The Holy Spirit Glorifying Christ
“He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.” — John xvi. 14.
April 12th, 1891
THE needs of spiritual men are very great, but they cannot be greater than the power of the Divine Trinity is able to meet. We have one God, — Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, — One in Three, and Three in One; and that blessed Trinity in Unity gives himself to sinners that they may be saved. In the first place, every good thing that a sinner wants is in the Father. The prodigal son was wise when he said, “I will arise and go to my father.” Every good and perfect gift comes from God the Father, the first Person in the blessed Trinity, because every good gift and every perfect gift can only be found in him. But the needy soul says, “How shall I get to the Father? He is infinitely above me. How shall I reach up to him?” In order that you might obtain the blessings of grace, God was in Christ Jesus, the second ever-blessed Person of the Sacred Trinity. Let me read you part of the verso that follows my text: “All things that the Father hath are mine.” So, you see, everything is in the Father first; and the Father puts all things into Christ. “It pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell.” Now you can get to Christ because he is man as well as God. He is “over all, God blessed for ever;’ but he came into this world, was born of the Virgin Mary, lived a life of poverty, “suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried.” He is the conduit-pipe, conveying to us all blessings from the Father. In the Gospel of John we read, “Of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.” Thus you see the Father, with every good thing in himself, putting all fulness into the Mediator, the Man Christ Jesus who is also the Son of God.
Now I hear a poor soul say, “But I cannot even get to Christ; I am blind and lame. If I could get to him, he would open my eves; but I am so lame that I cannot run or even walk to him. If I could get to him, he would give me strength; but I lie as one dead. I cannot see Christ, or tell where to find him.” Here comes in the work of the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the blessed Unity. It is his office to take of the things of Christ, and show them unto saints and sinners, too. We cannot see them, but we shall see them fast enough when he shows them to us. Our sin puts a veil between us and Christ. The Holy Spirit comes and takes the veil away from our heart, and then we see Christ. It is the Holy Spirit’s office to come between us and Christ, to lead us to Christ, even as the Son of God comes between us and the Father, to lead us to the Father; so that we have the whole Trinity uniting to save a sinner, the Triune God bowing down out of heaven for the salvation of rebellious men. Every time we dismiss you from this house of prayer, we pronounce upon you the blessing of the Sacred Trinity: “May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost be with you!” And you want all that to make a sinner into a saint, and to keep a saint from going back to be a sinner again. The whole blessed Godhead, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, must work upon every soul that is to be saved.
See how divinely they work together, — how the Father glorifies the Son, how the Holy Spirit glorifies Jesus, how both the Holy Spirit and the Lord Jesus glorify the Father! These Three are One, sweetly uniting in the salvation of the chosen seed.
To-night our work is to speak of the Holy Spirit. Oh, what a blessed Person he is; not merely a sacred influence, but a Divine Person, “very God of very God.” He is the Spirit of holiness to be reverenced, to be spoken of with delight, yet with trembling; for, remember, there is a sin against the Holy Ghost. A word spoken against the Son of man may be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Holy Ghost (whatever that may be, I know not,) is put down as a sin beyond the line of divine forgiveness. Therefore reverence, honour, and worship God the Holy Spirit, in whom lies the only hope that any of us can ever have of seeing Jesus, and so of seeing God the Father.
First, to-night, I shall try to speak of what the Holy Spirit does: “He shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you;” secondly, I shall seek to set forth what the Holy Spirit aims at: “He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you;” and, thirdly, I shall explain how in both these things he acts as the Comforter, for we read, in the seventh verse, that our Saviour says, “If I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you;” and it is of the Comforter that he says, “He shall glorify me; for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.”
I. First, we are to consider WHAT THE HOLY SPIRIT DOES. Jesus says, “He shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.”
