Perhaps His most familiar name is The Comforter, but the Holy Spirit does so much more for the believer than just ease our sorrows. In this in-depth study Stephen gives us incredible insight into the most mysterious member of the Godhead.
Healing for Troubled Hearts
Part IV: John 14:16-31; 16:5-7
“Our Surprising Companion”
John 14:16-31; 16:5-7
If you are new to our fellowship, I want to welcome you to an audience of newcomers.
What God is in the process of doing here at Colonial is stretching, developing and incorporating new people like never before. We're squeezed in everywhere from the parking lot to the nursery. If you have come to Colonial in the past 12 months, would you raise your hand. We just wanted to know who to blame.
Isn't that an exciting sight.
Listen I can remember being on part time staff asa seminary student in a church that was in the process of dying. It had a beautiful 600 seat sanctuary with theater style seats and a wonderful history. When I was there we averaged 95 in worship and I can remember the nursery coordinator lamenting the fact that there were no toddlers or babies in the nursery. Here they multiply like rabbits. There were no young couples joining the church. I remember that.
Between the worhsip hours, I somtimes walk around our tiny building. You can't imagine my thrill at seeing classrooms filled with laughing, learning, crying children...sometimes a volunteer worker is crying too. To see classrooms bulging with growing, developing, fellowshipping adults. . .then to slip in here during the music and hear a 500 voice choir singing praise. . .you don't know how thrilled I am.
If you're new here it isn't our desire, it isn't my passion to to be big...but it is our passionate desire to make room. . .and to be effective in teaching and reaching and discipling and encouraging and equipping people like you for the sake of Jesus Christ.
You also need to know that we're in the process of studying through the entire Bible.
We're alternating between the Old and New Testaments. So far we've made it up through the book of Second Samuel in the Old Testament, we're currently midway through the Gospel of John. When we finish John's Gospel we'll return to the Old Testament for a years study of I & II Kings; the biographies of King Solomon, the prophets Elijah, Elisha and others.
I recently re-caluculated our speed of study, and at our current rate we will wrap up the Book of Revelation sometime around my 50th birthday. Now that's an exciting thought. We'd better get moving, or I'll be 51.
We left the band of troubled disciples last Lord's day, in the process of being encouraged.
Look again at verse one of John chapter 14. Let not your heart be troubled; keep on believing in God, and keep on believeing in Me. Now skip down to verse 27. Peace I laeve with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let if be afraid (fearful.)
These two statemetents are like the front and back covers on a book. And everything He's said to them in between are pages of encouragement and healing.
You remember. . .
He gave them encouragement by telling them about their future home in heaven.
verse 2. "In my Fathers house are many rooms, if it were not so, I would have told you, I go to prepare a place for you..."
In Christ's day, a grown son found his bride and then brought her back to his father's house - well, Jesus, the Son has saved us who've believed and calls us His bride. He's taking us home to His father where a wing has already been added. We're all going to live under one roof, so to speak...and that's encouraging!
Then He told them about their present, ongoing relationship through prayer.
verse 13. And whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
Like a child learning to color ing his coloring book - he learns to choose the appropriate colors and stay in the lines. So those of us who are the children of God, we are learning to pray. We ahve to learn to pray in Jesus' name - that is, praying a prayer that He would be willing to sign His name to - not just a robotic ending to prayer; that's the appropriate color. Then like a child who learns to color within the lines, so we learn to pray within the guidelines of praying for God's glory and will to be accomplished on earth, not our will to be accomplished in heaven.
And when we pray like that, God will never leave us empty handed nor will we remain unchanged...and that's encouraging.
Finally, for our discussion today, as we wrap up this series in chapter 14 there is the encouragment of a constant companion through life.
Let's pick our study back up where we left off with verse 15. If you love Me,
you will (in the original tense) keep on keeping My commandments.
Jesus is telling His disciples that a person who'se on his way to heaven, who is praying for God's will to be done on earth will be a disciple who strives toward obedience.
Authentic disciples are revealed by active obedience.
