This is the sermon for Wednesday, December 9th, 2009.
John part 69
John 15:26-27 ESV – 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. 27And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.
Jesus and the disciples are headed toward the Garden of Gethsemane the night before His death. He has just told the disciples that the world will hate them because it hates Christ. In reality, this is a very deep hatred because it shows that the root of their hatred is hatred for God Almighty.
Jesus now goes back to the promise of the Holy Spirit. The answer to the world’s hatred is not self-help testimony or positive thinking; but Spirit-empowered testimony.
This is the same answer for our day as well! Being appealing to the world is not God’s way; neither being some positive alternative, nor taking a class on evangelism. God’s way hasn’t changed; it is Spirit-empowered witness.
Let’s begin looking at the subject of Spirit-empowered witness from our text this evening.
Spirit-empowered witness is the plan of the Father.
John 15:26a ESV – But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father…
The Holy Spirit is not conjured up, or comes by the world’s standard and world’s ways; He comes and is sent directly from the Father.
1 Corinthians 2:12 ESV – Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.
Now when I say Spirit-empowered witness, I’m not using man made religious definitions that are normally used. It doesn’t mean you have to be of a particular persuasion or denominational bent. It means that the witness of believers must be guided and infused with the Spirit of Truth – who proceeds from the Father.
Since the Spirit of Truth comes from the Father, this type of witness is the Father’s plan for Christ’s disciples.
Why must the Christian’s witness be Spirit-empowered? Well, in the Eleven’s case, they will be hated, persecuted, and ultimately martyred (what the word witness truly means) by the opposing world’s system. In our case, it means pretty much the same thing. Though we Americans don’t face physical martyrdom like the early followers of Christ and believers in other countries do today; many American Christians reputation has be ruined because of personal sin or false teachers and believers. We need our witness to rise above all that. That’s why our witness needs to be empowered by the Holy Spirit, who comes from the Father.
In what ways has the Father through the Holy Spirit bore witness of Christ according to Scripture?
- Through the OT Scriptures.
Hebrews 1:1 ESV – Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets…
- Through Jesus Christ Himself.
Hebrews 1:2 ESV – but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.
- Through the works of Jesus Christ.
John 5:36 ESV – But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me.
- The Father’s direct statement that Peter overheard.
2 Peter 1:16-18 ESV – 16For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” 18we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain.
- Through the Spirit of Truth.
1 John 5:6 ESV – This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.
This leads us to our next point.
Spirit-empowered witness is all about Jesus.
John 15:26b ESV – he will bear witness about me.
The Holy Spirit’s primary ministry to the church and the world is to testify about Jesus. It is not to exalt man, or exalt a particular worship style, ministry, denomination, or spiritual gift.
John Calvin, in his commentary on the book of John has this to say concerning this passage, “The Spirit is said to testify about Christ because He keeps and settles our faith in Him alone, so that we do not look for any part of our salvation anywhere else.”
Scripture verses concerning the witness about Jesus.
Acts 2:32 ESV – This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses.
Acts 5:30-32 ESV – 30 The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. 31God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”
1 Corinthians 2:2 ESV – For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.
1 Peter 5:1 ESV – So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed.
Revelation 1:9 ESV – I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.
Revelation 17:6 ESV – And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. When I saw her, I marveled greatly.
So Spirit-empowered witness is not about a show or some display of mighty works, but it is all about bearing witness to Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
Spirit-empowered witness is done through His disciples.
John 15:27 ESV – 27And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.
In the immediate context: these Eleven would be empowered by the Spirit of Truth to take the gospel and found the church as literal eyewitnesses.
For us: their eyewitness still speaks to us through the Gospels, the Acts, and the Epistles. We are empowered to share the same truth by the same Spirit of Truth that empowered them. We share about Jesus to those who don’t know Him and those who are blinded by false religion and teachings.
We need to be witnesses, not in our own power and motivation, but the Spirit’s power and the Father’s motivation. In your witness, ask the Lord to fill you and trust He will not only give you the words to say, but through your words exalt Christ and touch lives.