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Sermon Message


"Another Helper"

John 14:15-18
Theme: Jesus teaches us precious truths about the ministry that the Holy Spirit fulfills toward us.

(Delivered Sunday, March 26, 2006 at Bethany Bible Church. All Scripture quotes, unless otherwise indicated, are from the New King James Version.)

It's good, every once in a while, to revisit some of the basics of the Christian life. This morning, I invite you to look with me to a passage that takes us back to something very basic and fundamental.

This passage concerns a promise given to us by our Savior Jesus Christ. Our Christian life depends upon this promise being kept - and we are empowered to live in Christ today because it has been kept. Jesus gave this promise to His disciples during what we call "the upper room discourse" - His final words to them just before He left them to die on the cross for our sins. In this discourse, He told them,

"If you love Me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever - 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. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you" (John 14:15-18).

This is Jesus' promise of the present and ongoing ministry of the Holy Spirit in the lives of His followers on earth What a wonderful promise this is! How important it is that we understand it!

* * * * * * * * * *

Reading this passage reminds me of a discussion I had last week with a couple of pastor friends. We were talking about people's changing perceptions of what the church should be in contemporary culture. We talked about how the prevailing worldview of our culture has shifted over the past thirty to forty years; and of how even greater shifts seem to be coming. Ideas and methodologies that were popular just last year are now on their way out; and new things are coming in very fast to take their place.

And in this context, we talked about how Christians often feel intimidated by it all; and of how there seems to be a constant effort on the part of Christians to mimic the world in an effort to be "relevant". One of my friends asked the question, "Why is it that Christians are so timid, and so lacking in confidence when it comes to making an impact on the world for Christ?" And I suggested to him something that I now suggest to you: It's because we, as pastors and leaders in the church, have failed to open up the Scriptures and faithfully teach God's people the spiritual resources that Jesus Christ has already given them.

I truly believe that, brothers and sisters. We leaders in the church have often failed you. We are often the ones that lead the church in thinking that the way to reach the world is to imitate the world and its methods of operation. We try to reach the world through the world's resources and by the world's ways of thinking; instead of trusting in the divine resources God has given us. And yet, we forget that when we try to imitate the world in order to be relevant to the world, we make no impact on the world. Instead, we end up looking like we have nothing to offer the world but what it already has!

Now; to be sure, Paul - the greatest missionary that ever lived - said, "I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some" (1 Corinthians 9:22). He was prepared to adapt to this world - when he could - in order to reach this world. He was willing to lay aside his own rights and privileges whenever doing so would enable him to minister the gospel to the lost people of this world. But understand: This was only so that he could remove anything in his own life that might hinder a free hearing of the gospel. He never relied on the resources of this world as the means of reaching this world! The secret of Paul's impact on the world - as he himself told us - was not "with persuasive word of human wisdom", but "in demonstration of the Spirit and of power" (1 Corinthians 2:4).

Paul's life - Paul's impact on this world - can only be explained by the power of the Holy Spirit working in and through him. And dear brother or sister in Christ; you need to know that the very same Holy Spirit who indwelt and empowered the great apostle Paul - and that enabled him to be a transforming force in the world for the kingdom of Christ - also lives in you!

By yourself of course, you have no power to change this world for Christ whatsoever. By yourself, you don't even have the power to live the Christian life! But there is no limit to what the Holy Spirit, who lives in you, can do in this world for the cause of Christ - if you will allow Him! And the very good news from this morning's passage is that He has been given to you! Jesus Himself has promised!

* * * * * * * * * *

The context of this morning's passage is particularly important. Let's take a moment to consider it.

Prior to speaking the words we have just read, Jesus had just told the disciples something that shocked and upset them greatly. He told them that, after three and a half years of being with them - after three and a half years of being their Teacher, and their Guide, and the one for whom they left everything and around whom they wrapped their lives - He was now about to leave them. Can you imagine how upsetting that piece of news must have been to them?

But during this final meal with them, He told them some things that were intended to alleviate their fears. He told them, for example,

"Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also" (John 14:1-3).

He assured them, in other words, that though He was leaving them, it wasn't for good. It was only for a while. And He promised that He would return for His people, and that they would live with Him forever.

And look at another promise He made about what His followers would do in His absence while upon this earth. He makes it clear that though He was gone, He would still be vitally involved and active in their lives. He said,

"Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to the Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it" (vv. 12-14).

