The Holy Spirit’s Work in Indwelling

John 14:16-20

Dr. S. Lewis Johnson expounds the Scriptures that explain how the Holy Spirit dwells in the believer in Christ.

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[Prayer] Father, we are grateful to Thee for the privilege of approaching the Holy Scriptures. We thank Thee that through Jesus Christ we have come to know that they have proceeded from the hands of prophets inspired by Thee. And we thank Thee that our Lord honored and revered the Scriptures and spoke of them as the very word of God. We remember his words in which he said “The Scripture cannot be broken.”

And we thank Thee Lord that since he is the Lord, the universal Lord, we know that if we believe the things that he believed about the Scriptures, we shall believe in accordance with the will of God. And so we turn to them with the assurance that they are the voice of God to us.

And enable us Lord, to listen, be attentive to the ministry of the Spirit as he takes the word of God and teaches us it. We pray for listening hearts. And then, enable us Lord to respond to the things that we hear. And by the help of the Spirit, carry them out. We commit each one present to Thee and ask Thy blessing upon us as we study together tonight.

For Jesus’ sake. Amen.

[Message] Tonight, our subject is “The Holy Spirit’s Work of Indwelling,” and will you turn with me to the 14th chapter of the Gospel of John and will you listen as I read, beginning with verse 16 through verse 20. And I will be reading from the Greek text and so if you notice a few little changes that is the reason.

Now, this is the Upper Room Discourse, remember, in which our Lord taught the Disciples, preparatory to his leaving them. And he was giving them truth that they were to bear in mind during the time of his absence from them in the body. And so this is truth that pertains, particularly, to us, for we live in the age for which he gave this instruction. And so he wrote or he said to them and John wrote.

“And I will ask the Father, and another comforter, he shall give you that he might be with you for ever; the Spirit of truth, which the world is not able to receive, because it does not behold him, nor know him; you know him because he abides with you and shall be in you.”

Now, there’s a little bit of a textural problem here in the Greek text. I’m taking the future as genuine. You have the future in your text, probably. Some manuscripts do have the present “For he abides with you and is in you.” But it seems evident that is probably not the correct reading. A scribe, not understanding that future, changed it to the present in a fairly early manuscript and it was copied by some other manuscripts. But our earliest texts and our best texts, I think, have the future. Now, verse 18.

“I will not leave you orphans [that’s the word from which we get orphan, orphanos.] I am coming to you.” [That means, of course, I will come to you.] Yet a little while, and the world no longer beholds me, but you behold me, because I live and you shall live. In that day you shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.”

You may remember that in Acts chapter 19 and verses 1 and 2, Luke describes the coming of the Apostle Paul to the city of Ephesus, on his third missionary journey, and he describes Paul’s meeting with some disciples of John the Baptist who had wandered around in the woods or in the deserts since the time of the Cross and the Resurrection. And they had not even heard that the Holy Spirit had come on the Day of Pentecost.

But, they were genuine believers in John and in his baptism. And remember, the Apostle Paul came to them and they met. And his question to them was, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And it is in Acts chapter 19 in verse 2 that he asks them. And he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said, “Why, we have not even heard if there is a Holy Spirit.”

Now, as I mentioned to you once before, that does not mean that they did not know of his existence because they had heard John’s preaching and John’s preaching included the baptism of the Holy Spirit in reference, and it is an expression which undoubtedly meant they had not heard that He had come as John prophesied.

Now, it’s a striking thing, I think, that Paul, when he looked at these men who were disciples of John the Baptist; who were believers, nevertheless, noticed that there was something missing in their lives. They were disciples, but they were lacking something. They had been baptized in water, but they were lacking something. They had repented, for one must repent in order to receive the baptism of John and still they were lacking. In other words, it was possible for them to have been baptized, to have repented, to have become disciples, and yet they lacked something. What they lacked was they did not know the Spirit’s personal presence in their lives.

Now, of course, today as we shall see from our study tonight, it is not possible for a Christian to lack the presence of the Holy Spirit in his life. But it is possible for a Christian to not realize the things that have really transpired when he believed in Jesus Christ and, consequently, it is possible for him to not know in experience the presence of the Holy Spirit in his life. And so I think it is fair for us to say that while the precise situation that prevailed in John’s day does not prevail now, the experience of the presence of the Spirit in the life is an experience that many evangelicals, it seems, do not know today.

