“A Little While…”? John 16:16-22

Text:  For a thousand years in Thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the nightso teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.

Psalm 90:4;12.

          But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.  The Lord is not slack concerning His promisesbut is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any (of the elect!) should perish (in ignorance of the Gospel), but that all (the ’elect whosoevers) should come to repentance.” 

2 Peter 3:8-9.   

Good morning, truly repentant Christian!  One of the first gifts God gave you and I was the gift of true repentance which - when coupled with saving faith - brings us not only to our senses, but grants us a whole new Spiritual sense of our total sinfulness, and the Holiness and love of Almighty God.  This was the first gift God gave the man in Scripture whom we recognize as the prodigal son

And when he (the prodigal son) came to himself (was awakened out of his sinful stupor), he said, How many hired servants of my fathers have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger.                  (Luke 15:17)

This was the Lord making the prodigal aware of his social state; convincing him that he had taken the wrong path; reasoning with him of the complete error of his prodigal ways.  This was the awakening of his natural senses.

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red (seriously gross!) like crimson, they shall be as wool.  If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land…”  (Isaiah 1:18-19) (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)

Many today are quite aware - at this human and social level - that their lives are not right; and their lifestyles are far from moral and civilized standards.  But this is not Spiritual repentance, this is merely human remorse and shame.

Human remorse will not lead a sinner to subject his/her will to the Lord!  Human remorse only wants what is best for the natural self.

When the Lord God granted the prodigal son true repentance, he began to yearn with all his heart for complete reconciliation with, first, a Holy Heaven and, secondly, with his earthly father.

I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against Heaven, and before thee.  (Luke 15:18)

True God-given repentance first seeks to be right with Heaven, and then to be right with close family and friends on earth.  We can only really sin against the Holiness of God.  We merely trespass against family and friends in social relationships.  God ALONE is Holy!  (Psalm 51:4)

True repentance caused the prodigal to take decisive action: he humbled himself; he admitted his sin and transgression; he subjected himself to Heaven and his fathers will; he ‘…arose and came to his father…’  This is a perfect picture of the process of true Spiritual repentance.  (Luke 15:17-24)

True repentance, granted to them by the Lord God, caused Christs disciples hearts to ’…be filled with sorrow…’ at the very thought of losing close fellowship with Christ Jesus.  Our Christian hearts should feel a similar sorrow.  Sin separates us from close fellowship with God - even for ’…a little while…’!  (John 16:6) (Isaiah 59:1-2)        (1 John 1:6-9)

This phrase ’…a little while…’ is mentioned seven times in our short passage!  The Eternal Spirit, the Divine Author of Holy Scripture, is making a Divinely important point by mentioning this ‘…little while…’ seven times!

God is Eternal.  Christ is, was, and shall always be, God of very God.  The disciples shared close fellowship with the Incarnate Lord of Heaven, ‘…a little while…’ - and their hearts were filled full of Heavenly joy.

Christ was taken from them at Calvary, after ‘…a little while…’, and their hearts were broken in pieces with the sorrow of the physical separation.  After ‘…a little while…‘, Christ Jesus arose from the grave and appeared ‘…in the midst…’ of His followers again in that upper room - and again their hearts were filled with joy.  Christ stayed with His apostles for just ‘…a little while…’ before being received again up into Heaven where, for ‘…a little while…’, Eternally speaking, He intercedes for us, His redeemed people.

In ‘…a little while…’ Christ comes again to receive us unto Himself.  What an indescribably joyful day that will be for those who are saved.

Thought: Get ready, repentant Christian, in ‘…a little while…’ Jesus, the Lion of the tribe of Judah surely Comes!  Rejoice!  Rejoice!

The Ministry of the Holy Spirit John 16:7-14

Text:  And when He (God the Holy Spirit) is come (Pentecost), He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgement…”

John 16:8.

          “…This is the Word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might (fleshy strength), nor by power (mans selfish will), but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.

Zechariah 4:6b.

Good morning, Spirit-directed Christian!  Having, by Gods grace, through faith, received the first ministry of God the Holy Spirit to sinful mankind - you and I now seek to be led continually into all truth by that same Holy Spirit.  What a privilege it is to be saved, kept, and directed by God the Spirit!  And all because of Christs Victory at Calvary.  Hallelujah!

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again (born again believers) unto a lively hope by the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in Heaven for you, who are KEPT by the power of God through faith unto Salvation.   (1 Peter 1:3-5)

We are not only saved by the Lord God, but kept by Him for Eternity! We couldnt KEEP ourselves saved for a moment. God saves and keeps!

So, let us look at this first ministry of the Holy Spirit, and understand clearly what this vital ministry entails:  Christ promised His disciples - and continues to promise all believers today - that when He would ascend back into Heaven, He would send God the Holy Spirit to us; to be our Comforter and to minister Salvation to all the whosoevers that were chosen and written in the Lambs book of life from before the foundation of the world.  (John 15:16)

According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love; having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.  (Ephesians 1:4-5)

This promise was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost when, for the first time in the history of mankind, God the Holy Spirit was poured out upon us in - all His Divine fullness - with signs and wonders following.  Hallelujah!

