Tony Evans - The Helper
Well, the name of the Holy Spirit that I would like to begin our series with today, is the word "Helper". The context of this discussion about the Holy Spirit, the most condensed discussion in the whole of the New Testament, comes a few hours before Jesus is on his way to be crucified. He gathers his disciples into the upper room to give them final instructions and clarification, on how to move forward in his absence. For three years, Jesus had personally and physically been with them. In the good times and the bad times, in the stresses and in the celebrations, they could always find Jesus in this three year period of his public ministry.
But now he is about to leave, and he wants to explain to them how they are going to make it in his physical absence. What they were getting ready to face you and I face all the time, and that is the physical absence of Jesus. If you are a Christian, you know Jesus is real, you know he is risen from the dead, you know he is alive, but you also know you can't see him, and you can't physically touch him, even though we know of his reality. It was in that context of him about to leave after his crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension, that he talks to them about the helper who is the Holy Spirit.
First of all, I wanna review some salient points about who he is. The Holy Spirit is the third member of the Trinity. God is a triune being. God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. The Father has all the attributes of deity, the son has all the attributes of deity, all the attributes of divine nature, and the Holy Spirit has all the attributes of deity. He is called the Holy Spirit because he is a nonmaterial being. That is, he is not physical, he is invisible, okay? So he is a spirit. But even though he is a spirit, whenever he is referenced, he's referenced personally. In chapter 14 verse 16, "That he may be with you". That you might see him and on and on.
So I'm telling you this, this is foundational, stay with me. The Holy Spirit is a person to be known, not just a force to be utilized. It's very important. He is a person to be known, not merely a force being utilized. He is not Casper the friendly ghost. He is a person. The attributes of personhood are intellect, a person thinks; emotions, a person feels; and volition or will, a person chooses. We will see as we go along in this series, the feelings of the Holy Spirit, the thinking of the Holy Spirit, the choosing of the Holy Spirit, 'cause the Holy Spirit is a him that is, is a person.
Many people want the Spirit's power, and want the Spirit's presence, who don't wanna relate to the Spirit's person, and when you pursue his power and presence, but not want to deal with his person, then you miss who he is. So he is a him, that is, he bears the attributes of personhood. Jesus is about to leave. He says in chapter 14, "I am going to ask the Father and he will give you another helper". Jesus says, "I'm leaving, but I'm gonna send you somebody just like me. I'm gonna send you a replacement on earth 'cause I'm leaving, going to heaven, a replacement on earth for me, and this replacement will be the helper in my absence". Jesus is now seated on the right hand side of the Father. When the disciples were with Jesus on Earth, they had help. Help in their struggles, help in their pain, help in their fears, help in their failures, because Jesus was always there to help them.
Now he is leaving. He says, "Even though I am leaving, I am not going to let you live without help. And the help I send you will be of the same nature as if I was still physically with you. He is help of the same kind, or help of the same essence". So this parakletos, this helper, has been prescribed by Jesus to replace Jesus in Jesus's physical absence with his followers. Please notice chapter 14, verse 18, "I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you". "Jesus, you're leaving us". He says, "No, I'm not gonna leave you as orphans. I'm not gonna make you parentless. I'm going to come to you, but the way I'm going to come to you is not physically, I'm leaving and going to be with my Father, I'm going to come to you by means of the Holy Spirit. So the Holy Spirit is the way you get to Jesus, because the Holy Spirit is of the same essence as Jesus to replace physical Jesus, until physical Jesus comes back at his second coming".
Now, please notice something in verse 17 of chapter 14, and I know we are being somewhat didactic teaching today because these are concepts that I want you to grasp and understand and then utilize. He says in verse 17, "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". He tells you there two things you need to know, if you are a Christian about the Holy Spirit. It says, "He will abide with you, and will be in you".
