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Watch 2022 online sermons » Dr. Charles Stanley » Charles Stanley - A Helper For All Occasions

Charles Stanley - A Helper For All Occasions


Charles Stanley - A Helper For All Occasions
TOPICS: Holy Spirit

Have you ever wished you had a nine-one-one number that rang in Heaven? I certainly have, because I think all of us have been in those times in our life where either there were difficult situations or sometime critical or even sometime desperate. We needed help. So where do you turn when you need help? Well, people usually turn to all different kinds of things when they need help. Then there are those people who deny that they even need help. And what they do is they say, "Well, you know, I think I can handle it". And then there are those folks who just stuff it. They just decide they're gonna make it work no matter what, and they just go on in life refusing to acknowledge the fact they need any help from anybody. But the truth is, we all do.

And sometimes, people think it's a matter of weakness to accept the fact that, well, I need help at this point. It's not a matter of weakness, it's a matter of just being human. And if you'll think about it, for example, when Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane and He was about to be crucified the next day, and He was undergoing some real heartache and real pain as He thought about being separated from the Father. It's interesting what He said. He said to His disciples, He said, "I'm grieved and distressed", and He said, "My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death. Remain here and keep watch with Me". At that moment, in His humanness, He needed their presence. He needed the assistance of their presence with Him. He needed to feel their presence. He certainly was not weak. And yet there are moments in all of our lives when we do need help.

For example, you have a flat tire at four o'clock in the afternoon on any Atlanta expressway, right up against the wall, you desperately need help, believe me. Or you break your leg, you need help. Your heart gets broken, you need help. All of us at times in our life need help. The issue is, where do we go? What can we do? And is there any real help? And sometime we see situations that it appears that nobody else in the world can really help us. Then what do we do? Well, I want you to turn, if you will, to John chapter fourteen. And the title of this message is simply this: "A Helper for All Occasions". And so, if you'll turn to the fourteenth chapter of John, just a couple of verses. We're gonna read lots of them, so I hope you have a pencil and a pad and a greasy elbow, because lots of verses and they're all important and you'll be glad you wrote every single one of them down.

He says in verse sixteen, "I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it does not know Him, has not seen Him and does not know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you". Abiding with you now, but will be in you. "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you". And so, notice what He says now, he says, "I'm going away. Not gonna leave you as orphans. I will come to you". Now, I want you to notice the word "another". I will give you, "I will ask the Father and He will give you another helper". That word means another just like this one. He says, "I'm gonna give you somebody just like Me".

Now, proof of that, besides the Word itself, is this. He says, "He may be with you forever. That is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it does not know Him or has not seen Him. But you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you". Well, now, wait a minute. How can You be leaving me and coming to me at the same time? Because the one He is about to send is just like Him, and that is the Holy Spirit. Look, if you will, now, the same chapter, look if you will in the twenty-sixth verse of this fourteenth chapter: "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring all things to," he says, "bring to your remembrance all that I've said to you".

Look in the fifteenth chapter and the twenty-sixth verse. He says, "When the Helper comes, the Holy Spirit, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me". That is, "He will show you who I am and what's going on". He says in the sixteenth chapter and the seventh verse, "But 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 go, I will send Him to you". So, we see very clearly in the scriptures, very clearly, who this helper is; that is, our helper for all occasions is none other than the Holy Spirit.

Now, with that in mind, let's think about what are the ways, practical ways in which He comes to your help and mine? And there are lots of them, but I want to mention some things that you and I have to deal with every single day of our life. And the first one is this. The Holy Spirit, listen, the Holy Spirit helps us in our prayer life. Look, if you will, in Romans chapter eight, verse twenty-six for a moment. And we certainly all need help in our prayer life. And Paul says in this twenty-sixth verse and twenty-seventh verses of the eighth chapter of Romans.

