Sometimes it is hard to follow Jesus. Sometimes I envy those first disciples who actually met Jesus face to face! They heard his miracles and heard his teaching. They walked with Him and talked with Him for three whole years! Compared to that God can seem so far away!
But then I imagine how those same disciples would have felt when they finally realised that Jesus wasn’t going to be with them any longer. They would feel completely lost, abandoned, orphans! So on the night before He died Jesus made some wonderful promises to His disciples – promises which are just as much for us to claim!
“I will ask the Father and He will give you another Helper, who will stay with you forever. John 14:16.
Helper, Paraclete, Counsellor, Comforter, Advocate – one who comes alongside to help and comfort and strengthen.
ANOTHER of the same kind – another one like Jesus, continuing the work of Jesus from INSIDE our lives. The Father is God above us. Jesus Christ is Emmanuel, God with us. The Holy Spirit is God INSIDE us. Here is the miracle of Pentecost – God the Holy Spirit LIVING IN US!
V 17 , for he lives with you and will be in you
V 20 I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you
v. 23 and we will come to him and make our home with him.
GOD IS INSIDE US – THE HOLY SPIRIT IS INSIDE US – Jesus is inside us!!!
We are even closer to God than Adam and Eve were when God walked beside them in the Garden of Eden. In Christ we have gained even more than Adam ever lost by sinning.
We are even closer to God than the disciples were when they followed Jesus and listened to Him and ate with Him in Galilee. Because God the Holy Spirit is INSIDE us to be our Helper!
And there are at least FOUR areas in which the Holy Spirit wants to be our Helper.
1. HELPING US TO KNOW JESUS
It can be hard to follow Jesus. God can seem so far away. So impossible to see and hear. So hard to believe in. What a difference it makes to know that GOD IS INSIDE US!
“I will ask the Father and He will give you another Helper, who will stay with you forever. He is the Spirit who reveals the truth about God.” (John 14:16-17)
John 14:15-18, 23. JOHN 14:15 “If you love me, you will obey what I command. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counsellor to be with you for ever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
It is in the person of the Holy Spirit that the Risen Christ returns to believers. He is our Counsellor, our Comforter, our HELPER. The Spirit as Helper represents the Risen Jesus Christ in the world and He is the personal presence of Jesus in our lives!
John 16:12-15 12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.
It is the Holy Spirit who reveals Jesus to us and helps us to know Jesus.
At the Christian Resources Exhibition last week I was talking to a man about lighting. He supplies spotlights for churches. With our lights, you can see what you want to illuminate, but you won’t be able to see where the light is coming from.
The Holy Spirit’s role is to be the hidden floodlight shining on the Savior. It is as if the Spirit stands behind us, throwing light over our shoulder on to Jesus who stands facing us. The Spirit’s message to us is never, “Look at me; listen to me; come to me; get to know me”, but always, “Look at him, and see his glory; listen to him and hear his word; go to him and have life; get to know him and taste his gift of joy and peace.” The Spirit’s role is to bring us to Christ and to reveal Christ to us.
It is the Holy Spirit who brings us new birth and gives us eternal life and makes us God’s children.
Rom 8:15-16 15 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “ Abba , Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.
That new relationship with God is at the heart of what it means to have eternal life, life in all its fullness. The Holy Spirit helps us in our relationship with God. He helps us to know Jesus better in at least two ways:
The Spirit helps us in understanding the Bible
2 Peter 1:20-21 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
we need the Spirit who inspired the Scriptures to help us understand the scriptures
and the Spirit helps us in prayer
Romans 8:26-27. 26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.
It is even easier for us to know God than it was for those first disciples before Pentecost, because GOD IS INSIDE US.
2. HELPING US TO BE LIKE JESUS
It can be hard to become like Jesus. In the daily struggle against the world, the flesh and the devil, it is so easy to give in to temptation and so hard to show the kind of love and forgiveness God shows towards us. What a difference it makes to know that GOD is inside us! It is the work of the Holy Spirit to change us into the image of Christ!
