But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceeds from the Father…
I. CONSIDER STATEMENTS IN GENERAL TERMS OF THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
1. "He shall testify" — bear witness. Now, when we have a witness it is most important that we should understand whether or not he is competent to bear witness about the matter in question. This witness is "the Spirit who searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God." He is a Divine and therefore a competent witness with regard to Christ Jesus.
2. Again, in a court of justice it is important to know whether a witness is reliable. This witness is none other than "the Spirit of Truth" Himself.
3. He is one who puts honour on Christ. In John 16:14 we read, "He shall glorify Me." As we preach, the Holy Ghost bears witness to Him — carries home the truth in power to the hearts of those to whom it is addressed, and by His sweet constraint leads them to yield to the Saviour and to put their trust in Him.
4. In John 16:8, etc., we read —
(1) "He will convict of sin because they believe not on Me;" of all sins the most heinous is the rejection of Christ Jesus.
(2) "Of righteousness," etc., i.e., of righteousness in Christ Jesus.
(3) "Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged." This is of triumph over Satan's power.
II. STATEMENTS OF HIS WORK IN PARTICULAR CASES.
1. A striking example of that is afforded in 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10. What a catalogue! "Such were some of you," says the apostle, "but ye are washed, ye are sanctified," etc. What a wondrous change! How had the change come about? By the Spirit of God. He had spoken to them; He had dealt with them; He had drawn them; He had united them to Christ Jesus, so that they were sanctified and justified in Him. A strolling conjuror was one night in a tramps' lodging house in Sheffield, and different members of the fraternity were sitting over the fire, and they were overhauling the contents of their bags, and he told me that he saw one bring out a New Testament that he had bought for his little girl. The conjuror was greatly struck, and bought it, and that night, before he lay down upon his bed in that tramps' lodging house, by the dim light of the candle, he opened his new purchase to see what it contained, and his eye fell upon these words, "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?" He was like a man who had been shot. He tossed backwards and forwards upon his bed that night; there was no rest, no sleep for him. The Holy Ghost had carried the word home to his heart. He gave up his conjuring, and followed some honest trade, and for months he went up and down England with the arrow of conviction sticking fast in his heart; and then, through the kindly counsels of a town missionary, he was brought to put his trust in the Lord Jesus as his Saviour. When last I saw him he was earning an honest living, making and selling braces, and as he offered them for sale he would speak some homely earnest words about the Saviour.
2. If you will turn to the Epistle to Titus 3:3, you will find another list of sins. Now, when we read the list in the Corinthians, we cannot help thinking what loathsome, horrible people they were. When we read the list in Titus, we cannot help thinking what exceedingly disagreeable people they must have been to live with. But the Apostle says, "But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour," etc. Those persons had become the heirs of God in the hope of eternal life. And how? By the work of God, because the Holy Spirit had spoken to them and had dealt with them, had wrought in their hearts, had drawn them to the Lord Jesus, and united them in faith to Him.
III. THERE ARE SOME NEGATIVE STATEMENTS OF GREAT IMPORTANCE, AS THROWING LIGHT UPON THIS SUBJECT.
1. Turn to Romans 8:9. "If any man," whosoever he may be, however beautiful may be his character, and however excellent may be his natural disposition, "have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His."
2. Another statement occurs in 1 Corinthians 12:3. These words imply that we not only recognize in Christ a Saviour, but a Lord to whom we yield, and to whose service we consecrate all that we are and all that we have. No man can do that but by the Holy Ghost.
3. Another negative statement is found in Jude 1:19, where we read, "These be they who separate themselves, sensual — not having the Spirit" — those who are beyond the pale; those who are not to be numbered amongst the children of God. They are in their natural or unrenewed state because they have not the Spirit.
IV. ONE OR TWO VERY PERSONAL OR STRIKING WORDS IN SCRIPTURE ON THIS SAME SUBJECT.
1. "My Spirit shall not always strive with men."
2. Turn to Hebrews 3:15; Hebrews 4:7. Why has God seen fit to repeat that sentence three times over? Do you know that when a division on a most important subject is about to take place in the House of Commons the whips on the respective sides of the House send out a letter urging members individually not to fail to be present? And they put what is called "underlining," and when you have a three-line whip or a four-line whip" it means that the matter is most urgent, and that the member must by all means give heed to it, Now, when God caused this word to be written three times over, it is as if He had sent out a three-line whip to the children of men. It is the message of one who loves the souls of men as tenderly as does the Father or as does the Son.
(W. P. Lockhart.)
Parallel VersesKJV: But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: