John 16:1-11; Mark 3:13; 2:17; Luke 19:10; Matthew 13:11-12; John 6:67-69; 15:15-16,18-19; 17:14-16; Luke 9:1,2; 10:19
“But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart” (John 16:5,6). The Lord Jesus Christ was going back to the Father in heaven having accomplished His earthly ministry, calling and purpose why He came. There He would plead, pray and talk to the Father to send the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Truth to abide with His disciples forever. As He told them that he was going, they were sorrowful because the presence of Jesus had meant so much to these disciples. He had taught them repentance and they had repented, left their sins, evils and darkness, and came to Jesus Christ, the Saviour, Redeemer. They were saved and their lives transformed, they had eternal life. He had instructed them, and they had learnt the mysteries of the Kingdom; they had never heard anything like that before. That such a Master was going away, their Instructor, Teacher, the Great Miracle Worker, who had chosen them to be friends, brought them to experience the reality of God being their Father, and authorised and empowered them to do the same works that He had done while with them(John 15:15-16), they were thinking what would happen to them: That was why their hearts were filled with sorrow and pain. The pain of an Absent Christ, they couldn’t stand that. They were having secrets from heaven every day that the high priests and other religious leaders at that time did not have. They were hated by the world, Pharisees and the Scribes, but they did not care because the protective power of Christ was with them (John 15:18,19; 17:14-16). They had the mark, image, superscription and favour of heaven upon them. They were thinking if they got into danger who would pray for them like Christ; they thought of their weakness, predicament, perplexity and powerlessness and were sorrowful. He was a Friend, Captain, Lord, Master, Director and everything to them. He had given them information that they did not know as well… “Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20). No one could give them that kind of the information.
POINT 1: THE DISCIPLES’ MISUNDERSTANDING OF AN ABSENT CHRIST
Christ was going away from them, and they misunderstood that to be a disadvantage for them so they were sorrowful. “These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended” (John 16:1). He was warning and revealing to them ahead of time things that would happen so they would not be disappointed and offended. The Pharisees, Scribes and the Religious people would leave their real ministry of helping the children of Israel, directing, leading them to God and reconciling the people unto God by performing the Old Testament sacrifices, and now have a new ministry of persecuting, destroying and killing the Christ’s disciples; they will be religious but will not have any reconciliation, righteousness and relationship with God. I pray that when these things happen to us we will remember all these bible studies, and the power to stand firm and focused will be in your life in Jesus Name. It would be a pity if a member, minister and worker in the church, after knowing all these things in the word of God, when persecutions, misunderstandings, slanders, oppositions, trials, temptations and troubles come, they cannot remember. You will remember.
Let us consider three areas –
Their Persecution in His Absence – John 16:1-2; Matthew 24:10-14; Luke 6:22-23,26
“Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake” (Luke 6:22). Because you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as your only Saviour, Lord and Redeemer, and know that all your good works and religious activities could not save; and as you put your trust, faith and confidence in Him, the people of the world will hate you, separate you from their company and family, and even throw your name out of their midst. Don’t cry or be sorrowful, rather, rejoice. When people persecute, oppose, slander and reject you, do not give in to depression, but…“Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets” (Luke 6:23). This is what it takes to be a real child of God, and a follower of Jesus Christ; you are different from the world, do not dodge your convictions and beliefs. “Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.” (Luke 6:26).
Their Perception of the Animosity – John 16:3,4; 15:18-21; Acts 13:50-52
“If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” (John 15:18,19). Now Jesus wanted them to have the right perception of the animosity and hatred of the world towards them. As Christians named and associated with Him, the world would do same to them as well what it did to Him. Always remember that you are not of the world, and whatever they are doing, worshipping idols, cheating, stealing, malpractices, evils, and things not of God, you will not join them. When they persecute, you will rejoice in Jesus Name. “And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost” (Acts 13:52). When they rejected and expelled them they rejoiced, so when your time comes when they persecute, lie against you, reject and speak evil of you, you will not cry, regret or reconsider your Christian stand and commitment. You will stand. The time of persecution is not the time to collapse or compromise, but time to remember that this is mark and evidence that you belong to Christ.
The Pain of His Admonition – John 16:6
Jesus Christ told them that He was going to the Father in Heaven, back to His Glory, to be glorified with Father, and yet the disciples were sorrowful, why?
(i) They were selfish in their consideration; (ii) They were superficial in their love; (iii) They were shallow in their understanding; (iv) They were satisfied without Calvary and Pentecost; (v) They were short-sighted concerning His Eternal Purpose: He came for the whole world not just for Peter and the other disciples; (vi) They were scared of persecution without his physical presence; (vii) They were secured in their limitations.
