John 14:15-24 | More of God Available | Andrew Gutierrez
Topic: Worship Gatherings Passage: John 14:15–14:24
Please open your Bibles to John 14. Our text for the evening is John 14:15-24, so please follow along as I read. Jesus speaking to his disciples says this:
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.
Now, I don’t know if you are into athletics. I am. And if you are, I don’t know how long it’s been since your team has won a championship. For me, it tends to be a long time with the teams that I follow. But there was one team this year that actually won a championship. My favorite college basketball team, the University of North Carolina.
It was about a month ago Michelle and I and our littlest one, Thatcher, who was then four months old, were at a conference. We were at the Gospel Coalition conference in Indianapolis with a few people from our church. The night of the championship game, Monday night, Michelle and I were in the hotel room and Byron and Mert Tabbut came over to watch the game with us, and we got to celebrate. I don’t think they cared about North Carolina—they cared because I cared—so we got to celebrate the North Carolina Tar Heels winning a national championship in college basketball.
Now, it’s been a while since they’ve won, and other teams I like, it’s been even a longer while since they’ve won. But when you’re a sports fan and you’re longing for a championship and you do crazy things like paint your face or pay hundreds of dollars for tickets or whatever it may be, you’re waiting for that final celebration. But then, after the celebration’s over, you kind of start back at zero. Time for next year. That feeling of exuberance and joy doesn’t last forever. It doesn’t even last for 24 hours or so. It’s kind of like we’ve been waiting for so long for this and it happened and now what? Well, that’s sports. Some of you are not sports fans just for that reason. Who cares?
Others of you know what I’m talking about. In fact, there’s a player on the basketball team and he’s a solid believer named Justin Jackson, and he was actually quoted saying something to effect. About 24 hours after the championship, he said that it was all over. And he was talking about the fact that the championship’s over, but he’s glad that he has his joy in Christ. Well, that’s encouraging, and if you’re a sports fan, you kind of understand what I’m talking about.
This is kind of the feeling that the disciples have here. They’ve been with Jesus and then he says something like, what you’ve known now is going to be over as you know it. I’m not going to be with you any longer. And as we’ve talked about before, there was kind of some air sucked out of the room, and they put their heads down. But that’s the exact time where he preaches to them through the rest of the upper room discourse about all that he’s going to do when he goes away.
So, if they feel any sort of emotional high and then a letdown, they shouldn’t. And as Christians, we shouldn’t either. Jesus promises some amazing things in John, chapter 13 through 17, and we’re kind of in the middle of all that. Jesus knows that the longing of a human heart, the ultimate longing of a human heart is to be satisfied in God, is to have this joy in God that only ever increases and never diminishes like some sort of sports high or relational high on earth or whatever it may be. When you are in Christ, your joy only increases as you go on loving him
C. S. Lewis—listen to this quote. I stole this from the Twitter account of Jason Drumm. “I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy. The most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” That’s exactly true. There is a dissatisfaction even with good things in this life that are not ultimate things. Jesus knows that our souls long for more of him. The Father knows that our souls long for more of him. The Holy Spirit knows that our souls long for more of him.
And I’d ask you the same question I ask myself: Do you long for more of God? Do you long for a closer walk, more communion (that old word that I love so much) with him? Do you long for that? Jesus knows that and he promises in these verses more communion for his disciples. It reminds me of Psalm 63:1: “O, God, you are my God, and I long for you. My whole being desires you; like a dry, worn-out, and waterless land, my soul is thirsty for you” (Good News Bible). If there is any truth in that Psalm that resonates with your own heart, this passage is for you. This passage is for the one who longs for more of God.
Now, Jesus, in this passage talks to his disciples whom he’s just told that he’s going to go away from. He tells his disciples that there are some things that need to happen if they’re going to enjoy this closer relationship with him. And he actually makes this statement three times in the passage. You can see it there in verse 15: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” He says that three different times in these verses. He’s trying to show them that if you love me, you’ll keep my commandments. And then he starts to talk to them about the benefits and the close relationship that they’ll have with him and the Father and the Spirit.
But he’s saying at the very beginning, if you want this close relationship with me, you’re going to have to obey me from a loving heart. So, this close communion with God is not just for anybody; it’s for those who long to obey him because they love him. The ones who love Christ and seek to obey him are the ones that enjoy him the most, is what Jesus is saying. So, Jesus talks about three gifts he’s going to leave his disciples who lovingly obey him. Three divine gifts for the one who lovingly obeys Christ.
