruits of their grain harvest. It was at this opportune time that the Holy Spirit preached the good news of Christ to all the foreign Jews who had come to Jerusalem. He testified to the truth and in so doing converted 3,000 in one day!