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Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 41 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 11: The Spirit "Replaces" Jesus *
Introduction: My wife teaches the early grades in a Christian school.
In the last year or so, a large number of her students have left the
school because of a breakup of their home. In each case, the child
became anxious about the future. Like everyone else, they enjoy the
comfort of things being "the same" and they fear change. They do not
want a parent to leave. John 13 ends with Jesus telling His disciples
that He is leaving. They want to come along, they want the fellowship
to continue. But, Jesus says, "no." Let's plunge into that
conversation and consider how Jesus deals with their anxiety. What
are His instructions for an immediate future without Him?
- Troubled Hearts
- Read John 14:1-4. What does Jesus say to His disciples to
calm their separation anxiety? (He first asks them to
trust Him. Then He tells them the separation will be
limited. He will prepare a place for them and then come to
- If Jesus is coming back to get them, why would they
(v.4) need to know how to get there?
- Read John 14:5. I like people who speak up when they do
not understand. Thomas seems to regularly find himself
unclear about the future and he speaks up. What do you
think about the logic of Thomas' question?
- Remember what we learned about Thomas from John 11:9-11&16? How does John 14:5 build on our picture of
Thomas? (When Jesus said He was going to "walk by
day" over to Bethany, Thomas did not understand the
spiritual aspect of Jesus' statement. He just looked
at the practical. He is doing the same thing in John
14:5. He is a man who operates on a practical level.)
- Read John 14:6. What do you imagine Thomas thought of
- How does this answer the "which way to follow"
question? (Jesus is not going to a place you could
find on a map. You cannot "go there" by walking.
Instead, the disciples have a spiritual journey ahead
of them. This explains my question about why the
disciples would need to know where to go if Jesus is
picking them up. Jesus will take care of the
"geography" of the journey, the disciples need to
take care of their personal "preparation" for the
journey. They have a spiritual journey. Jesus will
take care of the physical trip.)
- Preparation for the Journey
- Read John 14:7. What is the key to coming to God? (Jesus
wants us to "know" Him. Bible regular study is a key
element to that.)
- Read John 14:12-14. What comes with faith in Jesus? (If we
believe in Jesus, then we will do His works.)
- Jesus seems to say He will do anything for us.
However, do you see any limitations on this promise
in verse 13? (It seems the goal of this requests
should be to bring "glory to the Father.")
- How many of your prayer requests are primarily
aimed at bringing glory to you?
- If you have a prayer request that will glorify God,
just stop and think for a moment about what Jesus has
- Read John 14:15-17. What is the result of loving Jesus?
(Obedience to God's commands.)
- Let's review the "road map" that Jesus has laid out for
His disciples spiritual journey. In John 14:6 Jesus
explains He is "the way the truth and the life." Verse 12
says if we have faith in Jesus we will do what He has been
doing. Verse 15 reveals that if we love Jesus, then our
natural reaction is to obey Him. Having a relationship
with Jesus is the first step, but the second step is
- Is the opposite true: that if we do not obey Jesus we
do not have faith in Him or love Him?
- Jesus speaks (in verses 15-17) of obedience and then
sending an Advisor.
- Are the two concepts linked? If so, how?
- What is Jesus going to do to help the disciples with
this journey that begins with a relationship? (He is
going to send us a "replacement" - the Holy Spirit.)
- Notice that the Holy Spirit is called "the Spirit of
Truth." Why did Jesus call the Holy Spirit "the
Spirit of Truth?" (To help you answer this, read John
16:7-11. The essential work of the Holy Spirit is to
help us to understand and face the truth of God. How
can you obey, how can you do the works of Jesus,
without understanding "the truth" about your
- Have you ever been angry with the reaction of the
"world" toward Jesus? Have you ever been upset about
the sinful attitudes of "leaders" in the world?
- Should you be? (In John 14:17 Jesus tells us
that we should expect that "the world" will be
ignorant of these spiritual truths. They do not
see, know or accept the "Spirit of Truth." Why
then would you expect them to understand the
- So often "the world" has the attitude that
Christians are ignorant dopes. Is that what
Jesus says? (Jesus teaches us that the situation
is just the opposite. The world is ignorant of
spiritual truths. Without the Holy Spirit they
lack the tools to understand.)
- What, then, is the proper attitude we
should have toward the world?
- Read John 14:26-27. What does the Holy Spirit do for us
but not for the world? (Teaches us and reminds us of what
Jesus has said.)
- Why is the Holy Spirit being sent in Jesus' name?
(Jesus wants His disciples to be very clear that the
Holy Spirit is His "replacement," His
- What result does Jesus expect? (He wants His
disciples to be at peace.)
- Consider Jesus' offer: an Advisor who will help
you to understand God and give you peace. It is
an offer made only to "insiders." Have you
accepted the offer?
- Jesus says that His gift of the Holy Spirit is
not the kind of gift the world gives. How is it
- Vine and Branches
- Read John 15:1-2. When Jesus says He is the "vine," what
does He mean? (He is the source of our spiritual power.)
- How can Jesus be the vine when He says He is being
replaced by the Holy Spirit? (Read John 14:19-20.
While Jesus says that He is being "replaced" by the
Holy Spirit, they are both part of the Trinity, the
Godhead. It is in that way that Jesus can say that He
is "in" His Father and that we are "in" Him. That
connection with Jesus, through the Holy Spirit is the
source of our power. See John 16:7-11, 14-15.)
- Notice the job of the gardener Father in John 15:2.
It looks like we are in for either a "cutting off" or
a "pruning." This sounds painful. Is it?
- Add verse 3 to John 15:2. Is being "clean" the same as
being "pruned?" (In this case, yes.)
- What "cleaned" the disciples? (The words of Jesus.
This gives me hope. My first reaction is that being
pruned will no doubt be painful. However, if the word
of Jesus can "prune" us, then Bible study coupled
with the conviction of the Holy Spirit can "prune" us
without having a painful experience.)
- Read John 15:4-5, 7-8. What can we look forward to if we
remain connected to Jesus?
- Friend, are you on that spiritual journey of coming closer
to Jesus? Is He the way and the truth in your life? He
invites you to become one with Him. To be linked to Him
just as a branch is linked to the vine. The result will
be seen in your life!
- Next week: Jesus Lays Down His Life for His Friends.
* Copr. 2004, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.