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Holy Ghost-The Great Teacher

Written by: Spurgeon, C.H.    Posted on: 04/01/2003

Category: Sermons

Source: CCN

"The Holy GhostThe Great Teacher"  A Sermon by the REV. C.H. SPURGEON

              "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."John               16:13.

          THIS GENERATION hath gradually, and almost imperceptibly, become to a great extent a godless           generation. One of the diseases of the present generation of mankind, is their secret but deep-seated           godlessness, by which they have so far departed from the knowledge of God. Science has discovered to           us second causes; and hence, many have too much forgotten the first Great Cause, the Author of all:           they have been able so far to pry into secrets, that the great axiom of the existence of a God, has been too much           neglected. Even among professing Christians, while there is a great amount of religion, there is too little godliness:           there is much external formalism, but too little inward acknowledgment of God, too little living on God, living with           God, and relying upon God. Hence arises the sad fact that when you enter many of our places of worship you will           certainly hear the name of God mentioned; but except in the benediction, you would scarcely know there was a           Trinity. In many places dedicated to Jehovah the name of Jesus is too often kept in the background; the Holy           Spirit is almost entirely neglected; and very little is said concerning his sacred influence. Even religious men have           become to a large degree godless in this age. We sadly require more preaching regarding God; more preaching of           those things which look not so much at the creature to be saved, as at God the Great One to be extolled. My firm           conviction is, that in proportion as we have more regard for the sacred godhead, the wondrous Trinity in Unity,           shall we see a greater display of God's power, and a more glorious manifestation of his might in our churches.           May God send us a Christ-exalting, Spirit-loving ministrymen who shall proclaim God the Holy Ghost in all his           offices and shall extol God the Savior as the author and finisher of our faith, not neglecting that Great God, the           Father of his people, who, before all worlds, elected us in Christ his Son, justified us through his righteousness,           and will inevitably preserve us and gather us together in one, in the consummation of all things at the last great           day.               Our text has regard to God the Holy Spirit; of Him we shall speak and Him only, if His sweet influence shall           rest upon us.               The disciples had been instructed by Christ concerning certain elementary doctrines but Jesus did not teach his           disciples more than what we should call the A B C of religion. He gives his reasons for this in the 12th verse: "I           have yet many things to say unto you, but you cannot bear them now." His disciples were not possessors of the           Spirit. They had the Spirit so far as the work of conversion was concerned, but not as to the matters of bright           illumination, profound instruction, prophecy, and inspiration. He says, "I am now about to depart, and when I go           from you I will send the Comforter unto you. Ye cannot bear these things now howbeit, when he, the Spirit of           truth is come, he will guide you into all truth.' The same promise that he made to his apostles, stands good to all           his children; and in reviewing it, we shall take it as our portion and heritage, and shall not consider ourselves           intruders upon the manor of the apostles, or upon their exclusive rights and prerogatives; for we conceive that           Jesus says even to us, "When he, the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth."               Dwelling exclusively upon our text, we have five things. First of all, here is an attainment mentioneda           knowledge of all truth; secondly, here is a difficulty suggestedwhich is, that we need guidance into all truth;           thirdly, here is a person provided"when he, the Spirit shall come, he shall guide you into all truth; "fourthly,           here is a manner hinted at"he shall guide you into all truth;" fifthly here is a sign given as to the working of the           Spiritwe may know whether he works, by his "guiding us into all truth,"into all of one thing; not truths, but           truth.               I. Here is AN ATTAINMENT MENTIONED, which is a knowledge of all truth. We know that some           conceive doctrinal knowledge to be of very little importance, and of no practical use. We do not think so. We           believe the science of Christ crucified and a judgment of the teachings of Scripture to be exceedingly valuable; we           think it is right, that the Christian ministry should not only be arousing but instructing; not merely awakening, but           enlightening: that it should appeal not only to the passions but to the understanding. We are far from thinking           doctrinal knowledge to be of secondary importance; we believe it to be one of the first things in the Christian life,           to know the truth, and then to practice it. We scarcely need this morning tell you how desirable it is for us to be           well taught in things of the kingdom.               