So, we have started out this new year with a series of teachings on being witnesses for the Lord. And church, I want you to understand that this subject is so critical to us populating the kingdom of heaven—because in case you haven’t noticed it, God is not in the business of appearing to the world and witnessing of Himself. No, the way He has set things up is that we would be His witnesses to the world around us.
You see, what this Scripture reveals to us is that we—our lives—are the true “Bible” that mankind comes to read and know. Yes, they are looking at how we live our lives and how what we profess is practiced in our everyday lives. Therefore, it is imperative that you and I learn what it means to be His witness and to do everything God has put in us to do to testify of His goodness.
So, let’s turn back over to Acts chapter one, and look again at a passage of Scripture that teaches us along these lines:
Acts 1:4-8 says, “And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, ‘which,’ He said, ‘you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’ Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, ‘Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?’ And He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.’ ”
What we learned last week is that, in verse 4, Jesus essentially told His disciples not to go anywhere or do anything, but to wait for the Promise of the Father—the Holy Spirit of Promise—before they try and “witness” for Him.
Church, this to me is the absolute first thing we need to know when it comes to being the Lord’s witness—that we cannot do it alone! We need the Helper to help us be the kind of witnesses that we are called to be, and that is because He is the power to be a witness …
Notice in verse 8 how Jesus told them (and us) that they shall receive “power” when the Holy Spirit has come upon them, and (then) you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem. So, the power of the Holy Spirit was to come first and then becoming His witnesses came second, correct? And it’s exactly the same with us, church!
You see, far too many Christians who know precious little about the Holy Spirit still try and become good witnesses of the Lord. And these believers certainly mean well, but in their ignorance, they get the cart before the horse. Church, we cannot really be the kind of good & effective witnesses of the Lord that He expects us to be without the power of the Holy Spirit. It is just that simple!
So we then looked at Luke 24:44-49, where Jesus said something similar about the Holy Spirit: These verses read— “Then He said to them, ‘These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.’ And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. Then He said to them, ‘Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things. Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”
We saw how Jesus referred to the Holy Spirit as “the Promise of the Father” because time and time again in the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit is forecasted and prophesied as to come. Therefore, He is the Promise made by the Father. But we learned what He is the promise of—the Promise of Power! Hallelujah!
Jesus said here that when the Promise—the Holy Spirit—comes from on high, we will be endued with power. And we learned that the word “endued” means to be “clothed.” So, what will we be clothed with? With power!
I’ll tell you, church, the main reason why some Christians aren’t good witnesses is because they aren’t wearing the right clothes! No, I am not referring to our physical clothing, but to the virtues of Christ that we live in. They are wearing their own filthy garments of fleshly efforts, but that’s not what “enables” us to bear witness of the Lord. It’s the power of the Holy Spirit that we need to be clothed in to testify of Jesus properly. And the intended result of us wearing our new clothes is that the unbelievers should be so impressed with our sharp attire that they will want to know who our Father is, if He’ll adopt them, and give them the same clothing too!
But we saw how this word “endued” also has another interesting meaning: In ancient Greek literature this word was used as having “a spell cast on you,” to where a person is transformed from something weak & unattractive into something powerful & attractive. Yes, when the Lord endues us with His power—the Holy Spirit—in a moment’s time we are transformed from a shy, cowardly human being into an empowered, overcoming witness for Christ!
And we learned then how having the Holy Spirit enabling us to be a quality witness for Jesus works together with a very specific ministry of the Holy Spirit—His commission to “convict.”
You see, it’s sad to say but there have been many believers that think that this is their ministry—to bring people under conviction. No, this is the Holy Spirit’s job, not ours. The Bible does not call us “convicters”; it simply calls us witnesses (see John 15:27 & Acts 1:8). And there is a big difference between someone who simply witnesses and someone who does the convicting.
You see, a witness is not the judge or the jury. A witness just simply testifies of what they have seen, heard, or experienced. And just as sometimes a witness is needed to convict a lawbreaker in a court of law, a witness is needed to open the door for the Holy Spirit to convict an unbeliever of their sin. Yes, we as witnesses, are not to point our finger at them; we are just to tell people what we’ve experienced and then let the Holy Spirit do the convicting.
