Refuse to Fall
I want to invite you to John chapter 16 this morning; that’s where we’re going to be today. John 16, we’re going to look at the first 15 verses of John 16. When I jump into this section of Scripture, I am pumped about this section of Scripture, only because I think of the season of life I’m in. I know some of you [inaudible 00:00:16] turned 40 this week, and I see 40… And by the way, thank you for all the wonderful words of encouragement, gifts. I got letters from lots and lots of people, just… I felt like reading those letters that you guys were either duped into who I am or were describing someone else and you just tagged my name in there somewhere, but there were a lot of encouraging letters. I’ve started to feel a little awkward by just how encouraging you guys were, but I really appreciate all the encouragement this week in hitting that big 4-0 number.
And I have this belief in life, I know some people don’t like to get older, but I have been looking forward to 40. For me, I feel like it is the perfect axiom of life. What I mean is, there is this place in life… When you’re young, you’ve got a lot of energy, but you just lack sometimes in wisdom, and when you get older, you have a lot of wisdom, but sometimes you just don’t have the energy. And there is this place in life where those two things just kind of cross perfectly. I think it’s somewhere in your 40s. When I hit it, I’ll let you know.
But I think this is that decade for me where I just… I think in my family, we’re just in a great spot, and in ministry, it’s a perfect time to see God do great things, and so I’m really looking forward to the next 10 years of life and what God has for that. And then after 50, I guess I quit, but… I just feel like the 40s are just the perfect decade, and I say that as a kid that grew up in the ’80s, which was the perfect decade. I’m kidding. But just thank you for all that encouragement, and so far, I turned 40 on Thursday, and then Friday, I had the most productive day I’ve ever had, I think, in a while. And so, 40s are looking bright for me. So far, if you ask me, it’s the most productive of any decade I have had, right?
But with life in general, we know life has great things to experience, good things to experience, and it has some difficult things to go through, and you rarely experience a life of all good things, or even a day, right, of just all good things. It’s kind of convoluted, mixed together. You’ve got great things that happen and bad things that come with it, and it’s sort of all just mixed throughout the day, unless maybe you’ve been privileged enough, and you think about your life, you’re like, “No, my life’s been all good all the time.” And I would say, if that’s true, you’re probably living in a bubble, and probably less than 10 years old. But for the rest of you that have responsibility in life, you find that the older you get, it just gets… You find these challenges that you go on, that in your day, you have things to rejoice in, and other things drive you to your knees to pray before the Lord and seek His face and find some strength in Him.
And when you come to John 16, that’s exactly where we are. Jesus has shared with His disciples wonderful things that He is bringing into their lives in connection to Him, but He isn’t ignorant to the fact that it isn’t always easy. And in John 16, verse 1, that’s where He starts. In fact, He ended chapter 15 talking about some adversity, and He picks up in chapter 16 talking about adversity that we go through in life, and 16, verse 1, look what He says. He says, “These things I have spoken to you so that you may be kept from stumbling.” He knows there’s some adversity to our lives, but His heart’s desire for you is to live life faithfully and successfully before Him.
And by the way, I would say in God’s eyes, living successfully is living faithfully. Right? At the end of your life, you’re not going to come before God and He’s not going to be impressed by the size of your bank account, the car that you drove, and the house that you lived in. God’s heart desire for you is for you to be connected to Him and enjoy that journey with Him all the days of your life. God counts success in faithfulness, and His desire is for you to live that way and to keep you from stumbling, which is a way of saying falling away, or really even abandoning the faith. God’s desire is for you to walk victoriously in your relationship to Him in this world.
And then He says in verse 2, “They will make you,” talking about those that come against the disciples, “they will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God.” That phrase, “that hour” or “an hour,” it’s an important phrase in Scripture, because when you read that phrase in the Gospel of John, Jesus is constantly referring to His hour, which is the hour that He ultimately goes to the cross. That was His time that He came to this world to live the very purpose for which He became flesh, right? He came to die on the cross. Jesus’ life, He taught us a lot of great things by the way that He lived, and a lot of beautiful things.
This week in our connection group, we talked about how it’s interesting, God could’ve come and just saved us, He could’ve come at 33 years old and just saved us, but He came as a baby, very… at a place in life that’s very vulnerable, right? And that vulnerability, He demonstrated in the middle of adversity how to be faithful and walk with the Father, and a beautiful example, but His life was ultimately about His death.
