Let’s continue our new series that we began last week entitled “The Advantage of the Holy Spirit.” In this shorter series, we are continuing to establish the importance of the Holy Spirit in our lives and how He actually serves as an advantage to us. And did you know that the Holy Spirit is who gives us an advantage in our Christian walks!?! Yes, He gives us an advantage over our flesh, this world, and even over the devil. But guess what that also means? It means that if we do not have the Holy Spirit or if we do not utilize His ministry in our lives, then we will be at a disadvantage. We don’t want that, saints.
So, let’s go back over to John chapter 16 and look at what the Lord Jesus said to His disciples on the eve of His crucifixion concerning the Advantage of the Holy Spirit.
Again, we saw how Jesus had been preparing His disciples for His soon departure, but He said to them in verse 5 that none of them asked Him where He was going. We saw that they did ask Him questions along these lines but they did not ask these questions because they were concerned about Jesus and where He was going. They were only concerned with how His soon departure was going to affect them. And because of this, Jesus said in verse 6, sorrow had filled their heart. And we saw how this sorrow was a direct result of them only thinking about how His leaving was going to affect them. And in some respects, rightfully so—for during the last three years, Jesus had been their everything—He had been their Counselor, their Teacher, their Provider, their Inspiration, and their Best Friend. They had left everything to follow Him and had put their full trust in Him and relied on Him to be their provider in every area of life. He taught them how to pray and He prayed for them. He instructed them on what to say and how to act. He bailed them out of many different situations and circumstances. Yes, He was their everything. So, for Jesus to tell them He was about to leave them was indeed very saddening to them, I’m sure. But again, this sorrow, discouragement, depression, etc. was because they were only thinking of themselves and how this was going to affect them.
So, we saw how Jesus knew they needed to hear some good news at this point, and that is why He went on to say what He did in verse 7: Nevertheless, 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 depart, I will send Him to you.”
First of all, notice again how He said, “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth…” Now the word “Nevertheless” here denotes something to the effect of Jesus saying to His disciples— “Hey guys, I know you are sad because I told you that I am leaving, BUT…” And then Jesus followed that by saying that this good news He is about to give them is Him telling them the truth. You see, we know that everything that Jesus says is the truth, but when Jesus says that what He is about to tell you is the truth, then that means it is something that you can take to the bank! And the obvious reason that He said this here is because what He was about to tell them might not seem true. But yes, you can bet the bank that this is absolutely true even though it might not seem like it on the surface. And I can assure you that to most believers, what Jesus was about to say would be considered blasphemy if it didn’t come out of our Lord’s own mouth.
You see, if you were to poll a large group of Christians, asking them if they would rather have Jesus physically present with them, you would get the overwhelming majority saying, “YES!” Yes, most believers would give anything to be able to go back in time and be one of Jesus’ disciples and physically be with Him for those three years. They think that nothing could be greater than having Jesus physically present with them. But did you know that Jesus actually taught us differently in this verse?
Yes, we saw that Jesus quickly made a radical statement in John 16:7 that if it did not come out of His own mouth would seem like heresy: He said, “It is to your advantage that I go away…”
Now we saw last week how this word “advantage” has been translated many different ways. Some versions of the Bible translate it as “for your good or benefit.” Others say, “it is best or expedient.” Therefore, we could say that Jesus was saying here that we would be “better off” if He left us. Now, again, I am so glad that Jesus was the One to say this and not myself, not Peter, and not Paul. No, it was Jesus Himself that said we were better off to not have Him present with us because this would appear to be “Error” with a capital E!
And I can just imagine what His disciples might have been thinking. Perhaps they were saying in their heads, “What do you mean it would be better for us if you went away!?! You have been our everything! And, in case you haven’t noticed, we have not done the greatest job of learning the lessons you’ve tried to teach us. How could your leaving actually be better for us?” This is why Jesus went on to say, “…for (or, because) if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.” Ah, now we see why it would be better for us for Jesus to return to heaven. It is because then He would be able to send the Holy Spirit—the Helper—from heaven to us!
