John 15:26
When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father--the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father--He will testify about Me.
Sermons
Our AllyAlexander MaclarenJohn 15:26
The ComforterCharles KingsleyJohn 15:26
The Defence Against a Hostile WorldA. Maclaren, D. D.John 15:26-27
The Great World-Restoring SpiritD. Thomas D. D.John 15:26-27
The Holy Spirit: His Work and MissionG. Osborn, D. D.John 15:26-27
The Joint WitnessingD. Young John 15:26, 27
The Spirit Testifying of ChristW. P. Lockhart.John 15:26-27
The Spirit the Witness to TruthE. V. Gerhart, D. D.John 15:26-27
Witness, Divine and HumanJ.R. Thomson John 15:26, 27
The work of God in the world, so far as it is spiritual, is effected by human agency. Upon man's heart the Author of life and salvation works by means of truth and love, embodied in human language and human actions. The Word, in acting as "the faithful and true Witness," "became flesh." And in this dispensation, whilst Christ is the Savior and the Lord of men, Christ is revealed by the Spirit to human hearts, and it is through human agency, thus called into action, that the kingdom of God is advanced, and the gracious purposes of God fulfilled.

I. THE WITNESS OF THE SPIRIT OF GOD TO CHRIST.

1. This is a Witness Divine in origin and nature. He proceedeth from the Father, and all his acts and operations are Divine.

2. This is a Witness possessing the very highest qualifications. This appears even from the appellations by which he is here mentioned: "The Spirit of truth," whose special office it is to make the Word of God, the gospel of salvation, real, living, and powerful over the nature of man; "the Comforter," or Advocate, who comes to the feeble and helpless disciple of Christ, and pours into him celestial strength and wisdom.

3. This is a Witness commissioned by Christ to testify of himself. What authority does the Lord Jesus claim, when he says, "Whom I will send unto you;" and how distinct is the declaration of the purpose of his mission in the promise, "He shall testify of me"!

II. THE WITNESS TO CHRIST BORNE BY HIS OWN DISCIPLES.

1. Their qualifications.

(1) They were competent witnesses to Christ, for they had for years been in his society - were, in fact, his closest companions.

(2) They were effective witnesses, for they were in sympathy with him to whom they bore testimony. His spirit had entered into them; they were penetrated with his ardent compassion for sinners; they partook his disposition of unselfishness and consecration.

(3) They were copious witnesses; for, on account of their opportunities of beholding their Master's works, and listening to his discourses and conversations, they had much to tell of what their eyes had seen, their ears heard, their hands handled, of the Word of Life.

2. The method of their testimony. The apostles and other disciples of Jesus bore witness to him:

(1) By the unconscious, unuttered language of character, principles, and life. By reason of their participation in their Master's spirit, men "took knowledge of them that they had been with Jesus."

(2) By their preaching and teaching. Their witness was by the living voice, to Jew and Gentile. Christianity was a religion, as it still remains, marked by this peculiarity; it is promulgated by the utterance of those who themselves are convinced of its Divine authority and its adaptation to the needs of men.

(3) By written record. It was in fulfillment of this promise, which was also a command, that the evangelists and apostles wrote those treatises which remain to this day the memorials of our Savior's humiliation and glory, and the inspired application of Christian facts and doctrines to the necessities of human life. In fact, the whole of the New Testament is an act of obedience to this authoritative direction of the Master, "Ye shall bear witness."

3. The matter of their testimony. Chiefly, if not exclusively, their witness was to relate to Christ himself.. This was an appointment of Divine wisdom; for the Lord Jesus was incarnate Wisdom, Truth, Pity, and Benevolence. It has ever been found in human experience that those who have received the inspired witness to Immanuel, have received with him all the spiritual and immortal blessings which God made him the Medium of carrying to human souls.

APPLICATION. The Holy Spirit is still witnessing in the Church to him who is its Savior and Lord; and it is the part of all who receive this witness in the power of the same Spirit to repeat and extend the testimony. - T.







But when the Comforter is come.
I. THE HOLY SPIRIT.

1. Our text speaks of the Holy Spirit as a Person. "He shall testify;" "and ye also" (see also John 16:7, 8, 13, 14, 15). In the first of these places He is spoken of as a Person acting with other persons, of whose personality there can be no doubt, viz., the apostles. In the last He is represented as acting intermediately between the Father, an undoubted Person, and the apostles. We know that the effects of His operation are sometimes personified. But still our Lord and the sacred writers speak of Him in a way which requires us to understand an intelligent agent, e.g., in the form of baptism (Matthew 28:19). If the Spirit is a figure of speech, so are the Father and the Son.

