Today, we are continuing our look at the advantage that the Holy Spirit gives us in our Christian walks by studying what He has been commissioned to do for us. So, the title of this Holy Spirit series is— “The Commission of the Holy Spirit.” In this series, we are looking at the variety of things that the Lord told us that He would do for us—such as, teach us, remind us, guide us into all truth, convict us, etc. And as I made the point of last week, it is essential that we understand specifically what the Lord told us that His Spirit was commissioned to do for us because if we feed our spirits these things, then we will have the necessary faith to receive them. Amen?
Now since we are using this word “commissioned,” we defined it. We saw that it has different meanings depending on the context it is used in, but it basically means “to formally choose someone to do a special piece of work.” We could say that it means to be “ordered, authorized, or appointed to do something.” In other words, when one is commissioned to produce something then that means that they have been appointed to perform certain duties. Therefore, the Holy Spirit has been specifically called and commissioned to do certain things. We could call Him the “Commissioner of Christ,” and we will find out why throughout this series of teachings.
So, we learned what His ultimate commission is by spending our time last week looking at what the Holy Spirit’s calling is. And we found in First Peter 1:12 that the Holy Spirit was “sent” from heaven—the word “sent” coming from the Greek word apostello. We saw how this word can more specifically be defined as “to commission, to set apart for a special service, or to send out with a mission to fulfill.” Word Meanings in the New Testament by Ralph Earle defines it as to “send on a mission, or with a commission.” And we saw how this word “apostello” is akin to the Greek word used to translate “apostle,” which literally means “sent one.” So, Strong’s describes this office as a “commissioner of Christ.”
So, the Holy Spirit is essentially fulfilling the office of an apostle. Yes, He was commissioned from heaven and sent to the earth. To do what? Similarly to an apostle, He was sent from heaven to foreign soil to start, establish, and build up churches. Now I am not talking about physical church buildings. I am talking about the true Church, the Body of Christ. The Holy Spirit’s commission is to start churches—that is, to draw people to the Lord Jesus Christ and to regenerate them through the new birth (John 3:6 & Titus 3:5-6). The Holy Spirit’s commission is to establish those churches—that is, to teach and council those He has regenerated, thus making disciples out of them. He does this by teaching us, reminding us, and guiding us into all truth. And, last but not least, the Holy Spirit’s commission is to build these churches up—that is, to strengthen and edify these believers so that they will grow and reach their full potential. And we learned that the Holy Spirit most certainly does this through power—that is, with accompanying signs, wonders and miracles which are His gifts (faith, word of knowledge, working of miracles, gifts of healings, etc.). So, the Holy Spirit is an apostle in every sense of the word!
Therefore, having the Holy Spirit is like us having our own personal and divine “apostle.” Yes, He is the One who got us started in our Christian walk by coming to this earth from heaven and drawing us to our Lord and Savior. But He did more than that: He is the One who keeps us progressing on the path of life by teaching, encouraging, and strengthening us. He is our Rabbi—our own personal, internal apostle. I believe this is the best summary of His commission.
But the fact is, we are told some very specific things by the Lord Jesus Christ that the Holy Spirit is commissioned to do for us in John chapters 14-16. So, what we began doing last week is we began going through some of these things so that we are more aware of these things that He is assigned to perform in each of our lives.
Last week, we saw in John 14:16-18 that one of the general things that He has been commissioned to do for us is to abide with us forever. That means that He is not “flighty”—that is, He is not quick to leave us just because we made some mistake. No, the Holy Spirit sticks with us forever—which would have been good news to Jesus’ disciples because they were faced with the sobering fact that Jesus would soon be leaving them. Therefore, for them to be told first that this other Helper was going to be with us forever would be very good news. In other words, He was not going to leave after three years.
We also learned in John 14:18 that Jesus promised not to leave them “orphans.” No, He promised to come to them—and I believe in the person of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we have the Lord with us forever—never to leave us nor forsake us. He is faithful!
HIS COMMISSION TO TEACH
Now the next thing that the Holy Spirit is commissioned to do for us is found in John 14:25&26. Jesus was still in the middle of teaching His disciples for the last time and said, “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But 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 things that I said to you.”
First of all, notice that in verse 25 Jesus said— “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you…” The phrase “These things” is a specific reference to everything from what Jesus was currently teaching them here on this night recorded in John chapters 14-16 to everything that Jesus had taught them during His entire earthly ministry. But the time was fast approaching that He would be leaving them and returning to His Father, and although He had taught them many great things while being present with them, He had not taught them everything there was to know.