Listen to what he says, he says, "In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness". He's been talking about weaknesses and we all have ours. He says, "For we do not know how to pray as we should". Now, notice what happens. He didn't say, "You Romans don't know how to pray," he said "we". Paul included himself. He said, "We don't know how to pray as we should, but the Holy Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God". Now, think about this. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to clarify for you and me the will of God. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to reveal to us the will of God. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to make it plain to us and to enable us to walk in it.

One of the areas in which we need help is we need help in our prayer life. One of the reasons that people oftentimes just quit praying about things, they say, "Well, I..." And I've heard people say, "Well, I don't want to pray about that, because I may ask the wrong thing". Don't you let that worry you one bit in the world, because the Spirit of God isn't gonna bring to the Father, listen, the wrong request. "Well, he's asking for this, God. You and I both know that's not right, but that's what he's asking for". You know what? That never gets there. You can just forget that, because He knows exactly what our spirit is.

Listen, watch this. You and I can sincerely ask for the wrong thing. Does that upset God? No, what happens? You know what He does? Because He says the Spirit knows our spirit, our heart, He intercedes for us asking for the right thing. And so, what happens? The fact that we've got somebody helping us in our prayer, it straightens our prayers out. And so, if I come along asking for the wrong thing, here's what He'll do. He will impress upon my heart either that this is not the right thing, or He will sorta let me wear myself out over it until I finally concur with Him, "That's not Your will, Lord; now, what is Your will"? And so, God does work in our praying. He, listen, He knows how absolutely weak we are. He knows how fleshly we are. He knows that we are naturally going to ask for what we want. I mean, what do you expect? We're human, right? We're gonna ask for what we want, what we think will satisfy us and gratify the flesh or meet our needs.

And so, what does He do? Knowing the future, knowing what's best for us, you know what He does? He takes our prayers, He turns around, He sends us what's best. And we think, "God didn't answer my prayer. Here's what I asked for, He didn't..." Yes He did! You know what He did? He answered the prayer that he knew we, listen, we would want if we knew what He knew about the present and the future and the consequences. That is the awesome wonderful work of the Holy Spirit. So, if you're not praying because you're afraid you'll ask the wrong thing, keep praying, friend; He'll get you on track. That's one of His first works. A second very practical work of the Spirit and, listen, another area in which all of us need help is in understanding the Word of God. We all need help in understanding the Word of God.

For example, some people will pick up the Bible, they say, you know, "I've read the Bible and somehow I don't understand that book, and it just doesn't any make any sense". Absolutely not, why? Because it happens to be the mind of God. You don't understand the mind of God unless the Spirit of God illumines the mind of man to understand the mind of God. He says, "My ways are not your ways, My thoughts are not your thoughts, My ways are higher than Your ways and My thoughts are higher than your thoughts". Man can't understand the Word of God. Illumination, revelation, truth that can come no other way except through God. Illumination, listen, illumination is what the Spirit of God does to your mind when you begin to read the scriptures.

Now, watch this. You cannot expect the Holy Spirit, listen, to illumine your mind to the very treasures of the mind of God and at the same time be walking in sin and disobedience to God, because He's not going to do it. God is not gonna pour out truth to a dirty heart. Listen, He'll convict a dirty heart. He's not gonna pour out truth into a dirty heart. Clean heart, pure heart, godly heart. You want to understand God's Word? It takes two things: clean heart and dependence upon the Holy Spirit to illumine your mind. Listen, watch this. If the Spirit of God illumines your mind to the truth and you don't apply it to your heart, don't come back the next day, saying, "God, I want to have a deeper understanding. Lord, I just want to know more truth". Because you know what? He's gonna say, "Go back to the last passage. When you do that, I'll give you better understanding".