Someone might ask— “How is that advantageous to us? Why is having the Holy Spirit better than having Jesus?” Those are good questions. I answered them last week by giving you the following hypothetical situation: Say Jesus would have still died on the Cross and been raised from the dead three days later, but instead of only staying for 40 days after His resurrection, He stayed on the earth permanently in His glorified body? What do you suppose that would have been like? Well, I can guarantee you that Jesus would have been a little hard to get to, amen? I’m sure His appointment calendar would have been booked solid for the next decade or two, wouldn’t you? I mean, if great multitudes were thronging Him during His three-year ministry, then certainly there would have been an exponentially larger crowd wanting to get in to see this Healer, Teacher, Miracle-Worker, Prophet, etc. who had been raised from the dead! For example, in John 12:9 we see that a great many of the Jews knew that He was there; and they came, not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead. So, if people were coming to see Lazarus who had been raised from the dead, you can be certain many, many more people would come to see Jesus in His glorified body.
My point is that getting in to see the Miracle-worker Himself would have been a miracle itself—for far too many people would have been wanting to come be healed by Him or to hear Him teach. Therefore, it would have been better, more profitable or beneficial, or expedient to have Him send us the Holy Spirit—the One whom He did the works He did through.
So, we then moved on to this word that Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit with here—the Helper. We saw that this was the New King James Version’s translation of the word Jesus used here, and If you use the original King James Version, you will see the term “Comforter.” Other translations use the words “Counselor” or “Advocate.” But what we did last week was we focused on the word “Helper.” And we saw that a “Helper” describes an assistant, associate, partner, or a right-hand man. But there is another synonym for “Helper” that we camped on—the term Helpmate (or helpmeet).
We saw that after God created Adam, He then 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!
Now I made the point last week that although our spouses can be used by the Lord sometimes to offer direction, instruction, correction, etc. that does not make us the Holy Ghost. But we discussed last week that this is oftentimes what happens in our marriages: Either the husband or the wife tries to be “Holy Ghost Jr.” and do the teaching, the reminding, the instructing, the convicting and reproving. Church, let me give you a good piece of information for not only your marriage but life in general: Let the Holy Spirit do His job. We don’t need a bunch of Holy Ghost Jr’s running around trying to do His job.
I mentioned that I believe this is one of the greatest hindrances to the Holy Spirit being able to perform His ministry in our lives—us trying to do His ministry for Him. Yes, we get in His way when we try to heap conviction upon people, try to tell people what to do, etc. Church, we need to learn to take our hands off the wheel and let the Holy Spirit do His work. When we—in our pride—try to make everything the way we believe it needs to be, we oftentimes don’t see a lot of fruit from that. But if we just pray to the Father, asking Him to work His will in all of those things that concern us, and take it to the Holy Spirit, inviting Him to do His work of perfecting those things that concern us, then we will see much better results.
But like I said last week, that certainly does not mean that we never open our mouths and communicate with one another. It just simply means that we need to learn when it’s just us trying to make it happen and when we need to let the Holy Spirit do His job.
But the fact is, like it is with us and the Holy Spirit, we oftentimes do see the wife telling the husband something and he won’t listen. For example, how many of you wives out there have told your husband something like— “I wouldn’t do that if I were you”—and he did it anyways and either hurt himself or broke something else? Oh, that happens quite a lot, doesn’t it? Well, isn’t that what happens to all of us—men and women alike—with the Holy Spirit? We sense that we shouldn’t do something, go somewhere, or say something and then we override it, and experience the repercussions of not listening to Him.
But we saw that what God did after making this statement about it not being good for man to be alone was not immediately putting Adam to sleep, pulling 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, what is interesting about this situation is how God gave Adam alternatives to the true helper that He intended all along. Therefore, Adam could have settled, couldn’t he? God could have brought him all of those animals, and he could have said, “Yeah, that horse would be good. I could strap a saddle on its back and it could help me to go from one side of Eden to the other.” Or maybe he looks at the gorilla and would have said, “Well, this one right here might be useful if I run into someone who needs a beaten’.” But, thank God, Adam waited for God’s best.
Therefore, we learned that when it comes to the Helper—the Holy Spirit—we likewise need to learn to choose Him above all of these other things that tend to come to us before Him—our own understanding, our flesh, etc. For example, if we are presented with a problem that we need an answer to, our tendency is to lean on our own understanding or to try to fix it in the arm of the flesh. But that is when we need to wait on the Lord, enter into His rest, and let the Helper give us the solution that we need. Amen and Amen!