Part of the reason for this was because His disciples were unregenerate all during His earthly ministry. Therefore, they, as natural, carnal people, could not effectively understand all spiritual truth. Jesus alluded to this in John 16:12 when He said, “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.” The word “bear” here describes taking something up by the hand. So, I believe good translation of this verse is— “but you cannot handle them now.” And the reason they could not “handle” these things was because they were still carnal and sold under sin. You see, trying to feed spiritual teaching to carnal people is like trying to feed a T-bone steak to a baby: they can’t handle it!
So, although Jesus could not teach them all things during His earthly ministry, the day was soon coming that they would be born again and would be in the position to bear and handle all spiritual truth. This is why Jesus went on to say— “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things…”
First of all, notice how Jesus said that the Holy Spirit was being sent by the Father in His (Jesus’) name. Now does this mean that the Father said from heaven, “Holy Spirit, go to the earth, in Jesus’ name. Amen.”? No, I’m certain that is not what He did. But that’s what we often do when we do things in the name of Jesus. What we need to understand is that when we do and say things “in the name of Jesus” that doesn’t mean we are just tacking that phrase to the end of our word or deed. No, Jesus was literally saying that the Holy Spirit was being sent in His place.
So, that verifies what we have been learning—that the Holy Spirit and Jesus are One. If you have seen One, you have seen the other. We have established that already. But guess what else this should show us? If the Holy Spirit being sent in Jesus’ “place” (i.e. name) further verifies that they are One, then what about all of those Scriptures that show us that Jesus’ disciples are also sent out in His name? The lightbulb should come on for us that us doing things in the name of Jesus (i.e. in His place) is truly us doing things like Jesus Himself were doing them! Amen!
You see, the Holy Spirit being sent in Jesus’ name doesn’t make Him less than or inferior to Jesus, does it? No! So, us being sent out in His name should show us the same! Yes, we are in good company with the Holy Spirit. Amen?
So, what Jesus was telling us in this verse is that the Holy Spirit would continue to teach His disciples as Jesus had taught them until they had learned all things. In other words, part of the Holy Spirit’s commission was to finish teaching Jesus’ disciples the truths of the New Testament that Jesus had begun to teach them while He was on the earth with them.
Therefore, one thing we should take away from this is that the things Jesus taught His disciples in the Four Gospels is not everything. What do I mean by that? I mean, the teachings of Jesus were simply an introduction into New Testament teachings, but were by no means all that we need to learn. I bring this out because I know of a lot of people who hang their hats on the Gospels and the sayings of Jesus. This is where they pitch camp. But we can clearly see right here that the Four Gospels are not all the things we can and should learn. We need to also learn all the things that the Holy Spirit continued teaching Christ’s disciples.
Now of course I am not trying to discourage anybody from reading the Gospels. We absolutely should make Jesus’ teachings in Matthew, Mark, Luke & John a steady part of our diet. However, what I am saying is that they are not to be all we feed on. For example, vegetables are good for you and you should certainly incorporate them into your diet. But even eating only veggies can make one a little out of balance in their diet. Heck, even the Bible says that he who is weak eats only vegetables (Romans 14:2) 😊! No, I am just joking, but my point is that only having one good thing in your diet has its setbacks too. We need to be well-rounded.
But along those lines of dieting, let me encourage you with something: Live in freedom. Don’t live under those self-imposed laws that say, “You can’t have this or that!” Let the Holy Spirit lead you. Use wisdom, but not at the risk of placing yourself under a law. In my opinion, even the stress and anxiety of abstaining from certain things have harmful effects on us far worse than the foods we put in our bodies. I for one believe that when we cooperate with the laws of the land, but enjoy the journey, then we will see the fruit we desire in our lives. Just a good word of wisdom.
But my point is that the Gospels are essentially the incomplete message of the New Testament. They are certainly essential to our New Covenant doctrine, but we need what was revealed after Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection through the Holy Spirit. Amen?
Now it is quite obvious by studying the content of the New Testament epistles that the Holy Spirit had indeed fulfilled this commission to teach them all things! After Jesus’ disciples (such as Peter and John) received the Holy Spirit, He began to systematically teach them the full council of God. Then the Holy Spirit inspired some of them to pen letters that would be canonized forever as New Testament Scripture. During this time, there were others who also received the Holy Spirit and were taught even deeper truths of the gospel of Christ and were inspired to write them down as well.
By far the greatest example of this was the Apostle Paul: The Holy Spirit taught him so many great New Testament realities such as justification by faith etc. that even Peter thought some of his teachings were hard to understand (see Second Peter 3:16), and what was so amazing about this was that Paul never even walked with Jesus! But this is the power of the teaching commission of the Holy Spirit! It doesn’t matter if you have not had all the advantages that others have had in regards to education and other privileges; if you have the Holy Spirit, He is the only teacher you need to be filled with all the wisdom of God!
