This is another guest post by Pastor Dan Ruiz
The ministry of the Holy Spirit is a marvelous work. The understanding of how the Spirit works and exactly what the Spirit does is rampant in this day and age. The fatal flaw of many believers allows personal experience or emotions to trump the objective interpretation of scripture. Leaning on private revelation in place of the objective revelation of God’s word leads many to understand the Spirit of God as a mystical force. A force that can work apart from God’s word or even at times against God’s word!
The traditional orthodox understanding of the ministry of the Holy Spirit has always been tied to the understanding that God, the Holy Spirit, works with and through the word of God. This failure of placing a higher priority on personal experience rather than the objective revelation of the Spirit empowered word of God leads many to miss the marvelous work of the Spirit. While they seek a miraculous encounter through sensational gifts, they miss the working and the role of the Spirit in everyday life. The product is an unstable Christian walk that is experientially based rather than relationally based.
One area that is so vital for believers to understand is the Spirit’s role as comforter or helper. This everyday ministry is vital in helping believers establish a steady balanced Christian walk. Christians are told to view the Holy Spirit as comforter in John 14:15-26. This intimate passage is unique to John 15 and some of Christ’s final instruction to his eleven disciples before entering the trial and crucifixion of Christ are recorded here.
15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.20 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.25 These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.26 But 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.
This short passage is filled with promises for the believer to treasure. Here, the disciples faced an uncertain future. Christ has told them that he was going to depart and that they would face terrible trials ahead. This was not the ending that the disciples were dreaming of the past three years as they saw Christ heal the sick, confound the wise and preach the kingdom of God. During this moment of turmoil Christ promises the Helper or Comforter. The word here literally means “one who is alongside.” This Comforter would come along side the disciples and help them through trials and teach them how to walk the Christian life.
The understanding that one of the Spirit’s primary roles is that of helping the believer walk in obedience to the commands of Christ vital to every believer. This reliance upon the Spirits direction, instruction and sustaining power helps believers daily live as they ought for the Lord.
In verse fifteen Christ references another helper. Here Christ is refereeing to another one of the same kind. In other words Christ here seems to be saying that He will be sending one that is of the same essence as Himself. This understanding is powerful when we see that it not only equates the Holy Spirit with Christ as co-equal but that we have access to a relationship with God that is similar to that of the disciples. The Spirit has the same compassion, power and love that Christ displayed during His earthly ministry.
Just as Christ had helped the disciples by comforting, encouraging, teaching and rebuking so the Spirit does for believers today. What a vital skill for believers to learn. Abiding in Christ through the comforting/helping work of the Spirit helps believers live daily for the glory of God.
The power that is available through the comforting/helping work of the Spirit is far more miraculous than any of the sensational gifts that the early church enjoyed. This power is one that helps sinful man keep the righteous commandments of a Holy God! Notice in John 14:21, “ He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.”
Those who are obedient to Christ will experience the Spirit comfort, teaching and helping. They are all tied together and reflect a legacy Christ left for those who truly love Him.
In closing, understand that you are not alone in this life. The Spirit of God is not a mystical Ghost; He is a person just as Jesus was a real person. The Spirit is not some type of mystical force or emanation. He is a person. You have a Comforter who was sent to come along side you, help, comfort and teach you how to keep His commandments. As you face turmoil or uncertain times, as did the disciples, may you learn to abide in Christ through the Spirits marvelous work of comforting in your life.
If you have any thought or comments please share them below: