Today, we are continuing our look at what the Holy Spirit has been commissioned to do for us. And the purpose of this particular series of teachings on the Holy Spirit is for us to study the variety of things that the Lord Jesus told us that His Spirit would do for us. So, we are looking at how He is here to teach us, remind us, guide us into all truth, convict us, glorify Jesus through us, etc. And as I have made the point of already, it is essential that we understand each of these things that His Spirit was commissioned to do for us because if we feed our spirits on these things, then we will have the necessary faith to receive them in our lives. You see, if we don’t ever hear these things, how can we expect to have faith for them? In other words, if faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17), then how will we have faith for these things if we don’t hear them? We won’t. So, that is why we are camping on these various things that the Lord told us that the Spirit of grace wants to give us.
So, we learned in part one of this series that His ultimate commission is to be our own personal and internal apostle. Yes, He was commissioned from heaven and sent to the earth to, similarly to an apostle, to start, establish, and build up churches—that is, to build the Lord’s church one brick at a time (through changing each and every one of our lives and conform us into the image of Christ).
But as we’ve seen already—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 over the last couple of weeks is 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.
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.
Then, last week, we saw that the Holy Spirit is specifically commissioned to teach us all things. 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, we saw that in verse 25 Jesus said— “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you…” And we saw that the phrase “These things” is a specific referring 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. And we saw that 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 a 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. As I stated last week, 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…”
Now 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’s 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, we saw that 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 was not trying to discourage anybody from reading the Gospels. My point was simply 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.
And then we went over to First John chapter two and saw further how the Holy Spirit teaches us: We saw in First John 2:27— “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 as I made the point of last week, I believe we use this word far too loosely. And I used an example to illustrate this 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!
But then we looked at how the apostle John went on to say at the end of this verse: “but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things…”
Now 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.
And we saw that 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.
So, how does He do this? Well, it might be that as we are reading the apostle Paul’s letter to the Galatians and we come across a certain verse, that we have another truth come up in our hearts. Then we discover that it was in the apostle John’s first letter. So, as we look at it, it further clarifies what Paul was saying in Galatians. That is one of the ways that the Holy Spirit teaches “concerning” all things.
But another possible explanation of this word “concerning” is in 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. But as we learned, the best way to learn is to sit under good anointed teaching while listening to the Anointing on the inside of us! He will always confirm the anointed Word! Praise God!
HIS COMMISSION TO REMIND
But this week, I want us to go back in John 14:26 and notice how Jesus also said at the end of this verse regarding the Holy Spirit that He will— “bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”
So not only did Jesus promise His disciples that the Holy Spirit would teach them all things, In the same breath, He also promised that the Holy Spirit would remind them of everything that He had already told them. So, that means that He would specifically bring to their remembrance all of the things that He had taught them over the past three years.
Now you do understand that during that three-year span, Jesus’ disciples did not have the privilege of writing down what Jesus was teaching them at the time, don’t you? I’m sure that they sometimes had to put their heads together to remember what Jesus had said just a week before. But Jesus was assuring them here that they need not worry if they did not take notes of what He had taught them because the best note taking system—the Holy Helper—was coming to remind them of all the things that He had spoken to them!
So how does this commission of the Holy Spirit apply to us? I mean, if we weren’t there to be personally taught by Jesus during His earthly ministry, what does the Holy Spirit remind us of? I believe this promise has a couple of different applications to us today:
THE FOUR GOSPELS
For one, I believe that this can apply to us is like so: If Jesus then said that another commission of the Holy Spirit was to remind His disciples of the things that He had previously taught them, then wouldn’t it stand to reason that what is recorded in the four Gospels are what the Holy Spirit reminded them of?
That’s right: What we have recorded in the four Gospels and have been canonized as Holy Scripture are a literal fulfillment of this commission of the Holy Spirit to remind Jesus’ disciples of what He had taught them. So, with this being the case, the Holy Spirit fulfilling His commission to remind us of the things that Jesus taught 2,000 years ago would be Him reminding us of the things that are written in the four Gospels.
