First Principles. Lesson 9. Lesson Text— John 16:1-4. John 16:1-4 1 These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. 2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.
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1 These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended.
2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.
3 And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.
4 But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you.
5 But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou?
6 But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart.
7 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.
8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
9 Of sin, because they believe not on me;
10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;
11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.
13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will
shew you things to come.
John 16:13Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
Those who are filled with and led by the Spirit will faithfully do God’s will as the Spirit leads them into all truth.
God’s Guidance SystemI. How the Spirit of God Guides
There is so much talk today about complex and sophisticated guidance systems, from GPS (global positioning system) devices to guide one’s route, to communications satellites that facilitate many phone systems, to advanced military applications. All these utilize the latest in advanced satellite and digital technologies. But with all their high-tech advancements and sophistication, they cannot match God’s guidance system.
I read about of one of the latest applications for advanced guidance systems in the medical field. In an article dated February 10, 2010, and titled “New Robotic Catheter Guidance System to Treat Abnormal Heart Rhythms,” Doctor David H. Adams reports the following: “People suffering from abnormal heart rhythms are now being treated at hospitals with a new robotic catheter guidance system. . . . The robotic system is used in a procedure, called an ablation, which treats irregular heartbeats such as atrial fibrillation.I. How the Spirit of God Guides
The treatment destroys small areas of heart tissue that trigger irregular heartbeats” (http://www.oneindia.in/). Modern technology has opened the door to a plethora of practical, useful, and even lifesaving applications for the use of guidance systems. However, no technology provides a greater lifesaving application than the one established by God nearly two millennia ago.
God poured His Holy Spirit upon the believers in an upper room in Jerusalem, which gave birth to the church and gave a great gift of salvation and guidance to every member. The Holy Ghost is the most profound, accurate, and lifesaving guidance system ever known to mankind. Through the Spirit the Lord saves us and promises to guide us into all truth. What a wonderful gift from God!
People are not toy tops spinning crazily on the sidewalk of physical existence as some humanists would have us believe. This kind of fatalistic view leaves no hope for the individual once the kinetic energy is spent. We, instead, are individuals being directed to our heavenly objective by a guidance system that is greater than that of rockets and missiles.
This system is activated by one’s receiving the Holy Ghost. The Spirit of God, once in place, leads and guides the believer daily. This is one of the main reasons receiving the Holy Spirit is necessary to salvation.
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Romans 8:14).
A guidance system is essential to a truly successful life, for no one possesses the ability naturally to direct his life spiritually. Therefore every true believer must acquire the guidance of the Lord.
“O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps” (Jeremiah 10:23).
There are as many guidance systems in our world as there are ingenuities to create them. From following the stars astronomically to following the “stars” theatrically, people have sought methods to help them know how to go, where to go, and when to go.
Those who feel they need no guidance outside of their own wisdom and intelligence are left to wander aimlessly through life with no hope of eternal life.I. How the Spirit of God Guides
Some of these unguided souls are successful materially, but as Jesus asked, “What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Matthew 16:26).
This lesson will remind us of how the Spirit guides, where the Spirit guides, and when the Spirit guides.
How the Spirit of God GuidesI. How the Spirit of God Guides
By His Counsel
The Spirit of God guides us by His counsel or Word. We have a large manual of instructions inspired by the Spirit that is apropos to every situation in our lives. If a person will search, he will find the portion of the Word of God that addresses
his need or problem.
One method of finding direction involves the reading of the Word. Another method is equally effective: the hearing of the Word. God assists us by anointing someone to present the portion of the Word that gives us the guidance we need.
The Word we have read or heard and hidden in our hearts acts as a constant source of counsel and advice. (The word counsel translates from a
Hebrew word meaning “advice.”)
God often talks to us by quickening various portions of His Word to our minds; of course, we must have previously placed these portions there. The counsel in God’s Word is the highest and purest form of advice available. Not only is it the highest and purest, but the most accurate. With this caliber of counsel no one has cause for confusion.
“Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end. There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand” (Proverbs 19:20-21).
Many people fill their minds with all kinds of philosophies and ideas coming from sensual literature, eastern religions, and modern secular humanism, but the direction received from such is corrupt and warped. Nothing is qualified to guide our lives like the Spirit of God and His Word.
“Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory” (Psalm 73:24).
To keep the counsel of the Lord always before them, the Israelites inscribed portions of the Word on cloth and skins, which they wore on their bodies. They also placed the Shema in conspicuous places at the entrance of their houses.
“And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates” (Deuteronomy 6:6-9).
David expressed the guidance by the counsel of the Lord in Psalm 119:105: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”
“I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye” (Psalm 32:8).
Even though the Bible uses anthropomorphisms (that is, attributing to God the shape or characteristics of man), it permits us as humans to understand a little better how God guides us. For how could God guide what He could not see?
