13 Sep 2015
John 14 & 16 The Helper Pastor Chee Keen 13 September 2015 "And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever” John 14:17 The first mention of the Holy Spirit may sound a little strange to you. So Jesus introduced the Holy Spirit to every believer in John chapter 14 and 16. Because we know and trust Jesus, His introduction is one we can depend on! We can get to know the Holy Spirit better and begin a serious relationship with Him. Jesus introduced the Holy Spirit as the Helper. What difference would the Helper make in your life? Find out in this message today!
"And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever”
John 14:17 The first mention of the Holy Spirit may sound a little strange to you. So Jesus introduced the Holy Spirit to every believer in John chapter 14 and 16.Because we know and trust Jesus, His introduction is one we can depend on! We can get to know the Holy Spirit better and begin a serious relationship with Him.Jesus introduced the Holy Spirit as the Helper. What difference would the Helper make in your life?Find out in this message today! Slides
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We have began last week on the subject of the Holy Spirit. And this is the second of two messages I shall share with you on the person and the work of the Holy Spirit. And I pray that these messages, though they are not comprehensive nor exhaustive, can start you off on a journey in which you pursue a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ, through the person and ministry of the Holy Spirit. And I pray that what you find to be true in Scripture and what you agree with in the Bible to be real in your personal experiences. And today, I'd like to share with you, from the book of John, Jesus’ introduction to the Holy Spirit to us. And as I thought about this subject, I also thought about the power of introduction - how we can come to know someone who was formerly a stranger to us and become a friend with that person, and even an intimate companion, simply because of an introduction. And as I thought about it, I thought about my own life. There was a time in my life where I never knew the existence of this young lady by the name of Shi Ying. And some of you who do not know, she eventually became my wife. How did I get to know her? How did two strangers come together? Well, it so happened that when I was in the army, I was sharing the gospel with an army friend of mine and he trusted the Lord. And soon we became good friends and we began to serve the Lord together in the church. And when we came out of the army, he went to NTU, I went to NUS and we continued to share the good news with the people we know. And my friend in NTU, one night called me up and said, “Hey, you know what? My classmate's roommate trusted the Lord! What should I do?” I said, “Why don't you bring her to church and maybe you can even bring her to our campus group where we are meeting just for fellowship and ministry.” So on that bright, sunny afternoon, on the ‘engine’ bridge and in NUS, they also called it the love bridge - there, as I was walking towards, you know, the gathering, I met for the first time, Shi Ying. And at that time, she was just an acquaintance to me. But through my friend whom I knew and trusted, I got to know her. And soon as we went along, and began to serve and worship together, from strangers to acquaintance, from acquaintance to friend, and one day the light came on and like, “wow, will you marry me?”. And in no time, she entered into my life and became my intimate companion. And my life is never the same again, for the better.
In the same way, my friends, the Lord Jesus knew that the Holy Spirit might be a little strange to you, might be a little foreign. And he wants to ride and leverage on the fact that you know and trust Him. His disciples do and we do today. And so leveraging on that, on the night that he was betrayed, before he went to the cross, He spoke more on the Holy Spirit than anything else, because he wants you to know, he wants us to know, wants all of us to know that this person of the Holy Spirit is someone who should be more than a stranger, more than an acquaintance. He should be a friend, an intimate companion, and when He enters into your life, your life will never be the same again, for the better. And so when he went into the upper room and sat down with his disciples to have the final supper, he spoke on the subject in John, chapter 14, and he said, “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, to be with you forever”. It's interesting that when Jesus chose to introduce the person of the Holy Spirit, of all the names that he could have chosen, he chose to call him the helper. What does it mean? How does it relate to our lives? As we unpack this powerful truth in his name and what he does, I pray that you will find the incredible ministry of the Holy Spirit in your life that will bring you into blessings, richness, peace, joy, and victory.