And now, He’s looking to His disciples, and now He’s talking about their hour, which is unique to John, because most of John, He talks about His hour, but now He’s going to recognize in our life, there will come times where we see very clearly the opposition that we’re against, and we’ve got a decision to make, and how will your life align with the Lord? And so, looking to His disciples, He’s warning them of the struggle that they will face, that they will be cast out of synagogues, and there’s many people that think by hurting them, they’ll be doing great things for God.
I think, when I read this verse, how many disgusting things are done in the name of religion in this world that have significantly impacted and negatively affected the lives of others. It’s a very gross thing, which is why, as a church, we make it a point to recognize that our faith certainly has structure to it, when we follow Jesus, we want to seek Him in the ways that He desires to be found, but what we invite you to here is not religion, but a relationship with your Creator who became flesh to pursue you by giving His life for you. God made you to know Him and to delight in Him all the days of your life. There is no one who has loved you more than Christ has loved you and given you more than Jesus offers to you.
And so, Jesus is recognizing there are people in this world that will call evil good and good evil. In fact, you could probably think of your own culture today, where there are things in life that if you don’t bend to and bow to in our culture, that the Bible definitely calls wrong but our culture says is right, and you will get cancel-cultured for even acknowledging that you may follow a different path than what culture tries to propagate for you, that your heart is for God, and sometimes that puts you contrary to the things of this world, and Jesus recognizes that here. It puts us in a precarious place, but what God desires for you is to be faithful.
So, verse 3 and 4, Jesus goes on a little further in the challenge here, in recognizing for us. And by the way, the blank in the beginning of your notes is this: “There is adversity before us.” So, there is adversity for all of us that we face, and verse 3 and 4 of the text… Give me a click. Do we have the verse 3 and 4? Oh, there we go. “These things they will do because they have not known the Father or Me. But these things I have spoken to you, so that when their hour comes, you may remember that I told you of them. These things I did not say to you at the beginning because I was with you.”
So, Jesus is acknowledging here, He’s leading us step by step through where they are in their lives, and He’s recognizing for the disciples, “Now comes a place that you’ve walked with Me for three years, where you’re going to hit a hurdle. There’s going to be some hardship.” And when you think about the life of the disciples, their lives communicated hardship. The 11 that followed Jesus faithfully from this point on, Judas is now off of the scene here in the story, and the 11 that follow Jesus faithfully on, they face difficult circumstances. 10 of the 11 were martyred for their faith. The only one that wasn’t is the one who’s writing this Gospel, John, and John was exiled to an island, Patmos, at one point. They attempted to boil him alive, but he survived at another point.
The rest of the disciples faced martyr’s death. I think Peter was crucified upside down in Rome by Nero; Paul was beheaded in Rome by Nero; Matthew, I believe it was, was killed in Ethiopia; Andrew was crucified in Greece; Thomas was speared to death in India. Bartholomew, there’s different thoughts on him as to what happened in his life; I think the more popular thought is he was flayed alive in Africa somewhere. James was killed by Herod, by a sword; the other James was clubbed to death and stoned. When Jesus is thinking about these words to His disciples, He knows that the hour of their death, He knows what is resting in front of them.
And the same is true for us in following after Jesus. There’s not a promise that life goes perfect in pursuing Jesus. We don’t follow Jesus because it makes life easy; we follow Jesus because it’s true. Jesus made it very clear. He said in John 6, “Eat of My flesh and drink of My blood”; this is us relating to Christ. And at the end of John 6, many people following Jesus stopped following. Jesus said multiple times in the Gospel, “Take up your cross and follow Me.” There is a cross to bear in Christ.
And so, there is some adversity, but we want to know, in the adversity, what hope do we have? What do we have to lean on as people? It can be hard to follow after Jesus. You know, sometimes I’ll hear this comment, and I hope I don’t hear it from us this morning, but I’ll hear people say this sometimes: “You know, I’m really good at loving people until you give me a reason to wrong you.” Right? It’s like… It’s a very anti-biblical statement. But I feel like, when you hear that coming out of somebody’s mouth, it’s like, well then what makes you different than anyone else in this world, right? Who in this world’s like, “I don’t love people that are easy to love, I only love the hard ones?” Everyone loves people when they’re easy to love. It’s when people are difficult that you really start to demonstrate what your character’s made out of. That’s nothing profound; you don’t even have to say those words, right?
