John 16:5-33


“But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou?  But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart.  Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.  And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they believe not on me; of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.  I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.  Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.  He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.  A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father.  Then said some of his disciples among themselves, What is this that he saith unto us.  A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me: and, Because I go to the Father?  They said therefore, What is this that he saith, A little while?  we cannot tell what he saith.  Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask him, and said unto them, Do ye inquire among yourselves of that I said, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again a little while, and ye shall see me?  Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned to joy.  A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world.  And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.  And in that day ye shall ask me nothing.  Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.  Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.  These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father.  At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: for the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.  I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world:  again I leave the world, and go to the Father.  His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb.  Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou comest forth from God.  Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe?  Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.  These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace.  In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”


Your burden, your bridge


“Let’s say a word of prayer.  We are in John chapter 16, last week we left off with verse 4, this week we’ll start with verse 5, so let’s say a word of prayer and we’ll get started here in John chapter 16.  ‘Heavenly Father we thank you once more that we can meet together.  I want to thank you for the heat that we have here upstairs on a cold and chilly day like today.  I thank you Lord for how you provided and put those units on the roof, and you have us meeting up here.  So I thank you for that Lord.  We also thank you for the opportunity to be here and to open our hearts to you and to study your Word.  What a privilege to be able to study these verses, and to consider your life Jesus, even hours before you went to the cross.  So we ask you, Holy Spirit, that you would illuminate these words, that your light would fill our minds and our hearts, and that you Holy Spirit would be upon us all, and upon me as we go through your Word, in Jesus name, Amen.’ 


Things appear hopeless for the disicples


There’s a story of London England, London’s first report back from the Battle of Waterloo.  If you know your history, your world history, England went to battle against France [and Napoleon], and there was this critical battle, the Battle of Waterloo.  The Duke of Wellington led the English forces against Napoleon, that great general there leading the French army.  [The threat Napoleon posed to England in the 1800s was the same threat Hitler posed to England in the 20th century.]  Well when this history-making battle was finally over, the reports were sent back to the people of England so that they could know the outcome of the battle.  And it was sent initially, the word was sent initially via boat to the south coast of England, and then from there it was sent across land via semaphore.  And what is semaphore?  I had to look in the dictionary.  But semaphore is one of those apparatuses that sends signals either through light or through flags held in hands, with your arms going in certain motions.  So it’s a way of sending a code where you can then understand a given message.  And this process happened across England to London.  And there on top of the Winchester Cathedral in the middle of London was a semaphore operator also that, that when the message was received there it was then sent out to the city of London.  Well it began to spell out the message, and of course the people in London were eager to hear about the results of this battle, it was so critical.  But as the semaphore operator was sending the message the fog began to settle over the city.  And as it settled it began to even block out the view of the Cathedral there, and the semaphore, and in a little bit of time you couldn’t see the semaphore at all.  So what had happened was, as the message was being sent out, what got out was these words “Wellington defeated…”.  Well with that, the word got out across London that Wellington was defeated.  Of course that caused some tremendous concern, and even grief in some of the hearts of the people of England.  But then, not too long later, the fog began to lift up, and as it began to lift up, the semaphore operator began to send out the signal again, and the entire message went out this next time.  And the message was “Wellington defeated the enemy.”  Two words that didn’t make it the first time, key words, completely changed that message.  Because of their foggy perspective, the people of London initially understood that there was defeat that had come their way, and of course that would cause some heavy hearts.  But then the fog lifted and they discovered what initially appeared to be a defeat was in reality a victory. Well I start with this illustration because this can be true of you and I as believers in Jesus Christ.  There are times because of my hazy understanding of the will of the Lord, and my foggy understanding of the purposes of God, that initially what appears to be a disastrous turn of events, later, when the fog lifts, when I have better understanding, it actually becomes a tremendous point of victory, a tremendous source of blessing, and even a season of growth and fruitfulness in our lives.  And we’ll see this also, this principle at work, or it’s going to be at work here in the lives of the disciples.  They also presently face a situation, to them at this moment, it seems very hard, even grievous.  And as a result, and I believe we noted in our verses, as we go through this morning, their hearts are very heavy.  But Jesus is going to explain to them that not too long in the future, a light is going to dawn in their darkness.  And it’s such a great light, that the momentary darkness that they are going to experience will no doubt seem worth all of it, because of the tremendous light and the blessing that’s going to come their way.  But it was necessary for them to go through this season of darkness to get there.  Well maybe in your life, maybe these are questions that you need to consider this morning, do the events that maybe have come into your life recently, do they appear dark, and do they appear grievous.  Maybe there’s things that happened in your life recently that have caused you to have a heavy heart this morning.  But is it possible that these things are this way because you have a hazy perspective and understanding of God’s purposes, you don’t understand fully all that he’s doing presently in your life?  Maybe you  don’t realize that in the end things might be very different for you, that this might in fact turn out to be a season of fruitfulness for you, a season of growth and maturity, a season of blessing in your life.  Certainly it’s true, God’s promise to us.  And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, and to those who are called according to his purpose. 


“It’s to your advantage that I go away.”


