Gentle Jesus: Spirit Presence (John 14-16)


They say great things come in threes. One is an accident, two is a coincidence, but three is a pattern. Symbolism of 3 reflects strength and splendor.

  • PB, Chocolate, and me.
  • Eggs: Shell, Yoke, White
  • Water: Steam, Liquid, Ice
  • Game: Rock, Paper, Scissors (no dynamite)
  • 3 ring circus
  • 3 little pigs
  • 3 stooges
  • 3 piece suit
  • Columbus Ships: Nina, Pinta, Santa Maria
  • Time: Past, Present, Future,
  • Gov: Legislative, Executive, Judicial
  • Stories: Beg., Middle, End
  • Shape: Triangle strongest
    • SPBC triangle from founding pastor Charles Barnes who noted church was center of triangle influence DC, Balt, Annapolis.

3 in the Bible[1]

  • God: Holy, Holy, Holy
  • Nativity Gifts: Gold, Frankincense, Myrrh
  • Resurrection: 3 Days for Jesus
  • Trinity: Father, Son, Spirit
  • Aims: Faith, Hope, Love

Today’s message is about the 3rd Person of the Trinity: Holy Spirit. The aim is to show how the Holy Spirit confirms the heart of Jesus and continues the work of Jesus in the life of a believer.

  • Dane Ortlund writes: “The Spirit makes the heart of Christ real to us: not just heard, but seen; not just seen, but felt; not just felt, but enjoyed. The Spirit takes what we read in the Bible and believe on paper about Jesus’s heart and moves it from theory to reality, from doctrine to experience.”[2]

Christians camps on the Holy Spirit

#1 Winter Camp:

  • Believe in presence of Holy Spirit but cold towards the practices of the Spirit. They minimize or view the gifts of the Spirit to have ceased – cessationists.
  • High on doctrine but low on delighting in fellowship with Spirit.
  • Downside: They treat Him more like a force or a theory, rather than third Person of Trinity.

#2 Summer Camp:

  • If you’ve been to summer camp, you know it can get a little wild.
  • These believe in presence, the practice, and the power of Holy Spirit. They view the gifts of the Spirit to continue beyond the close of the apostolic canon – continuationists or charismatic.
  • Downside: They see the Holy Spirit in everything with signs: Feedback in A/V, they’d bind a demon; Spirit’s leading me to… but fail to own the contradictions.
  • God gave the Holy Spirit to unite His church but ironically many churches divide over the Holy Spirit. In fact, if most Christians had the choice between ability to see Jesus 1x week vs having the Spirit indwell them daily, they would mostly choose what they can see. But Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.” (Jn 14:12) In other words, the Spirit of Jesus inside us is greater than a physical Jesus beside you. God’s filling of every believer is better than merely confined to a single place and person.

The Spirit of Jesus inside US is greater than a physical Jesus beside YOU. God’s filling of EVERY believer is better than merely confined to a single place and person.

  • Our prayer surrounding God should be: Lord, give us unity on essentials and charity on differences, and holy boldness to grow and keep in step with the Spirit (Gal 5:25).


As Jesus nears the end of His life, He reveals the most essential priorities for His followers. Apart from His atoning work on the cross, the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit is expressed from the life of Jesus in at least three ways:

Through the Holy Spirit, Jesus never stops giving us help.

John 14:16-18

16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. 18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.

God the Father initiates salvation in the sending of His Son. The Son incarnates salvation through His sacrificial death on the cross and resurrection. And the Spirit implements salvation’s benefits with the indwelling presence of God in every believer. Salvation is a Triune work of God.[3]

God the Father initiates, the Son incarnates, and the Spirit implements salvation. Salvation is a Triune work of God.

Jesus says the Spirit will be another Helper. The original language aids our understanding. Two words for “another”

  •  ἕτερος  another of different kind.
  •  ἄλλος  another of the same kind.


  • Other religions believe in polytheism with multiple Gods. Ex: Mormons, JW
  • Others believe in strict monotheism with a single God. Ex Jews, Oneness Pentecostals. The latter view Father, Son, Spirit as modes of one God.
  • Christianity believes the Trinity, with the Holy Spirit having sameness and equality to the Father and the Son.

