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The Comforter Has Come

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This morning is Pentecost Sunday; the day we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit. It was just last week that we celebrated Ascension Day. In the last days of Jesus upon this earth, He frequently tried to prepare His disciples for his departure. One such occasion is found in John’s gospel, chapter sixteen. Although our Scripture text starts a verse four, I am going to begin my reading at verse one, because it helps set the context.
John 16:1–15 ESV
“I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away. They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me. But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you. “I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 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, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
In this passage, Jesus tells his disciples it is to there advantage that He departs from them. On the surface, this seems like an odd thing to say. I am sure most of you have thought more than once of how it would be to your advantage to have Jesus right here with you, to teach you and protect you. No doubt the disciples felt the same way, especially in light of all Jesus’ talk of betrayal, arrest, death and departure. Within the context of our text, Jesus had just warned them of the coming persecution. Up until this point Jesus had born the brunt of persecution, but with His departure the wrath of the Devil and his followers would fall upon the disciples.
John 15:18–19 ESV
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
So how is it to our advantage that Jesus has departed?
He tells us: “if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you.” The underlying word, “Paraclete” is translated as “Helper” in the ESV, is translated as “Advocate” or “Comforter” in other English translations. All three words are good translations, because a Paraclete was one who came along side another person to help them in times of trouble, especially legal trouble. This makes sense in the context of persecution, because persecution is violence done to other person because they are accused of being a criminal.
Just listen to the language of that liberals use as they attack conservatives, especially conservative Christians. They don’t just believe our views on abortion, traditional marriage, sexuality, gender, property and parental rights are wrong, they believe they are immoral. The divide in our nation is not about politics, but about morality. The left in our nation will first shame, then imprison and finally execute everyone and anyone who disagrees with their ungodly agenda.
Jesus departure into heaven exposes the church to all this hate and persecution, so again I ask: How is this to our advantage?
In our passage and in the text I read from last week, Jesus tells us three things the Holy Spirit does for us. The first is found in verses 8-11. The Holy Spirit is...

The Spirit of Conviction

Those who oppose Christ and His church control all the seats of power in our society. They control government. They control education. They control the media. They control the courts.
Even when the Church was at it’s height of influence; very powerful forces were working against her. It would seem that the church faces a lost cause, but to think that way is a mistake, because the Comforter has come!
As I noted previously, this Greek word is often translated Advocate. An advocate is a legal term; it refers to a person would speaks on behalf of another person in a courtroom. In verses 8-11, Jesus tells us what the Holy Spirit does to defend us in the courtroom of this world.
First, He convicts the world concerning sin. There are many sins that can be commited, but the greatest and most deadly sin is not to believe in Jesus. You once were an enemy of God. You once did not believe, but something happened. Something changed your heart. That something was the Holy Spirit. That same Spirit is at work in the world today. The more powerfully, the world rages against the church, the more powerfully the Holy Spirit is at work convicting people of their sin of unbelief! Don’t be discouraged. Keep sharing the Good News about Jesus. The Holy Spirit will make sure those whom God has chosen before the foundation of this world believe!
The second thing the Holy Spirit convicts the world of is righteousness. As I said previously, the current divide in our nation is not one of politics, but of right and wrong and who has the authority to decide what is right or wrong. The world believes it has the authority to determine what is right or wrong. This was the sin that tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden. They wanted to be the ones who determined what was good and evil, not God. The same has been true of fallen humanity ever since. According to Jesus, the Holy Spirit comes into the chaotic situation can convicts people that Jesus is Lord. That He is the one seated on the Throne of Authority. Our place is to declare that Jesus if Lord, it is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict people at Jesus is Lord!
Finally, Jesus says the Holy Spirit convicts the world of judgement. The world is so full of pride, but their leader, the Devil, is already defeated! This is not seen with mere natural eyes. The world believes they are winning. By all normal means of measuring success it appears they are right, but looks are deceptive. The victory Jesus won at the cross was so decisive that the war is over of all intents and purposes. The Devil and his forces cannot see it. We read in Scripture that their war will go on until the very end, at the very moment they are about to crush the church for the final time, Christ will come in the clouds and defeat them. We cannot convict people of this truth, but the Holy Spirit can.
So, as you are being attacked and slandered, remember the Holy Spirit is standing by your side as your Advocate and some of the very people attacking your will become your brothers and sisters in Christ!
The next thing Jesus says is that the Holy Spirit is...

The Spirit of Truth

We find this in verses 12-15.
I think the one thing most of us image would be more advantages to us if Jesus were still on this earth is that we would have the benefit of His teaching. The reality, is that we are in a much better position now that Jesus has ascended and sent the Holy Spirit.
First of all, the Holy Spirit can be everywhere. Because Jesus has chosen to remain in a human body forever, He can only be physically in one place at a time, but through the Holy Spirit, which is often called the Spirit of Christ, Jesus can be everywhere. Jesus is here. Jesus is at your home. Jesus is everywhere you may go, because the Holy Spirit can be everywhere.
The Holy Spirit takes what Jesus has taught and guides us into all truth.
Some import things to note here: First, the Holy Spirit does not provide revelation apart from Christ. Jesus is the Eternal Word, not the Holy Spirit. Everything the Holy Spirit has ever taught is the teaching of Jesus. This is why all new revelation ended with the death of the last Apostle. An Apostle is one who was chosen and taught by Jesus. Those who claim to be giving new revelation by the Holy Spirit today are liars and false prophets. You have all the revelation you need in your Bible.
Second, the Holy Spirit guides us into all truth. We need to have the expectation that as we read, study and especially hear God’s Word preached, the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth. We live in such a contentious world today. So much so, that the very concept of truth is questioned. I cannot point you to a news source that will always give you the truth, but I can point you to a book and person who will always give you the truth. That book is the Bible and that person is the Holy Spirit!
Finally, it is to our advantage that Jesus has departed, because the Holy Spirit is...

The Spirit of Power

This is not found directly in our passage, but rather comes of our Scripture text from last week. In Acts chapter 1, we read these words:
Acts 1:8 ESV
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
People misunderstand the purpose of spiritual power and gifts. We read in the book of Acts of a man named Simon the Magician. Simon was impressed by the power of Philip and the Apostles. He wanted that same power, so he offered money to Peter and John for the gift of the Holy Spirit. He was rebuked by them for thinking the power of the Holy Spirit can be used for our own devices.
Jesus says the power of the Holy Spirit is give for the purpose of our being witnesses. Paul adds that it is for the growth and edification of the church.
There is much debate over what gifts are active today, because the lists we find in Scripture vary so much, I would says whatever is necessary for the witness and well-being of the church. I would say, stop worrying about it so much, just serve Christ knowing that whatever is needed, He will provide by the Holy Spirit!
Isn’t this freeing? Stop worrying about what your Spiritual Gifts are and start believing that you have received power!
It is like this. Why worry if your gift is an AAA, AA, C or D cell battery, when you have a available to you the same power that raised Jesus from the dead and seated Him at the right hand of God the Father!
Yes, the comforter has come! Let us celebrate this glorious day!
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