Loving people when it’s difficult, you know, when I hear that kind of statement out people’s mouth, my immediate response for me is just to think, “Well, thank God Jesus didn’t do that to you.” He could’ve given up on you a long time ago. But what even allows you to breathe the very breath that you breathe today is that He is longsuffering towards you, not wishing any to perish but all come to repentance. Thank God Jesus didn’t treat you that way.
And the reality is, for us as believers, that’s who we’re called to mimic, right? I think something that marks us as Christians is not that we just love when it’s easy to love, it’s that we love when it’s difficult to love. When we bleed, we want to bleed Christ. We want to make it difficult for people to hate us; even when they are hating us, we respond with love. How do we do that? How did the disciples do that?
I think, when you start to wrestle with that thought, for us, it brings us to a place of our identity, because if you choose to find the meaning of your existence within you or the value of your identity within you, and people come against you, you’re going to spend the rest of your life either trying to defend yourself or promote yourself in the eyes of people, because you’ve only found your value in you. And what I think this brings us to is an identity crisis. You know, when I think about our culture today, our culture’s struggling mightily in the thought of identity. You see people today trying to align with all kinds of different ways of thinking and schools of thought and different groups, trying to fit in and see that they can be loved and accepted and embraced, and they will tailor their lives to fit some sort of agenda within a group in order to validate themselves.
And guys, for us in Jesus, this becomes a very important place to not only root ourselves but to understand the foundation of our message, because in a world like ours today, who you are in Christ matters tremendously. Because I think the place where people are seeking love and acceptance, they’re only going to find that it’s just temporary, and they’re still going to be empty inside, but it’s Jesus who gives you eternal hope and value and meaning. But here’s the challenge for us when we come to Christ, is you must be willing to lay yourself down to get there. If you’re the one that finds your worth and value in you, and you just simply use God as a leverage tool to promote you more, you won’t ever land where Jesus wants you to land. You’ve got to be willing to lay down yourself to get there.
I would say it like this: Until you’re ready to die to self, you’re not ready to live for Him. And that becomes the, I think, the paradigm switch that transforms our life in Christ. Jesus is not some self-help tool to improve me in what I desire. Jesus calls us to take up our cross and follow Him, finding that identity rooted in everything that He is.
And so, you see the struggle here in verse 2, and it carries on. In section one, your blank there was “There is adversity before us.” But number two, here’s what God wants for us, He wants you to surrender to His presence or cling to His presence. And you see between verses 2, which I’ll read again in just a minute, all the way to verse 8, this battle within our soul to find our value in God. What you see in verse 2 is people responding with anger as if God needs us, right? “They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God.”
And so, you see that they think that anger is the answer, they think the solution is in themselves, and so they got to fight for this. And so, they’re trying to promote their own agenda to achieve what they want; that’s what you find in verse 2. So, when you feel like you have enough control, you’ll do what you can to root yourself in that and make what it is that you feel like is so important happen by your own strength. And then what you find in verse 5 and 6 is there’s another way that we can respond. It says, “But now I’m going to Him who sent Me,” Jesus is telling His disciples He’s leaving, “and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart.”
I’m going to talk about Jesus’ question in a minute. But here’s what Jesus says; there’s another way of responding sometimes in life. We look at situations that aren’t going the way that we want, and we try to dictate it by our anger. And then other times, when we feel like it’s beyond our control or we don’t want to let that anger out, we become into this place of despair and hopelessness, and so you see that in verse 6, “the sorrow has filled your heart.” That’s where the disciples are now; they’ve gotten to this place where they just don’t even see a way forward, and so they feel that sorrow within them.
In verse 5, Jesus does pose a very interesting question here. He says, basically, “None of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?'” when Jesus says, “I’m going somewhere.” But what’s interesting, if you turn to the end of chapter 13, verse 36, Peter asked Jesus, “Where are You going?” And then, at the beginning of chapter 14, I think it’s verse 4 and 5, it’s Philip, I think, asked, “Jesus, where are You going?” Right? And then Jesus says in verse 16, “None of you are asking where I’m going,” and it’s like, uh, maybe Jesus has a little bit of earwax buildup today. But what does this mean, that they’re asking Jesus, “Where are You going?” and then later, Jesus accuses them of not asking, “Where are You going?”
