#1 SERIES ON THE HOLY SPIRIT
"THE HOLY SPIRIT COMFORTS!"
TEXT: John 14:15-18, 25-27; 15:26; 16:7; 20:22
INTRO: Have you ever noticed the contrasts in our modern life? We live in a society that strongly works toward COMFORT!
· We make machines that do all the hard work so we can be comfortable...
· We work hours designed to give us a comfortable balance between work and play…
· We seek out furnishings for our homes that will enable us to be comfortable…
· We look for friends that we can be comfortable with…
· We heat and cool our homes with devices that make life comfortable in any season…
· We even choose our social gatherings around whether they feel comfortable to us…
· We even go to churches that we are comfortable with!
· We buy clothes that we feel comfortable in…
Why this drive for comfort? Because deep within we don’t have it! Yet, with all the effort we take to get comfortable we are the most restless society!!!
It is because we have failed to find the one thing that can really bring comfort to us ... the Holy Spirit, He is the comforter!
This is a major role of the Holy Spirit, to give us comfort in a tough life and to minister to us in such a way that even with hectic lifestyles or with troubles on all sides we can still experience Him as “The Comforter.”
PROP. SENT: The Bible teaches us that the Holy Spirit is our comforter, that He ministers help and peace to us.
I. COMFORTED WITH TRUTH 14:15-18; 15:26
A. Revelation -18
1. Obeying Jesus' commands are not always easy in a difficult and sinful world, they involve loving and giving in a world that can be draining!
a. Where are we to get the power to keep going, where do we find comfort as we give out to others!
b. Jesus adds here that He will ask His Father to send “another comforter” to help us, especially needed since He is soon to return to His Father in heaven!
2. Jesus' leaving would bring anxiety upon His disciples, how would they get along without Jesus, how would they know God's mind without His direction?
3. To this Jesus assures them that there is a plan ... "another" comforter was coming ... this meant someone JUST LIKE JESUS!
a. He would not leave them comfortless!
b. This new revelation was great news!
4. This new comforter is called the "Spirit of truth."
a. They would not be left to figure it all out by themselves; the Holy Spirit would be the revealer of truth.
b. They would not be left to their own intellect and will.
c. This work of the Spirit would primarily be through the Word of God, they would finally understand it and the Holy Spirit would reveal the truth of it!
d. Jesus adds here that the world would not understand His Word, they can't understand it without the Holy Spirit in their lives!
5. The Word of God is inspired by the Holy Spirit and revealed as truth by the Holy Spirit, this is the Word's power!
ILLUS: RABBI SLOSTOWSKI, A PROFESSOR OF THE TALMUD IN THE RABBINICAL SEMINARY AT TEL AVIV IN ISRAEL HATED THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. SO GREAT WAS HIS RESENTMENT THAT HE SHARPLY CRITICIZED A YOUNG JEWISH CONVERT READING A HEBREW NEW TESTAMENT. THE YOUNG MAN REPLIED BY GIVING HIM THE COPY ... THAT NIGHT THE RABBI, ALONE IN HIS ROOM, STAYED UP UNTIL THREE O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING READING ABOUT THE NAZARENE WHO CLAIMED TO BE THE MESSIAH. THE HOLY SPIRIT GUIDED HIM INTO ALL TRUTH AND LATER HE CONFESSED, “I HAVE ALREADY FOUND MORE THAN 200 PASSAGES OF THE NEW TESTAMENT THAT PROVE BEYOND A DOUBT THAT JESUS IS TRULY THE MESSIAH.” A NEW COMFORT GRASPED HIS HEART AS THE COMFORTER REVEALED JESUS AND THE TRUTH TO HIM! – SOURCE UNKNOWN
6. Indeed the Word of God cannot be understood apart from the work of the Holy Spirit, He must reveal the truth of God from its pages!
a. The starting point for many is when the Holy Spirit first awakens that understanding of the Word, creating the first sense of awareness of sin and the need of Christ.
b. Thus, those who have the Holy Spirit in their lives will see the work of the Spirit revealing the truth about God and man.
c. This truth of God's Word becomes clear to those who have the Spirit as we learn more and more about salvation!
