Nothing makes the heart feel better knowing that help is on the way! I can recall numerous times of needing help and the peace it brings to knowing help was on the way. The time when my alternator died on the way home from the drive in. The time when I got stuck in the mud at Brighton Speedway. The time when I saw the Roadrunners Tow truck pulling in behind a broken down van when we started out on our vacation. There is a sense of peace and joy that overtakes your heart when help comes. The sound of sirens as they approach your burning house, a distressing call, health reasons. There is a certain peace that takes over when you’re troubled at heart. Go back a few years when 33 miners were trapped in a Chilean mine deep under the earth’s surface. Can you imagine what they went through? I wonder if they felt totally lost and doomed to a slow and painful death. Now fast forward when help finally received the word that help was on the way. Imagine how they must have been filled with joy when they got a message from above that the rescue team knew exactly where they were and that the process of getting them out had already begun! There are times in all of our lives when we feel like we’re stuck in a really bad place. Anxious and alone, we despair that we are out of options and that no one understands where we really are in life. But in such moments we need to remember God’s promises and His comforting words, just like the disciples here in the upper room with Jesus! These men are so troubled and felt alone like the miners did before help came…..even though the Lord Jesus was with them. The Lord comforts them we yet another truth…….a truth that should seal the deal on all doubt and fear. What were His words of comfort? HELP WAS ON THE WAY! Our greatest hope here below is help from God above. This is so true in our lives and in the lives of these 11 men.
I think one of the most encouraging things Jesus said to the disciples is that “I will not leave you orphans” (v18) “orphans”, “comfortless” or better yet “fatherless” WOW! This powerful stuff here! Jesus promises when he says “I will never leave you fatherless and abandoned like so many people today”. Especially today with the breakdown of the husband and wife and the family unit. He says that he would show them the kindness of a parent, and, though he was going away, he would provide for their future safety. How? He does this by promising of sending us a helper, a guide, a teacher to show us the way home where there is a room for you and me. That place called Heaven that Jesus spoke of in the opening remarks of chapter fourteen for those who truly follow Him. And He says “I will come again” (v18b) Here is the stamp, the icing on the cake to that promise that He will never leave us orphaned. Never to leave us crying and feeling alone when they walk out of our lives, to never to return. Why? He’s Jesus, and He is the example every father should live and govern their lives by. Jesus promises that will never happen no matter what! HE PROMISES. That’s why we find comfort when the Hebrew writer penned these words “….For He Himself has said, "I WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU NOR FORSAKE YOU." So we may boldly say: "THE LORD IS MY HELPER; I WILL NOT FEAR. WHAT CAN MAN DO TO ME?" Heb 13:5-6
So who is this Helper? John’s gospel is the only one who identifies the Spirit this way! This word is better translated “Comforter”, “advocate,” or as we see here in the text “Helper”. What is Jesus trying to say to His weary disciples? John Gill said “the Spirit, who performs this his work and office, by taking of the things of Christ, and showing them to his people; by shedding abroad the love of the Father, and of the Son, into their hearts; by opening and applying the precious promises of the Gospel to them; by being a spirit of adoption in them; and by abiding with them as the seal, earnest, and pledge of their future glory; and with this view Christ promises to pray for him," The Spirit is promised as one who would supply Christ’s own place in His absence. That’s why Jesus continues to comfort the disciples in John 16:6-14 “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 depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.” I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.” The Spirit of truth will teach them and us all the necessary truth pertaining to life and godliness. And how will this Helper comfort my troubled heart?
THIS HELPER COMES ALONG SIDE US TO COMFORT US AND STRENGTHEN OUR SOULS FOR HEAVEN. (V15-V18)
Having the Helper is the same as having Jesus physically, accessible but only better. Again remember Jesus said he is going and we can’t follow right now, but you will in time. So access to Jesus personally is impossible though our earthly life, but the Helper the Holy Spirit resides with us to comfort us until that glorious day when we stand before Christ physically. The Holy Spirit is not some force or essence that comes over us. It is the Third PERSON of the Trinity. Who comes along side us as father does his child when he’s teaching to ride his bike for the first time without training wheels. Walking or running alongside your son or daughter, with one hand on the seat giving instructions “relax, keep your wheel straight and steady.” And when they fall or crash [and they will] you’re there to pick them up and to encourage them to try again and never give up [to persevere]. Isn’t this the Christian life? Every one of us started out with training wheels, some still need them to grow; because some need more comfort and encouragement to continue. But the wonderful blessing in all of this is that the Spirit doesn’t sit back and wait for an opportunity. He is always there through the good and bad times of your journey home. He was there in the beginning and He will help you through to the end of your Christian life. As Paul wrote when he was discouraged and had been disheartened “For indeed, when we came to Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were troubled on every side. Outside were conflicts, inside were fears. Nevertheless God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus,” 2 Cor 7:5-6
THIS HELPER DWELLS WITHIN OUR HEARTS AND BRINGS THINGS TO REMEMBERANCE. (V19-V26)
In (v23) we read "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.” Doesn’t this sound familiar to the opening statement Jesus made? “I go to prepare a place for you” (v2) See “place” in (v2) and “home” in (v23) is the same Greek word “mon-ay” which means: dwelling place, abode, room. Jesus is preparing a dwelling place for us, but He is also dwells within us. One of the most encouraging aspects to the Christian life is to know that the Holy Spirit not only comes along side us, but that He dwells within us. Sadly though! One of the most troubling thoughts many feel today is that they’re all alone; there is nobody to help them in their time of struggle, temptation and so on. And that’s true for many people around the globe today who are defence and hostile to the things of God. Usually when a person feels they are all alone “self-pity” comes to visit and they usually end up saying “nobody cares about me”. Again these are common feelings but unnecessary for the genuine child of God. As Paul wrote to the church in Rome “And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” Rom 8:10-11. The Holy Spirit teaches us and prepares us for ministry and our eternal inheritance. He brings to our lives that need to be changed for our good and God’s glory. He brings that inward feelings of conviction, repentance, faith , hope, fear, and love, which will always produce an outward display of an inward changed life. Without the Spirit we are hopeless, restless and lost without a home in Heaven.