The Holy Ghost, then, deals with the things of Christ. How I wish that all Christ’s ministers would imitate the Holy Spirit in this respect! When you are dealing with the things of Christ, you are on Holy Ghost ground; you are following the track of the Holy Spirit. Does the Holy Ghost deal with science? What is science? Another name for the ignorance of men. Does the Holy Ghost deal with politics? What are politics? Another name for every man getting as much as he can out of the nation. Does the Holy Ghost deal with these things? Nay, my brethren, “He shall receive of mine.” O my brother, the Holy Ghost will leave you if you go gadding about after these insignificant trifles! He will leave you, if you aim at magnifying yourself, and your wisdom, and your plans; for the Holy Spirit is taken up with the things of Christ.” He shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.” I like what Mr. Wesley said to his preachers. “Leave other things alone,” said he; “you are called to win souls.” So I believe it is with all true preachers. We may let other things alone. The Holy Ghost, who is our Teacher, will own and bless us if we keep to his line of things. O preacher of the gospel, what canst thou receive like the things of Christ? And what canst thou talk of so precious to the souls of men as the things of Christ? Therefore, follow thou the Holy Ghost in dealing with the things of Christ.
Next, the Holy Spirit deals with feeble men. “He shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.” “Unto you.” He is not above dealing with simple minds. He comes to those who have no training, no education, and he takes the things of Christ, and shows them to such minds. The greatest mind of man that was ever created was a poor puny thing compared with the infinite mind of God. We may boast about the great capacity of the human intellect; but what a narrow and contracted thing it is at its utmost width! So, for the Holy Spirit to come and teach the little mind of man, is a great condescension. But we see the great condescension of the Holy Ghost even more when we read, “Not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called;” and when we hear the Saviour say, “I thank thee, O’ Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.” The Holy Ghost takes of the things of Christ, and shows them to those who are babes compared with the wise men of this world. The Lord Jesus might have selected princes to be his apostles; he might have gathered together twelve of the greatest kings of the earth, or at least twelve senators from Rome; but he did not so. He took fishermen, and men belonging to that class, to be the pioneers of his kingdom; and God the Holy Ghost Likes of the things of Christ, high and sublime as they are, and shows them unto men like these apostles were, men ready to follow where the Lord led them, and to learn what the Lord taught them.
If you think of the condescension of the Holy Spirit in taking of the things of Christ, and showing them unto us. you will not talk any more about coming down to the level of children when you talk to them. I remember a young man who was a great fool, but did not know it, and therefore was all the greater fool: once, speaking to children, ho said, “My dear children, it takes a great deal to bring a great, mind down to your capacities.” You cannot show me a word of Christ of that kind. Where does the Holy Ghost ever talk about its being a great comedown for him to teach children, or to teach us? Nay, nay; but he glorifies Christ by taking of his things, and showing them unto us, even such poor ignorant scholars as we are.
If I understand what is meant here, I think that it means, first, that the Holy Ghost helps us to understand the words of Christ. If we will study the teaching of the Saviour, it must be with the Holy Spirit as the light to guide us; he will show us what Christ meant by the words he uttered. We shall not lose ourselves in the Saviour’s verbiage; but we shall get at the inner meaning of Christ’s mind, and be instructed therein; for the Lord Jesus says, “He shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.” A sermon of Christ, even a single word of Christ, set in the light of the Holy Spirit, shines like a diamond; nay, like a fixed star, with light that is never dim. Happy men and happy women who read the words of Christ in the light shed upon them by the Holy Ghost! But I do not think that this is all that the text means.
It means this: “Not only shall he reveal my words, but my things
The Holy Ghost takes the nature of Christ, and shows it unto us. It is easy to say, “I believe him to be God and man;” but the point is, to apprehend that he is God, and therefore able to save, and even to work impossibilities; and to believe that he is man, and therefore feels for you, sympathizes with you, and therefore is a brother born to help you in your adversities. May the Holy Ghost make you see the God-Man to-night! May he show you the humanity and the Deity of Christ, as they are most blessedly united in his adorable person; and you will be greatly comforted thereby.