Well let’s begin with verses 5-7, “But now I go away to him who sent me, and none of you asks me ‘Where are you going?’.  ‘But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart.  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 depart I will send him to you.’”   Well Jesus here tells the disciples again that he’s soon leaving them and departing, and going away “to him” he says, meaning going to God the Father.  He’s referred to his death, he’s about to die.  Now any believer could use those same words, you know, before we are about to die we could say ‘I’m departing soon and going away to be with God the Father’, we could say those same words.  But he then includes a couple words that follow that we could not say.  He says these three words, “I go away to him who sent me.”  Now I could say ‘I go away, I’m soon to die, I’m going away to him who made me,’ but I couldn’t say ‘him who sent me.’  Only Jesus can say that.  Jesus is not created, Jesus is the Son of God [and as we’ve seen throughout the Gospel of John, especially John 1:1-14 and John 8:58 and Exodus 3:13-14, Jesus was the pre-incarnate Yahweh].  And before he appeared on this earth in a manger, as a baby in a manger, he was with God the Father in heaven.  So he says to his disciples, ‘I’m soon about to die, and I’m going to return to be with the Father who sent me, I was with him before.  Now in verse 5, Jesus poses a question, or at least he says that he’s baffled, according to his perspective, that they haven’t asked him a question, they haven’t asked him ‘Where are you going?’.  Now if you remember what we’ve studied this far, that statement of Jesus is a little odd, because just a little earlier in the thirteenth chapter, Peter does ask Jesus those very words.  In the 13th chapter, verse 36, which is the same night, and there’s been this time with Jesus there at the last night [Passover], there the last supper before Jesus goes to the cross.  And part of that same night Jesus did mention some things, and Peter responded, he says ‘Where are you going?”.  So just a little bit ago he did ask that very question.  But now Jesus says ‘none of you asked me, Where are you going?’.  So, what does Jesus mean when he says that?  Maybe what he’s referring to here is that they should ask him again because they don’t fully understand.  They don’t fully comprehend where he is going, it still hasn’t completely settled into their minds, into their hearts yet.  Although from other Gospel passages we do see that they have a partial understanding.  You remember the one time there in Matthew when Jesus mentions that he’s going to die at the hands of the religious leaders, Peter understands at least a part of it because he rebukes Jesus.  And he says to Jesus, he says ‘Far be it from you Lord, this is not going to happen to you, get that thought out of your mind’, if you remember that.  So he understood part of the fact that Jesus was going to die, some of it sunk in.  And then of course Jesus rebuked him and said “Get thee behind me Satan.”  So that would also say that he still didn’t completely understand what it meant, at the same time.  Or maybe, and this is where I especially lean, maybe he’s saying this because they’re refusing to understand.  They’re refusing to accept the possibility that Jesus is going to die, that their Master is going to leave, they’re going to lose their Master.  And that would also be indicated too in that passage in Matthew chapter 16.  I think that’s a possibility.  Jesus says in verse 6, because of what he’s said their hearts are filled with sorrow, so they are indeed grieving.  Some of it is hitting them, they’re definitely grieving at this understanding.  And humanly speaking, when there’s a report given to a loved one that their loved one is going to die, when they get that report, no doubt there is the confusion, there’s the bewilderment, and at times there’s that sense of denial as they try to wrestle with the emotion of the weight of that whole report to them.  So I would say that, yeah, they don’t fully understand.  That’s why he says it.  But also, I think potentially, they don’t want to understand, they don’t want to accept this reality.  Well whatever the reason, Jesus knows ultimately.  But it’s clear, their hearts are heavy-hearted as Jesus has announced to them that he’s about to die.  Now verse 7 must also add to their confusion at this moment, because he says that when he dies, his going away is to their advantage.  His death is actually to their advantage, when he goes away to the Father.  Now how could that be possible?  I mean, I don’t know if I could say that to my wife or my children, ‘my death is going to be advantageous to you’, she might think that for a little bit, you know, and think about some of the possibilities, you know [laughter].  And in the end I know God will use it to good in her life, if that was to happen, if that’s part of God’s plan.  But Jesus says it for certain reasons, and it’s true, it’s to their advantage that he now dies and goes to be with the Father.  ‘But how could it be possible?’ they’re wondering.  I’m sure there’s some confusion, he is their Master, they’ve left absolutely everything to follow him.  I mean, they’ve put aside their occupations, their careers, their hopes related to that.  They’ve put aside their family, they’ve put aside their lives, their livelihoods, and they’ve followed Jesus for three and a half years.  And they’ve done that with a certain hope that he is the promised Messiah.  So there’s an expectation that he is going to establish his kingdom.  [see to learn about all the prophecies concerning that Kingdom Jesus is bringing back to establish on earth at his 2nd coming.]  Now it’s interesting, that expectation is very real to them because even after Jesus dies, even after the cross begins to settle in a little bit and the resurrection, Jesus appears to them for 40 days, and just before he ascends back into heaven, he tells them to go back to Jerusalem and to wait for the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  But even then they respond “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom of Israel?” (Acts 1:6)  So there is this anticipation of the Messianic Kingdom, that Jesus is going to rule as King and put aside the Romans.  [see the link above for those actual prophecies, both Old Testament and New, that prophecy about that Messianic Kingdom.  Jesus will come again the 2nd time, and he will then set up that Kingdom.  The problem with the Jews and even these Jewish disciples, is they thought that Kingdom was coming in their lifetimes.  They thought and believed this because most Old Testament prophecies about the coming of the Messiah have both 1st and 2nd comings mixed into them.  Often the first part of a prophecy is about Jesus’ 1st coming, and the rest is about his second coming.  This confused the Jews, who thought it was only talking about one coming of the Messiah.  See Isaiah 11 for an example of this.  The first three verses refer to Jesus’ 1st coming, while all the rest refer to his 2nd coming.  Again, this was very confusing to the Jews of the time.  Often the 2nd coming prophecies overshadowed in glory and power the 1st coming prophecies within the same chapters they’re found in, like Isaiah 11.]  So they do not presently understand Jesus’ statement, I’m sure.  And that is also because, as we started with that illustration, they don’t fully see the purpose and plan of God.  You could say their minds are a bit foggy.  They don’t completely appreciate at this point the death of their Savior.  But later they will.  Later they will, no doubt.  We read the Epistles, we read that they’re written for us, and we have them here before us.  No doubt later, they know, it was to their advantage.  They would agree, yes, it was to great advantage for us for the Savior to die, and for Jesus to go back to be with the Father.  Now there are times in our lives, your life and my life, Jesus will say the same to us.  He’ll tell us the road may not appear very easy ahead, but be encouraged, it’s to your advantage.  Be encouraged.  Doesn’t look easy to you, but it is to your advantage.  And later, later, you’re going to see, you’re going to see indeed, it was to my advantage.  So Jesus says ‘Rest in me right now, just trust in me, it doesn’t look easy, but I’m going to work it to your good, just wait.’  There’s a story of Wallace Johnson, the founder of Holiday Inn motels.  And he could testify of this experience, when he was in his forties, it was during the era of the Depression.  He was working, not for much wage, but a little bit of wage, but very needed wage.  He was working at a sawmill.  And one morning his boss told him, ‘You’re fired!’  Now you got a little bit of money, you need that money during the Depression, and you’re working, you’re forty years of age, that’s bad news.  ‘You’re fired!’  Well he walked out depressed and discouraged, came home pretty heavy hearted.  And he mentioned things to his wife, what just happened.   Then she said to him, ‘Man, what are you going to do now?’  Well he replied to her, ‘I’m going to mortgage our little house, and I’m going to start a building business.’  I mean, during the Depression?  Well, we know about him, because it was God’s plan for his life.  Evidently he was a believer.  But his first venture was the construction of two small buildings, and within five years he was a multimillionaire.  But this is what he says, “Today if I could locate the man who fired me, I would sincerely thank him for what he did.  At that time it happened I didn’t understand why I was fired.  Later, I saw that this was God’s unerring and wondrous plan to get me into the way of his choosing.  So, Depression, little wage, bad news, been fired.  But yet later, yeah, it worked to great good in his life.  Maybe your career has taken a turn this recent season, maybe your business isn’t doing as well, maybe there’s anxiety in your heart.  Maybe you’re even confused about things that are going on with your life economically.  But you can be encouraged, I believe Jesus can say the same thing to you today.  “It’s to your advantage.”  It’s to your advantage, if these things are going on in your life, he’s going to work it to good.  It’s to your advantage. 


