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Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

John 16

Verses 1-15

  1. INTRO:
    1. Prayer - We must be emptied before we can be filled. Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me.
    2. During Jesus’ farewell address to His disciples, He was drawing for them a dark picture of what was to come. He doesn’t lighten in any way the dark picture He had drawn, but rather shades it in more deeply. (Stibbs; Search The Scripture; pg.273.)
  2. How Is Jesus’ Departure An Advantage And Not A Loss?
    1. WATCH YOUR BACK AT CHURCH! (1-4)
    2. Producing Diamonds! “The exact mechanism of the production of diamonds is still a matter of debate among geologists, but it is certain that both tremendous heat and tremendous pressure are required for the crystallization of carbon into this form.”
      1. Imagine for a moment communicating w/a diamond in the rough, this hunk of carbon. It’s about to be placed into the most intense pressure & put under the most tremendous amount of heat that it will ever experience.
      2. It doesn’t understand the beauty that we understand when we think Diamond. As much as you try to convince that hunk of Carbon, or try to warn it of its coming persecution, it will never fully understand till its right in the midst of it. But you send the warning out, so when its in the midst of it can remember back, “there is an end to this torment & it is supposed to be Glorious”!
      3. Read vs.1
    3. (2) Do not be surprised when you are persecuted by religious people.
      1. This has been going on since Cain & Abel (Cain was religious!)
      2. True then, true today! – Islam, a religious people, think they are killing in the name of Allah! And so continue to slaughter Christians by the 1000’s, in their Holy Jihad.
      3. Christians give it a different title but do the same (eg. Serbian Christians vs. Kosovo Albanian/Muslims in 1998,99 Kosovo War; Turning point massacre of 45 Albanians by Serbian Troops; mutilated bodies)
      4. Example: 2 weeks ago Sept.28th - Mark had it up on the Persecuted Church Update.
        1. Islamic militants shot & killed an underground church leader, Mariam Muhina Hussein (46), in Marerey village, Lower Juba, Somalia after discovering 6 Bibles in her possession, according to an Oct 1 report from Compass Direct. The day before the shooting, Sheikh Arbow sent his wife to visit Hussein's home and pretend she was interested in learning about Christianity. During the visit, Hussein read passages of the Bible with Arbow's wife and told her that she could visit regularly to discuss God's Word. Arbow's wife then confirmed to her husband the presence of Bibles in the home. The next day, Arbow visited Hussein along with some other Muslims. He requested a Bible from her. Hussein gave one to him and he revealed that he was looking for "Christians who have defiled the Islamic religion." Arbow then ordered her to show him the other Bibles that she owned. When she handed them over, he shot her 3 times, killing her instantly.
      5. What does Jesus reveal here, as the persecuted believers “main line of defense”? The power of the Spirit in their lives. (That’s how we can specifically pray)
      6. VOM Conference, Nov.14th - Register: Calvarymurrieta.com - Upcoming Events
      7. I guess I expect “persecution” from “other religions”, but it’s always shocking when ill-treatment comes from your own denomination, own church, own friends.
    4. Every cut made on a diamond is for a purpose & chosen with much care, to give it even more color, fire, & brilliance!
      1. A diamond is considered the most beautiful stone “because of its cuts” (in raw form it’s pretty ugly!)
      2. One diamond cutter took 2 months before he picked up his chisel & rapped it w/one blow. (It was on the “Liberator Diamond” largest ever found in Venezuela)
        1. That same type of care goes into every blow that is allowed to come your way! Left uncut they are not brilliant & will never sparkle!
        2. “Intense Pressure, tremendous Heat, special cuts, & much polishing, is what is needed for it to show its fire, luster, color, & beauty!”
        3. Would you rather stay a hunk of carbon?
      3. The world doesn’t realize that the worse they could do to us is make us shine brighter!
    5. GAINING BY OUR LOSSES! (5-15)
    6. (5) No one is asking Him NOW! (Thomas did in 14:5 & Peter did in 13:36,37)
    7. (7) The Helper, the Spirit of Truth, the Comforter, our Guide, our Counselor, the Spirit of grace, the Spirit of glory, the Eternal Spirit, the Holy Spirit.
      1. He is represented as “Water, Oil, Wind, Fire, Dove, & a Seal” (i.e. a wax seal; not the fish-eating aquatic mammal).
    8. Illust: The great Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, the first to discover the magnetic meridian of the North Pole and to discover the South Pole. On one of his trips, Amundsen took a homing pigeon with him. When he had finally reached the top of the world, he opened the bird’s cage and set it free. Imagine the delight of Amundsen’s wife, back in Norway, when she looked up from the doorway of her home and saw the pigeon circling in the sky above. No doubt she exclaimed, “He’s alive! My husband is still alive!”

