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Bible Commentaries

Wells of Living Water Commentary
John 15

 

 

Other Authors
Verses 1-15

The Holy Ghost

John 15:1-15

INTRODUCTORY WORDS

We are confronted with one of the great themes of Scripture. The word "Ghost" is an old English word meaning "guest." The Holy Spirit is the Holy Ghost, that is, the Holy Guest from the Father.

Jesus Christ said, "I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter."

The Holy Ghost is a Guest who is ever with us. He is the " Paracletos " from God He walks at our side. He is the One who has come unto us, that He might convict the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment.

1. Let us observe the work of the Holy Spirit for us. He came to take of the things of Christ and show them unto us. He came to teach us all things, and to bring to our remembrance the things which Christ had spoken unto us. He came to glorify Christ, make Him real and all-glorious to us. He came to guide us into all truth. He came to set our minds on the things above.

2. Let us observe the work of the Holy Spirit within us. He indwells every believer. Because we are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts. As the Indweller, the Spirit came to fashion us into the image of our Lord. He came to make us fruitful in every good word and work. He came to cause us to bring forth the fruit of the spirit-filled life, Love, peace, etc. He came not only to indwell, but also to infill.

3. Let us observe the work of the Spirit upon us. The Holy Spirit is more than an indweller, more than a Teacher: He is the One who endues us for service. It was at Pentecost that the Spirit came to give us power. Christ said, "Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you." The early Church wrought in the power and demonstration of the Spirit. He was in the saints because they were sons of God; He infills them because they were yielded to His hallowed presence, and had turned over the reins of their lives to Him; He gave them power because they had been baptized into Him.

With the three statements above before us, we can more readily classify the various operations of the Holy Spirit.

The third statement, which is that of the enduement of the Spirit, may need something more of consideration. Pentecost was the beginning of the fulfillment of a glorious prophecy written by the Prophet Joel. I say "the beginning" because much spoken by Joel was not then fulfilled, but still awaits the time of the Lord's Coming and of Israel's spiritual awaking for its completed fulfillment.

The early and the latter rain, which will restore to the land of Palestine its former fruitfulness, has not yet come. The sun has not yet been turned into darkness, nor the moon into blood; the wonders in the heavens and upon the earth have not yet come these await also the time of our Lord's Second Advent.

I. THE HOLY GHOST AND POWER (Acts 1:8 )

"Ye shall receive power" how the words ring out! We are weak, but He is strong we may receive His power. We are ignorant, He is wise we may receive power. We can do nothing, He can do all things we may receive power. In our impotency, He will prove our potency. In our nothingness, He will become our mightiness. In our weakness, He will give us His strength.

Power! How the word rings out with all encouragement! Who can measure the might of His power? Who can recount the deeds of His strength? God sent forth His Spirit and all things were created. How wonderful that the Creator gives power to us, His creatures!

How the Word of God rings out "Ye shall receive power!" We were stripped of our armor by the fall; we were left helpless victims to Satan's wiles. Now, however, we are redeemed, we are sons, we are ambassadors for our Lord: and, we are panoplied with power from on high.

Ours is not power inherent, a power belonging to us; it is power received. To leviathan and to Satan we are as chaff blown of the wind; to God the Holy Ghost, leviathan and Satan are chaff. Let us thank God that we may receive power His power.

II. THE HOLY GHOST AND PREACHING (1 Corinthians 2:4 )

The promise of the Father was that we should have power, and be witnesses. Power in witness-bearing. Power in speaking for Him. Power in doing His will.

The early Christians spake in the power of the Spirit. Paul was not slow to say, "I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling." However, the Apostle quickly added "My preaching was * * in demonstration of the Spirit and of power."

A preacher with lips, unenergized by the Spirit, is a preacher with a spineless message.

The Spirit, moreover, not alone gives power to witness, but He will give His witnesses a message. We are sent to speak the words which He gives us to speak. Again, the God-sent messenger has not power alone, nor a Spirit-given message alone; he has also a Spirit-selected field, where he is to preach.

Peter was sent with words to Cornelius. Philip was commanded to go in the way to Gaza which was desert. Paul was forbidden to preach the Word in Asia, and the Spirit suffered him not to go to Bythinia, but sent him, rather, unto Macedonia. God said to Jonah "Go to Nineveh." God still speaks to His servants. The Holy Spirit still directs the ministry of saints.