ILLUS: LIKE THE RAID AT THE AIRPORT IN ENTEBBE, UGANDA BACK IN JULY, 1976. 103 JEWISH HOSTAGES HAD BEEN TAKEN BY TERRORISTS. THE JEWISH GOVERNMENT SENT A HIGHLY TRAINED FORCE TO RAID THE AIRPORT IN AN ATTEMPT TO RESCUE THEIR OWN PEOPLE. IT WAS THOUGHT TO BE IMPOSSIBLE AND RISKY, BUT WITHIN 15 MINUTES THEY HAD SUCCESSFULLY KILLED ALL 7 OF THE KIDNAPPERS AND FREED ALMOST ALL 103 JEWISH CITIZENS. ONLY 3 JEWISH HOSTAGES DIED, AND IN EACH CASE IT WAS THEIR OWN FAULT. THE SECRET TO THE SUCCESS WAS SIMPLE ... THE JEWISH RESCUERS SIMPLY MARCHED IN WHERE THE JEWISH HOSTAGES WERE ALL HELD AND YELLED IN YIDDISH "GET DOWN ON THE FLOOR." SINCE NONE OF THE TERRORISTS UNDERSTOOD YIDDISH, THEY DIDN'T KNOW WHAT WAS SAID, ALL THE JEWISH PEOPLE DID AND IMMEDIATELY THEY FELL TO THE FLOOR ... THE JEWISH RESCUERS SIMPLY SHOT EVERYONE STANDING UP STILL! 3 JEWS DIED BECAUSE 2 DIDN'T OBEY THE COMMAND, AND ONE STOOD UP TOO SOON. THOSE WITH THE REVELATION OF WHAT WAS SAID WERE SAVED, AND THOSE WHO DIDN'T UNDERSTAND WERE NOT! – SOURCE UNKNOWN
7. Jesus promised the presence of the Holy Spirit in His disciples’ lives would bring revelation of truth, truth that will guide, comfort, and save them!
B. Recall 15:26
1. Here Jesus defines that part of the work of the Spirit will be to recall God's Word to their hearts!
a. As mere men it would have been near impossible for them to remember everything that Jesus had taught them, it was voluminous!
b. The Holy Spirit would act in a way as to help them recall Jesus' Words ... to give them comfort about God's ways and His plans when they are faced with tough tests!
ILLUS: LIKE A YOUNG MAN NAMED STEVE WINGER FROM LUBBOCK, TEXAS. HE WAS TAKING A TOUGH COURSE IN LOGIC, AND THE CLASS AND TEACHER WERE WELL KNOWN FOR THE TOUGH EXAMS IN THIS SUBJECT. THE FINAL TEST HAD COME, ONE THAT WOULD COUNT A GREAT DEAL TOWARD THEIR FINAL GRADE. THE PROFESSOR AS A GESTURE OF SOME HELP SAID THAT EACH STUDENT WOULD BE PERMITTED TO BRING IN A SINGLE 8 X 11½" SHEET WITH AS MUCH INFORMATION THAT THEY CAN PUT ON THAT ONE SHEET FOR HELP. THE DAY OF THE LOGIC EXAM CAME, EACH STUDENT CAME WITH THEIR ONE SHEET OF PAPER, CRAMMED WITH WRITING ALL OVER IT ... BUT THIS YOUNG MAN STEVE WALKED IN WITH A SINGLE SHEET THAT WAS BLANK! WITH HIM HOWEVER WAS A FRIEND, A SENIOR STUDENT WHO HAD AN “A” IN LOGIC ... STEVE BENT DOWN AND PLACED THE SINGLE SHEET OF PAPER ON THE FLOOR AND HAD THE SENIOR LOGIC STUDENT STAND ON IT NEXT TO HIS DESK. THE PROFESSOR OF THE LOGIC CLASS ASKED WHAT HE WAS DOING. HE REPLIED, "YOU SAID WE COULD BRING IN FOR HELP ON THE TEST WHATEVER WE COULD FIT ON A SINGLE PIECE OF PAPER, THIS IS MY HELP, AND HE CAN FIT ON THE PAPER!" THE YOUNG MAN GOT AN "A" ON THE TEST WITH THE HELP OF THIS EXPERT AT HIS SIDE, HE HAD FOLLOWED THE INSTRUCTIONS TO THE LETTER ... HE WAS THE ONLY STUDENT TO GET AN "A"! THE HOLY SPIRIT IS LIKE THIS FOR US, HE STANDS ALONGSIDE! – SOURCE UNKNOWN
2. Like this man Steve, it would have been impossible to face the test and have all the recall of knowledge on such a small sheet ... but with a "comforter" to help him recall the necessary information, it was unlimited!
