Insights into the Gospel of John: Chapter 16

By Lloyd Ellefson

Those who absorb and put into practice what is being said in the book of John, will be truly amazed at their growth! They will mature spiritually, and walk in the heavenlies.

"These things I have spoken to you so that you may be kept from stumbling." (v.1) Those who desire honor will stumble when they are hated by the world. Christ's words bring truth, and do away with wrong desires. There is a difference between being hated by the world, and the tribulation that is in the world, such as sickness, evil, and problems which are common to all. Jesus was speaking of the persecution we receive when we listen to the Spirit, testify to sonship, let God be our Lord, and enjoy spiritual realities. Those who are born of the flesh persecute those who are born of the Spirit. This is happening today just as it happened in Isaac's time.

Jesus said, "For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of the Father with the holy angels." It is evident that we are not abiding in Christ when we are ashamed of Him. We do not experience any problems as long as we only go to church and talk about God in the traditional way. There are many churches whose windows are not being broken because religion is accepted by the world. Those who side with the world against spiritual Christians, are considered to be good Christians. The testimony of those who are not ashamed of Jesus, results in persecution because it bothers people.

"They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God." (v.2) Let's look at this in the light of what happened to Jesus. He was not persecuted nor put out of the synagogue during the first 30 years of His life. These things only happened to Him after His Jordan experience. There He left the government of Law, was washed of its thinking, received sonship as the Son of God, was led by the Spirit to be tempted, and began to operate in the power of the Spirit.

This is the way it happens in our life too. The natural truth about Christ does not bother anyone because it only produces acceptable external changes; it does not bring spiritual truth and change their testimony. The world embraces those who don't have spiritual truth and therefore can't confess it. When we confess spiritual truth, it first bothers those who are closest to us, and that is where persecution begins. It bothers them because their testimony has not yet reached that level. The natural is always against the spiritual.

There are various levels of realization. Different churches have different levels. There are the Fundamentalists, Baptists, and Catholic levels. There is the ecclesiastical church, the Pentecostal movement, the Full Gospel, and the kingdom movement which claims sonship. Then there are those who abide in the vine and realize their union or oneness with God. It is a sad commentary that churches are being persecuted by churches. The important thing is to live and abide in Christ in the heavenlies.

"These things they will do because they have not known the Father or Me." (v.3) When Jesus was crucified He took the whole punishment. The disciples only had guilt by association. For example, Peter was accused of having been with Jesus. Those who took Jesus into custody did not know Jesus, nor did they know the Father. If we are persecuted because of a true testimony, we know that their ignorance is the cause. We may not be put on a physical cross because our spiritual battle has become more sophisticated.

Arguments occur when people claim to know God better than others do. They are arguing and fighting for their own doctrines and concepts of who God is. They do not know Christ nor the Father; they prove this by persecuting those who are spiritual and abiding in Christ. They only know all kinds of things about the various versions and perversions, and have intellectual ideas about God, but they do not know Christ nor the Father.

"But these things I have spoken to you, so that when their hour comes, you may remember that I told you of them. These things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you. But now I am going to Him who sent me; and none of you asks Me, `Where are you going?' But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart." (vv.4-6) The disciples were disturbed because they did not want anything bad happening to their spokesman who performed signs and miracles which attracted the attention of people. But they did not ask the most important question, "Where are You going?" They had no idea where He was going nor the purpose of His departure. They did not understand that He needed to go away physically so that He could be with them in the Spirit!

"But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you." (v.7) The disciples were sorry that Jesus was going away, but Jesus said it was to their advantage! The physical concept of Jesus has to be done away with in our minds and thinking; we must not think of Him as still being in a physical form. As long as we restrict Jesus by depending on Him in a physical sense, the Comforter cannot really come to us. Our natural image of Jesus has to depart before He can be lifted up from the earth; there He will draw all men to Himself. Having Him lifted up is the opposite of having Him come back to earth. Christ comes to those who are open to receive the reality of who is now - not who He was.

If Christ would appear as a person on earth today, the media would really highlight His miracles, but His Spirit would be rejected - just as it always has been. People who haven't left their physical concepts of Jesus have not been baptized into Christ's death. They have not embraced the Spirit as their teacher, nor as the One who has anointed them with truth. They do not believe that His going away has been to their advantage, so they want Him to come back in a physical body. He comes in the people He has chosen (which is His body). The conflict with the world system, with worldly people, and with religious people remains. His going away has been to our advantage, for now He can be in each one of us, and we can all relate to Him spiritually!

"And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness and judgment." (v.8) The Spirit within us is the reproof to, or judgment on the world. If the Spirit rules in us, we will have a true assessment or evaluation of the world. Those with whom we come in contact, will recognize the Christ within us, and feel judged.

"Concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me." (v.9) Not all people have the same understanding of what it means to believe in Jesus Christ. Only believing in a historical or a physical Jesus who is absent from us today, is not enough. A believer is someone who is conscious of the presence of Jesus and does as the Spirit directs. He believes the Spirit is speaking truth; therefore he won't have to be reproved of his sins. Our belief brings reproof of sin to the world because it does not believe.

"And concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me." (v.10) By having the righteousness of Christ, we reprove the world of its righteousness. The world is still looking for the man called Jesus because it cannot see Him. It can only see Him as His righteousness is in evidence in His saints.

"And concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged." (v.11) The truth judges the ruler of this world; he is judged as being in deception. Since natural man is under his rule, he is also judged as being in deception. Israel judged according to the dictates of the ruler of this world, so it judged Christ to be a blasphemer. Since Israel did not believe, they were judged by Christ to be sinners. This shows us the conflict between Christ's judgment and Israel's judgment. This whole world system is judged by God to be in darkness and lying in the evil one; it is anti-God and anti-Christ. We are bringing the same judgment against the world. Jesus said that the Spirit will reprove the world of sin, righteousness and judgment.

"I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now." (v.12) Their minds were filled with natural ideas, so the things Jesus said were parables to them - as we see in v.25. The natural man cannot understand spiritual realities, so he remains unchanged.

Peter is a good example of this. From the Father he received the revelation that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God! At that time Peter had not yet experienced the coming of the Spirit, so he was unable to receive that spiritually. Soon after, during the trial of Jesus, Peter denied knowing Jesus Christ. Though God had revealed to Peter who Jesus was, Peter denied knowing Him! Why? It was because that revelation had come to an unconverted soul. Revelation has to be received by the new man, otherwise he will not walk in it!

"But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come." (v.13) The Spirit of truth brings spiritual truth! Since the natural man only understands natural truth, he needs to become a new creation, a spiritual one, so that he can receive spiritual truth!

John writes that "the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you..." (1 John 2:27) Here is a principle. Christ has given us the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth. The Father is the source of all truth, and the Spirit of truth proceeds from God who is truth!

Jesus mediates between an invisible God and a visible man. The Holy Spirit does not speak of Himself and neither did Jesus! Jesus said, "The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works." (John 14:10) So we receive unadulterated truth from the Father through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit!

A willing mind is a prerequisite to understanding and receiving true doctrine. "If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself." (John 7:17) We can't discern truth without a willing mind to receive it! The truth of God comes to us through Christ and the Holy Spirit. God's Word created everything; His power put into effect what He had spoken. It often seems to us as though we are surrounded by various powers which are always against us. Yet, there is only ONE unlimited power and He is NOT against us! Jesus knew this, and His Spirit in us causes us to grow in this understanding - but it often takes some shaking!

"Whatever He hears, He will speak." (v.13) The source of His ministry is God! If we follow this principle, we will receive truth from God through Christ and the Holy Spirit. Our testimony will follow the same pattern - we will not speak of self, but only speak what we hear from God. Our mission is to testify of God who is the source of all things - not how good or bad we are. Relating our own experiences with God can be an encouragement to others. But we have to be careful that they are not used as a method. Regardless of how emotionally historical experiences are related, they cannot change people. It is only the word of God that will change people - not our experiences.

Jesus is our example. After Jesus had risen from the dead, He appeared to two disciples on the road to Emmaus. He could have had a great testimony of all that He had experienced. He could have said, "Look at Me. I died and went to the grave and ascended to the Father, and this is what I saw and experienced." But He didn't do that! He just opened up the scriptures to them! He told them they were foolish because they were so slow to believe what the scriptures said about Him. He took them back to the testimony of the Word!

Furthermore, it says He will show us things to come. These are spiritual things. In Hebrews 11:39 we read, "And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised." Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Caleb and many more were included in this statement. They had a lot of faith but did not receive the promise. The promise was the Holy Spirit - "in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith." (Gal.3:14) In the Old Testament the promise was to be fulfilled in the future. This promise was now fulfilled in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2)

The Holy Spirit reveals the mysteries of God to us. Everything from Him is from God. The Spirit of truth only brings us the faith that is in Jesus Christ. It is the Holy Spirit who puts things together so that we can really understand what the Old Testament men of faith were saying, and why they were saying it.

The things to come are our inheritance in Jesus Christ! Jesus did not receive any desires the world offered Him, so He will not give us anything of this world. His kingdom is not of this world. We are joint heirs with Christ, and our inheritance is spiritual! We receive the same inheritance Christ received, because we are joint heirs with Him! However, in this world Jesus received persecution, and our inheritance is also accompanied by persecution.