All my selfish plans and prospects now are gone,

At His precious feet I've laid them with a song;

Christ is All, in all forever now to me,

And the Spirit's will is ever all my plea;

As I go in faithful service at His call,

And I speak just what He biddeth unto all,

He will feed my soul with finest of the wheat,

And my life He'll fill with music all complete.

III. THE HOLY GHOST AND SINGING (Ephesians 5:18 )

The Spirit-filled life is a life of sunshine and of song. Such a life of praise is pleasing unto the Lord, it is an odor sweet.

When Moses was on the mount with God his face radiated glory. He wist not that his face shone, but the people saw it. Thus, the mountain top touch with the Lord is the greatest need of the valley populace. In the valley there are shadows and the damp of darkness. We need, therefore, to bring down into the dale the song of upper air.

God has said, "Fret not thyself." He has also said, "My joy I give unto you." It was when the people sang praises unto God that the glory of the Lord filled the Temple. It was when the singers and trumpeters, who led the army of the Lord, shouted out their songs that the enemy was overcome.

If there is no joy in your heart, there will be no spiritual spring to your step, no victory in your life. When the heart is full of joy, the lips will be filled with praise, the jail doors will be unbarred, and the jailer will be asking, "What must I do to be saved?"

When we offer unto the Lord the sacrifice of praise continually, the world will take knowledge of us that we have been with Jesus.

Let us talk less about our trials, and more about our triumphs. We should sing away our sorrows; we should spoil the prey of our penury, by sounding the praise of His riches.

Our Lord sang as the nightingale sings. He sang songs in the night. He sang when the Cross of Calvary lay outstretched before Him. "When they had sung an hymn they went out."

IV. THE HOLY GHOST AND PRAYER (Ephesians 6:18 )

"Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit." None of us know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit maketh intercession within us. We need to pray "in the Holy Ghost," as much as we need to preach in the Holy Ghost. Preaching, unvitalized by the Spirit, is a useless sound of words; prayer, unvitalized by the Spirit, is just as unavailing. Preaching in the Spirit opens the heart of men; praying in the Spirit opens the doors of Heaven.

Praying in the Spirit is praying in the will of God. Praying in the will of God is getting things from God. Praying in the Spirit is not praying in the flesh. It is not seeking our own, but His. It is praying and saying, "Thy will be done."

If we do not love to walk with the Spirit in the life of prayer, we will not be prepared to work with the Spirit in the life of service.

Prayer in the Spirit, and praise in the Spirit, are indissolubly linked. Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises at the same time and in the same prison. In truth, the Spirit of prayer is the Spirit of praise.

The Spirit delights to draw us away from the things of earth and the companionship of men into the solitude of Christ's presence. We read, "When they were alone, He expounded all things to His disciples." The Lord, Himself, went up into a mountain apart to pray; "and when the evening was come, He was there alone."

Alone with Christ the blessed Lord, alone,

Alone, where He delights to meet His own;

Alone, from ev'ry vexing care set free,

In quietude to rest, alone, with Thee.

'Tis there, alone, we learn to know His face,

'Tis there, alone, we revel in His grace;

Alone with Him, what comradeship Divine,

Alone with Him, what joy to talk, and dine.

Alone, yet not alone, when He is there;

Alone with Him, His glory do we share,

Alone, in solitude, transformed like Thee,

Alone, in stillness, Thou canst speak to me.

V. THE HOLY GHOST AND VISIONS OF CHRIST (John 16:14 )

The Holy Spirit glorified the Son, even as the Son glorified the Father. The Holy Spirit does not say, "I am here," He says, "Christ is here."

With Christ gone to be with the Father, the disciples could not feel bereft, because the Spirit came to manifest Christ unto them. The Spirit took of the things of Christ and showed them unto His own; He brought to their remembrance all things that Christ had spoken. He made Christ more blessedly real than He had ever been.

The fact that Christ came forth from the Father, we may know; many of the marvels of His earth life in miracle, ministry and message we may know; the Cross, the Resurrection, the Ascension, and the seating at the Father's right hand, we may know; and yet, we may know of all these, intellectually, and not know any of them, at all, as we should know. It is only when the Spirit opens our minds and tells us the depths of the meaning of all these things, that we can fully know, and know as we ought to know.

