The Book of John is unique among the Gospel accounts. You may read it when you are yet in shallow waters near the shore, and you will find Jesus there. You may read it and find yourself totally immersed in deep truths about God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Sometimes I will go deep, and if it is too much, don’t worry! Stay in the shallow waters for a bit. He will take you deeper, as you get to know Him!
In John 16, the King of kings and Lord of lords gathers all of His teaching in John 14 and 15, and expands upon it. He has spoken many things to you, to keep you from stumbling. The Holy Spirit is coming to you. My Father and I will dwell inside of you. Do not be afraid, nor let your heart be troubled. My peace I give you. Love with My love. The Holy Spirit will make it possible. In John 16, He more deeply describes the work of the Holy Spirit.
Verses 1-2 — All that He has spoken in John 14 and 15 are so that you will be kept from stumbling, from being tripped up, from being enticed to sin, from being offended. There will be a power inside you that will keep you from hating those who hate you. That power is a He — the Holy Spirit.
Human love seeks its own self-interest. If you love me, I will love you. If you do something I don’t like, I won’t love you any more. If you meet my needs, I will love you. If I believe you no longer meet my needs, I won’t love you anymore.
But here is a command from Jesus that is only possible to obey when God’s actual love fills our hearts —
Matthew 5:44-45 “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain [a blessing in Israel] on the righteous and the unrighteous.”
An hour is coming . . . this is the divinely appointed time when Jesus Christ is taken prisoner and unjustly tried and condemned, and His disciples will be subject to the persecution He endured.
IMPORTANT POINT: The first work of the Holy Spirit is to give us power — the power of God’s actual love in our hearts — so that we do not hate those who hate us, persecute us, and murder us. In the power of His love, we will pray for those who hate us and spitefully use us, proving that we have God’s actual love in us and are thus children of our Father in heaven.
Verse 3 — Why will you be persecuted? Then and now, those who know about Jesus Christ but do not know Him will hate you, excommunicate you, shun you, and make you outcasts. In this coming hour, those who kill you will think they are doing a service to God (or whoever they call their god). More Christians have been murdered for their faith in the past two centuries than in all the previous centuries since Christ was crucified.
The Pharisee named Saul (whose Roman name was Paul) is a fine example, traveling near and far to round up Christians (followers of The Way) and imprison them, where they were held until they were murdered. He saw them as blasphemers, so he thought God would be pleased. After all, the Law said the penalty for blasphemy was death.
But on the road to Damascus (see Acts 9), he lost his eyesight and had a vision of Jesus who asked, “Why do you persecute Me?” Three days later on Straight Street, he was filled with the Spirit and indeed, he saw with new eyes.
Verse 4 — He has spoken everything in John 14-15 to His disciples, and to us, so that when that hour comes, we will remember His promise of the Holy Spirit and seek to be filled with Him, and we will remember His warning that we will be persecuted.
While Jesus was with His disciples, they were not persecuted. But when the Holy Spirit has filled them, they will be compelled by His love to speak of Him, and so, they were persecuted. Nevertheless, they and you will not stop speaking of what you have seen and heard (Acts 4:20).
Then, when we are rejected and enticed to hate those who hate us, God’s love poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5) will give us the power to love our enemies. We will not stumble, we will not be offended, we will not be tripped up in the midst of a hail of hate, if His love has filled our hearts.
IMPORTANT POINT: Be filled with the Holy Spirit. Persecution will come. He will make you ready by filling you with God’s actual love. Am I repeating myself? Yes! This teaching is essential. I will speak of it always, and often, so you may understand, ask for and receive the gift of God’s actual love in your heart. Hallelujah!
Verses 5-6 — But now Jesus says He is going back to God the Father who sent Him. No longer did His disciples ask, “Where are you going? How do we get there?” He has already answered them. But their hearts are filled with sorrow. They are preoccupied with grief because their Master will no longer be with them. They don’t yet understand John 14:23.
Verse 7 — But it is to their advantage, it is better and more profitable, that He goes away. This must have puzzled His disciples at the time. Wasn’t it better for Him to be physically with them? But Jesus promised in John 14 that He had been WITH them, but the Holy Spirit would be IN them.
Jesus went away so He could send the Helper, the Holy Spirit. He had to die, rise, ascend, and be glorified by returning to His place at the right hand of His Father (John 7:39). The Helper would not come until then. And just as promised, the Holy Spirit was poured out at Pentecost.
IMPORTANT POINT #1: Today, many churchgoers see Jesus as One who walks beside them, One who is WITH them. They are not taught, nor do they seek to know by reading the Bible, that He must be IN them in order for them to be His witnesses, to live as He did when He was on the earth, and to love with His love.
IMPORTANT POINT #2: If loving with God’s love is the proof that we are children of our father in heaven, why do we have “church wars,” beloved? Those who quarrel prove that they are not filled with God’s actual love, because they have not been filled with His Holy Spirit.
Verse 8-11 —The second work of the Holy Spirit is to convict (tell a fault, rebuke and reprove) those with whom we speak and live. I must emphasize that loving with God’s love means we communicate God’s truth to the world around us, by the power of the Holy Spirit who has filled us. Conviction is an act of God’s love. To love with God’s love does not mean that we tell sinners that “they can continue in their sin because God loves them.” If the Holy Spirit is in us, our words will convict.
Who does He convict, and what conviction does He bring? He convicts the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment:
— Regarding sin, because they do not believe in Jesus Christ. Unbelief in God the Son, sent at great cost by God the Father, is sin. Those who do not believe in Jesus Christ will reject the words of the Holy Spirit that He gives you to speak.
— Regarding righteousness, because when the Holy Spirit gives you the words to speak, God’s own righteousness will be evident in you. You will speak the gospel of Jesus Christ: God the Son was sent by God the Father, He died on a cross, rose on the third day, and ascended to heaven exactly as described in the Old Testament. Therefore, He is the Savior sent for the whole world.
This is the message of the gospel, the Good News. We have a righteous God who sent His Son to save us, even while we were yet sinners, and hostile toward God. Sinners! Hostile! The people of the world will say, “Sinners? We are not sinners. Who needs a righteous God? We can do good deeds and go to whatever form of heaven suits our personal beliefs. We can be righteous in our own eyes. We do not believe in your God. We do not need Jesus Christ.”
— Regarding judgment, because the ruler of this world (Satan) has been judged. A lake of fire is prepared for him (Revelation 20:10). All those who reject Jesus Christ and His gospel are under the influence of Satan, who is a liar and the father of lies. As long as they refuse Christ, they remain under God’s wrath. And they will be judged, in the final judgment of the unrighteous, when their names are not found written in the book of life (Revelation 20:11-15).
IMPORTANT POINT: Those in the presence of believers filled with the Holy Spirit often are convicted without a word being spoken by the believer. God has used me that way, with a woman who had fallen and broken her hip. Her 10-year-old grandson knew she was not saved, and asked me to visit her. The Lord had already prepared her heart. As I took her hands in mine and looked at her, she looked intently at me, saw Jesus in my eyes, and began to weep profusely, confessing her sin, without me saying a word. Then I spoke the gospel to her. And she was saved and rejoiced in the Lord!
Verse 12 — The disciples could not bear (take up and carry, endure) the “many more things” that Jesus had to speak to them. Not then. But when Penetecost happened, He would tell them and they would understand.
Verse 13 — The third work of the Holy Spirit is to guide you into all truth. When He guide you, that does not mean that He puts a sheet over your head and lead you by the hand (I have seen it demonstrated that way, though!!!). To guide into all truth is to speak to you the very words of God. What He hears from God the Father and God the Son, He will speak to you. And then you will speak what He has told you.
He may speak to you in dreams and visions, or He may speak to you through the Word of God, or He may speak directly to your heart. I have never heard an audible voice, but when I hear in my heart, it is similar to hearing an audible voice. I know Who is speaking.
The fourth work of the Holy Spirit is to disclose the future to you — what is to come. The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus Christ, prophesies. He is not a fortune teller. When God tells Him to disclose and reveal the future to you, He does it. Here are some examples —
Acts 18:9-10 And the Lord said to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent; for I am with you, and no man will attack you in order to harm you, for I have many people in this city.
Acts 11:28 One of them named Agabus stood up and began to indicate by the Spirit that there would certainly be a great famine all over the world. And this took place in the reign of Claudius.
IMPORTANT POINT #2: The Holy Spirit has not changed. He will guide you into all truth, and disclose the future to you, when you are filled with Him.
Verse 14 — The fifth work of the Holy Spirit is to glorify God the Son. How can you know that what you have heard is from the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit always glorifies God the Son. If what the Holy Spirit leads you to do and say gives God the Son praise and honor, then you can be assured that what you have heard is from the Holy Spirit, who repeats what God the Father and God the Son say and does not speak anything but what He hears.
IMPORTANT POINT: Many get “stuck in neutral,” always afraid that what they think they have heard might not be from the Holy Spirit. There is an easy test. Will God be glorified? If the answer is yes, then do it!
Verse 15 — Jesus says, “All things that the Father has are Mine.” So, the Holy Spirit takes of what God the Son has, which is the same as what God the Father has, and discloses it to you. What do God the Father and God the Son have? Truth. You will know the truth, not just someone’s personal opinion of the truth, but the living God’s truth.
IMPORTANT POINT #1: Think of it — ALL OF GOD’S THINGS will be disclosed to you by the Holy Spirit, when you are filled with Him!
Verses 16-19 — Now Jesus reminds them that very soon, they will not see Him. But not long after that, they will see Him. It sounds like a riddle to His disciples. And what’s this about Jesus going to the Father? His disciples do not now understand, but they will when they are filled.
Jesus knew they were talking amongst themselves and wanted to ask Him.
IMPORTANT POINT: Do you want to ask Jesus a question? He already knows your question. All of your questions will be answered when you ask Him the most important question — Lord, will you fill me with Your Holy Spirit?”
Verses 20-22 — The disciples will weep and lament at Jesus’ death on the cross, but the world who rejected Him will rejoice. The disciples will grieve. You may weep, lament and grieve when your eyes are opened to see what great price Jesus Christ paid in order for you to be reconciled to God. But their grief and yours WILL be turned to joy. A woman goes through great pain to bear a child, but that pain turns to joy when she holds her child in her arms. In the same way, you first grieve, but then your heart will rejoice! AND NO ONE WILL TAKE YOUR JOY FROM YOU! Why? Because when you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you have Jesus Christ’s joy in you (John 15:11)!!
IMPORTANT POINT: No one can take your joy from you, when you are filled with the Holy Spirit!
Verse 23 — You will no longer question Jesus (you will not ask Him anything) when you are filled with His Spirit. Why? You will ask the Father directly. When you ask ANYTHING in Jesus’ name (that is, as one having His divine character in you), He will give it to you.
Verse 24 — Until now, the disciples have not had His divine character in them. But when they do, they (and you) will ask and receive, and your joy will be made full, complete, as a vessel being filled to overflowing. You will rejoice to ask according to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and rejoice to see the outcome — sinners saved and Christians filled with the Spirit!
Verse 25 — What Jesus spoke to His disciples at that moment seemed “figurative” to them, like a proverb or a parable. But when they are filled, they (and you) will understand everything that He has said and will yet say.
Verses 26-27 — Again, He repeats that in that day, the day of Pentecost, you will ask the Father in My name, which means you have His divine character in you. Jesus will no longer need to be a go-between. You will ask the Father directly, because the Father Himself loves you. Why? Because you love Jesus Christ and have believed that He is God the Son who came forth from the Father.
Verse 28 — Jesus says, I came forth from the Father and have come into the world. Now I am leaving the world again and going to the Father. He speaks to them in straightforward manner.
Verses 29-30 — The disciples say they understand! Lo! Behold! Now we get it. Jesus You know all things. You have no need for anyone to question You. By this we believe you came from God. But their very words show that they do not understand. Yes, Jesus knows all things, but they do not understand that they will not need to ask Him for things. They won’t understand that until Pentecost.
Verses 31-32 — Jesus knows their hearts. They said they understood and believed, but an hour has come when they scatter and leave Him alone. But Jesus Christ was never alone. The Father was with Him.
IMPORTANT POINT: The only time the Father withdrew from the Son was when Christ hung on the cross with the world’s sin on His blessed shoulders. Sin separates us from God (Isaiah 58:1-2).
So on the cross, Jesus cried, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken Me?” He was reciting from Psalm 22, David’s prophecy about Christ’s crucifixion.
Verse 33 — Again, Jesus speaks these words to His disciples and to us so we may come to Him, be vitally connected to Him as branches of the True Vine, and be filled with His peace. There will be tribulation (persecution) in this world, but take courage — be strong and courageous! Why? He has overcome the world. He is victorious over all those who reject Him, even those who put Him to death. All that they did to Him was according to God’s plan, not theirs. And now, God’s promise to believers will be fulfilled — forgiveness of sin, reconciliation with God, and the promise of the Holy Spirit!