By Rev. Dr. Sergio E. Arevalo, Jr.
Eagle Rock Lutheran Church
Los Angeles, Ca
May 25, 2014 (6th Sunday of Easter, Memorial Sunday)
Yesterday we had a “cleaning fellowship” in our parking lot. Kuya Raul prepared all the tools before we came.
At first I used a scissor-like cutter. I told to myself this tool is cool since it is easy to cut leaves and branches. However, when Kuya Raul gave me the cutter powered by electricity it is more powerful! The cutting job for whole day can be done for two hours.
Going to the mission fields without power is tantamount to going to war without arms, or going to farm without tools. It’s also like driving without any vehicle. Jesus knew that that’s why he promised that. In Acts 1:8, Jesus says that “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you.” Indeed, the Holy Spirit is the Promised One!
I. The Holy Spirit as the Promised One.
Jesus says, “I will ask the Father to give you another Comforter to be with you always” (v.16). The Holy Spirit is with us always. The Comforter is sent by the Father and also of the Son, since the Holy Spirit is a part of the Holy Trinity.
What would be the roles of the Comforter?
II. The Holy Spirit as the Advocate.
In Greek the word comforter is called parakletos which means advocate, intercessor or comforter.
Advocate means “lawyer,” the one who will fight for us, he is our hero.
Intercessor is the one who is interceding for us. The Holy Spirit’s role is to bring our prayers to God.
Comforter is like pillow, it gives us comfort. It relaxes us. The Spirit comforts and consoles us when we are in trouble, when we have problems in life, when we need help, when we need a shoulder to cry on.
We need somebody like the Holy Spirit in the mission field since we are going to encounter some challenges and trials. We need somebody who will fight for us, somebody who will intercede for our prayers, and somebody who will comfort us when we are crying, and suffering for Jesus.
Jesus said in verse 17, “He is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor recognizes him. But you recognize him, because he lives with you and will be in you.”
Why he told that to his disciples? It is because Jesus expected that his disciples will live in truth. The truth will live with them, and be with them even in times of trials and temptations. People might know that the Spirit is with us when we speak the truth for Jesus.
Jesus said in John 16:13, “Yet when the Spirit of Truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own accord, but will speak whatever he hears and will declare to you the things that are to come.”
The Holy Spirit is invisible, we don’t see him and we don’t recognize him. However, he is around us, he is in the midst of us, he is in our hearts, he is with your neighbors, he is everywhere. If we are in Christ, we might recognize him. Rest assure that the Spirit is abiding us (v.17-18).
IV. The Holy Spirit’s Presence
Verse 20 says “At that time you will know that I am in my Father, that you are in me, and that I am in you.” The Greek word ginosko is translated “know” here.
Thayer defines this “to learn to know, come to know, get a knowledge of perceive, feel.” He also explains that “know” is “Jewish idiom for sexual intercourse between a man and a woman.” Thus, ginosko is not just perceiving cognitively, but perceiving experientially! So when Jesus said “you will know” it means or refers to a deeper experiential relationship with the Father.
For example, when we are experiencing problems, and challenges in life, and it seems we could not bear them, then suddenly, we can do it, and it seems somebody is helping us. Yes, indeed, somebody is helping us, the invisible Spirit, the Comforter, the Intercessor, and the Spirit of Truth! He is present! He is omnipresent!
Jesus says, “At that time you will know that I am in my Father, that you are in me, and that I am in you. The person who has my commandments 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 him and reveal myself to him” (vv. 20-21).
Here Jesus is hinting that when we are in the Spirit we will love him, and we will keep his commandments. And our reward is that the Father and Jesus will love us, and he will disclose himself to us every moment.
John Gill says “Not in a visible way, or in a corporeal form, as he did to his disciples after his resurrection; but in a spiritual manner, as when he makes himself known to his people in ordinances, and favors them with communion with him, and they see his beauty, his fullness, his grace and righteousness, his power, and his glory.”
What’s the importance of knowing that Jesus is disclosing himself to us? It means we are going to have an spiritual enlightenment! (Cambridge Bible). How is that? If you know that Jesus is watching you and empowering you, do you think your faith would become powerless and useless? The presence of Jesus in our hearts, and in our experiences will bear miracles and wonders.
To give you an example, when you say good things to others they will smile, and they will like you. When you smile to your neighbors they will smile back. Try it! J
Same thing here, if we know Jesus is with us there would be effect, sometimes ripple effect. There would be changes in us, there would be great experiences since we know that Jesus through the Comforter is with us even when we experience trials, challenges and temptations.
Jesus promised to request the assistance of the Holy Spirit for comfort and empowerment (Acts 1:8). Look what happened to his disciples, the Apostle Peter was weak and so he denied Jesus three times (Mt. 26:70-75), but when he was filled with the Spirit during the Pentecost (Acts 2), he became bold and powerful! (Acts 2:14-41). He preached boldly amongst the people, and about 3,000 people were converted!
Speaking to a large audience, D.L. Moody held up a glass and asked, “How can I get the air out of this glass?” One man shouted, “Suck it out with a pump!” Moody replied, “That would create a vacuum and shatter the glass.”
After numerous other suggestions Moody smiled, picked up a pitcher of water, and filled the glass. “There,” he said, “all the air is now removed.”
He then went on to explain that victory in the Christian life is not accomplished by “sucking out a sin here and there,” but by being filled and empowered with the Holy Spirit (sermonillustrations.com).
Brethren, let me challenge each one of you, beginning today, when you pray to God, pray to Jesus that he sends and stays his Spirit to our hearts, infill us and empower us.