——————————————————–“HE WILL GUIDE YOU”
John 16:13: when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth
Like John 15:4 (“Abide in Me, and I in you.”), John 16:13 is really, really really big. Jesus is assuring you that the Holy Spirit will guide you into all that you need to know. “He will guide”; He will not manipulate or insist, but guide. A guide leads tourists and it’s up to tourists to follow; the Spirit guides christians and it’s up to christians to follow.
Because He guides doesn’t mean we are guided. Evangelicals are not guided, primarily, by the Holy Spirit; I conclude this because the Holy Spirit never leads one into evangelicalism (or any other religion). The evangelical became an evangelical the moment he/she embraced evangelicalism as mentor and guide, partially or fully, thus deposing the Holy Spirit.
What percentage of christians do you think make an earnest effort to be lead solely by the Holy Spirit? Don’t know? Neither do I. But I do dare make a guess-timate, based on almost five decades of observation. I suggest the christians endeavouring to be daily guided through their christianity by the “Spirit of truth” is less than two percent. Rare indeed is the North American believer who has given himself over to the lordship of the Spirit. That’s why Christ’s church is so timid.
In this chapter I want to convince you, a sent-one (“As the Father has sent Me, I also send you”) to surrender to the Sent-One (“whom I shall send to you from the Father”).
John 16:7: I will send Him to you.
This is enormous. God sent God to you. Jesus, “My Lord and my God”, has sent God (the Holy Spirit) to you. Jesus: “He dwells with you and will be in you.” Paul: “Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.” Repeat: This is enormous. Who can comprehend the love of God for man? The Father not only gave us “His only begotten Son”, He also gave us His Spirit (“the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father”).
John 16:13: He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak;
The Spirit submits to Jesus Christ. He relays to you the teachings/instructions of Lord Jesus, the “head of the church”. (Never forget, you are the church!) So…. in obeying the Holy Spirit you are, in fact, obeying Lord Jesus. You must see that. By ignoring the Holy Spirit you are denying the lordship of Christ. Slighting the Spirit is slighting Jesus.
Do you see God’s order? Jesus oversees His church…. He reveals His will to the Holy Spirit…. the Holy Spirit, in turn, communicates to christians. (“Whatever He hears He will speak.”) Jesus…. Spirit…. you. That’s how it’s supposed to work. Really, it’s the only thing that does work. But religion’s salaried officers don’t respect God’s order. They inject themselves as an authority. They take over, organizing the Holy Spirit out of relevance. They brought long brown benches, which they call pews, into a spacious building for the people to sit quiet and submissive while soaking in their wisdom. All these benches face a thing called a pulpit from which the controllers reinforce their supposed entitlement to rule and direct.
So now we have a new order. Instead of christians harkening to the the Holy Spirit, they submit to the directives of a denomination passed on to them by a salaried pastor (who has convinced them he is indeed “worthy of his wages”). This man dutifully (and fearfully) relays his denomination’s “tradition[s] of men”, using Sunday’s pulpit to convince his tamed congregation their perspectives are indeed superior to that of other denominations. This man does not prostrate himself before King Jesus but before legislators higher up the ecclesiastical ladder. This is the way of religions, most certainly including evangelicalism.
I point you back to where you once were. When first “born of the Spirit” you were lead by the Spirit (though you didn’t realize it). Those were the days. Your heart was filled with Jesus. I say to you, go back. Be the repenting prodigal. Bow once again to the Sent-One whom Jesus sent to you. Because “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” Liberty…. freedom. How long has it been since you lived in freedom? Jesus said (Repeat, JESUS said), “He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.” Jesus…. Holy Spirit…. you. Get it?
John 16:13: the Spirit of truth,
Truth is a beautiful thing. You must see and acknowledge truth as the beautiful thing it is. Because you gotta want it to get it. You have some, perhaps much; do you want more? More is available to the one wanting more. The reality is “the truth shall make you free”. You know that is so because Jesus said so. To get freedom you must want freedom. Freedom accompanies truth. Freedom is for those wanting it…. sufficiently. All want freedom; few want freedom sufficiently. Sufficiently? Yes, you must want freedom more than you don’t want freedom. I can hear you: “I most certainly do want freedom! I most certainly do hate bondage!” But do you?….