a. The Holy Spirit often takes our weak memory and helps us in difficult circumstances and enables us to recall what we need to know, or reveals to us what we need to know.
b. The Holy Spirit will testify about Jesus ... He does NOT speak about Himself, but points the way to Jesus and reveals Christ to us and others!
II. COMFORTED WITH TRANQUILITY 14:25-27
A. Reassurance 14:25-26
1. Jesus offers His disciples reassurance that the Holy Spirit will indeed work to enable them, and teach them.
a. They would in the future face some very tough times!!
b. At such times they would need reassurance that they won't drown, there will be help, as long as the Holy Spirit is with them He would help them handle each situation, they would recall Jesus' example and teaching.
ILLUS: A 3 YEAR OLD CAN BE TERRIFIED OF WATER, ESPECIALLY IN A POOL. THEY WILL ONLY STAY WHERE THEY CAN FEEL SECURE AND TOUCH BOTTOM ... BUT IF DAD COMES AND GRABS THEM THEY RELAX IN HIS ARMS EVEN AS HE WALKS FURTHER AND FURTHER INTO THE DEEP END, FOR THEY FEEL SECURE IN KNOWING THAT DAD HAS OVERCOME THE POOL AND AS LONG AS HE HAS THEM, THEY ARE SAFE! THIS IS WHAT THE HOLY SPIRIT DOES FOR US AS WE FACE DEEP WATERS, HE HOLDS US UP AND REASSURES US BY HIS PRESENCE AND BY HIS WORD! HE RECALLS THE MANY TRUTHS JESUS TAUGHT US, AND THESE GIVE US STRENGTH AND COMFORT! – SOURCE UNKNOWN
2. Nothing is more reassuring than God's Word in times of stress or uncertainty! This is what the Holy Spirit brings back to our minds and helps us focus on when times are tough or uncertain!
B. Rest 14:27
1. Here Jesus brings in the practical side to this teaching ... all this will bring “PEACE” to their hearts!
a. With all this reassurance of the presence and work of the Holy Spirit they need not be afraid or troubled!
b. This peace would be real!
c. This is the rest that comes from the Holy Spirit even when we are not "rested" physically or mentally!
2. The Holy Spirit would act as a security for us ... even in the midst of battle He will be there as "another comforter."
a. All His teaching would act as a protection for our hearts and minds.
b. All His teaching would guard us against the enemy’s attacks on us.
ILLUS: IN JESUS' DAY GREEK SOLDIERS FOUGHT WITH A PARTICULAR PATTERN ON THE ENEMY'S FIELDS IN BATTLE ... THEY WOULD STAND IN PAIRS, BACK TO BACK TO FIGHT ... THIS WAY NO ENEMY COULD ATTACK THEM FROM THEIR BLIND-SIDE ... THIS OTHER MAN IN GREEK WAS CALLED THE "PARACLETE" ... THIS IS THE SAME WORD USED TO DESCRIBE THE HOLY SPIRIT ... HE IS OUR PARACLETE! – SOURCE UNKNOWN
3. For the believer the presence and ministry of the Holy Spirit acts as a shield to guard our hearts against fear and worry. He is after all called the “comforter.”
a. His ministry is one of peace, thus Jesus who had the presence of the Holy Spirit in Him without measure could now say that He would give us the same "peace" that He Himself had experienced!
b. The world cannot match or duplicate this kind of peace ... for it comes only from the Holy Spirit!
c. There is rest in the ministry of the Holy Spirit no matter the circumstances we find ourselves in!
