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Sunday, March 02, 2008

Matt's Messages - The Holy Spirit Guides Us Into Truth

“The Holy Spirit Guides Us Into Truth”
The Fellowship of the Holy Spirit
March 2, 2008
John 16:12-15

Today is our fourth message in our series on the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit.

The first message was about Who the Spirit is. We learned 4 things that we’re are seeing again and again:

The Holy Spirit is God, worthy to be worshiped.
The Holy Spirit is a Person, Someone we are able to be relate to, to fellowship with.
The Holy Spirit is Mysterious, beyond our comprehension and out of our control.
And the Holy Spirit is Christ-Centered, focused on “spotlighting” the Lord Jesus Christ.

And then in the last two weeks, we began to talk about what He does. His precious ministries to us.

And the first was: The Holy Spirit Brings Us to Christ.

If it wasn’t for the Holy Spirit, we wouldn’t have a relationship with God in the first place.

And the second was that: The Holy Spirit Assures Us of Our Relationship With God.

He Assures Us Of Our Ownership
He Assures Us Of Our Inheritance
And He Assures Us Or Our Adoption.

Is it becoming clear just how important the Spirit is to every Real Christian?

His ministries are vital and life-giving!

That is especially true of today’s:

THE HOLY SPIRIT GUIDES US INTO TRUTH.

That’s what Jesus said that He would do when He promised the Holy Spirit in the Upper Room.

We were in John 16 two weeks ago, but we stopped at verse 11. Today we pick up at verse 12. John 16:12-15.
I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.
I can’t really imagine what it was like to be in the Upper Room with Jesus. Can you?

I can’t really imagine what it was like to be with Jesus on that night. The night that He was going to be betrayed. The night before His crucifixion.

Jesus was emotional–and the disciples were emotional. They were bewildered!

Jesus had been telling them that He was going away, that He was going to die, that He was going to send Another to take His place–a Spirit.

And in verse 12, He says that He would like to tell them more, but they just couldn’t handle it right now.

“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.”

But the Holy Spirit whom He is sending will more than make up for that. V.13

“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, [notice that name for the Holy Spirit–the Spirit of Truth] he will guide you into all truth.”

Not only does the Spirit bring us to Christ.
Not only does the Spirit assure us of our relationship with God.

The Holy Spirit also guides us into truth.

Do we need truth?

Absolutely!

We need to know what is true in this mixed up, screwy, old world!

Our world is awash with lies, falsehoods, and half-truths (which are really no truths at all).

The devil has been lying to us from the beginning.

The world doesn’t tell it like it is.

And our flesh wants to lead us astray.

We have a desperate need for truth.

And as faith-followers of Jesus Christ, we have been given the Holy Spirit to guide us into the truth we so desperately need.

Isn’t that good news?!

The Holy Spirit Guides Us Into Truth.

I want to point out three main ways that the Bible says that He does this.

The first is an historical one:

#1. THE SPIRIT INSPIRED THE TRUTH OF THE BIBLE.

Notice the same letters in “spirit” and “inspired.” That’s on purpose.

The Spirit Inspired the Truth of the Bible.

I think that’s the main fulfillment of the promise in verse 13:

“When he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. [Who is Jesus talking to? The apostles! The ones who would be the primary writers of the New Testament and the ones who would approve the message of all of the New Testament.] He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.”

Meaning, the Spirit would give the apostles the rest of the New Testament.

I think that “what is yet to come” is both the significance of what was just about to happen to the Lord Jesus in His death, burial, and resurrection and what was going to happen to the New Covenant Church and the fulfillment of all of God’s promises in the consummation of all things.

In other words, the Spirit would inspire the rest of the Bible.

He inspired the whole Bible.

Who has 2 Timothy 3:16 memorized?

What does it say? “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness.”

All Scripture is God-breathed.

The Greek for God-breathed is: “theopneustos.” Do you see God-breathed?

Do you see the reference there to the Spirit in the “pneuma” word-group?

The King James has “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God.”

The Spirit Inspired the Bible.

It’s mysterious just how He did it, but we’re starting to become used to Him being mysterious!