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they (the disciples) were all with one accord in one place.  And suddenly there came a sound from Heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sittingand they were all filled with the Holy Ghost…”  (Acts 2:1-11)

Christs promise of the Holy Ghost was wonderfully fulfilled. (V.7)

The Spirit of Gods first ministry to us as natural, unregenerate, unsaved souls, is primarily threefold:  He reproves (or convicts) us of our sin; He reveals Christs righteousness as the absolute Standard for entrance to Heaven; and convinces us of the great judgement that will one day come.

In other words, God the Holy Spirit guides us into all truth…’; clearly shows us that we are indeed Hell-deserving sinners; that we are devoid of Christs righteous Standard for Heaven; and convinces us that Eternal judgement will surely come to all unsaved mankind on that great and terrible day of Gods wrath.

Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me (Paul) only, but unto all them also that love His appearing.        (2 Timothy 4:8)

And as it is appointed unto men/women once to die, but after this the judgement; so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of MANY (not all!); and unto them (believers) that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto Salvation.                     (Hebrews 9:27-28)

God the Father, in His absolute Sovereignty, grants faith to believe, and repentance - as His gifts of grace - to those whom He has decided to redeem by the precious Blood of His Son, Christ Jesus.  We believe the Gospel, we repent from sin (about turn from following sin and selfishness, to follow hard after Jesus); and trust Christ Atonement for us, made at Calvarys Cross.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man/woman should boast.  (Ephesians 2:8-9)

No faith? No repentance! No repentance from sin? No Salvation! Take heed!

Thought:  The Holy Spirits first ministry to us is to secure us for Eternity in Christ Jesus.  Have YOU received this vital Divine ministry?

The Promise of the Holy Spirit John 16:5-7

Text:  “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you; and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

Acts 1:8.

Good morning, Spirit-empowered Christian!  You live a Christian life in the power of God the Holy Spirit, for, without such power from on High, you and I would not even desire to be like Christ; nor find the strength to follow Him.  Praise God, the promise Christ gave His followers has become a reality!

“And, behold, I (Christ Jesus) send the promise of My Father upon you; but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on High.”  (Luke 24:49)

What God promises in His Word is always honoured by His fulfilment.

In today’s three-verse selected Bible passage, Christ is teaching His disciples some vital truths:  He is returning to our Father in Heaven; our Father in Heaven sent Him to us in the first place; human words cannot adequately explain Heaven’s splendour; we are sad when Christ’s Presence is not perceived to be near; the expediency of Christ’s return to Heaven at that time; and the promise of God the Spirit as another Comforter.

All this is packed succinctly into three small verses of Holy Scripture!

Christ In Heaven:  (V5)  We have a Holy and High Priest in Heaven right now, interceding for us with God our Father, IF God is indeed our Father in Heaven. “…Ye must be born again…”  (John 3:3-8)

“But this Man (Christ Jesus), because He continueth (lives) ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.  Wherefore He is able also to save them (believers) to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them.  For such an High Priest became us, Who is Holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the Heavens.”                    (Hebrews 7:24-26)

Christ Sent From Heaven: (V.5)  God the Father sent His only begotten Son, Christ Jesus, to us from out of the Holy splendour of Heaven, to make the way of Eternal Salvation for us by His Sacrifice on the Cross.  We have God’s own Word on the matter.  We believe, and we are saved.  Hallelujah!

“Then said Jesus to them (His disciples) again, Peace be unto you; as My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you.”  (John 20:21) (John 3:16)

Heaven is Indescribable: (V.5)  Christ’s disciples could not even ask Him to explain ‘whither goest Thou…’, because human minds cannot even envisage the wonder that awaits us there one sweet day.  Eternal bliss with Him! “…Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.”  (1 Corinthians 2:9)

Sensing Christ’s Presence: (V.6)  The joy the disciples felt during the earthly ministry of the Lord Jesus, and the joy and security of Christ’s Holy Presence with us latter-day believers in this age of apostasy, is a powerful thing to sense daily.  We immediately feel a deep Spiritual deprivation the moment  the fullness of Christ’s Presence departs from us - especially when we fall into sin.  Deep sorrow fills our hearts, we yearn for His nearness.

“Thou wilt show me the path of life; in Thy Presence is fullness of joy; at Thy right hand are pleasures for evermore.”  (Psalm 16:11)

“And He (the Lord) said, My Presence shall go with thee (Moses), and I will give thee rest.  And he (Moses) said unto Him, If Thy Presence go not with me, carry us not up hence.”                          (Exodus 33:14-15)

Christ’s Promise of the Holy Spirit: (V.7)  The Lord Jesus explained the expediency of His going back to Heaven after His Crucifixion for us on Calvary’s Hill. 