Let me give you an example to illustrate how this might work: Say, for instance, you were telling another believer about the Baptism of the Holy Spirit but they were afraid that if they prayed to receive the Holy Spirit that they might open themselves up to something bad. But while they were explaining their apprehensions, the Holy Spirit quickens Luke 11:11-13 to you that explains how if no natural parent would give their children something harmful if they asked for something beneficial, how much more will our Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those that ask Him!?! You then quote this saying of Jesus to them and immediately all those apprehensions leave and they are ready to receive. That would be an example of the Holy Spirit bringing to our remembrance the things that Jesus had said.
But I also see this as applying to whatever things that the Lord has specifically spoken to us individually. For example, if we have been walking with the Lord for any amount of time, we have had Him speak certain things to our hearts whether it be an exhortation, rebuke, or just simply a truth that we needed at a specific period of time. Well, the Holy Spirit’s commission is to remind us of those things when we, through the weakness of our flesh, forget what He has told us.
For example, say at some point in our life we were struggling with kidney stones. And then as we inquired of the Lord as to why this was happening, the Lord spoke to our hearts the word “potassium”—and we realized that He was letting us know that we need a little more potassium in our diet. Of course, we might have had no idea that a lack of potassium is connected with kidney stones. So, instead of simply obeying what the Lord spoke to us—maybe writing it off as not being “spiritual” enough—we go about our business and ignore what we heard in our heart. But then a year or so later, as we are continuing to struggle with the same kidney stone issues, the Holy Spirit gently reminds us of what we heard previously. Then, we recognize that this must have been the Lord, and we begin eating foods that are high in potassium or start taking a supplement—which completely eradicates the issue. That would be a good example of the Holy Spirit’s commission to remind us of things that the Lord already told us.
Another good example is with the things that the Lord has spoken to us through the gifts of the Spirit working through other people—such as a prophecy, word of wisdom, etc. Say, someone gave us a word in the past that God is taking us to the other side of some particular trial that we are going through. But then as time passes, we start becoming “weary in well doing.” You see, sometimes we go through difficult times, and when we are in the middle of the storm, sometimes we need a little reminder of the promises God has spoken into our lives in order to receive strength to make it through those trials. So, the Holy Spirit speaks to our hearts the very same words that were given to us in that prophecy—thus reminding us of what He had already spoken to us through one of His vessels. Mind you, it might be the other way around as well. Perhaps, He spoke a word to your heart originally. And then as time passed, you forgot that He had said what He did to you. So, the Holy Spirit inspires one of His servants to give you a word that reminds you of what He already told you personally. But the fact is, how the Holy Spirit chooses to remind us is up to Him. My point is that our spiritual antennas just need to be up so that we are in the best position possible to receive His wonderful reminders.
Now it needs to be said here that this should not promote laziness on our part, to where we don’t do our part in reminding ourselves. We absolutely should do our best to keep the things the Lord has spoken to us in front of our eyes, so we don’t ever forget them. But the fact is, we are in this natural body and our tendency is to forget things. So, this commission of the Holy Spirit is there to help us in those times where we may have dropped the ball and where we need supernatural recall. These are what you call “rhema reminders.”
WHAT IS A RHEMA?
This is what I believe the apostle Paul meant when he described our lone piece of offensive weaponry in Ephesians chapter six. If you recall, in Ephesians 6:17, he told us to take “…the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.”
Notice what Paul calls the Word of God here: He calls it “the sword of the Spirit.” Why does he call it “the sword of the Spirit”? What does the Holy Spirit have to do with God’s Word? I believe what we are talking about today is a big part of this: You see, as we are learning, He is commissioned to remind us of the words of our Lord. So, the Holy Spirit’s job is to take the Word of God, and put it in our hands so that we can use it as a sword!