First of all, nature itself, (when it has been sanctified by grace,) gives us a strong desire to know all truth.           The natural man separateth himself and intermeddleth with all knowledge. God has put an instinct in him by which           he is rendered unsatisfied if he cannot probe mystery to its bottom; he can never be content until he can unriddle           secrets. What we call curiosity is something given us of God impelling us to search into the knowledge of natural           things; that curiosity, sanctified by the Spirit, is also brought to bear in matters of heavenly science and celestial           wisdom. "Bless the Lord," said David, "O my soul, and all that is within me bless his holy name!" If there is a           curiosity within us, it ought to be employed and developed in a search after truth. "All that is within me," sanctified           by the Spirit should he developed, And, verily, the Christian man feels an intense longing to bury his ignorance and           receive wisdom. If he, when in his natural estate panted for terrestrial knowledge, how much more ardent is the           wish to unravel, if possible, the sacred mysteries of God's Word! A true Christian is always intently reading and           searching the Scripture that he may be able to certify himself as to its main and cardinal truths. I do not think           much of that man who does not wish to understand doctrines; I cannot conceive him to be in a right position when           he thinks it is no matter whether he believes a lie or truth, whether he is heretic or orthodox, whether he received           the Word of God as it is written, or as it is diluted and misconstrued by man. God's Word will ever be to a           Christian a source of great anxiety; a sacred instinct within will lead him to pry into it; he will seek to understand it.           Oh! there are some who forget this, men who purposely abstain from mentioning what are called high doctrines,           because they think if they should mention high doctrines they would be dangerous; so they keep them back.           Foolish men! they do not know anything of human nature; for if they did understand a grain's worth of humanity,           they would know that the hiding of these things impels men to search them out. From the fact that they do not           mention them, they drive men to places where these and these only, are preached. They say, "If I preach election,           and predestination and these dark things, people will all go straight away, and become Antinomians." I am not so           sure if they were to be called Antinomians it would hurt them much; but hear me, oh, ye ministers that conceal           these truths, that is the way to make them Antinomians, by silencing these doctrines. Curiosity is strong; if you tell           them they must not pluck the truth, they will be sure to do it; but if you give it to them as you find it in God's           Word, they will not seek to "wrest" it. Enlightened men will have the truth, and if they see election in Scripture           they will say, "it is there, and I will find it out. If I cannot get it in one place, I will get it in another." The true           Christian has an inward longing and anxiety after it; he is hungry and thirsty after the word of righteousness, and           he must and will feed on this bread of heaven, or at all hazards he will leave the husks which unsound divines           would offer him.               Not only is this attainment to be desired because nature teaches us so, but a knowledge of all truth is very           essential for our comfort. I do believe that many persons have been distressed half their lives from the fact that           they had not clear views of truth. Many poor souls, for instance, under conviction, abide three or four times as           long in sorrow of mind as they would require to do if they had some one to instruct them in the great matter of           justification. So there are believers who are often troubling themselves about falling away; but if they knew in their           soul the great consolation that we are kept by the grace of God through faith unto salvation, they would be no           more troubled about it. So have I found some distressed about the unpardonable sin; but if God instructs us in that           doctrine, and shows us that no conscience that is really awakened ever can commit that sin, but that when it is           committed God gives us up to a scared conscience, so that we never fear or tremble afterwards, all that distress           would be alleviated. Depend on this, the more you know of God's truthall things else being equalthe more           comfortable you will be as a Christian. Nothing can give a greater light on your path than a clear understanding of           divine things. It is a mingle-mangled gospel too commonly preached, which causes the downcast faces of           Christians. Give me the congregation whose faces are bright with joy, let their eyes glisten at the sound of the           gospel, then will I believe that it is God's own words they are receiving. Instead thereof you will often see           melancholy congregations whose visages are not much different from the bitter countenance of poor creatures           swallowing medicine, because the word spoken terrifies them by its legality, instead of comforting them by its           grace. We love a cheerful gospel, and we think "all the truth" will tend to comfort the Christian.               "Comfort again?" says another, "always comfort." Ah, but there is another reason why we prize truth, because           we believe that a true knowledge of all the truth will keep us very much out of danger. No doctrine is so calculated           to preserve a man from sin as the doctrine of the grace of God. Those who have called it a licentious doctrine did           not know anything at all about it. Poor ignorant things, they little knew that their own vile stuff was the most           licentious doctrine under heaven. If they knew the grace of God in truth, they would soon see that there was no           preservative from lying like a knowledge that we are elect of God from the foundation of the world. There is           nothing like a belief in my eternal perseverance, and the immutability of my Father's affection, which can keep me           near to him from a motive of simple gratitude. Nothing makes a man so virtuous as belief of truth. A lying doctrine           will soon beget a lying practice. A man cannot have an erroneous belief without by-and-bye having an erroneous           life. I believe the one thing naturally begets the other. Keep near God's truth; keep near his word; keep the head           right, and especially keep your heart right with regard to truth, and your feet will not go far astray.               Again, I hold also that this attainment to the knowledge of all truth is very desirable for the usefulness which it           will give us in the world at large. We should not be selfish: we should always consider whether a thing will be           beneficial to others. A knowledge of all truth will make us very serviceable in this world. We shall be skillful           physicians who know how to take the poor distressed soul aside, to put the finger on his eye, and take the scale           off for him, that heaven's light may comfort him. There will be no character, however perplexing may be its           peculiar phase, but we shall be able to speak to it and comfort it. He who holds the truth, is usually the most useful           man. As a good Presbyterian brother said to me the other day: "I know God has blessed you exceedingly in           gathering in souls, but it is an extraordinary fact that nearly all the men I knowwith scarcely an exceptionwho           have been made useful in gathering in souls, have held the great doctrines of the grace of God." Almost every man           whom God has blessed to the building up of the church in prosperity, and around whom the people have rallied,           has been a man who has held firmly free grace from first to last, through the finished salvation of Christ. Do not           you think you need have errors in your doctrine to make you useful. We have some who preach Calvinism all the           first part of the sermon, and finish up with Arminianism, because they think that will make them useful. Useful           nonsense!That is all it is. A man if he cannot be useful with the truth, cannot be useful with an error. There is           enough in the pure doctrine of God, without introducing heresies to preach to sinners. As far as I know, I never           felt hampered or cramped in addressing the ungodly in my life. I can speak with as much fervency, and yet not in           the same style as those who hold the contrary views of God's truth. Those who hold God's word, never need add           something untrue in speaking to men. The sturdy truth of God touches every chord in every man's heart. If we           can, by God's grace, put our hand inside man's heart, we want nothing but that whole truth to move him           thoroughly, and to stir him up. There is nothing like the real truth and the whole truth, to make a man useful.               II. Now, again, here is a DIFFICULTY SUGGESTED, and that isthat we require a guide to conduct us into           all truth. The difficulty is that truth is not so easy to discover. There is no man born in this world by nature who           has the truth in his heart. There is no creature that ever was fashioned, since the fall, who has a knowledge of           truth innate and natural. It has been disputed by many philosophers whether there are such things as innate ideas           at all; but is of no use disputing as to whether there are any innate ideas of truth. There are none such. There are           ideas of everything that is wrong and evil; but in usthat is our fleshthere dwelleth no good thing, we are born           in sin, and shapened in iniquity; in sin did our mother conceive us. There is nothing in us good, and no tendency to           righteousness. Then since we are not born with the truth, we have the task of searching for it. If we are to be blest           by being eminently useful as Christian men, we must be well instructed in matters of revelation; but here is the           difficultythat we cannot follow without a guide the winding paths of truth. Why this?               