Tom: We are continuing with the gospel. We’re in the Gospel of John:14:18. This is Jesus speaking: “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” Dave, Jesus began this chapter by saying, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go and prepare a place for you.” And He’s going to go, but He did not leave us comfortless.
Dave: Yeah, He says that in verse 16: “I’m going to pray the Father and He will give you another Comforter, even the Spirit of truth,” and so forth. And then again He says, “I will not leave you comfortless,” but this time, instead of saying “another Comforter,” He says, “I will come to you.” Now He is referring, of course, to the Holy Spirit, and we mentioned that last week. When you get to John:16:13: “When he, the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth.” The Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of truth, and the Holy Spirit is also the Spirit of Christ. So how is Christ going to come to them? “I’m not going to leave you comfortless…,” but He’s been gone for a long time—2,000 years, nearly—who is the Comforter in the meantime? He says, “I will come to you.” He can’t be meaning His second coming or the Rapture, because then they would be without comfort in the meantime. So, the Spirit of God is the Spirit of Christ, and Jesus, in fact, indwells us—indwells the believer—and this is what He is referring to here.
Tom: Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit…
Tom: …and this temple, God resides within. It’s incredible!
Dave: There’s nothing like that in Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam. Does Muhammad come to dwell in people’s hearts?
Tom: Oh, but wait a minute, Dave. Yeah, but you…what about…what about Hinduism? Don’t Hindus bow down to the god within each one? Isn’t god in everything? How is this different?
Dave: Well, Hinduism, the goal of yoga, for example, self-realization—to realize that Atman, the individual god, and Brahman, the universal god, are one and the same. This was, of course, the lie of the Serpent in the Garden—convinced Eve to take that fruit: “You can be one of the gods too.” But that’s not what Jesus is speaking about. This is not self-realization; this is not worshipping at the throne of the god already within, who is your own self—your so-called higher self (higher than what?). Jesus is not saying, “I will give you the realization that you have a Comforter within.” No, He says, “I am going to send a Comforter, and I myself will come to you.”
So, we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ, and Christ Himself lives within us. And this is why Paul said, “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless, I live, yet not I but Christ lives in me.” In me. And in Colossians, he refers to “Christ in you, the hope of glory, whom we preach.”
So, this is what Jesus is referring to—“I’m going to come to you. I’m going to come to you by my Spirit, by the Holy Spirit.” He goes on and He says, “Yet a little while and the world seeth me no more, but ye see me. Because I live, ye shall live also.” Wow! If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, there is no hope, and this, of course, is what Paul argues in 1 Corinthians 15: “If there’s no resurrection, then Christ isn’t raised,” he says, “and if Christ isn’t raised, you’re yet in your sins.”—His death on the Cross was not of any value. If His death on the Cross had paid the penalty, He would have risen from the dead by the glory of the Father.
So Jesus says, “Because I live, you will live also.” Tell me, when did Buddha say that? When did Confucius say that? When did Muhammad say that?” No one! “Christ, who is your life,” Paul says, “when He appears, you will be like Him;” we will be with Him in His presence. So He says, “The world isn’t going to see me, but you see me.”
How do we see Christ? By faith. Hebrews, chapter 2 (I think Paul wrote, it but anyway), the writer of Hebrews says, “Now we see Jesus, made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor.” It doesn’t mean we see Him with our physical eyes, but by faith we see Him for who He really is, and, in fact, it’s something that the Christian needs to think more and more about. Paul, in 2 Corinthians 2 says that “as we behold Him, we see Him dimly…we are changed into His likeness, and the more we behold Christ, the more we by faith understand who He is and what He has done, His love for us, and so forth,—the closer we draw to Christ the more we become like Him.”
Tom: Dave, how do we do that? I’m sure there are some of our listeners who are thinking, “Wow, that’s what I want! How can I achieve that?” How does that come about?”
Dave: Well, Paul tells us, “This one thing I do,” in Philippians 3: “forgetting those things that are behind and reaching forth unto that which is before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” I was quoting from Colossians chapter 1, “Christ in you, the hope of glory, whom we preach. We’re going to present everything and perfect in Christ,” and then he says: “Whereunto I labor, striving according to his working that worketh in me mightily.” So, He is working in me, and in Philippians 3, he says, “That I might apprehend that for which I have been apprehended of Christ.” Christ has laid His hand upon me. He wants to reveal Himself to me; He wants to be my life, He wants to be my guide, but it doesn’t come automatically. I don’t just lay back: “Okay, Lord, take over!” Well, the Lord has to take over—He must do it; it must be in His strength and by His Spirit, but I must give everything I’ve got to this. So I’m going to study His Word! I’m going to talk to Him in prayer.
Tom: It’s growing in a relationship. Where do you have a relationship with someone that you don’t work at it, that you don’t try and please them and be encouraged and get to know them in a more intimate way?
Dave: Spend some time with them.
Dave: And how do we spend time with Jesus? Well, we can do it in our hearts; we can talk to Him. Tom, I do it so often. I think, “Lord, you are God—God the Son—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, one God, three persons, from all eternity—and that boggles my mind, eternity! How can you even imagine—He has been here forever! No, more than forever—forever, forever! You don’t even know how to say it. No beginning, always He is God, and yet He came to this earth and became a man—well, you know, was hated, despised, and crucified, mocked, misunderstood, maligned, falsely accused, and that He would do that for me, that He loves me—and I just say, “Lord, thank you, thank you, thank you! I love you, Lord Jesus, thank you! And so we can talk to Him in that way, but also, His Word—He is revealed in His Word.
Tom: How would I know about His character unless—certainly I can think up some things, but now I’ve got a problem with my own imagination. So I can go to God’s objective Word to learn about Him, to learn how He dealt with people from Old Testament to New Testament. Again, that’s part of His character that I’m understanding better and better the more familiar I become with it through the reading of His Word.
Dave: And please, don’t try to visualize Him! You’ve got people out there in the church—some of them may be real Christians—and they say, “Oh well, what you’ve got to do….” You have Richard Foster, you have Calvin Miller, who said in chapter 7 of his book, The Table of Inwardness, it begins with: “This one doorway opens to the world of spirit—imagination! Imagine Jesus as you want. Oh, I’ve warmed to his auburn hair. Oh, you think he’s a brunette? Well okay, have it your way, whatever it is, but get this real image.” That is not the Jesus of the Bible and that is not the way to go!
Tom: Dave, that’s idolatry, that’s creating God in your own image. I don’t buy it.
Dave: We go to His Word, and we go to Him, and, Tom, it is my desire, it is my passion, and Paul says, it was Paul who said, “Christ is my life, I’m crucified with him, He lives in me.” Paul cried out: “Oh, that I might know him and the power of His resurrection.”
And then he says something we don’t like to hear, “the fellowship of his sufferings; being made conformable unto his death.” If I’m going to be like Christ—Jesus wasn’t beloved, was He? By the world. “They hated me without a cause,” he said. Well then, they are going to hate me. Jesus said to his disciples in John 15 (we’ll get to that in the next chapter): “If you were of the world the world, would love his own, but because you are not of the world but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore, the world hateth you. The servant isn’t greater than his Lord. They persecuted me, what do you think they will do to you if you are true to me?”
So there are consequences to this too, Tom, but our love for Christ is going to compel us to draw nearer to Him and to get to know Him better and to tell Him over and over that we love Him.
Tom: Yeah, and to treat others in a way that pleases Him.