Andrew Murray, in one of his books, has said, “In olden times, believers met God, knew him, walked with him, had the clear and full consciousness that they had dealing with the God of heaven, and had, too, through faith, the assurance that they and their lives were well pleasing to him.” In other words, by personal experience they had the sense of the blessing of God upon their lives. They recognized and they knew in their experience the presence of the Holy Spirit.

The Godly Fletcher of Madeley, when he was once lecturing to his students on the subject of the office and work of the Holy Spirit, when he concluded the lecture said, “Now, let those who desire to know these things in experience, follow me?” And he led them into a room where he and his students met together for a few hours and prayed that the things that they had studied might become realities in their lives.

You know, I think that might be a good practice today. It seems to me that too often we listen to the ministry of the word just as if it were an exercise of listening to a lecture. And that’s about the end of it. We do not let it go beyond that. We do not go home and get down by the side of our beds and ask God to make real the things that we have studied. I know, in my own personal experience, the times that have been of the greatest blessing to me are the times when I have taken the word of God and put it across my bed and have gotten down upon my knees and studied the Scriptures and asked God as I read the word to make that word a reality to me.

Now, if you’ve never studied the Bible that way, I recommend it to you. Now, at first, it may be that you cannot afford to get down on your knees and stay too long. You may start forgetting about the word and thinking about your knees. [Laughter] But it’s a good exercise, and I suggest that you do it. And particularly, when it comes to the ministry of the Holy Spirit, because everything in the Christian life is, ultimately, related to his ministry. Our experience of God, the power of God in our lives, the direction of God for our lives, everything is ultimately related to the acknowledgment and the experience of the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

The Holy Spirit is a divine person, we have read and studied and come to understand. He is the executive of the Godhead and he has a number of ministries to us. He has ministries to the world. We’ve looked at them. But, we’re looking now at his ministries to the Church or to true believers. And I put a little circle on the board for you a couple of times ago, and we have begun our studies by looking at the Holy Spirit in regeneration. This was our first study of the Spirit’s work in us, who are believers, regeneration. Then, remember, last time, we considered the Holy Spirit’s work in baptizing.

Now, his third ministry to us is his ministry of indwelling. That’s what we’re going to look at tonight. He also has a ministry of teaching, and we shall look at that next Monday night, the Lord willing. And he also has a ministry of gifting. That is, giving spiritual gifts. And we will spend two or three times on this because we want to deal with this in a little more detail, since this is one of the question that plagues Christians today.

I got another hate letter today. I get one about every week and this one came from Alabama, of all places, Clinton, Alabama. And some fellow had read something that I’d written in the Weekly Bible Commentary, and he was telling me that I was just as ignorant as I could possibly be about the ministry of the Holy Spirit and, particularly, speaking in tongues. And so he gave me a little lesson and asked me to reply to his questions. But his questions were primarily declarations, not questions. So we will talk about gifting and I’ll, in my letter back to him, I’ll tell him to write Mr. Wheeler and get the tapes.

And finally, after the sanctifying ministry, we will look at the filling ministry, and I have a little surprise for you. You’re going to be surprised at what I say about the Holy Spirit and his work of filling. And I tell you what I want you to do, if you will. In the meantime, what I would like for you to do is just look up the term in the New Testament “filled with the Holy Spirit” or “the filling of the Holy Spirit,” or similar terms. And I want you to do a little study on your own so that when we come to this you will not be so surprised at what I say to you.

Now, then, the Spirit has seven ministries to believers. He regenerates us, first of all. He baptizes us into the body of Christ. That’s what we talked about last time, remember, that is his ministry whereby he joins us to Jesus Christ and to all other believers so that we form one body, the church. And we pointed out that the baptizing ministry of the Holy Spirit is not something we must seek after we have been saved. It is something that happens to us the moment we become a Christian, we are baptized by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ. That is, simply, his ministry of uniting us to the Lord. We are baptized into his death, burial and resurrection, thus, united to him and united to all other believers. So if someone should say to you, “Have you been baptized by the Holy Spirit? Have you received the baptism?” You say, yes, I have. I received it when I believed in Jesus Christ as Paul told the carnal Corinthians, “For by one Spirit have we all been baptized into one body.” So that, that has taken place. It’s not some evidence of a spiritual life and it’s not some experience that we are to seek after we have been converted.