And let's look now at this name, the helper. Why did he call the Holy Spirit the helper? Well, in the Greek that I want to bring you to, if you translate the sound of it, it reads ‘para kletos’. Now, this word Greek word ‘para kletos’ is not a Greek grammar lesson or a vocabulary lesson here but there is a reason behind. Because this word is interesting! In the King James Bible, if you read that, he's called the Comforter. And so when you think of the Holy Spirit as the Comforter, then he becomes very comforting, right? So you only think of him when you need some comfort. When you call him the Comforter, that only makes sense in the English. Now in the ESV, he is called a helper. And once again, you might feel close to him or needful of him when you feel you need help. But what if you don't feel you need help? So we have another English translation in the NLT, the New Living Translation, he's called the advocate. Now this one sounds even a little more distant. We don't often call on a lawyer unless we are in serious hot soup, right? In fact, they cost too much so we try to avoid it. And so why would I want an advocate in my life? And so it's even more distant unless you're in serious trouble. So we hope, as long as we stay out of trouble, we don't need the advocate. But then again, he advocates for you. We appreciate it when someone is defending your cause. How about this - in the Holman Christian Standard Bible, he's called the counselor? Now this one has good Christian connotations - counseling, wisdom and all, and so we find that very helpful as well. And in the message, a paraphrase of the Scripture, not so much a translation, he is called the friend. Now, this is a very modern, very, you know, friendly term that we can accept and welcome. But you see, the thing is this. When there are so many different translations of one word, it means only one thing. None of these translations capture the whole scope and meaning of para kletos. And that's why it could be explained and interpreted differently. So allow me to bring you now a little closer into what this name actually means. What did Jesus actually mean to His disciples when he said, “I will introduce you now to another para kletos? Now the word ‘para’ means to come alongside - from that, we get the word ‘parallel’, to come alongside. And the word ‘kletos’ in the Greek simply means ‘the one who is called’. In other words, he's saying, “Listen, I'm going to go.” In fact, the Lord had been telling him that he's going to the cross, He will rise again on the third day, and he knows that he is king to ascend to heaven, and they are going to be left, as it were, it seems, all alone. He said, “Don't worry, I will send you another. Another person of the same wisdom, power, love and commitment to your life in pursuing the kingdom. And he is called the para kletos”. He's the One who is called to come alongside you! So what would he do? He would be your comforter, if you need comfort. He'll be your helper, if you need help. He will be your advocate, you need defense. He will be a counselor, if you need a counselor. In fact, he could be anything and everything you need because he's coming alongside you, just as Jesus did.
Understanding and receiving the Holy Spirit as the parakletos into your life will lead to changes in your life.
And so, friends, this morning, I'd like you to bring home this simple truth - that when we understand and receive the Holy Spirit as the para kletos into your life, I'm not talking about just understanding that this is in the Scripture, or “Oh, that's nice to know”. I'm saying, practically when you receive the Holy Spirit as the one who is called to come alongside you into your life, it will lead to changes in your life. What kind of changes, you ask? In John, chapter 14 and chapter 16, when I summarize all the various teachings, I came up with at least four different areas in which the Holy Spirit as the para kletos can bring changes to your life and my life. So what are they?
Four changes in our life
Allow me to share with you these four changes, these four impacts of His presence in our lives today.
1. Drive out all fears
The first is this: the parakletos, the helper, when He comes, He will drive out all fears. Notice with me in John, chapter 14, verse 16, Jesus said, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, to be with you forever.” Now, it may not hit you immediately because “to be with you” doesn't seem to have anything to do with fear. But here, the context of what Jesus is saying, the disciples know he is going to do something, something they dread, something that Peter says, “Lord, don't do this” but Jesus said, “Get thee behind me, Satan, for you do not desire the things of God.” And so, there has been a lot of conflict and confusion in the hearts of the disciples. They know that Jesus is going to do something, going to die on the cross, and they don't want to see him do that. They know that he is going to leave them. But now he says, “I will send you another Helper to be with you forever”.
Now this phrase, “to be with you” needs to be seen in the context of the Old Testament scripture. And when you look back into the Old Testament scripture, you're going to find that whenever God says that He is with you, most of the time, it's to drive out fears that gripped the heart of men. What do I mean? Let me show you one example. And that is with the example of Jacob. Jacob, in the book of Genesis, he was deciding whether or not to return to the promised land. Why was he trying to wrestle with that issue? Why is that moving house or shifting or migrating is such a perplexing issue? It's because 20 years ago, he cheated on his brother, Esau. His brother, Esau, was so angry and hated him so deeply that he said, “I will kill him”. And now, Jacob, he has been blessed by God with many children, wives, and livestocks and what have you. And God wants to go back? He is like, “Will I still have a good life? Will I still be able to hold onto my possessions, protect the lives of my children and family if I go back?” And so he is very perplexed, very confused, very lost about what to do and whether it's safe. And the LORD came to him, and did He say, “Hey, you know what? No worries, I will bind the hands of Esau.” You know, he didn't say that. “Don't worry, I will soften his heart” - no, he didn't promise him any of these specifics. He simply said to Jacob, “return to the land of your fathers and to your kindred, and I will be with you” (Genesis 31:3). That's what God said to Jacob and when God said that to him, it drove out fears in his heart. Though he struggled with it all through the journey, God proved himself true. And then God was with him, he found safety, protection, success, and eventually, the will of God for His life was established simply because the presence of God drives out fear.
