Charles Stanley - Our Constant Companion
Who is your closest companion? Is it your spouse? Is it a friend or a relative? Or maybe for some people, it's a pet. When you start talking about somebody else's dog or cat, you get in real trouble. In fact, there was a lady sat on the front row, literally for years; sat right on the front row.
One Sunday I said something about dogs going to Heaven or not going to Heaven, she wrote me a two-page letter and I've never seen her since. So I would say for her, her closest companion must have been that doggie. Well you know, all of us need companions. Loneliness isn't something we like. Nobody likes to be alone. And all of us like good friends, real companions, people you can trust; people you can rely upon; people that will help you when you're in need; people who can laugh with you, cry with you, work with you, whatever it might be. And Jesus certainly understood that, and the Heavenly Father understands it.
And when Jesus was coming to the end of His ministry, this idea of companionship was very important because He had been relating to these men for three years. He called them; they laid down everything they had and they began to follow Him, as they had been fishing. And as a result, they had seen some of the most awesome experiences in life. But we come to these last days and when we look to see what He said to them, I want you to turn to the fourteenth chapter of John. There are two passages of scripture I want us to look at here and this thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen chapters are all about His last hours with them and He knew what they were beginning to feel because He started talking about leaving them.
Well, wait a minute now, leaving us. Because they left everything to follow Him to begin with and they'd been faithful, loyal, devoted to Him for three years and now He starts talking about something happening to Him and leaving. So, I want you to look beginning in the sixteenth verse, the fourteenth chapter. He says, "'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 see Him or know 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.'" He knew how very, very important it was that they not feel He abandoned them. He had been their absolute most intimate companion up until this time.
Now, look if you will in the sixteenth chapter, and look in the fifth verse if you will. He says, "'But now I am going to Him who sent Me;'" that is the Father, "'and none of you asks Me, "Where are You going"? But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 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 it's very important to them that He remain with them or do something so that they do not feel like that He's abandoned them. And if you can imagine how they felt; and I'm sure we can't imagine it like they did. For three years they devoted everything they had to Him. And they talked about the Kingdom of God and all the things, Heaven and all the wonderful promises He'd made. And all of a sudden, He starts talking about, course He'd sort of mentioned it before but they didn't get the point. He starts talking about leaving them and being crucified, and the Scribes and Pharisees killing Him. How could that be when you said the Kingdom of God's in Your hands and all the promises He'd made to them. But it was a very difficult time for them.
And so, when I look at that and look at that passage and ask the question, What about this idea of a companion? You see, none of us have a companion that can promise us that they'll, "never leave us nor forsake us". There's nobody can promise that. So, first of all, I want to answer the question, Who is this constant companion Jesus identified as the Holy Spirit? Now go back if you will and look at this passage in the fourteenth chapter. He says, "'I will ask the Father, and He will give you,'" watch this, "'another Helper, that He may be with you forever.'" Now how could that be? '"That is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it doesn't know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, will be in you.'" And then back to that sixteenth chapter again, notice what He said. He said in 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.'"
Now, the word helper is "parakletos" which means one who walks alongside; one who assists us; one who is our constant companion. So, the scripture says that every single believer has a constant unending companion; and that is a Person of the Trinity, the Person of the Holy Spirit. So here's what I want you to notice. We have God the Father. We have God the Son. We have God the Holy Spirit. And so, here is the Trinity. Once in a while somebody says, Well I don't believe in the Trinity. Well then if you don't, then you have to ask yourself the question of John chapter fourteen verses sixteen, How do you not believe in the Trinity when here's what it says? "'I,'" Jesus speaking, "'will ask the Father,'" we know who He is, "'and He will give you another Helper,'" capital, that is the Holy Spirit, "'that He may be with you forever.'"
Who can only be with us forever but only God? God the Father's in Heaven. God the Son, seated at His right hand. And so you have God the Father, who is the Creator of all things and the Sovereign. You have Jesus, who is the Savior and the Lord; and the Holy Spirit who is our Helper, our Comforter and our Guide. So when somebody says, I don't understand that Trinity. Well think about it in this light. There are three persons in the Trinity but all three of them together make up the Godhead, which is one. There are three persons that make up the Godhead. So we have the Father in Heaven; Jesus seated at the Father's right hand; and the Holy Spirit living within you and within me because here's what He says. He says in this passage, He says, "'He abides with you and He will be in you.'"
