Jesus also taught concerning the Holy Spirit. Particularly, in the Gospel of John, we have many of His teachings.
Perhaps the most significant, well-known one is in John chapter 3, when He’s speaking to one of the rulers of Israel, Nicodemus, who comes to Him by night and recognizes that there is something about Jesus which is different. He says no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with Him. And Jesus says to him:
A central passage where Jesus speaks about the need to be born again, to be born of the Spirit. He says here that it is necessary to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven to have this second birth.
Your first birth is not good enough. Your parents may have been nice people, they may have brought you up to be a nice person, they may have even taught you the Gospel, but unless you’re born again, unless you personally receive Jesus Christ as Saviour in repentance and faith, you are not saved. You must be born again.
The Holy Spirit is the one who causes us to be born again. Jesus speaks about being born of water and the Spirit.
Question: What does it mean by to be born of water?
Someone said that being born of water just means to have a natural birth, because when a baby is born, the mother’s waters break and the baby is born. Others say that it means being baptized in water as a sign of your new life in Jesus.
Both are possibly true. You can’t be born again unless you’ve been born of a woman in the first place. You have to have natural life, you have to have flesh, you have to be a human being.
But if you are a human being, you can be born again of the Holy Spirit by believing in Jesus.
Jesus also speaks about the wind blowing where it wills and you can’t tell where it comes from and where it goes and, in one sense, the Holy Spirit is like the divine wind of God.
Interestingly, in Hebrew, the word for wind is ruach, and also it means Spirit.
You have the same in Greek, pneuma,which can mean wind and can mean Spirit.
I hope that everyone listening to me has been born again, but if you haven’t been born again I say to you: you must be born again.
If you want to go to Heaven and you don’t accept Jesus Christ, you are not born again, you won’t get there.
Going back to that little diagram I showed you last week:
You have to have the Spirit dwelling within you, in the center of your being if you’re going to go to be with the Lord forever. Last week, I mentioned a verse from Ecclesiastes which says that the soul of the Spirit of the animal goes down to the earth and the spirit of the man goes up to God from where it came.
When we die, each one of us, our spirit, is going to return to God either prepared because we’ve been born again, in which case we hear Jesus saying enter into the Kingdom or unprepared, in which case we’re shut out.
And it’s fairly simple but it’s something which each one of us has to make a choice on. And Jesus says here that unless a man is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.
And Jesus actually goes on to explain something to Nicodemus. He says in verse 13 of John chapter 3 :
The most famous verse in the Bible. But just notice the verses which come before.
He speaks about Moses lifting up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up.
That’s referring back to an incident in the Book of Numbers, when the children of Israel rebelled against the Lord and were complaining and murmuring as they went through the wilderness. And God sent serpents amongst them which bit them and were causing them to lose their lives.
Some kind of judgment. The serpent came and God told Moses to make a bronze serpent and to lift it up. In fact, in Numbers 21 it says:
That’s your picture of redemption. Because, if you think about it, every one of us has been bitten by the serpent which causes us to be sinners. And we have to look to One who is without sin but who took the punishment for our sin upon Himself, and, through looking to Him, we can receive Salvation.
Therefore, the serpent actually becomes a symbol of Jesus lifted up on the cross. And, on the cross, Jesus became sin – the sin offering – that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Jesus, as he spoke to Nicodemus here, was actually referring to the coming events, about His crucifixion, His death. He was telling Nicodemus that if you look to Jesus on the cross and you ask Him to forgive your sins, then, you have your sins forgiven and you have eternal life because Jesus died for our sins, He was buried, and rose again from the dead.
Jesus is alive today and, if you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you look to Him, you have life as you look to Jesus and believe on Him.
It’s very important that each one of us does that. Each one of us has to make that choice and I said if there’s anyone listening to me either here or at home who has not made that choice, then you must be born again, you must accept Jesus as Saviour. It’s the only way you’re going to survive the troubles coming upon us in this world, and the only way you’re going to have a good outcome after you die or after the Rapture of the Church when we go to be with the Lord.
So, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation!
Now, Jesus promises here and elsewhere in John’s Gospel that those who believe in Him are going to have a new experience of the Holy Spirit which is yet to come from the point of view of the time before the cross.
Jesus is speaking before the cross and says that something is going to happen after the cross, after the resurrection, after the day of Pentecost, in which you’re going to have a new experience available of the Holy Spirit.
This event takes place in John chapter 7 when Jesus goes to the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles.