Let’s play a game, okay? You are a jw, a jehovah’s witness and you have been for, say, ten years. (I know, not a nice thought.) You are convinced Jesus is not God and the Holy Spirit is merely God’s “active force” and there is no such place as hell and the chances of making it to heaven are somewhere between slim and zero. Like millions of jw-s throughout the world, you are in serious bondage. One day you read Christ’s words, “The truth shall make you free” and those words seem to come alive for the first time ever. And you pray something like this….
“God, I believe I have been taught the truth…. such as, there is no life on the other side of the grave, and…. my religion is Your appointed agency…. etcetera, etcetera. If I am wrong (though I don’t think I am) I want to exchange these beliefs for the truth. God, I am sincerely asking You for truth, whatever it looks like, whatever it is. Whatever truth I need – if I don’t already have it – please impart it to me. I hereby choose truth over my religion, my family, everything and everybody. I choose unknown truth even if truth will cost me dearly. God, please give me truth.”
Do you think the Father will answer your cry for truth? Me too. Hang on now, our game isn’t over. Now you are an evangelical and you have been for, say, ten years. You read those same words, “The truth shall make you free” and those words seem to come alive for the first time ever. And you pray something like this….
“Jesus, I believe I have been taught truth…. such as, my chief responsibility is to support the one everybody calls ‘Pastor’…. the Holy Spirit doesn’t direct me personally/individually….etcetera, etcetera. If I am wrong (though I don’t think I am) I want to exchange these beliefs for the truth. Lord Jesus, I am sincerely asking You for truth, whatever it looks like, whatever it is. Whatever truth I need – if I don’t already have it – please impart it to me. I hereby choose truth over my religion, my family, everything and everybody. I choose unknown truth even if truth will cost me dearly. Lord Jesus, please give me truth.”
Do you think Lord Jesus will answer your cry for truth? Me too.
Matthew 7:7: “Ask, and it will be given to you,
Those who ask (in faith) receive. Those who don’t ask don’t receive. If you ask for truth you will receive truth. If you don’t you won’t. Those who don’t ask are those not wanting…. sufficiently. The greedy don’t ask for truth because wealth is “first love”. Likewise religionists (e.g., jw-s, evangelicals) don’t ask for truth because their religion is first love. Sad.
A sobering thought: No christian can be excused for continued embracing of untruths; to abide in untruth one must steadfastly resist the “Spirit of truth”.
Acts 11:12: the Spirit told me to go
The Spirit spoke to Peter because Peter had “ears to hear”. The Spirit speaks to those heeding. Our words tell us who has our attention. Most say, “I think I will do this or that”; few say, “I think the Holy Spirit is saying this or that”. Most are walking into regret and failure; few are walking into bountiful fruitfulness.
1 John 5:6: it is the Spirit who bears witness
The Holy Spirit bears witness to truth. Listen to Paul: “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” The Bible tells us “we are children of God” and the Holy Spirit brings that reality from head to heart. Some call this an inner witness or an inner knowing.
This same inner witness leads us into the truth Jesus wants us to have. What to do and when to do it. Where to go and how to get there. What to buy and what not to. Where to donate and how much. What to pray and when. That inner witness, if heeded and relied on, will assure bountiful rewards at the judgement seat of Christ.
We have two short-term rentals in our house, quite busy in summer months, quite slow the rest of the year. Will I rent them monthly during winter months? I don’t know. Will I advertise to attract skiers? I don’t know. Will I reach out to students at the nearby university? I don’t know. Will I simply let them remain vacant during the slow season, enjoying the rest? I don’t know. What is the Holy Spirit saying? (What is Jesus saying to me via the Holy Spirit?) I really don’t know…. yet.
And so I “wait on the Lord” who “bears witness”. Those determined to live in the Spirit must learn to “wait on the Lord”. (Isaiah 40:31) Someone rightly said the hardest thing to do is nothing. There will be lots and lots of waiting. His timing is not our timing. We know so little; He knows everything. Everything! It takes trust, lots of trust, to wait. It takes patience, lots of patience, to wait. It takes surrender, full surrender, to wait and not do.