You see, some people, in their zeal, have gone beyond the witness stand and tried to bring people under conviction themselves. This not only can frustrate the witness, but it can drive the people we are trying to convict away from God. We need to eliminate this “Holy Ghost Jr.” mentality of trying to convict people of their sins ourselves and let the Holy Spirit do His job. Again, He’s the Judge who convicts; we are simply the witnesses—and by doing our part of being Christ’s witness, we open the door for the Holy Spirit to do His part of being Christ’s “convicter!” Therefore, our word regarding this was – “Don’t leave the witness stand”!
WITNESSING MADE FUN
But church, this is one of the main reasons why witnessing for Christ seems so laborious and, frankly, isn’t what most Christians enjoy doing—because most people ain’t doin’ it right.
I’m convinced that if the Lord were to write a book on witnessing, chapter one would be entitled “Witnessing Made Fun,” which would be a chapter devoted to the help of the Holy Spirit.
Church, I have seen far too many Christians try and be witnesses for Christ, and while they might have the right words to speak, Scriptures to use, etc., they aren’t utilizing the greatest tool that we have to share the truth with people, the precious Holy Spirit.
So, this week, I’d like us to camp on this chapter of being Christ’s witnesses and talk about how the Holy Spirit truly is our Helper—especially regarding this subject of being Christ’s witnesses.
Now we talked about last week how the Lord told His disciples that it was more advantageous for them that He went away because if He didn’t go the Holy Spirit would not be sent. And we saw how the reason this is true is because Jesus could only do so many things for His disciples being in a physical body. But when the Holy Spirit comes on each of us, He will indwell our physical bodies and can do for us everything that Jesus did for His disciples. Glory!
But I want you to notice how Jesus several times in the Gospel of John, called the Holy Spirit, the “Helper” …
This word “Helper” here is, of course, the New King James Version’s translation. If you use the original King James Version, you will find a different word—the term “Comforter.” Other translations use the words “Counselor” or “Advocate.” But I want to focus on the word “Helper” right now.
Now what is a “Helper”? A helper describes an:
Do you remember when God created Adam and then sometime after that, said, “It is not good for man to be alone…” (Genesis 2:18). Now you could paraphrase this statement like so— “It is not advantageous for man to be alone…” or “It is not beneficial, profitable, or best for man to be alone…” Does that sound a little familiar (See John 16:7)?
Then the Lord went on to say in Genesis 2:18— “I will make a helper comparable to him.” Ah, isn’t that interesting that we see the same word “helper” used here? I believe that is strategic by the Lord to reinforce this truth from John 16:7—that it is to our advantage to have a Helpmeet in the Person of the Holy Spirit! Glory!
But what is interesting is what God did immediately after making this statement. What He did not do was immediately put Adam to sleep, pull his rib out, etc. No, in verse 19, the first thing God did was form every beast of the field and every bird of the air and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. Then Adam named all of these animals, but we are told at the end of verse 20 that there was still not found a helper comparable to him.
So, after this, the Lord caused that deep sleep to fall on Adam and after He made woman, He brought her to Adam. And verse 23 said that Adam said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” This was essentially Adam choosing Eve to become that helper that God said would be good for him. Therefore, the woman—Eve—was that helper.
But although this word is translated “Helper” here in the NKJV, by far the most elaborate and detailed translation of this word comes from the Amplified Bible because its description of this word is, for lack of better words, more “amplified.”
John 16:7 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 (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor, Counselor, Strengthener, Standby) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him (the Holy Spirit) to you [to be in close fellowship with you].”
I believe that this “amplified” description most accurately defines the Greek word into its broad and vast meaning. So, let’s look at each of these words that it uses in order to detail and discuss what the Holy Spirit is specifically called alongside of us to do.
The first and primary word the Amplified Bible uses to translate parakletos as, is “Comforter.” So, this would obviously describe the Holy Spirit as being called alongside of us to comfort us, but it also would mean that He’s right there with us to comfort others.