1. The Gift of the Indwelling Holy Spirit
Here’s the first gift: The gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Verses 15-17. Jesus is promising his followers the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Now, they had never had the Holy Spirit dwell inside of them. He had influenced them, but they had never had the Holy Spirit dwell inside of them. And Jesus is teaching them about a Helper that he’s going to send that will help them, who will indwell them, who will empower them, who will comfort them, who will guide them, who will lead them. Jesus promises his followers the ministry of the Holy Spirit who will be with them forever.
And yes, I said who. We speak of the Holy Spirit as a person, not a force, because the Bible speaks of him as a person. We are told that we as believers can grieve the Holy Spirit. There’s emotions there. In Acts 13 the Holy Spirit says, set apart for me Paul and Barnabas for the work that I have for them. The Holy Spirit says. So, the Bible speaks of the Holy Spirit as a person, not as a thing. The Holy Spirit is God himself. Jesus is promising the gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit to his disciples.
Verse 15, Jesus starts out this section and says, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Now, why would he be saying that at this point in the upper room discourse? Because, remember, Jesus said that one of them would betray him, and Peter was so bold and said something like, Lord, I’ll die for you, trying to communicate his love for Jesus. Lord, I would do anything for you. I’ll die for you.
Jesus shows his disciples what he really wants. If you say you love me, here’s how I want you to show it—not that you’ll die for me, but that you’ll obey me. So, Peter, you’re willing to die. I get that. And you will. You’re willing to die; but if you love me, you’ll obey my commandments. That’s what Jesus wants from a disciple. Jesus doesn’t want a disciple to give these lofty promises. “I would do anything for you.” He wants a disciple to simply understand his word and obey it because they love him.
So, Jesus says, if you love me, you’ll keep my commandments. Jesus teaches us something about Christians. Christians love Jesus, so they obey Jesus. That’s just a plain reality. The opposite is also taught by Jesus and other New Testament writers, including John. The opposite’s also true. If you don’t keep my commandments, you don’t love me. If you don’t love me, then you’re not going to keep my commandments. Jesus makes discipleship very plain to see. If you love me, you’ll obey me.
John, our gospel writer, as you know, wrote three letters that are in Scripture: 1 John, 2 John, 3 John. In 1 John 5:2 he says this, and he was getting this from the lips of Jesus, from the ministry of the Holy Spirit. John says this in 1 John 5:2: “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments.” One of the commands of Jesus is to love one another. And John says if we love one another, it shows that we’re actually obeying his commandments and that we actually love him.
So, John’s connecting this idea of love and obedience for us. Now, what happens when we as disciples demonstrate that loving obedience? When we say, Lord, I want to do what you say because I love you, what happens? Verse 16, Jesus speaking to his disciples, speaking to us: “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever.”
Jesus has just told these men that he’s leaving. They’re afraid. They’re concerned. They’re losing, they think, the one that they love, the one who loves them better than anybody else ever has. They’re losing him, and Jesus says (listen to the Trinity here), I will ask the Father and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever. The Son goes to the Father and asks for the Spirit for his people. What a passage.
In a sense, the Holy Spirit is an answer to Jesus’ prayers to the Father for us. Jesus prayed something for us. Jesus prayed someone for us. He asked the Father for the Holy Spirit to be in us. The Holy Spirit is a gift to us from the Father and from the Son. And he says this: I’ll ask the Father, and he’ll give you another Helper. Now, the word “another” in Greek can mean another of a different kind: man and woman; another person, but a different kind. This word another is another of the same kind. Jesus is saying I’m going to give you another member of the Godhead, another person of God, another of the same kind, of the same essence. I’ll ask the Father, and he’ll give you another Helper to be with you forever.
So, Jesus is saying, I’m leaving but another person of God is coming to be inside of you. That’s what Jesus is promising here. The Holy Spirit, notice, will never be taken away from a believer. This Helper will be with you forever. Now, is forever maybe eight months, and then he goes away? No, if the Holy Spirit indwells a believer, he indwells a believer forever. That’s why Ephesians 1:14 says that the Holy Spirit is the guarantee of our inheritance. The Holy Spirit comes and seals you for salvation; it’s lasting forever. You’ll receive the inheritance.
Now, the word used there—I’m not sure what it says there in your Bible. In the English Standard Version, it says “Helper.” He’ll give you another Helper. In English, we often use the word paraclete, counselor, one that comes alongside to help. There are a number of synonyms here. Helper, comforter, paraclete. The idea is that the Holy Spirit serves as an advocate, a helper, a counselor.