But wait a second! Can you imagine anything more discouraging than having the memory of the Lord telling you, "If you love me, you will obey me." Knowing that within the next 24 hours, they will become overwhelemd with fear and panic and their response will be to defect.
When the pressure of Gethsemane hit home. . .when the cruelty of Golgatha's hill
came into view - all but John deserted Him.
We would be no different. While we would like to picture ourselves as the Apostle John, who was the only one to walk up Calvary's hill with a weeping Mary on his arm, we are more like Peter, who would make a promise we cannot keep, swing a sword at the enemy we never hurt, and then run for the hills; or we'd be like Thomas who would retreat and say, "I'm going to need a little more proof about this whole thing."
Basically, Jesus has just told them to do something that, on their own, they would never be able to do. Jesus said, "Keep MY commandments" Put into action everything I've taught you . . . become what I want you to become."
That's why this next passage is so important.and so encouraging...here's hope, for them and us!
16. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever
17. that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, becuase it does no behold Him or know Him, but you know Him becuase He abides with you, and wil be in you.
18. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
19. After a little while the world iwll behold Me no more; but you will behold Me; becuase I live, you shall live also.
20. In that day you shsall know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.
21. He who has My commandments and kee them, he it is who loves Me; and he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I wil lvoe him, and will disclose Myself to him."
22. Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, "Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to us, and not to the world?" In other words, why arent' you going to set up your kingdom and rule as Sovereign Messiah now?
23. Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will lvoe him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with him.
What kind of an answer is that? Well, it's interesting that the same word "abode" is here and also in verse 2. "In my Father's house are many mone - abodes, rooms." In other words, While the Kingdom will come at a later time when Christ will visibly rule on earth; in the meantime, He will invisibly rule in you. You will be his mansion.
In other words, one day you will live with Him in the kindgom, at the moment, He is going to live in you - your body will become His palace.
25. These things I have spoken to you, while abiding with you.
26. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.
NOW, if you're like most people, the Holy Spirit is either neglected, ignored, misunderstood, or just overlooked. Like Aurthur Pink who once wrote, "It isn't that we think the wrong thoughts about the Holy Spirit, we just never think of Him at all".
And I would add, when we do think about Him, we probably a little confused.
I was standing in the checkout lane doing what I love to do - reading the headlines of all the tabloids - miracle diet - How to eat more and weigh less. Mom has worlds smallest baby - the picture shows a woman holding a fully clothed baby between her forefinger and thumb. Michael Jackson's marriage a sham. I'd better not say anything more.
But this time my attention was caught by a booklet entitled "Modern ghost stories." I picked it up and began to leaf through it - stories of creaking stairs, frightening appearances, screams from the attic.
Is it any wonder that to our naturally superstitious minds, talk of invisible ghosts and talk of the Holy Ghost have clouded our thinking and tainted our imaginations.
Is it any wonder why we're troubled?
I want to re-introduce to you this morning, the Holy Spirit.
Before we go any further, one truth needs to be understood as we are introduced to the Biblical description of the Holy Spirit.
An introductory truth: The Holy Spirit is not a power, He is a person; to be exact, the third person of the godhead.
Much of the confusion about the Holy Spirit revolves around the lack of understanding this one axiom.
You see, if we think of the Holy Spirit as a mysterious power, our thoughts will be, "How can I get more of the Holy Spirit."
Part of theproblem is that we've misinterpreted the passages of scriputre that use the words, "filled with the spirit" - and in our English minds we think in terms of having a tank that is three quarters full of the Spirit, how can I get more of Him.
What Paul meant was not that you can get a little bit of the Spirit, he is saying we are to be filled (plerousthe), that is dominated, controled by the Spirit. As a Christian, wether you knew it or not, wether you felt anything or not - you have all of the Spirit within you.
You see, the question is not, "How much of the Holy Spirit do you have?" The question is, "How much of you does the Holy Spirit have?"
Now back to this primary truth. . .
How do we know the God the Holy Spirit is a distinct person, like God the Father and God the Son are distinct persons within the Godhead?