Why it’s to your advantage that Jesus goes to the Father


Well, understanding the Holy Spirit here, you know, Jesus says, explicitly, now why exactly it is to your advantage.  And he starts and lists these points, we see in verse 7 he introduces this subject again of the Holy Spirit.  But why is it to their advantage?  Because he says ‘The Holy Spirit will come.  He’s not going to come, I’m not going to send him to you until I die, until I go back to be with the Father.’  And that is going to be tremendously advantageous to you.  Of course, one of the reasons, he doesn’t note here, one of the reasons is just the nature of the Holy Spirit, as opposed to the nature of Jesus here as a man at this time on the earth.  Now Jesus as a man, he is the Son of God, but as a man, he’s physically limited to be at one place at one time [i.e. God in his spirit state of being is capable of being omnipresent anywhere in the vast Universe.  It’s just one of his attributes.]  As we’ve studied the Gospels, you can remember those times where the multitudes are scurrying, looking for Jesus in different places.  He was in one place at a time.  And they’d go around the Sea of Galilee trying to find him, looking for him, as a physical man, Son of God, yet limited to his physical body.  But now the Holy Spirit is going to come.  And of course, the nature of the Holy Spirit, it’s certainly to the disciple’s advantage, and of course, it’s to the world’s advantage, to the Church’s advantage, because the Holy Spirit can be anywhere at any time, he can be everyplace at any time.  I mean, he’s, that’s part of his nature.  But Jesus in that physical limitation at that time, that was not possible.  So I’ll quote to you from Charles Spurgeon.  “The Holy Spirit can be in all the assemblies of all the saints at the same time, and can teach at one moment all the disciples of the Lord.  He can prompt prayers and inspire praises in myriads of souls at once, and apply the Word with power to millions of hearts at the same instant.  The glory of the Church is the abiding power of the Holy Ghost, comforting the Church and convincing the world.”  So, the Holy Spirit, it’s to the Church’s [Church = greater body of Christ] advantage that Jesus did go back to be with the Father, and that the Holy Spirit then came to be present with us, because right now we’re in this town we live in, and God is with us.  In fact, Christ is with us through the Holy Spirit this very moment [see John 14:16-18, 23.  Jesus and the Father live inside us through the indwelling Holy Spirit].  You know, Jesus, it’s through the presence of the Holy Spirit that Jesus fulfilled his promise, he said “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there in their midst.  And whatsoever you ask in my name will be done”, of course, the Holy Spirit.  And then in Matthew 28, verse 20 Jesus will tell the disciples “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age”---through the Holy Spirit.  So it’s through the presence of the Holy Spirit that he fulfilled those promises.  So it’s to the advantage of the disciples, it’s to the advantage of God’s children that Jesus would return to heaven and the Holy Spirit would come.  We’re here in this town, God is here, but he’s also here in the other evangelical churches, churches that believe in Jesus Christ within this community.  But at the same time, in other parts of the world right now where it’s evening, there’s prayer meetings going on, and the Holy Spirit is there.  So we’re here, God is everywhere near [and far], we can just be here with God, and it’s because of the Holy Spirit.  So it’s to their advantage.  But he also lists now specific advantages that we want to note. 