If the Lord had yielded to their selfish considerations, see what could have happened: there would have been No –
(i) Gracious Calvary; (ii) Great Commission; (iii) Global Gentile Conversions
(iv) Greater and Better Covenant; (v) Guiding, Abiding Comforter; (vi) No Gospel Confirmation; and (vii) No Glorious Consummation and Coronation
This is the same thing we did in our churches then, that we sent people, strong leaders from the Lagos Headquarters out to the mission fields, and now the gospel has spread everywhere. So we are going to grow up in our understanding, and allow our leaders and members to go and preach and touch everywhere with the gospel. We are ready to go!
POINT 2: THE DISTINGUISHED MANIFESTATIONS IN HIS ADVANTAGEOUS COMING
John 16:7-8; 11:50-52; 14:28; Acts 2:33; Hebrews 9:24; John 14:16-18,26; 15:26; Luke 24:49; Acts 9:31; 4:31; 8:4-8; Hebrews 2:4
The Comforter, Spirit of Truth and Power, the Dynamite from Heaven was coming. He is the Comforter and the One that would stay by their side and help them along: And because of His advantageous coming, there would be distinguished manifestations. “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you” (John 16:7). It was expedient that Christ should go away, having died for our sins, so that the Comforter who would be with His followers for ever could come. “Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not” (John 11:50). Caiaphas understood that one should die for the nation, but Christ’s disciples did not. If we love Him, and the purpose of His coming to die for sinners, then we will rejoice that it was expedient for Him to go away (John 14:28). It is better and profitable for us that He has gone to be in Heaven for us. It was the going away of Christ that brought the Comforter (John 16:7). He would not leave His own comfortless (John 14:18). The coming of the Holy Ghost empowered and emboldened the disciples to preach in spite of persecution. “Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word …. And there was great joy in that city” (Acts 8:4,8). When the Holy Ghost comes into your life, He empowers, refreshes and energises you, then you will go everywhere preaching the word of God, the gospel of Christ. This is the advantage of the coming of the Comforter, the Holy Ghost. Christ having done His work at Calvary, gone away, ascended to the Father, spoken, pleaded and prayed, now we have diverse gifts and manifestations of the Holy Ghost.
POINT 3: THE DYNAMIC MINISTRY OF THE ABIDING COMFORTER
The Abiding Comforter had come and immersed and endued them with the power of the Holy Ghost. He was going to abide with them not for a year but forever, and carry out on the dynamic and heavenly ministry through them.
Three things the Holy Ghost would do:
Reprove the world of sin – John 16:8; Acts 2:36-42; 3:19,26; 26:18
The Holy Ghost energises the preacher to reprove the world of sin through their preaching. They repented of their sins and wickedness and came to the Lord.
Recall us to Righteousness – John 16:8,10; Acts 24:24,25; Romans 1:17,18; 3:10,23-25; 10:3,9,10
This is what the Holy Ghost does through the preacher calling everyone to righteousness. And to have this righteousness, you turn away from your sins, and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ that died for you on the Cross, and then he will transfer His righteousness unto you, and you will be righteous.
Remind us of the Judgement to come – John 16:8,11; Romans 2:1-5; 2 Corinthians 5:10,11,20; Hebrews 9:27; 10:26-27,38,39; Revelations 20:11-15; Luke 10:20
There is judgement at the end of life. If somebody lives a life of sin, enjoys, and refuses to come to Jesus Christ, to save, change and cleanse his life and forgive his sins, there is judgement at the end of a sinful life. If you have not repented, come to the Lord and be saved, and if you have repented, you are to continue with the Lord, not turn away and you will escape the judgement to come in Jesus Name. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10). There is judgement at the end of the road of sinning. Reconciliation will bring forgiveness, freedom and liberation, and all your sins He will forgive and wipe out; He will forget them and make you live a new life in Christ Jesus. If anyone deliberately goes into sin, and wilfully rejects the word of God, then there will be judgement at the end.
“And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works” (Revelations 20:11). Every evil thing that you do is written is that book of records, but the moment you come to the Lord Jesus Christ, and He forgives your sins, then He will take your name from those books of records, and transfer it to the Book of Life with nothing written against you. Thank God your name is there. God is going to write names in the Book of Life even tonight, and if your name is there, you will renew your covenant and consecration with the Lord, that nothing will take your name away from that Book of Life. When judgement comes, it will not be for you, and Heaven, you are going there in Jesus name.