Wednesday Night Lesson: ‘The Holy Spirit Abiding With Us Forever’

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The contrast between the Old and New Testament is so great that it’s hard for us to imagine. A Jew who desired to please God had to bear the burden by himself of trying to keep the Law. Yet we know that he or she was completely incapable. Paul teaches us in

Romans 8:3 ‘For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh …’

In addition, the Spirit did not work in their lives the way He does today. During the days of the Old Testament, the Spirit came upon only a select few and in a limited fashion. In addition, there was the threat that the Spirit could be take away. After his sin with Bathsheba, David prayed –

Psalm 51:11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.

We know from the life of Saul that indeed the Spirit could be taken away from someone. (Compare 1 Sam 11:6 to 1 Sam 16:14)

How different that is from what our Lord promised His disciples.

John 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever;

Beginning tonight we want to focus on the Spirit’s activity in the life of the believer. We have already learned that it is the Spirit that convicts us of our sin, convinces us of a Savior, and converts us to salvation. We learned also that it is the Spirit that produces the new birth. What else does the Spirit do?

John 14:12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. 13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. 15 If ye love me, keep my commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. 18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live , ye shall live also. 20 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. 21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. 22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? 23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. 24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me. 25 These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. 26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. 27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

As you can see there is a lot in that passage, yet I felt it necessary to read that many verses in order to help us see the Spirit’s activity of: Encouragement, Education, and Empowerment.

I. He Encourages Us

A. The Context

First of all, let’s put these events in their proper context. Jesus continues to tell His disciples that He will be leaving them soon. Naturally this is causing a great deal of anxiety in their hearts. Perhaps some of the questions they are thinking include:

    • What’s going to happen to us?
    • Is everything over?
    • Are we going back to fishing, tax collecting and whatever?
    • Are we going back to living the way we used to be?
    • What next for us?

Christ had already done a major work in their lives and therefore it was only natural that they were experiencing fear, worry and anxiety about His leaving. And so the Lord gave them words of encouragement.

John 14:27 … Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

B. The Comfort

John 14:18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

The word ‘comfortless’ is an interesting word. It is the Greek word ‘orphanos’ from which we get the English word orphan. “I won’t leave you as orphans in this world. I will be with you.” He was with them and He is with us.

John 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; 17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

Jesus said two important things about the Spirit’s presence:

1. He will dwell ‘with you’

‘With us’ is the Greek word ‘para’ which mean to be alongside. It is the first part of the Holy Spirit’s name – ‘parakletos / one called alongside.

2. He shall be ‘in you’

Not only is the Spirit with us in order to help us, He is in us in order to comfort and reassure us. He speaks to our very inner most being. One of the primary goals of the Christian walk is to learn how to feel and sense the Spirit’s presence. There are at least two things the Spirit does as He is in us:

a. He consoles us

The King James translators felt it appropriate to translate His name as the Comforter. The reason they did so is because that name fits well with the primary theme of Christ’s words.

Does God comfort us? 2 Cor 1 tells us that He is the God of all comfort who comforts us in every situation. Part of Christ’s mission was to heal the brokenhearted. Heaven will be a place of no more tears. The NIV translates the Spirit’s name as Counselor. So often in life we need the divine counsel of the Holy Spirit.

b. He assists us

The New King James translates His name as Helper. They viewed Christ’s primary thought to be the Spirit’s assisting us to live the Christian life. After all, the name ‘paraklaetos’ means – ‘one called alongside to assist.’

C. The Companionship

In addition to these words of comfort, Jesus said something else that is rather amazing –

23 … If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

Note – ‘we will come unto him.’ ‘We will abide with him.’ In other words, even though Christ was telling them that He was leaving, He was also promising that He would be with them. No wonder they were confused.

The question we must answer is – ‘How would Christ be with them, when He was leaving?’ How is Christ able to be with us, even though He is seated in heaven? He would do so through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. The Bible teaches us that God is a Triune being: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. There are not three gods; there is one God. Nor is the Trinity three different ways God manifests Himself. In other words, He’s not the Father sometimes and the Son others. I don’t understand, yet scripture teaches me that while Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father, He is also abiding in me. Paul wrote in Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: Through the Holy Spirit, God abides in the believer.

II. He Enriches Us

A. The Spirit of Truth

Note what the Lord called Him –

John 14:17 Even the Spirit of truth;

We learn from the book of Ezekiel concerning the presence of the Spirit –

Ezekiel 36:27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.

The Spirit’s work is to ‘cause us to walk according to God’s will.’ This goes perfectly with what Jesus said –

John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth:

B. What Truth?

What is the truth that the Spirit seeks to teach? It is the truth of God’s Word. The Spirit seeks to teach us God’s Word so that we might do God’s will.

1. Christ’s Commandments

John 15:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever;

John 15:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. 22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? 23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

We can’t separate the Spirit’s presence from the Spirit’s purpose. What is the Spirit’s purpose? It is to enable us to walk according to God’s Word / Commandments.

2. What did Christ Command?

When we hear of the word ‘commandments’ we naturally think of the Ten Commandments or some other part of the Law. Yet it might surprise us to learn what Jesus was thinking of that night when He used the word commandment.

John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

John 15:12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

Jesus used the word ‘command’ or ‘commandment’ at least nine times that night and every time in association with the word ‘love.’ Jesus said –

a. “I’m doing what I am doing because I love the Father.

b. If you love Me, you will do what I have commanded

c. And what I have commanded is that you love one another, even as I have loved you.”

III. He Empowers Us

John 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever;

A. Another Comforter

Jesus referred to the Spirit as ‘another’ Comforter or Helper. The word ‘another’ means one of the same kind. In other words – “I am going to send someone who will continue the work that I have begun.”

B. Continuing the Work Christ Had Begun

What was the work that Jesus had begun? It was saving the world from its sins. How does the Spirit continue that work?

C. Greater Works Than These

It might surprise you to find out –

John 14:12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. 13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

Jesus is not promising – “Magic for us”; He is promising “Ministry through us.” What did the Lord tell His disciples about the Spirit’s coming –

Luke 24:45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, 46 And said unto them, Thus it is written , and thus it behoved Christ to suffer , and to rise from the dead the third day: 47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And ye are witnesses of these things. 49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.

Of course we know that power from on high is the Holy Spirit.

Conclusion

What a blessing it is for believers today to have the Spirit of God living within them. His presence provides:

  • Encouragement
  • Enrichment
  • Empowerment

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