Advent - Hope

I believe that the Bible is the Word of God, uniquely inspired by the Holy Spirit and that is why I do the things that I do, that is why I must say no to certain things and yes to others, that is why I am serious when I come into the pulpit, that is why I teach the way I do, and yet the Bible allows me to rest in faith. That is what I would like to do during this Advent season. I would like to rest in faith, enjoy the Scriptures, and enjoy one another.

This is the Advent Season: 1st Advent- Birth of Christ / 2nd Advent- Return of Christ

Hope is a Natural Human Feeling:
We continually want something to come, happen, be found, change, or turn out well. Many of you are hoping for things right now….

Hope is a Fitting Theme to Begin Advent:
Hope of the Birth of Christ and now hope for the Return of Christ. OT looked forward in hope to the birth and the NT looks forward to the return. These are the Advents, the arrival of something long awaited and so momentous – the presence of Christ, Immanuel.

1. The popular idea of hope is that it is a subjective desire or it is to want something very much.
2. The Biblical idea of hope is that it is Desire + Expectation.

"Hope" in the Scriptures:

I. The Source of our Hope
1) God’s Calling and Salvation – Eph 4:4; 1 Pet 1:3
2) The Holy Spirit – Rom 15:13

II. The Substance of our Hope
1) First and Second Advents of Christ – Tit 2:11-13
2) Resurrection of the Dead – 1 Cor 15:20-23
3) Sharing in God’s Glory – Rom 5:1-2

III. The Value of Hope
1) Defining Element of Christianity – Col 1:3-5
2) Strengthens and Encourages – Phil 1:19-20

God was faithful to His promise that He would crush the serpent’s head, that Abraham's seed would bless all the families of the earth, that He would send one like Moses, that He would send His Servant that Isaiah describes. Christ has come in the flesh, the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. John says that he beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. That was the first advent.

And He will be faithful in His promise to return. Christ said that if he went to prepare a place for us that He would come again. That is the second advent. That is our hope!

John 16:16-33 The Upper Room Discourse

Your Joy No One Will Take

We have finally come to the final verses of the Upper Room Discourse. In chapter sixteen verses sixteen through thirty-three Jesus will conclude His teaching ministry. All the things that He had done for the disciples would come to an end that night. He would not be with them physically any longer to guide them, answer their questions, or absorb the hatred directed toward them. Yet, there was one task left to accomplish; the primary reason that Jesus came. He had come into the world to save sinners and that is exactly what He would do the following day at Calvary. He would be glorified; i.e. crucified, resurrected, ascended. Thus, in these verses we will read the final words of Jesus’ teaching/prophetic ministry. His glorification was so sure that He declared at the end of the passage, “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

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What is This That He Says [16-19]
The disciples are puzzled by the statement that Jesus makes in verse sixteen. Though, we must admit that it is somewhat strange for Jesus to say, “A little while, and you will not see Me, and again a little while, and you will see Me.” It was difficult enough to figure out what Jesus meant in chapter fourteen verse nineteen when He said, “A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me.”

In fact, the disciples have not even spoken since the last question was posed by Judas (not Iscariot) in chapter fourteen verse twenty-two. There he asked, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world.” This definitely has the disciples talking again and maybe that is exactly what Jesus was provoking. The men could not make any sense of what Jesus meant by this saying. Because they were so confused, the disciples “murmured among themselves” (Yarborough, 165). Of course, this isn’t the first time that they murmured or reasoned among themselves; they had done it on several occasions. This time they could not come up with an answer. The reason they couldn’t decipher the message was because they had “no category to allow them to make sense of a Messiah who would die, rise from the dead, and abandon his people in favour of ‘another Counsellor’” (Carson, 543).

Now Jesus knew that they really wanted to question Him. He could most likely see the puzzled looks on their faces and hear the mumbling around the room. So, Jesus sets us His response by repeating His statement again in verse nineteen: “A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me.”