      So it was when Jesus ascended. He was gone, but the disciples clung to his promise to send them the Holy Spirit. What joy, then, when the dovelike Holy Spirit descended at Pentecost. The disciples had with them the continual reminder that Jesus was alive and victorious at the right hand of the Father. This continues to be the Spirit’s message! (Gordon Brownville; Symbols Of The Holy Spirit.)
    9. (8) Convict the world of sin - Convict means “to present or expose facts, to convince of the truth”. Normally this process includes human aid.
    10. (9) Of sin because they do not believe in Me - Sin is rebellion against God and this rebellion reached its climax in the crucifixion of Jesus.
      1. The world cares about crime(wrong between man & man) but not sin (wrong between man & God)
      2. Sin is no longer merely transgression of a law(willful disobedience) but refusal of a Savior.
        1. Today, the greatest sin is the failure to believe in Jesus.
        2. Most people do not readily admit to being guilty of sin. They will admit to failures or vices or even crimes. However, sin is against God.
        3. Man can come up with an excuse for committing some crime, but has no excuse for rejecting a Savior.
        4. To reject that dear Savior is the sin of all sins which damns the soul!
    11. (10) Of righteousness because I go to My Father & you see Me no more –
      1. Where Jesus leaves off, the Spirit taken on.
      2. He comes to authenticate the personal righteousness of Jesus.
      3. See, in crucifying Jesus, the Jewish people showed that they thought He was unrighteous. Only a wicked person would be hanged on a tree and thus be under God’s curse. But the Resurrection and the Ascension vindicated Jesus as God’s righteous Servant. (Bible Knowledge Commentary; Jn.16:10.)
    12. (11) Of judgment because the ruler of this world is judged –
      1. Not just going to be judged, but already is judged.
      2. The world’s condemnation of God’s holy Son to that awful Cross, boomerangs back as the most awful condemnation of the world which did it.
        1. Sentence is already passed on this world & its prince.
        2. For the church(the blood-washed & spirit-born) there awaits victory & freedom! For the world, the flesh, & the devil...hopeless defeat, the bottomless pit & the lake of fire.
      3. God puts Christ on the throne of heaven & sends the Holy Spirit to call out a people, to be a special treasure to His dear Son - even the Church. (J. Sidlow Baxter; Awake My Heart; pg.169)
    13. (13) He will guide you into all truth - The task ahead of us is never greater than the power behind us!
      1. For someone to guide you he must “see” the way, & lead you there.
      2. A seeing eye dog is carefully trained to lead his master through the busiest traffic. And the dogs always seem so calm as they guide. They’re not easily excited. He does not wait for a chance to dash across between the cars. His eyes & ears always attentive. When all is clear, he safely guides the man across the busy street. The man is safe for he walks by faith in his guide.He trusts the “seeing eye”.
      3. On the reverse of our 1$ bill we have on top of the almost completed pyramid, is “The All Seeing Eye” or actually “The Eye of Providence”. With the words Anglicized Latin words, Annuit Coeptis(septis) which is interpreted by the US State Dept as He(God) has favored our undertakings (brackets in orig)
        1. Many conspiracy theories: but Masons didn’t use their eye till 14 years later; the Mason’s version didn’t have the triangle; & among the 3 that designed it Benjamin Franklin was the only mason, & his design wasn’t adopted.
        2. The eye was used widely during the Medieval & Renaissance European iconography to symbolize the Christian Trinity.
      4. Solomon, The hearing ear and the seeing eye, The Lord has made them both (Proverbs 20:12)
      5. Prayer: O God, help me to calmly trust the H.S., the faithful Guide & my seeing eye, as calmly, yes more calmly, than that blind man on the street. For his dog may fail, but the Holy Spirit, Never! O teach me to trust & to walk by faith through the traffic of this life. Thank you for the promise: I will guide you with my eye. Ps.32:8
    14. (14) He will glorify Me - The Son came & glorified the Father; now the Spirit comes & glorifies the Son.
      1. Some glorify “church buildings, sacraments, ministers, human leaders, cardinals, popes, pastors”; but the Holy Spirit comes to glorify Jesus only!
        1. Science glorifies knowledge; Philosophy glorifies reason; History glorifies great men; Society glorifies its dollar kings, movie stars, rock stars, & athlete stars; but the Holy Spirit comes to glorify Jesus only!
      2. How does the H.S. Glorify Jesus? The H.S.’s purpose is to come & focus attention upon Jesus, in the perfections of His character & redeeming work, & to exalt Him in human esteem.
