Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit

The Gospel of John

John 15:15–31

Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit

Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.

1.         In verse 16 we find the first of five “Paraklete sayings” and all five of which are found in chapters 14, 15, and 16. Paraklete is a legal term meaning advocate or defending counsel and here is rendered “Helper” by the ESV.

2.         Jesus has clearly stated previously that He is leaving them and now reassures His followers that He will ask the Father to give them another Helper to be with them. He refers to this Helper as the “Spirit of truth.” In verse 26 Jesus uses another name for the Helper=Holy Spirit.

3.         This Helper cannot be received by the world, that world that is made up of those who reject Jesus as Lord.

4.         Jesus states that the Spirit of truth, the Helper, will actually indwell His followers. Thus Jesus depicts the possession of the Holy Spirit within each individual believer and be present with His Church.

5.         In verse 18 Jesus further encourages His disciples “I will come to you,” and by that He means, the Holy Spirit.

6.         Jesus states that those who have His commandments and does them loves Him. In 13:34-35, Jesus’ commandment is that they are to love one another, and loving the Lord their God and keeping “my word” are part of this commanding. The keeping of Jesus’ commandments is the key expression of love for Him.

7.         The commandments of love, Jesus makes clear, are from the Father who has sent Him.

8.         Jesus states that the Helper, the Holy Spirit, will be the teacher of all the things Jesus has spoken to them. That is true then and now.

9.         Verse 27, one of the greatest passages in Scripture, is to be fully grasped by Jesus’ followers. Peace, which passes understanding, is peace with God bought by the precious blood of the Lamb. So then, no fear of anything in the world.

10        There indeed a “ruler of this world” the devil and his angels, but those in Christ will nevertheless have peace and security.

Announcing my new book

Introduction

How it all began

During the 1970s, while pastor of Church of the Open Door in San Rafael, California, I used my education in psychology to guide me in operating the Marin Christian Counseling Center out of my office at the Christian General Store in San Rafael, California. I had received a BA with a major in psychology from Sacramento State College and followed it up with an MA for a counseling certificate. (My plan was to be a school psychologist.) Right after the class work for the degree was completed, and after only a little while into the observed counseling phase of the program, I dropped out and moved to Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in Mill Valley to begin my theological education.

Betty Kenner, our bookstore manager, scheduled my appointments, and it was common for me to have four to six appointments each day, Tuesday through Friday. There was never a fee charged, though sometimes people made a contribution to the church instead, but this was not sought or expected.

During one week in 1973 Betty scheduled, on three different days, appointments for three men whom I had not known before, and as it turned out, who did not know each other.

How “Love in Action” began

All three men said they were homosexual and had been such all their lives. All three were Christian, and all three were quite conflicted about the contradiction between what the Bible said and their behavior. Two of the three were living with lovers; one had lovers on and off. Two of the men were regular in church attendance. One was a school teacher, one an artist, and the other a businessman. 

In turn, each told me that they wanted out of their homosexual lifestyle. And now I was wondering what in the world I should do. It went through my mind that this might not be accidental or coincidental—I thought it might be the hand of God. 

Homosexuality! I knew little about it—only that while I was in the military, a couple of my fellow medics got caught in the barracks, very compromised, and it was a big deal. It took a while before I figured out what kind of sex they could have. Now I became acquainted with, at least from a professional point of view, three men who told me they were homosexual and were looking to me for some support and guidance. 

The next Tuesday I asked Betty for the phone numbers of the three men and called each one to set up a meeting for the end of the week, maybe it was a Saturday morning. We met in my office, and after a couple hours or more of intense conversation, we decided to meet together on a weekly basis to discuss issues, pray, and give support and encouragement. After a few weeks of meetings, the artist said he knew of three women, all lesbians, who would like to join us. They did, and after two or three meetings with me and the six self-described homosexuals, we decided to open it up to others. One of the women thought it would be good to give the group a name, and she had one ready, out of 1 John 3: “Love in Action.” Everyone liked the name, and it stuck. 

More bits and pieces coming up.

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ISBN: 978-1-946794-16-1

I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life

The Gospel of John

John 14:1–14

I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life

Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.

1.         John concentrates Jesus’ core teachings in chapters 14, 15, and 16. Then in chapter 17 is the “high priestly prayer”, followed by the betrayal and arrest of Jesus in chapter 18.

2.         Found in the focus of verses 1 through 14 is perhaps the most famous of the “I Am” sayings, I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Jesus does not speak of a way or a path. No, He is the path to the Father and eternal life; there is no other.

3.         Jesus, as expressed in the opening verse, is concerned that His disciples will be discouraged and depressed by His death and ascension. He urges them to continue to believe in Him.

4.         Though He is departing, He is making a place for them. To use the word “place” is somewhat misleading since heaven is not a place. It is not in heaven where we find God. Rather, it is in God we find heaven. (Remember: a time is coming when the universe will no longer be.)

5.         Not only that, but Jesus Himself will take them to that place.

6.         Thomas interrupts Jesus (we see here an account of an actual conversation) by asking how would they know the way to this “place.”

Now we find the I Am saying. Jesus alone is the way to the Father.

7.         To know Jesus is to know the Father and to know the Father is to know Jesus. “Know” means to have fellowship and communion with the Triune God, to actually be in the presence of God.

8.         Philip now interrupts Jesus by asking Jesus to “show us the Father.” Jesus mildly rebukes Philip by reminding him that by seeing Him a person has seen the Father. (The mystery of the Trinity indeed!)

9.         Jesus now turns to the “works” His disciples are called to. They will do greater works, meaning a mission to others far beyond that tiny sliver of land they dwell in presently.

10.       These “greater works” are based upon their reliance on Jesus’ name, that is, upon who He is and what He has done. “In his name” is not a magical formula. The “asking” must be in accord with the will of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.