And what He was referring to is to when the Holy Spirit descended upon the church at Pentecost. From that moment on, every single believer would be, listen, would be indwelt by the Holy Spirit. And so, many times people live their entire Christian life and never give any serious thought to the Holy Spirit; when Jesus said to those disciples, It's expedient, it's important. I'm going away because if I don't go away, He won't come. But if I go, the Father will send Him. And when He does, He'll be in you, with you, and upon you forever. That is, He'll be the one who helps you and enables you to do what God has called you to do. And so, if you read, for example, in Romans and many other passages of scripture, you understand that the Holy Spirit indwells every believer.
And so, somebody says, well, when did he come into my life? Well, you remember that Jesus said to Nicodemus, He said to him, He said, You've got all this Jewish background, but you've got to be born of the Spirit. That is, there's got to be a transformation in you that is a transformation by the Holy Spirit that takes place in your life. And what does He do? It is the Holy Spirit, for example, who convicts us of sin. It's the Holy Spirit who reveals the truth of scripture. It's the Holy Spirit who gives us understanding of the Word of God. It's the Holy Spirit who gives us faith. It's the Holy Spirit who equips us to do the things that God would have us to do.
And so it is very important that believers understand that He, listen, He is a vital part of our life. He is a constant companion in the life of every single believer. Nobody else can promise that. Nobody else can produce that, but that's who He is. And so, the very fact that a person could live their whole life and never understand this constant companion whom Jesus said, He must come. I'm going away. The Father will send Him and when He comes, He'll be, listen to this, He says, He'll be in you, with you, and upon you forever. Which means that when you trusted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, the only way you got saved is the Holy Spirit convicted you of sin, gave you the gift of faith, showed you the truth.
You accepted the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. God transformed your life. When He did that, the Bible says, He also sealed you. It's the Holy Spirit who sealed you unto the day of redemption, which means that when you trusted Christ as your Savior, the Spirit of God sealed you as a child of God. You can't ever be lost because, listen, you were sealed by the Spirit of God, not by yourself. And you weren't sealed by some preacher, by some doctrine, some theology. You were sealed by the Person of the Trinity. The Holy Spirit sealed you as a child of God.
That's why when you come to people who think, Well I'm not sure I'm saved. They'll give you how they got saved, but somebody's talked them into the fact that maybe they are and maybe they're not. You have to decide whether you're going to believe the Word of God or not. If the Bible says the Holy Spirit sealed me, I don't have any reason to doubt that. If I doubt that, I could doubt my salvation. I could doubt Heaven. I could doubt a lot of other things. "Sealed by the Spirit of God until the day of redemption," that He calls you home. And so the very work of the Holy Spirit is a vital, important part of your life and mine. The Father's in Heaven; Jesus seated at His right hand; Holy Spirit is down here.
Listen, you say, Well, how are they different? Well they are different, listen, there are three distinct persons, but all make up one, which is the Godhead. As we said, the Father's Creator and Sovereign. Jesus is Savior and Lord. And the Holy Spirit is our Helper, our Anointer, our Encourager, our Comforter. And He's the One living within you to enable you to be what God wants you to be. Which brings me to the point of why did the Father send Him in the first place? So there are three reasons I want to give you. Number one, the first reason He sent Him, listen, watch this, is to fulfill the inner man. That is, God wants us to be fulfilled in our Christian life. You say, Well what does that mean? Well, you ought to have joy and peace in your life. You ought to be able to do things that are pleasing to God. But you ought to be able to enjoy it in the process.
So, I want you to turn if you will for a moment to Galatians chapter five. Galatians chapter five and I want you to look at these verses that you're very familiar with. I want you to think about them in this light. That in verse twenty-two of Galatians five, the Bible says, "The fruit of the Spirit". That is, that's what He produces. Now, we don't produce fruit. We simply, listen, we are fruit-bearers. You remember what He said about the vine and the branch? And here's the vine, here's the branch; the branch is abiding in the vine. Sap runs in the vine; runs in the branch; produces the grapes. You separate the branch from the vine, you don't have anything.
