14. You are my friends if you do what I command. 15. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16. You did not choose me, but I chose you to go and bear fruitfruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 17. This is my command: Love each other.

The World Hates the Disciples

18. “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20. Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. 22. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. 23. He who hates me hates my Father as well. 24. If I had not done among them what no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. 25. But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason’.” 26. “When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me; 27. but you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.


CHAPTER SIXTEEN


1. “All this I have told you so that you will not go astray.
2. They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God. 3. They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. 4. I have told you this, so that when the time comes you will remember that I warned you. I did not tell you this at first because I was with you.

The Work of the Holy Spirit

5. “Now I am going to him who sent me, yet none of you even asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6. Because I have said these things, you are filled with grief.
7. But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8. When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment:
9. About sin, because men do not believe in me;  10. About righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11. And about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.

12. “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13. 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.

14. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. 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. 16. “In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.”

The Disciples’ Grief Will Turn to Joy

17. Some of his disciples said to one another, “What does he mean by saying, ‘In a little while you will see me no more,’ and “Then after a little while you will see me,’ and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?”

 

Topic: Nature and Character of God
John 14:26

God in three persons 

God exists in three unique personalities - the Father, the Son (Jesus) and the Holy Spirit (Counselor). The Bible presents this as fact, without giving a systematic explanation of how God is three persons in one, a concept that we call the Trinity. Over the centuries theologians have written hundreds of volumes in an attempt to explain God's "trinity." It is a mind - stretching but essential Biblical truth.

For example, to know God as "three in one" helps us understand how God could be "love" (1 John 4:8, p. 1442) before there were any created beings to love. He could love because he has always been three persons in one, and each person always loved and served the other two. Within himself, God has always demonstrated community, love, fellowship and unselfishness. If God were only one person, he could perhaps be accused of selfishness and isolation. But each person of the Trinity has always yielded to the others, providing a model of flawless love.

The Trinity also helps us understand why community is important to God. He did not create and save us to live isolated lives (see Genesis 2:18, p.25).He intended us to live in harmonious relationship with other Christians, as the three persons of the Trinity exist in harmony with one another. The Bible says we are the "body of Christ," with each believer fulfilling a role and supporting the others (1 Corinthians 12:12-27, p.1317). Likewise, each person of the Trinity performs complementary functions to form a perfect whole.

The Bible teaches that each member of the Trinity has different responsibilities. Can you describe some of these responsibilities?

BIBLE WISDOM:
Matthew 3:16 - 17; John 1:1 - 14; 16:15; 17:21
Acts 1:1 - 8

 

 

Topic: Pathway to Freedom
John 15:15

Free to be Christ's spotless bride

Picture a radiant bride, dressed in a magnificent white gown, being picked up in a horse-drawn carriage and whisked away to her wedding ceremony. As her loving bridegroom awaits her arrival at the little country church, the bride suddenly orders the coachman to stop. She bolts from the coach and plunges headlong into thick, dark mud.

This scene may seem ridiculous, but we who are Christ's bride sometimes do much the same thing. Although we have been made holy and righteous by his sacrifice for us, if we take our focus off our heavenly bridegroom, we stray right back into the muck that he rescued us from before. This is not God's will at all! He calls us to intimate relationship with him, to be holy just as he is holy (see 1 Peter 1:16, p.1426).

The way to live in an overcoming power and holiness is to "fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith" (Hebrews 12:2, p.1415). He also was tempted to sin, but because he set his eyes on his heavenly inheritance, he was able to endure all temptation, scorn and even death on the cross. When we determine in our hearts to have an intimate friendship with Jesus, we not only want to please him, but we are empowered to do so through his Holy Spirit.

God created us with a need for this intimacy - a need that only he could meet. Satan tempts us to think that we can meet this need in other ways, apart from God. The Bible refers to these inferior substitutes as "sinful nature" or "flesh" (see Galatians 5:13 - 26, p.1343, and NIV text note at verse 13). Choosing to live by the flesh is sin. The flesh refers to passions like greed, lust, pride or the misdirected drives for acceptance or significance.

Once we were slaves to these human passions, but when we received Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and identified with his death through the cross, we were set free. In Galatians 2:20 Paul declares: "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me."

Yet tragically, many Christians do stray back into the mire of sin because they don't nurture the precious relationship they've been given. They believe Satan's lies instead of the truth: that the holy and magnificent God wanted and accepted us into his family. He chose to dwell in us. And if we choose to accept this gift and stay focused on him, our hearts will be nurtured. As he meets our needs for intimacy, sin will become as distasteful to us as it is to him.

The aim of this study is to strengthen our friendship with Jesus. Through the power of the Holy Spirit and the truth of God's Word, our flesh can be exposed and dealt with, our sins can be cleansed, and the lies we are so prone to believe can be uprooted.

As we fix our eyes on Jesus - who he is and what he has done for us - we need not follow the path of the bride in the story above. The almighty and holy God has set us apart for intimate friendship with himself. As we remain in Jesus, our "true vine" (se John 15:1,4), our hearts can be filled to overflowing and our feet firmly set on the pathway to freedom.

 

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THE STARTING POINT STUDY BIBILE New International Version
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