Christ’s followers, then and now, would profit Supernaturally as a consequence of His Ascension back to the Heaven from which He came down.  We would receive the fulfilment of Christ’s Promise - the outpouring and indwelling Presence of God the Holy Ghost Himself!  Hallelujah!  What a blessing to have God Himself within us!

“…Now if any man/woman have not the Spirit of Christ, he/she is none of His.  And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.  But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He…shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you.”  (Romans 8:9-11)

Thought:  Pentecostal power is available to you and me - Christ’s promise to His followers is always fulfilled.  Be strong in the Spirit!  Christ's Victory is ours!

Prepared For Persecution John 16:1-4

Text:  “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.  Thou therefore (a conclusion) endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”

2 Timothy 2:2-3.

Good morning, well prepared Christian!  When the ever-present persecution promised to you and to me comes - are we ready to endure it; learn from it; and grow stronger as a consequence of it?  Praise God for well prepared Christians!

“Yea, and ALL that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.  But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.  But continue thou in the things which thou has learned and been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them.”  (2 Timothy 3:12-14)

The words Jesus taught His disciples in the opening verses of John Chapter 16 must have brought great fear and dread to their all too fallible hearts.  However, the Lord Jesus deemed this teaching most necessary to the well-being of His initial followers whom He was about to leave here on earth.

The lessons Jesus taught His initial disciples are still most necessary for ’end times’ Christians today.  We do well to learn these lessons again.

First, the Lord Jesus explains His reason for revealing such hard truths to His followers - ‘…that ye should not be offended…’, or too deeply upset. (V.1)

What Christ then prophesied must have made the disciples’ hearts shiver with dread:  “They shall put you out of the synagogues; yea, the time cometh that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God a service.”  (V.2)

We do well to acquaint ourselves with the knowledge of how Christ’s disciples died.  We latter-day Christians must also be well prepared for such possibilities.  Be prepared, dear friend, there are bad times coming.  There are very bad times coming real soon!  Be prepared!

Do You Know How the Disciples Died?

1.  Matthew:  Suffered martyrdom in Ethiopia - killed by a sword wound.

2.  Mark:  Died in Alexandria, Egypt, after being dragged by horses through the streets until he was dead.

3.  Luke:  Was hanged in Greece as a result of his tremendous preaching to the lost.

4.  John:    Faced martyrdom when he was boiled in huge basin of boiling oil during a wave of persecution in Rome.  However, he was miraculously delivered from death.  John was then sentenced to the mines on the prison island of Patmos.  He wrote his prophetic Book of Revelation on Patmos . The apostle John was later freed and returned to serve as Bishop of Edessa in modern Turkey . He died as an old man, the only apostle to die peacefully.

5.  Peter:  He was crucified upside down on an x-shaped cross.  According to church tradition it was because he told his tormentors that he felt unworthy to die in the same way that Jesus Christ had died.

6.  James (the Just):    The leader of the church in Jerusalem, was thrown over a hundred feet down from the southeast pinnacle of the Temple when he refused to deny his faith in Christ. When they discovered that he survived the fall, his enemies beat James to death with a fuller's club.

7.  James (the Great):  The son of Zebedee, was a fisherman by trade when Jesus called him to a lifetime of ministry.  As a strong leader of the church, James was ultimately beheaded at Jerusalem.  (Tradition teaches that the Roman officer who guarded James watched amazed as James defended his faith at his trial. Later, the officer walked beside James to the place of execution. Overcome by conviction, he declared his new faith to the judge and knelt beside James to accept beheading as a Christian.)

8.  Bartholomew:  Also known as Nathaniel was a missionary to Asia.  He witnessed for our Lord in present day Turkey.  Bartholomew was martyred for his preaching in Armenia where he was flayed to death by a whip.

9.  Andrew:   Was crucified on an x-shaped cross in Patras, Greece.  After being whipped severely by seven soldiers they tied his body to the cross with cords to prolong his agony.  His followers reported that, when he was led toward the cross, Andrew saluted it in these words: “I have long desired and expected this happy hour.  The cross has been consecrated by the body of Christ hanging on it.”  He continued to preach to his tormentors for two days until he expired.

10.  Thomas:   Was stabbed with a spear in India during one of his missionary trips to establish the church in the sub-continent.

11.  Jude:  Was killed with arrows when he refused to deny his faith in Christ.

12.  Matthias:  The apostle chosen to replace the traitor Judas Iscariot, was stoned and then beheaded.

13.  Paul:    Was tortured and then beheaded by the evil Emperor Nero at Rome in A..D. 67.  Paul endured a lengthy imprisonment, which allowed him to write his many epistles to the churches he had formed throughout the Roman Empire. These letters, which taught many of the foundational doctrines of Christianity, form a large portion of the New Testament.

Thought:  We talk the talk - but are we prepared to walk the walk?  Lord, help us!