I think what Jesus is saying here is either one of two responses, and theologians have a little bit of a challenge with this question, but I think it’s one of two responses. Either you didn’t stick around long enough for the answer to understand it, He could be accusing them that way, because they’re so worked up about the circumstance, or they weren’t thinking bigger into what God was describing, meaning the disciples were worried about where Jesus was going in the immediate problem that they’re in.
I think we get like that as people. We get so concerned about our, sometimes, the one little event that’s going on in our life that we fail to lift our heads to see the greatness of a God who’s working it all out for His glory. Sometimes we can sulk in our problem, and oftentimes it’s not until we look outside of our problem to see some of the other problems happening in the world that we begin to realize and think, “Man, you know, this was hard, but what they’re going through is way harder, and they seem to be handling it better. I should get out of my… I should figure out what’s going on here and kind of let go of my circumstance, and think a little bit bigger.”
And I think that’s more likely what Jesus is saying to the disciples here, is “You guys are so focused on this immediate and what you’re losing, but I want you to understand, there’s something greater about what you’re gaining.” And Jesus goes on from here to explain that to the disciples. He’s saying in verse 6, “You guys, you’re looking at this with so much sorrow in this moment, and you’re acting like this is it. This is only the beginning. There’s greater things that I’m doing behind the scenes that you haven’t even begun to lift your eyes to understand.”
And this is where Jesus gives us the resolve to surrender to His presence. That’s why I say it in this section, the thought is to surrender to His presence. In verse 7 and 8, He goes on from there, and He starts to help the disciples lift up their heads. He says, “But I tell you, you guys think it’s over, but I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away, for if I did not go away, the Helper would not come to you,” which is the Holy Spirit. “But if I go, I will send Him to you. And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.”
Jesus is saying, “Look, I want you to think bigger here, that here we are in Jerusalem, promoting a message that’s going to transform the world, but the power of the Holy Spirit’s going to come, and He will encompass the world in His judgment, in His conviction, in His righteousness. This Holy Spirit’s going to work all over the globe. So you think it’s over, but it’s not over. God is doing something far greater than just this minute moment that you find yourself stuck in in hopelessness, that God is at work in a much broader way, if you would just lift your heads.”
I want to say, you know, as a follower of Jesus, when I first started to come to Christ, one of the first books I read when I became a Christian, I read two, I remember I read… Well, actually, I read More Than a Carpenter, I read Jim Elliot’s story as a missionary, going to the Auca Indians, and then I read Knowledge of the Holy. And Knowledge of the Holy was a book that just blew my mind over the idea of God. I really began to realize that my view of God was more like a glorified human being than really the Creator of all things who transcends time, space, and matter.
And when my picture of God was elevated, and I started to understand God more like He communicates Himself in the Old and New Testament, I think… You know, one of the most beautiful passages of the Bible is Exodus chapter 3, where Moses asks God what’s His name, and He refers to Himself as “the great I AM,” which is really promoting the doctrine of the aseity of God, which is a God who is bigger than time, space, or matter, a God who transcends it all. That Moses is connecting to this God, who’s far greater than our mind, He’s infinite. I mean, infinite is such an incredible concept that the moment your mind could even understand what infinite is, it ceases to be infinite anymore. He’s a God that is that big, He transcends us, but at the same time, He’s personal, He’s immanent, He’s near, and here He is coming near Moses.
And then, when you turn to the Gospel of John, Jesus’ pronouncement of Himself, seven times in John He refers to Himself as the “I AM.” In John 8:58, “Before Abraham was, I am.” Jesus connects His identity to the God of the Old Testament. And then, when you learn that this powerful God gives us the promise over 300 times in the New Testament, “I am with you always,” always. Wherever you go, God’s presence has already gone before you, and God’s presence will be there long after you. There’s nowhere you can be that God hasn’t been. There’s nothing that you’ve gone through that God doesn’t understand. He knows right where you are; He knows exactly what you need. And He’s the one that calls you into this world to live His mission as a light for Him.
That, for you and I, should bring us incredible peace, to realize that whatever He calls us on, it doesn’t rest on our shoulders but on His. But I get the opportunity to experience Him as I go through this world, knowing that all things are in His hand. And I think this is where Jesus is leading His disciples, and I think this type of idea is what compelled them to go into this world and to live with such courage.