The Holy Ghost shows to us the offices of Christ. He is Prophet, Priest, King. Especially to you, sinner, Christ is a Saviour. Now, if you know that he takes up the work of saving sinners, and that it is his business to save men, why then, dear friend, surely you will have confidence in him, and not be afraid to come to him! If I wanted my shoes mended, I should not take my hat off when I went into a cobbler’s shop, and say, “Please excuse, me. May I beg you to be so good as to mend my shoes!” No; it is his trade: it is his business. He is glad to see me. “What do you want, sir?” says he; and he is glad of work. And when Christ puts over his door, “Saviour,” I, wanting to be saved, go to him, for I believe that he knows his calling, and that he can carry it out, and that he will be glad to see me; and that I shall not be more glad to be saved than he will be to save me. I want you to catch that idea. If the Holy Spirit will show you that, it will bring you very near to joy and peace to-night.
May the Holy Ghost also show you Christ’s engagements! He has come into the world engaged to save sinners He pledged himself to the Father to bring many sons unto glory, and he must do it. He has bound himself to his Father, as the Surety of the covenant, that he will bring sinners into reconciliation with God. May the Holy Ghost show that fact to you; and right gladly you will leap into the Saviour’s arms!
It is very sweet when the Holy Spirit shows us the love of Christ, — how intensely he loves men, how he loved them of old, for his delights were with the sons of men, — not because he had redeemed them; but he redeemed them because he loved them, and delighted in them. Christ has had an eternal love to his people.
“His heart is made of tenderness,
His bowels melt with love.”
It is his heaven to bring men to heaven. It is his glory to bring sons to glory. He is never so happy as when he is receiving sinners. But if the Holy Ghost will show you the depth and the height, the length and the breadth, of the love of Christ to sinners, it will go a long way towards bringing all who are in this house to-night to accept the Saviour.
But when the-Holy Ghost shows you the mercy of Christ, — how willingly he forgives; how he passes by iniquity, transgression, and sin; how he casts your sins into the sea, throws them behind God’s back, puts them away for over; — ah! when you see this, then will your hearts be won to him.
Specially I would desire the Holy Ghost to show you the blood of Christ. A Spirit-taught view of the blood of Christ is the most wonderful sight that ever a weeping eye beheld. There is your sin, your wicked, horrible, damnable sin; but Christ comes into the world, and takes the sin, and suffers in your room and place and stead; and the blood of such an One as he, perfect man and infinite God, — such blood as was poured out on Calvary’s tree, — must take away sin. Oh, for a sight of it! If any of you are now despairing, and the Holy Ghost will take of the blood of Christ, and show it unto you, despair will have no place in you any longer. It must be gone, for “the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin,” and he that believeth in him is forgiven all his iniquities.
And if the Holy Ghost will also take of the prayers of Christ, and show them unto you, what a sight you will have! Christ on earth, praying till ho gets into a bloody sweat; Christ in heaven, praying with all his glorious vestments on, accepted by the Father, glorified at the Father’s right hand, and making intercession for transgressors, praying for you, praying for all who come to God by him, and able, therefore, to save them to the uttermost; — this is the sight you will have. A knowledge of the intercession of Christ for guilty men is enough to make despair flee away once for all. I can only tell you these things; but if the Holy Ghost will take of them, and show them unto you, oh, beloved, you will have joy and peace to-night through believing!