2. He is a Divine Person. Otherwise an idol is set up on the very threshold of the Christian temple; and we are taught by the form of baptism to worship a creature of our own fancy. If the inspired language is perplexing, if He is not a real Person, it is delusive and dangerous if He be not divine (Matthew 12:28; John 14:12; of. Romans 15:19). We turn our thoughts to the offer of forgiveness so free and wide (Isaiah 55:7; Mark 3:28); but amidst all this wealth of mercy we find a solitary exception — blasphemy against the Holy Ghost (Mark 3:29). Is a figure of speech the object of the one irremissible sin!

3. The Three Divine Persons, though equal in dignity and power, have been pleased to establish a method of procedure which corresponds in a measure to the mode of the Divine existence. The Father is "of none," and is never said to be sent or given. The Son is of the Father, and as the Son of the Father, is sent and given by Him (2 John 3; 1 John 4:9; John 3:16), The Holy Spirit is never said to give or send the Son; but to proceed from the Father, to be given, and sent by the Father. In like manner, also, as the Son is called the Son of the Father, the Holy Spirit is called "the Spirit of His Son," etc. (Galatians 4:6; 1 Peter 1:11), and is said to be sent and given by Christ (John 16:7; Acts 2:83).

II. HIS WORK.

1. "The testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy." All the preannouncements concerning the coming and work of Christ were but the voice of the Spirit (Matthew 1:22; Acts 28:25). This testimony is so manifold as to anticipate the gospel at every point (Acts 26:22). It was by the agency of the Spirit that this prophecy was turned into history.(1) Our Redeemer must be a man like ourselves, and a body was prepared Him by the agency of the Spirit (Luke 1:35).(2) He must be a holy man, and so that conceived by the Holy Ghost was "that holy thing," and continued so.(3) In His public capacity He was anointed with the Holy Ghost and power.(4) To the same gracious agency we are taught to ascribe the virtues exhibited in His passion.(5) After death Jesus was "quickened by the Spirit."

2. The Holy Spirit's testimony as borne by the apostles.(1) All Christ's oral teachings was recalled to their minds, and the knowledge, courage, etc., needed to discharge their duties.(2) Their testimony was confirmed by the Spirit in a wonderful manner in "wonders and signs," etc.(3) The spoken testimony has perished, but the written testimony remains from generation to generation.(4) In the long succession of faithful men who have been "able to teach others also," from that day to this the Spirit has borne a continuous testimony to Christ.

3. In the Church, as in the ministry, the Holy Spirit bears this testimony, and not only in many persons, but in many ways in the same persons.(1) He testifies to men's need of Christ, by convincing them of sin.(2) He reveals Christ as a Saviour, and enables the penitent to receive and rest on Him for salvation.(3) The spirit of adoption is a testimony of Christ. When we cry, "Abba, Father," it is by the spirit of God's Son.(4) The spirit of adoption is also the spirit of holiness, and growth in holiness is inseparably connected with the knowledge of Christ (2 Peter 3:18; Hebrews 6:1).

(G. Osborn, D. D.)

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.)

1. Pilate put the question to our Lord, What is truth? The answer was given in a manner more direct and forcible than words can express: in person and in deed. Jesus was Himself the Truth. But Pilate had neither an eye to see the Truth, nor an ear to hear it.

2. Many men, worthy and noble, before and since have put the question, presuming that truth belongs to the region of thought and human speech. But truth does not lie in the sphere of thought and speculation. Reflections and images of the truth are indeed to be found there; but truth is deeper and more original than human intelligence. Our Lord says of Himself, "I am the Truth" — absolute Truth. All other truth is such only relatively to Himself. He is the Truth of all other truths. But to know the truth and to receive its light and power, a man must be in positive sympathy with it. "Every one that is of the truth heareth My voice."

3. Jesus Christ witnesses of Himself as the Absolute Truth by the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of Truth. Other witnesses, indeed, there are and will always be. But such only are witnesses who are the organs of the Spirit. Let us consider the Christian doctrine — that the Holy Ghost, as the Spirit of Truth, is the all-sufficient witness to Jesus Christ.