Your Sorrow Will Be Turned into Joy [20-24]
In verse twenty Jesus now begins His response to their inquiry and does so with His well known phrase “Most assuredly, I say to you…” (or as the KJV puts it “Verily, verily, I say unto you…”). Jesus uses this phrase “to confirm and emphasize [the following statement’s] trustworthiness and importance” (Carson, 162). Thus, Jesus has no doubt that in just a little while, the disciples would weep, but the world would rejoice.
We know that it would be just a little while and Jesus would be crucified and buried. The disciples would no longer see Him. After another little while He would be raised from the dead and the disciples would be able to see Him once again. During that period of not seeing Jesus the disciples would most certainly weep and lament. The world, though, would count the death of Jesus as terrific and would rejoice over the fact of getting rid of what they considered to be a menace in society. In the last phrase of verse twenty we hear the Gospel message. Christ can turn sorrow to joy and that is exactly what happened for the disciples on resurrection Sunday. Jesus would return to them and their sorrow would be turned to joy.

Next, Jesus uses an illustration of a mother giving birth to describe what He has just said. I think that all the mothers in the room know this verse to be true. I have heard many mothers say, even those who had several complications, that as soon as their child is delivered the pain goes away. I have been told that the process is not even remembered when they are able to hold their baby for the first time. A mother’s heart rejoices to see her child and no one or no thing can take that joy from her. The same would be true of the disciples. They would be sorrowful at the death of their Friend and Master, but that grief would not even be remembered when they saw Him again. Their hearts would rejoice and no one would be able to take their joy from them when Jesus was raised from the dead; that is excitement and that is good news. No one can steal the joy that you have from meeting the risen Savior!

The day would soon come when the disciples would no longer need to ask Jesus about the things that they were having difficulty understanding. Jesus had said so many things about His crucifixion and resurrection for which the disciples simply had no reference. At the time, they could not understand why the Messiah would die. Yet, after the resurrection they would know. In fact, it was when the Apostle John looked into the empty tomb that he says he believed. There questions would be answered, so in that day they would ask Him nothing. They would simply believe. An extension of that faith would be an authentic and healthy prayer life. They would be so immersed in Christ that they could truly ask in His name, i.e. in full accord with His person. The idea of asking in Jesus’ name was detailed in chapter fifteen, but now it is put in proper order according to salvation history. It would be after the glorification of Christ that the disciples would be able to ask the Father for things in Jesus’ name and receive those things which would cause their joy to be full.

I Will Tell You Plainly [25-27]
All the things that Jesus has said throughout the discourse have been said in figurative language; that is mysterious and obscure language. There would be a time when Jesus would tell the disciples “plainly” about the Father; that is openly and clearly. The time that He foretells will be after the crucifixion/resurrection and will be marked by the coming of the Holy Spirit. I think that it is mainly the Spirit of Christ who would speak plainly to the disciples about the Father, but Jesus most certainly spoke to the disciples after the resurrection and before the ascension. I find it interesting that Jesus says that He would tell them about the Father. We may have figured Him to say that He would tell more about His incarnation, or about His death, or about His resurrection. Yet, He says, “I will tell you plainly about the Father.” Jesus always directs our attention to the Father, but in doing so we realize that Jesus is the ultimate self-revelation of the Father. If you have seen Jesus, you have seen the Father. If you understand the person of Jesus then you understand the person of the Father.
We have talked at length about praying in Jesus’ name. He has spoken of it at several points during the discourse. We are now told that in the power of Christ’s name they would bring their requests directly to the Father. They may not understand it yet, but the righteousness that Jesus’ would secure for them at Calvary would be their means of personally and individually entering into the presence of God the Father. How would they receive the power associated with Jesus’ name? Verse twenty-seven tells us that the Father already loved those disciples because they had loved Jesus and had believed that He came forth from God. God loves the whole world, He has demonstrated that in the sending of His Son, still He loves believers in a different way and shows that by satisfying their requests when made in accord with the person of Jesus (His name).

