Last week we heard about Christ the Perfect High Priest and Sacrifice, who, after offering the perfect once-for-all sacrifice on the Cross, sat down in the presence of the Father knowing that His job was finally and fully done. Nothing more to do, and never a need to go back to it. Done! God’s people forgiven, perfected and sanctified.
We also saw last week that the Spirit speaks to us to affirm this truth of being forgiven, perfected and sanctified in Christ. And it is this we will look further at today – the role of the Holy Spirit.
Our reading from John calls the Holy Spirit two things.
- First, the Advocate or Comforter sent from the Father in the Name of Jesus. Sent by the Trinity. The Greek word is Paraclete and it is bigger than English can cope with.
It means one who is a legal advocate, counsel for defence, an intercessor, comforter and generally a helper. But the actual root of the Greek is to: “Come and stand beside.” The Spirit is one who will come and stand beside you, shoulder to shoulder, to encourage you and argue for you.
- The second is the Spirit of Truth who will teach us. Later John 16 says the Spirit will lead us into all Truth. Earlier in John echoing the Old Testament, the work of the Spirit was to take out hearts of stone and give hearts of flesh. Holy Spirit gives a new heart that wants to do what God wants.
This is why Jesus can say: “If you love me you will do what I say – follow my commandments.” The Holy Spirit teaches AND gives you a heart to learn it and do it. Teaching a heart of stone is a waste of time. Teaching a Spirit filled heart of flesh – much more productive!
The Spirit is the One who stands with us, bringing Comfort and Truth. What does that mean and why is it important?
The context of this section of John is “Being in the world” and that this is different from “Being with / in Christ”. Later it talks of the ruler of the world – which is the Devil, who is a liar and the Father of Lies. This clear divide between the things of the world and truth of God, helps explain what comes next.
The world can be hostile to the things of God and the People of God, and to stand against this hostility needs God’s strength within us.
The world lies to us and draws us away from God. Satan can tempt and lie – and he is really good at it, no doubt!
So, in this light, when the Spirit is said to be our Comforter Who Leads Us Into All Truth, is this simply giving us more head knowledge to fight lies, or something more than that?
Of course, it is something more!
- What is the Truth of Christ? At its core it is what we have heard over the last three weeks. Jesus is the God/Man, the High Priest and Perfect Sacrifice, who is sole source of perfection, healing, sanctification and relationship with God. It is life changing, not just facts.
The Bible tells us that this truth is counter cultural – Paul says many will see it as foolish and offensive. But it IS the source of life for us.
- How is that life changing truth made real? By the Spirit making us a new creation with a new heart. Think how radical that is. In our world, people do not like being told that they are wrong. Remember what I have said before – the world believes:
- Follow your heart.
- Be true to yourself.
The Gospel says unless you have been changed by the Spirit, this is the LAST thing you do! Why? You have a dead heart of stone, that has no interest in the things of God. But by the Holy Spirit living in us, and giving us new hearts, the source of life and truth now lives in you, and so one can discern and trust what your heart says.
This then puts you outside the world – which is uncomfortable and troubling. That is why we need the peace and strength of God – which Jesus promises to us here. We are not alone.
The reading ends with a strange thing – Rise. Let us be on our way. Do you know where they are going to? Gethsemane to meet the soldiers, and for Jesus to be arrested and eventually taken to the Cross. These are timely words from Jesus for the Disciples.
Once final thing. The end of the reading says the Ruler of the World is coming, but he has NO POWER over Christ. Therefore, if we are IN Christ, then he has no claim on us either. He will try and lie and convince you otherwise, but he has no claim over those who are in Christ. How do we remain and stay IN Christ? By having the Spirit in us.
- You cannot be in Christ, and not have the Spirit.
- You cannot have the Spirit and not be in Christ.
The question for us and for prayer is: Are you in Christ?
- If you are not, and want to be, come and speak to me. We can pray that God would open you to His Spirit and give you the new heart that is the gateway to being IN Christ.
- And if you are, do you want to be deeper in Christ and in the Spirit?
- If you do not have peace, come and pray for peace.
- Lastly, if you have lies attacking you and you want prayer about that, come up and ask