So, what he's saying here, look at this, "But the fruit of the Spirit," that is, watch this now. As a result of the Holy Spirit living within you, this is the will of God. Watch this. You listening, say amen. This is the will of God, that He exercise Himself in you and through you in such a fashion that out of you flows what? "Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control". So here's the issue. You have indwelling you the Holy Spirit. And one of His first desires and one of His first works is to do what? Is to fulfill you, and that is to produce in you. You can't produce it yourself.
In other words, you just think about loving; look at this again. How difficult it is sometimes for us to love or have joy or peace or patience or kindness or goodness or faithfulness or gentleness or self-control. Sometime we have problems with those things. And if a person's not a Christian, they can't. But here's what I want you to see. Because you are indwelt by a Person of the Godhead, and you are sealed until the day of redemption, your whole eternal salvation is based, listen, is based on the fact that what the Holy Spirit did for you the moment He brought about salvation to your life; wrote your name's book in the Lamb's Book of Life; and now He's living on the inside of you.
And one of His primary reasons for living on the inside of you is to do what? And that is that when you and I submit ourselves to His leadership and we obey Him, here's what we can expect. We can expect flowing from us what? "Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control". Now, we can't produce that out of our own strength. We'll blow it every time. And what happens is, it's the work of the Spirit. For example, if you take the vine and the branch, listen, a branch can shake all it wants to; it can't produce any fruit. The branch simply abides in the vine; and the sap that runs in the vine, runs in the branch, in the stem, produces grapes. Grapes are fantastic. But if you separate the stem or the, if you separate the limb from the very root, then you don't have anything.
Here's where a lot of folks are. Ignorant of the Holy Spirit or ignoring the Holy Spirit or just absolutely don't believe in the Holy Spirit; and trying to live a Christian life. It is absolutely a total disaster, you cannot. You can't. And notice, he didn't say here's what you produce. He says, the fruit. This is what the Spirit of God, this is what the Spirit of God flows in you and me. So one of the first reasons He sent the Holy Spirit is to bring us to a life of fulfillment. That is, that you and I could live the kind of life that bears the characteristics of Jesus.
Listen, when we're impatient, unkind, thoughtless, and unloving, and all the other negatives to these positive fruits, then we're not acting like Jesus. Listen. You and I are the most like Him when we are totally surrendered to the Holy Spirit to live through us, speak through us, work through us, whatever it might be. And He indwells you no matter who you are. If you're saved, He's living on the inside of you. And the reason He is, watch this, is because God knew. He knew, for example, these apostles, they'd never make it. They doubted Him, they argued with Him, all denied Him, you name it. He knew that He was giving them a task they could never accomplish apart from a divine indwelling of a person of the Godhead who is the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit is the One who anoints, who energizes and who does many things.
So, that's the first reason that He sent the Holy Spirit. But there's a second reason and that's this. That is, in order for us to become the person God wants us to be. You just think about when you were saved; and some of you were saved, maybe a little later in life and maybe you lived a pretty tough life and done a lot of things you're sorry you had done. But you did them and now you look back in your life you say, Well, you know, I wish I had another chance and I could go back. But you can't do that. But when, listen, when you got saved, remember this. When you trusted Jesus as your Savior, everything was forgiven. He didn't hold one single thing back. You're forgiven of every single sin. And by the blood of Jesus, every single sin, past, present and future, forgiven once you become a child of God.
But that's not enough. In order to live a godly life, the Holy Spirit must live that godly life through us and some of that must be the fruit we've been talking about. And Jesus knew that about His apostles and He knew that if they were to live the kind of life He wanted them to live, they could never do it on their own. Can you imagine what they must have felt when He said, I'm going away. What do You mean You're going away and leaving us? We've forsaken everything for You. What do You mean going away? What do You mean being killed? You told us You had all power. You said You were the Son of the Heavenly Father. You said You and the Father were one. In fact, You told us if we've seen You, we've seen the Father. What's this You're going away and leaving us? It was extremely, vitally important that He got this truth over to them.
Now, I don't know what else Jesus must have said. We have this account. He may have said many other things, but we have enough to know that He said to them that when the Holy Spirit comes, what will He do? He will live out through them the life that He knew they could never live themselves. And I think one of the most reassuring things to me, happened to me in my church in Miami, and I didn't understand a lot of this at the time. And when I began to realize, I came to this conclusion. I was out in my little study in the backyard and separated from the house. It was like a big light shined in my soul. The truth was this. I don't have to live the Christian life. I don't have to live that. Because there's somebody on the inside of me who is willing to live it through me if I will just let Him do it. So one of the primary reasons is to become the person God wants us to be.
