References: John 14:16-18
From last week’s post: Jesus makes another very interesting statement. “I will not leave you orphans.” Well, what does it mean to be an orphan?… It was a rather desperate situation. Jesus says, I will not leave you in that situation.
That you have Him
We are sort of right back to where we started. If He hadn’t promised, how would Jesus going away leave you an orphan? It is simply because of who man is. You and I are made to live in the presence of God, the guide and protector of life. Not only does He keep us from turning away in unbelief, He acts as a father toward his child, guiding, directing, protecting, providing. We rely on many different things for a comfortable life, whether science, civil authority, or various institutions, but when you put God out of the equation, you are truly an orphan. You have nothing to rely on.
The Holy Spirit’s dwelling in you, a believer, is a great and absolutely necessary gift. Just think about the basic expression of faith and reliance on God. Even saying, “I believe in the promise of salvation, and I trust in God for salvation,” indicates the Holy Spirit speaking in you.
Yet the Spirit helps us do more than express our faith. Listen to Paul speak of the assistance received from the Holy Spirit in Romans 8:26: “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”
When you can’t begin to figure out how to respond to God in the midst of a pandemic, or when lawlessness rules of the day, or when everything seems to fall apart, the Holy Spirit is there with you.
Leading to Christ’s return
Finally, Christ’s sending the Holy Spirit means we have the assurance, a sort of down payment for the promises: Christ will return again; Christ will sit on the throne, and the final victory of the kingdom will be a reality.
Always remember, always count on this: the ruler most powerful, the ruler truly needed, is the one who sits on the throne at the right hand of God. So the Holy Spirit in you, in the church today, will lead the Church militant (struggling) to the Church triumphant.
What is the basis upon which we can speak of comfort at all? Because of the Comforter. As part of the work of the Son of God, the Holy Spirit is given so you can know comfort, and all that entails in a relationship with God and with fellow believers. It’s a faith concept with huge implications, theologically and personally. It’s the assurance that as you struggle with your own weaknesses, and with the effects of sin in the world (including a virus), you will never be left ultimately alone.
Throughout the history of the world, the church has faced many challenges leading to separation from God. We find ourselves in the midst of a particular challenge now, not only with the pandemic but other things as well. The pandemic has caused us to miss out on a lot, specifically affecting corporate worship and fellowship. We might want to ask God the same questions the Psalmist did in terms of where God is in the midst of our loneliness. I do know this. We ought to do as the Psalmist did and cry out to God. Even more than the Psalmist, we have the Holy Spirit. He is in you, He is poured out on the church. Pray; pray with all that is in you. He knows what you need. He knows what the church needs.
The answers are not easy; there are a number of providential reasons that we are kept from the most intimate and joyful fellowship with God in corporate worship. But even as the Psalmist cried out, he did so because of his desire for God.
Jesus asked for the Holy Spirit to be in you, in all of us, the church, so that your desire for God would never go away, even when challenged. Let us praise God as we seek Him, that we have this great gift. He has given us another Helper.
Blog post content taken from a sermon series delivered by Dr. Maynard Koerner, President and Professor of Ministerial Studies at Heidelberg Theological Seminary.