    15. Illustration: When floodlighting is well done, the floodlights are placed so that you do not see them; in fact, you are not supposed to see where the light is coming from; what you are meant to see is just the building on which the floodlights are pointed. The intended effect is to make it visible when otherwise it would not be seen for the darkness. (Your Father Loves You by James Packer, Harold Shaw Publishers, 1986, page for February 1)
      1. This perfectly illustrated the Spirit’s new role. He is the hidden floodlight shining on the Savior. [Or think of it this way]
      2. It is as if the Spirit stands behind us, throwing light over our shoulder on to Jesus who stands facing us. The Spirit’s message to us is never, “Look at me; listen to me; come to me; get to know me”, but always, “Look at him, and see his glory; listen to him and hear his word; go to him and have life; get to know him and taste his gift of joy and peace.”
        1. The Spirit, we might say, is the matchmaker, the celestial marriage broker, whose role it is to bring us & Christ together and ensure that we stay together!
    16. (14b) He(H.S.) will take of what is mine(Jesus) & declare it to you - The Good Samaritan did not say, Here is some bandages, oil & wine for you; he actually poured in the oil & wine.
      1. So Jesus does not only give you the sweet wine of promise, but holds the cup to your lips, & pours the life-blood into your mouth. (Charles Spurgeon; Morning & Evening; John 16:15.)
    17. End: Moody was to have a campaign in England. An elderly pastor protested, “Why do we need this ‘Mr. Moody’? He’s uneducated, inexperienced, etc. Who does he think he is anyway? Does he think he has a monopoly on the Holy Spirit?” A younger, wiser pastor rose and responded, “No, but the Holy Spirit has a monopoly on Mr. Moody.”
      1. Does He have a monopoly on you? [monopoly = the exclusive possession, control, or exercise of something] Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me.

Verses 16-33

  1. INTRO:
    1. Aryanna Caligiuri - Edge(cross cultural studies); El Disneo(gathering place, art gallery)
    2. Prayer: Job 26:14 Indeed these are the mere edges/fringes of His(God’s) ways, And how small a whisper we hear of Him! But the thunder of His power who can understand?
    3. How do you brace yourself to face life without the one you love? How can sorrow really be turned into joy? If we’re promised tribulation, how can we be of good cheer?
      1. Let’s find 4 words to hang our Hopes on: Joy, Love, Faith, Peace.
        1. Sorrow to Joy; Access from Love; Knowledge to Faith; Tribulation to Peace.
      2. Hope - A man approached a little league baseball game one afternoon. He asked a boy in the dugout what the score was. The boy responded, “18 to nothing, we’re behind.” “Boy,” said the spectator, “I’ll bet you’re discouraged.” “Why should I be discouraged?” replied the little boy. “We haven’t even gotten up to bat yet!”
  2. 4 WORDS ON WHICH TO HANG YOUR HOPES!
    1. SORROW TO JOY! (16-24)
    2. Explanation Overview: “You won’t see me anymore” - refers to his death, which will bring about great grief. “You will see me again” - refers to his resurrection, which will bring about great joy.
    3. Example: To illust how their sorrow will turn to joy, Jesus refers to a woman giving birth.
    4. (19) They had talked the matter over among themselves w/o consulting or asking Him.
      1. Wow, how often do we do that? - Yet still, He knows, He is aware, He cares.
    5. (20) The Lord does not replace our sorrow with joy; He transforms our sorrow into joy!
      1. The same baby that gives the mother pain also brings her joy.
    6. (21) Some of you might take the as soon as to task! But “soon” you do get over it...otherwise mommy’s wouldn’t ever have a second child!
    7. (22) He wants to clarify that this isn’t the end of their relationship.
      1. Just as a violent thunderstorm turns the desert into a bed of wildflowers, so the sorrowful storm to pass over the disciples would bloom joy in abundance.
      2. But this flower has deeper roots (read 23,24).
        1. It isn’t like some flowers, here today, gone tomorrow. It is permanent & complete, a fully blossomed flower.
      3. Ps.30:5b Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.
    8. (23) In that day you will ask Me nothing - What day? Why nothing?
      1. In that day probably refers to the day when the Spirit would come and begin His ministry among them. (Warren Wiersbe; Outlines of the NT; Jn.16:23.)
      2. While Christ was on earth, the disciples were accustomed to taking their questions & needs to Him personally.
      3. When Christ returned to heaven, He sent the Spirit to assist them in their praying (Rom. 8:26–27), & instructed them to pray to the Father personally.
      4. Bible prayer is to the Father, through the Son, in the Spirit.
        1. It will not be necessary for Christ to beg the Father on our behalf (26) because the Father is willing to answer our requests (27).