In fact, when Jesus discusses this with them, I think not only does He call us to surrender to His presence, He also calls us in this thought to cling to His promises. And you see in verse 8, Jesus then explains verse 8 in verse 9, 10, and 11. He takes each thought in verse 8 that He expresses and gives it a verse in verse 9, 10, and 11. Look in verse 9, this is the way Jesus says it. In John 16, He says, “Concerning sin,” so, the Holy Spirit’s going to work in our lives, “concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me.” So, the Holy Spirit’s going to convict us of sin.
When we think about sin, sin often deals with the mistakes of our past, the things that we’ve done contrary to God. Let me just say this. When we talk about sin as it relates to God, this is how we typically think about sin in a religious world: “God talks about bad things; those bad things are sin. God doesn’t want me to do bad things. I’m bad, therefore I should stop doing bad things. When I do bad things, God doesn’t like that.” We generally think about it like that, which… It’s partially true, but I want us to get with the full thought and really what sin is. Sin is anything contrary to the nature of God. 1 John 3:14 says sin is lawlessness. Sin is the exact opposite of God. Jesus doesn’t just want you to not sin; Jesus wants you to walk with Him. That’s the ultimate goal in identifying sin, is not to say, “Look at you, you sinner, don’t do sin,” because you can not do sin the rest of your life and still not walk with Jesus, right? It’s not really possible, but theoretically.
The point of recognizing the sin is to recognize that I’m contrary to God, and what God calls me to is to walk with Him. And so, God’s conviction of sin is not just to make you feel bad about sin; that’s not God’s purpose for anybody here. It’s to recognize that when I walk in sin, I’m walking contrary to Him, but God wants me to walk with Him. So, therefore, I’ll abandon that in order to pursue Him. God’s heart is not for you to walk away and just feel bad. God’s heart is for you to lay it all aside because Jesus has paid for it all, and walk with Him all of your days.
And so, the Holy Spirit comes in our lives concerning sin, and then in verse 10, it says this: “And concerning righteousness.” Give me another click. “Concerning righteousness” is highlighted for you there. “Concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me.” So, it’s to say it like this. Sometimes in life, we have a false understanding of what it means to be righteous in Christ.
Let me give you an example. I remember as a kid, growing up for a little bit, a small town… It wasn’t even a town, it was unincorporated, so whatever you call that. It was this unincorporated, we’ll say village. It was a village, and I remember going to the only gas station in the village, and when I went to pay, I was just a little boy, I just remember I walked up paying, and this gas station, or a little convenience store, I guess is a better way of describing it, it had a billboard. And on that billboard, it listed everyone that bounced a check. So, very broad, in this little town, which everyone knew everybody, if you bounced a check, you got your name on the billboard.
And some of you know what that’s like, if you think back to your college years. You look at your bank account, and you’re like, “Ah, a taco costs $2, I’ve only got one. I could give them my debit card, or I could write a check.” Right? And you’re like, “And I know if I can get to the bank in two days, I can beat it before it goes negative.” And so, some of you may be guilty of that, right? But you know how checkbooks worked in the day, and so I knew everyone in that gas station, that’s the way they thought about it, right? “I get paid in a day, this place probably doesn’t cash it soon enough, so I could probably get there.” But if you didn’t make it in time, you got your name on the list, you had a negative account and everybody knew it.
And when you think about what it means to… concerning righteousness, what it’s saying to us is, in your sin before God, you’ve got a negative bank account, and your name is on the list. But Jesus comes along, and He doesn’t just put your balance at zero. He fills it up with His righteousness. Jesus takes your negative bank account on His behalf, and He gives you all of His. Theologians refer to that as He imputes His righteousness upon you, so that when the Father looks at you, He sees the perfection of Christ.
So, the Holy Spirit convicts you concerning sin, “and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me.” So, we’re going to receive Christ’s righteousness because of His sacrifice. And in verse 11, “concerning judgment.” Now, when we talk about judgment, most of the time we think about this negatively, because most of the time we’ve experienced judgment in a negative context. But if you find yourself on the right side of a judgment, this is a place to celebrate. He says, “Concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.”
