For many Christians and non-Christians, the Holy Spirit is the least understood person in the Trinity. This is unfortunate since it is the Holy Spirit that equips, enables, and empowers true Christian living. As a result of not understanding the Holy Spirit, many Christians default to their own power and abilities. In this series, we look at four different functions of the Holy Spirit as taught by Jesus in John 14-16. Taken together, these four functions will give us a better understanding of how the Holy Spirit is to operate in our lives.
June 6 – Our Counselor and Advocate
Jesus promises his followers that he will send us the Holy Spirit as an advocate and counselor. In legal settings, a judge may appoint an advocate to serve as the voice and representative of someone. The advocate speaks on behalf of the person. In some cases, a court-appointed advocate manages the daily affairs of a person or organization. Legal representation is often referred to as legal counsel – someone who works on behalf of the best interests of their client. The Holy Spirit helps us in the same way an advocate/counselor would help a client. Other translations use words like helper, comforter, and counselor.
Main Point: God gives us the Holy Spirit to help us and to be with us forever.
John 14:15-21 … 15 “If you love me, keep my commands.16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”
June 13 – Our Teacher
Jesus connects our love for him with our obedience to him. It’s not that we obey his commands in order to be loved; we obey his commands because we are loved by him. Left to ourselves, this obedience would be difficult, if not impossible. Jesus promises that the Holy Spirit will be actively involved in teaching us what it means to follow Jesus. Not only will he teach us new things, but he also reminds us of what we’ve already learned. The Holy Spirit teaches us through the Word of God which he inspired and through the influence of other godly people, personal guidance, prayer, and other means. The Holy Spirit’s promptings and personal guidance will never contradict or oppose what has already been revealed in scripture.
Main Point: God gives us the Holy Spirit so we can learn the ways of Jesus.
John 14:22-27 … 22 Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?” 23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. 25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
June 20 – Our Witness
The Holy Spirit does not draw attention to himself but points people to Jesus. He testifies about Jesus, meaning that he reinforces both the message of Jesus and the credibility of Jesus. Since he is part of the Godhead, he provides an “eyewitness” account to the nature of Jesus. When we rely on the Holy Spirit to support our efforts of proclaiming Jesus, we be confident that he will always be true and reliable – Jesus refers to him as the “Spirit of truth”.
Main Point: God gives us the Holy Spirit as a testimony about Jesus.
John 15:26-27 … 26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. 27 And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.
June 27 – Our Guide
What does it mean to be a Spirit-led person? On the one hand, it means we are not spirit-led people, in the sense that we just follow our own feelings. While we have free will to act and to choose, we are not to be self-directed followers of Jesus. The Holy Spirit has been given to us to help guide as into all the truth. Since his purpose is to glorify Jesus, he will lead us in ways that accomplish that purpose. As a perfect guide, he knows the destination God has for us and is working to make that path known. Our task as followers is to follow the guide – to be Spirit-led and not spirit-led.
Main Point: God gives us the Holy Spirit to guide us in all the truth.
John 16:12-15 … 12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”