Summary: THe ministry of the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit’s ministry John 15: 26-16:11
William Randolph Hearst was one of the wealthiest men in the world of his time and he was known as a passionate collector of fine art. One day he was looking through a catalog of rare paintings and he saw a piece he just had to have. So he instructed his purchasing agent to do whatever it took to find it. And after a long and difficult search, the man finally located it. It was in Hearst’s own collection! He already owned it but he had so much in his collection, he didn’t even know it was there.
Spiritually speaking, many of us are like Mr. Hearst. We’re saved by the blood and sealed by the Spirit and yet, we don’t even know who the Holy Spirit is let alone what He has done and intends to do now that we’ve committed our lives to the Lord. And as a result, we live as "spiritual paupers" never realizing how "rich" we are in Christ. It’s like living below the poverty level when you actually have $10 million in your checking account.
So, here we find Jesus is speaking to His disciples about what’s to come because the events that will take place over the next couple of days including His arrest, torture, death and burial will seem to be the end of everything He said or did over the last few years. And now He’s going to assure them of the presence and comfort of the Holy Spirit in spite of everything that’s coming down the road. And this isn’t just for these twelve disciples but these are words of reassurance for you and I as well.
Do you remember a few weeks ago when I told you that Jesus uses this chapter and the two preceding ones to tell us about the various ministries of the members of the Godhead? As I said, in chapter 14 Jesus emphasized the work of the Father and He used the word Father 21 times in 42 verses. And then in chapter 15 He talks about Himself and the role He has in the matter of salvation and beyond and He actually uses the word ‘I’ 71 times in 31 verses. And now that we’re at chapter 16 He emphasizes the role and the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
And so we begin in the last two verses of John 15 where John tells us about the Holy Spirit’s coming and it’s not a question of if but when He will come. And John tells us that Jesus will send the Holy Spirit from the Father and once again we have the mention of all three members of the trinity all in one verse.
In terms of identifying the Holy Spirit Jesus tells us three things about Him when He says He is the Spirit of truth, He proceeds from the Father and He shall testify of Me. And then He says, “And because He is coming, you shall bear witness of Me.”
So, He’s the Spirit of truth. The Holy Spirit communicates truth to a hostile world through the conviction of sin and the witness of Christ. And in the energy of the Holy Spirit we can be used to boldly face a hostile world with the gospel. In verses 26 and 27 we have the words "testify" and "witness" are both of these are legal terms. So, what John is doing is using the imagery of a law court in this passage and we are the witnesses for the defense because Jesus is on trial before the watching world.
Now, the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and there are two times in John 15:26 where John indicates this. It says, "When the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, who proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of me." So, the witness of the Holy Spirit originated with the Father.
And then it says, “He shall testify of Me.” When did the Holy Spirit come as a witness of Jesus Christ? Jesus promised the disciples in Acts 1:8, "Ye shall receive power, after the Holy Spirit is come upon you; and ye shall be witnesses unto me" And we know that this promise was fulfilled on the day of the Pentecost. So the Holy Spirit came from the Father at Pentecost to witness to the Son and the Spirit witnesses to the Son by indwelling and empowering believers.
And because of His coming we are told that He will empower us all to testify about Jesus. Now listen, this is important. There’s no such thing as a Spirit-filled Christian who doesn’t witness and that’s because it’s the Spirit’s ministry to testify about Christ. It’s what He does. And Spirit-filled people tell the world about Jesus because that’s what the Spirit directs them to do.