Here is another example. In Exodus 3:12, we read that Moses, another man of God, is also in the wilderness. He was there tending sheep for 40 years. Why was he tending sheep? He was tending sheep because formerly, though he was a son of a slave, the Israelites, the Hebrews, he was adopted to the Pharaoh’s family and became a Prince of Egypt. But in his attempt, some say it was his impulsive attempt to rescue his fellow countrymen, the Pharaoh was angry and furious with him and he had to flee for his life. And there, in exile for 40 years, his self esteem, his confidence in his own strength and abilities, were broken. So when God appeared to him at a burning bush and said, “Go back and now be my deliverer to my people.”, Moses says, “No way! You know, I'm the last man for this job. I don't have the ability - I can't even speak properly!” In fact, he's such a good excuse giver that he really, really beat us all to it. So if you want to learn how to give excuses when God calls you, you can read the book of Exodus and see what Moses did. But that was what he was doing! Why? Because he was fearful. He didn't think he could do it. He was fearful that he would fail again, that he wouldn't see success in his endeavours. Does fear grip your heart about your future? Does fear grip your heart about your success in your endeavours? And what is God's solution to Moses? God didn't say, “Don't worry, I tell you. I let you in on a bit of a secret, okay? I am going to send out 10 plagues - not one, okay? 10. And I tell you, it's going to be so incredible that all the Egyptians will be fearful of you!” No. Did He tell Moses, “Hey, tell you another secret. I'm going to part the Red Sea - have you ever heard about that? Let me show you a visual of it, a three-dimensional picture.” No, he didn't do that. He didn't give him the specifics. All God said to Moses was “Go, I will be with you. I will be with you.”. You see, friends, when God says, “I will be with you”, this phrase is always intended to drive out fear.
And here's another one in Deuteronomy, chapter three, verse 18. Now Moses had been used to God and has begun to develop a bonus and confidence in God. And people are like that, when you get used to success through a human leader, though you know it is God in principle, you can't see God and so you pin your hopes on the human leader, like it or not. And when he's going to move on, we all wonder and fear because we do not know whether the next one is as capable and as competent. This sounds familiar. Could it be the reason why there's such a huge swing back to you know where? Well, I won't go into details because this is not about political controversy. But you see, that's the nature of the human heart. And so the nation of Israel, they are fearful. They think, “Moses, you are gone! You're going! God says, “You can’t go into the promised land. What are we going to do?” What did Moses say? Did Moses write down his memoir so that everybody can read and remember the good old days and how they should live from now? No, he didn't. What did he tell them? He told them what God told him. Why? Because it drives out fears. And he said, “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you nor forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” (Deut 31:8). What is Moses saying? Moses is saying that the presence of God drives out fear.
And not only were the people afraid; Joshua was terribly fearful too. You see, Joshua, this young man who became an older man, now he has to fill the shoes of a man that, you know, is like none other before. He is basically the father of the nation of Israel. He wrote the Old Testament law for them. And now Joshua has to lead the people into the promised land, defeat all these giants and take down all these fortified cities, and yet command their respect - how is Joshua gonna do that? I don't know about you but if you had to fill the shoes of a great man, a wise and humble man, you would be very fearful. He wouldn't be thinking of all the glory and position and wow, you know, other names that he would be called. No, he would be fearful. So I could imagine Joshua is wondering, “How am I going to succeed? How am I going to rise up to the occasion? How am I going to fulfill my responsibility? How can I do my duty?” Do you sometimes wonder how you could be a better father, a better mother, a better husband, a better wife? How you could serve, you know, the church better? How you could fulfill your ministry responsibilities in a better way? And what's the solution to that? It is not, you know, go and study and read more books and all that. What really drives out fear is what God said to Joshua. He said, “just as I was with Moses” - hey, listen, it wasn't Moses that was great, it is God’s presence with him that made him great - “so I will be with you” (Joshua 1:5b-6a).
Now take those words, friends, from the Old Testament and transfer it now to the New Testament, coming out through the lips of Jesus. The disciples are also fearful. They're fearful of their loss. They are fearful of losing their human leader whom they could see with their own eyes and they are wondering, “What are we going to do? we have given up everything to follow you and now you're leaving us to die? How will we know if you're really gonna rise from the grave?” - they didn't believe that. But Jesus said, “Don't worry”. Why? “Because I will be with you. I will send you another helper.”
We know this to be true even in our own recent experiences. Let me share with you a true testimony of a man we all know. Who is he? Well, you know that on March 23rd, the founding Prime Minister of our country passed away and the whole nation went into mourning and grief and began to realize how much Mr. Lee Kuan Yew has done for Singapore. And in that time, there were a lot of interviews going on and one significant view was the interview of his son, our current prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong. Mr. Lee Hsien Loong was asked, “what did you miss most about your father?” Now, remember, this is a personal question, not a political question, so understand it in this context, in this reference. Mr. Lee Hsien Loong thought about it. And then he replied and said, “You know, there are so many things I miss about him but I will say the key thing is this, that with him, when he's with you, you will not lose, you will come through.” And he said this about his father. He said this because of his experiences, because of what he has done, what he has gone through, because of what he has contributed and demonstrated. There is great solace, comfort, confidence, when he is with you. You see, when there is a presence of a great man, even our Prime Minister found solace, comfort, fears removed in the presence of his father. How much more in the presence of a great God? If we can understand who the Holy Spirit is, what he came to do, what Jesus meant when he said, “I will be with you”, He will be with you forever. You know what that should do? That should drive out all fears because Jesus said, “He dwells with you and will be in you.” Do you know why perhaps you are struggling with fears today? Perhaps fears that are unnamed and unknown? Perhaps they are fears that you will not admit to anyone but it drives you! Perhaps it's because you are depending upon your knowledge, your experiences, your resources, your intelligence, even your piety, your religiosity, and you know that somehow that is not enough to pull you through. And the greater the pressure, the greater the challenges, the more you begin to fumble and flounder. It is in these times that you need to remember that you're not alone, that Jesus said that you have another helper - the parakletos, the one who is called to come alongside of you. His presence can drive out fears. Are you depending upon him? Are you journeying with him? Or are you trying to take on life all by yourself? If you are trying to take on life and its challenges all by yourself, you can only come out of it more fearful and bitter because life has a way of twisting and turning, of bringing in uncertainties and unknown that makes you even more fearful. But when you know that the Holy Spirit is with you and you receive Him, you have His presence into your life. The presence of God drives out fears.