The understanding is that the Father, Son, and Spirit are each Helpers (παράκλητος). Paraclete is one who comes alongside; a helper; ally; counselor, encourager, strengthener, and advocate. Most often it’s an advocate in a legal sense, pleading the cause before a judge.[4] God’s advocacy for us comes through the cross and the Spirit’s ongoing activity in our life.  

Romans 8:9-11 “You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.”

  • It’s as if we have a wealthy relative who left us the full inheritance with land, possessions, and capital, yet we are going around asking strangers to borrow $1. The abundant power of Christ and the fullness of the Spirit is available to us if we are willing to claim our inheritance.

1 Corinthians 12:13 “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body – all were made to drink of one Spirit”

  • Jesus often gives to us and meets our needs by the Spirit present in His body of believers.

1 Corinthians 12:14-20 “For the body does not consist of one member but many… feet… hands… ears… eyes… nose… God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.”

1 Peter 4:10 “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” . . . 1Peter 4:12 “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.”

In other words, the tension, the toil, the trials, God helps us persevere with the power of the Spirit and the presence of one another. Your blessing is in the body, and don’t forget that you are the answer to someone else’s burdens.

2 Corinthians 1:3-11 “the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation, and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort… for we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. 11 You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.”

  • God’s Spirit works in us so He can work through us. Give a hand hold or fist bump to someone near you and say,
    “God’s for me and I’m for you.”
    “Jesus never gives up on me, and I won’t give up on you.”
  • Ask 3 people this week of something you can pray for them.

Through the Holy Spirit, Jesus never stops giving understanding.

John 14:26; 15:26-27

“the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you… when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.”

The Spirit gave the forgetful apostles remembrance of the teachings of Jesus. While Jesus was no longer beside them to instruct, the Spirit was able to inform and illuminate their understanding. In time, the Spirit inspired them to communicate and write these teachings down for us to obtain the Holy Scriptures. Notice John also adds the Spirit will not just enlighten awareness but equip the disciples to action – they would bear witness about Jesus to others.

  • Many light switches have a dimmer. The lowest level is barely any light, but as you increase the dimmer the light is amplified to aid visibility. Recently our home remodel we added recess lights on a dimmer switch. After construction, we moved our furniture back in the room and turned the lights to the brightest level. We saw things we never saw before on our furniture – stains and small tears on the couches! The light revealed the flaws. At that point you have a choice to make – make a new purchase or cover up the flaws. For us – after a large kitchen remodel expense – we chose to cover up the flaws rather than the expense of purchasing new furniture. But, when it comes to our spiritual and physical lives, the Holy Spirit will illuminate areas that need changed. We must be careful we don’t keep a dimmer on the Holy Spirit.
    • We can grieve (Eph 4:30), quench (1 Thes 5:19), and resist (Ac 7:51) and even insult (Heb 10:29) the Spirt. Instead, we must continuously re-fill (Eph 5:18).

For us today, the same Spirit that matures our beliefs also motivates our behaviors. Therefore, it is important for Christians to read, meditate, and memorize God’s word. It’s less likely the Spirit will give us remembrance if we have not spent time reading or reflecting. The Spirit helps you to fire bullets that you’ve loaded.

Previously, Jesus noted He is the truth (Jn 14:6). Here, Jesus notes the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth (Jn 15:26). Later, Jesus notes God’s word is truth (Jn 17:17). As followers of Jesus, we separate truth from conspiracy and falsehood with intentional investments of your faith relationships: with God, the word, and wisdom from other believers.

  • A person attending a ball game and sitting far away (“nose bleed seats”) might take binoculars or zoom camera to see the players. The binoculars do not actually make the players larger than what they are, but they simply make the players appear closer than they area. Likewise, the truth and love of Christ is no bigger in heaven than on earth. But the Spirit helps us to apprehend it.[5]

  • Another illustration is when you have a family member or friend who travels to a luxurious destination. They might send you a postcard from their beautiful site. When you get their mail, you have not traveled to the destination, but you gain a small glimpse of what they viewed. The Spirit helps us to view what Jesus already sees with His eternal perspective.
  • An action step to help our understanding and view life from Jesus’ vantage point is to learn more about eternity and heaven. A few suggestions: Heaven by Randy Alcorn, Forever by Paul Tripp, Home by Elyse Fitzpatrick, Even Better Than Eden by Nancy Guthrie, among others. Cf Col 3:1-2.