So, if you find yourself living for the world, then you’re operating in the system of the ruler of this world, and Jesus is saying, “And you lose,” right? But if you find yourself in Christ, Jesus’ victory over death and sin and Satan is a declaration to you that you also have victory over sin, Satan, and death. And so, for you, the judgment of Christ becomes a place of victory, because Christ has won. And so, this is a place that we celebrate, knowing, look, disciples, you may be going through a battle right now, but in the war, Satan has already been defeated.
When you think about what Jesus covers in these statements, the idea of sin, righteousness, and judgment, what Jesus is saying is your past sin, your present righteousness, and the future judgment, it’s all secure in Him. Every area of your life. When the world hurls insults at you because of your past, Jesus has washed you clean. When you’re wondering where’s your worth in the moment, the righteousness of Christ, God has come for you and given His life, has been placed on you. When you’re concerned about what the future holds, there is a God who wants you by His side all of your days. Jesus encompasses it all. Your identity finds itself wrapped in Him. Rather than you trying to convince yourself of why you should love you, why not let your life be filled up with the love of Christ, and everything that He has done for you?
What the Holy Spirit’s role is in this passage is to bring to you the fullness of Christ in every area of your life. No matter what the world says about you, when you know in Jesus your past is forgiven, your present is blessed, and your future is secure, what can life do to you? All that you need is in Christ, and you have Christ forever.
You know, when you think about what Jesus offers, I think it’s interesting, at the end of His life, Jesus was condemned by people, and Jesus was declared unrighteous by people, and Jesus was judged by people. And yet, here we find that now Jesus, being perfect, He has brought you freedom from condemnation and righteousness in Him, in His judgment, works for good on your behalf to those in Christ. And this passage for us, when life is hard, the reason we’re able to stand at all is because of Jesus, but the reason that we can stand so confidently is because of Jesus.
And so, in verse 12, then, John gives us some reminders to carry along the way. He just peppers this, because of everything that we have in Christ now, what you get because of Jesus, He says, “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.” I love this. You got a blank in your notes; it’s to remind you of this, that God is patient. God is patient. I love… In this moment, He’s looking where the disciples are, and He realizes that what’s on their shoulders, for them, it’s enough, and Jesus isn’t declaring more, but rather, what He’s choosing to do in these moments is to be patient with His disciples.
I think that’s a beautiful reminder for you that God is patient with you. Sometimes we put these expectations on ourselves that, I think, that are not God’s expectations, and they crush us. But God knows where you are, God knows exactly what you need, and God’s not interested in your performance. What He’s interested in is your faithfulness, trusting in Him, trusting in Him. God is patient with you. I think for us, what’s important to recognize is sometimes we get impatient with our growth as people, but I like to remind us that it’s not about the destination but about the direction. As long as you just continue in the right direction, God determines your destination. What I’m saying is, just keep yourself looking to Christ. Keep pointing to Christ. God is patient.
Verse 13 goes on from there, and He reminds us that God will guide. “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you in all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.” That God desires to guide you. God doesn’t abandon you; God’s desire is for you to look like Christ, to transform you. God wants to work in your life and through your life, and so this purpose of the Spirit is to guide you in the truth.
I love the beauty of this thought, that God leads me down a path; if I keep my eyes on Christ, God will supply me and strengthen me and give me what I need to go through where He’s led me in life, that I don’t have to bear it on myself, but in Him. But I will say, in this passage, there’s a little bit of frustration that comes with it, because I think people kind of end with verse 13 and don’t read verse 14… verse 13. Sometimes, the Holy Spirit gets attributed for some weird things in life, like some people, they just think that just because you got a good feeling about something, man, it must be the Spirit of God. And I just think, how do you know it’s just not like some indigestion, or some heartburn, or… Why does that feeling have to be attributed to the Holy Spirit?
Because I can think of times in my life where God has convicted me of something that my flesh wants to do otherwise, and my flesh feels really positive about telling that person how I feel, right? But God doesn’t necessarily want me to do that, but I can convince myself that the feeling is what I should go with, and that is not necessarily the Holy Spirit. But there are people in life that will say, just because you got the positive feeling, makes it the Spirit of God, and I will say, that is not always true, because there are things in life where God meets you that put you between a rock and hard place, and pursuing Him isn’t always the road that is wide, right? Jesus says, “Narrow is the gate.”
