[Unless otherwise noted, all Biblical references are quoted from King James Version.]
Now let us turn in our Bibles to John 14:16, where Jesus, talking to His disciples said,
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but you know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. (John 14:16-17)
In this lesson we would like to begin sort of a mini-series within the series, as we look at the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. We have been talking about the baptism, or the filling, or whatever you want to title it—this relationship that a believer can have with the Holy Spirit. It is the releasing of the Spirit and the out-flowing of the Spirit from my life. It is one thing to be filled and another thing to be overflowing. It is one thing to have the Spirit indwelling me and coming into my life and another thing to have the Holy Spirit flowing forth out of my life. It is that work of the Holy Spirit in my life that we would like to take a look at. And then we will look at the gifts of the Spirit and how the Holy Spirit flows forth from my life and the various gifts of the Spirit. We will be looking at that inward work of the Holy Spirit.
In this phrase, "another Comforter," the word "another" there in the Greek is allos, which means "of the same kind, or equal quality." It means another of the same order, the same kind, or equal quality. There is an additional Greek word that is translated "another," and that word means of "a different quality." You can have another. You know, you might be going to pick up a Hertz rental car and the employee says, "Well, you have ordered a little compact Geo, but we happen to be out of that right now. But we can give you another car, a Lincoln Town Car, for the same price." That kind of "another" would be the word heteros. It is not the same quality or the same kind. If you had ordered a Town Car and they said, "Well, we cannot give you that, but we will give you a Cadillac or something." Then that is sort of the same quality (allos).
So, when Jesus is talking about the Holy Spirit being of the same quality, He is actually here ascribing to the Holy Spirit, the quality of divinity. He is declaring that the Holy Spirit is God. "I have been with you. I am going away. I will pray the Father, He will give you another [allos, of the same quality, the same kind] Comforter."
The word "Comforter" in Greek is paraklete, which means, "one who would come alongside of you to take up your case, or to plead your case," or, as it is used here, "to aid you in any way." Now I am going to pray the Father. He is going to give you another Comforter, one with the same quality, who will aid you in any way.
Now Jesus has been talking to His disciples about His being betrayed, being put to death. He has been telling them that He is going away and where He is going they cannot come right now. And they do not understand Him. They cannot comprehend the delay of the establishing of the kingdom. In their minds, Jesus is still going to set up the kingdom almost immediately. When He talks about going away and says you cannot come now, it troubles them. When He talks about death, it troubles them. And so, at the beginning of this chapter, He said, "Let not your hearts be troubled." For they were indeed troubled. He said He was going away to prepare a place for them. That He would come again and receive them unto Himself. But these are mysterious sayings. These are troubling sayings for the disciples.
You see, Jesus had been a real defense for the disciples. The scribes and the Pharisees liked to pick on them. We read in Mark 9, where Jesus saw a great multitude of people gathered around the disciples and the scribes were there questioning them. It had created sort of a big crowd. And you know when you get people arguing, often a crowd will gather. And Jesus came up and He said, "What are you talking to them about? —they are My little lambs, you do not pick on them!"
And the religious leaders would say to Jesus, "Now why do Your disciples eat with unwashed hands?" Well, Jesus always had such a good defense. He could just lay it out and silence them. The scribes and Pharisees asked, "Why do Your disciples do that which is not lawful to do on the Sabbath day?" And Jesus talks about David eating showbread, which was not lawful, and so forth. He was such a powerful defender.
Now how are they going to defend themselves against these scholars when they have not had the same advantage of an education within the religious schools—within the Scriptures? And if He is talking about going away then, what are they going to do when the Pharisees come and challenge them or the scribes challenge them? They are troubled about this and rightfully so.
But Jesus is saying, "I will pray the Father and He will give you another Comforter; one who is alongside to plead your case; one who will be here to help you and to aid you." Jesus went on to say,
But the Comforter, [this one who comes alongside to aid you, to plead your case. And here He identifies Him.] which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said to you. (John 14:26)
So, the work of the Holy Spirit within the life of the believer is comforting; just the name "Comforter" itself implies one who will be there to plead your case and to aid you in any way.