Controllers (many pulpit-people are controllers) don’t want you to live the Spirit-controlled life. The Holy Spirit is their rival. They belittle those waiting for direction before moving. (“How can God direct a puddle?”) They want a say in any ministry you are involved in. Unity is the goal. It’s much easier to control a united people
2 Corinthians 5:10: we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
Some think for most this is going to be a happy time. I don’t. I suggest for most this will be a grievous experience. How can anyone bear “much fruit”…. “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven”…. enlarge his/her treasury of “gold, silver, precious stones”…. except by obedience to the Holy Spirit? I just wrote (above): “I suggest the christians endeavouring to be guided through their christianity by the ‘Spirit of truth’ is less than two percent. Rare is the North American believer who has given himself over to the lordship of the Spirit.” To this I add, “Amen and amen!” If my perspective is anywhere near accurate, can the majority really expect to be richly rewarded?
1 Corinthians 3:15: If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as by fire.
I am of the opinion many will arrive in heaven “as by fire”. The NLT says it this way, “like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames.” As one who doesn’t believe in ‘eternal security’ (as most understand that term), I actually am comforted by this verse. It tells me that though christians all around me are living askew from Scripture they are nonetheless going to make it. Those active laying up “treasures on earth”, this in direct disobedience to Jesus, will nonetheless spend their eternity in heaven. Yes, they will “suffer loss”, and yes, they will be deeply regretful of opportunities squandered, but at least they will be there.
Lord Jesus wants to reward you abundantly. And you want Lord Jesus to reward you abundantly. Those rewards are eternal rewards that will never fade away. I suppose those rewards have everything to do with proximity to Jesus. You will rule and reign with Jesus to the degree you abide in Jesus in your here-and-now. And you are abiding in Jesus to the degree you “walk in the Spirit”.
Ephesians 4:11: He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,
Evangelical pulpit-people gleefully glom on to this verse, convinced it says something it doesn’t. “Some” is interpreted to mean a special, limited class of christian whereby most are excluded. That word “some” suggests a ruling class, justifying the splitting of Christ’s people into two groups, the ‘ministerial’ (or clergy) and the ‘laity’ (common christians). They are so wrong. The word “some” does not mean some are excluded from the fivefold ministry gifts!
Let me suggest another perspective of Ephesians 4:11: “He Himself gave everyone at least one of the five ministry gifts, some He Himself gave to be apostles, some He Himself gave to be prophets, some He Himself gave to be evangelists, and some He Himself gave to be pastors and some He Himself gave to be teachers.” If that is a more likely perspective it means you have been given one of these five ministry gifts! Give that serious consideration; you are as much ‘in the ministry’ as anyone. And yet….
Don’t let that be your focus; Jesus Christ must be your focus, your centre, your all. It’s not necessary to identify, or give undue attention to, the gift Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, has deposited in you. Let me explain….
I could have the gift of prophet. (And maybe not. If the NT prophet is one who prophesies future events, I am definitely not a prophet. But if a NT prophet is defined as one who brings correction than I suppose that would be me.) Does that mean I busy myself fulfilling that role? Or, if I had the calling of evangelist (I do not) do I busy myself evangelizing? Or, if my calling is teaching do I use my intellect and smarts to find opportunities to teach? No, no and no.
I simply obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit. As I obey, He fulfills my calling. If, for example, He guides me to make a stand against the awful evangelical tithe (the tithe evangelicals created to finance evangelicalism) I, hopefully, obey that prompting. This is so different than me making a grab for the reins of my life in an effort to exercise my gifting. Can you see that?
2 Corinthians 11:3 (NLT): I fear that somehow your pure and undivided devotion to Christ will be corrupted, just as Eve was deceived by the cunning ways of the serpent.
Think you can outwit “the cunning ways of the serpent” without relinquishing yourself to the Holy Spirit? Good luck. Didn’t work for Eve. Just look around…. have christians, generally speaking, maintained their “pure and undivided devotion to Christ”? If you say yes, you and I see the same thing differently.
I fear for you. I know the strong pull of the way it is. I understand herd mentality. Compromise is a subtle relief from peer pressure. I know it’s tempting to trust in those you can see more than the One you cannot see. And yet….