2. Drives out all loneliness
Second, the Lord went on to tell us that the presence of the Holy Spirit, when you receive and welcome Him into your life, He will drive out loneliness. Notice how he introduced the Holy Spirit to His disciples. He said, “I will not leave you as orphans.” (John 14:8). How could that be true? You are going, Lord. You are leaving us. You're going to die. How could You say not leave us alone? You are orphaning us! We told you not to go and die, but you went. What are you saying? What are you talking about? You see, the disciples could not understand. In fact, Jesus said, “I will come to you”. Now this is either a flat-out lie or there is something else He is talking about. It is in the context of the person and presence of the Holy Spirit, obviously! He's not referring to him coming physically, but he's referring to him coming spiritually to be with his disciples by way of the Holy Spirit. You see, loneliness is a serious problem. Why? Especially when you're used to the presence of someone who you always turned to for help. Think with me now - 2000 years ago, the disciples, they gave up their businesses, gave up their all and they followed Jesus, and Jesus was always with them. And so imagine they were walking down the road and they had a question: “Lord, how do we pray? We see you pray like no other man prays. You have such a communion with the Father! Teach us to pray.” and immediately, the Lord turned to them and said, “This is how you pray. Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.” You see, Jesus had an answer - a ready answer for every question the disciples asked so they did not feel alone in their mental question and curiosity and struggles.
And how about this? There was one night in the stormy sea where Jesus was walking towards the disciples in the boat and they were all fearful for their lives. And suddenly, when they saw Jesus, Peter cried out and said, “Lord, if it's you, let me come to you”. And so he jumped off the ship and he walked on the water. My, my, he was really doing an incredible feat of faith. But as soon as he looked at the waves and the wind, he began to be troubled in his heart. And the Bible tells us that he began to sink. And as he began to sink, he cried out, “Lord saved me”. Immediately, Jesus stretched out his hand and lifted him out. What presence and power! The disciples were never alone when they had Jesus with them. But you see, Jesus is no longer with us physically. But he says, “I will come to you. I will not leave you as orphans.” He is saying, “By way of the parakletos, the one who is called to come alongside you. As I was to the disciples, my friends, I will be to you now by the Holy Spirit”. You can ask him how to pray. He helps you with your intercession. You can ask him to deliver you for he is one of the same wisdom and power. He is co-equal with God. He is another of the same kind of deity who is here to help you. And with that, you do not need to feel alone. Do you know how many, without willing to admit it, struggle with issues of loneliness? Issues of loneliness that money, fame, power, success cannot solve.
I want to talk to you about a man. Many years ago, a famous man in pop culture, his name was Elvis Presley. Now those of you in the better half, you will be familiar with him because of his rock and roll music. And you will know that he was really, really hot then - today, he is cool but back then, he was hot. So he was so hot that he is like the one, the Trailblazer of rock and roll culture, etc. And you could probably be crooning some of his tunes in your heart right now. But do you know that with all his success, all his fame and popularity, he struggled with loneliness? In fact, he struggled with loneliness to a point of despair that he had an overdose of drugs and died. But before he died, he wrote this note. He said, “I feel so alone sometimes. The night is quiet for me. I’d love to be able to sleep. I'm glad that everyone is gone now. I’ll probably not rest. I have no need for all this.” His heart is crying out for a companion. He is crying out for someone to comfort him, to come by his side. He said, “Lord, help me, Lord!” You see, the human heart cries out for its void to be filled, that no one else can fill. And this is a prevalent problem up till this day and age. And Jesus knew that his disciples would feel alone, that they will be imprisoned, that they will be scattered across the face of the earth, that some will be abandoned by their families and friends, others will be put on trial and he said, “I will not leave you as orphans. I will come to you.”. Do you feel alone in your marriage? Do you feel alone in trying to raise your children the Godly way? Do you feel alone in your own journey in life, that you have no friends? Do you feel alone in your dreams for the future? You know something? Jesus said this to the disciples and he says it to us: “I will not leave you as orphans. I will come to you.”.