First, because of the very great intricacy of truth itself. Truth itself is no easy thing to discover. Those who           fancy they know everything and constantly dogmatise with the spirit of "We are the men, and wisdom will die with           us," of course see no difficulties whatever in the system they hold; but I believe, the most earnest student of           Scripture will find things in the Bible which puzzle him; however earnestly he reads it, he will see some mysteries           too deep for him to understand. He will cry out "Truth! I cannot find thee; I know not where thou art, thou art           beyond me; I cannot fully view thee." Truth is a path so narrow that two can scarce walk together in it; we usually           tread the narrow way in single file, two men can seldom walk arm in arm in the truth. We believe the same truth in           the main but we cannot walk together in the path, it is too narrow. The way of truth is very difficult. If you step           an inch aside on the right you are in a dangerous error, and if you swerve a little to the left you are equally in the           mire. On the one hand there is a huge precipice, and on the other a deep morass; and unless you keep to the true           line, to the breadth of a hair, you will go astray. Truth is a narrow path indeed. It is a path the eagle's eye hath not           seen, and a depth the diver hath not visited. It is like the veins of metal in a mine, it is often of excessive thinness,           and moreover it runneth not in one continued layer. Lose it once, and you may dig for miles and not discover it           again; the eye must watch perpetually the direction of the lode. Grains of truth are like the grains of gold in the           rivers of Australiathey must be shaken by the hand of patience, and washed in the stream of honesty, or the fine           gold will be mingled with sand. Truth is often mingled with error, and it is hard to distinguish it; but we bless God           it is said, "When the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth."               Another reason why we need a guide is, the invidiousness of error. It busily steals upon us, and, if I may so           describe our position, we are often like we were on Thursday night in that tremendous fog. Most of us were           feeling for ourselves, and wondering where on earth we were. We could scarcely see an inch before us. We came           to a place where there were three turnings. We thought we knew the old spot. There was the lamp-post, and now           we must take a sharp turn to the left; but not so. We ought to have gone a little to the right. We have been so           often to the same place, that we think we know every flag-stoneand there's our friend's shop over the way. It is           dark, but we think we must be quite right, and all the while we are quite wrong, and find ourselves half-a-mile out           of the way. Soit is with matters of truth. We think, surely this is the right path; and the voice of the evil one           whispers, "that is the way, walk ye in it." You do so, and you find to your great dismay, that instead of the path of           truth, you have been walking in the paths of unrighteousness and erroneous doctrines. The way of life is a           labyrinth; the grassiest paths and the most bewitching, are the farthest away from right; the most enticing, are           those which are garnished with wrested truths I believe there is not a counterfeit coin in the world so much like a           genuine one, as some errors are like the truth. One is base metal, the other is true gold; still in externals they differ           very little.               We also need a guide, because we are so prone to go astray. Why, if the path of heaven were as straight as           Bunyan pictures it, with no turning to the right hand or leftand no doubt it is,we are so prone to go astray,           that we should go to the right hand to the Mountains of Destruction, or to the left in the dark Wood of Desolation.           David says, "I have gone astray like a lost sheep." That means very often: for if a sheep is put into a field twenty           times, if it does not get out twenty-one times, it will be because it cannot; because the place is hurdled up, and it           cannot find a hole in the hedge. If grace did not guide a man, he would go astray, though there were hand-posts all           the way to heaven. Let it be written, "Miklat, Miklat, the way to refuge," he would turn aside, and the avenger of           blood would overtake him, if some guide did not, like the angels in Sodom, put his hand on his shoulders, and cry,           "Escape, escape, for thy life! look not behind thee; stay not in all the plain." These, then, are the reasons why we           need a guide.               