THE HOLY SPIRIT - THE COMFORTER
Reading: John 15:16-27
[a] During the past week, we have spoken much as the Holy Spirit of God as our COMFORTER!
[b] I believe also that many have proved that to be so during these days, as many of us have in days gone by.
[c] Who better to bring comfort in a time of grief, than the One Who Jesus actually terms as ‘THE COMFORTER’.
[d] How many people, in the past, and even this week have said to me, ‘The Lord is lifting me up, giving me strength and comfort."
[e] When Jesus uses the term ‘Comforter’, He does mean that of course, but the Greek word He uses, ‘Paraklétos’, has a variety of additional means, all of which apply so well to the work of God the Spirit.
ONE CALLED ALONGSIDE - TO HELP
[a] In The Living Bible, Romans 8:26 says, "The Holy Spirit helps us with our daily problems and in our praying."
[b] We need never feel alone and isolated again! What is it that cliché says, "Nothing can come to me today, that I, and the Lord can’t handle together."
[c] A while ago, when we were out, I took ill, and felt very dizzy and faint. So I did what any man would do, I called for my wife, to come alongside, so I could lean on her.
[d] There would be something wrong with us, if we did not experience those times of spiritual dizziness and weakness. IT IS AT SUCH TIMES THAT WE NEED THE HOLY SPIRIT TO COME ALONGSIDE, AND GIVE US SUPPORT. WE CAN LEAN ON HIM!
[a] During our training to be officers, we had PASTORAL COUNSELLING CLASSES.
[b] During these classes, it was stressed very strongly, that the counsellor is NOT there to tell someone what to do! That is not the counsellor’s job!
[c] The whole idea is that through talking, you help them to see their situation more clearly, and help them towards making their OWN decisions. You are there to give them support to do that, even if you disagree with what they decide - the decision is THEIRS to make!
[d] The Holy Spirit is there to do just that, to guide us, to enlighten us, to help us towards self revelation, to show us what God would want.
[e] He gently tries to guide us in the right direction, but leaves the decisions completely up to us - He never tries to force us into His way!
[f] Another important quality of the counsellor is their trustworthiness, and confidentiality! Without that, no-one would confide in them, and they would be unable to do their work!
After all, who would trust telling their deepest secrets to someone who kept confidences as well as a tea strainer held water.
[g] Who could be trusted more than the Holy Spirit of God? There is nothing we could tell Him of which He is not already aware!
Don’t we so often say, "A burden shared is a burden halved."
It’s especially true when we share it with God.
[a] Another shade of meaning is that of an ADVOCATE - a lawyer!
[b] The same Greek word, ‘Paraklétos’, is used to refer to Jesus in 1 John 2:1, to show us that He ‘pleads our cause’ with the Father. He is our MEDIATOR.
[c] There is a very real sense in which this applies to the holy Spirit as well. When we pray - we are FINITE beings, communicating with the INFINITE! It is but natural and inevitable that we will face problems with trying to express ourselves in prayer.
[d] In Romans 8:26-27, in the Philips translation we read,
"The Spirit also helps us in our present limitations. For example, we do not know how to pray worthily, but His Spirit within us is actually praying for us in those agonizing longings which cannot find words. He Who knows the heart’s secrets, understands the Spirit’s intention as He prays according to God’s will for those who love Him."
HE INTERCEEDS ON OUR BEHALF!
In fact ‘INTERCESSOR’ is one of the other shades of meaning of the Greek word.
[a] Yet something else it means is ‘STRENGTHENER’.
[b] In Ephesians 3:16 we read that we are "strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man."
[c] How often have we failed miserably because we have tried to do a spiritual work in our own strength??
How often have we failed because we have tried to stand against the devil in our own strength??
[d] A little earlier I said that when we felt spiritually weak, the Spirit came alongside, and we could lean on Him.
[e] His power and His strength are there to be utilized.
[f] So often, when I have spoken of witness and standing up for the Lord, Christians have said to me, "But I don’t feel strong enough."
[g] I normally say, "That is wonderful!" Because if WE feel weak, then we can only do it in His strength! In 2 Corinthians 12:9 it says,
"My strength is made perfect in weakness."
WE MUST LEAVE OUR OWN INHABITIONS AND ALLOW HIS STRENGTH TO FILL US!!
[h] Remember the words of the Apostle Paul,
"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."
HIS STRENGTH, THROUGH THE HOLY SPIRIT, IS PROVIDED FOR EACH AND EVERY CHRISTIAN.
[a] It is unfortunately, only when we come to the end of ourselves and our own abilities, that we turn to God.
[b] But the Holy Spirit is our ‘STANDBY’!! Our emergency provision!!
That’s yet another meaning to the word.
I think that brings us full circle to what I said in the beginning about our dear bereaved friends being able to find all they would need in the Comforter this week.
[c] I am told that some boats have an emergency ‘standby’ engine.
Hospitals have ‘standby’ generators, in case main power fails, and they will cut straight in, so that operations can continue, and essential machines will continue to function.
[d] Many of us keep a ‘standby’ tin of petrol in the boot.
A number of years ago, we were travelling back from London late at night, and were flagged down by someone who had run out of petrol.
Fortunately, I had my ‘standby’ in the boot, and he was much relieved.
[e] THE HOLY SPIRIT IS OUR SECURITY, OUR STANDBY WHEN THINGS GO WRONG.
[a] I trust that when you read or hear of the holy Spirit as our COMFORTER that some of these thoughts will come back to your mind and bring you a surge of excitement and blessing, when you think of all that it really means.
73 IN HAPPINESS & HARMONY