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John 14:25-31 Study Guide: Who is the Holy Spirit? Part 2 Our Teacher

Community Group Study Guide — Who is the Holy Spirit? Our Teacher
John 14:25-31

Study Information:
The Holy Spirit is our great comforter and teacher. It is an error to think of the Holy Spirit as some impersonal force because throughout the Bible he is talked about with “person” language. In our last study guide we looked at how the Holy Spirit would be “another” helper similar to Jesus. God would send his very presence to dwell in followers of Jesus so they could grow in love and obedience. Jesus continued his teaching on the Holy Spirit by saying the Spirit would be their teacher and their peace. In our section of scripture Jesus addressed three areas the disciples were struggling with his leaving. They struggled to understand, trust and love him; so Jesus pointed them forward to how the Spirit would be their teacher, their peace and enable them to see Christ’s love. 

the Holy Spirit: Our Teacher
John 14:25-26
The disciples were in a cloud of confusion about what Jesus was teaching them. Why would he have to leave, what is all this talk about suffering and dying and how could any of them betray and abandon Jesus? Likewise, throughout the ministry of Jesus they were slow to understand how Jesus was fulfilling the Law and the Prophets. He patiently taught them and explained what was happening, but as you read the gospels you read times when the narrator chimes in and wrote something like “we only got this after the resurrection.” What changed? How could they connect the dots between what was promised in the Hebrew scriptures and the life and ministry of Jesus? The Holy Spirit would help them understand and remember. 

Jesus was going to leave them and go back to the Father’s side to prepare a place for them and to send the Holy Spirit so that followers of Jesus would have a guide. The disciples would not be able to do it on their own, they needed a helper! If we examined our lives we could probably point to a few people who were guides, teachers or mentors along the way. That person could be a parent, boss, coach or someone we looked up to and wanted to learn from and be like. Jesus had been that for the disciples and they were worried about being left alone. But, as Jesus said in John 14:18, they would not be abandoned. Jesus promised to send them someone to replace him in the person of the Holy Spirit and they’d actually be better off because the Spirit would guide them into understanding and remembrance of all that happened. This specific promise was fulfilled in the disciples carrying forth the message of Jesus as they shared his teaching and what happened with the cross and resurrection. Of the 11 disciples, three of them would go on to author scripture (John, Matthew and Peter) and all of them would historically have some sort of speaking role to build up the church and spread the gospel. This promise from Jesus meant they’d be able to accurately speak of these details because the Holy Spirit would help them understand and remember the events of the last three years and they’d have insight into what Jesus teaching meant! This should give us a lot of confidence that the scripture we have is trustworthy. Paul wrote that scripture is “God-Breathed” and Peter wrote that the authors were “carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Tim 3:16, 2 Peter 1:21). God used human authors, like the disciples, with their specific vocabulary, word choice, focus areas and experiences to communicate truth about Christ by the Holy Spirit so that what we have in scripture is what God wanted us to know and is fully trustworthy. 

How does the Holy Spirit teach followers of Jesus today? He is not using any of us to speak with divine authority or as authors of scripture but the Spirit is still our teacher and guide and that manifests in our lives in two ways. 

First, the Spirit illuminates scripture, meaning he is the reason we can understand what we read in a spiritual sense. Sure, there are some things you can know about God and his plan from the Bible even if you are not a Christian. The Bible has a lot of history and teachings that seem like good “moral truths” that anyone can read and understand. However, Paul tells us that there is a veil over our eyes to understand it until we come to faith in Christ, so if you’re a follower of Jesus, the Holy Spirit applies the word of God to your life and helps you see spiritual truth there (2 Corinthians 3:14, 1 Corinthians 2:12-13). We do not immediately understand everything we read in the Bible, but the Spirit will open it up to us as we explore, pray and mediate on the word of God. 

Second, the Holy Spirit as a “leading” ministry as he guides us towards godliness. The New Testament has commandments for us to “walk in the Spirit” or “be led by the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16-18, Romans 8:15). The most powerful person in the universe, God, has put his very presence in us in the person of the Holy Spirit to form and shape our thoughts and actions to be more like Christ. To “keep in step” with the Spirit is to look to the Holy Spirit to guide our lives and to help us live out Christlikeness. The Spirit will never call you to do something expressly forbidden in scripture or something unwise, or to trust you gut or do something that glorifies you over God. We’re not called to keep in step with our feelings, desires or peers; we’re called to be taught and guided by the Holy Spirit. Being guided by the Holy Spirit looks like the Spirit helping us understand scripture, to grow in serving others, put sin to death and to show godly love to others. To be led by the Spirit is an invitation for us to pray for all areas of our lives as we live out our faith in Jesus. Think about all the opportunities you have throughout your day to be led by the Spirit. As you wake, do you pray for your day, including time with family and meetings and things that will pop up that seem “random?” When it comes to life in the church, do you pray that the Spirit would use you to build up and encourage others as you gather for community group, mentoring and opportunities to share the gospel? Do you pray for the Spirit to guide how you work and serve others? Do you pray before you read the word that God would teach you through it and guide your life by it? The Spirit will open up the word to you and give you more opportunities to share the gospel and speak wise counsel as you learn from him and are led by the Spirit.

The Holy Spirit: Our Peace
John 14:27-28
The disciples did not just fail to understand, they failed to trust too. They were troubled by Jesus’ leaving and they will go through a terrible few days of distress and doubt before Jesus appeared to them after his resurrection. Jesus addressed their lack of trust by commenting on their fear (John 14:27). By saying, “my peace I leave with you” Jesus was doing more than giving them a “good bye” blessing; Jesus was promising them a gift that would bring them security and trust in the Holy Spirit. This peace would be different than the peace of the world. The world’s peace is usually marked by comfort or the absence of conflict and for many followers of Jesus throughout history those things are not a normal part of life. Why would God need to promise a helper/comforter in the Holy Spirit if our lives are already comfortable? Jesus promised peace because they’d be secure in God and God was in control of what was happening in the cross and resurrection and growth of the early church. This type of peace is marked by God’s presence in us as we experience trouble and sorrow. 

God’s Steadfast Love
John 14:28-31
The disciples were scared to let Jesus go and were holding onto him for selfish reasons. Jesus challenged this when he said “If you loved me, you would have rejoiced because I am going to the Father for the Father is greater than I” (John 14:28). Saying that the “Father is great than I” does not imply that the members of the trinity are unequal rather it points to Jesus’ condescending to us having taken on a human nature. Even though the road to the cross would be paved with suffering, Jesus had joy in his heart to be back in heaven and he had selfless love because he went to the cross for our redemption. The cross would display to the world the love of Jesus for his people and for the Father (John 14:31). 

At your community group:

Take 15-20 minutes to share about how God has been at work in your life, prayer concerns and pray for one another.

How did God speak to you through the scripture and the sermon this week? 

Discussion Questions:

Who comes to your mind when you think about people who mentored and taught you in a way that changed your life?

What did Jesus promise his disciples in John 14:25-26? How was this promise fulfilled?

What does it mean for the Holy Spirit to be our teacher today?

Describe the peace of Jesus vs the peace of this world? How can followers of Jesus experience the  peace of Jesus today?