III. In the third place, here is A PERSON PROVIDED. This is none other than God, and this God is none           other than a person. This person is "he, the Spirit," the "Spirit of truth;" not an influence or an emanation, but           actually a person. "when the Spirit of truth is come, he shall guide you into all truth." Now, we wish you to look at           this guide to consider how adapted he is to us.               In the first place, he is infallible; he knows everything and cannot lead us astray. If I pin my sleeve to another           man's coat, he may lead me part of the way rightly, but by-and-bye he will go wrong himself, and I shall be led           astray with him; but if I give myself to the Holy Ghost and ask his guidance, there is no fear of my wandering.               Again, we rejoice in this Spirit because he is ever-present. We fall into a difficulty sometimes; we say, "Oh, if           I could take this to my minister, he would explain it; but I live so far off, and am not able to see him." That           perplexes us, and we turn the text round and round and cannot make anything out of it. We look at the           commentators. We take down pious Thomas Scott, and, as usual he says nothing about it if it be a dark passage.           Then we go to holy Matthew Henry, and if it is an easy Scripture, he is sure to explain it; but if it is a text hard to           be understood, it is likely enough, of course, left in his own gloom; and even Dr. Gill himself, the most consistent           of commentators, when he comes to a hard passage, manifestly avoids it in some degree. But when we have no           commentator or minister, we have still the Holy Spirit; and let me tell you a little secret: whenever you cannot           understand a text, open your Bible, bend your knee, and pray over that text; and if it does not split into atoms and           open itself, try again. If prayer does not explain it, it is one of the things God did not intend you to know, and you           may be content to be ignorant of it. Prayer is the key that openeth the cabinets of mystery. Prayer and faith are           sacred picklocks that can open secrets, and obtain great treasures. There is no college for holy education like that           of the blessed Spirit, for he is an ever-present tutor, to whom we have only to bend the knee, and he is at our side,           the great expositor of truth.               But there is one thing about the suitability of this guide which is remarkable. I do not know whether it has           struck youthe Holy Spirit can "guide us into a truth." Now, man can guide us to a truth, but it is only the Holy           Spirit who can "guide us into a truth." "When he, the Spirit of truth, shall come, he shall guide you into"mark           that word"all truth." Now, for instance, it is a long while before you can lead some people to election; but when           you have made them see its correctness, you have not led them "into" it. You may show them that it is plainly           stated in Scripture, but they will turn away and hate it. You take them to another great truth, but they have been           brought up in a different fashion, and though they cannot answer your arguments, they say, "The man is right,           perhaps," and they whisperbut so low that conscience itself cannot hear"but it is so contrary to my prejudices,           that I cannot receive it." After you have led them to the truth, and they see it is true, how hard it is to lead them           into it! There are many of my hearers who are brought to the truth of their depravity, but they are not brought           into it, and made to feel it. Some of you are brought to know the truth that God keeps us from day to day; but           you rarely get into it, so as to live in continual dependence upon God the Holy Ghost, and draw fresh supplies           from him. The thing isto get inside it. A Christian should do with truth as a snail does with his shelllive inside           it, as well as carry it on his back, and bear it perpetually about with him. The Holy Ghost, it is said, shall lead us           into all truth. You may be brought to a chamber where there is an abundance of gold and silver, but you will be no           richer unless you effect an entrance. It is the Spirit's work to unbar the two leaved gates, and bring us into a truth,           so that we may get inside it, and, as dear old Rowland Hill said, "Not only hold the truth, but have the truth hold           us."               IV. Fourthly, here is; METHOD SUGGESTED: "He shall guide you into all truth." Now I must have an           illustration. I must compare truth to some cave or grotto that you have heard of, with wondrous stalactites hanging           from the roof, and others starting from the floor; a cavern, glittering with spar and abounding in marvels. Before           entering the cavern you inquire for a guide, who comes with his lighted flambeau. He conducts you down to a &nb

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