THE ANOINTED TEACHER
This is what the apostle John meant in First John 2:27 when he said— “But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things…”
Now the anointing is a specific reference to the Holy Spirit—for the Holy Spirit is referred to as “oil” elsewhere in God’s Word. But notice what John said is a benefit of Him abiding in us: He said that we do not need anyone to teach us. Now some have mistakenly interpreted this to say that we do not even need teachers in the Body of Christ. Those who believe this reject the teachers God has placed around them because, in their arrogance, they think all they need is the Holy Spirit to teach them. This is not what this Scripture is saying! All the apostle John was saying was that we do not have to have teachers. In other words, we who have the Holy Spirit are not limited to being taught by other human beings.
You see, the key word in First John 2:27 is “need.” Now I believe we use this word far too loosely. For example, since we are talking anointing oil here, what if I said, “I need someone to come change the oil in my car for me.” The truth is, none of us really “need” someone to do that for us. We could do some research and study up on how it’s done if we were put into the position that we “needed” to. Say, for example, you were stranded in the desert and had to do it yourself. And you had the oil, the tools, and all the information of how to change it. If we were in this situation, I bet we could change our oil. Therefore, technically, we don’t “need” anyone to change our oil for us.
But does that mean that it is not appropriate or even helpful to have others do it for us? Wouldn’t it be a better stewardship of some of our time to get someone else to do it? Sure, it would! Well, this is how we need to read this verse. Sure, if we were stranded on the Isle of Patmos and had no anointed preachers to teach us, we have the unlimited resources of the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit abiding within us to teach us. Sure, we have the oil, but that doesn’t mean that good anointed teachers are not helpful for our spiritual growth and do not provide us with a more “advantageous” way of being taught by the Lord.
So, just as all we need is the oil to change our oil, all we need is the Anointing Himself to be taught. However, having an anointed teacher to learn from is akin to having a professional mechanic to change our oil for us. Praise God!
So, again, John was simply saying that we do not have to be totally dependent on man teaching us. That is all. He was not saying that it is non-beneficial to listen to the good anointed teaching that is available to us. As a matter of fact, if you look at the context and what John said next, the meaning of this verse becomes even clearer:
If you back up to First John 2:18, you will see that the apostle John began talking about the spirit of Antichrist that these believers were dealing with. He said, “Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour.”
Now what this verse is saying is that the more “antichrist activity” that we see in the world reveals to us how close we are to the end. And, church, if the “last hour” was 2,000 years ago, then technically we are not even living in the last days. No, we are not living in the last days, we are living in the last minutes if not the last seconds of the last days!
But this verse also shows us that the Antichrist himself is not all that we should be concerned with; no, there is a spirit of antichrist that is already here with us today. And what is this? Well, it’s “anti” “Christ”—meaning, it is against the Christ. Therefore, this spirit of antichrist is here to deceive us, and what it is going to propagate is that Jesus is not the Savior (i.e. there are other ways to be saved, deceiving us to trust in other things for our salvation, etc.), and that Jesus is not Lord (i.e. it denies His Lordship in our lives—thus, denying obedience, not doing what He said, etc.). But this spirit of antichrist is also “anti-anointing” (Christ referring to the Anointed One and His anointing). Therefore, the spirit of antichrist will strive against the Holy Spirit and His ways and workings. Yes, it will seek to convince people to deny the power of His resurrection.
The apostle John goes on to say in verse 19 that “they went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.”
So, these who had the spirit of antichrist actually came out of the Christian camp! Therefore, guess where this spirit of antichrist generally comes from? It comes out of the legitimate truth. In other words, the lie will have an element of truth in it. So, the antichrist a lot of times begins with being in Christ, and then the truth gets perverted and they begin to preach & teach false doctrine. In other words, false doctrine a lot of times comes out of good, sound doctrine. So, just because someone is in the church and calls themselves a legitimate Christ-centered ministry, does not mean that they are legitimate.
Then in verse 20, John says, “But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things.”
Now that is a BIG BUT! The apostle John is basically saying, don’t be worried and don’t freak out--because this is what we have: We have an anointing from the Holy One and we know all things! What does this mean? Well, having the Anointing—the Holy Spirit who was sent from our Holy God—means that we have the One on the inside of us that knows all things. Therefore, we know all things as we know the One who lives within us who does. You’ve heard me say that I don’t have to know everything; I just need to know the One who does. Therefore, this shows me that my ability to not be deceived is directly tied to knowing the Spirit of truth Himself The more I know Him—the Spirit of truth—the more I will know the truth and the less likely I am to be deceived by error. Amen?
Now I know that the Bible does prophesy that even the elect will be deceived in the last days. But the more we know the Anointed One and His anointing, the less likely we will be deceived when that time comes. The Holy Spirit’s commission is to keep us from stumbling in error and darkness.