So, we must learn to “take advantage of the Advantage.” No, not “take advantage” in the negative sense, but taking advantage as in utilizing the help that God has made available for us to use. And the way we take advantage and utilize the advantages that the Holy Spirit provides us with is by not compromising and settling for something less profitable or beneficial. That could be anything from us getting in the flesh and trying to make it happen ourselves to us succumbing to the pressures of this world to make a decision before we’ve heard from Him. And if we will utilize the Advantage on the inside of us, He will lead us to always give the right answer and be at the right place. The Holy Spirit’s help is what provides us with the Advantage. Amen!
JESUS’ PRAYER FOR US
So, let’s look a little further into this truth of the Holy Spirit being an advantage to us by going back a couple of chapters and looking at John 14:16.
Notice in this verse that Jesus begins by saying, “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you…” Isn’t that a beautiful thought--that Jesus is praying for us? Yes, the Lord, as our Advocate, prays for you and I which gives us every advantage—including the Advantage Himself, the Holy Spirit. So, if you are ever tempted to think that nobody loves you and no one will pray for you, remind yourself of this very truth—that you have an Advocate in Heaven, Jesus Christ the righteous (First John 2:1), and He is your merciful and faithful High Priest (Hebrews 2:17), who ever-lives to make intercession for you (Hebrews 7:25)! Glory!
And here is even better news: Jesus promised us that the Father will give you ___. Give you and I what? Whatever Jesus prayed for! Amen! So, not only do we have a High Priest in the heavens advocating for us, we also have a Heavenly Father who is “graciously granting” (Literal rendering of “give”) His requests! Therefore, God is graciously providing us with the things Jesus is praying for us! That means that we are not having to work for them. No, we are not having to pray hard enough, be holy enough, or jump through this hoop or that hoop. Jesus is our High Priest and, through His blood, has done it all! Praise the Lord Jesus!
So, us receiving the Holy Spirit was Jesus’ prayer, and that prayer was answered 2,000 years ago when He was poured out on Pentecost. Glory to God! Now the Holy Spirit has been graciously given to us by the Father! All we need to do is just receive His advantage in our lives!
But the question that still needs to be addressed is how is the Holy Spirit an advantage over having Jesus? For some, that is hard to compute because how can we say that the Third Person of the Godhead is better than the Second Person of the Godhead? One is not better than the other, are they?
Well, I believe that, in this statement in John 14:16, Jesus clears this up. Notice what He says: “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—” Now notice that Jesus referred to the Holy Spirit as “another Helper” in this verse.
So, if the Holy Spirit is “another Helper,” then that must mean that there was another Helper besides Him, right? In other words, since Jesus uses the word “another” here, then that indicates that the Holy Spirit is not the first Helper to come on the scene. So, who do you reckon was the original Helper? JESUS! Yes, Jesus was that other Helper! Therefore, Jesus was stating in John 14:16 that the Holy Spirit, who would come after His departure, would be “another Helper” like Him.
Now most people would conclude that the most important word to understand here is the word “Helper.” And while we are certainly going to camp on this word—looking at the original Greek word and other possible translations of it—I believe that an equally powerful word to understand here is the word “another.” So then, let’s look at this word “another”:
The first thing we need to understand is that there are two different Greek words that were used to translate the word “another.” One was heteros and the other was allos: The word heteros means “another of a different kind.” This is where we get our English word “heterosexual” from, which is someone who is attracted to another (human being) of a different kind (of sex). The other word is allos and means “another of the same kind.” More specifically, allos described another of the same kind that is essentially an exact representation, a duplicate, or even a twin. This is the Greek word that Jesus used when He referred to the Holy Spirit as— “another Helper!”
A good Scriptural example of these two words is found in Galatians chapter one: Here, in Galatians 1:6-7, the apostle Paul said, “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another, but there are some who trouble
you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.”
Notice that in verse 6, Paul calls this legalistic, law-based teaching that these Judaizers were using to proselyte the churches of Galatia, a “different gospel.” The word “different” here is the Greek word heteros, which again, literally means “another of a different kind.” So, Paul was describing this “gospel” the Jews were bringing to them as a totally different kind of “good news.”
Now they likely presented it like it was good news—perhaps in saying, “Hey guys! If you just do these things found in the Law of Moses, you are set!” But the truth is—that gospel was a totally different kind of gospel. The gospel of grace says, “Hey guys! Look at what Jesus did for you! You are already set! Nothing else needs to be done!” Amen.
But in verse 7, Paul wanted to further explain and correct his phrase at the end of verse 6, “a different gospel.” If he would not have made the following statement, it might have suggested that there indeed are various gospels in Christianity to choose from. So, he goes on to say, “which is not another.”