I Have Overcome the World [28-33]
Verse twenty-eight is one of those plain statements that Jesus says He will soon share. In two sentences He describes “the great movement of salvation” (Morris, 630). First, Jesus came forth from the Father. He was in a heavenly abode in a state of unconstrained glory. He was then commissioned by the Father with a task. Second, Jesus came into the world. This speaks of the incarnation. This is what John said in chapter one with the expression, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” Jesus humbled Himself to become a man and even went as far as death, even death on a cross. Yet, He was raised from the dead three days later. Third, after completing the task that He was commissioned to do Jesus left the world and went back to the Father. The ministry of Christ came full circle. He was sent out as the unique, self-sacrificing ambassador of God the Father and He returned to Him after accomplishing the mission.

That is clear and understandable! The disciples even consider these two sentences to be plain enough. Yet, I can’t help to think to myself, Had they not heard anything that Jesus had said during His ministry? Over and over again Jesus had told them that He had come from the Father. Again, over and over He had told them that He had to die and be raised again. The disciples have practically fooled themselves into thinking that they now could truly “hear” Jesus. They declare, “By this we believe that You came forth from God.” This is not a statement of complete understanding, but it does show that they are confident that Jesus certainly does have all the answers. Their faith was still weak and their understanding was definitely still lacking, but at the very least they believed that Jesus was who He claimed to be: the One come forth from God.

With a hint of sarcasm Jesus responds, “Do you now believe?” The slight understanding that they seemingly had that night would not be lasting. They would be scattered in fear and sorrow. Jesus would be without His “friends” as He went to the cross. They make a bold confession of their faith and almost immediately fail when challenged by a testing situation. It reminds me of Peter who in Matthew sixteen makes the bold confession, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” and then almost immediately rebukes Jesus and is told “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” How typical this is of us humans! We are boldly confident, sure in our faith, and when the first test comes we are weak and vulnerable. What we realize in the Gospel message though is that when we are weak Christ is strong. We are not saved based on our righteousness, but on His. When we fail, we can turn right back to God. We can confess our sins and He is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Though Jesus would be without these men, He assures them that He will not be alone because the Father is with Him.

These things have been said that the disciples may have peace. Jesus has given several reasons for saying what He has said. He has said that He wants them to believe, He wants them to have joy, and He wants them to abide in His love. Now He returns to peace. Peace that surpasses understanding is what the disciples needed in just a few short moments as the night and next day became chaotic. The entire discourse has been a means of preparing the disciples, giving them peace though they would face tribulation.

Until Christ returns, Christians hold citizenship in both the world and the kingdom of God. Notice the contrast in our final verse of being “in” Christ and “in” the world. Jesus says that in Him we may have peace and in the world we will have tribulation. With or without Christ, this world is full of tribulation. The questions is, are you in Christ? Do you have His peace? The Lord knew full well that the disciples would abandon Him and scatter and yet He still promises them peace. He looked forward to their time of restoration. How sovereign, forgiving, and provisional our God is in Jesus Christ!

The last phrase of the Upper Room Discourse serves as a great conclusion to this sermon and our study as a whole. Jesus affirms, “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” The Son would not be overcome by the world when He went to the cross, but would in fact overcome the world. The word overcome “indicates victory; Jesus has conquered the world, in the same way that he has defeated the prince of this world” (Carson, 550). Those who put their faith in Christ will face tribulation in this world like anyone else and will even face opposition, but they can be at peace knowing that they share the victory that Christ has already guaranteed by dieing to sin once-for-all on that tree. He has obtained eternal redemption by His blood. Peace that surpasses all understanding is available to those who put their faith in Him.

