Spirit in the World | John 17:12-19
Topic: New Testament Passage: John 17:12–17:19
Christopher Rich – May 15, 2016
The HELPER| Week #4 | Spirit in the World | John16:5-15 & Acts 2:1-4
Introduction | The Helper Saves, Shapes, Sends
Good morning! This week we are continuing our series The Helper. While much of the Holy Spirit can be mysterious and difficult to understand there are aspects of His function and role that can be known from the teachings of scripture. Our hope has been to provide greater clarity helping us see the Spirit as less ethereal and mysterious while also magnifying the significance of the Holy Spirit in our affections and increasing our reliance on the work of the Spirit in our individual and collective lives. He is the author of truth, unity, and maturity. He is the source of all revival bring depth and growth to our church while also providing the presence of Christ in our lives. We saw the Holy Spirit in the Trinity, as a person not a force, fully God, manifesting God’s presence in His creation and working in His story of redemption. We looked specifically at the role of the Holy Spirit in salvation of sinners. We are saved from, the just wrath of God; to lives as new creations who look less like ourselves and more like Jesus. We have also been saved for a purpose to remain in the world pointing people to Jesus. We will start with the words of Jesus to His people in what His desires are for His people who are to remain in this world (but not of it) How the initial experience of the sending of the Holy Spirit led to an immediate dramatic evangelistic event and how this unique event should (or shouldn’t) be applied to the life of our church today as we Live on Jesus’ Mission.
PART I | Sent By Jesus to the World | John 17:12-19
John 17:12-19 | 12 While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.
We have done the work this past few weeks to show Jesus stated purpose for sending the Holy Spirt to His people is to manifest God’s presence in their lives, in salvation, in shaping them to look more like Him and now we see His desires for His people to live on mission in the world; for the world to marvel in and submit to the glory of God shown through Jesus. Jesus came to seek and save the lost and He calls His disciples to have the same heart and purpose. Jesus desire for His people is their identity “in Christ” would be secure. They would be kept in God’s name. He has guarded His people, from the evil one, and he has been teaching and shaping them in God’s exclusive and life giving truth. But as previously mentioned, Jesus is will be returning to the Father and will no longer be able to actively engage in keeping His people. This will be the role of the Holy Spirit, who comes as “The Helper” to bring God’s presence bear on the world.
The world is broken and infected with sin and corruption, so God’s Holy, perfect and just presence brings with it a conflict. The world was made good by God, but is now the world is defined by sin. This means there is hostility to Jesus and the Gospel of His Kingdom and exclusive salvation from God’s just wrath in Jesus alone. Jesus is very aware of this conflict, and he classifies it as hatred of Him. This hatred of Him leads to hatred of His people; as much as they are imitating Jesus and pointing others to Jesus. (This doesn’t let us off the hook when we’re hated for being our annoying, jerky and/or sinful selves.)
Jesus prayer to God the Father is that His people would be a sent people as He was sent to them. The purpose of being sent into the world is not as an agitator (although being counter cultural has that effect often) But the purpose in being sent as missionaries is true worship of God through Jesus Christ would in fact lead to Joy. Joy is found in Jesus, so the mission of God’s people to the world is one of not turning the world upside down as violent revolutionaries, but restoring it right side up, leading to joy fulfilled.
Verse 15 is convicting from the stand point, if we truly believe the Gospel is our restoration of relationship with God and this relationship is where ultimate joy is found we should want to eagerly dwell with Him in in a world with no brokenness and no more tears. Yet, that is not Jesus immediate purpose for His people. We are sons and daughters of the King; let’s live in the perfect kingdom already!! But, we are not called to retreat from the world but to advance the impact and presence of God’s kingdom in this world. Jesus recognizes the enemy in opposition to this kingdom expansion so His prayer to the Father is the seal and protection of the Holy Spirit would keep us from the evil ones desires, while we remain before He returns. To be in Christ, by the work of the Spirit, is to embrace our identity as ambassadors. We see they word sanctify/consecrate it is to be set apart for Godly service. That is what we have all been called too.
Matthew 28:18-20 | 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.”
We have been left in the world for the purpose of loving, serving, and proclaim Jesus to a world who needs the restoration and salvation that comes from Jesus alone. Great Commission is what we’ve been called to do, but we are not capable of accomplishing it on our own. We need:
Knowledge of the truth in order to evangelize clearly, and instruct accurately. This will require the ability to teach others what Christ Has taught Humility and boldness, Boldness because we are ambassadors from the greatest kingdom ever conceived and we’re inviting others to become full citizens! Humility recognizing because of sin (apart from the saving work of the Holy Spirit) we were just as hostile to this Kingdom. This means we need a heart for those who have rejected Jesus or are hostile=> indifferent towards him. Encouragement when things are difficult and humility when we experience fruitfulness. We need places to go… Paul led by the spirit to distant, different and difficult places. These all require a work of the Holy Spirit in us. Jesus knows we’re not capable of accomplishing this on our own so He promises the Holy Spirit.
Acts 1:6-9 | 6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” 9 And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.
We are sent by Jesus into the world, but we are equipped and empowered to engage by the Holy Spirit.
PART II | The Spirit Equips and Empowers to Reach the World | Acts 2:1-15
Acts 2:1-5 | When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.
