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.
1 John 5:6-12
This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. 7 For there are three that testify: 8 the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree.
There is much confusion in the world today concerning the ministry of God the Holy Spirit in the salvation of sinners. Errors and gross heresies abound concerning His precious work and witness. Rather than spend the entire message cataloging every imaginable Holy Spirit heresy, my heart’s desire is to teach truth concerning the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is God the Holy Spirit, Everlasting to Everlasting, God of very God. Along with God the Father and Christ Jesus, the Holy Spirit is one person of the Trinity of distinct persons eternally comprising the One God. God exists eternally as Father, Son, and Spirit, one God yet three distinct persons.
The Holy Spirit is called “The Spirit of Truth.” Yet, so many are willing to ascribe lies to His name and to His work! Consider this sad reality: many who claim to believe in the Sovereign Grace of God in Christ as the biblical Gospel readily (even gleefully) believe that God the Holy Spirit saves souls apart from the Gospel of Christ! What’s more, many believe the Holy Spirit saves sinners in spite of the false gospel messages they hear. In other words, the Spirit of God uses means other than the Gospel or even outright lies about Christ to bring people to Christ! How foolish! The Spirit of Truth becomes the Spirit of convenience, the Spirit of compromise, the Spirit who works outside the Gospel. God save us from the bane of compromising Gospel-haters. Believe this, beloved: to teach a doctrine that separates the Spirit of Truth from the Truth of which He came to testify is a doctrine dreamed up by fallen man and fit only to line the graves of the wicked.
Christ died to bring the Gospel to fulfillment. The bloody work of redemption is complete in His finished work, in His death! And now the good news of Christ’s completed work, that He came to save sinners full and free, is proclaimed in the Holy Spirit-empowered preaching of this very Gospel! The Holy Spirit preaches this truth and this truth alone. No other message can be ascribed to the Holy Spirit because He testifies only of Christ and His finished work – The Spirit of Truth is the Herald of Truth! The Holy Spirit preaches Christ and His Gospel alone! Praise God forevermore!
Let us take the next few moments an examine the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the preaching of the Gospel of God’s Sovereign Grace in Christ. And, may it please the Lord to bless our time of study in His most Holy Word today – Amen.
I. The Spirit Guides into all Truth Because He Preaches Christ
A. The Spirit of God does not “speak on His own authority,” meaning simply that what He speaks is the truth concerning another, namely, Christ.
B. He is not Christ’s rival. No! He has come to preach, to testify of Christ and Him crucified, empowering Gospel preachers to effectively proclaim Christ’s work, not in their own strength, but in the demonstration of the power of God:
1 Thessalonians 1:4,5
For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5 because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.
C. The Spirit is only interested in the truth concerning Christ, because He is the “Spirit of Truth.” The Scripture teaches us that the Holy Spirit will “only speak that which He hears.” Likewise, He “takes what is Christ’s and delivers it unto us.” His is the task of leading into truth, not error!
II. The Holy Spirit is a True Comforter
A. What lasting comfort can a lie produce? Certainly a temporary assurance can be drummed up in a pack of lies. Ultimately, however, a web of lies unravels violently, leaving hurt and emptiness in the debris.
B. But, the Spirit of God is a true Comforter to the people of God.
But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: 27 And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.
How are we comforted if not by the truth? Again, consider Christ’s words. Notice how He comforts His Disciples by reassuring them that He is telling the truth! Comfort rests entirely on the ground of truth!
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. (2) In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. (3) And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
C. The Holy Spirit comforts God’s People in the Truth of Christ
A. The same Spirit of God who comes with divine power to grant us the gift of faith as we are brought to Christ in salvation is the same Comforter who holds us close to Himself as we are girded with the precious truths of the Gospel of Christ Jesus.
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
B. The Spirit of the Lord comforts us in truth, because He is described in Scripture as…..
And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
III. The Spirit of Truth, as Christ’s Preacher, will not Countenance False Gospels
A. “The Spirit of Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Might, Knowledge, and Fear of the Lord” will never empower a false Gospel to save Christ’s people. To do so would be to deny His very Name, Truth!
B. There is no salvation apart from the proclamation of the Gospel as it is empowered by the Spirit of Truth. For to be lead apart from truth is to be lead by error!
O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. 2 Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?
C. How can the Spirit of Truth countenance or accept another Gospel as the truth? In short, He can not and will not deny Himself.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. (3) To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. (4) When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. (5) A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”
The truth of which the Holy Spirit testifies is this:
We are dead in our trespasses against a the Holy God of Heaven and Earth
Christ came to save His people from their sins, taking upon Himself the iniquity of those He came to save
Christ’s death accomplished everything He came to fulfill, having resurrected from the dead
His people will hear and believe in Christ, trusting Him alone for all righteousness before God
The Spirit of God testifies to the truth of accomplished redemption. This is Gospel truth.
May the Spirit of Truth Comfort Us in the Truth of the Gospel of God’s Free and Sovereign Grace-Amen.
Jason Boothe is Pastor of Horizons Baptist Church of Piketon, Ohio. For more information concerning the ministries of the church, please visit http://www.horizonsbaptist.org.