Think of that! Jesus promises that He will respond to their requests and act on their behalf. And what's more, He promises that His followers will do the works He did on this earth - and even greater works - though He would be absent from them! How could this be? It's because Jesus kept the promise He makes in this morning's passage, and sent the Holy Spirit to us.

Now, I believe that we should understand the "greater works" to mean 'greater in number'. It would be hard to imagine that we could do works that were greater in kind than the works the Son of God did as He walked on this earth. But remember: When He did those great works, He did them in a body - and that fact limited what He did to specific locations during specific times. But when He ascended to the Father, and then - one week later - sent the Holy Spirit to indwell His disciples at Pentecost, they went out and did what He did in multiple numbers!

He told them, "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" (Acts 1:8). And one week later - on the very day that they were gathered together in the upper room and the Holy Spirit came upon them (Acts 2:1-4) - they preached the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit, and three-thousand people believed (2:40)! And then, shortly thereafter, they preached again, and another two-thousand believed (4:4)!

And His church has been growing ever since - every time the gospel is preached in the power of the Holy Spirit! The church has grown from the small group of 120 that were gathered in a secret upper room somewhere in Jerusalem (Acts 1:15), to countless numbers of believers around the world. Countless sinners have been redeemed through the power of the Holy Spirit! Countless healings have occurred! Countless miracles have been performed! Countless prisoners of the devil have been set free! Countless marriages have been saved! Countless lives have been changed! Countless redeemed souls are now with Christ and will be with Him forever!

Truly; the church, through the indwelling Holy Spirit, as done greater works than Jesus Himself did as He walked upon the earth - just as He promised! No wonder He told them, ". . . 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" (John 16:7).

* * * * * * * * * *

Dear brother or sister in Christ; think of your own life on this earth. Just think of how helpless you'd be if it were not for the indwelling and enabling power of this great Helper that Jesus has promised. Just think of how much He does for you.

Think, for example, of what your life was like before you came to know the Savior. You had no relationship with Him. You were lost - separated from a relationship with God and under the threat of His righteous judgment. Many of us lived lives of sin for which we are greatly ashamed today; and yet, we didn't even think anything of it then. But did you know that - throughout all that time - there was Someone that the Lord Jesus sent into this world who loved you and followed after you through all your life of rebellious sin?

Into all the sinful places you used to go - with all the ungodly and bad-mouthed friends you used to hang around with - and during all the shameful acts you used to perform - the Holy Spirit followed you. He never took His eye off you. He never stopped loving you. It must have been grievous for Him to follow after us in our sin - but He did. As someone once called Him, He is 'the hound of Heaven' - ever pursuing us; ever wooing us; ever watching over us as those whom God had destined for His saving grace.

And when the time was right - in accordance with the will of the Father - He breathed life into you; and you heard the gospel, believed on the cross of Christ, and repented of your sin. Do you remember the day you believed? Do you remember feeling all the burden of guilt roll off of you; and do you remember the love of God wrapping around you like loving arms - letting you know that you belong to Him? That was the Holy Spirit's doing! Why, you wouldn't even be saved today if it were not for the faithful ministry of this wonderful Friend!

And now that you belong to Jesus Christ - now that the Holy Spirit has sealed you as belonging to the Savior by taking up permanent residence in you (Eph. 1:13) - just think of all that He continues to do for you. For one thing, the Holy Spirit continues to affirm to you that you are now a child of the heavenly Father! Every man and woman who belongs to Christ has the Holy Spirit indwelling them (Romans 8:9). And the Bible tells us that "[t]he Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God" (Rom. 8:16). As the apostle Paul says, God has sent forth "the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, 'Abba, Father!'" (Gal. 4:6). He teaches us that it is right for us to cry out to God as "Father" in the most intimate of terms.

And now, as a child of God, the Holy Spirit continues to minister to you by teaching you how to talk to your Father about all the matters of life. He helps you when you pray; and even intercedes for you when your prayers are weak and faltering.

I've had lots of times when I've bent down to talk to little children in our church family - and I'm always very flattered when they want to tell their pastor something. But sometimes, they just can't get it out. They babble and mutter and stammer; but I always love to hear it. And then, if their mother is standing next to them, I look up to her; and she 'translates' for me.

I often think that my own prayers are like that to the heavenly Father. I frequently seek to bring very great matters to God in prayer; but my prayers are woefully inadequate. They are never great enough for the need, or worthy enough of the One to whom I offer them. I stammer and mutter before the Father like a poor little child. I may have something on my heart; but I ask for it incorrectly, or perhaps in a way that is less than scriptural, or in a way that is not in accord with the Father's will. I just can't get it out as I should. Neither can you.