First, the Holy Spirit will convict of sin


Now this isn’t like a complete list, there are other reason’s too.  But these are some of the ones that he chooses to note now with the disciples.  Verses 8-11, “And when he is come, he will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.  Of sin because they do not believe in me, of righteousness because I go to my Father, and you see me no more, of judgment because the ruler of this world is judged.”  So, he lists these reasons here, he says the coming of the Holy Spirit will be advantageous to them for these reasons, of the work of the Holy Spirit in the sense of convicting, convicting.  So, the word “convict”, the word “convict” is here in the New King James.  If you have the King James, it’s the word “reprove”.  That Greek word is a somewhat difficult word to translate.  But it’s a legal word that means to “bring to light”, “to expose”, “to refute”, or as noted here, “to convict and to convince”.  It also can be translated “pronounce the verdict”.  So the Holy Spirit, he says, will come, and it’s advantageous to you, because he will convict, he will convict the world.  Now how exactly will he do that?  Relating to what?  Well first of all, as you see there in verse 8, and then he defines it in verse 9, “he will convict the world of sin,”  Now why is that necessary that the Holy Spirit come and convict the world of sin?  And Jesus shares in verse 9 as to why, “because they do not believe in me.”  So the Holy Spirit will come and convict the world of sin, specifically, especially the Holy Spirit will come and convict the world of the sin of unbelief, as he says there, because they do not believe in me.  The Holy Spirit is going to come and convict them.  This sin of unbelief, of course that’s of fare amount of importance, because that is the only sin that God will not, can not forgive, is this sin of unbelief, this sin of not accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and as Savior, believing in the work that he did on the cross for us.  That is a sin that God will not forgive.  That is the only sin that he will not forgive.  So it’s of paramount importance that the Holy Spirit does come and convict the world of sin, especially this sin of  unbelief, working in the hearts of people.  Now that doesn’t mean the Holy Spirit, you know, only convicts in that manner.  Or it doesn’t mean that people are not convicted of other sins.  You know, of course, they have their conscience, and there’s the Law that also convicts, you know, that they’re out of line, there is sin in their lives [i.e. the Law of God, either Old Testament or New, which btw, Yahweh said in Jeremiah 31:31-34, he said the Holy Spirit would write the Law of God in our hearts and minds, so obedience, true obedience to God’s Law is a work of the Holy Spirit within believers], but this work of the Holy Spirit is certainly key. [Comment: We see in Acts 2:1-43 that the Holy Spirit via Peter’s very first sermon convicted the hearts of 3,000 people of their sin of unbelief, and then drew them to Jesus.  They became believers and were baptized that very same day.  So fifty three days after Jesus spoke these words, the Holy Spirit was dynamically fulfilling them!] 


Secondly, the Holy Spirit will convict of righteousness


Secondly the Holy Spirit will not only convict of sin, but he’ll also convict of righteousness.  Of righteousness, and then as verse 10 says, as Jesus then explains “because I go to my Father, and you see me no more.”  What exactly does he mean there?  He says the Holy Spirit is going to convict of righteousness, because you’re not going to have me here, the world is not going to have me physically present with them as an example to them.  And without Christ, the world loses the true sense of righteousness.  Without Christ they lose the convicting example of his perfect sinless lifestyle.  So it’s important that the Holy Spirit come back and convict of righteousness, because it’s the tendency of the world to redefine righteousness.  Of course, we see that in our culture.  Right?  This new morality, I mean, it’s been going on forever, but redefining what’s right and wrong, that there is no standard, there is no real truth or righteousness.  And so you have today all kinds of things being told to us that they’re acceptable, when they’re clearly against the Law of God, it’s clearly not a standard of righteousness.  So Jesus says it’s important that when I leave that the Holy Spirit comes, because he’s going to convict the world of righteousness.  He’s going to remind people [through us, who are filled with the Holy Spirit] that they in their own life don’t meet that standard of righteousness, that God is perfect.  And that those who dwell with God, those that are going to be with God, must also be perfect, and then through the Holy Spirit working through their hearts, man is going to realize that ‘I cannot meet that need, I cannot meet that standard.’  I mean, righteous, the Holy Spirit says there is a standard, and it is a real high standard.  And then man struggles with ‘Well, gosh, there’s these issues in my life, and I don’t know if I can meet that standard.’  There’s this conviction in heart, this dilemma that begins to be created in the heart where the Holy Spirit is working in that way.  And then, the Gospel comes in, God’s Word, and says Jesus died on the cross, and he died on the cross for our sin, and then he ascended into heaven, and because he ascended into heaven, that says that God accepted his standard of righteousness.  He went there, he’s there now.  God accepted his life of righteousness, his standard.  So the Gospel tells me, the Holy Spirit works in my heart, convicts me of sin, convicts me of righteousness, says I don’t cut it, ‘I’m not perfect, I know I’m not perfect, but then I realize there is this standard, but then I also see that, well, Jesus met the standard, God accepted his righteousness.  But also the Holy Spirit makes it very clear to me that nothing else is going to do, there’s no other way into heaven [for some, the kingdom of heaven], and it’s only by the righteousness of Jesus Christ.  So Jesus, on other occasions, he made this clear too.  In Matthew chapter 5, verse 20, he declared to the Pharisees, he said, “For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the Scribes and the Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.”  So he says, unless it exceeds that.  Now, if you look at their lifestyle, these guys, when it came to trying to fulfill the requirements of the Law, man, nobody has been as zealous as them.  These guys were radical.  I mean, they would even take their little spices and count them out and divide the little grains into portions so that they could make sure they tithed 10 percent of all that they had.  They were radical in trying to fulfill the Law.  But Jesus said unless your righteousness exceeds theirs, I mean, these guys walked around in white gowns, you know, and had the little prayer-boxes on their foreheads, and said their prayers there on the street corners.  Man they went to town with religion and the traditions of men.  But Jesus made it clear that that righteousness doesn’t come close.  Now the Holy Spirit works in the hearts of men and confirms this same thing.  So then Paul says in Philippians chapter 3 about his previous experience and then about the work of the Lord in his life, the work of the Spirit.  He says “A Pharisee”, he was a Pharisee before “concerning zeal, persecuting the Church, concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.  But what things were gain to me, these things I have counted loss for Christ, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith.”  So it’s important, the Holy Spirit comes and convicts of sin, but also of righteousness, so that we realize we need another righteousness.  We don’t make it.  But there is the righteousness of Christ.  God has accepted his Son back into heaven.  His life was perfect.  And now Paul says he wants to be found in that righteousness, the righteousness of Christ.  So if you’re here this morning, and maybe you’ve come from various religious traditions and churches, and you’ve tried to please God on your own merit, but understand, even here, that you’ll never please God on your own merit.  There’s only one way that I can be with God, there’s only one way that we can have fellowship with God, there’s only one way that we can please God, and that is through Christ, as being found in Christ, it’s being found in his righteousness.  The world had his example when he walked here.  But when he leaves, it was advantageous and important that the Holy Spirit come and then  continue to convict the world of righteousness.  And of course the Holy Spirit does that by pointing to Jesus, as we go on.  He’ll say that explicitly, that the ministry of the Holy Spirit is to point to Jesus.