The third reason is, in order to do the things that God would have us to do, or achieve the things that God would have us to achieve; accomplish the things that He would have us to accomplish in life. If God calls you to do something, remember this. You listening? Say amen. If He calls you to do something, remember this. He already is in preparation for you to be able to do it because He's filled you with the Spirit. He knows exactly all your spiritual gifts. He would never call you to do something that you cannot do, depending upon the Holy Spirit. And so, therefore, for a person to say, Well, I could never do this and I could never do that. He is a companion who lives within us to enable us.
And you see, for example, if Jesus had said to them, Well, y'all do the best you can, I'm gone, That would have been the end of it. But He said to them, No, you don't go anywhere. He said, You sit down in the city of Jerusalem until you have an experience that you'll never get over. The Holy Spirit will fill you and equip you and enable you. And so, listen. When you trusted Jesus as your Savior, the Holy Spirit came into your life. He knows exactly what your spiritual gifts are because He's the One who gives them. He gives the gift of service to some; giving some; exhortation some. He gives seven major gifts, and there are many gifts besides that.
And many people are, listen, many people are talented. A talent's one thing, a spiritual gift is something else. And so, when you think about a spiritual gift, let's say you have the gift of service. You know what that means? Watch this. That means the Spirit of God will give you an edge. That is, when you begin to exercise your gift out of the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, you'll do good at what you do. When the Spirit of God fills you and you begin to operate out of your spiritual gifts, you will be surprised at what Almighty God is able to do in you, with you, and through you. And you are no exception.
You have the Spirit of God within you, equipping you, enabling you, empowering you to do whatever He's called you to do. Not only that, the scripture says He's our comforter. And the word Parakletos means one who walks alongside. And so sometimes is translated comforter and sometimes helper. But think about this, if you can just visualize this. No matter where you are, what you're doing, who you're doing it for, when it's happening; sick, not sick, whatever, that no matter where you stand, standing beside you, so to speak, living within you, is the very Spirit of Almighty God Himself. There to enable you, to equip you to do your best whatever you do in life. You will never walk alone. You can't. Because once you trusted Him as your Savior and He sealed you as one of His children, He says He'll be in you, with you, and upon you forever.
So it all boils down to one of two things. There are many things the Holy Spirit will help us to do, and He equips us with the spiritual gifts, and He empowers us. Listen. He gives us the energy, the divine energy to do what He calls us to do. And you know, I wouldn't compare myself with anybody else under any condition, but I can tell you this. You wouldn't catch me out here if I didn't think the Spirit of God had anointed me to preach the gospel. I wouldn't think about it, because I'd be scared to death. That's the work of the Holy Spirit enabling us, energizing us, teaching us the truth, teaching you the truth.
When you sit and listen, for example, the same Holy Spirit speaks to me, speaks to you. You may have insights, and surely the Spirit of God will give you insights about the Holy Spirit, what He does in your life, won't give it to somebody else because He knows you perfectly. Listen. Think about this. He knows exactly where you are mentally and spiritually and physically, in every single moment of your life, He's there. So that at no time do you have to say, I feel so alone. If you're feeling that-a-way, open your eyes, open your mind. What's the truth? The truth is you are not alone. You may feel lonely, but listen, you won't feel lonely long when you begin to realize the Holy Spirit of the Living God loves you so much, not because you're good, but because it's who He is, that He's right there with you no matter what.
Anybody here feel lonely? Good. Good! Listen, when you do, you just remember this. That emotion is not from God. It's not from God, so if it's not from God, Lord, I may have that feeling, but I know that You're with me. Let me ask you a question. If you were going through a very difficult, painful, horrible situation, who would you want with you? One of your friends or God? Right, well, just remember this. He's there, amen?
Father, how grateful we are You didn't leave us alone. And I pray this morning for somebody here who's going through a very difficult time needs to be saved. That they'd be willing to trust You as their personal Savior today, realizing they'd never be alone again. And pray Father, for every single believer here, they would acknowledge that they're indwelt by the Holy Spirit, can be filled with the Holy Spirit if they're willing to surrender themselves totally and completely. And never to be alone again; always to be adequate for whatever You want us to be and to do because that's Your promise. And we thank You for it, in Jesus' name, amen.