But the Father loves us, dear brother or sister; and He loves to hear from us. Under the blood of Christ, He accepts our weak and unworthy prayers. And the Holy Spirit, whom Christ has sent to live in us, helps us in our prayers; because the Bible says,

Likewise the Spirit also helps us in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God (Romans 8:26-27).

There are lots of wonderful things that the Holy Spirit does for you in your Christian life. He guides you; because the Bible tells us, "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God" (Romans 8:14). He teaches you and protects you from false doctrine; because as the apostle John wrote, "These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you. But the anointing which you have received from Him [that is, the Holy Spirit] abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him" (1 John 2:26-27). He empowers you for service; because as Paul said, "Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us . . ." (Ephesians 3:20). He helps you to walk in holiness before God; because the Bible says, "Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh" (Gal. 5:16); so that "the righteous requirements of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit" (Romans 8:4).

* * * * * * * * * *

How helpless we would be, dear brother or sister in Christ, if it were not for this wonderful, faithful Friend and Ally! We need to know about Him and His ministry. That's why Jesus was sure to tell His followers about Him before He went to the Father.

So, look at this morning's passage with me; and see that the Holy Spirit was sent . . .


Jesus began by saying, "If you love Me, keep My commandments." And if I may put it to you this way, that's the part of this great promise that we ourselves are to keep.

To love Jesus is certainly a matter of our feelings and our affections. We should love Him with all our heart. But Jesus doesn't let us think that loving Him is a matter of our feelings and affections ALONE! Love for Him is to show itself in action. And the way that He has said that we are to actively love Him is through the keeping of His commandments. Jesus says this more than once in His 'upper room' discourse. He said, "If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love" (John 15:10). He said, "You are My friends if you do whatever I command you" (v. 14).

And this makes obedience to Jesus an essential part of experiencing the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father's who sent Me" (John 14:23-24). In other words, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all united in this principle: a full experience of the ministry of the Holy Spirit is conditioned on our loving Christ - and loving Christ is defined as keeping His commandments!

And what is Jesus' command to us? It is that we love each other. His great "new" commandment to us is this: "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:34-35). He said, "This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you" (John 15:12). In fact, the Bible teaches us that the way we are to love one another is by keeping Christ's commands toward one another. The apostle John said, "By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments . . ." (1 John 5:2-3).

And all of this, then, means that the promise of the Holy Spirit is given in the context of love. The Savior loves us; and that's why He sent the Holy Spirit to us. And we love Him by keeping His commandments. And to keep His commandments is to love one another just as He loves us. And to love one another as we should is to love with the very love that God Himself gives us, and empowers us for, through the indwelling Holy Spirit - whose very fruit is "love" (Galatians 5:22).

John put it this way;

No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him (1 John 5:12-16).

I would suggest to you that if you see a church boasting of the power of the Holy Spirit in its midst - but what you see manifested among the church is not obedience to Christ or love among the brethren - then no matter what people may say, you are not seeing the Holy Spirit at work. This is because the ministry of the Holy Spirit is given in the context of love!

That's why Jesus teaches us - at the very outset - that if we love Him, we will keep His commandments. That's the part of this "promise" that is our part to keep.

* * * * * * * * * *

Next, notice that the Holy Spirit is given . . .


Jesus says that, if we love Him, we will keep His commandments. "And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper . . ."

This isn't, of course, to say that the Father is in any way unwilling to give us the Holy Spirit; nor is it to say that the Son must plead with Him and persuade Him to do something that He does not want to do. Far from it! Jesus taught elsewhere that the Father is very willing and very glad to give the Holy Spirit to those who ask (Luke 11:13).

Rather, this is meant to emphasize the fact that it is through the agency of our Savior Jesus Christ that the Holy Spirit is given to us. The Spirit is sent by the Father; and He is given by the Father because the Son asks. Jesus is the One who John the Baptist says will baptize us "with the Holy Spirit and fire" (Matthew 3:11). Jesus Himself said, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water" - and the Bible explains, "this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive" (John 7:37-39). And after He rose from the dead and appeared to His disciples, He told them, "Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you . . ." (Luke 24:49).

And this underscores another important condition that we must fulfill. We must know Jesus Christ and enter into a relationship with Him by faith; because it is through Him alone that the Holy Spirit is given. But it also reminds us that this is a wonderful promise that our Savior takes personal responsibility for, and will most certainly see to it that it is kept.