Thirdly, the Holy Spirit will convict of judgment


Thirdly, he says the Holy Spirit will come and convict of sin, and of righteousness, but also of judgment.  And then he says and defines that in verse 11, “Of judgment because the ruler of this world is judged.”  Now what is he referring to here?  Of course he’s referring to the ruler of the world, the prince of the world that is Satan being judged.  Now some commentators believe he’s referring to the pronouncement of the judgment.  When Jesus goes to the cross, and rises from the dead, of course the judgment that was clearly pronounced and was done, Satan was judged at that point.  Now the practical fulfillment of that is happening before us and will finally be fulfilled when Satan is tossed into hell later [see Revelation 20:1-3, 7-10.]  But is he referring to just the fulfillment of that in the sense, the judgment of that as Jesus went to the grave and was raised to life, and what that meant in the heavenlies and what that meant to Satan?  Or is he referring later to hell?  I personally believe that he means hell, is what he means, the final ultimate practical fulfillment of Satan [and the demons by extrapolation] being tossed into hell, when he says the Holy Spirit comes, convicts, he convicts that the ruler, that’s Satan of this world, is judged, meaning that he’s going to that fiery furnace someday.  That’s his ultimate end.  And I think that is important.  [For more about Satan, log onto]  Because if I am in the world, and that’s where Satan is going, the prince of the world, that means that’s where the world is going apart from Christ, and then therefore the Holy Spirit convicts the lost sinners and says ‘That’s where you’re going to go, if you stay with the world, if you stay with the prince of the world, if you don’t have Christ in your life.’  So, the Holy Spirit comes, he convicts the heart of a sinner, he convicts the world.  Then a soft heart, a softening heart of a sinner begins to see the sin of unbelief, begins to realize then that they don’t measure up to the righteousness of Christ, and that there’s a dilemma.  And then they see that they’re headed to judgment if things don’t change, if something doesn’t work out in their life to help them to change.  And then, of course, the Gospel message comes and shows them that it’s through Jesus Christ.  So this is the work of the Holy Spirit.  So Warren Wiersby puts it this way, “There can be no conversion without conviction, no conversion without conviction, and there can be no conviction apart from the Spirit of God, using the Word of God, and the witness of a faithful child of God.”  So, the Holy Spirit will come.  So I consider this truth and pray all the more, Holy Spirit, work in this way in our town and the North County, convict people of sin, convict people of righteousness and of judgment.  You know, we can talk about Jesus till we’re blue in the face, I mean, we can put up billboards, we can start ten radio stations, we can have TV programs, we can have services every day.  But if the Holy Spirit isn’t convicting, and moving in hearts, and showing people that they’re sinners, and they’re not going to cut it before God without help, and the only way they can get help is through Jesus Christ, then there will be no conversions.  He went to the cross, he died on the cross, and he paid the penalty for their sin.  [see John 6:44, “No man can come to me except the Father draw him…”  And the Father draws people to Jesus by convicting them through the Holy Spirit.]  When I think of this judgment part, I think of a friend.  You know, the Holy Spirit works that way, I remember years ago in the Baptist church, a friend came, well he’s a friend now, but he came walking into the church, and the reason why he came looking for a church, is he had heard that there was hell, somebody told him about the concept of hell.  And it scared him, scared him so much he went looking for a church.  And he wanted to find out, ‘You know, I heard about hell, I don’t want to go there, so can somebody help me out here?...I don’t want to go to that place called hell.’  And that really is how that guy came to Christ…[tape switchover, some text lost]…I used to say this in the past, I remember Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones*, he made this comment, great preacher of the 20th century, in the middle of the 1900s, considered the Spurgeon of his time. And he was given maybe the opportunity in that time to go on radio, but he would not go on radio, because he believed this, and I don’t necessarily believe it in this manner, but he believed that in order for the Word to go out, from one individual to another in power, it had to be said under the power of the Holy Spirit, but it also had to be received that way.  So you notice when I pray at the beginning of this study, I always pray “Holy Spirit, be upon all of us, be also upon me.”  I want the Holy Spirit to work through me, I want to be prepared and ready.  But it’s also important that you’re prepared and ready.  It’s a two-way deal, I do believe in that, I do.  So, although I think you can go on radio, I don’t quite see it that way.  But the point is, it’s a two-way deal.  So, Holy Spirit, Holy Spirit, advantageous Jesus goes back to heaven, advantageous to the Church and to the disciples.  He comes, he convicts of sin, he convicts of righteousness, and he convicts of judgment.  Well then Jesus continues. 