-He can be sinned against. Paul commanded, "Grieve not the Holy Spirit" Now you can't grieve an impersonal, unfeeling force. You can't sin against some impersonal power; but you can sin against a person. A power is not hurt or dissappointed, but a person is!
-He is the one whose role includes the selection and distribution of spritual gifts. Paul wrote in I Cor. 12. "Now there are a variety of gifts, but the same Spirit...one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as he wills." Now remember, while the the Holy Spirit will represent and impart the empowering of God for ministry, let's never forget, that while He may impart power, He is a person.
-Divine attributes are ascribed to the Spirit. John here in 14:26 calls Him the Holy Spirit. He is called omniscient in I Cor. 2; omnipotente in Luke 1; omnipresent in Ps. 139. The Holy Spirit is no less divine that Christ or the Father - He is equally God!
In fact, the name God is indirectly given to Him. The clearest example is Acts 5 where Peter says to Ananias, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit...you have not lied to men but to God."
-The Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf. Paul writes in Romans 8, "Likewise, the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself interces for us with groanings too deep for words. and he who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is..." A power does not speak nor does it have a mind. The Holy Spirit speaks on our behalf.
-We are promised the Spirit would descend just as Jesus promised to ascend.
Hold your finger here and turn over a page to chapter 16:5.
But now I am going to Him who sent Me; and noe of you asks Me, "Where are you going?"
6. But becuase I have said these things to you sorrow has filled your heart.
7. But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper shall not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him (not "it" to you)
If the Spirit were only a power, the promise would be this, "I am going to be taken from you, but if I go, I will wend "it", I will send something. . .no! I will send HIM!"
Jesus said, "Just as I'm going to go up, the Spirit is going to come down.
And he said an amazing thing here in verse 7 to some very troubled disciples: "But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away!"
Has it ever occured to you that Jesus Christ said it would be to our advantage that He no longer by visibly present, so that the Spirit could be invisibly present? That doesn't sound like an advantage to me.
But it is . . . and in the 14th chapter of John's gospel, Jesus tells us three reasons why.
ADVANTAGE #1 - The Holy Spirit will be our encouraging, everpresent helper.
John 14:16. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever.
Now your verseion may use the word "comforter" - and in our minds we have the piciture of a warm comforter on a cold winter night. We think of Linus with his blanket, trailing along behind for security.
Our English translation, carried over from it's latin heritage, eventually lost the strength of these two latin words cum and fortis - comfortis. Cum meant "with" and fortis meant "to fortify, to strengthen." In this light the Holy Spirit is, as one man wrote, "A ramrod down your backbone to make you stand for the truth; to make you take the right path even though it's the minoirty side; the comforter gives you the strength to stand up in face of something that is vile and evil."
The Greek word selected here is the word paraclete - which means, "Called to one's side, especially to one's aid. The word has not only aa strong, challenging, fortifying side, but an encouraging, uplifiting side.
For we have just been told to accomplish mission impossible - obey His commands; make disciples, teach the body, use our spiritual gifts. . ." Left alone we will hide out in the hills - with the Spirit's enabling, we'll be able through Him to pull it off!
One rather ancient lexicon adds a thought as it defined paraclet this way; "One who pleads a cause before a judge, a counsel for the defense; someone who studies our case, hears our testimony, and then expresses this, on our behalf to Another." Sound familiar!
The Holy Spirit is our advocate who intercedes on our behalf - why? Becuase we don't even know how to communicate to the Father as we ought.
Paul said in Romans 8, the Holy Spirit, communicates in our behalf. Some have wrongly suggestested that Paul is referring to a special language whereby we really get through to God. Oh no - the point of Romans 8 is that we're not even praying - but the Holy Spirit is communicating to the Father just what we need, in a language we never hear.