One thing I must add, however, and then I will leave this point, upon which wo could dilate for six months. I think; that is, that whatever the Holy Ghost shows you, you may have. Do you see that? He takes of the things of Christ, and shows them to us; but why? Not as a boy at school does to one of his companions when he is teasing him. I remember often seeing it done. He pulls out of his pocket a beautiful apple, and shows it to his schoolmate. “There,” says he. “do you see that apple?” Is he going to say. “Now I am going to give you a piece of it”? No, not he. He only shows him the apple just to tantalize him. Now. it would be blasphemy to imagine that the Holy Ghost would show you the things of Christ, and then say, “You cannot have them.” No, whatever he shows you, you may have. Whatever you see in Christ, you may have. Whatever the Holy Ghost makes you to see in the person and work of the Lord Jesus, you may have it. And he shows it to you on purpose that you may have it, for he is no Tantalus to mock us with the sight of a blessing beyond our reach; he waits to bless us. Lay that thought up in your heart; it may help you some day, if not now. You remember what God said to. Jacob, “The land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it.” If you find any promise in this Book, and you dare to lie down upon it, it is yours. If you can just lie down and rest on it, it is yours; for it was not put there for you to rest on it without its being fulfilled to you. Only stretch yourself on any covenant blessing, and it is yours for ever. God help us so to do!
II. But now, secondly, and very briefly, let us consider WHAT THE HOLY SPIRIT AIMS AT, Well he aims at this, Jesus says, “He shall glorify me.” When he shows us the things of Christ, his object is to glorify Christ. The Holy Spirit’s object is to make Christ appear to be great and glorious to you and to me. The Lord Jesus Christ is infinitely glorious; and even the Holy Ghost cannot make him glorious except to our apprehension; but his desire is that we may see and know more of Christ, that we may honour him more, and glorify him more.
Well, how does the Holy Spirit go about this work? In this simple way, by showing us the things of Christ. Is not this a blessedly simple fact, that when even the Holy Ghost intends to glorify Christ, all that he does is to show us Christ? Well, but does he not put fine words together, and weave a spell of eloquence? No; he simply shows us Christ. Now, if you wanted to praise Jesus Christ to-night, what would you have to do? Why, you would only have to speak of him as he is, — holy, blessed, glorious! You would show him, as it were, in order to praise him, for there is no glorifying Christ except by making him to be seen. Then he has the glory that rightly belongs to him. No words are wanted, no descriptions are needed. “He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.”
And is it not strange that Christ should be glorified by his being shown to you? To you, my dear friend! Perhaps you are saying, “I am a nobody.” Yes, but Christ is glorified by being shown to you. “Oh, but I am very poor, very illiterate, and besides, very wicked!” Yes, but Christ is glorified by being shown to you. Now, a great king or a great queen would not be rendered much more, illustrious by being shown to a little Sunday-school girl, or exhibited to a crossing-sweeper boy. At least, they would not think so; but Christ does not act as an earthly monarch might. He reckons it to be his glory for the poorest pair of eyes that ever wept to look by faith upon him. He reckons it to be his greatest honour for the poorest man, the poorest woman, or the poorest child that ever lived, to see him in the light in which the Holy Ghost sets him. Is not this a blessed truth? I put it very simply and briefly. The Holy Ghost, you sec, glorifies Christ by showing him to sinners. Therefore, if you want to glorify Christ, do the same. Do not go and write a ponderous tome, and put fine words together. Tell sinners, in simple language, what Christ is. “I cannot praise him,” says one. You do not want to praise him. Say what he is. If a man says to me, “Show me the sun,” do I say, “Well, you must wait till I strike a match and light a candle, and then I will show you the sun”? That would be ridiculous, would it not? And for our candles to be held up to show Christ, is absurd. Tell what he is. Tell what he is to you. Tell what he did for you. Tell what he did for sinners. That is all. “He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.”
I will not say more on this point, except that, if any of us are to glorify Christ, we must talk much of him. We must tell what the Holy Spirit has told to us; and we must pray the Holy Spirit to bless to the minds of men the truth we speak, by enabling them to see Christ as the Spirit reveals him.
III. But now, thirdly, in both of these things, — showing unto us the things of Christ, and glorifying Christ, THE HOLY SPIRIT IS A COMFORTER. Gracious Spirit, be a Comforter now to some poor struggling ones in the Tabernacle, by showing them the things of Christ, and by glorifying him in their salvation!