* * * * * * * * * *

And then, notice that the Holy Spirit is given . . .

3. TO BE OUR HELPER (v. 16a).

Jesus says, "And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever.

Notice the wonderful details of what Jesus says! First, notice the word "another". The Greek word that is used is allos; and this signifies 'another in addition'. There is another Greek word for "another"; and it is heteros; and it means 'another in distinction'. The difference between these two words is significant.

Let's suppose I show you a pen. It's a writing instrument. But let's suppose I also pick up a pencil. It, too, is a writing instrument. But it is a writing instrument 'in distinction' from a pen. It's heteros; 'another writing instrument, but of a different kind.' But then, let's suppose I pick up a second pen that is identical in style and color as the first one. It's a writing instrument like the first one and in addition to it. I would say that it's allos; 'another writing instrument of the same kind' as the first.

Jesus says that the Holy Spirit is "another" Helper; and the word that is used is allos; that is, He is another Helper in addition to Jesus and sent in place of Jesus on this earth, who is - to us - another like Jesus was toward His disciples as He walked upon the earth!

Think of that! Jesus is about to return to the Father. While on this earth, He was everything to His disciples that they ever needed. He taught them all that they needed to know. He protected them. He led them. He provided for them. If they needed to know how to pray, He instructed them. If they were confronted with a difficult situation, He solved it for them. If they were fearful, He comforted them. If they were helpless and weak, He empowered them. He was everything to them.

And now, He is about to leave them. But before He goes, He promises to send another Helper in His place who is like Him. And that's what the Holy Spirit is to the followers of Christ on this earth! He is 'our Helper like Jesus'; who leads us where we are to go, teaches us what we need to know, and empowers us for what we need to do.

* * * * * * * * *

Second, notice that He is called our "Helper" (or "Comforter" in the King James Version; or "Counselor" in the New International Version"). What a wonderful and encouraging way for our Savior to describe Him!

The Greek word that is used to describe the Holy Spirit is paraklytos ; and its basic meaning is 'someone called for' or 'sent' to 'be along side' someone else. The idea here is that a paraklytos serves as a "helper" or an "intercessor" or an "advocate" or "friend" to the one to whom he is sent.

Did you know that Jesus is described in the Bible as our paraklytos in 1 John 2:1? John said, "My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." And the right word to translate paraklytos, in that case, is "Advocate"; because Jesus stands at the right hand of the Father - pleading His own blood on our behalf whenever we fall into sin. We're told, in Romans 8:24, that our Savior is even right now at the right hand of the Father, "who also makes intercession for us." How grateful we should be! No accusation against us can ever be used to condemn us; because Jesus stands at the right hand of God as our "Advocate" - our paraklytos .

But here, we learn that we have two who each serve as our paraklytos . We have one who stands as our Advocate before the Father in heaven; and another - of the same kind - who stands as our Helper during our time on earth.

And look at all the ways He serves us! Jesus tells us about Him in this 'upper room' discourse. Here, in this passage, we see that He is the Advocate to Christ's followers - our divine Helper. But we're also told that He is the Guide in Christ's truth. Jesus didn't leave it to the disciples to remember all that was taught them, but gave them this wonderful Helper to guide them; saying,

"These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you" (John 14:25-26).

The Holy Spirit guided and superintended the apostles as they testified to and wrote down the things that Jesus said; and He even guided them in how they interpreted and explained those things to us. The Holy Spirit would even tell them more! Jesus told them,

"I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come" (John 16:12-13).

Here is why we can have confidence in the divine inspiration of the New Testament that was given to us through the apostles. But we also see that the Holy Spirit is our Guide in truth as well. He helps us to rightly interpret and apply the teaching He entrusted to the apostles. How very necessary His ministry is; and how grateful we should be that He serves as our Helper in this way!

He is also Witness to Christ's Person . Jesus told the disciples that He was leaving. But He also assured them that He was not leaving without a Witness to Himself on the earth; saying, "But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me" (John 16:26). And what's more; because He has come, He also helped the twelve disciples to be faithful witnesses of Christ in this world. Jesus added, "And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning" (v. 27). The Holy Spirit helps us to be Christ's witnesses today as well.

Another way He serves in this world is as Prosecutor in Christ's judgment . Can you imagine how hard it would be if it were up to us to bring conviction to this world of sin? But here, we find that it's not our job to bring about conviction of sin! It's our job to talk about sin, and to tell the world what the Bible says about it; but it's not our job to bring about the conviction of it in the hearts of lost men and women. That's the Holy Spirit's job. Jesus says,

"And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged" (John 16:8-11).

