A short devotion for 17th May

Call to worship

Praise the Lord, all you nations; extol him, all you people.
For great is his love toward us, and his faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.
Praise the Lord
. Psalm 117

Prayers of Praise and Confession

Worthy of praise from every mouth, of confession from every tongue, of worship from every creature, is your glorious name, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. You created the world in your grace, and by your compassion you redeemed it. Heaven and earth are full of your praises: glory be to you, O God most high.

Merciful God, you made us in your image, with a mind to know you, a heart to inconstant, our obedience incomplete. Day by day we fail to grow into you likeness; yet you are slow to be angry with your children. For the sake of your Son our Saviour, do not hold our sins against us, but in your tender love forgive. Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy.

Bible Reading

  • John 14:15-21

Message: The Comforter

Text

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be
with you forever.”
John 14:16

Introduction

In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit usually revealed Himself as a kind of temporary power, bestowed for special purposes, Judges 14:6; 1st Samuel 10:10. Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would come after He had gone back to His Father and stay with us. John 14:16.

  • Alexander MacLaren said this, “He who has the Holy Spirit in his heart and the Scriptures in his hands has all he needs”.
  • John Stott wrote, “Before Christ sent the church into the world, he sent the Spirit into the church. The same order must be observed today.
  • R. C. Sproul in his book, ‘Truths We Confess’ it is the Westminster Confession of Faith, ‘”The Father is eternally unbegotten, the Son is eternally begotten of the Father, and the Holy Spirit proceeds eternally from the Father and the Son.
  • Doreen (my wife) puts it this way when describing the Trinity, “Water, steam and ice are three of the same.”
  • When Christ left the earth He left His ministry of encouragement in the care of the Holy Spirit.” T. T. Crabtree.

The Holy Spirit encourages through his person

The Holy Spirit is a person. The word translated “spirit” is the Greek word pneuma. The King James’ Version of the Bible translates pneuma as ghost, this is inappropriate for the word ‘ghost’ means returning spirit of a dead person. The Holy Spirit is not a ghost; He is a person, the Third Person of the Holy Trinity is neither male nor female, but the personal pronoun “he” is always used to refer to the Spirit. So we see that the Holy Spirit acts as a person. He dwells, He guides, He speaks, He teaches, He witnesses, He hears, He works, and He loves. As T.T. Crabtree points out all these are personal acts. Being a person He can be grieved, blasphemed and sinned against. People react to Him as a person.

The Holy Spirit encourages us in His presence

John 14 is very important in helping our understanding the Holy Spirit.
In the New American Standard Bible the Holy Spirit is called “the Helper” verse 16, the King James He is called, “the Comforter” v 16. In the NIV, John 14:17 and 16:13 He is called “the Spirit of truth”. It is Jesus Himself who asked the Father to send the Holy Spirit to us, “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you.” John 14:16-17. Jesus in this passage from John’s Gospel uses two words “Another Counselor” It takes me back to what Isaiah wrote when he told us of the coming of God’s Son into the world, Isaiah 9:6, “Wonderful Counselor”. You see only the believers know the Holy Spirit, because He dwells with us and in us. We do not have to ask Him to come in, the moment we repent of our sins and trust Christ as our Saviour the Holy Spirit comes to us in fulfilment of Christ’s request to the Father. We just need to surrender to Him, let the Holy Spirit take control, let Him lead us, guide us, take the helm of our lives, be with us every step we take. Jesus promised, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” V18. The word “Comforter” is the Greek word ‘paraclete’ which means “one being called to one’s aid, referring to a defence lawyer. It is used in a court of justice, counsel for the defence, an advocate. We have two advocates interceding on our behalf, the Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Let us turn in our Bibles to Romans 8:34, “Christ Jesus, who died – more than that, who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.”

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.” Romans 8:26 read also verse 27 and take note of the words, ‘Who searches our hearts’. We can deceive those around us but not God, He knows our hearts, the real us, nothing is hidden. Luke 22:61 records for us, ‘The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter’. You see for Peter as for us there is nowhere to hide. The Holy Spirit will only dwell, will only intercede for those that belong to God. He can pray through us and prays for us helping us to pray as we ought. “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20. Christ fulfilled that promise when He sent the Holy Spirit into the world to be with us. As Jesus walked, talked with His disciples while on earth, so the Holy Spirit, dwells in us, speaks to our hearts and is always with us. We need a fresh awareness of the Holy Spirit in our lives and in our Church. T.T. Crabtree.

Prayers of Intercession

Dear Lord we bring into your love those who are alone; those who are abused; those who are neglected; those working in the NHS, Care Homes, Carers, and in our shops and who are now back in Industries. Those who work in the Justice System and those who campaign and advocate on behalf of the voiceless. May your love touch them, and transform their lives. Amen.

Blessing

Go in peace to live in love, to show God’s love, to receive God’s love – everywhere, and at all times. In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.