YE CANNOT BEAR THEM NOW
John 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. 8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 Of sin, because they believe not on me; 10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. 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 shew you things to come.
There are two words in our title which must be emphasized for clearer understanding of this portion of our Lord’s instruction to the infant church. The first is the word “cannot.” It is a term of ability. Unlike the term “may not,” which is a term regarding permission, it speaks of ability to accomplish, whether one has permission or not. Therefore we understand that our Lord was instructing his chosen disciples that farther instruction by him of “many things” would be useless without their ability to receive them.
The other term is the little word “now.” For this was only their present condition. It would be rectified by the coming of that third Person of the Trinity, the Spirit of truth, sent by the Lord upon his ascension, in order to grant them guidance into all the revealed truth of God! Therefore the inability of understanding would no longer hinder the issuance of being guided into all truth! Luke 24:44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. 45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, 1 John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.
That which our Lord was instructing was that regeneration is essential for revelation! Having spiritual life to “do his will,” is directly related to knowing the doctrine of Christ! John 7:17 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. For one cannot learn of life who is not first born into life! He had told Nicodemus that the new birth was essential for one to see, and enter into the spiritual kingdom of God. (See John 3:3,5). And he added that this could only be accomplished by the Holy Spirit’s secret, but effectual, moving upon souls. John 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. 1 Corinthians 12:3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.
This was even more emphasized by another time of the Lord’s teachings. Matthew 9:16 No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse. 17 Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.
The Lord is instructing us that the new revelation of the gospel of God’s accomplished redemption cannot be affixed to the old economy of the law, which was based on the blood sacrifice of animals. For animal’s blood would not sustain the revelation of the glory of Christ’s accomplished redemption! Romans 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Christ’s blood applied to the sinner causes the law to be “fulfilled in us!”
Hebrews 10:4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. 5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: 9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. 10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Until the day of Pentecost, when the spiritual new birth took place, John the Baptist was said to be the greatest man “born of woman.” Matthew 11:11 Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. For he was the only man who could look into the face of Jesus of Bethlehem and, without reservation say, ‘This is God!” That was a single revelation to this one man. But then the very least soul born of the Spirit would be greater than he!
Therefore it was not until the accomplished redemption was applied which made the vessels to be “new bottles,” that they could have the “new wine” of the Holy Spirit poured into them. (Notice that in Acts 2:17,18 that the term “pour out” is actually used.) Ephesians 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; 19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
The condition of the sinner is that he is dead in trespasses and sins! (Ephesians 2:1). And we know that the faith of all believers comes by hearing the word. (Romans 10:17). That word is Christ, not the bible! (John 1:1-3,14). And like dead Lazarus, lying stinking in the grave, Christ’s word was not a suggestion! – For remember, there is no ability to either hear, nor respond. For he is dead! Therefore the sovereign Word gave him life to hear, with an enabling command to obey!
John 11:40 Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? 43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. 44 And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.
And without exception, so it is with every sinner, quickened to life by the sovereign word of Christ. Not a single believer is in eternal glory now, nor shall ever be, except they had life and light effectually spoken into them, in the same way as the creation of the physical world! 2 Corinthians 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
At one point both the world and the sinner lay without life or light, in total darkness. But in another second, after the sovereign, enabling command, both had life and light! Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
And Lazarus did not come forth in order to obtain life! He came forth because he already had life, and that life sought the light, separating itself from darkness and death! So the sinner now prays, “Lord, save me!” But a dead man can’t speak, nor desire light. Therefore the sinner is praying, not to obtain life, but because he has already been quickened to life!
The new born sinner, like the new born child, does not cry in order to obtain life, but because he already has life! Galatians 4:6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
And the evidence that one has spiritual life is that his spiritual birth has provided him the ability to hear the word of the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 1 John 4:6 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.
John 10:26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
But even though the elect believers are given hearing ears in order to effectually hear the enlivening call, they must thereafter be careful how they continue to hear! Luke 8:18 Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have.
In our text the Lord plainly sets forth that hearing of the Lord’s revelation must be had only in the characteristics of the new birth. But the new birth is impossible without the coming of the Spirit of truth. And yet, even with the new birth and the presence of the Holy Spirit, disciples can become “dull of hearing.”
Hebrews 5:10 Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec. 11 Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. 12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. 13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
A true and proper hearing, derived from the hunger and thirst for righteousness, brings one into the ability of expressing to others that which has been revealed to himself. Luke 6:45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.
2 Corinthians 4:13 We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak;
Job 32:8 But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding. 18 For I am full of matter, the spirit within me constraineth me. 19 Behold, my belly is as wine which hath no vent; it is ready to burst like new bottles. 20 I will speak, that I may be refreshed: I will open my lips and answer.
Stagnation cannot take place in an ever flowing river! And the heart remains pure and clean as it gives away that which the Holy Spirit has given unto himself. Those said to be “dull of hearing,” were also said to be destitute of teaching. Their ‘river’ was stopped up with foreign debris. For being dull of hearing always results in being stagnant in teaching.
For if the hearing of God’s revelation does not stir your own soul. how can you expect it to be of warmth to others? Psalm 39:2 I was dumb with silence, I held my peace, even from good; and my sorrow was stirred. 3 My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue,
Consider carefully the Jerusalem hearers. They were first to hear the glorious gospel of the Lord on the day of Pentecost. Acts 2:41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
But later began to rationalize that their former traditions must be added to what they heard. Consider the actions of those same Jerusalem hearers as they began to add their customs to that which they had heard. Acts 21:17 And when we were come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly. 20 And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law: 21 And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs.
Acts 21:31 And as they went about to kill him, tidings came unto the chief captain of the band, that all Jerusalem was in an uproar. 22:18 And saw him saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me.
But the spirit of Christ’s love within the believer causes him to surpass mere religious understanding! Ephesians 3:18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
Pastor Gene Breed
April 19, 2017