For 30 years he was the pastor of Westminster Chapel in London. They called him, “The Doctor”, because of the precision with which he came to the Scripture and preached it. For four decades he was the undisputed leader of the evangelical and reformed churches of Great Britain. His scholarship was unassailable. His exposition of Scripture was so profound it’s still consulted today. His biblical and theological acuity was of the highest order. And yet, when he looked around at the evangelical and reformed church of his day he said, “Though their doctrine is sound, their passion is missing.”
I remember, years ago, attending a church in Florida that I had always heard about. It had a reputation for solid, biblical preaching. As I took my seat in the balcony and looked around, all I could see were people carrying well-worn Bibles; and the more I looked, the more excited I became. But soon the service started and after 20 minutes I was as bored as I’ve ever been in a church. As for doctrine, they were pure; but as for joy, they were pitiful. Everything that was said was true, but there appeared to be no life. Some call it, “Dead orthodoxy.” That was the problem Lloyd-Jones saw in abundance all around the evangelical and reformed churches of Great Britain. He saw people who had stayed long enough at the cross to be saved, but not long enough to be loved. And their lack of passion proved it. That’s what Paul means when he says, “If I speak in the tongues of man and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal… without love, I am nothing.”
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones writes, “The weakness of the reformed church is found in their traditionalism, their lack of evangelism, and their contentment with mental ascent to sound doctrine and little more. On the other hand, the weakness of the charismatic church is their self-indulgence; their enjoyment of experience in the absence of sound doctrine.” But, other than rejecting both extremes, Lloyd-Jones brought them together. Through his solid, Christ-centered preaching the Holy Spirit demonstrated that Godly revival requires both sound doctrine and the infilling power of the Holy Spirit.
Ten years ago we preached a 12-week series on the person and work of the Holy Spirit. In much the same way that Lloyd-Jones taught, we looked at the person, the personality, the creativity, the gifts, the work of the Holy Spirit, etc. But interestingly, of all the texts we examined, John 14:15-31 was absent from our study. This Sunday we will make amends.
John 14:15-31 is Jesus’ first expanded discussion of the person and work of the Holy Spirit. Here, following His absolute assurance of His love for His disciples, Jesus tells them in no uncertain terms that one of the great benefits of His departure from them is the gift of a Helper Who is an exact replica of Him.
This Sunday we will explore seven key characteristics of the Holy Spirit that can converge to excite the most stoic believer. Rather than an asset gained by human striving, the Holy Spirit is given as a gift. In fact, He is a gift solicited by Jesus from God the Father.
This Sunday we will examine seven “Ps”:
- The PRESENT of the Holy Spirit - John 14:16
- The PERSON of the Holy Spirit - John 14:16
- The PERPETUITY of the Holy Spirit - John 14:18
- The PURPOSE of the Holy Spirit - John 14:26
- The PROVINCE of the Holy Spirit - John 14:27
- The PRESENCE of the Holy Spirit - John 14:17(b)
- The PROGRESS of the Holy Spirit - John 14:23
In preparation for Sunday you may wish to consider the following:
1. How is the Holy Spirit received by the believer?
2. When did the Holy Spirit come into the first disciples?
3. The word Jesus uses to describe Himself and the Holy Spirit in verse 16 is “Helper”. What other translations can you find?
4. How is the Holy Spirit rightly called, “The Spirit of Truth”?
5. How does the Holy Spirit fulfill Jesus’ promise in verse 18?
6. How does the Holy Spirit enable us to keep the commandments and teaching of Jesus?
7. How do Paul’s words in II Corinthians 3:6 fit with what Jesus is saying here?
8. Can you think of examples in your own life and experience that support II Corinthians 3:6?
9. How do you interpret verse 28?
10. How does the Holy Spirit fulfill Jesus’ words in verse 26 in your life?
See you Sunday!