Now then, tonight, we are going to look at the Holy Spirit’s indwelling. And first of all, if I can get this pen to write, I may try another. Roman I will be “The basis of the indwelling.” Or we shall be asking the question, how? In other words, we want to try to ask and answer the question, how is it possible for the Holy Spirit to indwell an unholy being? We all recognize that we are unholy beings. We have talked about the fact that we are sinners. And so we want to answer the question then, how may the Holy Spirit indwell an unholy being? And there are two sides to this. There is the godward side. And as you might expect, there is the manward side. In other words, we may look at this question from either one of these sides.

Now, let’s look at from the standpoint of the godward side or from the standpoint of God first. And I’m going to ask you, if you will, to turn with me to Romans chapter 8 in verse 3. Romans chapter 8 in verse 3. Now, here we read “For the impossible thing of the law.” You have “What the law cannot do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God having sent his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:”

Now, because man has a sin nature and because man has committed acts of sin; his acts of sin, of course, are illustrations of the sin nature that he possesses, are proofs of it. They are evidences of it. Because man has a sin nature and because he has sins, God must do something about that sin before the Holy Spirit can come to indwell us. It is impossible for the Holy Spirit to indwell an unholy being. Isn’t it striking, too, by the way, the Holy Spirit really doesn’t have a name. What we call the third person of the Trinity is really a title. He is the Holy Spirit. But remember, and never forget, that he is the Holy Spirit. And because he is the Holy Spirit, it is inconceivable that he should indwell an unholy being.

And so you see, something must be done about man’s sin. We know from Genesis chapter 3, verses 1 through 24 that man sinned in the Garden of Eden and, as a result of this, he was cast out of the Garden. We know that since that time, God’s spirit has contended with man because of his sin. We know that from Habakkuk chapter 1, verse 13, that God has said, “That he is of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity.” Now, that, of course, is not a text that teaches us that God never sees sin. It means it’s a text that speaks, figuratively, of his attitude to sin. And he is like a person who averts his eyes, because he cannot stand the presence of sin.

Now, here in our text in John 14, we had the same thing. Notice chapter 14 in verse 17. And Jesus said, in this verse, verse 17. “The spirit of truth which the world cannot receive.” Which the world cannot receive. So you see, something must happen to the world before the world receives the Holy Spirit. The world cannot receive the Holy Spirit. And so from the godward standpoint, there must be some dealing with sin.

And that is what happened when Jesus Christ was sent. “What the law could not do” in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending his own son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin condemned sin in the flesh, gained a judgment against the flesh and its sin. So that, when Jesus Christ died, he died not only for our sins but he died also for our sin nature. He took sin to the Cross and bore the judgment for sin. And because he bore the judgment for sin, now God may freely send the Holy Spirit to indwell individuals who have partaken of the benefits of the saving work of Jesus Christ because through what he has done, we who were unholy are now holy in the Lord.

That is why we are called saints. We’re not called saints because any large religious organization has canonized us. Even if that should be true of any of you in this audience, that would take several centuries for them to wake up to the fact that you really were a saint. You’ll notice that no human beings are ever canonized until they’ve been dead long enough for everyone to have forgotten exactly the kind of life they really did live. And so they wait for centuries for them to be canonized. And there is no hope that any of us shall be canonized while we’re still alive. And I hope that none of you are canonized ever because we don’t need any canonization. Now, look at me, will you? You’re looking at Saint Lewis. [Laughter] And not Missouri. But that’s what the Bible calls us. “To the saints.” “To the saints which are in Ephesus.” And if you will turn over to 1 Corinthians, it says, not only we’re saints, it says we’ve been sanctified too. And that doesn’t mean anything more than the other did. But for some people it does.

Now, in 1 Corinthians chapter 1, Paul addresses this letter to the Corinthians. And he says “Paul, an apostle by calling of Christ Jesus, through the will of God, and Sosthenes the brother to the church of God, which is in Corinth, sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling.” He says it twice. He says they have been sanctified and he says they’re saints. In other words, there was a time in their experience when they became saints.

Now, we’ve talked about this and you already know, of course, that to be a saint does not mean anything more than that you have been set apart for God. But, in 1 Corinthians when he says, “sanctified in Christ Jesus,” he uses the ‘perfect’ tense which refers to an act in past time, like this, an event in past time. The results of which continue. And so in the present, there was in the past, there was an act of sanctification and in the present, we stand sanctified. That’s what we are. We have been set apart and we are set apart. We are saints.