Now, there are a couple of ways the Holy Spirit does this. First, one of the ministries of the Holy Spirit is that he counsels people about their sin. We learn later on that the Holy Spirit, one of his ministries is to convict of sin. So, the first thing the Holy Spirit does in a believer’s life, when a person is born again, is the Holy Spirit shows them that they’re not as great as they once thought they were. He shows them who they truly are before a holy God, and the Holy Spirit convicts of sin. That’s counseling a person about who they really are.
And then the Holy Spirit convicts or counsels someone about Christ, shows someone Christ. So, one, the Holy Spirit shows you that you are low and sinful, and then the Holy Spirit picks your eyes up, as it were, and shows you Christ, who died for sinners. So, the Holy Spirit convicts of sin, and then the Holy Spirit shows you Christ and glorifies Christ to you.
If you’re a Christian, you know exactly what I’m talking about because that’s what happened to you when you were converted. You understood yourself for who you were. You were poor in spirit, and then the Holy Spirit showed you Christ, and he became precious to you, valuable. You longed for him, longed for his mercy, longed for a relationship with him. So, the Holy Spirit in that sense is a comforter, is a counselor.
In a sense, he’s a prosecuting attorney, and he’s one that comes alongside and defends. He does both in that sense. So the Spirit is given by the Father by request of the Son so that we would be convicted, comforted, protected, secured and guarded. This is what Jesus is promising as he’s about to go back to the Father.
Now, what else do we know about this Helper or this advocate? Well, we know in verse 17 that he’s called the Spirit of truth. “I’ll ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even [or namely], the Spirit of truth.” That who’s going to come and help you. The Spirit of truth “whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.” So, Jesus calls the Holy Spirit the Spirit of truth.
Now, remember last week, John 14:6, Jesus said, I am the way, the what? The truth and the life. Jesus is saying I am the way, the truth and the life; and now he says I’m sending the Spirit of truth. So, you don’t have the physical embodiment of truth, but you’ll have the Spirit of truth inside of you. That’s what Jesus is promising. Notice the connection between Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Both are truth.
In John 16:13 Jesus tells the disciples that he will guide them into all truth. The Spirit will guide them into all truth. One of the ministries of the Spirit is also to guide people into truth, to teach us truth. The Holy Spirit teaches us what is real before God the Father, what is right. The Christian life, in a sense, is one where we are constantly learning from the Spirit of Christ by understanding the word of Christ.
So, they’re thinking, Jesus, you’re about to leave. You’ve been telling us how to view the poor. You’ve been telling us what to do here and there, how to endure persecution, how to give, how to think. You’ve been telling us all of this. Now, our teacher’s gone. Our truth teller is gone. And Jesus is saying, I’m sending you a Spirit inside of you that’s going to communicate truth to you.
And then we learn in John 16, he tells the disciples the Spirit will lead them to write down all of this truth for the people of Christ—us. So, we receive the ministry of truth from the Holy Spirit. Even right now as I speak we’re receiving the ministry of truth from the Holy Spirit. That’s what’s happening here.
John 17:17—later on in this section Jesus prays this to the Father: sanctify them. Set them apart. Make them holy. Sanctify them in the truth. Your word is truth. Now, you can take a hundred people randomly in Prescott and open up the Bible, and you can read it, and some of them will go, doesn’t mean anything. Some of them will go, that means everything. Why? The Spirit of truth ministers to them. The Spirit of truth ministers by the word of truth.
So, Jesus is teaching that he’s leaving, in a sense, their physical source of truth coming from his lips, and he’s sending the Spirit of truth into their hearts, so that they will understand when they hear the words of truth that they’ll minister to them.
Notice, as I just said, this isn’t something that everybody understands. He’s sending the Spirit of Truth whom the world cannot receive. The world’s unable to receive the ministry of the Holy Spirit in this sense because they do not believe in Christ. He sends his Spirit to the ones who believe in him. 1 Corinthians 2:14: “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually [understood or] discerned.”
So, the Holy Spirit doesn’t minister to everybody. He ministers to the people who have put their trust in Jesus Christ. That’s who he ministers to. And Jesus says this to the disciples. You know him. You know the Holy Spirit. And they might have thought, we don’t know him. We haven’t seen him, heard him, felt him. We don’t know him. Jesus says, you know him, for he dwells with you. And that preposition “with” is important. It doesn’t mean in. It means next to, around. He dwells with you. Who’s Jesus talking about? Himself. You know the Holy Spirit because you’ve seen him work in me, and I’m right next to you. You know him because he dwells with you. Me. Right here.
