#1 Another Comforter
His crowning gift, the Comforter, who was to take His place. This Comforter is the Holy Spirit the soul of His life, the efficacy of His church, the light and life of the world. E. G. W., This Day with God, p. 257.
Thought for the day
The Comforter is one who reproves, who warns, who admonishes them saying, "This is the way, walk ye in it..." He can inspire with confidence, with hope in God; and confidence in God always results in creating confidence in one another. The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, p. 696.
Dr. W. J. Dawson tells of six genuine surprises which will come to the faithful tithe-payer:
" 1. At the amount of money he has for the Lord's work.
"2. At the deepening of his spiritual life in returning tithe.
"3. At his ease in meeting his own obligations with the nine tenths.
"4. At the ease in going on from one tenth to larger giving.
"5. At the preparation this gives, to be a faithful and wise steward of the nine tenths that remain.
"6. At himself in not adopting the plan sooner."
Suggestion for scripture reading and hymns
Holy, Holy, Holy Hymn No. 73
Sweet, Sweet Spirit Hymn No. 262
Children's Story—The best laid plans
Lesson: For that ye ought to say, if the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. James 4:15.
Robert Burns, a Scottish poet, learned early how difficult it is to make plans for the future. He was born on January 25, 1759, in a humble two-room cottage on the River Donn. The son of a farmer, he grew up knowing the meaning of struggle and fruitless dreams.
Then Mr. Burns died and Robert, the eldest son, had to take over the farm. At the age of 16 he described his life as "the cheerless gloom of a hermit and the unceasing toil of a galley slave."
Robert wanted very much to go to school but there was no time for that. He did learn to read, and then proceeded to educate himself. He often ate his meals with a book in one hand. He carried books in his pockets so that he could study while driving the cart.
Robert whistled Scottish folk melodies while following his plow and soon came up with original poems to fit the tunes.
He wrote many poems as "Auld Lang Syne" and "To a mouse". In it he expresses the thought that the best-laid plans of mice and men often go astray.
This may be true of mice and men; but it is not true of God, who says, "I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it" (Isa. 46:11).
God has a purpose for your life and His plans are sure.
"In His loving care and interest for us, often He who understands us better than we understand ourselves refuses to permit us selfishly to seek the gratification of our own ambition. He does not permit us to pass by the homely but sacred duties that lie next to us. Often these duties afford the very training essential to prepare us for a higher work. Often our plans fail that God's plans for us may succeed." -The Ministry of Healing, p. 473.
Ask God to work out His will in your life today, even if it means that your plans may all fail.
Sermon Outline—Another Comforter
It is always exciting when a new year arrives.
When we face the future seriously, we often feel anxious. The disciples of our Lord were horrified at the thought effacing the future without the comfort of His continuing companionship.
Toward the end of His earthly ministry, our Lord concentrated upon the twelve apostles.
Much of this time was spent in seclusion because of His desire to avoid His enemies. At the same time, He wanted to strengthen these men for the task that was before them. He gave them some exceedingly great and precious promises (John 14:1, 11-14). He gave to them a promise regarding "another Comforter." Furthermore, He said, "I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you" (John 14:18). He also spoke some other words which were strange to them (John 14:28). Let us look at what discipleship meant to these disciples.
II. The call to discipleship
A. It was a call to trust in Jesus Christ.
B. It was a call to a profound learning experience.
C. It was a call to leave lesser things.
D. It was a call that involved the excitement of true fulfillment.
E. It was a call to partnership and friendship with Jesus Christ.
F. It was a call to serious self-discipline. \
G. It was a call to high rewards.
III. Jesus invited his disciples to draw close to Him
A. To Philip He said, "Follow me" (John 1:43).
B. To Philip and Nathaniel, Jesus said, "Come and see" (John 1:46).
C. To James, John, Peter, and Andrew, Jesus said, "Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men" (Mark 1:17; Matt. 4:19; Luke 5:10).
D. Jesus chose the twelve "that they should be with him" (Mark 3:14; Luke 6:13).
As these men followed Jesus, they experienced a "transforming friendship." They visited together in crowded cities. They sailed and fished together on the Sea of Galilee. They prayed together in the mountains and deserts. They worshiped together in the Temple. They watched Him and listened to Him.
1. They saw in Jesus Christ what it meant to make a complete surrender to the absolute claims of God over one's life.
2. They saw what it meant to completely forsake sin.
3. They saw the perfection of love in all attitudes, all ambitions, and all relationships.
4. They saw a supreme example of one who was willing to deny himself for the sake of others.
5. They witnessed one who demonstrated a unique aloofness from attachment to material things.
6. They saw and experienced one who lived totally for eternity. Eleven of these apostles became so committed to Jesus Christ that they could not even consider their future existence without His companionship.
It was in that kind of a context that Jesus continued to tell them that He must go back to the Father. He comforted them with the promise of "another comforter" (John 14:16).
IV. Jesus promises another comforter
A. Note the word that Jesus used in making this promise. In the original language of the New Testament there are two different words which are correctly translated by our English word another. The word alias is always used when 'another of like kind" is referred to. The Greek word heteros is used when "another of a different kind" is referred to. When Jesus spoke of the Comforter that would come, He used the word allos. Jesus was saying, "I am going to pray the Father and He shall give you another counselor, comforter, and helper of exactly the same kind as I am." The word which is translated "comforter" literally means "one called to walk by the side of." This had been His experience with them and their experience with Him for three years plus.
B. "To be with you forever." He promised that the Comforter would be with them always, forever.
C. "For he dwells with you." Christ as Immanuel was God with us. Jesus promises the Holy Spirit who will dwell "within us." The Holy Spirit would be a far greater blessing than His earthly presence could possibly be.
As we face the new year, we need to accept by faith the presence of this Comforter who came on the Day of Pentecost to dwell in the church. He came on the day of your conversion experience to dwell in your heart (1 Cor. 3:16). We should with joy recognize His indwelling presence and find the strength that we need for the living of life in this year 2002 (Eph. 6:10).
With eagerness we should listen for His voice as He speaks to our innermost being as we study the Scriptures, as we pray, and as we see a needy world (Heb. 3:7-8).
A friend of Vance Havner coined a word by combining the words squelch and quench. He used to say, "Don't 'squench' the Spirit." Havner thought it was so descriptive that he often used it in his preaching. Havner said, "We 'squench' the Spirit in more ways than we suspect. We do so when we stifle the desire to speak or act for the Lord. When we criticize or discourage others by an unspiritual attitude, we 'throw cold water' on their inner fire. We have the Holy Spirit as an honored Guest in every Christian gathering, and He can be grieved very easily. A frivolous attitude, a rebellious frame of mind, or a fed-up complacency will do it."