So he says the Holy Spirit, the third member of the Trinity will have a twofold connection to you as a Christian. He will be with you while simultaneously being in you. Being with you means a companion beside you. He's gonna walk with you, roll with you, drive with you, go to work with you. He is going to abide, abide means to hang out. He's gonna hang out with you, he's gonna be your road buddy, he's gonna be your posse, he is going to be with you. But not only will he be alongside of you, he is also going to be inside of you. He is alongside of you, while simultaneously being inside of you. So he's walking with you, and he is inside of you, so he is in both relationships at the same time. So this Holy Spirit makes sure that you are not an orphan. Therefore, something I have to remind myself here recently, you are never, ever, ever, never, never, ever, ever by yourself. Never, 'cause he is by you and in you, okay?
So that is who he is, but he's a Spirit, so he is not visible, he is not for the five senses and we'll explain that, but he is there to bring you support. Acts 9:31 calls him, calls it the comfort of the Holy Spirit, to come alongside and help a brother out. His job is to bring what Jesus would bring if Jesus were here. The way Jesus is with you, the way Jesus is in you, is through the work of the Holy Spirit. Another use of the word parakletos, is advocate or lawyer in a courtroom. A lawyer pleads your case, another benefit of the Holy Spirit is to plead your case or come to your defense as a lawyer would do in a courtroom. He says, he is your parakletos. He is the one who comes alongside of you. The Bible talks about him being your guide. He will guide you into all truth.
So you want him near and you want him in because of all the decisions you have to make, that you have to be led in the right way to make. It says, "He is an intercessor," in Romans chapter 8, verses 26 and 27. He knows how to pray with you and for you, even when you run outta words and can only say, "Mm, Mm, Mm". So he is all that, because he bears all the attributes of deity. So the Holy Spirit, the third member of the Trinity, is the way Jesus hangs out with you right now. You are not alone, you are not by yourself, because he is there if you are a believer in Jesus Christ. Now having established who he is, having established what he does, the question is, how do I activate, if you will, his presence so that I know he's there? I know it because God says it, but I also wanna know it because I experience it, okay?
So how do I experience the Holy Spirit rather than merely know about the Holy Spirit? How do I connect with the Spirit so that Jesus's reality is being experienced by me, since the job of the Spirit is to bring me the experience of Jesus in my life. First of all, you must develop an intimate fellowship with the person of the Holy Spirit. I said it already. Don't just go for his power, go for his person. It says, "He abides with you". Abides with you. The word abide, hang out, loiter. In other words, the Spirit doesn't want to be visited, he wants to hang out. He wants to roll with you as a lifestyle. He wants to know that you wanna be with him because he wants to be with you.
That's why the Bible talks about in Galatians 5, "Walk in the Spirit". In other words, as you move throughout life, walking has to do with the course of your life. What do you do when you walk? First of all, you're moving, you're going somewhere. Where do I need to be going if I want the Spirit to be activated in my life? You must be going to the will of God, 'cause that's where the Holy Spirit goes, okay? So I want to walk in the will of God. I want to walk to please God. Secondly, walking involves dependency. When I walk, I put one foot in front of another and I put all my weight on that leg for that step. So I am depending on my leg to hold my weight.
So walking means I'm going to a destination, okay? I'm moving, and it means I am depending, okay? But when I walk, I don't just take one step, that's not walk a walk is a continuous step, so the Holy Spirit wants to be brought in on all the parts of your life, not just the big emergencies in your life. He wants, that's why the Bible says, "Pray without ceasing". What he's saying is, bring God the Holy Spirit to bear on this decision, that decision this relationship, that relationship. And so you are communicating all the time, 'cause you are hanging out with him, you are abiding with him. So you must not make your relationship with the Holy Spirit, an emergency relationship only, it must be an abiding relationship continuously, in all aspects of your life, all throughout your day. This means you are operating with a God consciousness as a way of life.
The second thing that must be operative if you are going to experience the work of the Holy Spirit, is you must not be ashamed to be identified with Jesus Christ. Look at chapter 15, verse 26. "When the Helper comes, who I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father. He will testify about me". Chapter 16, verse 14. "He will glorify me, for he will take of mine and disclose it to you". He will testify of me, he will glorify me. So let's get this straight. If you are not willing to be publicly identified with Jesus Christ, you have stifled the work of the Holy Spirit operating in your life.