And then he talks about the future. And he will be in you. You know him because he’s around you; but in the future, soon, he will be inside of you, Jesus is saying. They had known the Spirit’s work because Christ was with them. Now they’ll know the Spirit’s work because the Spirit is in them and, in a sense, Christ himself is in them. It’s the Holy Spirit of Christ. Now, this is the same indwelling that all believers receive at the moment of salvation. All believers receive the gift of the Holy Spirit at salvation. We’ve been given the gift of the Holy Spirt to dwell inside of us.
Jesus is teaching—don’t forget verse 15: “If you love me, you’ll keep my commandments”—Jesus is teaching that the disciple who obeys Christ because they love Christ will find the ministry of the Holy Spirit increasingly precious. The person who wants to obey Christ because they love Christ, the person who literally wakes up in the morning, reads their Bible and says, I want to obey. I want to be like that because I love him, and I want to do this for his glory, that person will find the ministry of the Spirit increasingly precious. The person who could care less about obeying Christ will not find the Holy Spirit precious.
So, the Lord is teaching his disciples, if you want communion with the Holy Spirit, you obey my commandments because you love me. Jesus tells the disciples that he’s leaving, and later on, by the way, in the upper room discourse, he actually says something that I think you find hard to believe. He says, it’s better for you that I leave and send the Helper. I mentioned this before, the reason is, it’s better to have Jesus inside of you than next to you. It’s better to have the Holy Spirit inside of you than next to you.
Jesus is teaching that when he leaves physically, you’re not lacking anything. If I asked you, who would you rather preach to you—Jesus Christ or me? I think all of you would pick the right answer. Jesus Christ. But when any person teaches the word of God faithfully, and you hear it and receive it and seek to obey it by the power of the Spirit, Jesus doesn’t view that as lesser than. The Holy Spirit is preaching to you. I’m not preaching here. The Holy Spirit is preaching. Jesus Christ has determined to use that for his people, and he says it’s better that I leave so that you can have the Spirit—not next to you—in you. In you.
To Jesus, this isn’t like, well, you’re not here, so we’ll take second best. That’s not how Jesus views the Holy Spirit. Jesus says it’s better that he’s here because he can be in you while I’m gone. The Holy Spirit is with us, teaching us, convicting us, comforting us. He is in us.
So, in verses 15-16, I ask this question for the 21st century listener: Are you relishing the teaching of the Holy Spirit? Every time you go to a Bible study, every time you open up your Bible and read it for yourself, every time you hear it preached or taught, the ministry of the Holy Spirit is real to you. Jesus is teaching you by his own power that’s now inside of you. What a privilege that is. So many people in the world do not care about the truth, cannot understand the truth. We can understand it, we have access to it, and he’s teaching us. The Holy Spirit serves us, guides us, leads us. He’s inside of us. It’s God himself convincing us of things because we read them, and we know them inside. This is what he does.
So, if you’re a Christian, here’s a good question to constantly ask yourself: What is the Spirit of God teaching me in the word of God that makes me more holy? What is the Spirit of God teaching me in the word of God that makes me more holy? Now the reason I add the end of that there—that makes me more holy—is because sometimes I think people just want to know more things in the Bible. What’s the Spirit of God teaching me about things. That’s not the goal. Remember what Jesus said—sanctify them. Make them holy in your truth. Your word is truth. So, the goal isn’t just knowing more; the goal is knowing more and constantly being changed into the image of Christ. Knowing for the purpose of change.
So, the Spirit is here to preach to us the word of God so that we would know the word of God and be changed into the image of God—Son of God. So, what is the Spirit teaching me in the word of God that makes me more holy? Ask each other in small group. What’s the Lord teaching you, and how is he changing you? There should be an answer there if we relish the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
2. The Gift of the Visible Son
Jesus has given us a wonderful gift. When he departed from this earth, he gave us the Spirit of himself to be inside of us. So, he gives his disciples the gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit and, secondly, he gives his disciples, including us, the gift of the visible Son. The gift of the visible Son.
Verses 18-20. Jesus promises that he will not abandon his disciples but will physically appear to them soon. Verse 18: “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” An orphan then, and even now, an orphan was thought of as someone who needed someone to do something for them if they were to continue to live. They were vulnerable and needed the help of another outside agency, outside force, outside person. They could not help themselves. An orphan was helpless and needed someone from the outside to help him.