"He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you." (v.14) Christ glorified the Father, and the Holy Spirit glorifies Christ. So we too are to glorify Him! If we glorify ourselves by saying we are great teachers, ministers, prophets, etc., it shows that we want people to use us as stepping-stones to God. This destroys the precepts of God that we have in Christ. Christ did not adulterate what God said, and neither does the Holy Spirit! His message always comes in an unadulterated form.

Paul said, "I preach Christ and Him crucified." He did not preach Paul. Our testimony should exalt Christ - not ourselves! It should not draw people to ourselves, but to Christ! The Holy Spirit does not detract from Christ's holiness; He is fully committed to what God has given through Christ.

"All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you." (v.15) Jesus understood His oneness with the Father! Oneness did not give Him the right to govern the Father; but everything the Father had was available to Him, because He was living in subjection to the Father! He was simply walking in the grace of God, abiding in the Father and in the Father's word! He believed that God was able to accomplish everything God wanted to accomplish in Him and through Him, therefore He did not have to beg for anything.

"All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being." (John 1:3) So when we receive the things of Christ, we receive the things that are from the Father!

"A little while, and you will no longer see (behold) Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me. Some of His disciples then said to one another, `What is this thing He is telling us, "A little while, and you will not see (behold) Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me"; and, "because I go to the Father"? So they were saying, `What is this that He says, "A little while"? We do not know what He is talking about.'" (vv.16-18) This does not refer to a visible appearance in the flesh; it gives us a spiritual comprehension of Christ! Time and again Jesus said that He had come into the world and was now going back to the Father. His round trip is the fulfillment of His purpose! We also came out of God, and are going to God. This alien world is not our resting place; it is not our habitation; we are just pilgrims! We have to learn that the essence of our life is spiritual! All the images and forms we have conceived must be broken down!

"Jesus knew that they wished to question Him, and He said to them, `Are you deliberating together about this, that I said, "A little while, and you will not see Me, and again a little while, and you will see Me"? Truly, truly, I say to you, that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will grieve, but your grief will be turned into joy'." (vv.19-20) The world rejoiced at the departure of Christ. Similarly, non-Christians rejoice when the Christian leaves the room. Then they can again swear, tell their jokes, etc. Christ's testimony, of course, was greater than ours. His testimony indicted the Jews, so they were happy when He was out of sight. He manifested God as a corporate spiritual man, namely, the Son of Man.

"Whenever a woman is in labor she has pain, because her hour has come; but when she gives birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy that a child has been born into the world." (v.21) This illustrates that Christ comes into the world by being BORN in us. Mary was a pattern for us. In Gal. 4:22-26, Hagar and Sarah are, allegorically speaking, two covenants. These covenants are female. Christ is birthed in us by the word of His covenant. The Word is the seed and it has to fall into good ground. Many parables illustrate this. After the seed is sown in the earth, it has to die before it can bear fruit and reproduce itself. So after Christ is born in us, the word of truth reproduces itself in us.

Jesus Christ is always the truth. When He says, "I am", it means NOW! He said, "Before Abraham was, I AM." He is always the same - yesterday, today and forever, so He is always the I AM. In whatever dimension of truth He comes to us, He is the "I AM" that He has always been. We are the ones who are coming into a new relationship and comprehension of it. The Spirit of truth coming to us is a birthing, for a son is born. This newborn has to be fed and nurtured so he can grow into Christ, the Head - the One who knows all things.

"Therefore you too have grief now; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you." (v.22) Jesus compares the disciples to a woman who has a child in her, yet nothing is delivered until the time comes. After the delivery there is joy because a man is born; there is joy because Christ has reproduced Himself in us! Christ planted a seed in each of the disciples. When He came again in the Spirit they were awakened spiritually, and suddenly became aware of that which was theirs in Christ. They now began to understand what Christ had called them for. This was unknown to them until they received the Holy Spirit!

The Holy Spirit brings us into a new dimension. The former joy of seeing Jesus performing miracles vanished after Jesus was taken from them. In this new dimension no one could take their joy from them!

"In that day you will not question Me about anything. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you." (v.23) This is a very important verse. Day speaks of light. The sun, moon and stars are a type of natural light. In Genesis 1 we see that creation progressed with each day, or each measure of light. Days, times and seasons are measures of light. Thus the day of the Lord is a whole new measure of light for us. "In that day" refers to the light of His coming. In that day we won't ask Him anything.

