John 15:26-27 ~ Never Alone, the Helper is Here!
For those of you who were here last Sunday, did you like my message that emphasized the fact that there is a cost to being a Christian?
Whether you liked it or not, it is the truth. John chapter 15 has made that perfectly clear to us.
Verses 1 - 8 spoke of Christ as the true vine and believers being branches whose joy and privilege is to bear fruit. but it also spoke of the pruning knife. “Every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” Which one of us really enjoys God’s pruning knife which cuts away all the excess stuff that is not helpful in order that we might bear fruit that remains? We learned that the only way to produce fruit is through our living attachment to Christ.
There is a cost to being a Christian.
In verses 9 - 17, we sought to see the heart of God of God who desires that we live in the love of God, that we live in the joy of the Lord, and that we live out His love in this church. He gave his command that we love one another as Christ has loved us. Surely we know that we can never do that without abiding in, remaining in and clinging to our Saviour and Lord.
There is a cost to being a Christian.
Then, last week God lowered the boom on us as He told us that living in the love of God will lead us into hatred from the world. Not everyone will be pleased with your desire to put Christ first in your life.
18 "If the world hates you,” Jesus said, “you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 "If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
There is a cost to being a Christian. It was true for the disciples and it is true for you!
So, how are you and I going to bear fruit that remains? How are we going to live as God wants us to in this local church? How are we going to respond properly to negative reactions from those around us, some of whom may even be friends and family?
It is surely obvious that we can’t do this on our own. You may be a lot more strong than I am, but I know that I certainly cannot live as God wants me to live in my own strength.
But there is good news! You don’t have to. Consider the title of this morning’s message, “Never Alone - The Helper Has Come”
Jesus gave the answer in John 15: 26 "But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. 27 "And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.”
There is a helper coming to help you live as you ought to live. I will send this helper to you called the Spirit of truth.
Ah, there is hope for all of us poor strugglers. There is a helper. There is another helper.
Who is this helper who will assist us in living the way God intends us to live?
The word in the Greek language is parakletos or in English the word is Paraklete. The word is made up of two parts -the second part means to call, the first part means alongside, so the word speaks of One who is called alongside.
Now I can understand this. I am fairly hopeless in the whole realm of technology. I can use a computer, but I certainly can’t figure out how to do everything that needs to be done in order to make it work properly, so I have to call someone who understands the basic technology involved to make it work properly. It really doesn’t help for one of them to show me how to do it. They could show me 25 times and I still wouldn’t get it - but if I can call someone alongside who sets it up and makes the connections work, then I can blunder through enough to get my sermon printed.
Well if this is true with just a simple matter like a computer, then what of the far more
important matter of living for Jesus, of pleasing God, of bearing fruit, of loving my fellow believers and of responding properly to those who may not really be pleased with my efforts to live as a Christian?
Ah, says Jesus, 15: 26 “when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father,” He has already said this same thing in John 14; 16. “I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever” Then He repeats this promise in John 16:7 "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 depart, I will send Him to you.”
When the Word of God repeats the same thing three times, we had better sit up and pay attention because it is obviously important:
The fact that this is another helper tells us that there was an initial helper. The word paraklete is also translated as “Comforter”, Advocate, even Mediator and speaks of One called alongside to comfort, to strengthen, to plead one’s case. This speaks of of Christ in his exaltation at God’s right hand, pleading with God the Father for the pardon of our sins. As is said in 1Timothy2:5 “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time,”
When Christ speaks of another helper he is speaking of Himself as the original comforter, advocate, mediator.
Until now, Jesus has been with the disciples, teaching them, leading them, showing them by example what he desires them to know. But he is going away and is preparing them for life without him. How will they survive? How will they prosper? How will they accomplish the awesome, impossible task of reaching the world with His gospel without him here to help them accomplish his purpose?
Ah, here is Christ’s promise:
The Father and the Son will send forth the Holy Spirit who will be the helper they need in fulfilling His will into the far distant future.