In the original King James version, this term “another” was not only used here in verse 7, but was also used at the end of verse 6 to describe “another gospel.” This has led to some confusion. The New King James version correctly translated the word Paul used in verse 6 by using the word “different.” Here in this verse, the word Paul used was allos, which is accurately translated “another.” And as we’ve seen, allos describes “another of the same kind.” So, what Paul was saying from verse 6 is that they had turned to another, different kind of gospel. But here in verse 7, he quickly corrected that statement by saying, “which is really not another kind of gospel (i.e. of the same kind). It is not even in the same ballpark.”
So, here is the best way I have found to describe the difference between heteros (another of a different kind) and allos (another of the same kind) is this: If I had an apple in one hand, and I told you that in my other hand was “another” piece of fruit. The word heteros would mean that I might have a banana or an orange in that other hand. But if I used the word allos, then that would mean that the other piece of fruit would have to be an apple, the same kind of fruit.
So, Jesus was not saying to His disciples that the Holy Spirit was just some other kind of Helper, but rather the Holy Spirit is the exact same kind of Helper that He had been to them for the past three years! In other words, the Holy Spirit is an exact duplicate of Jesus – His identical twin, if you would! Glory!
Let me put it this way: Just like when Jesus said in John 14:9 that if you have seen Me you have seen the Father, likewise, if you have seen the Jesus, you have seen the Holy Spirit! Yes, just as Jesus said in John 5:19, that He only did what He saw His Father doing, likewise the Holy Spirit only does what we see the Son doing. And just as Jesus said in John 12:49-50 that He only spoke what His Father told Him to speak, the Holy Spirit only says what we hear Jesus saying. In short, the Holy Spirit only does the same things Jesus did. He will not speak anything contrary to the things we see Jesus speaking. He is here to mirror the Lord Jesus Christ to us!
You see, I believe we have the same problem today that Jesus’ disciples had then. They weren’t aware of who was on the earth with them! Through their carnality, they did not perceive the Glory that they had been with for the past three years. So, they wanted to see the Father. Yes, they wanted to see God in some supernatural, spectacular way. When the truth was, the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person (Hebrews 1:3) was before them. Likewise, the Church today puts all the focus on Jesus (and rightfully so in many ways). But the problem is that the Church tends to look at the Lord out there somewhere—that is, in the heavens—when the Holy Spirit is right here with us today! Therefore, the truth is that if we have seen Jesus, we have seen the Holy Spirit, and vice-versa. Yes, just as Jesus perfectly emulated His Father, the Holy Spirit perfectly emulates Jesus.
THE GOSPEL OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
What that means is that anything you saw Jesus doing for His disciples while He was on the earth is exactly what the Holy Spirit is willing to do for His disciples today. Praise God!!! So, in order to see what the Holy Spirit’s ministry is toward us, we need look no further than the ministry of Jesus: When we see Jesus constantly teaching His disciples, that is what the Holy Spirit does. When we see Jesus guiding and directing His disciples that is what the Holy Spirit does. When we see Jesus always showing a willingness to minister to others that is what the Holy Spirit desires to do. And the list could go on and on. The bottom line is that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are the same and the Holy Spirit’s calling is to pick up where Jesus left off and continue His works. So, the Holy Spirit is to us today what Jesus was to His disciples!
This brings new light to the verse that we quote often today out of the Book of Hebrews— “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today, and forever.” How is He the same to us today as He was to them yesterday when He was physically here? He is the same today in that He is here in the person and ministry of the Holy Spirit who is doing the same works that He did 2,000 years ago!
So, let me encourage you to do a spiritual project: Go back and read the four gospels again but this time, put you and the Holy Spirit in them. What I mean is imagine that you are one of Jesus’ disciples in those stories and that Jesus is the Holy Spirit.
What this will do is it will certainly heighten your awareness of the Holy Spirit being an actual person in that we certainly see Jesus that way during His earthly ministry. But what else it will do is that it will teach you how to utilize the Holy Spirit in your everyday life.
So, just imagine right now some of the ways in which Jesus was a “Helper” to His disciples: One thing that is obvious is how they “followed” Him. When He called His disciples, what was the phrase Jesus used? It was “Follow Me.” And that is exactly what the Holy Spirit is here to do with you and I today—to lead and guide us. Amen? But what we must do in order to be led by the Holy Spirit is follow Him.