Galatians 5:25 (AMP): If we [claim to] live by the [Holy] Spirit, we must also walk by the Spirit [with personal integrity, godly character, and moral courage – our conduct empowered by the Holy Spirit].
Life in the Spirit is not achieved by the indecisive. It takes grit to move from self-life to Spirit-life, more tenacity than most have. The exchange of one way of life for another can be quite frustrating. How frustrating for the self-willed to not do his/her own thing…. to patiently wait upon the Lord for direction…. to be and stay tuned to the Spirit…. to lay down his druthers…. to mind her own business…. to deny addictions…. to walk contrary to the “way that seems right to a man”.… to surrender his daily schedule…. to abandon her religious ambitions…. to accept God-ordained assignments with gratitude and enthusiasm…. to resist the demands of the bunch…. to stop parroting slogans…. to ban self-imposed itineraries.
Only one man, “the one Man Jesus Christ”, learned to walk perfectly in the Spirit. (“He learned obedience.”) The rest of us have to settle for improvement. The first step is to want to “walk by the Spirit”; this first step may take years, even decades, to achieve. The next step is to prayerfully and doggedly pursue this better way of living out your christianity.
Galatians 5:1: Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.
The Galatians were in bondage. And then they were not. And then they were once more. This cycle of bondage, freedom, bondage is more common than rare. Evangelicals were in bondage (to “the god of this age”). And then they were not (“if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed”). And then they were once more (to religion and religionists).
The gospel of Christ Jesus set the Galatians free. Religionists stole that freedom. Loyalty shifted from Jesus to religionists. Then the ensnared Galatians developed into skilled recruiters ensnaring other christians. That’s how religion works. Likewise, the gospel of Christ Jesus set evangelicals free. Religionists stole that freedom. Loyalty shifted from Jesus to religionists. Then the ensnared evangelicals became skilled recruiters ensnaring other christians. That’s how religion works.
Galatians 5:1: Stand fast
If you don’t “stand fast” you won’t stand long. The body of Christ is infested with controllers. (Sorry, but that’s just the way it is.) What is a controller? A controller is one who wants to control your christianity, one not satisfied to be a mere influence. A controller wants you to endorse and finance his religious ambitions. Religious ambition? A religious ambition is an outgrowth of the self-governed life, the very antithesis of a Spirit-controlled life. (Every denomination is such an offshoot.) Controllers drape themselves with a practiced posture of authority to “draw away the disciples [of Christ] after themselves”. (Ac.20:30)
Controllers are after your money. This is not to say they don’t want to bless you spiritually; they do. They are doubly motivated: They want to feed you spiritually and they have their religious ambitions that must be financed. As such, they of necessity have zero regard for Christ’s command, “Freely you have received, freely give”. If controllers get your money they get you. Repeat: If controllers get your money they get you. If they can’t get your money they can’t get you. Repeat: If they can’t get your money they can’t get you. Jesus taught, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Commit “your treasure” to the Holy Spirit (Christ’s Sent-One) and it will be Lord Jesus who gets your heart.
I say again, if you don’t “stand fast” you won’t stand long. You will be swallowed. Let’s look at other translations: AMP: “Keep standing firm”…. ERV: “Stand strong”…. GW: “Be firm”…. Phillips: “Plant your feet firmly”…. MSG: “Take your stand”…. TPT: “Stubbornly refuse to go back”…. WE: “Stay free”. Fiercely defend the “liberty by which Christ has made us free”. Stand your guard. Don’t bunch with a bunch of compromisers. Be alert to wield your “sword of the Spirit which is the word of God” against all trespassers. Okay?
John 16:14: He will glorify Me,
He will not glorify Himself. (The preacher glorifying the Holy Spirit isn’t directed to do so by the Holy Spirit.) He will not glorify christians. (Christians glorifying christians, a common practice, are not directed by the Holy Spirit.) He will glorify Christ. (Christians glorifying Jesus do so by the prompting of the Holy Spirit.) When you are praising and worshipping and thanking and pining for Jesus, know thatthe Holy Spirit is at work, doing through you what He likes to do.