John 16:1-15 The Upper Room Discourse

It is to Your Advantage

The previous chapter ended with Jesus speaking of the world’s hatred toward Him and His followers. This chapter begins with some of the actions that result from the world’s hatred. Jesus warns the disciples ahead of time so that when the persecution started they would remember that He had told them. We are also reminded that Jesus said all of these things while being present with those men, but He would be leaving. What may have been difficult for them to understand was that it was to their advantage (and ours) that Jesus would leave. It would mean that the Father’s plan had been fulfilled and that the Spirit had come to abide for the rest of the age.

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They Have Not Known the Father Nor Me [1-4]
Jesus continually states various reasons for saying all of these things. Here he gives another reason which is so that they may not stumble. This word “stumble” can be understood to mean “go astray,” but there are also elements of surprise and the sense of being trapped. Jesus tells His disciples these things so they are not caught off guard or find themselves in a trap and end up in apostasy, i.e. losing their faith. We can not even imagine the hardship they would face for believing on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. There would be no peace and joy from the world.

Jesus gives them a preview of what would come and says that they would be put out of synagogues and even killed “in service of God.” We know this to be true not only from secular history, but from our own biblical record. Saul of Tarsus, who became the Apostle Paul, was one of the fiercest persecutors of the early church. He was very busy dragging off men and women from their houses and synagogues and committing them to prison. He was consenting to the deaths of many including Stephen, the first recorded martyr. He did it all thinking that he was being obedient to the will of God. That is terrifying. Yet, the same is happening today all around the world. There are those who go out seeking to harm and even murder Christians in the name of “God.” This has happened in our own back yard, so can you imagine what it is like to be a Christian in a foreign country? Please pray for your brothers and sisters around the world. Pray that they will not be made to stumble, but will receive the distress in Jesus’ name.

Why will they do these things? They do not know the Father nor the Son. These things would happen because of an ignorance of God. This ignorance was not because they had not heard or read about God, but because they had not truly experienced Him. They had not been born again, but had relied on themselves, their own knowledge and thoughts. Check yourself this morning to make sure that you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God is in you. Jesus explained it best in one line, “If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” What the majority of first century Jews counted as light in their lives was actually darkness and how great was that darkness!

When the persecution came the disciples would remember what Jesus told them. He didn’t have to say this before because He was with them. While Jesus was with them He could absorb the attacks of the adversaries and provide guidance for His disciples. Now He is leaving.
Sorrow has Filled Your Heart [5-6]
The language of the first phrase in verse five is that of an ambassador returning to his commissioner after completing his charge. It is “now” that Jesus will return to the One who sent Him. We know who He is talking about. He speaks of the Father in heaven. There is a particular destination to which He will return. Jesus will not complete His task and then ride off into the sunset. He will go to the cross and say “It is finished,” rise from the dead three days later, and afterward ascend back to the right hand of the Father. In John 20:17, after the resurrection, Jesus says to Mary, “Go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father….”

The disciples are so sorrowful after hearing this news that they can not even ask the right questions. Jesus is fully aware of their grief and even says so. Yet, the disciples were so worried about their own well being that they had not truly inquired about Jesus’ destination. They may have asked this question before, but for only selfish reasons. They had not honestly asked about Jesus’ departure and destination. “There was little concern about his future; they were interested mainly in their own future” (Tenney, 156).

It is to Your Advantage [7-11]
“From the thought of the persecutions his followers must face [and the grief of the Master’s departing], Jesus turns to the resources available to them” (Morris, 617). Here is the truth: it is to their advantage that Jesus leaves. First, it would mean that the mission was accomplished. Second, it would mean that the Spirit was coming.

The Spirit will specifically convict the world of three things: sin, righteousness, and judgment. The word “world” must not mean “all people on earth” as it sometimes does because of the context. Jesus has already determined the meaning of “world” in the discourse when He contrasted the world with the disciples. The “world” must be unbelievers who by nature hate the Christ and His people. Thus, the Spirit’s ministry of conviction is spoken of here as being carried out in the world of unbelievers.