5 Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6 And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. 7 And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, 11 both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” 12 And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.” 14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. 15 For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day.
The Helper comes into the world in a new and significant way, what is the result? The work of the Holy Spirit drew a multitude together. It is a work of the Holy Spirit that draws people together to gather to hear the proclamation of the Gospel. What a gathering! You have people from all over the known world and when the Spirit manifests in a unique and tangible way they are drawn to “come together” for Jesus.
We have a reverse Tower of Babel. While sin, pride, lead men to focus on their own efforts to ascend to heaven, God confused and scattered them specifically with different languages. In the Gospel, God descends to earth from Heaven in Jesus and unifying a new people into a kingdom around Him. As this kingdom expands and grows from 120 to 3000+ God the Holy Spirit works to unify people by gifting His people to speak the gospel in a language those who don’t know Jesus can understand. Missionaries and ambassadors don’t make the native people learn their language before they can engage with the message and mission they are on. They learn the local language to more effectively communicate the truth of Jesus as Lord. In this case the Holy Spirit in the world does a mighty work. He gives people ears to hear in a way they can understand, and the preacher words pointing them to the Glory of God in Jesus in a way that leads to new life, shapes them to look more like Jesus as they’re sent to be on Mission for Jesus.
PART III | The Spirit Builds the Church in the World | 1 Corinthians 14
1 Corinthians 14:1-13 | Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. 2 For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit. 3 On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. 4 The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church. 5 Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up.6 Now, brothers, if I come to you speaking in tongues, how will I benefit you unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching? 7 If even lifeless instruments, such as the flute or the harp, do not give distinct notes, how will anyone know what is played? 8 And if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle? 9 So with yourselves, if with your tongue you utter speech that is not intelligible, how will anyone know what is said? For you will be speaking into the air.10 There are doubtless many different languages in the world, and none is without meaning, 11 but if I do not know the meaning of the language, I will be a foreigner to the speaker and the speaker a foreigner to me.12 So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church.
The manifestation of the Spirit’s presence in the world, serving as The Helper, is God at work to build up His church as an embassy of His Kingdom. We as ambassadors are to pursue love and desire to be gifted by God. But we can pursue the more visible aspects of spiritual gifts wrongly. When New Testament is talking about the “gift of tongues” Jerusalem at Pentecost was a multinational collection of people needing the Gospel. Similarly, Corinth is a multi-lingual port city with people who need to hear the Gospel. The Spirit gifts people in their unique context for the explicit purposes of evangelism and the edification/building up of the church. Speaking a prophetic word (bring God’s word to bear on God’s people) Preaching, teaching, etc. is to be most desired, because it leads to: upbuiding encouragement, to bring renewed joy, like music that is distinct rather than random sound, to give exhortation for mission, like a battle horn. But what about verse 4-5? Speaking in tongues builds up yourself, and Paul says he wants us all to speak in tongues? What could be wrong about that? 1. Building up in the New Testament may at times be experienced individually, but it is for the purpose of building the community. 2. If by Paul saying “I wish you were gifted in evangelism to others who speak different languages so they can hear and receive the gospel.” then yes and amen. If you you’re talking about “I wish you all had a private prayer language so you can experience a unique, exclusive, and less than normative connection with God.” Then no. We should be eager to be gifted because we desire to see the church built up as an embassy to the world for the renewal of the world where foreigner’s become brothers and sisters. Clarity on this issue is not insignificant, but is necessary. As much as we are unclear or misunderstand we will be missional ineffective.
1 Corinthians 14:19-25 | 19 Nevertheless, in church I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue. 20 Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature. 21 In the Law it is written, “By people of strange tongues and by the lips of foreigners will I speak to this people, and even then they will not listen to me, says the Lord.” 22 Thus tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers, while prophecy is a sign not for unbelievers but for believers. 23 If, therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your minds? 24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, 25 the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you.
Gospel Truth is what the world needs. It’s what it is starved for. It is what is eternally satisfying. Instead we purse experiences that are temporality satiating. The stakes are too high for us to be immature or ineffective. The Gospel cannot flourish in our hearts or in our world when we attempt to limit it to our own individual experiences. These verse are clear, gifts of tongues exists for the eternal conversion of unbelievers not the ecstatic activity of believers. Verse 23, Paul sounds almost seeker sensitive and overly pragmatic in how the local church gathering looks to the outside/unbelieving world. “Don’t be too spiritual because you’ll scare away the non-Christians.” But that’s not the case. Paul, inspired buy the Holy Spirit desperately wants to see the kingdom of God and the Gospel spread. He knows the MOST effective and normative way the Holy Spirit works in the heart of unbelieving people is through the proclamation and application of God’s word. As God’s word is spoken and brought to bear the Spirit convicts, and the gospel penetrates deep into the hearts leading to humble worship and joyful acknowledgement of the presence of God at work in the church for the world. “God is really among you.”
Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. God The Father, has sent us God the Holy Spirit to equip and empower us as ambassadors sent into the world proclaiming Hope is found when you Trust Jesus.
More in The Helper
May 22, 2016Spirit in Unity | John 17:20-23 & Acts 2:42-47
May 1, 2016Spirit in Us | John 16:5-15 & Acts 2:1-4
April 24, 2016Spirit in Salvation | John 15:23-27 & Acts 2:37-41