But now He is going to also teach you all things. Now Jesus, even at this late date said, "I have many other things to say unto you, but you are not able to take them now. You are not able to receive them. But the Holy Spirit is going to come. He is going to teach the disciples and He will aid them in the understanding of the Scriptures. They will not have to really worry about their lack of understanding. Jesus said, "For as I have taught you, so shall He teach you."
To study the Bible is a tremendous privilege. It is a marvelous book. The more I study it, the more I am amazed at this book. It is a blessing indeed. To aid and to assist in the study of the Bible, it is handy to study the original languages in order that you might be able to milk from the original languages some of the little nuances that do not translate well into English. And there are those little nuggets that you discover every once in a while. I know that there have been times when I have felt that it is wonderful I had studied Greek, so I can find these blessed little nuggets of truth. I studied Greek. I did not say I learned Greek, but I studied it. I am not a natural linguist. Languages are extremely difficult for me. My brain is not constructed properly to learn foreign languages. There are other areas in which I find a natural aptitude, but not in linguistics. Yet I have had enough Greek that I can dig into it, but it is tough. However, in digging through the Greek you find a nugget and it is worth digging to find these nuggets every once in a while
When I was pastoring years and years ago in Huntington Beach, we had a blessed saint of God there in the church who only made it through sixth grade. She was from Oklahoma and after she had gone through sixth grade, she quit school. And she loved the Lord. She was a real saint of God. And I would be studying in Galatians and digging through the Greek and trying to find some of these little nuggets of truth that show up in the Greek language. And I would get hold of one of those and I would think, my, this is wonderful! It is great to know a little Greek. And she would say, "Brother Smith, I was reading the other day in Galatians and I read this and I thought, you know, this must mean..."—and she would come out with the same truth. And I thought, it is not fair! All of the midnight oil and trying to maintain a grade in Greek, and here she just gets it without any Greek.
But this is what Jesus is saying. The Holy Spirit will teach you. And so He is saying to the disciples, "You do not have to worry about your lack of understanding of the Scriptures. As I have taught you, He is now going to teach you." In First John 2:27 John said,
But the anointing which ye have received of him [that is, the Holy Spirit] abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.
So you really do not need any man to teach you. You know, this is interesting because practically every cult insists that you do need man to teach you. They are heavy on selling you their books, getting you to read their books. Why is it so necessary to read their books? It is necessary because you would never come to the same screwy interpretations that they have unless you were led to them by their books. I am not at all afraid of what you will come to believe if you just read the Bible. I have no qualms in just saying, "Well, read the Bible!" I believe that as you read the Bible and ask the Holy Spirit to teach and instruct your heart, that He will lead you into all truth.
Now this idea that you have no need, that no man should teach you, in reality God has established in the church teachers. Pastor-teachers were appointed for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry. But it is an interesting thing, that though we may be teaching the Word of God and the truth of God's Word, unless the Holy Spirit bears witness to the truth in your own heart, you are not going to really learn. It is the Holy Spirit that actually teaches us the Scriptures. And how great it is to have the author of the Scriptures to help us understand what He wrote!
You know, sometimes when I read a book I would like to talk to the author and ask, "Just what kind of a point were you trying to make? What are you trying to say?" How wonderful it is that we have the author of the Bible, the Holy Spirit, to teach us!
In Mark 12:36, Jesus declared that the Holy Spirit spoke by the mouth of David. In Acts 1:16, Peter declared that the Holy Spirit spoke by the mouth of David. And going back to Second Samuel 23:1-2, as you deal with the last words that David spoke, David declared that the Spirit of Yahweh spoke by him. So, David declared that he was speaking by the Holy Spirit, Peter confirms it, and Jesus settles it, declaring that he spoke by the Holy Spirit. On the one end of the line, the Holy Spirit provided the inspiration. On our end of the line, He provides the illumination. He inspired it, but He illumines it to my heart. And that is what Jesus is saying,
The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. (John 14:26)
Have you ever had the experience of talking with someone and suddenly you begin to quote a Scripture you did not know you knew? That happens to me so often. I will start to quote a passage of Scripture and it just keeps rolling out. And I did not really realize that I had memorized that Scripture. Yet, in that time the Holy Spirit just gives you that recall and the remembrance of those passages of Scripture.