Now, because we have been set apart, because we have been made holy, and because we are holy, positionally, not actually. I’m still the same old ornery person that I used to be, except there is some improvement, so Mary says and I hope that as the years go by, there will be further improvement. I still, however, possess my old nature. But, positionally, before the Lord, I’m holy. And because I am now holy, positionally, looked at in Christ, looked at as the recipient of what he has done for me, now the Holy Spirit may come and indwell me. So from the godward side, it is the work of Christ that makes us fit for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Now, from the manward side, of course, it is the human exercise of faith, which is produced by the Holy Spirit through efficacious grace. So the new life by grace that expresses itself in faith is the manward side of the indwelling of the Spirit.

Now, remember, this faith which produces this indwelling that comes through faith is not a kind of second blessing. It happens the moment we believe in Jesus Christ.

And I want you now to turn to a couple of passages because we want to see this in the Bible. Let’s turn to John chapter 7 in verse 39. John chapter 7 in verse 39. Here we read.

“In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, if any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. The one who believes in me as the scripture said, rivers of living water from his belly shall flow. And this he said concerning the Spirit, which they that believed were about to receive. [They that believed in him were about to receive.] For the spirit was not yet; because Jesus had not yet been glorified.”

Now, notice he says, “and this he said concerning the Spirit, which they that believed in him were about to receive.” So in other words, it is through faith in him that we receive the Holy Spirit. Let’s turn over to Acts chapter 11 in verse 17. Here we have Peter recalling what happened in Cornelius’ house, remember. And in Acts chapter 11 and verse 17, he says “If therefore God gave them the like gift as also to us, who believed upon the Lord Jesus; who was I, able to withstand God.” Now, notice, if God game them the like gift, and, of course, the like gift was the Holy Spirit in Cornelius’ house, the “like gift as also to us, who believed upon the Lord Jesus Christ.” So it is evident from this that it is the faith that brings the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Now, to sum it up then, the basis of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. How does the Holy Spirit indwell us? Well, from the godward standpoint, it’s through the work of Jesus Christ by which he cleanses us, by which he makes us a fit vessel for the presence of the Spirit. From the human standpoint, it is the appropriation of faith and when we believe in the Lord, Jesus Christ, and then God and the Son send the Spirit to indwell us. And that happens the moment we believe. It’s not a second blessing. It’s not done by works. It’s simply by the faith that God produces when we are converted.

Now second, in addition to the basis of the indwelling of the Spirit, we want to talk about the extent of the indwelling. In other words, we want to ask the question, who? Who is indwelled by the Spirit? Just the Baptists? Just the Pentecostalists? Just the best of us? Who is indwelt by the Holy Spirit? Now, I want to give you three reasons why, I think, that the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is universal among believers.

First, it is universal because his presence is the test of the possession of spiritual life. Now, I’ll say that for you. I’m not going to have time to write it down here. It is universal because his presence is the test of the possession of spiritual life. He is the test of “life.” So if we ask, is that person a Christian? What is the test? Well, the test is not, oh, I don’t mean to speak harshly of this. Don’t misunderstand me. The test in the Bible is, has he received the Holy Spirit? That is the test of life.

Now, let’s look at a few passages. Romans chapter 8 in verse 9. Romans chapter 8 in verse 9. By the way, this test, I want to labor a little bit for one reason, because you know in the twentieth century there are lots of people who say, if you ask them, are you a Christian? Oh, yes, I’m a Christian. How do you know you’re a Christian? Well, I believe in God. And you say, well, Mohammedans believe in God. And Hindus believe in God. Rosicrucians believe in God and they, hardly, would be welcomed as first rate members of an Evangelical Church.

And you say, do you believe in Christ? They say, oh, yes, I believe in Christ. But you have the sneaking suspicion, often, that they don’t really know anything about the grace of God in saving us. You know, there’s something about a Christian that it doesn’t take long before you know that person’s a Christian. He may say the same things that the other person says, but you just know almost infallibly, this person’s a Christian and this person you have a few questions about. Have you ever felt that way about people? Of course you have. Because, you see in the case of one, there’s the possession of the Holy Spirit. And in the case of the other there is the expression of the same language, but the evidence of life is not there. That’s the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Now, Paul says in Romans chapter 8 in verse 9, “And ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit if, indeed, the Spirit of God dwells in you. But, if any one does not have the Spirit of Christ, this one does not belong to him.” If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. Now, does every Christian then have the Holy Spirit? Of course he does, if he’s a Christian. How can you say of a person, he doesn’t belong to the Lord and yet he’s a Christian? But the test of belonging to the Lord is the test of the possession of the Spirit. And so if any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he doesn’t belong to the Lord.