It is not enough to be identified with God, to have the Holy Spirit, and you just saying, "I believe in God, I worship God," is insufficient to activate the work of the Holy Spirit. Remember, the Holy Spirit is replacing the Son. He says, "The Spirit that I'm gonna send to you". We have a lot of folk who are not ashamed to be identified with God because there's no conflict there. See, you can use the word God, and we don't know who you're talking about, 'cause that's very vague. The moment you are willing to be identified with Christ, which is your baptism. When you got baptized, you were saying, "I died with him, I rose with him, I'm identified with him". It has to do with a Christian identification. If you are not willing to be identified with Jesus Christ, you have now stifled the work of the Spirit, because his goal is to testify of me.
So unless Jesus comes through in your life, not God the Father, but Jesus the Son, then you have negated the reason why Jesus sent the Holy Spirit. He sent him to testify of me. And so Matthew chapter 10, verse 32 and 33, Jesus says, "If you deny me before men, I will deny you before my Father. And if you acknowledge me before men, I will acknowledge you before my Father. But if you don't want people to know you are hooked up with me, don't bother talking to my Father because we have sent the Spirit and he testifies of me". So if you are ashamed of Christ, then you will limit having the experience of the Spirit's presence in your life. 1 John 4:1 to 6 talks about the anti-Christ and the anti-Christ goal is to deny Christ. Satan wants you to get to deny Christ, 'cause he knows with that denial, the power will dissipate, the presence will dissipate, the authority will dissipate. It will all dissipate, not because the Spirit's not there, but because you are working against what he came to do. And that is bring glory to the Son.
The third thing that must be operative, you must hang out with him as a lifestyle, Jesus Christ must be glorified, advertised, accented in your life. And thirdly, you must function consistently with the Word of God. Please notice 14 verse 17. That is the Spirit of truth. Verse 26, he says that "The Holy Spirit will come and when he comes, he's gonna cause you to remember all things," and chapter 15 verse 26, "When the helper come, that is the Spirit of truth". So he's called over and over again, "The Spirit of truth". Chapter 16, verse 13: "But when he, the Spirit of truth comes".
So if you're lying, he can't help you. Or if you are not consistent with scripture, with the Word of God, he can't help you. Satan is a liar. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. I'm going to send you the Spirit of truth, which means you must deal with me authentically. One of the reasons why we don't get through with prayer is we lie in our praying. We don't come clean with God. We make it seem like everything is all right when we know it's not all right. We don't bring before him the truth about our attitudes, our actions, our relationships, our failures, as well as our successes. We camouflage it with theological language that even God doesn't wanna listen to, because we are not being authentic, he's the Spirit of truth.
We must say what God says. About ourselves, about our world, about our situation. He is the Spirit of truth in your marriage, he is the Spirit of truth in your singleness, he is the Spirit of truth in your circumstances, and you will only get his presence, if you are hanging out with the truth, that is consistent with what he says. Now he says here, one other major point. Chapter 16, verse 7 he says, "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". He says, "It's to your advantage that I leave".
Now that doesn't feel right, it doesn't feel right. It didn't feel right to them because Jesus says, "I see your sorrow, I know you're sad". Doesn't feel right. "Jesus, I'd rather have you, 'cause I can see you, I can talk to you, I can feel you, so I'd rather have you". He says, "It's to your advantage. You're gonna be better off if I go away". How can, how can I be better off with Jesus not here with me. I want you, Jesus. No, he says "No". What is the advantage? When Jesus was on Earth, he limited the exercise of his deity to the location of his humanity. I'm gonna say that again. When Jesus was physically on Earth, he limited the exercise of his deity to the location of his humanity, because he poured his deity into the limitations of human flesh. So he's born as a baby, he lives a physical life.
Now he did God's stuff, but he did God's stuff where he was located, okay? Jesus never traveled more than 300 miles from the place of his birth. So he was limited in his location. So you saw the limitation as you read the Bible in the expression of his deity. He says, "It is to your advantage, that I go away". He says, "It's to your advantage that I go away, 'cause the Spirit who is with you and who is in you can be everywhere at the same time". Nobody has to not have Jesus. And so today, if you'll take advantage of the helper, you will find him to be sufficient no matter what the need is to come alongside and be your parakletos.