And so, when you read in verse 14, the very beginning of verse 14, it says this: “He will glorify Me.” Here’s how we know the Spirit of God as He directs us in truth: He, His desire is not to glorify you, but to glorify Jesus in you, to make Christ known. Now, I found it interesting, even this past week, somebody came to me and said, “You know, I participated in a religion most of my life, and I came to realize towards the end, before I quit on that religion, how little I actually heard of Jesus.” God’s desire is to make Jesus known in your life. And you know what makes that so important? It’s because it’s where you find your identity as a human being. Past, present, and future’s wrapped up in Christ. “He will glorify Me.” How do you know the Spirit of God’s working? It makes much of Jesus. It’s not just about a positive feeling; it makes much of Jesus.
Now, I like to experience joy in the Christian life, so give me that, right? I want to take… not necessarily make things hard on myself, but more than anything, “make Jesus known” should be our goal. And it’s to say this, then, in verse 14, God will glorify Himself. And then the question, then, is how do we know? And the rest of verse 14 and verse 15 says it like this: “For He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.”
Here’s what Jesus is saying. “You want to know, everything I said, how I know that it’s true? It’s because it’s coming from the source that is Me, and I promise you that it will be given to you. It’s of Mine, and what is of Mine is of yours, because you belong to Me.” There’s nothing unique in that sense in your relationship in Jesus from the rest of followers of Christ in this world. It’s not God says this verse for most Christians, but then there’s you, you know? It’s God says this for every one of His people, that His resource is plentiful in Him, that God holds all things in His hands, that He is a big God, and that big God cares for you. At a time like verse 5 and 6, when you’re in despair, Jesus is saying in verse 7 and beyond, “Lift your head, look to Me.” Sometimes in our circumstances, our problems seem so big, but before God, they become so small, because He’s in control.
Let me end with this thought. You know, we had a particular day for us as a nation yesterday, right? It’s a monumental day for us as a country, a time of reflection because of what happened September 11th, 20 years ago. And there was a man by the name of Todd Beamer, and most of the time, when we think about September 11th, I doubt many of us think of Todd Beamer, right? But, I mean, he’s got just kind of like a normal name; you’d think you could walk down the street and run into a couple Todd Beamers, right? And he is just a normal guy, just an average guy, when you see his photo.
But oftentimes, when we think about September 11th, we typically think about three planes, right? Two in the tower and one in the Pentagon. But there was a fourth plane, and the fourth plane was United flight 93. And on that plane was Todd Beamer. Interesting thing about Todd Beamer, I don’t think he woke up that day thinking he would be a hero, but he did wake up that day claiming to be a follower of Christ. In fact, he went to a Christian college, he taught the high school age in his church for about five or six years; he was a faithful follower of Jesus, and so was his wife.
And he found himself on that flight that was heading west and got over Pennsylvania and made a 180-degree turn and was heading back to the nation’s capital. And he grabbed a phone on board, and he made a call, and an operator picked up. I think he was trying to call out, but it didn’t go out, and an operator picked up. And the operator shared some of the things that they heard on the plane as they talked to Todd, and one of the last things that Todd said as the phone went dead was, “Are you guys ready? Let’s roll.” And that was the last comment that they made before they found out that the plane had crashed in Pennsylvania. And who knows how many lives were spared that day because of their bravery? But those were the last comments that they believe were spoken before a group of individuals tried to storm the cockpit of the plane to take it over and stop what was happening in our country.
And when I think about people like Todd, and I think people like us, Todd didn’t know that day he would wake up and go be a hero. He was just living his life like the rest of us, and I think the same is true for us. I don’t think we plan to make moments that make us heroes. But I think one of the reasons I would likely say that Todd went so courageously towards the cockpit is because Todd was a guy that found himself secure in his identity. He was a man of courage and a man of conviction, because he was a man of faith in Christ. And he knew who held all things in His hands, and it wasn’t him, it was the Lord.
In fact, after Todd’s death, his wife Lisa said as much. She said, “I don’t know God’s plan, and right now I don’t like it very much, but I believe in the truth that God says and the promises He gives, because I believe in a God of Romans 8:28, which says, ‘God works all things together for good to those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose.'” Lots of places you can go in this world to find your identity, but none of them will fill you up the way that Christ does. He is a God that takes care of your past, wraps you in the beauty of who He is in the present, and holds your future in His hands, because He is a God who desires to have you near.