John goes on to say in verses 21-23: “I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth. Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.”
In other words, knowing Jesus and the Word are what will keep us from deception. Jesus is Lord and Christ, and whatever takes us away from that truth is a lie.
Then, in verse 24, he says, “Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.”
The wisdom we can gain from this verse is that we are to keep in us the truths that we know God has already revealed to us. Always remember: we are told to give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard (Hebrews 2:1). Sure, we want to grow. Yes, we desire to learn more. But not at the expense of forsaking the things we have learned. As John promises us here, when we let the truths God has already taught us abide in us, we will abide in the Son and in the Father. Amen.
And here is another good nugget of wisdom: In verse 25, the apostle John says, “And this is the promise that He has promised us—eternal life.”
It’s all about eternal life! So, what is eternal life? Jesus taught us in John 17:3 that eternal life is knowing God the Father and Jesus Christ, His Son. No, it is not just knowing about God; eternal life is knowing God personally and intimately. Just learning about God can result in always learning and never coming to the knowledge of the truth. Sure, there are things we need to learn about Him, but the first priority is knowing Him experientially. As we come to know the Lord, we are fulfilling the purpose of Christianity.
So, my point is that in the context, John was warning against the deception of false teachers. This is why John says in verse 26, “These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you.”
(Now back to verse 27) … And in all likelihood, when he said that we do not need that anyone teach us, he was likely refuting one of the heresies of these false teachers that in order to understand spiritual things, they had to learn it from them. You see, false teachers will try and make you totally dependent on them. They will try and deceive you into thinking that they have the corner on the truth. They will even try and discourage you from studying the Word for yourself and to lean on them to interpret it for you.
Notice how the apostle John went on to say in First John 2:27, “but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things…”
First of all, notice that John referred to the Holy Spirit who will teach us all things as “the same anointing.” By using the word “same,” I believe John is comparing the anointing of the one teaching to the anointing of the one being taught. In other words, He is referring to having the Holy Spirit abiding in you and also being taught by someone ministering by the same Spirit. You see, this is the best way to be taught the Truth in my opinion. Why? Because when you have the Holy Spirit in someone else teaching you and the same Holy Spirit on the inside of you teaching you, you are more likely to not miss the truths He wants you to get. Again, sure you can have the Holy Spirit teach you directly, but a “can’t miss” way to be taught by Him is to have a personal relationship with the Teacher on the inside of you and to sit under good, Holy Spirit-inspired teaching. Then, its going to be hard to miss what He wants you to learn.
Another important truth to notice in this phrase is found in the word “concerning” (NKJV). Remember that when Jesus gave this commission of the Holy Spirit, He just told His disciples that the Holy Spirit would teach them all things (John 14:26). But here, John said that He would teach us “concerning” all things. Why did John add this word? There are two very reasonable answers to that question:
For one, I believe it is because John wanted to dispel another common error of false teachers: You see, many false teachings come from “revelations” that heretics supposedly receive which go totally beyond what is written in the Scriptures. In other words, false teachings rarely ever stay within the boundaries of the Bible. They are oftentimes a product of an idea or philosophy and sometimes are even a result of some spectacular dream or vision that they had. So, when John said that the anointing would teach us “concerning” all things, he was referring to the things that the Holy Spirit had already revealed to the apostles and were communicated to us by the apostles. So, Jesus told His disciples that the Holy Spirit would teach them all things, but John is telling the church that the Holy Spirit would teach us “concerning” all those things that He taught them. You see, this is how this promise affects us: We have the Holy Spirit abiding in us to teach us all things, but He is only going to teach us within the boundaries of all the things that have been written.
But another possible reason is to show us how the anointing can and will teach us concerning even the error that we hear. Let me explain: Say we are sitting in a meeting and someone is teaching us. And this teacher is saying some things that don’t seem right. We can’t explain it, but there is simply no peace, joy, etc. on the things we are hearing. Then, when they make a point, we have one, two or even three Scriptures come up in our hearts that contradict what they were saying. What is happening here? There is a good chance that the Holy Spirit on the inside of us is teaching us “concerning” the error that we are being taught.
Church, this is the Holy Spirit’s job—to teach us truth on the inside, even when we are being taught error on the outside. Therefore, we can learn well even when we are sitting under bad teaching. Praise God!
So, church, we have the Holy Spirit here to teach us! He will teach us concerning all those wonderful mysteries we have recorded in the New Testament epistles and He will teach us through the many anointed teachers that are in the Body of Christ today! Hey, He will even teach us concerning the bad things we hear. His commission is to teach us—in both the good and the bad environments. Let Him fulfill His commission to teach you today!