More about what the Holy Spirit does for us


Verses 12-15, “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.  However, when he the Spirit of truth has come, he will guide you into all truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will tell you things to come.  He will glorify me, for he will take of what is mine and declare it to you.  All things that the Father has are mine, therefore I said that he will take of mine and he will declare it to you.”  [King James has “show” for the word “declare”.]  Well Jesus now says, you know, he says presently, he understands that the disciples are not able to swallow it all, he’s got a lot he can tell them.  You know, but you start with the milk and you kind of work to the meat.  And he understands, at this point especially, they can only swallow so much.  But he doesn’t really fret about that, but he at the same time says, ‘But that’s OK, because later the Holy Spirit is going to come, and though I can’t tell you everything now, you’re not ready for it, but later when you are, the Holy Spirit is going to reveal all these truths to you.’  That’s what he says there in verse 12 and then verse 13 and following.  And he says that because, well first of all he says the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, will guide them into all truth.  When he comes he will guide them into all truth, he is the Spirit of truth.  He will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he’s going to share with them.  He’s not going to say anything inconsistent with what they’ve already heard from Jesus.  He’s not going to say anything inconsistent with what has already been written and recorded in the Old Testament Law that God had written then.  But what he says, is going to be consistent with God the Father, God the Son.  I mean, the Holy Spirit is also God, he will not speak then differently, but in the same heart and consistent with that.  But he’ll guide them in all truth, he’ll guide them and reveal truth to them.  And then he goes on, secondly, he says “The Holy Spirit will tell them things to come.”  He’ll tell them things to come.  We studied earlier that he would remind, Jesus said “The Holy Spirit is going to come and remind you of things that I have said.”  And later, we have the Gospels today because the Holy Spirit is the One who brought all these things to remembrance.  As the disciples sat down, Matthew and John and then of course Luke, the doctor, they sat down and the Holy Spirit revealed all the things that Jesus already taught the disciples.  He reminded them of that.  [And the Gospel of John was written in the 90s AD, long after the other Gospels, when John was an old man.  And yet he writes of the events like they happened yesterday for him.  Most of us at 90 would have a hard time recollecting what happened to us in our 20s in such detail.]  So they were able to just record all those Gospels, so we have the Gospels.  But then also the Holy Spirit would teach them of truths so we have the Epistles, we have all this extra stuff that we don’t have in the Gospels, that Jesus didn’t necessarily say to them then, but the Holy Spirit then began to just give them these additional thoughts and principles and truths.  But then furthermore, we have the Book of Revelation, John there on the Isle of Patmos, the Holy Spirit revealed about things that were to come [through a direct vision, as if John were there in the 3rd heaven, at God’s throne].  And it says here that he will also, he’s the Spirit of truth, he’s going to guide you in all truth, but he’ll also reveal to you things to come, there at the end of verse 13.  So we have the Book of Revelation, and we have other prophetic things that are said in the Epistles.  But then, this point, the Holy Spirit will also glorify Jesus, verse 14.  “He will glorify me.”   So he will come, he will point to Jesus, and he will reveal things about Jesus, he will glorify Jesus.  And when I read that, I think of Paul’s Epistle, later, you know, this man that had this encounter with Jesus there on the road to Damascus.  He wasn’t with Jesus like the other disciples, but he had that experience.  But then the Holy Spirit revealed incredible things to him.  So he pens this letter to the church in Colossi, the Book of Colossians.  If you’ve ever studied it, it’s an incredible little Epistle about the majesty of Christ, it’s incredible, but Paul, through the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit pointing to Jesus, revealing, glorifying Jesus.  He pens incredible things about Jesus Christ, how majestic he is, nothing compares to him.  In fact, all the universe is in his very hand.  He’s the glue that holds everything together, that’s why the universe doesn’t just go BOOM!  I mean, he holds it all together.  All that he says there, that in him are all the treasures and all that we need is in Christ.  So he says the Holy Spirit will come.  We see that, we have these letters and Epistles.  Of course, the Holy Spirit also works in our lives, guiding us in truth and ministering to our hearts.  I believe also the Holy Spirit can lead me about the future.  Now some people get kind of strange with that, and do strange things with that.  But I know this week, we do it every year, a group of men, we’re going to go away and seek the Lord, we’re going to go to a retreat center and just be in prayer and the Word, and I find those times that often God just ministers to my heart and he puts things on my heart that are so vital for the coming year, principles, truths.  And so we go and do that.  We’re going to do it even later this week, knowing that God can minister, the Holy Spirit can minister to our hearts, and prepare us, put things on our hearts for the coming year.  Well, why is this again so important?  This is important because, you know, it’s not me trying to prepare a clever little study, it’s not me worrying about, man, how well I can speak, or you, how well you can speak, how excellent we are as orators or whatever.  That’s not what the Church is about, again it’s the power of the Holy Spirit.  It’s the Holy Spirit working, convicting, revealing guiding in truth, and just ministering to hearts.  That’s why these things are so vital to the Church. 


