Sabbath, January 17, 2015
The Spirit of Truth
“God’s holy, educating Spirit is in His word. A light, a new and precious light, shines forth from every page. Truth is there revealed, and words and sentences are made bright and appropriate for the occasion, as the voice of God speaking to them.
“We need to recognize the Holy Spirit as our enlightener.” –Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, pp. 171, 172; My Life Today, p. 44.
The Holy Spirit educates
1. What other name is given to the Comforter? What is His ministry?
John 15:26 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.
1 John 5:6 This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.
“ ‘The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things.’ No more will you say, I cannot comprehend. No longer will you see through a glass, darkly. You shall ‘be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge.’ Ephesians 3:18, 19.
“The Holy Spirit exalts and glorifies the Saviour. It is His office to present Christ, the purity of His righteousness, and the great salvation that we have through Him. Jesus says, ‘He shall receive of Mine, and shall show it unto you.’ John 16:14. The Spirit of truth is the only effectual teacher of divine truth. How must God esteem the human race, since He gave His Son to die for them, and appoints His Spirit to be man’s Teacher and continual Guide.” – Christian Education, p. 59.
2. Why was it so important for Jesus to send the Holy Spirit to His disciples?
John 14:26; 16:12-15 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatever I have said to you…. 16:12 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 show you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. 15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you.
“… Jesus had opened before His disciples a vast tract of truth. But it was most difficult for them to keep His lessons distinct from the traditions and maxims of the scribes and Pharisees…. Earthly ideas, temporal things, still had a large place in their thoughts. They did not understand the spiritual nature of Christ’s kingdom, though He had so often explained it to them. Their minds had become confused. They did not comprehend the value of the scriptures Christ presented. Many of His lessons seemed almost lost upon them. Jesus saw that they did not lay hold of the real meaning of His words. He compassionately promised that the Holy Spirit should recall these sayings to their minds. And He had left unsaid many things that could not be comprehended by the disciples. These also would be opened to them by the Spirit. The Spirit was to quicken their understanding, that they might have an appreciation of heavenly things. ‘When He, the Spirit of truth, is come,’ said Jesus, ‘He will guide you into all truth.’ ” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 670, 671.
The Holy Spirit engraves the truth in one’s heart
3. When the Spirit of truth enlightens one’s mind to be able to discern truth from error, what happens in sincere hearts?
Psalms 51:6; 40:8; 143:10 Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom…. 40:8 I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart…. 143:10 Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.
“The Comforter is called ‘the Spirit of truth.’ His work is to define and maintain the truth. He first dwells in the heart as the Spirit of truth, and thus He becomes the Comforter. There is comfort and peace in the truth, but no real peace or comfort can be found in falsehood. It is through false theories and traditions that Satan gains his power over the mind. By directing men to false standards, he misshapes the character. Through the Scriptures the Holy Spirit speaks to the mind, and impresses truth upon the heart. Thus He exposes error, and expels it from the soul. It is by the Spirit of truth, working through the word of God, that Christ subdues His chosen people to Himself.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 671.
“Without the Spirit of God a knowledge of His word is of no avail. The theory of truth, unaccompanied by the Holy Spirit, cannot quicken the soul or sanctify the heart. One may be familiar with the commands and promises of the Bible; but unless the Spirit of God sets the truth home, the character will not be transformed. Without the enlightenment of the Spirit, men will not be able to distinguish truth from error, and they will fall under the masterful temptations of Satan.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 408-411.
4. What effect does God’s Spirit produce in one’s understanding? What truth is confirmed by the Holy Spirit?
Daniel 5:11, 14 There is a man in thy kingdom, in whom is the spirit of the holy gods; and in the days of thy father light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, was found in him; whom the king Nebuchadnezzar thy father, the king, I say, thy father, made master of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers;… 14 I have even heard of thee, that the spirit of the gods is in thee, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom is found in thee.
John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
Psalm 119:160 Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.
“In bringing men to repentance, it is not the office work of the Holy Spirit to reveal new truths, but to present to the mind and urge upon the conscience the precious lessons which Christ has given in the Old and New Testaments.” –(Manuscript 32, 1900) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, p. 1068.