    9. (24) Among those who served in the court of Alexander the Great was a famous philosopher who had outstanding ability but little money. He asked Alexander for financial help and was told he could draw whatever cash he needed from the imperial treasury. When he submitted to the treasurer a request for an amount equal to $50,000, he was promptly refused. The treasurer had to verify that such a large sum was indeed authorized. But when he asked Alexander, the ruler replied, “Pay the money at once. The philosopher has done me a singular honor: By the largeness of his request he shows that he has understood both my wealth and generosity.”
      1. ​​​​​​​Be Large in your request: for your own personal generosity towards others; to live the missional life(missionary lifestyle); for your own character transformation; to encounter God daily; to grow a merciful heart towards others. Pray Large!
    10. C. S. Lewis: Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink & sex and ambition, when infinite joy is offered to us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in the slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.
    11. ACCESS TO LOVE! (25-29)
    12. (26,27) The coming new day would give the disciples direct personal intimate access to the Father through Jesus.
      1. Jesus would no longer need to pray on-their-behalf, they could ask for themselves
        1. This truth doesn’t negate the promise of Christ’s intercessory work.
      2. The disciples were now in a personal love-and-faith relationship with the Father. Only children have this privilege of access to their Father.
        1. Wow, someone up there likes me! - Being assured of God’s love does wonders to keep us going. It keep us mentally/emotionally/spiritually whole.
        2. It’s spiritual adrenaline. It supplies us with reserves of encouragement.
    13. (28) Jesus summarized His mission in one sentence: His Incarnation (I came forth from the Father), His Humiliation (and have come into the world), andHis Res, Ascension, & Exaltation (again I leave the world and go to the Father)
    14. KNOWLEDGE TO FAITH! (30,31)
    15. Faith & knowledge are connected throughout Scripture.
      1. Our faith in the Lord directly influences our growth in knowledge.
    16. TRIBULATION TO PEACE! (32,33)
    17. (32) What does that mean for you & I when those closest to us abandon us in our greatest time of need? - We are not alone!
    18. (33) The Bad news & the Glad news! [2 opposing spheres, in which they/we live!]
    19. You will have tribulation!
      1. Mosquitos are said to bite strangers more than natives.
    20. The believers 2-fold Life: In Christ & in the world. The believers 2-fold Experience: In Christ peace; & in the World tribulation.The believers 2-fold Secret: The Fact, I have overcome & the Feeling, be of good cheer. (Griffith Thomas; John; pg. 218.)
    21. I have overcome the world - Really? I look around and...really? Overcome what?
      1. Victory over a moral & spiritual world of evil. When you & I see through the external to the internal & spiritual, we recognize Jesus as the greatest conqueror in history. I have overcome this present world-system!
        1. ​​​​​​​He overcame the world’s flatteries [from satan(if you’re the Son of God...), or men (when they were going to take Him by force to make Him king, Jn.6:15)]
        2. He overcame the world’s hostilities (all they could get from him in the end was “Father forgive them…”)
        3. He overcame the world’s principles (principles like...never using His power for selfish ends; or modify His message to avoid opposition)
        4. He overcame the world’s prince (From the wilderness to the final wrestle in Gethsemane, “the prince of this world has nothing in Me”...Lucifer had met his waterloo!)
      2. Who comes to mind of one who conquered the world? Alexander the Great.
        1. ​​​​​​​Yet, he died prematurely, in a drunken state of debauchery.
          1. Alex was overcome by the world!
        2. The true victor & hero is the man who overcomes the world within himself.
          1. How are you doing with the world charming you? With its self-seeking? With its prejudices? With its evil genius?
      3. Satan has usurped a temporarily permitted power over men, & has organized the world of mankind upon the principles of force, greed, selfishness, ambition, & pleasure.
        1. He has organized it so as to push God out, & to keep men’s minds chained for mundane things. The world is anything that shuts God out.
    22. In the next few hours, the disciples would watch their world fall apart, & yet Jesus assured them that He was the winner!
      1. ​​​​​​​I have overcome the world is a fact, not a promise. (note: have, not will)
        1. The force of this verb indicates a continuing victory!
      2. It also applies to us today,(1 Jn.5:4,5) for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. [We are overcomers through Him]
      3. Q: Is your world coming apart at the seams? Remember, you win (By obtaining: His Joy, His Love, His Faith, His Peace,) He wins (Having obtained the Victory!) If God made your cup sweet…drink it w/Grace. If God made your cup bitter…drink it in communion w/Him. As a third-century man was anticipating death, he penned these last words to a friend: “It’s a bad world, an incredibly bad world. But I have discovered in the midst of it a quiet and holy people who have learned a great secret. They have found a joy which is a thousand times better than any pleasure of our sinful life. They are despised and persecuted, but they care not. They are masters of their souls. They have overcome the world. These people are the Christians— and I am one of them.”
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on John 16". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/john-16.html. 2017.