You see, I believe the Amplified Bible brings this out best: It translates this passage as, “and the sword that the Spirit wields…” What this means is that it is the Holy Spirit who wields the sword from its sheath (i.e. drawing it out for us to put into use against the enemy). Therefore, when we are confronted with various trials & temptations, we need that Word from God to combat them with. That is when the Holy Spirit is there to pull that “Word” out of your belt of truth and put it in your hand to use. He is here to bring Christ’s words to our remembrance to combat the enemy with in those times. Thus, the importance of having our belt of truth on first.
Do you remember how God’s Word is called the truth (John 17:17) and how we described our belt of truth as partly consisting of the written Word of God? Well, if we do not have our belt on (i.e. we do not spend time in the word of truth, reading, studying, and meditating) then the Holy Spirit will not be able to draw those timely words from our sheath. Why? It is because He will not have as much to work with when you need His help due to the fact that He has a limited amount of truth to recall to you.
You see, you can only be reminded of what you have heard. Likewise, if you are not making it a practice to hear the Word of God and if you are not moving towards discovering the truth, then the Holy Spirit will have a hard time fulfilling that part of His ministry in your life.
Therefore, it is imperative that we spend time in God’s Word because the Holy Spirit has more of an opportunity to draw out the specific Scriptures that we need when situations arise. And we need to spend time with the Lord, learning how to hear the voice of the Spirit, so that we know when He is giving us a word for the fight. He will draw out that sword that we need to wage war against the many different devices of the enemy at the right times! Thank you, Lord, for the Holy Ghost!
This point is also brought out in the Greek word Paul used for “word” in Ephesians 6:17 when he described our sword of the Spirit as the Word of God: When Paul identified the sword of the Spirit, the Greek word he used for “Word” was rhema. He did not use the word logos which is the Greek word commonly used to describe the written Word of God. He used the word rhema which describes “a spoken or quickened word.” I believe there are two reasons for this:
Number one, it is because our spiritual sword is us speaking God’s Word out of our mouths! Just like the Master verbally responded to the temptations of the wicked one in the wilderness with “It is Written, It is Written, It is Written,” likewise we wage a good warfare with our words as we speak God’s Word. For example, if you are being tempted to be down, discouraged and depressed, what should you do? You grab yourself by the ear and say, “NO! It is written, rejoice in the Lord always! So, I will rejoice right now! Flesh, I don’t care how you feel! You are not my Lord—Jesus is! So, I will rejoice in Him right now!” Amen!
But the other thing that I believe this rhema describes is it is the sword which the Spirit wields, as I previously stated. In other words, when the Holy Spirit draws a Word from God out of our sheath at those moments when it is needed, He is quickening a word to us—that is, He is making a Scripture come alive to us so that we can use it in our specific situation. Therefore, He is putting a “(S)WORD” from God into our hands so that we can use it to combat the enemy! And that is when we need to speak it out of our mouths, as I just made the point of.
In fact, we see in Luke 12:11-12 that He will do this when it comes to our “rhemas” when we are speaking to people: Jesus said, “Now when they bring you to the synagogues and magistrates and authorities, do not worry about how or what you should answer, or what you should say. For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”
What Jesus was teaching us, His disciples, here is that we need to put more dependence on the Holy Spirit to give us the words to speak than we do on our own natural preparations. Sure, I want to stand before you today having studied and being as prepared as I need to be, but as the old adage goes—you prepare like there is no Holy Ghost, but you preach likes there’s nothing else but the Holy Ghost!
So, yes, we need the Holy Spirit to remind us of these truths so that we can wage a good warfare—whether that be Him giving us the Word to speak to the devil and our flesh or Him giving us the Words to speak before men. But there are also other benefits to being reminded. Let’s look at some of them:
MIXING MENTAL ASPHALT
I love what the apostle Paul says in the beginning of Philippians chapter 3: “Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe.” (Philippians 3:1)
Notice how the Preacher begins this chapter with the word “Finally…” I find that quite comical that even the great apostle Paul did the same thing that just about every other preacher does—essentially say “In conclusion” when he still has two chapters left to share. 😊
But my point is that after he tells them to rejoice in the Lord, Paul goes on to say, “For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe.”