“The Holy Spirit has been given us as an aid in the study of the Bible…. When the Bible is made the study book, with earnest supplication for the Spirit’s guidance, and with a full surrender of the heart to be sanctified through the truth, all that Christ has promised will be accomplished. The result of such Bible study will be well-balanced minds. The understanding will be quickened, the sensibilities aroused. The conscience will become sensitive; the sympathies and sentiments will be purified; a better moral atmosphere will be created; and new power to resist temptation will be imparted.” –Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, p. 357.
The Holy Spirit leads one into truth
5. How should the truth of the holy Scriptures be studied to receive benefit? For what should we ask the Lord as we study His word?
Psalms 25:4, 5; 139:23, 24; 51:10, 12 Show me thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths. 5 Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day…. 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: 24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting…. 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me…. 12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.
“Those who will put on the whole armor of God and devote some time every day to meditation and prayer and to the study of the Scriptures will be connected with heaven and will have a saving, transforming influence upon those around them.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 112 (1882).
“The Bible should never be studied without prayer. The Holy Spirit alone can cause us to feel the importance of those things easy to be understood, or prevent us from wresting truths difficult of comprehension. It is the office of heavenly angels to prepare the heart so to comprehend God’s word that we shall be charmed with its beauty, admonished by its warnings, or animated and strengthened by its promises…. Temptations often appear irresistible because, through neglect of prayer and the study of the Bible, the tempted one cannot readily remember God’s promises and meet Satan with the Scripture weapons. But angels are round about those who are willing to be taught in divine things; and in the time of great necessity they will bring to their remembrance the very truths which are needed….
“But the teachings of Christ must previously have been stored in the mind in order for the Spirit of God to bring them to our remembrance in the time of peril. ‘Thy word have I hid in mine heart,’ said David, ‘that I might not sin against Thee.’ Psalm 119:11.” –The Great Controversy, pp. 599, 600.
6. Is a simple knowledge of God’s word sufficient to benefit one’s life? What is necessary to receive the Comforter, the Spirit of truth?
John 14:15-17 If ye love me, keep my commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
“A mere intellectual understanding of the word of God will not be sufficient to influence the habits of the life, for the life is regulated by the condition of the heart. When Sabbath school teachers have taught the lessons of external revelation, their work is but just begun, and they should not cease their labor until they have evidence that the precepts of heaven are not only accepted by the understanding of the pupil, but written upon the heart.” –(Testimonies on Sabbath School Work, pp. 57, 58) Counsels on Sabbath School Work, p. 37.
“Yet the fact that God has revealed His will to men through His word, has not rendered needless the continued presence and guiding of the Holy Spirit. On the contrary, the Spirit was promised by our Saviour, to open the word to His servants, to illuminate and apply its teachings. And since it was the Spirit of God that inspired the Bible, it is impossible that the teaching of the Spirit should ever be contrary to that of the word.
“The Spirit was not given–nor can it ever be bestowed–to supersede the Bible; for the Scriptures explicitly state that the word of God is the standard by which all teaching and experience must be tested.” –The Great Controversy, p. vii.
7. What promises given by Jesus to His disciples are given to everyone to illuminate his mind and open his heart to the truths of His word?
Matthew 28:20, last part … I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
John 14:16; 17:19, 20 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever…. 17:19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. 20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word.
“Jesus promised His disciples, ‘The Comforter which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.’ ‘When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth:… and He will show you things to come.’ John 14:26; 16:13. Scripture plainly teaches that these promises, so far from being limited to apostolic days, extend to the church of Christ in all ages. The Saviour assures His followers, ‘I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.’ Matthew 28:20. And Paul declares that the gifts and manifestations of the Spirit were set in the church ‘for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.’ Ephesians 4:12, 13.” – The Great Controversy, pp. viii, ix.
For personal study
“Only to those who wait humbly upon God, who watch for His guidance and grace, is the Spirit given. The power of God awaits their demand and reception. This promised blessing, claimed by faith, brings all other blessings in its train. It is given according to the riches of the grace of Christ, and He is ready to supply every soul according to the capacity to receive.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 672.
“God calls upon those who know His will to be doers of His word. Weakness, halfheartedness, and indecision provoke the assaults of Satan; and those who permit these traits to grow will be borne helplessly down by the surging waves of temptation. Everyone who professes the name of Christ is required to grow up to the full stature of Christ, the Christian’s living head.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, pp. 263, 264.