Now we will get more into this in the future, but learning to be led by the Holy Spirit is one of the biggest keys to the Christian walk. But the fact is, Jesus’ disciples followed Him throughout His three-year ministry, and we can certainly learn how to be led by the Spirit by how the disciples were led by the original Helper.
Another thing that you see Jesus constantly doing during His ministry here on the earth was teaching His disciples. Jesus spent countless hours instructing them in the things pertaining to God’s kingdom—showing us that the Holy Spirit’s ministry is no different. He is always there to teach us. The question is—Are we open to His instruction? Do we invite Him to teach us when we are doing our Bible reading? Are we open to Him teaching us through the everyday life experiences that we have? Church, He is always there to teach and instruct us just like Jesus was to His disciples. We just need to inquire and then listen.
Another thing we see in the ministry of Jesus is how wise He was. He knew how to answer any question and escape every snare the religious leaders set for Him. Whether it was “Moses said to stone her, what do you say?” or “Should we pay taxes to Caesar?” Jesus always had the perfect answer. Likewise, the Holy Spirit on the inside of us has the perfect answer for all of life’s questions. Ask Holy Spirit for answers in your daily walk. He will help you and will make you look good. We don't have to know everything, we just have to know the One who does. A great example of this is, how do you show love for the person who says, “I'm a homosexual. Because you are not accepting me, you are not showing me love.” Well God actually gave me the answer for this question. He told me, “The question is not if you love them, but how are they loving Me or seeking to glorify Me in what they are doing.” Again, we just need to inquire of Him and let the Spirit of Wisdom pour into us the wisdom that descends from above whenever we need it.
So, my point is—read the Gospels through this lens, and begin to see how the Holy Spirit is meant to be your Rabbi today. Verily, verily, I say unto you—He is to you and I today what Jesus was to His disciples yesterday.
HOW IS HAVING THE HOLY SPIRIT BETTER THAN HAVING JESUS?
So, we have seen why having the Holy Spirit with us today is just as beneficial as Jesus’ disciples having Him physically with them 2,000 years ago was, but if the Holy Spirit and Jesus are the same in their earthly ministries, how is having the Holy Spirit an advantage? That is a good question and the answer is quite simple. Here is the difference: Notice the end of John 14:16…
Jesus said at the end of this powerful verse that the Father would give us another Helper, “that He may abide with you forever—"
So, one of the things that makes having the Holy Spirit with us here on the earth better than having Jesus still with us is the fact that Jesus promised us that He would “abide” (remain or stay) with us forever. In other words, while Jesus’ time with us was temporary according to the plans and purposes of God, the Holy Spirit is not here with us for just a few years. He remains with us forever!
What an awesome promise! We don’t have to worry about the Holy Spirit coming and going anymore. He abides! He will stay with us no matter what. Therefore, once we get Him, we got Him!
The reason I bring this out is because there are Christians out there who believe that the Holy Spirit is easily offended and leaves us when we sin, when we aren’t living holy, etc. No, according to Jesus, He is with us FOREVER! So, no more fear of the Holy Spirit being flighty; He is faithful never to leave us nor forsake us!
But the main thing that I believe makes having the Holy Spirit better for us than having Jesus was to His disciples is what Jesus went on to say in the following verse: Notice Jesus said in John 14:17— “the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.”
Notice that last phrase— “for He dwells with you and will be in you.” What Jesus was promising His disciples is that while the Holy Spirit had been by their side (“with you”—Grk. para), He would soon be on the inside of them!
The reason why it is to our advantage to have Him is because Jesus—being in a physical body—could only minister to so many at a time. His fellowship would have been limited, but not so with the Holy Spirit! He was going to not just be with us in a limited way by being here physically. No, He was going to take up residence in them and in us and now it is like having our own personal “Jesus.”
So, in order to receive say healing from Him, we don’t have to press through some crowd somewhere to touch the hem of His garment. All we have to do is look inside and draw from the rivers of living water that are on the inside of us! You see, it is far better to have the Holy Spirit living on the inside of us than to have Jesus physically living with us. The Holy Spirit dwells in each one of us, and He can heal one of us, give another revelation knowledge, and help someone else find a good parking spot at Wal-Mart all at the same time with no problem whatsoever.
So, learn to utilize this advantage on the inside of you, church! And know that the Holy Spirit is just like Jesus in every way. When you see Jesus, you have seen the Holy Spirit. And He is here with us to lead, teach, and pour into us just like Jesus did for His disciples. Amen!