First pain and sorrow, then unspeakable joy, just like child-birth


Verses 16-24, “A little while, and you will not see me.  And again a little while, and you will see me, because I go to the Father.’  And some of his disciples said among themselves, ‘What is this that he says to us, A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while, and you will see me, and because I go to the Father?’”  I mean, the truth is, that would be a little confusing to me, A little while, you’re going to go, and a little while…what do you mean here?  “They said therefore, ‘What is that he says, A little while?  We do not know what he is saying.”  So they’re talking among themselves.  Again, this is probably now just about as they’re getting to the Garden of Gethsemane, they’ve left that upper room.  “Now Jesus knew that they desired to ask him, and he said to them, ‘Are you inquiring among yourselves about what I said, A little while and you will not see me, and again, a little while and you will see me?  Most assuredly I say to you, that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice.  And you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy.  A woman when she’s in labor has sorrow because her hour has come.  But as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world.  Therefore you now have sorrow, but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you.  And in that day you will ask me nothing.  Most assuredly I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name, he will give to you.  Until now you have asked nothing in my name.  Ask and you will receive, that your joy may be full.’”  So, he makes this explanation to them about again he’s going to die, but also he’s going to come back, and he’s going to reveal himself to them, and it’s confusing to them, things are still hazy to them.  And then in verse 19 he explains to them, he hears their confusion, and maybe supernaturally he knows what’s in their hearts.  As the Son of God he then explains this experience of a woman who is in labor and gives birth.  He says, ‘If you can consider that illustration, it’ll mean a lot to you especially in the future.  But he says, ‘You know, a  woman when she’s in labor, initially there’s the pain and the sorrow, but soon after when she delivers, and she sees the little child, she quickly forgets about all her anguish, and her heart is then filled with incredible joy.  I’ve seen this principle, a lot of us have seen it, that have been in maternity wards and birthing rooms, delivery rooms.  I’ve seen it three times with my wife.  Each time there’s that anxiety as the labor gets started, oh, you know.  And then as it progresses, that anxiety increases, and then there’s incredible travail as the actual time of delivery takes place.  The first time I thought my wife was going to die, I never knew it was like that, you know.  And she was not herself, that’s for sure.  [laughter]  But then, just moments later, that little baby’s out, and the doctor gives her the little baby, and it’s like a switch.  She’s got a smile.  Three times I’ve seen my wife that way, holding that little baby.  All of that is gone, and now she has this little baby.  And there’s a joy of that beautiful little newborn.  Same with me, I’ve had the anxiety of the labor, then second and third time, knowing what’s coming, it increases in my heart.  But then that little baby, you forget it, just this quick, when you got that little baby.  That’s what he says.  So he shares in the same way the disciples are soon going to lament and mourn.  And that’s true, in fact, the same words are used from here on out in the Gospel narrative.  In Luke chapter 23, verse 27, as Jesus is on his way to the cross, the multitude that’s following him, included are followers of Christ, these women.  And it says in verse 27 they mourned and lamented.  Of course, the disciples the same way, there’s mourning and lamenting that’s soon going to come.  And it was true, we even read about it.  But then joy would soon follow.  And in verse 41 of Luke chapter 24 Jesus later appears after the death and resurrection, appears to the disciples in the room, and we’re told they did not believe for joy.   When he was there before them, there was such joy, they marveled.  They couldn’t believe, and he said to them “Have you any food?”, and began to dialogue with them.  So those very words come up later in the narrative that we have.  Now, I think it is interesting that he says in verse 20, that they’re going to soon weep and lament, but the world will rejoice, the opposite.  And that’s true too.  You know, the religious leaders mocking.  I think of even recently with September 11th, it’s that type of situation.  We as a nation, many parts of the world likewise looked upon the Twin Towers and there was grieving.  [I heard of a German destroyer out at sea that came alongside one of our ships, with a huge banner hung up on its side that said “We Are With You, America”.]  But there were parts of the world that were dancing.  And it’s the same type of thing, that he is going to die, and those that are close to him are going to just mourn, but there will be some that will be rejoicing, and dancing in the streets.  But again, as Jesus says in verse 22, ‘Their sorrow will turn into incredible joy, because they are going to again see Jesus, and he is going to see them.’  And that joy is going to be so great that no one can take it from them, a beautiful joy that will come, a permanent joy.  No one will be able to take it from them.  And that will be true of course, as they begin to realize all that’s just happened.  They’re going to see the cross in a different perspective later, and it will bring such joy.  That cross initially is so ugly, horrific.  On the other side in the light, through the Holy Spirit, understanding everything, it will be a beautiful thing.  And that’s the truth to me as a Christian.  Man, I look at the cross, horrific.  But how beautiful at the same time, that God would do that for me.  How beautiful what it means to my life individually, and it means to me for the future.  Now, this principle, verse 21, as we started our study, can be true of us too.  And I was reminded of that even in our [Bible] reading recently, you know, as it says in the back of the bulletin if you read along with us, you can, but this last week as you’re reading through the end of Genesis and the story of Joseph.  God says to him, as Jesus is also telling them before-hand, God says ‘Some day, your brothers, your Dad are actually going to bow down to you, you’re going to be in such a position.’  And that’s what he’s told, and then just hours later he’s in a well looking up at his brothers.  Hours later he’s looking over his shoulder at them as he’s been taken captive by people he doesn’t even know, as a slave off to Egypt as he’s looking back at his brothers.  And then he gets there, remember the story of Potipher, things get a little bit better, but then he’s looking over his shoulder as he’s taken to prison as this woman has lied about him, and he can’t defend himself.  He ends up for years in prison.  But then on one day, on one day, he went from the prison to having a robe put on, sitting in one of Pharaoh’s chariots as second in command under Pharaoh. Every time we get to that part of our Bible reading I can’t stop.  That story to me is so beautiful, I can’t just start it…I just read that whole story.  It’s a powerful story to me.  But it’s a principle, that he says with the disciples here, this picture of a woman in labor, and what comes later, it’s a principle there with the story of Joseph, and it’s true in our lives too.  And the thing is, as with this woman, what causes the pain and travail is also what brings the joy later.  And that’s true with the disciples, what causes the travail is the cross, but it’s also the cross that brings, the meaning of that, that brings the joy later.  It’s true in your life.  There might be things right now in your life, there may be things causing great pain in your life.  And you’re like, ‘Aw, this is such a source of pain.  But that very thing, may be the source of great blessing and joy later in your life.  It’s amazing how God can do that.  Maybe you’re sitting there thinking, like I noted earlier, maybe you’re thinking ‘It’s my spouse,’ you know.  You say pain, it’s my spouse, they bring so much pain to my life.  Well listen to John Wesley.  John Wesley had a terrible wife.  She tormented him beyond measure.  But he said that he attributed most of his success to his wife, that she kept him on his knees.  And because he was kept on his knees, he had the victory.  He admitted, man, “She was a pain in my life.  But she was the source of blessing.  She kept me on my knees.”  Maybe there’s a burden presently in your life, a heavy weight.  That very burden, God may be using as a bridge in your life, to further blessing, further progress in the Christian experience.  There’s a story of a biologist, about how he watched an ant carrying a piece of straw which seemed a big burden to it.  The ant then came to a crack in the earth which was too wide for it to cross.  And then for a time the ant stood there, as if pondering the situation.  And then it put the straw across the crack, and it walked over upon it.  And he says, “Here is a lesson for all mankind, a man’s burden can be made a bridge for his progress.”  And I titled my study this way.  “Your burden, your bridge.”  God does that, that’s what he’s saying here.  ‘Get the picture, get the picture disciples, this is how it’s going to work.’  And you have seasons like that in your life, no doubt about it. 


