Our Secret Weapon: The Holy Spirit
A Synopsis of the Sermon of January 31, 2021
At Veterans Memorial Chapel
By Ch Jim Odell
This is a synopsis, or quick review, of the sermon for January 31, 2021. I am only hitting the highlights of the message, not reproducing the entire sermon.
In our last sermon on the Discourses of Jesus in the Gospel of John, we began a two-part sermon on “How to cope while we wait for Jesus to return.” Our passage today is John 14:15-31. Jesus was continuing His instructions His disciples, in the “upper room,” about how to live after He is taken from them. This is the very night He will be betrayed.
He began by telling them of their (or our) reward of a place in heaven. Then He turned his attention to reminding His disciples of their need to “keep on believing” and their need to rely on prayer as they lived in a world without His physical presence on earth. That was our last sermon.
He moved on to “part two” of His instructions. As I start, I want to remind you that Jesus taught His disciples that God was an “Abba” Father. His disciples had learned from the Old Testament, and from their Rabbis that God was Father, in that He was a “Father creator/controller,” who was “holy” and therefore distant. Access to God was limited to priests and prophets. Jesus taught His disciples to call God, “Abba Father” which is like saying, “papa” or “daddy.” It was to be a personal, intimate type relationship.
Now in verse 15, He tells His Disciples that He will pray to the Father and the Father would send “another Advocate,” (as our pew Bible read) to be with them forever. There is no exact English equivalent for the Greek word Jesus’ is using, which is paraklete. It literally means “someone called to the side of another to help.” It implies the one called is an expert, come to assist the “victim” out of some form of trouble or difficulty. The word is used of lawyers, medical personnel of every kind, expert advisors of various kinds, coaches, tutors, and so on.
Jesus did not want to leave His disciples as “orphans,” as He says in verse 17. An orphan has no means of support and no legal standing in the community. They were also young and inexperienced. Not knowing what to do or how to make their way in the world. Christ compared his disciples to orphans. He did not want to leave them in that condition.
His solution was to give them a “helper.” Please also note the word “another.” In Greek, there are two words for “another.” One means “another” in a general sense, and one means “another” as an “exact replacement.” If I were to buy a new car, I would buy another one, but not necessarily one of the exact model and age as the one I was replacing. However, if I was to replace the water pump, I would need a specific one which was “exactly” the same as the one I was replacing. Christ uses the term of “another of exactly the same” as He speaks of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God, the same as the Father is and the Son is. Thus, a Trinity of Three Persons in One Godhead. This Holy Spirit living in us is the same God who is in Heaven, or Son who sits beside Him!
Now lets see what this Holy Spirit is going to do for us. He is, first and foremost, the “Spirit of Truth.” We live in both unprecedented and uncertain times. There are many areas in which even our experts do have answers. We need a source of “truth.” What about our unstable world? What about how our government should be operating? What about this virus? How long will it last? Will it mutate? How do we avoid it? And so on, and so on. So many questions about how to live today.
The Holy Spirit is the One with the answers to how to live in these uncertain times. And according to verse 17, He is “in” us. Jesus promised His disciples that the Holy Spirit was already “with” them, and would be “in” them. On the Day of Pentecost, only about 50 days from the day He made this promise, these same disciples received the Holy Spirit within them, and that dynamic changed their lives. Everyone who believes in Jesus has the same Holy Spirit living inside them, even to this day. That dynamic gives us the understanding and confidence that we need to navigate our lives in this world.
As we obey Christ’s Word (verse 23), that is, practice His commandments, then the Holy Spirit becomes our teacher as we listen to His directions in our lives (verse 26). This is a dynamic the believer has, and which the world as a whole does not have (verses 17 & 24). As we move through life, and obey what we know Christ wants us to do, His Holy Spirit will guide us in the right paths.
This will produce a special “fellowship” between us and God. Look at how Christ says it in verse 23, “We (God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit) will come to them (us) and make our home with them (us).” Is God “at home” with you? I have visited a lot of homes. Usually I sit or stand in a living room or den and visit. I might ask to use the kitchen or bathroom. But I am a guest. It is not my home. But at home, I have the “run of the house.” I usually do not need to ask where things are, or if I can use something. It is my house, I can, generally speaking, do as I please with what is mine. Does God have that same “run of the house” in your life. Is He “at home” there? When He is, His Spirit will guide us through the rough ways of our life.
May God Bless each one with that same degree of guidance this week.
CH Jim Odell