John 17:3: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
Relationship with Christ is not an “us” issue; it is a “me” issue. Does the quality of relationship with Christ on earth establish the quality of relationship eternally? Does proximity to Jesus on earth establishes proximity to Jesus in heaven? I think so.
You are not to have a “herd” mentality. You must learn to be individually moved by the Holy Spirit for it is impossible to finish your course without His leadership. We are to love others, “bear one another’s burdens”, “consider one another in order to stir up love and good works”…. but place our trust in Jesus alone. We do this by embracing the lordship of the Holy Spirit, “the Spirit of Christ”.
Direction, teaching, and encouragement may come through the agency of “the brethren”, but you are not to place your loyalty on messengers. Your physical ears hear man, your spiritual ears are attuned to Jesus. Your loyalty is fixed on Him.
Acts 13:25: As John was finishing his course,
What does that mean, “finishing his course”? Since you, like John (the baptist), have a “course” assigned to you, it’s a question you want answered. The EXB says it this way, “When he was finishing his work [race; course; mission]”. I like to say it this way: “When he was completing his assignments.”
You have a course to finish, a mission to complete. Yours is different from all others. Yours fits you like John’s fit John. You are one branch out of millions, but your assignment is unique. Only you can complete it. You can do it if you know you can’t. If you think you can finish your mission by self-effort, self-reliance, self-whatever you will fail.
You must fully know you can’t complete your “course” on your own. Like John (“He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit”), you must rely on the Holy Spirit to direct you through your christianity, day by day, week by week. When you get to heaven, look me up. (I am being serious!) I would like to know how your life unfolded. Okay?
Richard was the most influential friend in my christianity. He was a true elder though he never considered himself as such. He was honest, he was truthful, he loved Jesus.
Richard had an encounter with hell. He felt the hopelessness of the eternally condemned. Richard wrote….
“I was suddenly taken into the spiritual realm, into the place of the departed souls, those who had died without having received Christ as their savior. God let me feel what they felt. I experienced the agony of eternal separation from God, and it is this sense of eternal hopelessness that I am trying to convey.
“The feelings, the emotions of hopelessness I cannot describe. The despair, the agony of separation I cannot fully relate. But I felt them, tasted of them. No, I didn’t feel the torment of flames – Jesus spared me that – but the total separation from the One who can save and deliver. And I was made to feel what it’s like to have rejected Him and to be in the situation of never being able to accept Him. For the opportunity has slipped by. There is no Redeemer in hell.
“That life, the life in hell, has no Savior, no Redeemer. It is this life, life on earth, that has hope. This life has opportunity. This life offers a time to change. Only in this life is there redemption. In this life we set our eternal destinies.
“In hell there are no choices. The time of decisions is past. One is conscious of one’s past life, conscious of what once was, but fully aware that it was now all over. All over. In that spiritual encounter I had this sense that I was taken down and I could only look back up with memories of what once was. But I couldn’t go back. I no longer had choices. Before, there was always a chance. I had a Redeemer, even if I rejected Him. At least there was hope. I could always choose Him if I wanted.
“But now! There was no Redeemer to save me. Cry as I might, no one would rescue me. I became totally aware that the Redeemer is for life on earth, not life after death. The souls here had no hope. I know that I keep saying those words. No hope. Hopelessness. Eternal, ceaseless hopelessness. Oh what grief! Oh what sorrow!”
The lost have to be reached and convinced. Because the church is playing church, “the laborers are few”. So christians like you must be exceedingly zealous for souls. You must produce after yourself…. not dozens, not hundreds, but thousands. Such is possible. “The harvest truly is great” and the expert Harvester, the Holy Spirit, is your guide and strength.
——————————————–A TRIBUTE TO JESUS CHRIST
i will pursue
lord of lords
the spirit helps me
i will seek
king of kings
the spirit enables
where you go
i will go
if you hide
i will find you
great i am
the spirit knows your paths
i will seek your glory
walk your path
sup at your table
work in your garden
star and lily
the spirit guides me
fills my deep
points the way
makes me hungry
loves you so
lion and lamb
gift of god
he opens my eyes
unstops my ears
fills my cup
with who you are
hope of the hopeless