Sermon on John 16:12-15
Text: “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.”
Today we focus our attention on the teaching in Holy Scriptures of the Triune God, that is to say, the teaching that there are three Persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – and yet only one God. Logically speaking, this does not make sense. How can 1+1+1=1? Yet, this is how God reveals himself to us in his Holy Word. How presumptive of us to say to God, “No, that can’t be, because it doesn’t make sense.” However, we take God at his word, and we know that he does not lie. There are many passages that teach the doctrine of the Trinity. For example, Deuteronomy 6:4 says, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.” To that we might add Jesus’ words in the closing verses of Matthew, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Today, as we study this portion of God’s Word, we will also be reminded of the Trinity, especially focusing on the fact that OUR SALVATION IS IN THE HANDS OF THE TRIUNE GOD. 1. All That Belongs To The Father Belongs To The Son. 2. All That Belongs To The Son Belongs To The Spirit. 3. The Spirit Will Glorify The Father And The Son By Making All This Known To Mankind.
First of all, we focus our attention on the Father. When we think of the Father, our minds might go back to confirmation class and remember that we associate the creation of the world to the Father. And, that would be correct. God created all things. However, the Father was also active in our salvation. Jesus said in verse 15, “All that belongs to the Father is mine.” What do the Father and the Son share? They share all things. They are equal in power and glory and honor. They share in their feelings toward mankind, which includes their love for us.
The Father loved mankind, even before the world was created. He chose those who would be with him in heaven for all eternity. The apostle Paul reminds us in Ephesians 1:4, “[The Father] chose us in him (his Son) before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.” God the Father chose those who would be holy and blameless. That is exactly how he created the world. It was perfect. That includes the first people, Adam and Eve.
However, they chose to rebel against God. They sinned against him. The results of this sin have been passed down to all of their descendants. Because of Adam and Eve’s sin, the world was condemned. You and I were condemned when Adam and Eve sinned. Our sinful nature, as well as all of the other consequences of sin, are our inheritance from Adam.
Yet, we cannot put all of the blame on Adam and Eve. You and I have also rebelled against God in our thoughts, words and actions. We have failed to be kind and loving to those around us. We have harbored lustful thoughts. We have been lazy when we should have been hard at work. Each one of us in our own way has rebelled against God and justly deserve the sentence of eternal punishment in hell.
However, remember that it was the Father’s will from eternity to save all people. Since mankind could no longer do it on its own, since all had sinned and fallen short of the perfection that God demands, the Father also provided the one who would save the world. After all things were in order, God sent his Son. Paul reminds us in Galatians 4:4&5, “But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.” So that the Father’s will that all men be saved be carried out, he sent the gift of his Son. We might also think of the familiar words of John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” The Father so loved the world that he gave his Son. Why? As it says, “that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Jesus said in verse 15, “All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.” What is it that belonged to Jesus and has been revealed to us? Again, think back to that verse we just read from Galatians, “born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.” Jesus was “born under law,” that is to say, he was subject to the Law’s demands. Because Jesus, God’s Son, took on humanity, he was subject to God’s Law. His purpose was to “redeem those under law.” The word “redeem” means to buy back or to ransom. Jesus kept the law perfectly to ransom us from the effects of sin. By Jesus’ perfect life, which he later sacrificed on the cross, he redeemed us. He paid our debt before the Father. The Father’s will was that all people be saved. Jesus carried out the will of the Father when he lived perfectly, suffered and died, and rose again. The Father and the Son were active in our salvation.
Yet, the work of the Father and the Son would have remained a mystery and done no good for anyone if it were not for the work of the third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. Jesus made several references to the work of the Holy Spirit in our text. We said earlier that the “Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.” The Holy Spirit reveals to us what Jesus has done for us and creates the faith in us to believe it. The Holy Spirit enters our hearts, quite often through Holy Baptism, and creates a saving faith, a trust in what Jesus has done for us. You see, the work of the Holy Spirit is also essential to our salvation. If he did not create that trust in what Jesus did for us, it would do us no good. It would be like if someone were to put a million dollars in a bank account in your name, but no one ever told you about it. The Holy Spirit tells us of the great treasure that Jesus won for us, namely forgiveness of sins, eternal life and salvation. The Holy Spirit has “made it known to you.”
In doing so, he brings glory to the Father and the Son. Jesus said in verse 14, “He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you.” Whenever Jesus’ work of salvation is proclaimed to the world through the working of the Holy Spirit, Jesus is glorified as Savior, as the only way through which a person is saved. When Jesus is glorified as Savior, so is the Father, who sent Jesus. When one Person of the Trinity is honored and glorified, so are the other two. They all work in conjunction, one with the other, for the salvation of mankind. Our salvation truly is in the hands of the Triune God, for all are active in rescuing us from the certain punishment of hell because of our sins.
The God of the Bible is unique. There are other religions that speak of one god. There are other religions that have more than one god. However, God, as he reveals himself to us in his Word is far different than any of these others. Our God is one God. There is only one God. God says this of himself in Isaiah 45:5, “I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God.” Yet, we also know that there are three Persons in the Godhead – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Each one is separate from the other. The Father is not the Son. The Son is not the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is not the Father. Yet, each one is equally God. There have been many attempts to try to explain this, but all fail to explain it logically. That is because it does not make sense logically. Yet, we know and believe it to be true because God himself has said so. Rather than trying to figure it out, we simply stand in awe and worship. Our salvation has been worked out by the Triune God. To him be praise and honor and glory forever. Amen.
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