It is no mystery what Jesus describes the Spirit as doing. He explains for us the details of each part of the ministry throughout verses nine through eleven. First, in verse nine Jesus says that the Spirit will convict the world of sin “because they do not believe.” Notice that the word “sin” is singular. The Spirit is not said to convict unbelievers of all their sins, but of one sin in particular; the sin of unbelief. This is a serious and significant ministry because “blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven” (Matt 12:31). The Spirit declares the world “guilty” and applies that to the individual; otherwise we would never come to the realization that we are sinners. Second, in verse ten the Spirit is said to convict the world of righteousness because Jesus goes to His Father and will not be seen anymore. It is the Spirit’s task to convince people that their own righteousness is not sufficient in the eyes of God. The Spirit assures individuals that the righteousness of Christ is all that they need to be justified before God. This is righteousness: “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Third, in verse eleven Jesus says that the Spirit convicts the world of judgment “because the ruler of this world is judged.” By laying down His life on the cross, Jesus would condemn once and for all the satanic rebellion. Satan has been judged and condemned permanently. Jesus did this by demonstrating perfect and complete obedience/faithfulness to the Father, even to the point of death.
“Sin, righteousness, and judgment are all to be understood because of the way they relate to the Christ” (Morris, 620). This is one of the major works of the Holy Spirit in the unbelieving world. He convicts the world because of the revelation of Christ Jesus.

The Spirit of Truth [12-15]
Many things are left unsaid because they can’t bear them at that point in time. Only so much can be said when someone is operating only by their emotions and these men were full of sorrow. During the Upper Room Discourse Jesus has focused on preparing His disciples for the more immediate future which would involve betrayal, denial, scattering, fear, false accusations, beatings, and murder. The disciples could only hear so many things that night and though many more details would be shared with them, now was not the place or time.

What they are promised is that the Spirit will say those necessary things later by guiding them into all truth. The Spirit is in perfect harmony with the Father and the Son. He will hear, speak, and tell things to come in accord with them. It is appropriate that the Spirit of Truth is the One who would be the guide who leads into “all truth.” You want a lawyer to lead you into the courtroom, a mechanic to take your car into the shop, a fireman to put out your fire, a doctor to care for you in the hospital and, let me assure you, you want the Spirit of Truth to lead you into all truth! Here is the authority for the New Testament writers to record Holy Scripture. The Spirit called to their remembrance and taught them all the things that Jesus said. The Holy Spirit led them into all truth as they recorded it in the New Testament.

Take note that the Spirit does not draw attention to Himself. Without fail He continuously points to Christ. He will glorify Christ in all that He does. There is no competition in the Persons of the Triune God. The Son willingly came to glorify the Father and the Spirit has willingly come to glorify the Son “that God may be all in all.” Therefore, be clear on this according to the word of the Lord: the Spirit does not attract attention to Himself, but to the Lord Jesus Christ.

In making Christ the center of attention, the Spirit takes of the things of Jesus and declares it to believers. These things are also the Fathers. Thus, we can say that the things of God are applied to believers by the Holy Spirit. What are the things of God? Some of these things have been mentioned in the Upper Room such as cleansing, a permanent home, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the words of the Lord, eternal peace, the love of Christ, fulfilling joy, and everlasting life. These are available because of the sacrifice of Christ on the tree. Romans 5:5 is a great illustration of what Jesus has said. The Apostle Paul asserts, “The love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Day after day the Spirit declares to you the Good News that Christ has died for you. Christ has died for you!

It is to our advantage that Christ physically left His first disciples. Yes, they had sorrow in their hearts, but that sorrow was soon turned to joy when the Lord arose from the dead. The Spirit declared to them all the things of Christ and that message has been given to us that we may believe on His name and be saved. Be thankful today for the Spirit’s ministry in the lives of the Apostles and their faithfulness in the midst of a hateful world. They are the foundation of the church. The truth that the Spirit pressed upon them has been documented in this book called the Bible (including John). May the Spirit enlighten our hearts that we may understand it as well.