Have you ever been faced with needing to minister to someone who needed comfort but didn’t know what to say or do? I believe we all have. Perhaps it was after they lost a loved one or had some other horrific thing happen to them. Sometimes when people are going through difficult situations like this, they need someone who will be able to provide the comfort of Christ to them. This is where the Comforter comes in! He can give us the words to speak when we don’t know what to say! He can grace us with the ability to hug someone in a meaningful & impactful way. He can even just provide the atmosphere with the presence of comfort as we are with the person.
Yes, the Holy Spirit certainly knows how to console during tough times—which is the opposite of Job’s friends. Job’s friends started out right when they first arrived, but then wound up not providing Job with any comfort when they began accusing him.
We don’t want to be Job’s friends, saints. We want to be like the Holy Spirit who truly comes alongside of us to comfort us when we are hurting, to encourage us when we are despairing, and to simply love on us when we need it. Sure, there is a time where He speaks expressly—giving us the truth. But as it is with prophecy, He knows how and when to edify, exhort, and comfort—for He is the author of this wonderful gift.
So, the Holy Spirit’s presence—both us knowing that we have Him with us wherever we go and Him being there to edify, exhort, and console others through us—should bring us much “comfort.” That’s right—this should make us feel confident when we are faced with times of needing to provide comfort to others—for the Holy Ghost is the “Comforter.”
The next word that we see used by the Amplified Bible is “Counselor”: This obviously describes the Holy Spirit being called alongside of us to give us His counsel.
The word “counselor” today describes several things, but what we might identify it with the most is a person who is trained to give guidance on personal, social, financial or psychological problems like say a marriage counselor, a financial counselor, or a mental health counselor. What these “counselors” are there to do is provide people with the direction, treatments, etc. that they need in their respective field.
Now I know that most of us are not trained & licensed counselors. But guess what? You have Someone living in you who is lightyears more qualified to counsel others than the best counselor on this planet! Amen!
I’ll tell you; I’ve found myself many times being faced with needing to give counsel to somebody that in and of myself, I had no experience or qualifications to give it, but the Counselor lives on the inside of me did—and He did!
Church, we need to also know that we all have the fairest of ten thousand counselors living on the inside of us! So, when attempting to help others we ought to go to the Counselor first instead of just giving advice out of our own limited resources.
Yes, just like we had “guidance counselors” in school to give us advice and guidance for our academic lives, we now have the Holy Spirit to provide far greater advice and guidance. He is with us and lives within us to not only counsel regarding big, spiritual issues, but He is also there to advise on what job someone should take, what car they should buy, who they ought to date, what investments to make, etc. He is our Omniscient Guidance Counselor! Yes, He lives within us to guide us into all truth.
Then after we see the Amplified Bible translating this word as “Helper,” which we’ve covered already, it uses the word “Intercessor.” So, this means that the Holy Spirit is called alongside of us to intercede for us and through us.
Have you ever been asked to pray for someone but didn’t know how to pray for them? Well, that’s when the Lord helps us by interceding through us.
We see this in Romans 8:26 when Paul tells us that when we do not know what to pray for as we ought, the Holy Spirit makes intercession for us. That means that He stands in the gap for us when we are ignorant concerning what to pray for. How does He step in, you ask? He does this praying for us by praying through us. Amen!
Saints, this is why praying in the Spirit is so vital in the life of the believer. You see, there are so many times when we are ignorant of what to pray or even that we need to pray. That is when the Holy Spirit is available to pray through us and for us. All we have to do is yield to Him by praying in other tongues. In fact, He is called in the Old Testament “the Spirit of grace and supplication” (Zechariah 12:10).
You see, the Holy Spirit is meant to assist us in our prayer life as well, and this certainly includes praying in another tongue. He wants to use our mouths to intercede for people and things that we have no idea about. This is why He is called the Intercessor!
The next word used by the Amplified is “Advocate.” In fact, this is probably the most popular definition of this word parakletos because in their days, it described a legal counselor. So, this word certainly describes a lawyer, or more accurately a defense attorney. Therefore, this means that He is called alongside of us to stand by our side and to plead our case for us.