You see when you receive the Holy Spirit as the parakletos, the one who is called to come alongside of you, it will drive out loneliness. And this is not only true 40 or 50 years ago. I feel that the reality of our hearts’ cry for loneliness is true. It is that one of those heartstrings that movies always pluck at. And last year, in December, my children wanted me to bring them to watch a movie by the name of ‘Big Hero Six’. And I thought to myself, ‘What is Big Hero Six? Sounds like a silly name anyway’. And so I said, “No, I don't want to watch that. Let’s watch something else.” ‘No, we only want to watch Big Hero Six. Nothing else we will watch.’ Okay, so I lost and I brought them to watch Big Hero Six. And as I was sitting through the movie, I realized that this is pretty fun. Now, 40-50 is pretty cool; it is no longer hot, it is pretty cool. So, what is the story about? The story is about this young man by the name of Hero who is a genius of sorts. He has another really wonderful brother by the name of Hedashi, correct? Hedashi. In the previous service, I forgot all those names and I needed the audience to help me. Anyway, his brother, older brother, Hedashi, is a good man who, in the midst of a fire, rushed in to save the professor and died. When that happened, he realised he was alone. He depended on his brother all these while. And so, he went into depression but later, he found that his brother had made this robot to be a caregiver. His name is Baymax. Alright? And what happened is, this robot, when he turned him on and operated him, he found that it has the personality, the love, the care, the concern, the bubbliness, and so on and so forth of his brother. And so he became good companions with this robot. And then a story went on that they together went to find the culprit, the criminal mind behind all these troubles. And Baymax, from a caregiver became a superhero and began to fight the villains. And in one scene towards the end, they were in this crisis in which they were all going to die. But Baymax, in order to save Hero, as you see in this picture, decided to fire off his mechanical fist and send him out of the danger zone. And before he did so, Baymax looked at Hero who refused to leave because they've grown so attached - human and robot - and he said to Hero, “Don't worry, Hero. I will be with you always.”. You know something? The Christian in me, when I heard that, I almost fell off the chair. I'm like, “Blasphemy! Heresy! How dare you? You know, only Jesus can say that.”. But guess what? I sat there and watched on. And as I watched on, then I realized what it meant to Baymax. What happened was the fist contained that computer cartridge that had all these programming and all that. So all that Hero needed to do is build another inflatable balloon robot, which is easy to build, insert the cartridge and voila, Baymax is back! And so they hugged. Could you imagine - human and robot hugging each other, so loving? Why? Because of loneliness! Why does it cry out to us? Because our heart cries out for a companion. Our heart cries out for something that fills our heart with an intimacy that we cannot find anywhere else. And so as we have seen in the movie, whether it is the robot with men or anything else, even with an animal, we all go, “Hooray, we found a friend!” Why? Because that's a longing of our heart. When it's not filled, it drives us to despair. And Jesus knows that - that we have all the money you earn, with all the success you have, with all the knowledge of the Scripture, with all the years of experience in ministry and everything else you can think of to boast off, the heart is lonely. And Jesus said, “I will not leave you as orphans. I will come to you.”. But why is it that Christians are still lonely today? Why is it we struggle on and trudge along, just waiting for heaven to come? Could it be because you have never welcomed the parakletos into your life so that He can drive out loneliness? Listen. Jesus said this final verse before he ascended into heaven. When he gave the Great Commission, he said, “Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). This, my friend, is not drugs. This is not Baymax. This is not any other kind of relationship you can find that does not fully satisfy. When Jesus tells us that he is with us always, he is speaking of how he will dwell in us and with us by way of the Holy Spirit. The moment you understand and receive this reality into your life, it drives out loneliness.
And not only that, when Jesus for the Holy Spirit as the parakletos, he also tells us that the parakletos, the Helper, will glorify Christ. So look with me what the scripture says here. He says in John, chapter 16, verses 14 to 15, “He will glorify me”. ‘He’ refers to the Holy Spirit. ‘Glorify me’ - ‘me’ here refers to Jesus Christ. Now, very often when we're not careful, we see a phrase like this and we take it out of context and we apply it the way we like. And so we think, “Oh, glorify Christ! The Holy Spirit when it comes, how does He glorify Christ?” Wow. When the pastor preaches then everybody will cry, or when a service is performed, everybody sense a very good feeling, and some other traditions or movements will talk about miracles and supernatural happenings. But wait - Jesus tells us how the Holy Spirit will glorify Christ. Read on! He says, “for he will take what is mine and declare it to you”. You see, what he's talking about here is the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit. That when the parakletos has come, when the one who is called alongside will come beside you, what He is going to do is He will glorify Jesus Christ by teaching you the truth concerning Christ. Now, let me explain this to you further. How does he teach us about Jesus Christ? One of the things He does is that He will bring to remembrance all that Jesus has said. I do understand you read commentators, that some commentators highlight that this refers to the apostles, that the apostles have the words of Christ brought to their memory so that under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they can pen down the words of scripture in the New Testament. Now that is true. But equally good and credible commentators have also taken the other position that says that this also applies to Christians and the churches throughout the ages without which the ministry of the Holy Spirit in bringing to remembrance all that Christ has said, the gospel will not advance because people are forgetful and churches neglect the truth! And it is the Holy Spirit who brings to remembrance what we already know so that we can apply it to our lives. It works like this in your daily life. If you have listened to a message or if you're listening to messages, memorizing scripture, doing your discipleship, whether it's 