Now Paul writes about the Holy Spirit enabling us to understand the Word of God. In 1 Corinthians 2:9, he said,
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, the ear heard, neither hath entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by is Spirit: For the Spirit searches all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. (1 Corinthians 2:9-12)
The Holy Spirit, which we have received, is to help us so that we might know the things that God has freely given unto us. Paul said,
Which things also we speak not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing the spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2:13-14)
Now one of the problems that we have today is that there are men who have spent years in the study of the Scripture in seminaries. They teach in seminaries. They are known as scholars and they have studied the original languages. And they have written many books about the Bible, about particular texts in the Bible. But there is one big problem: they are not born again. And so, they are looking at the Bible purely from a humanistic standpoint. And it causes them to be so brazen as to assert that they can tell you which of the statements Jesus really said and which ones were just written by the apostles and ascribed to Jesus. And they can tell you how many different authors the Book of Isaiah had. And they can tell you all of these things about the Bible, as though they are the final authority.
There is one problem—major problem—with telling a person what part of the Bible is genuine and what is not. And the major problem with that arrives the moment I set myself up as a scholarly authority. These scholars have studied the styles in the Hebrew and so forth; and so, with the change of style, they say the difference in writers becomes obvious. They can show you the different changes of style in the writing of the Hebrew; and thus, it is obvious that the one writer of Isaiah only wrote so much and that others took care of the rest. So, they say, you cannot really trust this and you cannot trust that, but their opinion you can accept.
Or with the words of Jesus for instance, it is the same as these fellows have just done. When anybody sets himself up as an authority to tell you what part of the Bible is genuine and what is spurious—the minute they set themselves up as that kind of an authority, the Bible no longer becomes the authority. They become the authority. But the problem with that is that these authorities are arguing with each other. So, which authority do I believe? The whole ultimate end of the matter is total confusion.
Now I believe that if I cannot trust the whole thing, I cannot trust anything. But I believe I can trust the whole thing (that is, the Bible). I have no problem at all trusting the entire Bible as being inspired by God, the inerrant Word of God. I do not have any difficulty with that at all. And I am glad that I do not.
Now, in reality, a Spirit-filled child of God, like this woman I mentioned in Huntington Beach who was filled with the Spirit, in love with the Lord and in love with His Word—she is a truer guide into the truth of God than some fellow with a PhD, who is not born again but knows the original languages. Because the natural man does not understand the things of the Spirit, neither can he know them. They are spiritually discerned. If you try to understand the Bible, apart from the help of the Holy Spirit, you are going to get into all kinds of weird things. All of the weird twists come from people who have not the Holy Spirit, but with the natural intellect and the natural mind are trying to comprehend spiritual things. And so that is why Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would teach us. We did not have need that man should teach us. God has revealed His truth unto us by His Spirit, because He searches the deep things of God.
We certainly see this manifested in the Book of Acts. We see how the Holy Spirit brought to their remembrances remote and obscure passages of Scripture, but gave real sense to them. When Peter spoke, every time he spoke he was quoting Scriptures. He had a tremendous working knowledge of the Scriptures. He was enabled by the Holy Spirit to just quote large passages of Scriptures, as well as making sense and application out of remote, obscure passages. When he gathered with the disciples and the Holy Spirit was poured upon the church, the crowd was sort of mocking him. They were saying, "Well they have some new wine." Peter began to explain to them, quoting quite extensively from the prophecy of Joel, showing to them exactly what was going on. They were saying, "What meaneth this?" And he said, "This is that which was spoken of by the prophet Joel." And then he quotes the prophecy.
But then as Peter goes on to preach to them about Jesus. He begins to quote from the Psalms, how that David, by the Holy Spirit spake saying, "Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither will you allow the Holy One to see corruption." And he is quoting passages of Scripture all the time, as the Holy Spirit brings to his remembrance, as the Holy Spirit gives him understanding, and application of the Scriptures.