So if I were speaking to my friend who believed in the second blessing, and that it was through the second blessing that you received the Holy Spirit, I just quote Romans 8:9. If you don’t have the Holy Spirit, you’re not a Christian. “If any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” So you see, the possession of the Holy Spirit is the test of the possession of spiritual life. Consequently, his indwelling, then, must be universal among Christians. If, to be a Christian, you have to have the Spirit, then it’s obvious that the Spirit indwells every Christian. Is that good logic? That’s divine logic. That’s beautiful logic.

Now, Galatians chapter 4, verse 6, let’s look at another text. Galatians chapter 4, and verse 6, Paul says, here’s the great commission, verse 4. “But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, [There’s the great commission.] Born of a woman, born under the law, that he might redeem the ones under law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” So “because we are sons” we have the Spirit of his Son.

Why does God send the Holy Spirit into the heart of every Christian? Well, because we’re his sons. And who is the Spirit? Well, the Spirit, remember, we talked a long time ago about the procession of the Holy Spirit and how he proceeded from both the Father and the Son? Well, you see, because he is the Spirit of the son, who has proceeded from the Son, God has set into the hearts of all of his other sons the Spirit of his Son, the Holy Spirit. And he is the person who marks us out as belonging to the family of God. And so because we are sons, we have the Spirit of his Son. And so if we’re not sons, we don’t have the Spirit. So the Holy Spirit’s indwelling is universal among Christians because his possession, the possession of him is the test of spiritual life, if we don’t have him, no use to talk about being a Christian at all.

Now, secondly, the Holy Spirit’s indwelling is universal because even the “carnal” believers possess him. Now, this is laboring the same point; looking at it in a slightly different way. But it is universal; the Spirit’s indwelling because even the “carnal” believers possess him. So I just put down “carnal believers are indwelt.”

Can you read that writing? I can hardly read that myself. I’m an expert at reading bad handwriting because for twenty-five years I’ve taught school, and theological students have the worst handwritings of all human beings that you ever could have imagined. I remember one boy, I’ll never forget him. He’s a PhD now in linguistics and teaches at the University of Hawaii. But he used to write a word like this. He would write and he would write, Lewis Johnson. Sometimes on a long one you could recognize the first two words, letters, but ones like that. If you don’t think that is difficult to read writing like that. When the last war came, they sent out special word that theological seminaries that they were all immediately hired in the code departments of the United States because they knew they could figure out anything [laughter].

Second, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is universal because even carnal believers possess him. Now, let’s turn to 1 Corinthians chapter 2 in verse 14 and read these familiar words, which we’re going to expound next week when we talk about the teaching of the Spirit. But, I want you to notice just one thing tonight. 1 Corinthians 2:14, he says.

“Now, the soulish man does not welcome the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness to him: and he cannot know them, because they are spiritually examined. But, the spiritual man examines all things, yet he himself is examined by no one. For who has known the mind of the Lord, who shall instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.”

You know, isn’t that a tremendous potential to think that I have the mind of Christ. That is my potential. Now, Paul continues chapter 3; but here he makes his application to the Corinthians. He says “And I, brethren, was not able to speak to you as to spiritual, but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ.” Now notice, he calls them carnal. He calls them babes. But, they are in Christ. And, further, he began the sentence by saying, “And I, brethren.” So the Corinthians are believers. They are brethren, they are babes in Christ. And so this text teaches plainly, then, that the Corinthians are Christians. But, now they are carnal Christians. They are babes. But they are in Christ, and they are brethren.

Now, remember this. Remember that the Epistle to the Corinthians is an epistle that was sent to one church. And it’s unfortunate, in this respect at least, that we have chapter divisions, because we tend, because we have chapter divisions in our Bibles, we tend to think, well, maybe the third chapter is different from the second, and the fourth is different from the third. And almost, inevitably, sooner or later, we begin to interpret a text in the latter part of the book as referring to a different kind of person than in the first part of the book. Just remember that the whole Corinthian Epistle was written to Corinthians, and he has already identified them as being believers, they’re brethren, and they’re ‘in Christ.’