Jesus says, I will not leave you, and you can translate that word abandon. I will not abandon you and leave you helpless. What a comfort that would have been for the disciples to whom he just said, I’m leaving. He says, I will not leave you as orphans. So, if I leave physically, I’m going to make sure that you are cared for. And then he says this: I will not leave you as orphans. I will come to you. And many people think that’s him speaking of the Holy Spirit. And I think there’s some truth to that. But I think it’s more than that. He’s also showing them that he will show himself to them physically again, too. The reason I believe that is because of verse 19. “Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me.” What happened after the resurrection? Unbelieving Israel didn’t see the resurrected Christ, but his followers did. Over five hundred of them saw him.
So, really the resurrected Christ showing himself to these disciples was the fulfillment of verses 18 and 19. “Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.” Not only am I going to rise from the dead, not only am I going to be resurrected and live again, you will then live again. Remember 1 Corinthians 15? He is the first fruits of the resurrection. We come after him. So, because he lives, we live. Because he conquered the grave, we can close our eyes on that hospital bed one day in the future and know, because he lives, I’m going to live. Jesus promises this here.
So, when Jesus appeared after his resurrection, he appeared to his followers in order to prove his power over death. He kept this promise. Now, listen to 1 Corinthians 15:3-8. Paul writes this to the Corinthian church:
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas [Peter], then to the twelve. [Of course, he did; he told them right here in our passage in John that he would.] Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive . . .
So, basically, hey, Corinthians if you want to travel over there, go ask him. They saw him. This is reliable testimony. Go talk to Joe on Second Street in Jerusalem; he saw him. He saw the resurrected Jesus, so that’s what Paul’s teaching the Corinthians.
though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.
Paul saw him in that Damascus Road experience. The Lord actually spoke to Paul. So, the rest of the apostles teach that Jesus appeared to over 500 of his followers to show that he had conquered the grave. Verse 20, Jesus continues in John 14: “In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.” This isn’t the first time Jesus had said something like, you’ll understand this all later on in the future. He teaches them things and they kind of look at each other and go, do you know what he’s talking about? No, do you? No. But they will. Jesus taught that a lot of things he taught them they would understand after the resurrection and after Acts 2 when Pentecost came and they received the Holy Spirit.
Well, this is what he’s saying. In that day you will know that I am in my Father. Now, he’s been saying this all throughout the gospel of John. I and the Father are one. If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father. The things I do are from the Father. He’s constantly telling them that and they hear that, but they don’t really hear it until after the resurrection and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Then they get it. Read their sermons in Acts. Go through Acts and read their sermons. They know the relationship between the Father and the Son. Of course, they do. Jesus told them that in the future they would understand how that all worked.
“In that day you will know that I am in the Father, and you in me, and I in you.” They’ll not just know that Jesus is in the Father. They’ll also know that they have a relationship with both members in that sense. They have a relationship with the Father and a relationship with the Son. This will make sense to them after the resurrection and when the Spirit comes. They’ll understand this.
Jesus comforts the disciples by declaring that they will see him soon. How does this comfort us? Because we serve a Savior who rose from the dead and then showed himself to his followers, hundreds of them. There’s a reason the apostles tell us to long for his appearing, because he’s going to come back physically. He’s alive. He’s coming back for his own.
Listen to John 20:26-28. We’ll get there. Listen to what he says. This is after the resurrection.
Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas [who had earlier said something like, I’ll believe it when I see it], “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you’ve seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
It’s good for us that we hear this account of Jesus physically showing himself after his death, showing himself as alive to his disciples. We then take that testimony and believe in what he says and believe that he’s coming again. That’s what we’re to do.
I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the videos of a United States soldier who’s maybe been away from his family for a while, and they think he’s coming back later in the future, but he comes back sooner than they think. And maybe you’ve seen the video of a little girl at school and she turns around and her daddy walks in in his military gear. And she runs to him. I mean, think of all that’s behind that. She’s afraid because daddy’s going to somewhere dangerous. She hopes he comes back and he returns.
Jesus is about to go to the cross. That’s the most dangerous place you can ever go. He’s going to suffer the wrath of God and he comes out the other side victorious. And he says to his disciples, I’m coming back for you. The sweetness of that little reunion in the classroom is a little picture of what it’s like for us. We will have our conquering Lord, our conquering, victorious Savior come back for us, and he’ll never go away again. What a thought.