When Stephen was facing the Jewish council, as he was challenged by those of the synagogue, it says they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake. Here were all of these leaders of these various sects, Libertines and so forth. And Stephen, though just a deacon in the church, has such an anointing of the Holy Spirit, such wisdom, that they were not able to resist. They could not hold up to this fellow.
And then when they brought Stephen before the whole council, he went right from Genesis through the Prophets. He just really laid out the Scripture in a masterpiece, as he showed to them how their illustrious fathers were as blind as they were. "You keep talking about, well our fathers this and our fathers that, but your fathers sold Joseph for twenty pieces of silver to be a slave in Egypt, not realizing that God had ordained him to preserve the family." And it was not until the second time around that they recognized the position of Joseph. He was ordained of God for the purpose of leading the family. They had rejected that. When he told them of his dreams they rejected Joseph as the leader. However, the second time around they saw how God had anointed Joseph, but they were blind to it the first time.
Moses thought that the Israelites would understand that God had chosen him to lead them, but they did not. He fled for his life and was gone for forty years. It was not until the second time around that they recognized that Moses was indeed God's chosen leader.
The first time around, they rejected Jesus. The second time around, they will recognize Him. Stephen said, "You are following a pattern of your fathers." And so he said, "Which of the prophets did not your fathers stone or imprison?" And he said, "But you are worse than them because you killed the One they were all prophesying of." That did not go well with them. But it was masterful. It was absolutely masterful.
And we read in Acts 7:55-56,
But he [Stephen] being full of the Holy Ghost, [this was at the end of the message]—looked up steadfastly unto heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God. And he said, "Behold I see the heavens open and, the Son of man standing on the right hand of God."
Stephen was full of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit had inspired and put together that whole message and the Scriptures in such a masterful way.
The Holy Spirit would inspire their responses to charges that would be leveled against them. Jesus said,
And when they bring you into the synagogues, and unto the magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what things ye shall answer, or what ye shall say: for the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say. (Luke 12:11-12)
Jesus was telling them "The Holy Spirit will be there to defend you, to give you the words. You do not have to think up fancy little speeches. The anointing of God's Holy Spirit will come upon you and you will have the answers and the responses."
We have already seen how the Holy Spirit aided in the case of Stephen. But then we also read concerning Peter, when he was brought before the Jewish council because of the healing of the lame man:
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit said, "Ye rules of Israel, if we are called this day in question because of the good deed done to this lame man." (Acts 4:8-9)
Then Peter went on to preach to them such a convincing, masterful defense, that they marveled at his responses because they perceived that he was ignorant and unlearned.
In John 16:13-15 Jesus said,
Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine and shall show it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that He shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you.
So the Holy Spirit is guiding them into all truth.
And then the Holy Spirit is bringing Jesus' words to their remembrance. In John 2:22 we read,
When therefore He was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that He had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture and the word which Jesus had said.
You see He said He would bring to their remembrance the things. And when Jesus rose, then they remembered. Oh yeah, I remember He said that. But it was the Holy Spirit quickening their memory.
In John 12:16 we read,
These things understood not His disciples at the first; but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things unto him.
At first they did not understand when Jesus was talking about these things. But later on, after Jesus was glorified, the Holy Spirit then brought it back to their remembrance and put the whole thing together for them.
So the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer is first to illuminate the Word of God to his heart. It is to aid in the understanding of the Scriptures and to help in the defense of the Scriptures, bringing to remembrance the Scriptures, the Word of God. And thus, this glorious work of the Holy Spirit in our lives regarding our study and our understanding of the Bible.
Father, we thank You for the help of the Holy Spirit. And Lord, we look to You and we rely upon You for that help. And we thank You that You have given to us the Spirit to teach us all things, to guide us into all truth, to help us in seeing the proper application of the church. Lord, we pray for the mind of the Spirit and the understanding of the Spirit, so that we would not make the mistake that so many do, going to the Scriptures with the natural mind and wisdom. But Lord, going and understanding our need of the Holy Spirit to illuminate that which He inspired in the hearts of the writers. In Jesus' name, Lord, we thank You and we bless You for the Holy Spirit and the help that He gives to us and the understanding of all truth. Guide us, Lord, into Your truth. In Jesus' name. Amen.