OPEN: I read a true story about a woman was pregnant with her first child, and her 4-year-old nephew came over to visit. She allowed him to place his hand on her belly and feel the baby kick. And he had this puzzled look on his face and said, "How’s that baby gonna get out of there?" She wanted to keep it simple so she said, "Well, the doctor will help." And his eyes got really big and he said, "You mean you've got a doctor in there, too?"
NOOO… there wasn’t a doctor inside that woman. But the intriguing thing about our text today is that Jesus said we have something even more impressive than a doctor inside of us. Jesus told His disciples “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, … You know him, for he dwells with you and will be IN YOU.” John 14:16-17
You see, Jesus was talking about the Holy Spirit, and it’s a fundamental teaching in Scripture that the Spirit dwells inside of each believer.
God promised that back in Ezekiel 36:27 “I will put my Spirit WITHIN you…”
And in I Corinthians 6:19 we’re told “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit WITHIN you, whom you have from God? ...”
And Paul wrote to Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:14 “Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who LIVES IN US.”
In fact, you can’t belong to Jesus without having His Spirit inside of you. Romans 8:9 “… Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.”
Now, what’s interesting is that Jesus tells us WHY that Spirit is going to be within us. And one of the reasons Jesus gives is found in John 14:26 “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 have said to you.”
Now who’s Jesus talking TO here? He’s talking to His 12 closest disciples – the men who later became the Apostles. And because Jesus is addressing this to them there are those who might say that THIS promise doesn’t apply to us.
And for the most part they're right.
The Apostles were the men responsible for establishing and strengthening the church. They were the ones congregations turned to for guidance and instruction. And they were the principle authors of much of our New Testament.
For example, right after the church began, we’re told that the early Christians “… devoted themselves to the APOSTLES’ TEACHING and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” Acts 2:42
It was their teachings that explained WHO Jesus was, and WHAT we are to believe as Christians.
In addition, the Apostles could do things that other Christians couldn’t do. Paul wrote that “The signs of a TRUE APOSTLE were performed among you with utmost patience, with signs and wonders and mighty works.” 2 Corinthians 12:12
Other Christians apparently couldn’t do that stuff! But the Apostles needed the spirit inside them to do these things. You see, even though we have the same spirit INSIDE of us that they did THOSE few men (Apostles) were unique and we won’t see anything like them ever again, because they had a distinctive ONE TIME ONLY ministry.
I don’t care how faithful the Christian, or how powerful the preacher, or how effective the missionary - no one alive today can compare to those early Apostles.
But there are churches out there who don’t teach that. There are churches where preachers & teachers regard their own teachings and prophecies as being as infallible as those of the early Apostles.
ILLUS: I visited a church in Texas one time and was shocked to see a beautiful poster in the foyer that was a “Prophecy” from that church’s preacher. The preacher had boldly set it out where everyone could see it because he believed that HIS teachings were as powerful/infallible as those of the early Apostles.
ILLUS: Just recently, on November 3rd, Pat Robertson made a prophecy on “The 700 Club.” He said: “First of all, I want to say without question, Trump is going to win the election.” And “The Lord told me the president is going to be re-elected”
Jeremiah Johnson (founder of Jeremiah Johnson Ministries) prophesied: “Donald J. Trump would be re-elected.”
Katt Kerr (president of One Quest International) declared: “There is no doubt whatsoever. (Trump) will win. That’s God’s plan,” and “The rocks are about to move and Trump will be president no matter what you hear. He will sit in office for four more years and God will have His way in this country.” (https://www.hollandsentinel.com/opinion/20201215/ray-buursma-beware-of-false-prophets/)
Each one of them prophesied that Trump would have a 2nd term as President. BUT THEY WERE WRONG! Back in the Old Testament, those prophets would have been stoned to death because their prophecies didn’t come true. THEY’RE FALSE PROPHETS.
But the real problem here is that - not only that they were false prophets - but their arrogance serves to undermine the faith of real Christians in the ability of God’s Spirit to really do things. As a result – there are a lot of really decent Christians who will say “Yes, the Spirit talked to the Apostles. but He’s not going to talk to me!” In fact, there are Christians who don't think the Spirit does anything at all. But that’s not true.
Don’t mistake the fact that (just because) we’re not Apostles that the Holy Spirit can’t work in our lives/ or talk to us today. When Jesus said that “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 have said to you” - He was talking to us too!