John again, later on in his life, writes this to believers: “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2). John saw him. John started his letter, his epistle, by saying, we’ve seen him. We’ve touched him. I’m writing to you, and I know the resurrected Lord. I leaned against him in the upper room. Then he died and rose again, and I touched him after he died and rose again.
Little children, we’ll see him. There’ll be a day when you see Jesus Christ, and all the questions you had about what he looked like, you’ll have them answered. You’ll hear whether his voice is high or low. You’ll know it. You’ll know his mannerisms, what he does with his hands when he’s surprised. You’ll know what his hair is like. Did he have a beard? How much of a beard? You’ll know all those things because he’s physically alive today, and he’s returning for his disciples. He told his disciples here, I’m leaving, but I’m going to come back and show you. And he showed them.
I would encourage you to prize the physical appearing of Christ. Think about it. Pray for it. Long for it. It’s not fairytale. It’s happening. It’s coming. We worship a person who is God. We worship the God-man, Jesus Christ. He became a man to show us God in a way that we could best understandeHe. Jesus didn’t say, I’m going away, preparing a place for you, and one day—remember that burning bush back in Exodus? I’m sending the burning bush back for you. What would that have done? All right, he said that he’s coming back for us. God in human flesh is coming back for us because that’s what we want. That’s what our hearts want. We want to hold those hands with the nail scars in them. We want to see that side that was pierced for us. We want him, and he promises that he’s going to come and return for his disciples.
3. The Gift of the Abiding Father and Son
The disciples are given the indwelling of the Spirit by Jesus. The disciples are also given the promise of a physical return of Christ. And finally, number three, the disciples are given the gift of the abiding Father and Son. Love these verses. The gift of the abiding Father and Son. The key verse in this section, 21-24, is actually in verse 23: “Jesus answered him, ‘If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.’” Jesus is teaching that he and the Father will abide in us.
Verse 21 in this section, Jesus again says, “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” He repeats this theme about love and keeping his commandments again. You think that this mattered to Jesus? If you love me, you’ll obey me. No love, no obedience. No obedience, no love. If you love me, you’ll obey me.
Now he takes it a step further. If someone loves me, he’ll be loved by my Father. Now, real quick, because we know the gospel, we know what Jesus is not saying. Jesus is specifically talking to his disciples, those who are his own. He’s not teaching the world, hey, if you conjure up some love for Jesus, then the Father who’s sitting back there like this (frowning): I don’t know; okay, he loves my Son; all right, fine, I’ll go to him. That’s not how salvation works.
1 John 4:19: “We love [him] because he first loved us.” Romans 5:8: “While we were still sinners [there’s not a lot of love for Christ there], Christ died for us.” So, in salvation, the love of God initiates the response in a new believer. The love of God convicts an unbeliever of sin and calls him to cry out to Christ. Christ shows them mercy, and in that sense the Father has demonstrated his love to the believer. God so loved the world (remember, when that world was in sin) that he sent his only begotten Son, that whosoever would believe in him shall not perish but have eternal life in his name (John 3:16, paraphrased). That’s what the love of God does. The love of God initiates salvation.
Jesus is not teaching a lesson about salvation here. He’s teaching his disciples, if you’re increasingly obeying me because you love me, the Father, you will understand more of the Father’s love to you. Some of you have been in valleys in your Christian life, in cold, dry places even as a disciple; and you know you do not feel close to the Lord in that sense. But you’ve also been in places where you feel like, man, I’m growing. I’m obeying. I’m not doing the things I used to do at the level I did them. This is happening, and you enjoy the love of the Father in a very real sense.
That’s what Jesus is teaching here. He’s teaching his disciples, as you increasingly love me and obey my commandments, the Father will in a sense manifest more of his love. You’ll understand it; you’ll feel it more. Jesus promises not only the Father will love him, but then Jesus says, and I will love him and manifest myself to him. Of course, Jesus will love who the Father loves. They are like-minded. They are one in purpose. When the Father pours his love out onto the believer, the Son pours his love out onto the believer, and so does the Spirit, by the way. Jesus promises to manifest himself to the one who is growing in obedience.
And then the disciple asks a question. Verse 22: “Judas (not Iscariot) [he’s already gone] said to him, ‘Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?’” How are you going to show yourself to us, and nobody else is going to see you? How are we only going to see you? “Jesus answered him, ‘If anyone loves me, he will keep my word.’” Okay, Jesus, we heard you say that twice already.