2:7, or LOLMD, or you're reading your personal devotion time to the Bible and all that, and when you move into your work, usually you forget about all these things. But then when you meet with a crisis or a problem, you don’t know what to do and you say, “Lord, help me”. What happens is when you recognize the Holy Spirit as the parakletos and you lean upon Him to do so, you don't need to struggle to try to recall because the Spirit of God will bring verses to your mind, bring truths to your mind, and He will remind you of truth. When you apply it, you suddenly went, “Oh, praise the Lord! I can overcome this now because I understand what this means.” That's exactly what the Spirit does. He takes what is theoretical and He makes it practical. He takes what is abstract to you formally, like very cheem ah, don't know what He talking about - but suddenly, it becomes real, suddenly you have a testimony, suddenly you have a song, you have a praise item. Why? Because Jesus said, “The Holy Spirit will glorify Me”. How does He do so? By teaching you the truth concerning Christ and by bringing this truth to your remembrance. You see, the Scripture tells us that “He will teach us all things”. What does this teaching mean? What does it mean when the Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit will teach us all things? Don’t we learn enough already from churches, from Bible teachers, by reading commentaries, or Christian literature on our own, by listening to testimonies, attending sermons? Don't we learn enough already? Why do you and I still need the Holy Spirit to teach us?
Now, allow me to explain this truth with an exposition from a commentator and then with an illustration in church history. First, that explanation from a commentator. This is from Robert H. Mounce, from Expositor’s Bible Commentary on John. He says, “It is one thing to comment on this verse, to understand a statement as being true, which many of us do. We read the Bible and say, “Yes, that's it. Amen.” And we praise God, we sing about it. It is something quite different to grasp the full meaning and significance of the truth. The Holy Spirit's teaching ministry belongs in the latter category. This is where we talk about truth applied to life, applied to your specific situation, that area of struggle, that area of weakness. - this is what the Holy Spirit does. You see, it works like this. When you're having a problem and you don’t know how to solve it, the Spirit of God brings to remembrance and teaches you this truth. You apply it and immediately you lift up the Christ life. You live out the Bible and in living out the Bible, you are glorifying Christ.
You see, it is sad. It is said that oftentimes when we think of the Holy Spirit glorifying Christ, we think of spiritual battles, we think of evil spirits and winning over them, and there is a great movement going in that direction. But we don't think of it as the Holy Spirit changing my life with truth. But this is what the Holy Spirit came to do. You see, for us to know the truth and to glorify Christ, because we live it out, is the main menu, is the main cost. All the other miracles and all those other things are the side dishes - they are ‘by the way’ because all these are supposed to point back to Jesus, who is the One who will change our life.
Now I know that all these can still sound very abstract to you. So I'm gonna show you a story from over 100 years ago. Now, please don't misunderstand me. It doesn't mean that the Holy Spirit can only 100 years ago. But you see, this lady's story is so poignant, so illustrative, so real, that I thought it is very encouraging and it can happen to you too. And this lady's name is Rosalind Goforth, the wife of the missionary to China, Jonathan Goforth. You see, Rosalind Goforth, as a young lady, has always known Christ and wanted to love Him and serve Him. But then, in her own spiritual journey, she shared in her book, ‘How do I know God answers prayer’. In her own autobiography, she shared that Christ always seemed rather distant and far away. And she also knows that she has a very stubborn, proud and passionate nature. I think something that many of us struggle with one way or another is that we are so full of ourselves as she was. And so she said that she struggled, she read her Bible, she prayed, she did all those Christian disciplines, but Christ remained distant. And so when her husband, in 1888, wanted to go to China as a missionary, she needed to go along and support him fully because she thought that going to the mission field will do her some good, maybe humble her bit. But little did she know that the difference in climate, changes in the environment, living among foreigners brought out the worst in her. And so, five years into her stay in China, one day when her helpers, the Bible women, the local folks, you know, thought that she was outside of the house, were sitting down in the backyard chatting. But she was in the house, hidden by the bamboo curtain, listening. And guess who they were talking about? They were talking about her! And they were saying things like these, and she recorded all these in her autobiography - they said that, “You know, ma'am… She is very loving and she loves God and she loves us. But my, don't you think she has a terrible temper?” And then they went on to list all the things she said and did; her misdemeanor and she is listening to it all - so angry and upset with how the servants were talking about her, but so sad too, because she knew it was all true. It was all true, despite the fact that she knew Jesus from a young age. It was all true, despite the fact that she understands the teaching of the Bible. It is all true, despite the fact that her husband is living out the Christ life, preaching the gospel, leading people to Christ and seeing life change in the multitudes. And so she struggled in her soul and she wondered, ‘why is it different for her?’ And this became a burden in her soul and began that journey and pursuit of the deeper life. In 1916, she went back to Canada on furlough - that was a break for her. And during that time, she attended a talk and there she heard the preacher talk about how it is the Christ life, how it is the indwelling Christ who would make the difference. I'm sure that to many of us here, it is nothing new. You know what? To Rosalind Goforth, it isn't new either. She heard about all this. She knew all this. She probably even taught it. But you see, it so happened that at that point in her life, when she welcomed the Holy Spirit as the parakletos, when she realized that she cannot do it, only Jesus can through the Holy Spirit, she opened her heart to it and she received the indwelling Christ and she said how the joy of that victory was so sweet and she moved on to become a different person.