The things of God are spiritually discerned. The things of God knoweth no man but the Spirit of God. The natural man receiveth not spiritual things: the natural ear cannot hear, the natural eye cannot see, the natural mind cannot grasp the wonderful reaches of God's prepared things. The Spirit can and does reveal them unto us; for the Spirit searcheth all things, even the deep things of God.

Would you know visions of Christ? Let the Spirit reveal Him unto you. There is no commentator on Christ, His Word, and His work, like the Holy Ghost. None other can make Him so precious, so true, so Divine.

Spirit of God illumine me,

Teach me my Lord to know;

Tell me of Christ, God's holy Son,

All of His glory show.

VI. THE HOLY GHOST AND GUIDANCE (Jeremiah 10:23 ; Luke 4:1 )

If Jesus, being filled with the Spirit, was led of the Spirit, shall mortal man guide his own way? The Prophet was right, "It is not in man that walketh to direct his steps." We know not the way that we should take. We know not the dangers that lurk around the next corner of the road; we know not the hide-outs of the enemy; we know not the needs of the way.

The Holy Spirit is called the Comforter, because He walks at the believer's side. The Christian is, therefore, never alone. He is not left to choose his own changes, nor to direct his own way.

From the world and men the Christian must walk apart. He cannot lean on an arm of flesh; he cannot look to human leadership.

Across the desert sands went Rebekah, on her way to Isaac. Hard by her side rode the aged servant of Abraham. He directed her way, he guided her on until she met her beloved, at the well of Laharoi. Even so doth the Spirit guide.

Near Spirit, near, along life's changing way,

Ah, let me cling, and never let me stray;

Hold Thou my hand, and guide me safely on,

Till night shall pass, and dangers all are gone:

I dare not take one step apart from Thee,

Walk Thou with me, until Christ's face I see.

Near Spirit, near, forever near my side,

Be Thou my Peace, my Paraclete, my Guide;

Speak to me oft, tell me of Christ my Lord,

Lead me to know the wonders of His Word;

Apart from Thee, in darkness I must roam,

Lead Thou me on, until I reach my Home.

VII. THE HOLY GHOST AND TRANSFORMATION (2 Corinthians 3:18 )

The Holy Spirit centers His ministry in transforming the believer, whom He indwells, and infills, into the image of Christ. He not only tells us of Christ, but He makes us like Christ.

How rough is the stone upon which this Heavenly Sculptor must work! How wonderful is the model into whose likeness He seeks to transform us! Yet, how marvelous are the results of His task!

The Lord Jesus is Love, and Joy, and Peace, and Goodness, and Gentleness, and Patience. Into all of these Divine attributes the Spirit molds the saint. Christ said, "My peace I give unto you"; He also said, "That My joy might remain in you." The Holy Ghost comes to make these promises a reality.

Transformed that we the Master's image here may bear;

Transformed that we the Master's beauty, too, may share:

We who were dead, are made alive in Him;

We who were vile, are purified and clean;

Transformed from glory unto glory, till we shine,

Transformed e'en by the Spirit, all Divine.

AN ILLUSTRATION

TWO WAYS OF PUTTING OUT FIRE

"Fire is quenched by pouring on water or by withdrawing fuel; so the Spirit is quenched by living in sin, which is like pouring water on a fire; or by not improving our gifts and graces, which is like withdrawing fuel from the hearth." "Many are found carefully avoiding outward sin, and yet they daily neglect the gifts of grace! What folly! Will it not come to the same thing in the end with the fire upon my hearth whether I pour water on the logs or refuse to place fresh brands thereon? It will die out with equal certainty, whichever is my mode of procedure. So will it be with the fire in my heart. To be careless is as dangerous as to be disobedient. Not to do good is to do evil. Sins concerning neglected grace and omitted duty are as mischievous to us as actual wrongdoing.

"This is a caution to thousands; possibly to the reader; certainly to the writer. Oh, for grace to attend to the state of the inward fires, lest Satan should get an advantage over us by our neglect! Though he may have been foiled in every attempt to lead us into active rebellion against God, the enemy may yet prevail by bringing us into a negative state of indifference and apathy. There is a passive disobedience, which is exceedingly injurious to the soul. The Lord save us from this great peril. Let us hear Him say, 'Quench not the Spirit,' and yet again, 'Stir up the gift which is in thee.' "

 


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on John 15:4". "Living Water". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lwc/john-15.html.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, October 15th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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