Now, in chapter 6, verse 19 and verse 20, he says to this carnal Christian group, out of fellowship with the Lord, many of them, most of them, perhaps, he says, verse 19.

“Do you not know that your body is temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, which you have from God, and you are not your own? For you are bought with a price: glorify therefore God in your body.”

So you see, these Corinthians, who are carnal Christians, are told in this same epistle that their body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which they have in them. So the Holy Spirit does not just indwell the best of us. He does not indwell only those who are in fellowship with him. But, he indwells all who have believed in Jesus Christ and who have been declared righteous by faith in him. Even though they may, for a time be out of fellowship with him because of their envy or their backbiting or the other types of sins of which the Corinthians were guilty. So you see, the indwelling of Jesus Christ is universal among Christians because even Christians out of fellowship with the Lord possess the Holy Spirit.

And finally, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is universal because the conduct standard of the New Testament demands it. The conduct standard of the New Testament demands the indwelling. Now, what I mean by this is the following. In the New Testament, we are told that we are to walk by the Spirit. We are told, for example, in Galatians chapter 5, if you wish to turn there, you may. Galatians chapter 5 in verse 16, we are told by the Apostle Paul “And I say, walk by the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” Verse 25 “If we live by the Spirit, let us also take each step by the Spirit.” So the New Testament tells us that as Christians our standard is to walk by the Spirit.

We’re not to walk according to our fellow Christians. We’re not to walk according to a preacher or a minister. We’re to walk by the Spirit. He is the power for the Christian life. As a matter of fact, we could not live the Christian life were it not for the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit within us because the conduct standard of the New Testament is a life by means of the Spirit. It is not a life by means of a certain set of rules: the Ten Commandments. The Christian life is not life according to the Commandments. The Christian life is life by means of the Spirit.

Now, that very fact demands that we have the Holy Spirit as a present continuous possession. And that’s what indwelling means, very simply. So then, who is indwelt by the Holy Spirit? Every believer in Jesus Christ.

Now, finally roman III – the purposes of the indwelling. Now, of course, here, I want to ask the question, why? Why are we indwelt by the Spirit? Let’s spell out just two or three things. Number one, capital A – That we might have an ever present advocate. And while I’m finishing writing this, why don’t you look over John chapter 14, again, and we’ll look at one of the verses there. An ever present advocate, John 14, verses 16 and 17. John 14 verses 16 and 17. Now, the Lord said, remember, in this text which we read as our Scripture reading “And I will pray the Father and I will ask the father, and he shall give you another Comforter.”

Now, the word translated Comforter is the Greek word parakletos. Would you like to see how that looks in Greek? I know this will thrill you. Parakletos. You know the word kleteos is the word from which we get “called.” We are called saints. Kleo the Greek word of which that is a form, means to call. Para, the Greek preposition means “by the side of.” I look out to you tonight and I see Ray Shade. And he’s sitting para Jennie Shade, which is the place he should be para by Jennie Shade. So that’s where he is. He’s para Jennie, by the side of. So you see, a comforter is one who is called alongside.

Now, of course, words may take on a usage that is not related to their original root. But, in this case, that’s not far off the sense because the Comforter is one who is called alongside. Now, one who’s called alongside is usually called alongside for strength. Jennie is sitting para Ray because he is her husband and he should be the strong one in the family. She’s the weaker vessel. And he should be her strength. Now, we shall ask them if that’s really true. [Laughter] No, that’s not our duty tonight. [More laughter] So the Comforter, another Comforter, one called alongside.

Wycliffe, who translated the Bible into English, you remember many hundreds of years ago, translated Philippians chapter 4, verse 13, which reads, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me,” as, “I can do all things through Christ which comforteth me,” for the word “comforteth” was a word that meant to strengthen, many hundreds of years ago. So when we read that the Lord is going to pray the Father, “and he will give us another Comforter” he means a strengthener. He means someone who is going to come alongside and help us; a counselor. He’s not giving us someone upon whom we can rest and go to sleep; but someone who will strengthen us. So that’s the meaning of the word comforter.

Now, that word is also used of our Lord. If you will turn over to 1 John chapter 2 and verse 1, in John’s Epistle. He calls Jesus Christ a comforter. He says in John chapter 2 and verse 1.

“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have a parakletos with the Father, [a comforter with the Father] Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins.”

