Sometimes I wonder if the other persons of the Trinity are as important to them.
Over the years St Matthews has been called (amongst other things) a church that doesn’t believe in the Holy Spirit because we don’t make as big a deal about the Holy Spirit (and the things they associate with the Holy Spirit) as they do.
I often wish I could get the Holy Spirit to materialise and tell us what the deal should be...
But actually Jesus has spoken about the Holy Spirit...
So let’s turn to the Bible and hear what Jesus said about the Holy Spirit and maybe that will give us a better idea.
In fact I hope to show you that the Holy Spirit is, in the words of J.I. Packer...
John 16: 5 – 16
In John 13 Jesus predicts that Judas will betray Him and Judas leaves the group of disciples. Jesus uses Judas’ departure to start talking a bit more directly to the other disciples about His death, resurrection and ascension. He talks about it as Him leaving them. And this troubles them a lot.
In John 14 Jesus comforts them by explaining that He is going to prepare a special place for them and that their belief in Him will get them there but that in the meantime He will send the Holy Spirit to them to bring them peace for their troubled hearts and help them to carry on the mission He had given them.
In John 15 Jesus tells them that their lives will be fruitful and honouring to Him if they remain in this love relationship with Him... even though the world will hate them and persecute them.
And it is then that Jesus starts to talk about the Holy Spirit in a bit more detail 15: 26 – 27.
Bruce Milne: “The essence of the disciples’ mission is to ‘do the work of an evangelist’, to proclaim the good news of Jesus to the world. In this task the disciples will not be alone. The Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, will also be at work ‘testifying’ to Jesus (15:26–27). He will in fact be the real evangelist; he is ‘God the Evangelist’.”
And in a way Jesus then (in our passage) explains the evangelistic ministry of the Spirit.
Jesus says to them that it is good that He is “going away”... because when He goes the Holy Spirit will come and when the Holy Spirit comes people will get the message of the Gospel of Jesus in a way that they won’t while Jesus is still here.
16: 5 – 11 (Unpack)
Convict “applying his message personally to his hearers. Specifically, the Spirit will convict the world of guilt (8). The verb literally means ‘to show someone his sin (in relationship to Jesus) and summon him to repentance’.
Acts 2: 22 – 41 we see that working out.
But note all the work of the Holy Spirit is focused on Jesus not on Himself… He is the shy person of the trinity or the self effacing person of the Trinity wanting all glory to go to Jesus not Himself.
And in the next section of our passage Jesus says it explicitly while explaining that the Holy Spirit will be there to remind them of all these truths and other truths that will be revealed.
John 16: 12 – 16. (Unpack)
Donald Guthrie: “The Spirit’s work is to glorify Christ (14), an important understanding of his work which excludes any glorification of the Spirit. This is underlined in v 15 and is abundantly illustrated in this gospel.”
I put it to you that the Holy Spirit of the Bible, the real Holy Spirit that Jesus taught about and sent is a very different Spirit to the one portrayed by the modern church.
I put it to you that an alive, Spirit-filled church and Christian is not one that makes a big deal of the Spirit but one that makes a big deal of Jesus! The Holy Spirit would have it no other way. I sometimes imagine the Holy Spirit saying that ironically the people that make the biggest deal about Him probably understand the least about Him.
Because an alive, Spirit-filled church and Christian is one that is filled with a desire to testify about Jesus... who He is, what He did and how people should respond to that. The Holy Spirit is all about glory going to Jesus not Himself... and that through gospel telling not mystical experiences.
We can do nothing of eternal value without the Holy Spirit, but when the Holy Spirit works things of eternal value we will know it is Him when the focus is on the truth about Jesus and the gospel as found in the Bible.