When we last spoke about how Authority had been delegated to Adam, and that God did not take it back immediately when Adam sinned, I couldn’t leave it alone without pointing out that one of the many awesome truths of the purpose that Jesus came to fulfill was in taking the Authority that man forfeited. We looked at how Jesus had to be born a man, but not from man’s seed (to inherit sin), so the virgin birth was required so that Jesus (the Word Made Flesh) could come and lay down His life:
John 10:11-18 (ESV) 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”
Praise the Lord! Notice here, that Jesus clearly states His purpose, His Authority, and that He received it from God the Father. Now, remember that our charge is given to us in the Great Commission, but let’s look at it again in Matthew:
Matthew 28:16-20 (ESV) 16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Notice the “therefore”. A cute little saying I heard growing up in Sunday School regarding taking the time to understand the context of scriptures was, What’s the ‘therefore’ there for? Here, it is telling us that our charge to Go and make disciples of all nations… is based in the fact that All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Jesus… who is then giving us the charge to Go…
Now, let’s talk about the Holy Spirit. In the book of John, we see Jesus making several attempts at preparing the disciples for what was about to take place (crucifixion, resurrection, & ascension). In hindsight, we can see that Jesus was speaking quite plainly. But He knew (and said as much) that they just wouldn’t understand what He was telling them. Let’s take a look at the promise of Jesus to send a Helper:
John 15:18-27 (ESV) 18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. 21 But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. 25 But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’ 26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness about Me. 27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.
John 16:1-15(ESV) 1 “I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away. 2 They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. 3 And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me. 4 But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you. “I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. 5 But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. 12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
The Holy Spirit is called our Helper, (the Greek word here is Paracletos, one called alongside to help; or Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor) and the Spirit of Truth. But Jesus doesn’t just identify Whom He will send, but for what purpose, to bear witness about Jesus. But here is something very cool (at least, I thought so)… this was already the role of the Holy Spirit. Only before, He took His marching orders from God the Father.
Luke 3:21-22 (ESV) 21 Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, 22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
Praise the Lord. What is different now, is that before Christ, God sent His Spirit to speak the Word of the Lord through Prophets, Priests, and Judges over Israel. The Spirit of God was only available to whom God had called for His purpose. Now Jesus is sending the Holy Spirit to all who hear and place their faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, being baptized in the Name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit!
Remember, that God keeps His promises. In Acts 2, the promise of Jesus Christ to send the Holy Spirit takes place on the day of Pentecost. It is a momentous event. Peter’s first sermon is amazing, and I strongly recommend studying it closely. But for this blog, we are going to key in on how the crowd responds to the conclusion of the sermon, and Peter’s response to the question:
Acts 2:36-41 (ESV) 36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” 37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” 40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” 41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.
Praise the Lord! This promise is for us, we who are far off, those of us whom the Lord Our God has called to Himself through His Word! I want to turn quickly to one more passage of scripture before we close this out. Now, remember that role for which Jesus said He was going to send the Holy Spirit. Bearing that in mind, let us look to 1 John 4:
1 John 4:1-6 (ESV) 4 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. 4 Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 5 They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
It is not a sign of doubt, unbelief, or insubordination to test the spirits to see whether they are from God. We are told to do so. Don’t let anyone silence you out of fear of being labeled a “critical person” or worse, for having a “spirit of criticism” simply because you aren’t yielding to the move of every spirit. For the role of the Holy Spirit is not to bring glory to Himself… but to Jesus Christ. Do we rely on our emotions? No. Remember that Jesus is the Word made flesh (John 1:14), so knowing the Word of God is critical to identifying rightly the Spirit of Truth from the many spirits of error. I hope to dive into 1 Corinthians 12-14 sometime, but I will say that spiritual discernment is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit given to the body of believers (the Church), but knowledge of the Word of God is still necessary to properly operate in the Gifts of the Spirit.
I pray you have a wonderful weekend, and that you’ve found some blessing in these bible studies. May the Lord bless you and keep you in His Will,