That same Spirit (the Apostles had) will teach you/ instruct you/ and do all kinds of other things in your life because Jesus sent him to HELP us. In fact, Jesus describes this Spirit with these words. He is “the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name…” John 14:26
THE HOLY SPIRIT WAS SENT TO HELP US!
How does He HELP us? 1st He helps us in our prayers. Have you ever felt like your prayers were empty? Like the prayer wasn’t getting beyond the ceiling. Too often we think our prayers should be perfect, well put together, intellectually powerful. And when that happens, we’re going to FEEL God is listening! (emphasis on feeling). But there are times when that’s just not gonna happen.
Romans 8:26-27 tells us “the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.”
Essentially – the Holy Spirit is a hotline to God. He dwells INSIDE of us and He knows exactly what we’re thinking and how we’re feeling. So – when you’re praying /can’t even put your feelings into words, and you are just not FEELING God’s presence - that’s OK, because the Spirit groans for us and intercedes with words us can’t think of. He helps us in our prayers
2ndly He helps us by giving us POWER. 2 Timothy 1:7 “God gave us a Spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
ILLUS: A 1st-grader was asked to answer question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” He said, “I’m going to be a lion tamer and have lots of fierce lions. And I’ll walk into the cage and they will roar.” Then he paused for a moment, thinking through what he had just said and then added, “But of course, I’ll have my Mommy with me.”
What was he saying would give him courage? His mom… if she was WITH him.
When Joshua was about to enter the promised Land, God told him: “No one - will be able to stand against you - as long as you live. For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you. Be strong and courageous” (Joshua 1:5)
Now, as Christians, that promise is doubly true. As God was with Moses, He is now with you – because He is IN you! He’ll never fail you or abandon you. He is your power (and He’s inside of you). And He gives you the power to stand firm in your faith. He’s like your backbone.
ILLUS: When we trust God’s Spirit, we can become a little like Winston Churchill who – when selected to be Prime Minister of England WWII – someone said he “was a man utterly blind to reason, a man who refused to see the sound and compelling reasons for despair and surrender.”
That’s what the Spirit of God can do for us! We can be so filled with God’s powerful Spirit that we refuse to see reason for despair/surrender.
3rd – The Spirit helps us by guiding us and directing us. Acts 13:4 tells us that “The two of them (Paul & Barnabas) sent on their way by the Holy Spirit…” The Spirit guided these two men into ministry.
But you’ve got to WANT to be guided by God’s Spirit to get that done. In James 1:5 we’re told: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” In other words, if you want to be guided and directed by God’s wisdom, ask God. And God will God will guide you through His Spirit, He’ll give you what you’ve asked for.
ILLUS: About 7 years ago I read the story about the world’s best blind golfer. His name is Zohar Sharon says he’s as good as he is because his caddie, Shimshon Levi, leads Sharon around the course – plants his tees, and places the ball. He steadies Sharon’s arm and describes the course ahead. When putting, Levi places Sharon’s hand on the club so it is next to the ball. He tells Sharon how far away the cup is, and then runs to the hole and begins clapping so Sharon knows where to hit the ball. Sharon jokingly refers to himself as “the world’s greatest golf player at night.” He adds, “There are no restrictions for blind people in golf if you have a good caddie.”
(AP Israeli Tops World’s Blind Golfer List, 12/26/05)
Essentially, God’s Spirit is our Caddy - and if we let Him, He guides us through life, He does that mostly through Scripture. But He also does that thru our conscience, and He can also do that through the circumstances of life. I’ve even felt Him nudge me occasionally… to point me in the right direction. The Spirit is my helper, but I’ll never have the abilities (and infallibilities) the early apostles had.
Now, lastly, but MOST IMPORTANTLY, the Spirit becomes our mark of salvation. Ephesians 1:13-14 tells us “In (Christ) you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.”
That means that – if you belong to Christ and the Spirit of God is inside of you - when you come before the throne of God at the resurrection that SEAL/MARK of the Holy Spirit is the only thing God’s going to look at.
Revelation tells us that at the judgment “the dead, great and small, (will stand) before the throne, and books (will be) opened… And the dead (will be) judged by what (is) written in the books, according to what they (have) done.” Revelation 20:12
Everyone will stand before the judgment seat of God, and all their bad deeds are going to be read out in front of EVERYONE! That’s going to happen to everyone … except you. That is, if you are sealed/marked by the Holy Spirit, all God’s going to look for is that HELPER that dwells inside of you.
How do you get that Holy Spirit? Ephesians 1 says you get Him because you believed in Jesus, and Acts 2:38 tells us how we act on that belief: “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38