Summary: The sermon examines the relationship of the Holy Spirit and Holy Scripture in the life of the believer.
Holy Spirit Series 2000
The Spirit of TRUTH
John 14:16-21; 15:26-27; 16:7-16
Dr. Roger W. Thomas, Preaching Minister
First Christian Church, Vandalia, MO
Review: We are considering seven different names or descriptive terms for the Holy Spirit in the New Testament. So far we have examined three of the seven.
(1) The term Spirit of God reminds us that we do not worship three Gods, but one Holy God who reveals himself as Father-Son-Holy Spirit. He is not an abstract force. He is the very personal and real God who loves and sustains us.
(2) The name Spirit of Jesus calls attention to the fact that the primary task of the Spirit is to lead people to the Gospel of Jesus and lead them back to obedience to the teachings of Jesus. For this reason some Bible scholars have called the Spirit the “shy” member of the trinity because he seldom causes people to talk about himself, instead he turns the spotlight on Jesus. This factor is important because some wrongly equate “spirituality” with how much a person or a church talks about the Holy Spirit. The Bible teaches us that true spirituality always causes us to talk about Jesus.
(3) The phrase the HOLY Spirit reminds us that the Spirit of God is unique and distinctive. We are not just taking about spirituality in some generic sense as if all spirit-talk and spiritual talk were the same. This term also forces us to recognize that a main task of the Spirit is to make us holy; to set us a part for life lived for God. The proof of the Holy Spirit’s presence is not primarily mighty works and supernatural wonders, but transformed lives that increasingly demonstrate the righteousness, integrity, and character of Jesus. Unholy living and Spirit-filled living are totally incompatible.
Today we look at a fourth term. This was Jesus’ term and therefore it ought to be of utmost importance to all followers of Jesus. The world may have little interest in it. Those who have never tasted the beauty of the Lord’s grace and never been born again may find it more puzzling than compelling. But Jesus’ people must camp here and drink deep at the fountain of the ‘Spirit of Truth.”
The title or name for the Spirit that we will examine today is the phrase “The Spirit of Truth.” I want to accomplish two tasks today. First, I will spend quite a bit of time making the case that the lessons of this title are extremely important in the times in which we live.
Next, I will briefly outline what the Bible teaches about the ministry of the Spirit of truth in the life of every believer. First, consider the words of Jesus delivered to his apostles on the night before the cross:
If the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth, then one thing is certain-- TRUTH matters. We live in a world that no longer believes this. Rather we live in a world where Pilate’s attitude more often prevails. At his trial before the Roman Governor Pilate, Jesus insisted that he had come into the world to testify to the truth. “Everyone on the side of truth listens to me,” the savior said. Pilate’s response was telling. “What is truth?” he asked and then walked out (John 18:37-38).
Do you wonder why your head begins to spin when you hear people talking about politics, morality, or religion? Everyone has an opinion. The discussion gets heated, and no body seems to agree on anything, except the notion that every one has an opinion and all opinions are equally valid because personal opinion is all there is. We live in a time when a large proportion of the population has bought, hook, line and sinker, the belief that truth is only personal opinion or taste. Anyone who insists on truth or right and wrong is being judgmental and narrow.
If there is no such thing as truth, what do you do with Jesus? He said he came to testify to the truth. He said, he was the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). The Bible says that those who know God know the truth and walk in the truth (1 John 2:20; 2 John 1-6).
According to George Barna, a California pollster who specializes in American spiritual and religious attitudes, seventy-two percent of Americans agree, “There is no such thing as absolute truth; two people could define truth in totally conflicting ways, but both could still be correct” (Virtual America, pp. 83, 283). Seventy-one percent of Americans believe that there are no absolute standards that apply to everybody in all situations (pp. 85, 230).
Harry Blamires (The Christian Mind: How Should a Christian Think, 1963, p. 107), prophetically observed almost forty years: “Ours is an age in which ‘conclusions’ are arrived at by distributing questionnaires to a cross-section of the population or by holding a microphone before the lips of casually selected passers-by in the street. . . . In the sphere of religious and moral thinking we are rapidly heading for a state of intellectual anarchy in which the difference between truth and falsehood will no longer be recognized. Indeed, it would seem possible that the words true and false will eventually (and logically) be replaced by the words likable and dislikeable.”