God is omnipresent. There is no place in the universe where He does not exist. Yet we often think of God as being elevated to a great degree above the earth and looking down upon us. If this concept helps us to understand His watchfulness over us, it does no harm. However He observes us, He does observe us. “For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous” (I Peter 3:12).
Not only can we receive comfort in knowing the eye of the Lord sees us, but we also take assurance in knowing His eye sees much farther than ours. He sees the future and knows, therefore, how to lead us accordingly. Our inability to see beyond our limited vision is the main reason we need divine guidance. Since we cannot see where we are going, we do not know the way to go.
Our nation boasts of an elaborate system of surveillance that involves satellites that can pinpoint a hound on the ground from a hundred miles in orbit. That is quite an “eye,” but it does not begin to compare with the Savior’s surveillance: “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good” (Proverbs 15:3).
God is not just seeing us; He is steering us. Many people feel that His eye is only to spy. That is the impression of the unrighteous. But the righteous know His gaze is to protect and to guide: “I will guide thee with mine eye.”
We may watch the gifted hands of the artist as they work on the canvas or on the keyboard. The skilled hand of the surgeon guides the scalpel in delicate operations. The trained hands of the airline pilot hold hundreds of lives in his care as he deftly maneuvers the controls. Though we can appreciate the expertise manifested in each of these varied activities, none can compare with the skillfulness of the Lord’s hands as He guides His people through this life.
What a comfort it is not only to feel that His hand is upon us, but also to know by the Word that it is.
Much like a small child enjoying the security of his parent’s hand, we enjoy the benefits of God’s guidance. As long as we hold His hand, He will guide us. But if we decide to let go of His hand (and we do have a choice), He will let go of our hand. Then we will suffer the consequences even more than a child who loses the hand of his parent. The calm of His palm is all the guidance we need.B. With His Eye
Not only does God guide us by His hands, but He guides us by holding us in His hand.
“And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand” (John 10:28-29).
These verses have caused some individuals to wrongly believe that once we are in the Lord’s hand it is impossible for anything to remove us. But as we had a choice to get into His hand, we have a choice whether or not to remain in His hand.
The word way in Luke 1:79 is translated from a word meaning simply “road.” Although there are many roads, the Holy Spirit guides us to the right road. Once our feet are on that road, He continues to guide us along the way.
Ezekiel wrote of the four living creatures: “And their feet were straight feet. . . . And they went every one straight forward” (Ezekiel 1:7, 12). As the living creatures with straight feet went straight forward, so the Spirit
guides us ever onward.A. Into the Way of Peace
“But we are not of them who draw back” (Hebrews 10:39).
“Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil” (Proverbs 4:25-27).
The narrow way alluded to in the Scriptures is the way of peace as well as life. The broad way leads to strife and destruction. It is not difficult to know which way the Spirit desires to lead us. The Spirit is willing for all to be saved, but our flesh is weak. Unfortunately, many people choose the broad way of strife and destruction. Perhaps the majority of people in the way of strife do not know how to find the way of peace. The Bible reveals the way to peace, and the Holy Ghost guides us and helps us to remain in the way of peace.A. Into the Way of Peace
1. “The Lord is my shepherd.”
2. “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.”
3. “He leadeth me beside the still waters.”
4. “He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”
5. “I will fear no evil.”
6. “Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”
7. “Thou preparest a table before me in
the presence of mine enemies.”A. Into the Way of Peace
The guidance system of the Spirit will not only guide us into the way of peace but also direct us into all truth.
Some people erroneously believe the Holy Spirit is given only to those who have reached the pinnacle of correct doctrine and holiness standards. Since no one can acquire a true understanding of doctrine or achieve perfection in holiness without the Spirit, it is important that a person begin his quest with the Spirit. The Spirit is given to guide us into all truth.C. Beside Springs of Water
Though a person may have enough truth to be saved, no one possesses a full knowledge of truth. There is always an area of truth into which God desires to lead us further.
How easy it is to stray from the path of truth into error. In responding to the disciples’ question, “What shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” Jesus mentioned deception three times.
“Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. . . . And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many” (Matthew 24:4-5, 11).
Because He mentioned deception more than wars, rumors of wars, famines, pestilences, earthquakes, persecutions, and iniquity, could it be that deception represents the Christian’s greatest threat? Paul warned in I Timothy 4:1:C. Beside Springs of Water
“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.”
It is not difficult, then, to see the importance of allowing the Holy Spirit to guide us. Without truth we have no hope of eternal life. “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).
The Spirit guides into the way of peace, into all truth, and beside springs of water. The latter represents spiritual renewal. And spiritual renewal is necessary, for the journey is rigorous.
Every journey needs a rest stop, and every desert needs an oasis. The trip to Heaven on the road of life is no exception. Thank God He has provided for this need. “He leadeth me beside the still waters” (Psalm 23:2).