You see, by welcoming the Holy Spirit as the parakletos, He will glorify Christ. It is not talking about teaching you new fascinating truth - you know, dying, going to heaven, getting a vision, coming back and telling everyone else about it. It is talking about the things you already know in the Bible that suddenly becomes real, suddenly becomes alive. Why? Because the Holy Spirit will glorify Christ by teaching you all truths concerning Christ. And you see, this is what Jesus said - just to remind you and to highlight to you; “He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.” (John 16:14-15).
Friends, do you feel distant from Christ? Have you been a Christian for many years? Maybe when you gather in Christian fellowship, all you can talk about is which churches you have been to, what you have done, what you know, what so-and-so did, do you know this name, etc. Now, I am not saying that these things are bad but you see, if you want to glorify Christ, then Christ has to be known and seen in your life and mine. And the only person who can do that is the parakletos, because He will glorify Christ by taking what is of Jesus and teaching it to us in our lives. And I pray that this would restore a hunger within you to go beyond your present Christian experiences to desire, not to see supernatural enabling of miracles and signs and wonders - all those are the side orders; the main menu is this, the main focus is this, that Christ will be seen in me because I lived out the Christ life. Christ in me, the hope of glory - that's what Paul says.
4. Will Witness to Christ
Now, finally, it is this - the parakletos, the Helper, when He comes, He will witness to Christ. He will witness to Christ. And this He said in John, chapter 16, verses seven to eight - he says, “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes (listen now), he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.”. You see, when we witness, it is not our eloquence. It's not how loud you shout, how moving your story is, what illustrations you tell - all these are just being faithful witnesses. But what really touches and changes heart is the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit. In other words, Jesus is teaching us about the convicting, the witnessing ministry of the Holy Spirit to the hearts of those who you share the gospel with, whether you shared by your life and example at home or through your words to strangers when you go on e-campaign in the Philippines or go to the mission field. And when we read an excerpt of one verse, it says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8). Most Christians formulate this picture like the Book of Acts, in Acts, chapter two - Peter stood up and he preached and everybody said, “Oh, you know, we are pierced in our hearts. What must we do to be saved like the Philippian jailer in Acts, chapter 16?” And so when you, when it's your turn to share the gospel with your colleague or friend, first of all, you forget what to say. Secondly, you also didn't say it very clearly. And then the next thing is, when you finished whatever you could say, your friend looked at you and he didn't cry, he did not fall on his knees, he didn't cry out “what must I do to be saved?” and you go home feeling like a total failure! You come back to the Bible and say, ‘What power? What Holy Spirit?’ Leave it to the pastor because when he talks, we all listen. No, leave it to the evangelists, like when they go to the Philippines, they all listen. But when I talk, nobody listens. Nobody falls down, cries and asks to receive Christ. Why? Because we have the wrong idea of what the Holy Spirit does when he convicts us of sin. You see, I myself struggled with this for a very long time. In fact, I say this, not to my pride, but I say this to tell you how much I struggle personally, that I led my first soul to Christ, like the young people in our church learning how to share the gospel, when I was 13 years of age. And you know, it's no joke when you start early. You know why? Because you have a longer opportunity to be rejected, to feel like a failure, to feel like nobody loves you or want to hear about Jesus and you got to wrestle for a longer period of time. And so for most of my teenage years, my late teens or young adulthood, I struggle with sharing the gospel because I know it's the Great Commission but I don't do it well. I read the Bible, they all fall down, cry, pierced in their hearts - but don't see any of it. In fact, I get hum-tumed, you know, get laughed at, you know and what have you. In fact, there was once I was in the lift in my neighborhood and I was passing out tracks. I passed it out to this elderly lady who is my neighbor. She stared at me with wide eyes and said, “Don't even give that to me. Don't touch me.”. I'm like, “What did I do?” You know, you get rejected and you feel like burying your head and crawling into a hole. You want to put a blanket over yourself and say, “I don't talk to anyone anymore.” Why? Because you feel so rejected. You take personal rejections as the rejection of you, not Christ. But this verse helped me a lot. Let me show it to you. It says in Acts, chapter five, verse 32 - “And we are witnesses (the apostle says) to these things (talking about the power of the Holy Spirit), and so is the Holy Spirit.”. Have you thought about this? It is your job and mine to tell others about Jesus, whether through our lives or through our words, but it is the Holy Spirit's work to convict hearts. So you just have to be faithful to tell others the good news. Their rejection is the rejection of Jesus, not you and I. You see, when you understand this, it's not that you are less powerful. It is that the Holy Spirit is working in ways you cannot see and hear yet. But you can trust and pray for your family. You can trust and pray for your colleagues, for your loved ones, that every time you witness, the Holy Spirit is witnessing and that gives you confidence, that gives you bonus. So when that lady rejected me in the lift, it was okay because, you know, it's not about me. The Holy Spirit can still work in her heart and life.
You see, my friends, when we fail to welcome the Holy Spirit as the parakletos, the one who is called alongside who will witness Christ, you get discouraged and you want to give up witnessing. You know it's a great commission, you know that we are supposed to do it but you just don't know how. And you don't dare to even try because you feel so alone, so lost, so lacking in success and results. But when you understand the witnessing ministry of the Holy Spirit, then you will know that your job is to sow the seeds and sow faithfully. And one day, God may allow you to reap but whether you sow or you reap, it is the Holy Spirit who is at work. So understanding and receiving the Holy Spirit as the parakletos into your life will lead to changes. Are there changes in your life? Are you still gripped by fear? The Holy Spirit drives out fears. Are you still feeling lonely in your own journey? Because the Holy Spirit drives out loneliness. Do you feel Christ's distance? Because He comes to glorify Christ. Are you afraid of witnessing and sharing the good news? Are you thinking of Punggol and all that Pastor Jason is talking about, reaching out to the community and you say, “Oh, fine. Let someone else do it but not me!” because you know what, you feel like a failure and a reject. Come and receive the Holy Spirit as the parakletos in your life and let Him bring about those changes that Jesus promised.
Let us pray. Our Heavenly Father, we give thanks to you. We give thanks to you that truly we are not alone. But it's sad that even those Bible-believing, born-again Christians often feel alone. In fact, we feel like rejects and failures. Because there's so much we read in the Bible and it doesn't seem to be true in our own lives. And so many Christians could be weary. Others could be hardened, lifted up, perhaps, with pride in their knowledge and hiding behind it but not having the power nor knowing it, to live for you. And I pray this morning, for my brethren here, that they will no longer struggle on on their own, that they will enter into their inheritance as believers, they will know the fullness and the presence of the Holy Spirit simply by welcoming His ministry into their hearts and lives.
I want to invite all of you to continue to bow your heads and close your eyes and communicate with God this morning. Perhaps you're dealing with the area of fear in your own life and you're getting discouraged. Now you are wondering, ‘when would this end?’ Perhaps the Lord is allowing this to bring you to the point where you have to welcome Him to drive out those fears. Because you are such a strong person, such a strong mind of your own that you're going to throw every resource at your disposal to deal with problems and until you come to an end of that, you're not going to turn to the Lord. And the Lord is calling out to you now and saying, “Child, why are you doing this? Why aren't you welcoming the Helper who comes in My name, who is called alongside of you to remove those fears and to help you through?” Perhaps you're dealing with loneliness and you're struggling in relationships. You have much success in the world and you're the envy of your friends but deep down inside, you are lonely and it drives you crazy, and you wonder why. Today the Lord is calling out to you, saying, “Child, with all that you have achieved, nothing can fill the heart except Him. Come to Him now. Welcome Him, His presence into your life, by way of the Holy Spirit and allow His presence to drive out loneliness. You don't have to journey through life by yourself. You don't have to know Jesus as a distant God. You can know him right now, beside you, in you, and with you.”.
Perhaps for all that you have done as a Christian, all the sacrifices you have made, all the decisions of ethics and godliness, you still feel cold and apart from Jesus Christ. And you feel that it's just a dream, a theology, a principle, but it's not real. I invite you, friend, come to the Lord today. All you who are weary and heavy laden, take Jesus’ yoke upon you, learn of him, how he lives in the power of the Spirit and serves in the power of the Spirit - so why should you try to draw near to God in the power of your knowledge and intelligence? I know you are incredibly smart but that is no substitute for the presence and ministry of the Holy Spirit. So why don't you come to Him and say, “Lord, I can't know you. As you said in your word, the world by wisdom knew not God. I read a ton of Christian books. I even attended and subscribed to theological classes. For me to really know you, I need the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Come, parakletos, and teach me all things concerning Christ. Make it real in my life, glorify Christ in my life. Make my life Your own.”. And when that happens, my friends, I think it's only natural that you will be witnesses because you begin to see those changes and you can't stop telling someone else about Jesus. Because you know that the Spirit is convicting the same hearts that are longing for companionship, for the absence of fears, for the reality of God, and you can bring it to them by your life and your customer. And that is what the Holy Spirit came to do. To be our help. And as you pray and seek the Lord, I'd like to invite john and his worship team to come on station to prepare to lead us in this final song in response to the world that we have heard
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30 Mar 2018
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31 Oct 2017
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04 Dec 2022
27 Nov 2022
20 Nov 2022
15 Apr 2022
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