Bill Yates pastors in North Carolina. His father was the Chief of Police in a littel town and it was the job of whicever policeman was on duty to answer the telephone at the firestation - then blow the whistle to send all the volunteers running. Well, one day, just as he had come on duty, the telephone rang. He picked up the phone and said, "Fire Department." A woman on the other end of the line frantically said, "Send the fire truck!" Then the caller immediately slammed the phone down. He stood there stunned, no knowing what to do. In a few minutes the phone rang again. Quickly, he picked it up and said, "Fire Department". Again the woman said, "Where's the fire truck, send the fire truck now." And then immediately hung up. Realizing that someone's house was possibly at stake, he ran outside and scanned the sky to see if he could see smoke and therefore send the fire trucks in that direction. While outside he also came up with a plan as to how to keep the lady from hanging up so quickly if she called back. Sure enough the phone rang again and he went running inside. Picking up the phone, this time he asked, "Where's the fire?" And the lady on the other end yelled, "It's in the kitchen." And hung up again.
Truth is, we are often in panic mode - we need answers, we need help, we need rescuing, we need reassurance - we need things we don't even know we need. Left alone, our pryaer are about as sesnible as that womans - we're not sure waht to say - the details come out jumbled, our feelings overwhelm us. . .and all we can do is say, "Oh Lord, send help."
And the Holy Spirit takes over from there! Now that's quite an advantage!
ADVANTAGE #2 - The Holy Spirit will be our living, constant companion.
Notice chapter 14:17. That is the Spriti of truth, whom the world cannot receive, becuase it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him becuase He abides with you, and (future tense) will be in you!
It isn't simply that the Holy Spirit is close to us, but actually in us; we don't pray a long time hoping He'll finally listen in - He's already waiting on every word. We don't have to have some unusual exerience to get more of Him. That is a distortion of the reality that NOW at this very moment all of the Holy Spirit is within us.
By the way we could make a Biblical case for the fact all three persons of the Godhead dwell within the believer.
In fact, notcie the interchange between Christ and the Spirit in a very precious phrase:
v. 18. I will not leave you as orphans
; I will come to you. Notice the interchange of Christ and the Spirit indwelling the believer. 19. After a little while the wordld will behold Me no more; but you will behold Me; becuase I live, you shall live aslo.
20. In that day you shall know that I am in My Father, and you inMe, and I in you.
Karl Barth, a rather famous theologian, was on a streetcare one day in Basel, Switzerland, where he lectured. A tourist to the city climbed on and sat down next to Barth. The two men started chatting with each other. "Are you new to the city?" Barth asked. "Yes" said the tourist. "Is there anything you would particularly like to see in this city?" Barth asked. The tourist said, "Yeis, I'd love to meet the famous theologian Karl Barth. Do you know where he lives?" Barth replied, "Well as a matter of fact I do. I give him a shave every single morning." The tourist got the adress and then exited quickly, delighted. He went back to his hotel thinking to himself, "I met Karl Barth's barber today."
He didn't know the privilege that had been his - he had been with the theologian.
The truth is, whatever you do, wherever you go, God, the Holy Spirit goes too. Not just next to you, but inside of you.
That's not only encouraging but it's a rather convicting thought as well. You, in affect, put Him through whatever you do.
What movie did you watch on television last night. . .you realize the Holy Spirit watched it with you. Young person, what'd you do on your date this past weekend. . .you ever think that God went with you. Whatever you go through, God goes through - you ride the bus - He rides the bus within you; whatever you watch, God watches, whatever you say, God listens. . .and whenever you sin, He must suffer through it.
Ladies and Gentlemen, there is no more profound motive for purity than the fact that God the Holy Spirit has chosen take up residence inside of you.
Hold your finger in John's Gospel and turn to I CORINTHIANS 6
This is the point Paul is making v. 18"Flee immorality. . . 19. Don't you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own; for you have been bought with a price; therefore, glorify God in your body." I Cor. 6:18-20
The word translated temple is a unique Greek word. One Greek word for temple refers to the outer courtyard; yet another Greek word refers to the inner shrine or the holy of holies. When Paul said, "You body is the temple of the Holy Spirit," he used the second word which specificlally refers to the place where God dwelt in the Old Testament tabernacle. This means that God's presence has moved from the Old Testament holy of holies to the new testament body of every single believer.