Somehow, He superintended human authors so that using their own individual personalities, experiences, and word choices, they composed and recorded–without error–God’s exact revelation to us!

This is what Peter said about it. In 2 Peter chapter 1, verse 21.

“[Biblical] prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”

“Carried along by the Holy Spirit.”

The Greek phrase here is also used of wind filling the sails of a ship.

The Bible writers were “carried along” by the wind of the Spirit filling their sails and taking them where He wanted them to go with their writings.

And so, we have the Scriptures!

Isn’t that exciting?!

This is no ordinary book!

This is a Spirit-book!

God blew on the authors and now we have this inerrant, infallible, totally trustworthy, inspired (in-spirited) Bible!

And it’s our source of truth.

What’s the application: WE NEED TO READ OUR BIBLES!

More than that, we need to know our Bibles.

Not just read it but devour it.

Remember the message on delighting in God’s Word this Fall?

“You words came and I ate them. They were my joy and my heart’s delight. For I bear your name, O Lord God Almighty!”

Do you want to know what is true?

Open this book and devour it!

You should have some kind of a plan for Bible reading, Bible study, and Bible memorization going.

What is your plan?

What is your plan for reading?

Are you reading it in a year? Two years? Or something different? Maybe a book at a time. What is your plan for reading?

What is your plan for study?

Not just for reading it, but for thinking about what it means and maybe getting some outside help for that.

Are you in a Bible study? A Link Group? A Sunday School Class? Are you doing Bible study with your family? Are you taking notes?

I highly recommend that every time when you study the Bible you keep a journal with 3 sections: What does this passage teach me about God? What does this passage teach me about people? What questions do I still have about this passage?

And take that last section to your Link Group Leader, you Sunday School Teacher, or your Pastor!

What is you plan?

What is your plan for Bible memory? The psalmist writes, “I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against You!”

Not everyone can memorize the same way, but everyone can memorize. Take a small chunk and commit it to memory. You need a plan.

Because this is no ordinary book. This book is Inspired! This book is Spirited!

Just like Jesus promised: The Holy Spirit Inspired the Truth of the Bible!

And it’s even better than that!

#2. THE SPIRIT ILLUMINES THE TRUTH OF THE BIBLE.

That word “illumine” is a theological word that refers to the Holy Spirit’s ministry of making the truth of the Bible understood and received by God’s people.

It’s what Paul was praying in Ephesians 1:17 when he said, “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.”

It’s what Jesus was saying just two chapters before this one (chapter 14, verse 26), when He promised “[T]he Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”

Now, the first application of that was to the disciples. They needed those reminders so that they got the message right when they began to share it with the world.

But this promise also shows us that the Holy Spirit has a teaching ministry to all of us.

He is bent on helping us to receive and understand the truth.

Turn with me quickly to 1 Corinthians chapter 2.

We don’t have time for a full treatment of this passage, but there’s things I want you to see here.
Paul begins the chapter by saying that his preaching focused on the Cross. V.1

“When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. [The gospel!] For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. [That’s the gospel! Paul was gospel-centered!] I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. [We don’t think about Paul like that, but that’s also true of Paul–weakness and fear.] My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words [like you’d find in the world], but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power. [I think that refers to their conversion! The Spirit Brings Us to Christ. V.6]

We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we speak of God's secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. However, as it is written [in Isaiah]: ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him– but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. [He’s talking more about the truth of the gospel! It comes by the Holy Spirit. How did the Spirit get it?]

The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? [Do you get that? Does anyone know what you think down deep inside of you except yourself, your-spirit?]

In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, [here it is!] that we may understand what God has freely given us. [This is what we call “illumination” or the Spirit’s teaching ministry to us. We have been given the Spirit from God “that we may understand what God has freely given us.”]

This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. [The Scriptures!]

The man without the Spirit [an unbeliever] does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. [You have to have the Spirit to fully understand and to accept and receive the spiritual truth of the Scriptures.]

We’ll stop there.

Do you see what I want you to see?

You have a Teacher (with a capital T) living inside of you. And He has been given to you to help you to fully understand, accept, and receive spiritual truth.

