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The Advocate

When Pastor Ben gave me a book the other day, I was surprised.  First, because it didn’t have any pictures in it and I’ve always assumed he thought I was semi-illiterate 😊.  

Secondly, because it was about the Holy Spirit.  We’ve kinda shied away from the Holy Spirit at times in the Restoration/Stone-Campbell family, which is ironic as one of its goals was to mirror the early church as described in Acts.  

That was a church ate up with the Holy Spirit.  It’s like somewhere over the years the Restoration church claimed the Bible and left the Holy Spirit to the Penecostal/Charismatic churches.  This is a ridiculous over-simplification and generalization, but is what R.T. Kendall in Holy Fire (the non-picture book Ben gave me) calls the “silent divorce” in the Church.  But as he points out, the church that is devoted to God’s Word AND believes in the power of the Holy Spirit could, like the early church “turn the world upside down again”.

Right before His arrest, Jesus spends a lot of time talking about the Holy Spirit (John 14.15-31 & John 15.26 &27).  Part of what He is doing is trying to prepare the disciples for the work ahead and part of it is to pre-emptively assuage the fears they are going to face from the time He is arrested until His resurrection.  

This is a shorter section, so I will include it all here:

When the Advocate come, whom I will send to you from the Father- the Spirit of truth who goes

out from the father- he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been

with me from the beginning (John 15.26 &27 NIV)

As I mentioned on Chopped, I love the title of the Holy Spirit as “the Advocate”.  Every time I read that title, I think it sounds like a great tv show name: “Coming this Fall to NBC, a thrilling new legal drama- The Advocate!”  

It is actually a very powerful statement on the nature and purpose of the Holy Spirit.  Not surprisingly, the Greek work that it comes from parakletos, has a legal tint to it.  The title tells us that the Holy Spirit will come beside us and aid us.  Many study Bibles will note that it could be translator as an intercessor, conveying the idea that the Spirit pleads for us in front of God.  

The disciples are promised something incredible, a Spirit of truth sent by Jesus from God Himself to remain with the disciples after Jesus ascends to heaven.  

But what I would specifically like for us to think about is where Jesus tells the disciples that the Holy Spirit, and the disciples themselves, will testify about Jesus.  It falls outside this reflection, but if you want to see how the Holy Spirit influenced the disciples, and what the testimony looked like, read Acts 2, Acts 4.8-31, 5.12-42 for examples.  The whole book of Acts, in fact, shows the power of the Holy Spirit in the lives and teachings of the disciples and early believers.  

Those 11 men, and a handful of other folks, started a movement that spread across their known world….all because they knew Jesus, followed His commandments, and were filled with the Holy Spirit.  

We see the Holy Spirit do many things in the lives of the disciples and early believers.  Some of these gifts of the Spirit are still debated and discussed today.  But I would like to focus on two things from John because these are things I struggle with and I hope they make sense to those wrestling with the same thing.  

The first is that sometimes we don’t know what to say to people when they are hurting, asking questions, going through tough times or just earnestly seeking Jesus.  I believe, if we will let Him, the Holy Spirit can help us find the right words at the right time for people.  

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, who 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 NIV) 

As a church we have a responsibility to be in God’s Word as much as possible.  The Holy Spirit can inspire us through the Bible if we will just take time to read and think about Him.  

And I truly believe, before (or during) we talk to people who are looking for God, or who desperately need His love, if we ask the Spirit to guide us, that He can help us know what to say.  

The second is in 14.27 where Jesus says Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you (NIV).  I believe that we are living with the Holy Spirit in our lives that He leaves us with feelings of joy, bolsters our faith, and brings us closer to God.  I think He can bring us peace.  

My prayer, today, is that we have a church that wants to be filled the Holy Spirit and that we feel Him move powerfully in our lives over the following months.  

Have a wonderful weekend, and if you have questions about the Holy Spirit or just need someone to come along side you in prayer, that you reach out to us at FCC Grayson.

-David Deborde: FCC Men’s Ministry

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