First, in showing to men the things of Christ, the Holy Spirit is a Comforter. There is no comfort like a sight of Christ. Sinner, your only comfort must lie in your Saviour, in his precious blood, and in his resurrection from the dead. Look that way, man! If you look inside, you will never find any comfort there. Look where the Holy Ghost looks. “He shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.” When a thing is shown to you, it is meant for you to look at it. If you want real comfort, I will tell you where to look, namely, to the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. “Oh!” say you, “but I am a wretched sinner.” I know you are. You are a great deal worse than you think you are “Oh, but I think myself the worst that ever lived.” Yes, you are worse than that! You do not know half your depravity. You are worse than you ever dreamed that you were. But that is not where to look for comfort. “I am brutish,” says one; “I am proud; I am self-righteous; I am envious; I have everything in me that is bad. sir. and if I have a little bit that is good sometimes, it is gone before I can see it. I am just lost, ruined, and undone.” That is quite true; but I never told you to look there. Your comfort lies in this, “He shall receive of mine,” — that is, of Christ’s, — “and shall shew it unto you.” Your hope of transformation, of gaining a new character altogether, of eternal life, lies in Christ, who quickeneth the dead, and maketh all things new. Look away from self, and look to Christ, for he alone can save you.
A sight of Christ is the destruction of despair. “Oh, but the devil tells me that I shall be cast into hell! There is no hope for me.” What matters it what the devil tells you? He was a liar from the beginning. Let him say what he likes; but if you will look away to Christ, there will be an end of the devil’s power over you. If the Holy Ghost shows you what Christ came to do on the cross, and what he is doing on his throne in heaven, there will be an end to these troublous thoughts from Satan, and you will be comforted.
Dear child of God, are you in sorrow to-night? May the Holy Ghost take of the things of Christ, and show them unto you! There is an end to sorrow when you see Jesus, for sorrow itself is so sweetly sanctified by the companionship of Christ which it brings to you, that you will be glad to drink of his cup and to be baptized with his baptism.
Are you in want to night, without even a place where to lay your head? So, too, was he “The Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” Go to him with your trouble. He will help you to bear your poverty. He will help you to get out of it, for he is able to help you in temporal trials as well as in spiritual ones. Therefore go you to Christ. All power is given unto him in heaven and in earth. Nothing is too hard for the Lord. Go your way to him, and a sight of him will give you comfort.
Are you persecuted? Well, a sight of the thorn-crowned brow will take the thorn out of persecution. Are you very, very low? I think that you have all heard the story I am about to tell you, but some of you have, perhaps, forgotten it. Many years ago, when this great congregation first met in the Surrey Music Hall, and the terrible accident occurred, when many persons were either killed or wounded in the panic, I did my best to hold the people together till I heard that some were dead, and then I broke down like a man stunned, and for a fortnight or so I had little reason left. I felt so broken in heart that I thought that I should never be able to face a congregation again; and I went down to a friend’s house, a few miles away, to be very quiet and still. I was walking round his garden, and I well remember the spot, and even the time, when this passage came to me, “Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour;” and this thought came into my mind at once, “You are only a soldier in the great King’s army, and you may die in a ditch; but it does not matter what becomes of you as long as your King is exalted. He — HE is glorious. God hath highly exalted him.” You have heard of the old French soldiers when they lay allying. If the emperor came by, when they were ready to expire, they would just raise themselves up, and gave one more cheer for their beloved leader. “Vive Empereur!” would be their dying words. And so I just thought, “He is exalted. What matters it about me?” and in a moment my reason was perfectly restored. I was as clear as possible. I went into the house, had family prayer, and came back to preach to my congregation on the following Sabbath, restored only by having looked to Jesus, and having seen that he was glorious. If he is to the front, what does it matter what happens to us? Rank on rank we will die in the battle if he wins the victory. Only let the Man on the White Horse win; let the King who died for us, and washed us in his precious blood, be glorified, and it is enough for us.