“All of us, then, reflect the glory of the Lord with uncovered faces; and that same glory, coming from the Lord, who is the Spirit, transforms us into his likeness in an ever greater degree of glory.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)
The Spirit “metamorphoses” us into the image of Christ. He is the HOLY Spirit and His work is to make us holy too. That process is called “purification” or “sanctification” depending on which book you read. Oswald Chambers “Sanctification is not something our Lord does in me; sanctification is himself in me.”
The Spirit helps us to avoid doing wrong Ephesians 4:30-32
30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
John Wesley’s Standard of Christian Living: “A Methodist is one who has the love of God shed abroad in his heart by the Holy Ghost given unto him; one who loves the Lord his God with his heart, mind, soul, and strength. He rejoices evermore, prays without ceasing, and in everything is full of love to all mankind, and is purified from envy, malice, wrath, and every unkind affection.”
It is the work of the Holy Spirit to help us to turn away from sin and evil. And then the Holy Spirit also helps us to do what is right, bringing the fruit of the Spirit
Galatians 5: 22-23. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control.
So the Holy Spirit comes to develop the character of Christ in us.
Andrew Murray – “You can only have as much of the Spirit’s power as you are prepared to have of His holiness”. Becoming holy is a lifelong process, and it isn’t completed until we get to heaven. There’s no one overwhelming experience of the Spirit that makes us completely holy instantly in this life. In this process of sanctification there are the two sides working side by side – God’s transforming power and our ongoing repentance. But it is the Holy Spirit who gives us the grace to repent.
So we don’t have to get depressed and discouraged and defeatist about becoming more like Jesus. WE HAVE GOD INSIDE US!
3. HELPING US TO SERVE JESUS
We know how weak and feeble we are. We have so little to offer God – how can we possibly continue with Christ’s work of saving the world. What a difference it makes to know that GOD is inside us! The Spirit equips us to serve Jesus.
1 Cor 12:7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.
EVERY CHRISTIAN is equipped by the Holy Spirit to serve God in one way or another. Whether by teaching or serving, by gifts of prophecy or even miracles, GOD IS INSIDE US to help us do His will and bring glory to Jesus.
4. HELPING US TO TELL OTHERS ABOUT JESUS
We ALL find it hard to share our faith with others! What a difference it makes to know that GOD is inside us!
“When the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will be filled with power, and you will be witnesses for me in Jerusalem, in all Judaea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
The Holy Spirit give us power to be witnesses for Jesus. Mind the Gap has been showing us ways we can share Jesus with the world which is lost without Him. We all need to claim the Spirit’s help in our evangelism and our witnessing all the time.
We can often feel so scared of speaking about God, telling our story. But we need to remember God is IN us. It is not us speaking! It is the Holy Spirit. God telling people about God. Through us!
Jesus said in Mark 13:10-11 10 And the gospel must first be preached to all nations. 11 Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit
Just like the Early church we can know the God’s power to be witnesses for Jesus. And the Holy Spirit Himself is the Unseen Witness, who is at work behind the scenes bringing other people to know and trust Jesus as Saviour and serve Him as Lord.
John 15:26-27 26 “When the Counsellor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me. 27 And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.
The Spirit testifies and we testify. GOD INSIDE US speaking out for Jesus!
We believe in the Holy Spirit – the Helper. The words of Lennon and Paul McCartney seem strangely appropriate. “Help I need somebody! Help, not just anybody! Help, you know I need someone. Help!”
Do you need help to know Jesus better? We all do! Do you need help to become more like Jesus? We all do! Do you need help to serve Jesus? We all do! Do you need help to tell others about Jesus? We all do! And God promises us this help through the work of the Holy Spirit, the Counsellor, the Comforter, the Helper.
In some ways the word “Helper” sounds too weak and wishy-washy to describe what the Spirit does. The word Comforter actually needs to be translated by a much more vigorous word. Jesus promised his followers that “The Strengthener” would be with them. The Strengthener. As somebody has said, “This promise is no lullaby for the fainthearted. It is a blood transfusion for courageous living.” This is GOD LIVING INSIDE US! So let’s all ask God to know more and more of the Holy Spirit’s Help.
Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me! Break me, melt me, mould me, fill me!
Spirit of the Living God – fall afresh on me!