At the time of climax in the feast, when, in Judaism, you have what’s called the hoshanah rabbah which is the ‘great hosanna’, as the sacrifices are poured out and the water is poured out on the altar as a sign of God’s faithfulness in sending the rain, this also represents a sign of the coming of the Holy Spirit’s ‘rain’.
Jesus uses this as an illustration and, in verse 37 of John, says:
You can see here that Jesus is saying something is going to come (from His point of view) in the future. From my point of view, it’s in the past because it has already happened, but He’s saying from His point of view – when He’s saying these words – that there’s going to be a future outpouring of the Holy Spirit and, when that comes, then, those who receive the Holy Spirit, He says: out of your heart will flow rivers of living water.
The living water of the Holy Spirit is going to go through your life and out of the heart, out of your being. Remember that little illustration I gave you of the Spirit at the centre? This centre will throw forth the rivers of living water to affect the rest of your being and to give you eternal life.
And Jesus says that this is something which is going to come after He has been glorified. He promises a future coming of the Holy Spirit.
I said that from our point of view. That’s something which has already come on the day of Pentecost.
In John chapter 14 to 16, we have Jesus’ last words to His disciples. Again, He has a lot to say to them about the coming of the Holy Spirit.
Speaking to the disciples, He says that He’s going to be in you and He’s going to dwell with you through Him coming to you. Jesus is going to come to us and He’s going to say that this is going to be an experience which will be a new experience for you. Though you’ve been with Me physically, you’re now going to experience Me – Jesus in you – by the Holy Spirit.
Verse 15 of John 14 says:
John 14 15 to 20 gives those verses.
First of all, He says: if you love me keep my commandments. So, you’re going to keep His will. And He says: I’ll pray the father He’ll give you another helper – parakletos – to come alongside you.
He will abide with you forever. He’s the Spirit of truth and the world can’t receive Him. The world can’t receive Him unless they repent and believe the Gospel. It neither sees Him nor knows Him but you know Him for He dwells with you and will be in you.
So we’re going to experience a new experience. Now, if you were with me last week, I said that the Holy Spirit came upon people in the Old Testament to anoint them for service. They had experiences of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes, the Holy Spirit there, in the Old Testament, seems to be very like the experience we have of the Holy Spirit.
But it says here that they’re going to have a new dimension, if you like, of the Holy Spirit running in you and that’s what God’s promising to you and to me. God’s going to come and dwell in us by the Spirit and as He comes in us, so Jesus will be living within us.
And you know that I’m in my Father you and Me, and I in you.
Therefore, it’s part of the process of bringing us together with God. And the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are going to work to bring this to pass, and the Spirit of Truth is going to bear witness of Jesus.
John 15.26 says:
The work of the Holy Spirit is always going to be to bear witness of Jesus.
And if you have the Holy Spirit, He’s also going to help you to bear witness to others. So we see what happened on the day of Pentecost.
And Jesus goes on to say that it’s necessary for Him to go away for the Spirit to come.
John 16 verse 5 says:
Jesus says here that it’s actually to your advantage that I’m going to go away. The disciples were upset when they heard Jesus saying He’s going to go away because they wanted Him to be there with them. But He’s actually saying that ‘it is to your advantage that I go away‘ because if I go away, I’m going to be able to send to you the Holy Spirit from Heaven who will dwell with you and be in you.
That means that, wherever you were, if you wanted to meet with God while Jesus was here on the earth, you had to be in Israel or in Jerusalem, or in Galilee. Jesus wasn’t much use to you if you lived in London or anywhere else in the world.
But now, because Jesus has ascended to Heaven and has sent the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit can come to you wherever you are all over the world.
I think we sang a song earlier: ‘wherever I am I’ll praise Him for His love surrounds me like a sea.‘
The advantage of Jesus sending the Holy Spirit is that God can communicate with us wherever we are by the Spirit, and He can come and dwell within us. Jesus says to the disciples: ‘it’s actually to your advantage that I do this because now I’m going to be with you wherever you are and you’re going to take the Holy Spirit to others and take the Spirit, by the Gospel, to the people around the world.‘
He also says that the work of the Holy Spirit is to convict the world of sin and of righteousness, and of judgment which reminds us that the problem that all of us have is the problem of sin which separates us from God.
Jesus died for our sins and was buried and rose from the dead, so He has dealt with that problem, but we have to be convicted that we personally are sinners and we need to personally repent because we know that we are not righteous.