But now, lastly, when Christ is glorified in the heart, he acts as a Comforter, too. I believe, brethren, that we should not have half the trouble that we have if we thought more of Christ. The fact is, that we think so much of ourselves that we get troubled. But some one says, “But I have so many troubles.” Why should you not have a great many troubles? Who are you that you should not have troubles? “Oh, but I have had loss after loss which you do not know of!” Very likely, dear friend. I do not know of your losses, but is it any wonder that you should have them? “Oh!” says one, “I seem to be kicked about like a football.” Why should you not be? What are you? “Oh!” said one poor penitent to me the other night, “for me to come to Christ, sir, after my past life, seems so mean.” I said, “Yes, so it is; but, then, you are mean. It was a mean business of the prodigal son to come home, and eat his father’s bread and the fatted calf after he had spent his substance in riotous living.” It was a mean thing, was it not? But, then, the father did not think it mean. He clasped him to his bosom, and welcomed him home. Come along, you mean sinners, you that have served the devil, and now want to run away from him! Steal away from Satan at once, for my Lord is ready to receive you. You have no idea how willing he is to welcome you. He is so ready to forgive, that you have not yet guessed how much sin he can forgive. “All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men.” Up to your necks in filth, in your very hearts saturated with the foulest iniquity; yet, if you come to Christ, he will wash you whiter than snow. “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Come along, and try my Lord.
Have exalted ideas of Christ. Oh, if a man will but have great thoughts of Christ, he shall then find his troubles lessening, and his sins disappearing! You have been putting Christ on a wrong scale altogether, I see. Perhaps even you people of God have not thought of Christ as you ought to do. I have heard of a certain commander who had led his troops into a rather difficult position. He knew what he was at, but the soldiers did not all know; and there would be a battle on the morrow. So he thought that he would go round from tent to tent, and hear what the soldiers said. He listened, and there was one of them saying to his fellows, “See what a mess we are in now! Do you see, we have only so many calvary, and so many infantry, and we have only a small quantity of artillery. And on the other side there are so many thousands against us, so strong, so mighty, that we shall be cut to pieces in the morning.” And the general drew aside the canvas, and there they saw him standing, and he said, “How many do you count me for?” He had won every battle that he had ever been engaged in. He was the conqueror of conquerors. “How many do you count me for?” O souls, you have never counted Christ for what he is! You have put down your sins, but you have never counted what kind of a Christ he is who has come to save you. Rather do like Luther, who says that, when the devil came to him, he brought him a long sheet containing a list of his sins, or of a great number of them, and Luther said to him, “Is that all! “No,” said the devil. “Well, go and fetch some more, then.” Away went Satan to bring him another long list, as long as your arm. Said Luther, “Is that all?” “Oh, no!” said the devil, “I have more yet.” Well, go and bring them all,” said Luther. “Fetch them all out, the whole list of them.” Then it was a very long black list. I think that I have heard that it would have gone round the world twice. I know that mine would. Well, what did Luther say when he saw them all? He said, “Write at the bottom of them, ‘The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin!” It does not matter how long the list is when you write those blessed words at the end of it. The sins are all gone then. Did you ever take up from your table a bill for a large sum? You felt a kind of flush coming over your face. You looked down the list. It was a rather long list of items, perhaps, from a lawyer or a builder. But when you looked at it, you saw that there was a penny stamp at the bottom, and that the account was receipted. “Oh!” you said, “I do not care how long it is; for it is all paid.” So, though your sins are very many, if you have a receipt at the bottom, — if you have trusted Jesus, — your sins are all gone, drowned in the Red Sea of your Saviour’s blood, and Christ is glorified in your salvation. May God the Holy Ghost bring every unsaved one here to-night to repentance and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ! The Lord bless every one of you, for his name’s sake! Amen.