III. COMFORTED WITH TOUCH 16:7; 20:22
A. Reason 16:7
1. Jesus now explains the reason for His departure, it is so this magnificent ministry of the Holy Spirit could come for them all!
a. If Jesus stayed the Holy Spirit would not come in this new full way.
b. This would leave them with great restrictions!
c. They had already operated under this limited way before; the era of the Spirit however would change them and God's people dramatically!
2. It was not that Jesus didn't want to be in touch with them that He was leaving, in fact, it was to enhance His touch on their lives that He desired to go so the Holy Spirit would come into each one of them and all those down the road who will believe!
3. Rather than lose something in Christ's departure they would in actuality be gaining something quite important! They too would now know the presence of the Holy Spirit more like Jesus had!
4. It was God's desire to touch them in a powerful way, no longer just those moments when Jesus happened to appear to them but in a way that the Holy Spirit would remain resident within them!
a. How marvelous that God desires to touch us this way!
b. Jesus would never do a thing to diminish His touch, only enhance it!
B. Real! 20:22
1. Finally the day arrived when this became reality for these guys ... it became real!
ILLUS: YEARS AGO WHEN THE EXPLORER FROM NORWAY, ROALD AMUNDSEN, EXPLORED THE NORTH AND SOUTH POLES -- IN THOSE DAYS WITHOUT RADIOS OR TECHNOLOGY, HIS WIFE WAS FEARFUL AND APPREHENSIVE TO KNOW IF HE WAS ALRIGHT AND HAD MADE IT SAFELY. ON ONE TRIP, ROALD IN AN EFFORT TO COMFORT HIS WIFE, AS WELL AS TO LET HER KNOW HE ARRIVED SAFELY TOOK ALONG A HOMING PIGEON. HE ANNOUNCED THAT WHEN HE ARRIVED AT THE POLE, HE WOULD RELEASE IT AND SO AS SOON AS SHE SAW IT BACK HOME SHE WOULD KNOW HE WAS SAFE AND HAD ACHIEVED HIS GOAL. IMAGINE THE JOY THE DAY SHE SAW THAT PIGEON! THE PRESENCE OF THE PIGEON SIGNALED TO HER THAT HE WAS SAFELY TO THE GOAL AND THE EXPERIENCE WAS REAL! THIS IS WHAT JESUS DID WHEN HE ASCENDED TO HEAVEN ... HE SENT BACK THE DOVE, THE REALITY OF THE SPIRIT'S PRESENCE IN THE CHURCH AND IN BELIEVERS’ -- IT IS THE TESTIMONY TO THE REALITY OF JESUS BEING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF THE FATHER IN HEAVEN ... HE MADE IT SAFELY! – SOURCE UNKNOWN
2. If Jesus hadn't given the Holy Spirit we would not know any reality to spiritual things ... the very presence of the Holy Spirit in the church and in the believer is testimony to the reality of the touch of God!
3. Jesus wants a real touch on our lives, this begins with the Holy Spirit in salvation and continues with power in the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.
a. What a source of comfort!
b. We can be consoled by the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives; we can have comfort even during uncomfortable times!
c. While the world seeks comfort in the things of this world and they don't find it ... we can!
CONCLUSION: One very important role of the Holy Spirit is to come as a comforter! This means several things, it means "counselor," one who strengthens, who guides or teaches ... one who enables us! It also means "peace" or comfort, even in the midst of conflict! The Holy Spirit's presence in our life gives a certain tranquility that the world cannot give, a peace that is birthed of the Spirit, not just peace from conflicts!