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"The Work of the Holy Spirit"
John 16:1-15 - Bible Study

In this study concerning the work of the Holy Spirit, Jesus continues to prepare His disciples for what lies ahead. He warns them of the tremendous battles they will face, and then reassures them, that through the power of the Holy Spirit, He will always be with them.

Work of the Holy Spirit

John 16:1-15

Verse 1: "I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away."

This verse begins with "I have said all these things" which indicates there is no break between this chapter, chapter 16, and chapter 15, (our previous study).

Concerning the phrase "falling away," some translations, use the word, "stumble." In the New Testament, it always means, "to cause one to fall into sin or apostasy."

In our previous study, Jesus warned the disciples and His Followers, to expect persecution from the world.

In this Scripture, He told them the reason for His warning was to keep them from falling away under the pressures and persecution of the religious community, which was sure to come.

Verse 2: "They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God."

Jesus had previously warned the disciples of the persecution they would suffer, it was, for the most part, a reference to the abuse they would receive while in His presence; now He tells them the persecution will continue even after He is gone.

To be put out of the synagogue was a dreaded penalty. It meant a loss of social acceptability, employment, and all access to the religious life they loved. The excommunicated person was considered to be worse than a pagan, an object of total rejection and hatred.

Jesus warned them that the time was coming when the rejection would become so entrenched and powerful, that whoever would kill one of them would think they were pleasing God.

According to history, the early Jews did not participate in the death of Christians. They mislead the Romans by claiming the Christians were not Jews. This left the Christians with no legal exemption from the requirement of worshiping the emperor.

The Jews tricked the Romans into crucifying Jesus by telling them Jesus claimed to be a king; which the Roman Empire would not allow.

Verse 3: "And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me."

Even today, there seems to be an uncompromising animosity toward Christians from those who do not know God.

Verse 4: "But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you. "I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. "

The Work of the Holy Spirit

Verse 5: "But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, 'Where are you going?"

The disciples were beginning to grasp the meaning of Jesus' Words, realizing that He would soon rejoin the Father and live in eternal glory.

However, they were so overwhelmed with the effect His departure would have on them, that rather than rejoicing with Him, they could only show concern for their own personal loneliness and welfare.

Verse 6: "But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart."

He knew how difficult it was for them to grasp the significance of the upcoming events. They did not yet realize that the work of the Holy Spirit would soon transform their lives.

Verse 7: "Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you."

It was to the advantage of the disciples, and to all who would follow, for Jesus to "go away," (back to Heaven, and the Father). Then, He would send the "Holy Spirit, the Helper, Comforter, the One called along-side," to help.

Through the work of the Holy Spirit Jesus would not be confined to one body but would reside in every Believer. This would allow Him to minister anywhere in the world, simultaneously.

There are many things about the Christian life that differs from other religions, but one distinguishing difference is that no other religion has the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

With the Spirit of God living within, the Christian becomes the Temple of God, "The temple not made with hands," (2 Cor 5:1).  

Verses 8-11: "And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9concerning sin, because they do not believe in me;

Convicting the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment is the work or the Holy Spirit. He will work through the Followers of Jesus to witness, teach, and preach His Word.

Concerning sin: It is Adam - who committed the first sin and caused all of humanity to be separated from God.

Righteousness: It is through Jesus that mankind can be restored to righteousness.

Judgment: "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil,"  (2 Cor 5:10)

Verse 10: concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer;

Christ is the Righteousness of God. When someone accepts Christ as their Savior, God then sees that person as Righteous.

Verse 11: concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

Judgment was introduced for, and because of, Satan. If not for him, there would be no judgment.

Even now, Satan stands judged and condemned. All who follow him will receive the same judgment and destiny.

Verse 12: "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now."

There were things the disciples could not understand until later, when the Spirit was given. They had many things to learn, and the Holy Spirit would guide them.

Traditions and laws had to be unlearned, including the cessation of sacrifices, elimination of circumcision, and the office of the High Priest. They had previously built their faith around these offices and laws.

It would have been virtually impossible for them to understand these changes at that time, that would be the work of the Holy Spirit.

Verse 13: "When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come."

Earlier Jesus promised the disciples that the Spirit would remind them of His teachings, and in this Scripture that the Spirit would guide them into further truth. It is generally taught that both promises were fulfilled in the Apostle's writings of the New Testament.

It is important to remember that Jesus promised the disciples that, through the Holy Spirit, He would remind them of His teachings, and that the Spirit would also guide them into further truth, which He did.

Some have made the mistake of thinking this Scripture was for all Believers. This has led to new, 'so-called' scripture being written, even by Followers in our day. This is incorrect! The Bible has been written and is complete, (finished). Scripture cannot be added to or taken from. (Rev 22:18-19)

The Holy Spirit works in all areas of the Christian's life.  The work of the Holy Spirit is to grant Believers the proper and correct understanding of the Scriptures.

"He will not speak on His own:"
The Holy Spirit is not independent of the Father and the Son, He is a third part of the "Trinity."

  • His place is to speak what He hears.
  • He draws from and conveys in the authority of Christ.
  • He glorifies Christ in all that He does.
  • He never exalts Himself.
  • He continually glorifies Christ, who glorifies the Father.  

Verse 14-15: "He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

"Through the Holy Spirit, the Believers relationship with Jesus can be the same, and no less intimate than the disciples in the days before the cross."  
Greg S. Keener, "Bible Background Commentary" 

This concludes our study of, "The Work of the Holy Spirit."

Our Next Study Is:

"Sorrow Will Turn into Joy"

Jesus prays for Himself, Prays for His Disciples and then Prays for all Believers. 

Bible Study Lessons, Main Page

Trusting in Jesus, Home Page 

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