John 15:12-27 The Upper Room Discourse

A Servant is Not Greater Than His Master

At the beginning of the chapter we were told to “abide,” that is, abide in Christ and in His love. In that teaching we were warned by Christ’s parable of the vine and the branches. Why does it serve as a warning? It is a warning because unproductive branches are cut off and burned. There is judgment for those who are seemingly connected to the vine, but are not putting forward fruit. In this passage Jesus declares His disciples to be His friends and just as He wanted them to remain in Him, He now says that He wants their fruit to remain as well. So the long passages found in chapter fifteen are most definitely connected in thought. Jesus has chosen the men to be His friends so that they can produce fruit that will remain in the midst of the world’s hatred and even harsh persecution. It would be all for Christ’s name’s sake, so He would send a Helper testify of Him and help the disciples to bear witness of Jesus.

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You are My Friends [12-17]
Greater love has no one than to lay down his life for his friends. There is a fundamental change from the Old Covenant to the New: ‘servants’ give way to ‘friends’ (Carson, 510). We know our Master’s plan because the mysteries of God have been revealed to us. And with great knowledge comes great responsibility. Take note that Jesus wants obedient friends. Just because we are friends doesn’t mean that there is not a hierarchy in the relationship. Christ is the Head of every man, though they may be His friends.

Jesus calls His disciples “friends” for three reasons. First, He says they are friends if they do whatever He commands. Jesus wants obedient, faithful friends. Second, He says they are friends because a servant does not know what his master is doing. The disciples do know what the Lord is doing. Only friends know the private plans of another. Third, Jesus says they are friends because He chose them. It was Jesus who sought them out, called them to accompany Him, shared His plans with them, and ultimately died for them. Jesus chose those men.

Let me now answer this question, why were the disciples chosen? First of all, they were chosen to bear fruit. Secondly, they were chosen so that their fruit should remain. Just as they were to “abide” in Him, their fruit was also to “abide.” Finally, Jesus says that the disciples were chosen so that whatever they ask the Father in His name it would be given to them. This last part sums up several parts. This asking and receiving is predicated upon all that it means to abide in Christ.

Verses twelve through seventeen are bracketed at beginning and end by the same idea: Christ’s commandment is that His disciples love one another. Yet, the Lord has commanded spoken many commandments that we are to obey. How can He now say that He has a single commandment? “…Here He names only one, for it includes all others” (Harrison, 92). Jesus has maintained this position throughout His ministry. He has taught that love is the fulfillment of all the Law and the Prophets (love God is 1A and love neighbor is 1B, together they fulfill the Law). The Apostle’s also continued this teaching (see Romans 13:8 and Galatians 5:14).

Remember back to chapter thirteen, verse thirty-four where Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” This commandment that we are to obey by loving one another is governed by the phrase “as I have loved you.” How are we to love one other as Christ loved us? It relates back to the vine and branch illustration. I said that the same nutrients that run through the vine also run through the branches. You see, “…the love of Christ becomes our love which flows out to other believers”; all the branches share the same nutrients; all the disciples share the same love (Harrison, 92). Therefore, as Christ “expresses this love for [us] in death, [we] can surely express it toward one another in life” (Harrison, 93).

Therefore the World Hates You [18-20]
All of this talk about fruit leads to the next piece. As Jesus’ ministry/life proved and you know by personal experience, fruit will not come from every encounter with the world. Everything about the “world” hated Jesus. This has been a major point in John’s Gospel from the beginning. John 1:4 says, “And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it” and verse ten goes on to say, “He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.” On every side, Jesus faced opposition. The disciples would be in the same boat because they bore Jesus’ name. They were His disciples, His friends. The darkness likes more darkness, but is fiercely opposed to light and Jesus told them to let their light shine.