I. THAT THE SPIRIT IS THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH IS SPECIALLY MANIFESTED BY THE FACT THAT THROUGH HIS AGENCY THE TRUTH OF THE GODHEAD HAS BECOME INCARNATE IN MAN.

1. The Creator and the creature, the Absolute Truth in God and the relative truth in man are constituted one life in the person of Jesus Christ. The Word was made flesh by the Holy Ghost. "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee," etc. The Divine was made human according to the law of human life; for Jesus was born. And the human was assumed into the Divine after the Divine manner, for Jesus was conceived by the Holy Ghost. The eternal and absolute Truth was revealed and made manifest in the person and life of a veritable man, who is for us and for all men the living and ultimate Truth, in whom and by whom alone the truth of all truths is accessible to faith, and through faith accessible to intelligence.

2. If we inquire further, How was it that He became the Truth in life and in death? The answer is as by the Spirit Jesus was born the Holy Babe, so by the Spirit did He manifest God by a perfectly holy manhood, and offer a spotless sacrifice for sin upon the cross, and vanquish all the powers of darkness in His resurrection from the dead.

II. THIS SPIRIT OF TRUTH, WHEREBY JESUS ACCOMPLISHED THE WORK OF REDEMPTION, IS BY HIM SENT FROM HEAVEN TO EARTH AS HIS REPRESENTATIVE AND WITNESS, THAT HE MAY LIVE IN THOSE WHO RECEIVE HIM AND GUIDE THEM INTO ALL TRUTH. The Spirit makes those true who are by nature perverse.

1. The truth is heavenly and spiritual, not earthly and material. No earthly thing can witness of the essence of the heavenly. No material thing can exhibit the life of the spirtual. Human genius cannot look into the depths of the Divine and announce its unfathomable fulness. If, as He claims, Jesus be the Truth, and if the Truth be spiritual and heavenly, transcendent and Divine, then in this fallen, dark, wicked world, where the He is enthroned and men walk in a vain show, there can be no agencies, no resources, whereby the depraved heart and the darkened understanding and the perverted will may come to a knowledge of the Truth. "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard," etc. The wisdom of this world is utterly inadequate to the task of discovering the truth of God. But God has revealed to us His wisdom by the Spirit.

2. It must needs be, then, that the truth being spiritual and heavenly, the agency, by whom we may know the truth, must likewise be spiritual and heavenly. To this end, the presence and the power of the Spirit is effectual. In those who receive Him, the Spirit dissipates the clouds of natural darkness, removes the aversion of the carnal mind, and sheds the light of heavenly truth into the soul with convincing power. As on the day of Pentecost the Spirit touched the consciences of the multitudes; as the revelation of Christ smote Saul of Tarsus to the ground, as the Spirit opened the heart of Lydia, so has the same Spirit all along the ages been a power working mysteriously in those to whom the Word was preached, convincing them of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. The Spirit alone can shed the light of truth into the souls of men now.

III. THE SPIRIT AWAKENS IN MEN THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH BY MAKING THEM POSSESSORS OF THE TRUTH.

1. No right knowledge of Jesus Christ is external or merely intellectual. To appreciate Christ men must be members of Christ. The Spirit, accordingly, is the Divine agency whereby Christ apprehends men and men appropriate Christ. In the Spirit the separation is resolved into unity, the contradiction into the fellowship of faith. The dominion of error and falsehood is broken — broken because He who is the Truth lives in the believer, and the believer thus also becomes true.

2. To this end the power of the Spirit is effectual, independently of time or place, independently of rank or station.

3. For this work of the Spirit there can be no substitute. No discoveries in the natural world, no progress in science, no achievement of human genius can put man in possession of the truth, and thus make man personally true. In spite of all these empty glories he will remain the victim of a lie, and all his proud knowledge will confirm his delusion and deepen his spiritual darkness.

IV. MAKING MEN POSSESSORS OF THE TRUTH, THE SPIRIT IS ALSO THE POWER BY WHICH BELIEVERS FULFIL THE TRUTH BY A RIGHTEOUS AND GODLY WALK.

1. When the truth lives in the soul, it becomes the principle of action. The truth fills our ethical nature and gives it freedom. The truth sets the will free from the bondage of self-love and the world spirit. It becomes active in the truth and for the truth. Thus consciously active our ethical life acquires strength, that strength which is of the truth itself, a strength as mighty as the truth is mighty.