Through the Holy Spirit, Jesus never stops giving us comfort.

John 16:7-24, 33

Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. 12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 16 “A little while, and you will see me no longer; and again a little while, and you will see me.” 17 So some of his disciples said to one another, “What is this that he says to us, ‘A little while, and you will not see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’; and, ‘because I am going to the Father’?” 18 So they were saying, “What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We do not know what he is talking about.” 19 Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, “Is this what you are asking yourselves, what I meant by saying, ‘A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while and you will see me’? 20 Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. 21 When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. 22 So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. 23 In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. 24 Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full… 33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

In this chapter we see multiple roles of the Holy Spirit.

  • vv.8-11 Convicts of sin (primary problem), righteousness (primary hope), and judgment (eternal destiny).
    • God’s conviction of our sin is a reinforcement of His love for us not a reprimand of punishment (cf Heb 12:5-11). The Holy Spirit is not trying to pay us back but bring us back to repentance and right faith relationship. The heart of Christ always has our good in mind.
    • Notice also God’s conviction is not our direct role for others but the Spirit’s responsibility. Others may see our deeds and hear our words and be challenged by them to know more about Jesus (cf Mt 5:13-16; Eph 5:15-16; Php 2:14-16; Col 4:5-6; 1 Thes 4:7-12; 1 Pet 2:12; 3:15).
  • vv. 13-15 Guidance.
    • The Holy Spirit operates in unity with the Father and Son to guide us to truth that we can follow Jesus and glorify God.
    • People are guided by many futile and foolish ways.
      • Random Coincidences:
        • Cloud shapes of animal mascot for which college
        • Billboard had # which was digit in a girl’s phone #
        • Happy feeling… Eve had happy feelings until…
    • The Holy Spirit guides and speaks not just randomly but through relationship.
      • Scripture (Ps 19; 119; 2 Tim 3:16-17)
      • Skills and gifts (1 Cor 12:7; Eph 4:8; 1 Pet 4:10)
        • CS Lewis Lion, Witch, and Wardrobe with Father Christmas giving gifts to children: Peter (sword & shield), Susan (bow/arrow, & horn), Lucy (healing ointment). These were “tools not toys” and used in other Chronicles of Narnia.
      • Saints (Acts 15:28 “it seemed good to H.S. and to us”; Prov 11:14 “multitude of counselors”)
      • Seek – your desires and delight (Ps 37:4).  

  • vv.22-23 Assurance with joy (16:19-24), love (16:25-28), and peace (16:31-33). The disciples were like young children asking questions at a funeral. They were agitated and unaware concerning the death of Jesus. Jesus told them His departure would be for their advantage.
    • Imagine/understand this is how we are to view the disappointments of this world – including death. One’s departure into eternity is preparation for joy, love, peace, and advantageous if Christ is Lord.
    • Rom 5:1 “The Spirit sheds abroad the love of God in our hearts.”
    • Rom 8 / Gal 4 – abba
    • “Comfort does not take the pain away; it slides in beside the pain…”[6] so that we can understand there is purpose beyond our pain.

Dane Ortlund says, “The disciples were sorrowful because Jesus was leaving them. He had befriended them and embraced them into his heart, so they thought that Jesus was leaving meant Jesus’s heart leaving – but the Spirit is the answer to how Jesus can leave them bodily while leaving his heart behind. The Spirit is the continuation of the heart of Christ for his people after the departure of Jesus to heaven.”[7]

à Find one of God’s promises for your pain. Trust to sustain you with comfort and calling. Regardless your problems and pains, God wants to use these for His greater purpose.


We will never be able to control the Holy Spirit. But we can do two things: 1) Soak your life in Scripture. 2) Step. “If we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” Gal 5:25

[1] See

[2] Gentle & Lowly, p.122.


[4] Beasley-Murray, G. R. (1999). John (Vol. 36, p. 256). Word, Incorporated.

[5] Illustration inspired from Gentle & Lowly, pp. 124-125.

[6] Quote heard from a friend; tracked down to author Peggy Haymes and adapted sentence.

[7] Gentle & Lowly, p.123.

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