Now that your bodies is God's holy of holies, just how and what will you use it?
Go back to John's Gospel now and notice the last part of verse 14:17 again. 17b. But you know Him becuase He abides with you and will be in you. Before Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was with the disciples, after Pentecost, the Holy Spirit will be in the disciples.
Imagine that - your body is the palace of God Himself.
Becuase of that very fact, the next advantage makes even more meaning.
ADVANTAGE #3 - The Holy Spirit will be our amazing, illuninating teacher.
Jesus Christ, on the eve of His departure knew that He had so much more to say and to teach, but the disciples weren't ready for it. Judging from the interruptions we have already examined, those of Thomas Philip and Judas, the thrust of what Jesus had already taught them was not even clear!
They weren't anticipating the resurrection, were they?
They didn't know anything about the nature of the church did they?
They certainly didn't understand their worldwide mission did they?
When you think about it, they didn't really have much information to go on did they?
They are like 1st graders being bgiven a college graduates job - they are prepared!
So the question remains, what advantage would there be to the fact that Jesus wouldn't be physically present teaching his disciples, but instead the holy Spirit would be invisibly present teaching His disciples.
Again, initially, that doesn't sound advantagous to me!
Let me explain it this way - if Jesus Christ were physically present with us today - that would be exciting wouldn't it? In fact, I wouldn't be up here right now, that's really exciting isn't it? You're not supposed to nod on that one. However, if He were here physically with us, that means that he could only be with us - not the church in Raleigh or Charlotte. In fact, if he were teaching in room 102 that would be exciting to that Sunday school class, but that also means he couldn't be teaching in room 105.
Ahhh...but the Spirit of God, through the written word can now teach every adult believer in room 102 and 105 and in Raliegh and Charlotte, and China and Hungary; at the same time! No one's left out. . .
The Spirit of God who would bring to the minds of these apostles the words and works of Jesus Christ, so that they could write them down by means of inspritation; now promises to teach us through this word by means of illumination
As Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3, "All scirpture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable...
for teaching - that tells you what to believe
for reproof - this tells you where you are wrong;
for correction - this tells you what is right
for training - this shows you how to do what is right
That the disciple may be entirely equipped for every good service.
You see, the Holy Spirit who inspired the scirptures through them, now clarifies the scriptures to our hearts and lives so that we can be taught at any time; in any location, what to believe and how to behave.
Whats the THE NET RESULT of all of this? Super+natural peace.
Notice how Jesus comes full circle in his encouragement. Verse 27. Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you, Let not
your heart be troubled, nor let if be fearful/afraid.
To us, the word peace oftne refers to the absence of war or trouble. But the Biblical idea of peace here refers to wholeness, completeness, security.
In the world, peace is something you hope for or word for; but to the Christian, peace is a gift - look again, "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you."
It's his gift to us who enjoy a relationship with the Son as His bride, a relationship with the Father through prayer, and a relationsip with the Spirit who indwells us.
And this peace which elludes the world, is our wonderful reality.
Ralph Barton, a nationally syndicated cartoonist wrote a suicide note in which he expressed his lack of peace - "I have had few difficulties, many friends, great successes; I have visited great countires of the world, gone from wife to wife, from house to house; but I am fed up with inventing devices to fill up 24 hours of the day." He had everything but peace!
Psychologist William Marston asked three thousand people, "What have you to live for?" He was shocked to discover that ninety four percent were simply enduring the present while they waited for the future, waited for something to happen, waited for "next year," waited for a "better time," waited for "tomorrow".
Frustrated, troubled hearts - the world is filled with them - and nothing will satisfy except this supernatural peace.
Troubling circumstances? Yes Painful trials? Yes But in it all - peace. How?!
It comes from knowing our future home is in heaven; it comes from our present privilege of prayer, in the name of Jesus and for the glory of God; it comes from walking in step with our constant companion - the Holy Spirit.
This supernatural peace brings healing to our troubled hearts.