If we existed spiritually in a physical vacuum, perhaps the problems of attrition would not be so grave. But we do not, and they are. The “wear and tear” on the body and soul is a very real factor. This is why we need renewal daily. “The inward man is renewed day by day” (II Corinthians 4:16).
After crossing the Red Sea, the people of Israel traveled three days into the wilderness of Shur and found no water. The Lord tested them at the bitter waters of Marah and then led them to Elim. (See Exodus 15.)III. When the Spirit Guides
“And they came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters” (Exodus 15:27).
And they came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters” (Exodus 15:27).
Elim represented a respite for the wilderness-weary wanderers. Not only were they tired and thirsty, but they had just been tried at Marah. There is always an “Elim” on the trail after a trial.
Intermittent may be a word we use to describe rain, rheumatism, and possibly even revival, but not the guidance of the Spirit. There is no room in the etymology of the word continually for the words periodic, sporadic, and recurrent.
Recently, a man was told of a frightening incident by his friend who, while making a transoceanic flight on a large military plane during the war, awakened in the middle of the night to the laboring sound of the engines.III. When the Spirit Guides
When he got up and went to the cock-pit, he found the pilot and the copilot asleep. The automatic pilot they had set before catching a nap had malfunctioned. They were at two thousand feet and losing altitude. The vibration was caused by the plane flying slightly sideways due to the wind, for which the automatic pilot was not compensating. The friend quickly awakened the pilot, and he was able to make the proper adjustments to avert
Mankind’s guidance systems may malfunction, rockets may be erratic, missiles may be misguided, but God’s guidance system never fails. He guides us correctly and continually.
How many disasters and tragedies could have been averted had train engineers, switchmen, pilots, air traffic controllers, and ships’ captains not failed to watch and be alert? How many children would be alive today if their parents had not neglected to watch them?III. When the Spirit Guides
This is why continually is such an important word to our guidance. God never fails to guide and protect His people.
Even unto Death
“For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death” (Psalm 48:14).
A guide unto death means a guide all through life. Psalm 48:14 offers a scriptural guarantee that He will never leave us or forsake us. It means we will have a guide as long as we need a guide.
This is a great comfort because friends, though they mean well, can go only so far with us. But friends can never go with us unto death.III. When the Spirit Guides
We should not fear death in that the Lord is with us. He has the keys of Hell and of death. “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death” (Revelation 1:18). God has promised to guide us not only unto death but also through death. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4).III. When the Spirit Guides
Right decisions are tantamount to successful living. Often the difference between success and failure is a decision. Obviously, right decisions lead to success, and wrong decisions lead to failure.
The decision-making process cannot be inherited, purchased, or learned—at least from a school or a book. If it is inherited, it is inherited spiritually by becoming a son of God; if it is purchased, it is purchased according to Isaiah 55:1: “He that hath
no money; come ye, buy.”III. When the Spirit Guides
The world’s wisdom says, “To accumulate you must get.” God’s wisdom says, “To accumulate you must give.” Man’s wisdom says, “The way to honor is exaltation.” God’s wisdom says, “The way to honor is humility.” Divine judgment is reserved for those who are guided by the Spirit. Knowing what is right is a judgment that offers one of our greatest challenges.III. When the Spirit Guides
It was this kind of challenge that caused Solomon to ask for wisdom instead of riches. He knew that to be able to discern between right and wrong would bring him success. Perhaps he did not know, however, that God also would give him riches through wisdom. Solomon asked for wisdom and he also received success and riches from God. With riches and no wisdom, a person would not be able to retain his wealth.
Another area of judgment in which it is necessary to have the guidance of the Spirit is self-judgment. According to the Word of God, it is vital to our salvation that we judge ourselves. “For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged” (I Corinthians 11:31).
If we neglect to judge ourselves here, we will face God’s judgment there. If we judge ourselves now, we can take action and make corrections in our course.III. When the Spirit Guides
If God has to judge us after death, it will be too late for us to do anything about it. Perhaps this is the meaning of I Timothy 5:24: “Some men’s sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after.”
“For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God” (I Peter 4:17).
Without the guidance of the Spirit, we become juggernauts of destruction, erratic rockets with devastating warheads, satellites out of orbit being pulled first by one mass and then another. It is no wonder the Word states emphatically: “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his” (Romans 8:9).
To have divine guidance creates confidence and security. It means He cares for us and is looking out for us. To be cared for causes a great feeling of assurance.
We have studied about how the Spirit guides, where the Spirit guides, and when the Spirit guides. And we have found there is no area of our lives in which we lack the needed guidance.
For this reason we must trust the Lord. He promised never to leave or forsake us. With this kind of promise, and with faith in that promise, we will have the necessary guidance in all of life.