So we have two comforters: we have two strengtheners. We have one strengthener who is with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And when we sin, he is our advocate, he pleads our cause. But we also have a comforter on the earth, the Holy Spirit, who has come to indwell us. So we have a strengthener in heaven and we have a strengthener on the earth. We have two strengtheners. Now, in the case of the one above, the one above represents us with God. The one with us represents God with us. And so it is the work of Christ to represent us before the Father; but it is the work of the Holy Spirit who has been sent by the Father and the Son to indwell us, to represent God in our hearts. And so, of course, that means that if we have the Holy Spirit within us then we cannot go anywhere that we do not involve him. We cannot say anything that we do not involve him. We cannot do anything in which he is un-involved. No wonder someone has called the Holy Spirit our “discomforter” because you see, it is a discomforting thought, often, to realize that the kind of life we live as Christians is a life in which the Holy Spirit is involved.

Will you notice another thing that our Lord says about the Spirit in verse 17? He says, “He is the Spirit of truth.” Now, I would think that that means that he is called alongside of us to help us in our spiritual blindness. Because, you see, there is one thing that the Bible teaches and teaches very, very strongly, and that is that we are spiritually blind. That’s why we must be born again. That’s why we cannot understand the Gospel. That is why, as we said, that’s why it is necessary for the Holy Spirit to open our hearts before we can believe. That’s why we must have efficacious grace before we can believe.

Last week, I was in Illinois and not knowing anything about that audience up there, I just launched out into my pure Pauline teaching. And, of course, I stressed a few things like efficacious grace, that is, that we are blind and we cannot see until the Holy Spirit opens our hearts. And it wasn’t long before I discovered that I was in a hot bed of Armenianism in the Grace Bible Church. Oh, I shouldn’t have said that because they’ll get the tapes. Well, that’s nevertheless true. That’s what it was a hotbed of Armenianism in that church. And we had quite a time through the week. And, you know, near the end of the week, some of them were coming to me and saying, “Where do you get those tapes?”

And then some were saying, “It’s beginning to sink in. It’s beginning to sink in.” And the Holy Spirit was working in their hearts and they were beginning to see that they were totally depraved; that they were lost before they were saved. They were beginning to see that God had worked in a work of grace and that they were naturally blind, that they were willfully blind, and they were judicially blind as a result of their, or they would have been judicially blinded forever had it not been for the fact that Jesus Christ came. So the mind is blinded, the heart is defiled, the will is perverted, the understanding is darkened; all the texts of the Bible teach this. And so it is necessary for the Holy Spirit to open our hearts so that we believe. He’s the spirit of truth.

Do you know, my dear Christian friends, that is why when you go to talk to someone about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, you can’t sit down and say, “Let’s talk about this, we can agree on this scriptural, and or spiritual principle.” There is no way in which the world and you can agree on anything, because, you see, they are blinded, and you’re not. That’s why there is no common ground upon which you can speak to a non-believer, ultimately. You must rely on the Holy Spirit who will open hearts. And then, using the word, which you give, for no one is saved apart from the word, then they may respond. So you see, it’s so important to realize that it is the Holy Spirit that is the spirit of truth. And it is he who opens hearts.

I hope, when you get home tonight, you’ll get down by the side of your bed and you’ll say, thank you Lord for sending the Holy Spirit to open my heart so that I could respond to the message of the Gospel. He’s the spirit of truth.

And then, Jesus said, in that verse: “You know him because he abides with you and shall be in you.” Now that, of course, expressed the state of the Old Testament believers by contrast with the New. Here were the apostles, the Holy Spirit was by their side but was not in them. He dwells “parahuman” like this, “para” he dwells para, by the side of, but he “shall be in you.”

Now, that has happened since we believed in the Lord, Jesus. Now, the Holy Spirit has come and he indwells all of us. What does this practically mean? Well, it means when you pick up the hymnal and someone calls out a hymn on the Holy Spirit, be very careful before you sing it. Almost all hymns on the Holy Spirit are unscriptural. For example, favorite hymn, song often in Bible conferences has a stanza that goes “Holy Spirit, faithful guide, ever near the Christian’s side.” Well, if that’s all there was too it, that’s unscriptural. So you know what I sing? “Holy Spirit, faithful guide, whoever in us, doth abide.” People notice chaos over where I sing, because I’m singing after Paul. [Laughter] And they’re singing after what is written in the book. But, he indwells all of us.