The righteousness which is of God is something which we need to receive from God and we need that because we want to be saved on the Day of Judgment.
We know that the Bible says:
So, one day, each one of us is going to stand before God on the Day of Judgment and the way we’re going to be saved on the Day of Judgment is if we have repented and believe the Gospel and have Jesus in our lives. And Jesus says that this work of the Spirit is to convict you of sin, righteousness, and judgment.
I guess each one of us can think back to our lives and think there was a time when we were convicted of our sins; certainly I can! And I can remember sitting in a room after a very drunken and decadent new year’s eve party on January the 1st 1970, being convicted of my sin and asking God to forgive me my sins and to come into my life through faith in Jesus.
And He did just that.
If we’re not convicted of our sins – you know I do a lot of evangelism – the most difficult people to preach the Gospel to are people who start telling you about all their good deeds and how their good deeds are earning them credit with God.
Okay, it’s better to do good deeds than bad deeds, but the Bible tells us that our good deeds are never going to cancel out our bad deeds, our bad deeds have to be cancelled out by something which was done by the Lord Jesus at the cross, when He died for us and took the punishment for our sins.
Through Him. through repentance and faith, we can know that our sins are forgiven and that we have eternal life in Jesus Christ.
It goes on to say in verse 12:
Jesus says again that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth, He’s going to guide you into all Truth.
If you want to know the Truth, you have to know God through Jesus the Messiah, through the Holy Spirit. If you try and work out the Truth by yourself, you won’t do it. That’s why we’ve got lots of clever people out there, lots of religious people trying to work out what is the way to God, what’s the Truth, and is there a God? They can never find It unless they submit to God and accept Jesus Christ as Saviour, and are born of the Spirit.
People get upset when you say that. They say you’re being very discriminatory against non-Christians, but Jesus says you must be born again, you must receive Jesus as Saviour and the Holy Spirit; He’s going to lead you into all Truth.
I thank God that I received Jesus over 50 years ago now. I can say for sure that He has led me through my life into the Truth. There were times when I’ve perhaps gone the wrong way, and times when I’ve done things which are wrong, but Jesus is always there to bring us back to Himself and, by the Holy Spirit, to lead us in the way that He wants us to go.
Because He loves us and He gave Himself for us, and He’s given us the Spirit to lead us into all of the Truth.
Jesus, in John chapter 14 to 16 tells us a number of things. Read it for yourself when you get home, and look through John 14 to 16, Jesus’ last words to His disciples, which tell us so much about the work of the Spirit in our lives, the work which is to come.
The last words of Jesus before He ascended to Heaven, which leads into what we’re going to say next week in the first chapter of Acts when the disciples come together after the resurrection of Jesus and are with him for the last time, are; verse 4 says:
Notice that the disciples were really believers in Jesus, they really believed He’d risen from the dead, but He told them to wait in Jerusalem and to receive the power of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus said they’re going to be baptized or filled with the Holy Spirit.
Baptized means ‘to be immersed in baptism, in water‘, it means ‘to be immersed in water. Baptized with the Holy Spirit, means to be immersed, to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
That’s an experience which you’re going to have on the day of Pentecost He says. Wait in Jerusalem for this to happen. Ten days later, in Acts chapter 2, it happens. And we’ll read what happens then.
And that was the last word of Jesus. It says:
This is reminding us that Jesus was taken up in the clouds of Heaven, that He’s going to come back again in the clouds of Heaven where He was taken up, on the Mount of Olives.
Zechariah tells us He’s going to stand on the Mount of Olives at the end of days when He returns.
In the meantime, He tells us to be filled with the Holy Spirit, to receive from Him, and to go into all the world and preach the Gospel, the Good News.
So, as we come to a close, let us just consider these things. Anybody here who’s not born again, make sure you are born again. I can pray for you after the service. Seek God for the Holy Spirit to come upon you.
How do we do it? Well, there are a number of things we could say. One thing is what Jesus did say in the Book of Luke. He said:
How much more will you Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him? So, ask and you will receive, seek and you shall find, knock and the door will be opened unto you.
Let’s just have a moment to be quiet perhaps before the Lord and if there’s something which I’ve said which convicts you of your need of repentance, faith, being born again, just bring it to the Lord. And, if you want to receive the Holy Spirit, ask God to fill you with the Holy Spirit, and to empower you to do His will.
Praise you Lord! Hallelujah! Praise you, praise Jesus!