He’s saying it for a reason. If anyone loves me—here’s his answer to Judas—how is it, Jesus, that you’re going to show yourself to us, and nobody else? “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” The answer to Judas’ question: How will you show us yourself, and nobody else will see you? Jesus is saying because the Father and I will come and be inside of you. That’s how you’ll know. We’ll make our home with him.
Verse 24: “Whoever does not love me [the world] does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.” Jesus is showing that not everyone will believe us, not everyone will embrace his word; and therefore, they won’t know the love of the Father and the Son. If a person doesn’t love Christ, they won’t keep his commands. And Jesus, again, like he’s done so often in John, shows that the things he says are really what the Father is saying through him. They’re like-minded.
The word of Christ is the word that he declared from the Father. “And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.” I’m just telling you what the Father says. We say the same thing here. They are one in purpose. To reject Jesus’ words is to reject God. To reject Jesus’ words is to rejects God. You cannot say that you have God and reject Jesus Christ. To reject Christ is to reject the Father. Jesus gives his followers a promise that the Father and Son will make their home in him.
Now, you’ve been a guest at people’s houses before, I trust. And there are some homes you love going to. And there are some homes that you do not feel comfortable in for whatever reason. I’ll let you sort that out. Some homes you go to and, man, I could just hang out with you guys forever. And some homes you go to—when is dinner over? Let’s get out of here.
The Father and Son for the one who loves Christ and obeys his commandments, the Father and Son love to make their home in that person. Listen to 2 Corinthians 6:16-18. 2 Corinthians 6 is that great passage where Paul is telling believers, don’t be unequally yoked with unbelievers. What fellowship does light and darkness have? You don’t marry an unbeliever. You don’t engage with them, in that sense, as one. And a lot of times we hear that passage, and we think, okay, I can’t do this. I can’t do that with those people. I can’t do that with her or him. I can’t, I can’t, I can’t. But listen to the reason why he’s saying that. It’s a positive. 2 Corinthians 6:16-18:
What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you [listen to God], and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.
Here, the Father does not want us to think about being unequally yoked as something that we avoid in a negative way. So, okay, I can’t marry an unbeliever. Huhhhh, I gotta obey what the Bible says. You’re missing it. God’s saying, no, you don’t marry them. What fellowship has light with darkness? They’re a child of Satan. You’re a child of God. How does that make sense? But listen, if you come out from that, if you obey what I say there, I will be a father to you. I will dwell with you. So, you’re giving up him for me. This isn’t a negative. This is an opportunity.
Adam and Eve sinned. They had once enjoyed communion with God, walking with God in the cool of the day—whatever that would have been like. They sinned, sent out of the Garden, no more walks with God. Separation. Then God, who is still gracious and merciful, still has grace for the world and grace for sinners, made a way for people to approach him, and he gave the Israelites, his people, his tabernacle and then later the temple. But they couldn’t just casually walk up and be in the presence of God. There needed to be death for sin, and even then nobody could go into the most holy place except for the high priest once a year.
There’s separation between sinners and God. And then Jesus Christ, our Passover lamb, dies, and the veil of the temple is ripped when he dies, and access is given for the believer to be in front of God without dying, because of Jesus Christ, the lamb. And now Jesus Christ, the lamb of God, says to all of his disciples, not just the ones in the upper room, but all of us, says to his disciples, if you love me and obey my commandments, myself and the Father will make our home inside of you. There was separation from Eden. There was separation in the most holy place. There’s been separation, separation, separation, blood required to even give you access to God. But now because of the blood of Jesus Christ, Jesus the Son and the Father are willing to make their home inside of us.
Whenever you have company, you straighten up. You want people to feel at home. You kind of clean up and act like you never make a mess, and you know you kind of do all that. You got a junk drawer, maybe a junk closet, maybe a junk room. Because you want people to feel at home and welcome. And they don’t know about your junk drawer and junk closet. They think you’re perfect.
Believers are the home of the Father, Son and Spirit. There are no places outside of their gaze. There are no places, there are no things that we can hide from them. Everything’s open before them. I think it’s good for a believer to ask the Lord, am I the kind of home you want to dwell in? This week, this hour, this month, this year—am I the kind of home that you want to dwell in? I want to welcome you.
Ever more increasingly in my life I want to understand that you dwell in me. I want to do what you would do. I want you to live in me. So, if there are areas of your spiritual life that you’re making excuses for, thinking that you’re hiding from other people and actually acting as if you were hiding them from God, you’re not. If there are those areas, the way to clean up your home isn’t to try to fool people. It’s to repent. Lord, forgive me of this. I want to be your home. Nothing in between you and me. I’m your home. Dwell in me. Manifest yourself to me in that sense.