The world hates Jesus’ disciples precisely because they are not of this world. Yet, this is not strange. We should not be surprised by this resistance. The world “detests the other-worldliness of the Lord’s people” (Harrison, 93-94). We are foreigners in this world, simply pilgrims who are passing through.

The principle that Jesus bases this teaching on is important. This is obvious because the exact phrase is used twice in the discourse. He says, “A servant is not greater than his master.” The disciples would be treated by the world the same way it had treated their Master. What was the general response? The majority rejected His words and persecuted Him, while a small minority received Him. The same would be true of the disciples. Of course, this does not hold true for those who claim the name of Christ, but constantly compromise with the world. I think it would be a good thing to check our selves from time to time and make sure we are not conforming.

For My Name’s Sake [21-25]
Maybe you were relaxing because you read the word “if” in verse eighteen, but do not be confused. Jesus says in verse twenty-one that they “will” do these things to His disciples. The world will hate and persecute the believer specifically because he/she bears Christ’s name. “The root cause of persecution is now traced to the world’s ignorance of God” (Morris, 603). Jesus says that the world does not know the one who sent Him, namely our Father God. Also, we must add, the disciples would receive hate and persecution in Christ’s name. That would serve as a witness to the truth of the Gospel. We have not suffered this type of persecution in our life-times, but we may experience it shortly. The ruler of this world walks about this country like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour and he has fooled many. Uphold the name of Christ proudly and gracefully, but be aware that persecution may soon come.

People today prefer to remain neutral, either consciously or subconsciously, in reference to religion. Most people will talk about “God” with no reference to Christianity or the Bible. Yet, I must say that Christians are called “Christians” because we believe that God has revealed Himself in the person of Jesus Christ. There is no such thing as a Christless Christianity. If you hate Jesus, then you hate the Father in heaven (and there are many who hate Jesus). You can not love God and not love His Son whom He has sent. They are intimately related and inseparable.

John has already told us in 3:19, “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” What Jesus means by verse twenty-two is that people now have no way of covering up their sin. The clearest light of all has shined into the darkness of the world. The world truly has no excuse. We can see this most plainly among the Jews of Jesus’ day. They had rejected the words and works of Christ and in doing so declared their hatred for both the Son and the Father. Jesus claims for Himself Psalm 69:4 which says, “They hated Me without a cause.” And the world will hate believers with a cause, namely: Christ Jesus.

When the Helper Comes [26-27]
Make sure that you understand that Jesus mentions the Holy Spirit here because it is the Spirit who will help the disciple to handle the pressures of the world. It is the Spirit who will testify of Jesus and help the disciples to bear witness to the truth about Jesus. That is why He is called the Spirit of truth. The Holy Spirit gives a faithful and accurate testimony concerning Jesus. The disciples could do the same, with the help and counsel of the Spirit, because they had been with Jesus from the beginning of His public ministry. The Spirit and the disciples would both bring to light the same Christ and the same message of Good News. Yes, the Spirit will bear witness to Christ, but also “there is a responsibility resting on all Christians to bear witness to the facts of saving grace” (Morris, 607). Do you remember what Jesus said during the Sermon on the Mount? He said, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” If we point to Jesus, whether in word or in deed, our Father in heaven will be glorified.

Notice from the first section to the middle section that Jesus tells His disciples that they are no longer servants, but they are now friends and then He goes on to say that He is still their Master. I think Christians must uphold both sides of this coin. Jesus Christ is our Lord and our friend. He has chosen us and set us apart that we may go and bear much fruit. Our Lord set aside His life for us that our sins may be forgiven and in response we are able to set aside our lives to bring Him glory. Would you show His worth in all you do? Would you show His value in all you say? The world may hate you for it, but maybe…just maybe…someone will be saved from this present wicked age.

You really show who God is when the pressures of this world bear down on you. Do you crumble and in response complain and argue or do you instead persevere until the end with joy in your heart knowing that if the world hates you it first hated Christ? Remember: A servant is not greater than his master.