This Lesson is part of John’s Gospel Easy Notes Series.
“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth (John 16:12, 13a).
The disciples were not in a position to fully understand what Jesus was saying to them. The authors like Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, etc. were reminded of truths that were to be communicated to us and that is how they wrote the gospels inspired and guided by the Spirit of God. Today the Bible is a book that is completed. The Spirit of God will not add anything more to the Bible but he will remind us of what is already written there.
That is one great motivation for us to we read the Bible. The Holy Spirit will bring things to our memory when we need it. He can use only what is stored up in our hearts (Psalm 119:11). (There are times when he speaks to people who do not know the Bible but those are exceptions).
Again, if you read the sermon which Peter preached on the Day of Pentecost, you will see how the Spirit of God reminded him to what to communicate. The truth he preached was so filled with God’s power that it added three thousand to the church that day (Acts 2:41). To what else would you attribute the way Peter preached the truth of God’s Word other than to the Holy Spirit?
Remember the Word of God is the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17). When you allow God to work in your hearts, the Spirit of God can use the Word powerfully in you (Hebrews 4:12).
The Sap That Runs Through the Branches
This is not commonly taught. But since Ch. 15 is sandwiched between the teachings on the Holy Spirit found in Ch. 14 and Ch. 16 this analogy is not difficult to understand. We all know that it is the sap* that runs through the branches that give life to the same and produce fruit. (*The fluid part of a plant; specifically a watery solution that circulates through a plant’s vascular system.)
The Holy Spirit is like sap because he does not draw attention to himself. He simply stays in the background and does his work quietly without shouting it through loudspeakers!
In Galatians 5:22 we read about the fruit of the Spirit (Note that it is fruit and not fruits). Go outside your home and try to find a branch in a tree that is flexing its muscles and trying hard and sweating it out to create fruit. You will find no branch like that.
The branch simply remains in the main body of the tree like the branches remain in the vine. Jesus said in plain terms: “apart from me you can do nothing (John 15:5b).”
Then what are we trying to accomplish? Sad to say, we have been taught things the wrong way—we have been taught to perform for God. Is that the right way? We try to be a great man or woman of God by preaching, singing, giving testimony, reading the Bible, attending prayer meetings and so on. Jesus simply says, “Abide in me,” or “Remain in me (John 15:4).”
That means to stop to try to become a saint. And simply remain in him. And allow the Holy Spirit to produce the desired fruit in you. Your role is to remain in the branch. And thus when you remain in him, he will cause you to bear fruit.
How does he make that happen?
It is through the process of pruning.
Michael Angelo once created a sculpture of an angel from a marble piece that was rejected by many others. When people asked him how he did it, he simply replied: “I chiselled away all that did not look like an angel.” No one will tell you that chiselling away is a pleasant process. Pruning, likewise, is a painful process. But God does that to branches that are already bearing fruit so that it will bear even more fruit for God’s glory.
Often the difficulties that come into your life are part of God’s pruning process. At the end of the day he would like to see Jesus in you. And it is the Holy Spirit who will ultimately make us resemble the Son of God (1 Corinthians 15:49). So the sap that runs through the branches is the Holy Spirit.
He Will Bring Glory to Me
Sad to say there are lot of extremes happening in the Name of the Holy Spirit in the Christian world. Let us look at the words of Jesus: “He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said that the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you (John 16:14, 15).
The Holy Spirit’s great role in today’s world is to turn the spotlight on Jesus. Therefore wherever the preacher, in sincerity and truth, preaches the blood of Jesus, his sacrificial death and resurrection from the dead the Spirit of God is at work.
But wherever the preacher is focused on speaking about his own ministry, the gifts he has, the miracles he is doing; there the Spirit of God is absent. Wherever the preacher, however great a man or woman of God she is, begs, pleads, and manipulates the crowd for money all the time; the Spirit of God is absent.
The Spirit of God does not draw attention to himself. Instead the Holy Spirit delights in showcasing Jesus in glory. The glory belongs to Jesus. The Spirit of God will not allow men or women, however great he or she is, to steal the glory away from Jesus.