2. No such strength can come from the resoluteness and firmness of the natural will; not from any kind of self-imposed moral discipline. The self-denial and self-sacrifice of which the natural man is capable is but the renunciation of one falsehood to lay hold of another. The noble heroism and the stern morality of which, without possessing the truth that is in Christ, some men are capable, falls short just as certainly of freedom.

3. Not that the spiritual man is without spot or blemish. Nevertheless the man who by the Spirit possesses the truth and lives by faith under its power, asserts and develops a new morality. Thus in him the Spirit bears witness of Christ as the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and the believer in turn is a living perpetual witness to the truth of God in Christ.

V. RECEIVING THE HOLY SPIRIT AS THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH, HE BECOMES FOR THE CHURCH AND FOR THE INDIVIDUAL CHRISTIAN THE WITNESS TO CHRIST.

1. He is the immediate witness. The Spirit is the living bond by which Jesus Christ and fallen men become one life. Possessing the believer, Christ authenticates Himself to his heart and mind, in his will and consciousness. In that He shows unto us the things of Christ, the Spirit witnesses directly of Christ to us that He (Jesus Christ) is the Truth. Such witness is like the witness of self-consciousness. No truth can be more certainly known than this: that I am, that I think and will. Even so, in the heart and consciousness of a true believer, does the Holy Ghost testify that Jesus is the Truth of all truths.

2. The Spirit is the all-sufficient witness. Whatever question the natural reason may raise, or philosophy suggest; whatever new problem may arise in the history of the world; whatever doubts may be prompted by revolutions in science or convulsions in social life; whatever strength the human intellect may acquire by culture and discipline; however imposing and fearful may be the hostile array of the enemies of the Cross; however proud and triumphant the boasts and predictions of unbelief and naturalism, the status of the Christian Church remains unchanged. The witness is at hand, adequate to every objection that scepticism, materialism, and wickedness may seek to establish; a witness just as satisfying to every man who is not of the lie but of the truth as an axiom of quantitative truth is satisfying to the intellect of a mathematician. Here is the refuge and the strength of the Church and of the ministry and of the people of God in every land and in every age. No other witness is valid, or can satisfy the spiritual demands of the soul.

(E. V. Gerhart, D. D.)

I. HIS ADVENT FORETOLD. "When the Comforter is come."

1. The prediction was given to comfort them in the prospect of the persecution to which Christ had just directed their attention. They are given to understand that however great their approaching trials may be, and though He Himself was about departing from them, One would soon come to them from His Father who would be all sufficient for their help.

2. The prediction was strikingly fulfilled on the day of Pentecost, in connection with the preaching of Peter (Acts 2:1-3).

II. HIS CHARACTER PORTRAYED. "The Spirit of truth." There is a spirit of lying abroad in the world, sowing the seeds of error in human souls, and cultivating them into briars and thorns, into poisonous weeds and upas trees. But here is the Spirit of Truth who is also abroad and at work.

1. He is infallible Truth. Truth without any admixture of error or impunity. His ideas and His affections, so to say, are in perfect accord with eternal fact.

2. He is Redemptive Truth. His truth is to open the eyes of ignorance, to break the chains of bondage, to cleanse the heart from impurities, to deliver the conscience from guilt l In one word, to restore the soul to the knowledge, the image, the friendship, and the enjoyment of the great God.

III. HIS WORK INDICATED.

1. His work is that of an advocate. He goes into the court of human conscience and there He pleads for spirituality, benevolence, righteousness, God, against worldliness, selfishness, wrong, the devil. Sometimes He pleads in whispers, sometimes in thunder. Always is He earnest and persevering. He inspires His ministers to say, "We beseech you in Christ's stead be ye reconciled unto God."

2. His work is that of a witness. A witness for Christ, for the perfection of His character, the purity of His doctrines, and the beneficence of His influence. He does this through the teaching, the miraculous works, the moral triumphs, and the noble lives of those whom He inspired as the apostles of Christ. Conclusion: Let the assurance that this restoring Spirit is in the world encourage us in our efforts to spread truth, and in our trials to be magnanimous and patient.

(D. Thomas D. D.)