Now, watch this. Not only does He help me in my praying, help me with the Word of God, but He, listen, He also helps us with our sinfulness. What do you mean, helping us with our sinfulness? Okay, go back to John now, and look, if you will, in the sixteenth chapter. Look at the sixteenth chapter. He wants us to be our best at whatever He calls us to do, no matter what. And sin is a problem; we all have to deal with sin in our life in some fashion or the other. Well, think about this for a moment before we read these verses. You know people who've trusted Jesus as their savior, and they're active in church and involved, and what happens? Little by little, they drifted away. And then when you said to them, "Well, I don't see you in church anymore". "Well, I don't need to go to church all the time".

Well, I understand that. Or you say to them, "What's going on in your life, you and God"? "Don't talk to me about God, don't try to accuse me just because I'm not like you". And it's amazing how far people can drift. That's what Paul said to Galatians. He said, "I'm amazed at you, that you can drift so far from the truth". What happens? Because, listen, the Bible says, "The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked". Not slightly evil; desperately wicked. So, what happens? Satan knows how to cause us to drift. You close this book, you don't come to church, you stay out from under the preaching and the teaching of the Word of God, and you're going to drift in your relationship to God. And what happens is the Spirit of God sounds the alarm, sends a big red light. That's the conviction of the Holy Spirit. You sense it. And so, what do you do?

You say, "God, I've got to deal with this". Or you say, "Well, you know, I'm not perfect, God". And you start rationalizing sin. After a while, you've drifted away from God. You don't even realize how far you've drifted until you get yourself in real trouble because Satan's been camouflaging, camouflaging, camouflaging, helping you to rationalize, rationalize, rationalize, until now you don't feel it, and so what happens? You'll find yourself doing things that you know you would never have done before in your life, and you're sinning, and you don't even feel the sting of the Spirit because you have subdued and suppressed and repressed the conviction of the Holy Spirit so long. The conviction of the Holy Spirit is an act of God's love, and that's who's doing the convicting.

Look at this, sixteenth chapter now, verse seven: "But 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 go, I will send Him to you. And when He comes," here's what He'll do. "He will convict the world concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged".

Now what is He saying? He convicts us, first of all, of our sinfulness and our need of God. He convicts us, listen, of the righteousness of Christ, which means He convicts us of the adequacy of the atoning death of Jesus Christ to pay my sin-debt in full. And He also convicts us that there is a judgment, and we are personally liable, personally, listen, accountable to Almighty God for our life. That's the work of the holy Spirit. Well, do we want Him to stop convicting us? Absolutely not. That's His way of getting us back on track. That's the alarm He sends us that we're off-base, out of the will of God, on another path, taking a detour. We've been distracted and detoured by something that Satan's offered, and so we need help.

One of the areas in which we need help is with our sinfulness, that He would keep us aware of the fact that there is a momentary drift, a momentary drift. No captain of any ship would put a ship to sea without a compass. No way would he possibly do it. No way would he go without some particular trustworthy guide. Listen, He said He will guide us into all truth. You think about this. We have on the inside of us the absolute perfect guide. We have the perfect compass. He is the Holy Spirit. Listen, He knows the future and the present and the past. He knows exactly where we oughta be, when we oughta be there, and how we oughta be there. He knows what we oughta do, what we're capable of doing, and what we will do when we get there. There's not anything He doesn't know.

And so, we have on the inside of us this awesome omniscient guide who has our best interest at heart. And our best interest is never disobedience to God, but it is always obeying our Lord. And to ignore Him is to ignore the absolute perfect guide that God has given us, motivated by pure love. Do we need Him? Yes, we need Him to help us to deal with this whole issue of our sinfulness. But I think there's another area in which He helps us and which we certainly want to call upon Him. All of us hit these times in our life, and when we do, sometimes we may feel like, "Well, Lord, certainly if I'm trusting You and doing what You want me to do and following Your will, I shouldn't have these kind of feelings," but we do. For example, we need the Holy Spirit's help in times when we are, listen, spiritually, emotionally, or physically drained, and all of us are gonna reach that at points in our life.