Many today have visions according to what is in their subconscious mind. For example, people of Catholic background have visions in which Mary is their intercessor, because she is their intercessor in their subconscious mind. To them Jesus is too high, and God is unavailable. They consider a woman to be the best intercessor, because she will love her sons and daughters even when they are wayward and sinful. People of other backgrounds have visions of Jesus coming and doing things as a physical individual according to their understanding and training. The gospel of truth reveals that these are delusions; they cannot live by them for they do not provide nourishment. However it reveals what people have in their minds, and their idea of how God works.

When the Holy Spirit comes we cry, "Abba! Father!". That does not eliminate the importance of Christ; it eliminates us! Christ becomes our life, and His Spirit of sonship comes and causes us to genuinely cry, "Abba! Father!" There is a difference between going into our closet to pray and repeating a prayer in unison in church. Our closet is our innermost being into which we retreat and pray in secret, and God rewards us openly. Prayer is listening and talking. In order to learn we have to listen. That principle applies to the natural and the spiritual realm.

Anything we ask the Father in Christ's name will be given to us. How do we get the name of Christ? A woman gets her husband's name through marriage. We take on Christ's name through our union or marriage with Him; we are lesser than He. A name represents the identity of a person, and the name of Jesus Christ represents His divine nature. We approach the Father as sons who have His nature. We are not beggars nor slaves. Our feelings of guilt are not eradicated through sufferings, but through Christ. The Spirit brings us the consciousness of Christ!

"Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full." (v.24) People did not understand what it meant to pray in His name, and neither do we until the Spirit comes and touches us. Then we can pray in the name or nature of the Son!

"These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; an hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but will tell you plainly of the Father." (v.25) All the things Jesus had been saying about the Spirit of truth or the Holy Spirit in John 14-16, were spoken in proverbs or parables! Jesus spoke in parables because they could not understand spiritual realities. Only after the coming of the Spirit could they understand Christ's words. Christ's coming in the Spirit is the fulfillment of His coming again!

"In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I will request of the Father on your behalf." (v.26) This seems to be at odds with Romans 8:34 and Heb. 7:25, where it says that He ever lives to make intercession for us. In intercession one party is generally very stern, and another party requests leniency. However, there is another kind of intercession. We know that the Father Himself loves us, and that He was in Christ Jesus reconciling the world to Himself. Jesus Christ came to take us out of our humanity so that we can be brought into sonship. Because of this relationship we can call on the Father in the name of the Son! The Father want us to know our relationship with Him!

"For the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came forth from the Father." (v.27) In loving Christ, and in our union with Him, we experience sonship! We love spiritual truth, and in loving truth we are rewarded! Those who don't love the truth will receive greater delusion and think their delusion is truth. If we don't love the truth we'll accept a delusion, and our delusion becomes our truth. The more entrenched we are in our delusion, the more we will stand on it and defend it. Natural man's delusion is his truth. Delusion came into the world through the Adam man, and he ministers darkness, evil and sin.

"I came forth from the Father and have come into the world; I am leaving the world again and going to the Father." (v.28) Jesus left the Father's dwelling place and came into a world that was under the rule of Satan. Now Jesus was about to go back to the Father, having accomplished everything the Father had sent Him to do. He had to leave the world in order to go back to the Father. We are not of this world either!

In Christ we have a new rule, a love for truth, and a desire for a deeper level of truth. All things become new! This is earth-shaking! A shaking is needed to remove the things which are not eternal. We've shaken off denominationalism and all kinds of weird teachings. The relinquishing of that which can be shaken, leaves us with a greater security and a greater grasp of reality! But this can only happen when, along with the shaking, the birth of a new system of spiritual truth and life in Christ occurs.

"His disciples said, `Lo, now You are speaking plainly and are not using a figure of speech. Now we know that You know all things, and have no need for anyone to question You; by this we believe that You came from God.' Jesus answered them, `Do you now believe?'" (vv.29-31) Jesus knew that the disciples did not believe. Not long after that He was deserted by all the disciples, and He had to tread the winepress of God alone; the Shepherd was struck and the sheep were scattered. This was because they had not yet received the Holy Spirit. Now the gospel is proclaimed with the sound of a trumpet - the declaration of Christ and the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of truth is gathering the lost sheep to Himself.

"Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me." (v.32) The hour for them to be scattered had come. They would go back to their old way of thinking, their old life, their old consciousness of God. Jesus would be left alone, yet not alone, for the Father was with Him!

"These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world." (v.33) IN Christ we have peace; it does not come in separation from Him! Jesus overcame the world (natural thinking) through abiding in the Father's word - not by public demonstrations and marching. As we abide in Christ we will bear much fruit, and our fruit will remain! It will continue into the dispensations of time, and into eternity. God bless you. Amen.

Return to "Insights into the Gospel of John" by Lloyd Ellefson

Archived Writings by Lloyd Ellefson