THE HELPER GIVES US THE ABILITY TO DO GREAT THINGS FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD. (V12-V13)
There is a true story of a submarine mate in World War II who had an acute appendicitis and the nearest surgeon was thousands of miles away. The Pharmacist mate watched the solders temperature rise to 106 degrees. The man’s only hope was an operation! So the Pharmacist said “I've watched doctors do this, I think I can it”. The man who was in pain consented and so they prepared for surgery. The cook boiled water in pots to sterilize the instruments. A tea strainer served as an antiseptic cone. A broken handled scalpel was the operating instrument. Alcohol was drained from the torpedo was the antiseptic. Bent table spoons served to keep the muscles open. After cutting through layers of muscle, it took him 20 minutes to find the appendix. Two and half hours later, the last stitch was sewed just as the last drop of ether gave out. Thirteen days later the man whose life hanged in the balance was saved and he returned to duty fully recovered. That’s amazing! An untrained man under the most extreme conditions performed a miracle that saved this man’s life. Jesus said “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.” (v12)
There is much we can learn from this experience because the Spirit dwells in us and He gives us the wisdom and abilities to perform great things for the Kingdom. Through the Spirit we are able to do the same as Jesus. Jesus brought life and through His life giving message in the gospel. We are able to see God’s mighty power as it transforms millions of lives though our transformed lives and the proclamation of the gospel message. See, our ministry that we’ve been given is greater than Jesus Christ, even though His is the conductor and orchestrator and source of all things. He was here for a short period to display the love of the Godhead but He is gone and will not return until an appointed time. We have been given the responsibility and joy to tell others and see people come to Christ for His glory and His name sake. God through the Spirit uses simple, untrained people to impossible things for His glory and His Kingdom. Look at the life of a fisherman…..Peter, when the religious leaders were dumbfounded by Peter’s wisdom. Act 4:8-13 we read “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, "Rulers of the people and elders of Israel: If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. This is the 'STONE WHICH WAS REJECTED BY YOU BUILDERS, WHICH HAS BECOME THE CHIEF CORNERSTONE.' Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.
THE HELPER IS THERE TO SETTLE A TROUBLED HEART. (V27-V31)
A peace that world desperately needs, but unable to attain apart from Christ and the Holy Spirit indwelling. A person will never find genuine peace in this life or the next apart from the saving work found in the gospel. See this peace that Jesus gives us is not purchased at the store, or in today’s best-selling books, not even your neighbor or closet friend. It comes through Jesus Christ and the always present Helper in our lives. That’s why Jesus says “the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.” (v17) As John Gill said “the men of the world, who are as they came into the world, carnal and natural men, can neither receive the Spirit nor the things of the Spirit, the truths and doctrines of the Gospel; they can neither receive them into their understandings, nor into their affections; and indeed, because they cannot understand them, therefore they do not love them, but despise and hate them.” That’s why Paul wrote “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Cor 2:14. Remember we need Him and His help to see genuine peace! As Francis Chan said “Why would we need to experience the Comforter if our lives are already comfortable?”
These are the promises that Jesus told His disciples and these are the same promises that have been made available through the finish work on the cross. The Holy Spirit is given to the church of all God’s called out ones [the Elect] to abide with us until Christ calls us home. And what’s beautiful about this is He will never let go of your heart! That’s a peace that supersedes everything else in this troubled life. Eph 1:13-14 “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.” Again let not your heart be troubled my weary untrained disciples! HELP IS ON THE WAY!
Church family! HELP IS HERE and He’s going nowhere, He is here to come alongside, dwell within us, help us to great things for the Kingdom and give us a peace in the midst of our troubles and circumstances of life. Let not your heart be troubled! I’m with you always…..so comfort one another with these truths and live your life for the glory of His name. Remember “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.” And that’s only possible, that’s only made available through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.