Our Lord has been speaking of a world hostile to His followers and to Him. He proceeds, in the words which follow, to paint that hostility as aggravated even to the pitch of religious murder. But here He lets a beam of light in upon the darkness. He lets them see that they will not be left alone, but have a great champion, who will put into their hands a weapon, with which they may conquer the world, and turn it into a friend, and with which alone they must meet the world's hate. Consider —

I. THE GREAT PROMISE OF AN ALLY AS AGAINST A HOSTILE WORLD.

1. The wonderful designation of this Champion Friend.(1) The "Comforter" is no mere gentle consoler. The word which means one who is summoned to the side of another, conveys the idea of a helper. The verses before our text suggest what sort of aid and succour the disciples will need. And that Paraclete is a strong Spirit who will be our champion and our ally, whatever antagonism may storm against us, and however strong and well-armed may be the assaulting legions of the world's hate.(2) "The Spirit of Truth," which means not so much His characteristic attribute as rather the weapon which He wields, or the material with which He works. That is to say, the Spirit of God is the Strengthener, the Encourager, the Comforter, the Fighter for us and with us, because He wields that great body of truth, the perfect revelation of God, and man, and duty, and salvation, which is embodied in the Incarnation and work of Jesus Christ our Lord. The truth is His weapon, and it is by that that He makes us strong.

2. The two-fold description of the mission of this Divine Champion.(1) "Sent" by Christ. In a previous part of this discourse, our Lord speaks of Him as being sent by the Father in His name and in answer to His prayer. The representation here is by no means antagonistic to this, for "whatsoever the Son seeth the Father do that also the Son doeth likewise." And therefore the Spirit is sent forth by the Father, and also the Son sends the Spirit.(2) But, on the other hand, we are not to regard that Divine Spirit as merely a messenger sent by another. He "proceeds from the Father." That word has been the battlefield of theological controversy, but what is meant is the simple historical coming forth into human life of that Divine Spirit. And, possibly, the word is chosen to give the idea of a voluntary and personal action of the Messenger, who not only is sent by the Father, but of Himself proceeds on the mighty work to which He is destined. Mark that wonderful phrase, twice repeated and emphasized by repetition "from the Father." The word translated "from" designates a position at the side of, and suggests much rather the intimate and ineffable union between, Father, Son, and Spirit than the source from which the Spirit comes.

3. Is not all this enough to make the weakest strong, and to make us "more than conquerors through Him that loved us"? All nations have legends of the gods fighting at the head of their armies, and through the dust of battle the white horses and the shining armour of the celestial champions have been seen. The chiddish dream is a historical reality. It is not we that fight, it is the Spirit of God that fighteth in us.

II. THE WITNESS OF THE SPIRIT WHICH FORTIFIES AGAINST THE WORLD. "He shall bear witness of Me." That phrase, "unto you," tells us that the witness is something which is done within the circle of the Christian believers, and not in the wide field of the world's history or in nature. Of course it is a great truth that long before Jesus Christ, and today far beyond the limits of His name the Spirit of God is working. As of old, He brooded over the chaotic darkness, ever labouring to turn chaos into order, and darkness into light; so today, all over the field of humanity, He is operating. But what is spoken of here is something that is done in and on Christian men, and not even through them on the world, but in them for themselves. "He shall testify of Me" to you.

1. The first application of these words is to the little group listening to Him. Never were men more desolate and beaten down than these were, in the prospect of Christ's departure. Never were men more utterly bewildered and dispirited than these were, in the days between His crucifixion and His resurrection. Think of them during His earthly life, their narrow understandings, their manifold faults, moral as well as intellectual. What was it that made these dwarfs into giants in six weeks; that made them start up all at once as heroes and that so swiftly matured them, as the fruits and flowers are ripened under tropical sunshine? The witness of the Spirit of God working within them, working upon what they knew of the historical facts of Christ's life, and interpreting them, was the explanation of their change and growth. And the New Testament is product of that. Christ's life was the truth which the Spirit used, and the product of His teaching was these epistles which we have, and which for us step into the place which the historical facts held for them; and become the instrument with which the Spirit of God will deepen our understanding of Christ and enlarge our knowledge of what He is to us.