Yes Christ is in heaven pleading our case before the Father but He has not left us alone. He requested from the Father another helper to take His place “who may abide with you forever”
This One, the Holy Spirit came to take the place of Christ with the apostles from the time of Pentecost on, even to this day. That is what Jesus meant when he said in chapter 14: 18 "I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.”
Oh, glorious wonder, we who live here on earth are not alone, we have the help of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit with us forever.
But there is yet more: He said of the Holy Spirit, in 14:17, you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.”
Here is the next remarkable thing, God is not far away. He is not just the sovereign God of the universe dwelling in heaven, but He has come near to us on earth, and lives even more closely than that for He has come to take up His residence in our very lives.’ Somewhere along the line, perhaps in children’s camp or youth camp at Sunnybrae we were invited to ask Jesus into our hearts. Did we understand what that meant? What that meant was that when we asked Jesus into our hearts, the Holy Spirit took up residence in our lives. If you are a genuine, born again Christian, you are not alone. God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, the triune God is closer to you that any human being could possibly be. He knows your heart. He knows all about your sins and your temptations. He is not ignorant of your failures and your need to confess your sins to him as 1 John 1::9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
So, what is the role of our helper, the Holy Spirit?
Notice one of the names by which He is called. In 14:17 he is called "the Spirit of truth,”
and we are told that he is one “whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him;”
Again we read in 16:8 "And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 "of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 "of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 11 "of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.”
So even though the world does not know Him, The Holy Spirit has carried out His work of convicting human beings of sin, of righteousness and of judgement. Their rejection of His convicting truth makes them guilty in His sight and leaves them without excuse before God.
Do you wonder why the world is such a messed up place? Do you shake your head when you see wrong being embraced as right and right being denigrated as wrong? It’s because the people of the world do not know the Holy Spirit, nor embrace His truth.
But for His people who do embrace His truth, the Holy Spirit carries out His work in a life transforming way.
In 14:26 we are told that " the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”
How have you come to your present level of understanding about God, and His word and His truth? It’s because you have been reading and hearing God’s Word. The Holy Spirit taught the apostles and inspired them to write it down in His Word, and you have received it and believed it and embraced it as the truth. To at least some degree you are being changed and transformed by the Word of God.
Oh, dear ones, don’t treat this lightly, don’t just take it as a ho-hum, yea, I’ve heard all this before attitude. You need to understand that you have been given the most important privilege, you could possibly receive.. No other opportunity which you have been given for growth in knowledge or understanding even comes close to the privilege you have received in hearing God’s word. Instead of sloughing it off and ignoring opportunities to hear God’s word you should embrace every opportunity as a sacred gift from God.
He will lead you to a deeper knowledge of the gospel truth, and give you divine strength needed to enable you to undergo trials and persecutions on behalf of the kingdom of God.
Now, come back with me to out text of this morning in John 15: 26, 27 "But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.
And then He goes on to say, in verse 27 "And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.”
This whole discourse is preparatory to their new ministry. Without the witness of the Spirit, the disciples’ witness would be powerless; without the disciples’ witness, the Spirit would be restricted in His means of expression.
In another scripture we are told that we are workers together with God. Can you see now what this means?
It means that your living for Jesus is important. Your testimony of God’s grace is important. Your sharing the good news of Christ’s life, death, burial and resurrection is important. The preaching of the Word of God from this pulpit is important. Our missionaries going out to bear the gospel witness to other peoples in other land is important.
The Spirit of God does not operate in a vacuum. He works through people. He doesn’t evangelize by means of angels. He evangelizes through the witness of people. Yet through simple believers like you and me, H testifies of Christ.
Without the witness of the Spirit, your witness would be powerless; without your witness, the Spirit will be restricted in His means of expression.
There is a cost to being a Christian. You may feel yourself to be a very weak representative of Jesus Christ. You may feel that you are not very bold about telling others that you are a believer in Jesus. But take heart, dear child of God.
You are not alone the Helper has com!