And finally, we see that the Holy Spirit serves in this world as Revealer of Christ's glory . Jesus said, "He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you" (John 16:14-15). And do you know why it's so wonderful that He declares to us what belongs to Christ? It's because we share in Christ's inheritance! All that our Savior has is also given to us! He even makes us sharers with Him in His eternal glory; because He prayed for us and said, "And the glory which You gave Me I have given them . . ." (John 17:23).

So just think! Our Savior has given us the Great Commission. He has called us to go out into the world and declare Him and make disciples unto Him from every nation. What a humanly impossible task! But we do not do it alone! We have a great divine Helper - another like Himself. He is called "the Spirit of truth"; and He serves as our Advocate on earth in the cause of the truth. He guides Jesus' followers in truth, and bears witness to Christ on in this world, and convicts the people of this world of their need for the Savior, and reveals Christ's glory!

Look at all that He does! The great question is, why don't we trust Him more? How much more could God do through us if we did?

* * * * * * * * * *

Finally, notice that the Holy Spirit is sent . . .

4. AS ONE WHO DWELLS IN US (v. 16b-18).

Jesus promises to send this Helper, "that He may abide with you forever". The Holy Spirit is not just our Helper for a short while; but He is with us eternally. He will always be with us to welcome us into - and keep us in - an eternal relationship with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.

Now that's our eternal prospect. But what about our time on earth? Even then, we enjoy a unique relationship with Him. Jesus says that He's the Spirit of truth, "whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him . . ." The "world" being described here is the ungodly system of values and priorities that dominate the hearts of unbelieving people. And the Holy Spirit cannot be seen or known through the eyes of the flesh. This ungodly world does not welcome or receive Him, because it does not welcome or receive the one He came to glorify.

But Jesus speaks of His followers and says, "[B]ut you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be with you." He will not only be at our side. He will not only go before us, and follow after us. He will also be in us! He indwells us - bubbling up within us as the "rivers of living water" that Jesus promised would flow out of our hearts (John 7:38).

* * * * * * * * * *

And may I share with you the closing words of Jesus in this passage? Jesus - who loves us deeply, and is very concerned for our welfare - says that, because of the ministry of the Holy Spirit, "I will not leave you orphans . . ." Jesus has returned to the Father; but as you can see, He has not abandoned us.

I believe that the presence of the Holy Spirit is one of the sweetest of the His ministries to us. He serves as one who is always with us; never leaving us alone. There may be times when - from a human standpoint - we are very lonely and alone. But the truth is that we are never alone. We have a divine Friend who is always with us.

And look at what Jesus says afterwards; "I will come to you." I surely take this to refer to Jesus' coming to His disciples after His resurrection. But I also take it to refer to the present ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives after His ascension. I take it to mean that the Holy Spirit's ministry of serving us in Jesus' bodily absence from us is so perfect and complete, that it's as if Jesus Himself is with us in Him. I take it that He actually mediates the very presence of Jesus to us to such a degree that Jesus could say, "[A]nd lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:20).

* * * * * * * * * *

I wonder if you remember the story from the Old Testament of how Abraham sought a bride for his son Isaac. It's told to us in Genesis 24. Let me share it with you in closing.

Old Abraham sent his servant to the land of his birth - to his country and to his family - to seek a bride for his son. The servant of Abraham was very faithful in his task; and when he went to Mesopotamia, and to the city of Nahor, he discovered that God had led him directly to Abraham's family.

In time, God led Abraham's servant to Rebekah - who was a relative of Abraham himself. The servant of Abraham persuaded Rebekah's family to give her to become the bride of his master's son - which she herself was willing to become. And so, the servant placed jewels upon her, escorted her to Abraham's tents in the land of God's promise, and brought her safely to her groom Isaac, who warmly received her as his own.

It's a beautiful story. But I also believe it serves as an illustration to us of the ministry of the Holy Spirit that Jesus has sent. He is like that servant. The Father sent Him into this world to seek a bride for His Son. And we, who have heard His call and trusted in Christ constitute that bride - the church. And like that servant of Abraham's, the Holy Spirit bejewels the church with the grace of Christ, and escorts her safely through this dark and sinful world, and will at last present us as a beautiful bride to Christ our groom.

How grateful we should be for the ministry of the wonderful Holy Spirit! It's very good to get back to basics and remember all that He does for us; don't you agree?

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