How all this is going to impact their relationship with God the Father


Well as verse 23 shows us, as Jesus continues, what will also cause the joy in their hearts is how all of this is going to impact their relationship with God the Father.  For that day, later, when it’s all done and fulfilled, that day will be the beginning of a powerful and effective prayer-life for them, as he notes there in verse 23.  No longer will they depend on Jesus for help as they did physically when he was with them.  But after that day, they’ll go straight to the Father in prayer, asking in Jesus name, and the answer to their prayers will be granted to them.  And that will certainly increase their joy.  As he also says, “Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”  So there is a statement about prayer-life, a prayer-life results in a joyful life.  Let’s read to the end as we’ve come close to the end of our time.


Final verses


“These things I have spoken to you in figurative language [King James Version: “proverbs”].  But the time is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but I will tell you plainly about the Father.  In that day you will ask in my name, and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you, for the Father himself loves you because you have loved me, and believed that I came forth from God.  I came forth from the Father, and have come into the world.  Again I leave the world and go to the Father.’  His disciples said to him, ‘See now, you are speaking plainly, and using no figure of speech.  Now we are sure that you know all things, and have no need that anyone should question you.  By this we believe that you came forth from God.’  Jesus answered them, ‘Do you now believe?  Indeed the hour is coming, yes, and has now come that you will be scattered each to his own, and will leave me alone, and yet I am not alone because the Father is with me.  These things I have spoken to you, that in me you may have peace.  In the world you will have tribulation.  But be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.’”  Now he confesses to using figurative speech, speaking in proverbs [i.e. parables], but he says ‘The time is coming, and is now come, when I’m going to speak very plainly to you.’  And why did he ever use figurative language, why did he speak in proverbs?  Well I think proverbs and that type of figurative language can add color to, even bring light, enhance a truth, as is the parable about a woman in labor.  That’s going to really just mean something to them later, as they’re going through this experience.  It’s going to enhance the truth he’s sharing with them.  But also, when you have a dull-hearted audience, which he did at times with the multitudes, that kind of color can grab people’s attention, and maybe they’ll tune in and listen.  Well, he says, ‘the day’s going to come, you’re going to just be able to pray to the Father, you’re not going to have to come to me, but just go right to the Father.  And if I can go right to the Father now in Christ, I don’t have to go through anybody.  He says ‘You don’t have to come through me, just go to the Father.’  You, he’s [Jesus] the Mediator, he’s the Bridge, but he’s provided the means that I can go boldly to the Throne.  So, if that’s the case, then I don’t need to pray to anything or ask anybody [like people in some religions will pray to the various Saints, or pray to Mary, etc], I just open my heart to God and say ‘God in Jesus name, these are the issues, this is what I need.’  Well, he says that time is going to come, this day has come now, these events will be fulfilled, you can just pray, because God loves you, because the Father loves you, and he loves everybody in this room.  ‘That’s because you’ve loved me, and believe that I came forth from God.’  The word he used for “love” there is philio, it’s that friendly love, you’re the friend of the Lord, like Abraham.  And he says finally to them, ‘I’ve come forth from the Father, I’ve come into the world, and I’m going to leave the world and go back to the Father.’  They say in verse 29, ‘Man, OK, you’re speaking plainly now.  No more figurative speech, we understand.  And now we’re absolutely confident that you know all things, and have no need that anyone should ask you any questions.  By this we believe that you came forth from God.’  So they say that confidently.  But you see in verse 31, Jesus isn’t as quite as confident in their understanding.  He says, ‘Do you now believe?’.  And the way that is, is ‘You’re saying it, there is some light there.  But you’ve got a lot more to learn.’  ‘Just trust me’, is basically what he’s saying.  ‘Indeed’, he says, ‘the time is coming, short time from now you’re going to be scattered.  Each of you is going to go to his own home.  I’m going to be left alone.  This is just a few hours from this time.’  He says, ‘I’m not going to really be alone because God is with me. God is with his Son, he is with his Church too.’  “But these things I have told you, that you may have peace.” (verse 33a)  Earlier he said ‘Don’t be troubled in heart, if you’re troubled, have peace, have peace.  And he talked “In my Father’s house are many mansions.  I go to prepare a place for you.”   He says ‘I have told you these things that you may have peace.’  It’s true, in this world, you’re going to have tribulation, and the fire is really going to be turned up here shortly, but be encouraged, be of good cheer, because I have overcome the world.’  [verse 33, paraphrase]  ‘No matter what the world throws at you, no matter what happens in this life, Jesus has had victory, Jesus has overcome the world.  So I can be of great courage.  Jon Courson, I like what he states, he says “The Christian race is the only race in the world which begins at the finish line.  We don’t fight for victory, we fight from victory.  The battle is already won.  He’s already overcome.”  And have that perspective as we go this week, back into the world.  Let’s close in prayer…”  [transcript of a sermon given somewhere in New England on John 16:5-33.] 


*Welsh-born Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones (1898-1981) abandoned a successful medical career in London for the Gospel, and served as a minister from 1927 until 1968.   As pastor of Westminster Chapel at the outbreak of World War II, he proclaimed the Gospel as man’s only hope in those turbulent times.