We’ve seen three divine gifts that Jesus Christ gives the one who lovingly obeys; and I want to be clear for a moment, if you’re not a follower of Christ, if you’re not a Christian, here’s what I’m not saying tonight: If you’ll just obey Jesus, he’ll love you. That’s the message for believers. As you love him and increasingly obey, you will understand more of the communion you have with the Father, Son and Spirit. That’s a message for believers.
The message for those who are not followers of Christ is not, hey, clean yourself up and maybe he’ll like you. I actually have the opposite message for you. Admit that you’re not clean and cry out to him for mercy, and he hears that cry, and he loves to save sinners, forgive sinners. Listen to Psalm 32:1-5:
Blessed is the one [happy is the one] whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity [sin], and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
And then David rehearses his past.
For when I kept silent [about my sin], my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.
And then David says this:
I acknowledged my sin to you [I just admitted what you already knew], and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.
If you’re in here and you’re not a follower of Christ, the message is, don’t just go out of here saying, okay, I just need to be good. Don’t do that. Do what David did here. Do what every Christian has done at one point. Just say, I am who I am. You know who I am. I know who I am. I’m a sinner. Confess your transgressions to the Lord and trust in him alone, and he will forgive the iniquity of your sin. And then notice what happens. Verse 7: “You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance.”
It’s the picture of God singing over one of his own. God singing. God singing over his own because he’s been reconciled back to God. Notice the relationship here for the forgiven sinner, the forgiven now-disciple. And then God speaks in Psalm 32:8: “I will instruct you and teach you.” Do you hear the ministry of the Holy Spirit here, the preacher of truth, the Spirit of truth? “I will instruct you [disciple] and teach you [disciple] in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.” Earlier in this person’s life before they were a follower of God, God’s hand was heavy on them. Now his comforting eye is watching them, like the father who watches his son as he’s close to the street or his daughter as she’s near danger. He’s watching, and he’s there to help. Notice the relationship.
God continues, verse 9: “Be not like a horse or a mule without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you.” The first place to start if you’re not a Christian is to admit or confess your sin before the Lord. Ask him to forgive it. Ask him to change you. Ask him to help you to be a follower of his. And then enjoy the relationship. He guides. He comforts. He directs. He gives the Spirit of truth. And he says, the Son and the Father and the Spirit will indwell you. You’re our new home.
John Owen was a Puritan who wrote a lot about communion with the Trinity. Enjoy the relationship you have with all three members of the Trinity. And I would encourage you, as I think Owen would, read your Bible in a Trinitarian way. Enjoy the ministry of the Spirit to you. Enjoy the ministry of the Son and the Father. Read it and understand all that each member of the Trinity does for you as a disciple. Listen to this quote from Owen:
Sometimes a man’s communion and conversation is with the one, sometimes with the other, sometimes with the Father, then with the Son, then with the Holy Spirit. Sometimes his heart is drawn out to consider the Father’s love in choosing, and then the love of Christ in redeeming, and so again the love of the Holy Spirit that searches the deep things of God and reveals them to us and takes all the pains with us. And so a man goes from one witness to another distinctly.
He finishes with this:
We should never be satisfied till all three persons lie level in us and make their home with us, and we sit as it were in the midst of them while they all manifest their love to us.
And we sit as it were in the midst of them while they all manifest their love to us. Let’s pray.
Father, Son and Spirit, we praise you for the fact that you would make your home in us. Lord, it’s inconceivable and we know it’s not because we are so lovely and perfect and wonderful, but it’s because we’ve been reconciled to you, Father, through the blood of your Son, because we were convicted of our sin by the Spirit and shown the beauty of your Son by him.
We praise you, Father, Son and Spirit, that you each manifest your love to us in various ways. You comfort, Spirit; you planned our salvation, Father; you’ve won our salvation, Jesus. So, Lord, as disciples of yours, we pray that your home—us—be homes where you are welcome, that you enjoy as we seek to show people what you are like. Empower us, strengthen us, encourage us, convict us, comfort us. Do all of the ministry that you do, for your glory. Amen.
More in Embrace the Wait
May 14, 2017John 14:25-31 | Knowledge Over Emotion | Andrew Gutierrez
April 30, 2017John 14:1-14 | Waiting for Christ's Return | Andrew Gutierrez