The Holy Spirit is often called Paraclete, Advocate, or Intercessor. Christians don’t have to completely understand the person of the Holy Spirit; in fact, it’s impossible because He doesn’t tell us everything about Himself. All we need to know is that He is one of the Godhead and that He has an important mission. He is always working to make Christ known in our hearts, and He delights when we seek knowledge about why He has come (John 16:13, 14).
I. THE COMFORTER (JOHN 14:18)
Jesus stood before His disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration. He had gathered His chosen ones for a last moment of communion before He was translated into heaven. Jesus was their guide, teacher, joy, peace, hope, and love. Now He was physically leaving them, and they must have wondered, “Now who will guide us?”
Jesus knew what His disciples were going to face: hardships, destitution, persecution, the loss of all things, the spoiling of their earthly goods, being dragged before magistrates, even being tortured for His name. Although the disciples may not have understood Jesus’s immortal words, “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you,” He seemed to be saying to them, “I will never let you fight your battles alone. I know what you’re going to face, but I know the Father’s wonderful plan for you. If you knew and understood it, your hearts would rejoice!” He promised His disciples, “I will pray to the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever . . . he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you” (John 14:16, 17).
The Holy Spirit is sent to the world, to the sinner, for one purpose: to be a convicter and convincer of sin, righteousness, and judgment. “And when he is come, he will reprove [convince] the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (John 16:8).
First, He convicts of sin: “Of sin, because they believe not on me” (verse 9). The Spirit reveals that all sin is based on one foundation: unbelief. This refers to an unbelief in the power and blood of Jesus Christ to save and deliver from sin.
Second, He convicts of righteousness: “Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more” (verse 10). As Jesus looked at His disciples, He seemed to say, “You who see me ascending to heaven bear witness to my righteousness—for God would not translate an unholy man. The Holy Spirit will say through you to the world, ‘You called Him a devil, a glutton, a winebibber, an imposter. But how do you answer His being taken into glory by the Father?’”
Third, He convicts of judgment: “Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged” (verse 11). The Holy Spirit testifies to the world that there is now freedom for all men because Jesus Christ judged and destroyed Satan’s power at the cross.
Many Christians picture the Holy Spirit as a sweet, innocent mist sprayed over the earth. Some believe all they have to do is simply “breathe Him in”! But the Holy Spirit was not sent to us as a passive, weak influence; He is a divine Person with a personality! He has a mind, eyes, ears, and feelings.
II. THE RELATIONSHIP-BUILDER
The Holy Spirit has a way of simplifying our relationship with God the Father and Jesus. He is the One who teaches us to say, “Abba, Father.” This phrase refers to a custom from Bible times regarding the adoption of a child. Until the adoption papers were signed and sealed by the adopting father, the child saw this man only as a father. He had no right to call Him Abba, meaning “my Father.” Yet as soon as the papers were signed, registered, and sealed, the child’s tutor presented him to the adopting father, and for the first time the child could say, “Abba, Father!” As the father embraced the child, the young one cried, “My father! He’s not just a father anymore. He’s mine!”
This is the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit. He teaches you about Christ. He presents you to the Father. And He keeps reminding you, “I have sealed the papers. You are no longer an orphan; you are legally a child of God! Now you have a loving, wealthy, powerful Father. Embrace Him; call Him ‘my Father.’ I have come to show you how much you’re loved by Him! He wouldn’t have adopted you when you were wild, sinful, and rebellious unless He loved and wanted you!”
III. HIS LOVING MISSION
The Holy Spirit’s mission is to comfort Christ’s bride in the absence of the Bridegroom, Christ. “He shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever” (John 14:16). “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:26).
“Comforter” means one who soothes in times of pain and grief, eases pain and sorrow, brings relief, consoles, and encourages. By calling the Holy Spirit “the Comforter,” Jesus made an infallible prediction: He predicted that His people would suffer discomfort and would be in need of comfort—that there would be lots of pain and suffering among His people in the last days.
The Holy Spirit brings comfort by reminding us that He lives in us with all the power of God inherent in His being. And that’s why we can say, “Greater is He that is in me than all world powers combined!” God sent the Spirit to use all His power to keep us out of Satan’s clutches—to lift our spirits, give us hope, and flood our lives with the love of our Lord (Rom. 5:3, 5).
The Holy Spirit wants you to know what God has done for you. He seems to say, “You once said you gave your all to Jesus. You gave Him your love, and He still loves you. And now, neither will I let you go. I’ve been sent by Him to do a work—and I will keep doing it!"
There is no true comfort for anyone on this earth except that of the Holy Spirit. People run to counselors, psychologists, friends, priest, books, tapes, lectures, seminars, and group sessions, but how much comfort do they get? Not enough to last them the trip home! It’s all in vain; the pain keeps coming back. No, the world has nothing to offer a hurting spirit: “The world knew Him not” (John 1:10).
This is why we need the Holy Spirit to live in us. He alone can lay you down at night, as in a warm bed, and fill your heart with perfect peace. He alone can truly comfort you in times of pain and sorrow. He is the one who will assure you, “This comfort is not just temporary—it is eternal!”
Do you want to ask for the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit?
General Conference Ministerial Association