Here’s the application:

WE NEED TO READ THE BIBLE WITH THE AUTHOR!

The Holy Spirit Guides Us Into Truth.
The Holy Spirit Inspired the Bible.
We need to read the Bible.

And we need to read it with the Holy Spirit!

Bible reading is not a Lone-Ranger task.

I have made that mistake so often in my years as a Christian.

To read without prayer.

To try to understand without divine assistance.

Stupid!!

Why would we try to read a book by ourselves if we could read over that same book with its Author?

Have you ever been like me and “forgot” to pray before and during and after your Bible reading?

Something as simple as a sincere, “Open my eyes, Lord, that I might see wonderful things in your Word,” could make such a difference!

And what if we prayed as we read? As we saw things in the Scriptures, having a running dialogue with God about what we read?

Do we really believe that we have the Spirit?

Do we really believe that He wants us to understand and embrace the truth of the Bible?

Why wouldn’t we invite Him to do that at every opportunity?

We Need to Read the Bible with its Divine Author!

And if we do, what are we going to find?

Turn back to John 16.

If we read the Bible with its Author for its truth, what are we going to see?

We’re going to see Jesus!

#3. THE SPIRIT AMPLIFIES THE TRUTH OF THE SON.

The Spirit Amplifies the Truth of the Son of God. Let’s read the whole text again.

“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. [What kind of truth?] He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. [The Spirit isn’t going to branch off onto His own truth. V.14] He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.”

Remember, the Spirit’s main focus is “spotlighting” the Lord Jesus Christ.

He doesn’t aim to glorify Himself but to glorify Jesus.

“He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine (Jesus Truth) and making it known to you.”

The Spirit Magnifies, the Spirit Glorifies, the Spirit Amplifies the Truth of the Son of God.

And the truth of the Son is the truth of the Father. V.15

“All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.”

When I preached this passage eight years ago to you, I called this “Trinity Truth.”

The Spirit guides us into Trinity Truth.

It’s the same truth for the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

And it’s truth about Jesus.

Jesus said that He is the way, the truth, and the life. And that no ones comes to the Father except by Him.

What was the message that Paul preached by the Spirit’s power in words taught by the Spirit for spiritual people?

“Jesus Christ and him crucified.”

The Spirit is bent upon us knowing Jesus and Him crucified.

He wants us to know and believe and receive and embrace the gospel of our sacrificial Savior.

Do you know Jesus Christ as your Sacrificial Savior and Your Commanding King?

The Spirit wants you to know Him like that!

WE NEED TO KNOW THE TRUTH OF JESUS.

He wants you to know wisdom of God–that God’s Son Himself would come to Earth as a human and die on the Cross as our substitute–in our place.

And He wants you to know that our Sacrificial Savior died for our sins, the just for the unjust to bring us to God.

That’s the Truth! And it’s the Truth with a capital T.

Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. And no one comes to the Father except by Him.

Have you come to the Father through Jesus Christ?

You are invited right now to do so.

Turn from your sins and trust in the Savior and His sacrifice on your behalf.

Invite Him to be your Rescuer and King.

And you will be believing the truth that the Spirit is guiding you into.

Worship at the Lord’s Table

Would the men come forward to help me serve the meal?

If you know Jesus as Savior and Lord and are walking in fellowship with Him, you are invited to eat and drink this memorial meal with us.

If you don’t, you don’t have the Spirit and you can’t truly discern what is going on here, so we ask you and warn you to let the bread and cup pass you by.

But if the Spirit has made the Truth about the Son known to you, then you are invited to eat and drink with us.

And here’s what I want you to meditate on as you eat and drink:

The awesome gift of the Spirit in guiding you into all truth.

The Spirit didn’t just bring you to salvation and then leave you there.
And He doesn’t just assure you that you are God’s child and then leave you alone.

It’s more than that!

He inspired this Spirit-Book, this Bible.

And He wants to teach it to you, to illuminate its truth in your heart.

And as we read it with Him, He will show us how it all points to God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ–the center of the Bible and it’s central character.

And we will grow in our love and trust and worship of Him–forever.

What a gift!

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