Now the fact is, this is how most people view “reminders”; they see them as “tedious”—that is, as wearisome, monotonous or boring. When we remind people of something, what is a general response we get? “I know” (with a little attitude). But what should our response be when someone reminds us? We should genuinely thank them! And why? Well, have we ever forgotten anything before? Has there ever been a time where we wish someone would have reminded us of something because we indeed forgot and suffered the consequences for forgetting? I’m sure we all have. So, what humility would do is thank the person for the reminder since there just might be the slightest chance that we could forget.
So no, repeating and reminding is not something that should grieve us (unless of course it is them telling us the same story or joke for the umpteenth time😊). However, Paul went on to say it is “safe.” The Greek word that he used which is translated “safe” here is where we get our word asphalt from. So, what Paul was saying here was that the more we are reminded of certain truths, the more they become cemented on the inside of us. Yes, being constantly reminded of truths such as this will cause those things to become more solid in our heart similar to the hardening process of asphalt. So, while there are some things we need to forget and never dwell on, there are good things which we should constantly be reminded of.
Now it is worthy to note the specific truth that the apostle Paul just gave the Philippian Church before he made this statement, that it was not a tedious thing to write the same things to them. Again, he began Philippians 3:1 with— “Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord…” Have you ever noticed how this one exhortation— “rejoice in the Lord” —is one that we need to constantly be reminded of? Yes, this is one exhortation that we should have repeating on our playlist over and over again. The reason for this is because our carnal tendency is to not rejoice in the Lord. Yes, our flesh tends towards only rejoicing in our circumstances and when we feel like it. (And I’d be willing to bet that there is someone hearing this right now that is having this particular commission of the Holy Spirit that we are studying today working in them at this moment. Yes, I believe He is reminding some of us today to rejoice in the Lord. Thank you, Holy Spirit!)
Now, we see the apostle Peter referring to the importance of being reminded twice (imagine that) in his second epistle. In the first instance, he said that he would not be negligent to remind them of the things he already said to them, even though the recipients of his letter knew and were established in the present truth (Second Peter 1:12).
So, as we made the point of last week from Hebrews 2:1, even when we think we know the truth, we still need to continue hearing it and even more diligently, because that carnal part of us is oh-so-quick to forget. In fact, Peter goes on to say in verse 13 that by reminding them of these truths, he was attempting to stir them up.
He repeats this in Second Peter 3:1 when he says, “Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder).” So, we see that being reminded of truth has a similar effect on our minds as a spoon has on a pot of soup. If you allow soup to just sit stagnant in the pot without ever stirring it, a film will develop on the top; but if you stir that soup occasionally, you will keep it fresh and tasty. Likewise, as we from time to time stir up our minds with the truths that we might already be established in, we again purify our minds. Amen.
So, what have we seen thus far—that reminders do three things: Number one, they equip us in times of need—putting a sword in our hands to combat thoughts, fears, and temptations with. Number two, they “cement” those truths in our heart—further establishing them in us. And number three, they “stir up” those truths in our mind—thus making them pure & fresh.
So, why would we ever see a reminder as something that is unnecessary and pointless? I’ll tell you why—pride. Let’s not be like that, church. Let’s operate in humility and invite the Holy Spirit and even the people in our lives to remind us of the things that we need to remain fresh in us and that we need to be further established in. Amen?
You see, we not only have the Holy Spirit here to teach us, we also have Him here to remind us. He will remind us of everything from what the Lord has spoken to us individually to what the Lord has spoken to us all as revealed in the Gospels. His commission is to remind!