But most Christians do not see the Holy Spirit as our defense attorney; they see Him as the prosecuting attorney. You will hear many Christians accuse the Holy Spirit of “taking them to the woodshed” when they do something wrong, saying that the Holy Spirit “convicted” them of their sin. Church, this is not the nature of the One we have living inside of us.
You see, the problem is that they see Him as being against them and not really for them. They see the Holy Spirit as the One who heaps all of that condemnation on them, but I can assure you that this is not His ministry. How many of you ever see a defense attorney turning around and start accusing and trying to convict their client in a court of law? You won’t—because their job is to defend you and not condemn you.
Likewise, as we are being a witness for Christ, the Holy Spirit is there to use us to encourage and build up, not tear them down. So, if I am having the Holy Spirit help me in being Christ’s witness, He is going to primarily lead me to cover a multitude of sin, not make all of everyone’s sin manifest. Amen?
Church, the Holy Spirit is for us and not against us! We see this clearly described in Romans 8:31-34. While He does convict us when we are missing it, He never condemns us! His ministry is to defend us. Yes, He builds us up (i.e., edifies); He does not tear us down.
I especially like the next word the Amplified Bible translates parakletos as— “Strengthener.” This obviously describes the Holy Spirit as being called alongside of us to strengthen us. Hallelujah! This means that He lives within us to empower us and to give us the ability to do what we might not feel we are able to do!
You see, He doesn’t just give us the counsel on what we should say & do; He also gives us the strength to say & do it! Thank God we don’t have to be a witness for Jesus in our own strength! Through the Holy Spirit’s inner-strengthening we can do all things (Philippians 4:13). All we have to do is stay so full of the Holy Spirit that it is no longer we who live, but Christ living in and through us. Yes, “He works in us both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” (See Philippians 2:14).
You see, the Holy Spirit doesn’t just instruct us, He even gives us the strength. He’s kind of like our strength and conditioning coach, in that He trains us to become spiritually fit, developing our spiritual muscles (the fruit of the Spirit).
So, don’t focus on your weaknesses in witnessing—talking about what you cannot do, what you do not know, etc. Focus on Who you have living on the inside of you. He is your strength. Indeed, let the weak say, “I am strong.” We can say this with full confidence because you have the Strengthener living on the inside of you!
And, last but not least, the Amplified Bible uses the word “Standby” to translate parakletos. No, this does not mean that the Holy Spirit is on “standby” in the sense that He is on waiting (like a second-string athlete) and not the priority. Rather, it describes His “readiness for duty and immediate deployment.” This would describe the Holy Spirit as being called alongside of us to do just that—stand by us.
You see, He is a friend that sticks closer than a brother. He is faithful to never leave us nor forsake us. Oftentimes we quote these Scriptures in reference to Jesus, but they are just as true for the Third Person of the Godhead too. The Holy Spirit is promised to abide by our side forever (John 14:16).
Again, He is faithful to us. Being a part of the Trinity, faithfulness is His nature as well. So, erase that wrong doctrine out of your mind that the Holy Spirit is easily offended and leaves us when we grieve Him. He STANDS-BY us always, even when we are hard to stand by. He won’t leave us or forsake us.
In fact, as I thought about this term “Stand-By” I came up with a song, which I’m sure could become a hit one day. It’s called “Stand by Me.” But the fact is, the Holy Spirit is there to be yours and my STAND-BY. And He is more than willing to stand by you, with you, and for you until you breathe your last breath. Amen.
Yes, the Holy Spirit is called alongside of us to make our witness more fun and effective. He is on this earth to stand by our side—comforting, counseling, and strengthening us.
So today I urge you to open your heart to this ministry of the Holy Spirit. Let Him be your Helper in being a witness. The truth is, He was sent to be your Helper whether you recognize it or not. But as you open your heart to the Holy Spirit—listening to Him and diligently following every aspect of His instruction from His role as your help in life—this I can promise you: you will be changed. It won’t be long until you look back on who you were before you made the decision to allow the Holy Spirit to be your Helper, and you’ll know beyond a shadow of a doubt that your decision started a process that has completely changed your life! Yes, you will be the best version of a witness you can be—because you allowed the Holy Spirit to do what He does best. Amen!