You say, "Well, it seems to me that if you're doing the Lord's work, you wouldn't ever feel tired". Forget that. Every, you know what? God is, listen, He's not gonna make any supermen. There's no such thing as a superman. Listen, we can experience supernatural power, but we're all human. And I think about what the Apostle Paul said when he was talking about all the things that he'd suffered and all the things He was going through, and it's interesting how he ended it up. You'd think He would've had been a pastor when he ends it up. He said, he said, "I've been in labors and hardships, through many sleepless nights," and told all the things he'd been going through.

Then he said, "Apart from such external things," the things out there, outside he had to deal with, "there is the daily inner pressure on me of concern for all the churches". He says, "I carry this pressure. I feel the pressure. My concern for the churches in Galatia, the church in Rome, the church in Philippi, the church in Thessalonica. I'm concerned about what's happening. I'm concerned about those unbelievers making inroads. I'm concerned about dissension. I'm concerned about the work that I've carried on there. I'm concerned about what happens in them". Deep concern. Did that wear him out? It had to weary him. Certainly, he was wearied at times in his life. He said, for example, speaking of that thorn in his side.

You remember this is one of those things he prayed for that God didn't answer the way he wanted Him to. He didn't know how to pray exactly about that. He prayed the only thing he knew to pray: "God, get rid of this". God didn't get rid of it. He carried that with him. He also carried the pressure, the burden of the churches because he knew the Judaizers were trying to come in and divide the people and get them into all kinds of error and cause them to fall away from the Lord. He felt that. You ever feel weary and tired? Sure, physically. What about feeling emotionally worn out? You go through battles in your life and circumstances and situations that you can't change and you can't alter, and Satan will drain our energy. He will drain everything in us he possibly can because he knows if he can get us low enough, he'll either cause us to doubt or we become vulnerable to any and all kinds of sin.

So, he works on us emotionally, and certainly spiritually. Here's what you'll discover. When you give and give and give spiritually, you are drained. And what happens is, you need to be refreshed. Who is the one that does the refreshing? It is the Holy Spirit of the living God. And this is why every believer needs time of quiet and meditation upon the Lord, being quiet with the Lord, and letting Him do what? What does He do? He, listen, He renews, He renews our spirit. He refreshes our, He refreshes our body. We can get up and get moving. But He also does something to our spirit, to our soul, to our emotions. He replenishes our emotions when they get drained. God wants us renewed, refreshed. And that is the work of the Holy Spirit.

And I can remember on one occasion, I was in New Zealand and the pastor, without telling me, finally told me one morning, he says, now, today, we're gonna meet downtown in this particular hall that they'd set aside, and this was not a big city, a small town. And he says, "We're gonna have you preach for about twenty, twenty-five minutes," and he said, "We're gonna start, I think we start at nine o'clock". What he didn't tell me till we got down there, I was gonna do it eight times in a row. Well, after about the third time, I had about fifteen minutes from each, between each time.

After about the third time, I thought, "God, I'm not gonna be able to handle this". Besides, it was cold, it's the coldest I've ever been in my life. Slept with my clothes and overcoat on, that's how cold it was down there, and so I preached in my overcoat. It was inside. And so, after about the third time, I thought, "God, I have to do something about this". So I said, "You gotta find me a place I can get by myself". So I got by myself and I lay down on the floor, put my Bible down and put my head on my Bible, covered up and wrapped up a little bit, and closed my eyes, and I just said, "God, the Holy Spirit must equip me, must strengthen me physically. I need physical strength to do this. I can't do this five more times unless You do something. I don't have the energy to do it".

So I kept quiet about five or six or so minutes, got up, walked out there, just like the first time. You know what I did? I did it every time thereafter. Every time, I'd stand up just like I did it the first time. I'm telling you, God will equip you, enable you, strengthen you, listen, refresh you, renew you, replenish you with whatever you need, no matter what's going on. If that's what God's called you to do, He will enable you to do it. You don't have to go take this and take that and drink this and drink that and pop this pill and that pill.

You know what? The Spirit of God is the greatest energizer there is in the whole world. He is, listen, He is ready and able to do for you whatever you need, no matter what it is. Well, there's another work of the Spirit, that is, another help which we need the Spirit, and that's this one. I'm gonna close with this one, and that is to help me live the Christian life. How many of you ever have any problem living the Christian life? Absolutely. In fact, I want to tell you something, just relieve your mind: it's absolutely impossible to live the Christian life.

You say, "Well, I've wasted my time listening to all this, and I might as well just get up and walk out if it's impossible to begin with". It is impossible. Well then, what's all this about? Well, let me explain. I can remember a time in my life, and I'd already been pastoring a church for a few years, that I tried and tried and tried and tried to live the Christian life. I fasted, I prayed, I begged, I pleaded, I read, I searched, I did everything possible. Did I have any peace about it? Not really, until the Lord showed me the simple truth. Picked up a book, God began to show me something I'd never seen before, absolutely revolutionized my life.

I can still remember this moment in my life. When I drove up to the church that day, I remember sitting there in my car and looking out the window and thinking, "Dear God, I do not have to carry the burden of living a Christian life any longer". Because with that came all the burden of being a pastor and all the burdens of the church and all the things I had to deal with. I thought, "What a freedom"! You say, "Now, wait a minute. This doesn't make sense". Well, yes it does, because I'm gonna tell you something. You cannot live the Christian life.

Now, watch this. We live in fleshly bodies. We have five senses. We have lots of naturalness; every single one of us does. We live in a world that's absolutely full of sin and wickedness and rebellion and sensuality and all the rest. Everywhere you turn, there it is. You hear it, you see it. Now, how in the world are we gonna live a Christian life? That'd be like a bride dressing up in a white wedding gown and going down to the coal mine and expecting to come out white. No way. How you gonna live your life in a wicked, sinful, vile world and expect to live holy? Can't do it. That's the reason the Holy Spirit came.

Why did He come? One of the reasons He came is this: in order to live through us a life He knew you and I could never live. Can't do it. You and I are not strong enough. You can try all you want to, but it's doomed to failure. It's coming to the realization that I couldn't, that I can't, that it's not my work, that it's His work. And when I, knowing Jesus Christ as my savior, am willing to acknowledge I can't live this life, and I acknowledge the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit to live through me the life of Jesus Christ, that's when the Christian life begins to express itself through us. It is not our life.

This is what Paul meant when he said in Galatians two twenty, he says, "I have been crucified with Christ". That is, he says, "You know what," he said, "I just died to the old self because it didn't work". He said, "Nevertheless, I live, yet not I; Christ lives in me. And the life which I now live, I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me". It is Christ, listen, living His life in and through us through the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit.

Now, when I look at all that, I think, "Lord, thank God for the Holy Spirit". What a mess we'd all be in, wouldn't we? Wouldn't know how to pray, couldn't read the Bible worth anything. Didn't know, wouldn't know how to deal with our sin, wouldn't know how, listen, wouldn't know how to deal with our frustrations and anxieties and our weakness and our frailties. We would have to be doing all this ourselves. You know why there are so many frustrated Christians living in defeat? Because they're trying to do everything I've just mentioned in their own strength, and my friend, you might as well give up; it's not gonna happen, it can't happen. But it can happen if you're willing for the Spirit of God to rule and reign.

You see, this is what the Bible speaks about in Ephesians chapter five when he says, "Be filled with the Spirit". You know what that means? Just surrender everything to Him. Just turn it all over to Him and just say, "I can't, You can. I surrender. You do it". You will be amazed what God will do in your life if you'll just give up, stop fighting, stop holding on, lay down the, listen, lay down the conflict, throw up the white flag and say, "I surrender to live a life submissive to the Spirit of the living God".
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