2. The promise still applies to each of us in a secondary and modified sense. For there is nothing in these great valedictory words which is not the revelation of a permanent truth in regard to the Christian Church. And, therefore, we have the promise of a universal gift to all Christian men and women, an actual Divine Spirit to dwell with each of us, to speak in our hearts. And what will He do there? He will teach us a deeper knowledge of Jesus Christ. He will help us to understand better what He is. He will show us more and more of the whole sweep of His work, of the whole infinite truth for morals and religion, for politics and society, for time and for eternity, about men and about God, which is wrapped up in that great saying which we first of all, perhaps under the pressure of our own sense of sin, grasp as our deliverance from sin — "God so loved the world," etc. And as the days roll on, and new problems rise, and new difficulties present themselves, and new circumstances emerge in our personal life, we find the truth that we first of all dimly grasped as life and salvation, opening out into wisdom and depth and meaning that we never dreamed of in the early hours.

3. Then, note that this inward witness of Christ's depth and preciousness is the true weapon and stay against a hostile world.(1) A little candle in a room will make the lightning outside almost invisible; and if I have burning in my heart the inward experience and conviction of what Jesus Christ is, and what He has done and will do for me — oh, then all the storm without may rage and it will not trouble.(2) If you take an empty vessel and bring pressure to bear upon it, in go the sides. Fill it, and they will resist the pressure. So with growing knowledge of Christ and growing personal experience of His sweetness in our souls, we shall be able to throw off, untouched and undinted, the pressure which would otherwise have crushed us.

4. And so here is the true secret of tranquillity, in an age of questioning and doubt. Let me have that Divine voice speaking in my heart, and no matter what questions may be doubtful, this is sure — "We know whom we have believed"; and we can say, "Settle all your controversies any way you like, one thing I know" — "the Son of God is come and hath given us understanding that we may know Him that is true; and we are in Him that is true." Labour for more of this inward, personal conviction of the preciousness of Jesus Christ to strengthen you against a hostile world.

5. And remember that there are conditions under which this Voice speaks in our souls —(1) One is that we attend to the instrument which the Spirit of God uses, and that is "the truth." If Christians will not read their Bibles, they need not expect to have the words of these Bibles interpreted and made real to them by any inward experience.(2) And there must be moral discipline too. Laziness, worldliness, the absorption of attention with other things, self-conceit, prejudice, and the taking of our religion at second hand, stand in the way of our hearing the Spirit of God when He speaks. Come away from the babble and go by yourself, and take your Bibles with you and read them and meditate upon them and get near the Master of whom they speak, and the Spirit which uses the truth will use it to fortify you.

III. THE CONSEQUENT WITNESS WITH WHICH THE CHRISTIAN MAY WIN THE WORLD. "And ye also shall bear witness of Me," etc. That also has, of course, direct reference to the apostles, and therefore their qualification was simply the companionship with Him which enabled them to say, "We saw what we tell you; we were witnesses from the beginning." But then, again, it belongs to us all, and so here is the task of the Christian Church in all its members. They receive the witness of the Spirit, and they are Christ's witnesses in the world. Note —

1. What we have to do — to bear witness: not to argue, to adorn, but simply to attest.

2. What we have to attest — the fact, not of the historical life of Jesus Christ, because we are not in a position to be witnesses of that, but the fact of His preciousness and power, and the fact of our own experience of what He has done for us.

3. That is by far the most powerful agency for winning the world. You can never make men angry by saying to them, "We have found the Messias." You cannot irritate people, or provoke them into a controversial opposition when you say, "Brother I let me tell you my experience. I was dark, sad, sinful, weak, solitary, miserable; and I got light, gladness, pardon, strength, companionship, and a joyful hope." We can all say that. This is the witness that needs no eloquence, no genius, no anything except honesty and experience; and whosoever has tasted and felt and handled of the Word of Life may surely go to a brother and say, "Brother! I have eaten and am satisfied. Will you not help yourself?" We can all do it, and we ought to do it. Conclusion: The Christian privilege of being witnessed to by the Spirit of God in our hearts brings with it the Christian duty of befog witnesses in our turn to the world. Oh! listen to the Master, who says, "Him that confesseth Me before men, will I also confess before My Father in heaven."

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

Links
John 15:26 NIV
John 15:26 NLT
John 15:26 ESV
John 15:26 NASB
John 15:26 KJV

John 15:26 Bible Apps
John 15:26 Parallel
John 15:26 Biblia Paralela
John 15:26 Chinese Bible
John 15:26 French Bible
John 15:26 German Bible

John 15:26 Commentaries

Bible Hub
John 15:25
Top of Page
Top of Page