Second B -Why are we indwelt by the Spirit? Well, we’re indwelt by the Spirit in order that there may be a union consummated between our Lord and us. Pentecost was the day. That was the day that we were baptized by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ, and it is the Holy Spirit who, by his presence, the third person of the Trinity, by his presence he makes vital the union that we have with Jesus Christ. And so it is the work of the indwelling Holy Spirit to continue that union which was begun when he baptized us into the Body of Christ. So the indwelling Holy Spirit is there in order that there might be an ever precious union with our Lord.

Isn’t it a wonderful thing to realize that the Bible says in John 14, verse 20, “At that day, you shall know I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.” Just think about that for a moment, “Ye in me and I in you.” Those words, seven of them, I think, in the English text, those words are perhaps the most important words that our Lord uttered in this Upper Room Discourse. “Ye in me and I in you.” Think about that for a moment. He is in us and we are in him, or put in the order in which he does it: You are in me and I in you. Now, one of those is our position. “Ye in me” that’s our position. We stand “in the Lord.” But, “I in you,” is expressive of our power; our state.

Now, these words, I remember Dr. Chafer used to say to us, “These are the most important words that Jesus ever spoke. ‘Ye in me and I in you.’” And then he used to like to illustrate it by surgery. And in those days, we didn’t know, I think, the things that we know about surgery today, but he used to like to illustrate by a man losing his arm. And I’ll never forget one day, in the Schofield Memorial Church many years ago, when Schofield Church was downtown on Harwood and Ross; I went to hear Dr. Chafer preach. And that day, he entered the pulpit, he’s just a little man, about like this, very dignified, very calm. He was about 75 years of age then. And when they called upon him to speak, well, I’m not going to take off my coat, but he walked up to the platform and he stood by it, but he was so calm that I didn’t notice that his arm was not in his sleeve. But his arm was not in his sleeve.

And he went along and spoke for about fifteen or twenty minutes, and then he came to the “indwelling of the Holy Spirit.” And he said, “Surgery does not know today any illustrations of the amputation of an arm and the grafting of an arm back into the body of another man.” But he went on to give an illustration. He said, “Let us suppose that it can be done. And let us suppose that a man has been convicted of murder. And let us suppose that he is in prison with a life imprisonment. Let us suppose that the king of the land in which he is imprisoned has lost an arm in an accident. And an appeal is issued for someone among the prisoners to come forward and donate an arm to the king. And as reward for the donation of the arm, he will gain his freedom. And let us suppose that this is done and the man comes forward and his arm is amputated. And it is grafted on, sewn on to the king and the man receives his pardon.

“Now,” he said, “You know, that is not true yet by surgery. But that is the illustration that Paul used.” And with that, he raised up his arm, of course, which was out of his coat, to illustrate it dramatically. He said, “You see, we were all in Adam. And we were in Adam and thus in sin and under condemnation. We have been taken out of Adam and we have been grafted into the “new man”, Jesus Christ. Now, you see, in the case of the man who lost his arm, that arm which was stained with the guilt of murder, now is attached to the arm of the king and shares all of the dignity, all of the authority, all of the regard that the king enjoys. And so, likewise, we having been taken out of Adam, have been placed into Jesus Christ and now are a member of him, we share all of the dignity, all of the authority, all of the intimacy of the body of the king.” Now, that is the illustration that is used in the New Testament.

About six years ago, in Ecuador, an attempt was made and a hand was amputated from a man who was about to die, and it was sewn on by a physician there on another man. And I have that article, from Time magazine. And of course, the article in Time was only written a few days after this had taken place and so I don’t know whether that did successfully survive the rejection processes. But, nevertheless, that is the illustration that is used in the Bible. And it is through the work of the Holy Spirit that we have been united to Jesus Christ.

Now, one last thing, why are we indwelt by the Holy Spirit? Not only that we might have an ever present advocate, not only that the union that we enjoy with Jesus Christ may be continued permanently, but also that there may be an ever outward interest among believers.

And in conclusion, I want you to turn with me to Romans chapter 5, verse 5. We’ll have to stop with a reading of this text. Romans chapter 5 in verse 5, Paul says, Romans chapter 5 in verse 5:

“And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

And so it is the purpose of the Holy Spirit to come into our hearts in order that through him there may be shed abroad in our hearts the love of God: The love of God for us; but also the love of God through us to others. And, you know, the inevitable evidence of the coming of the Holy Spirit is the presence of the love of God. The love of God, so far as we are concerned, but also, the love of God through us for others.

I’ll never forget about five years ago, I was in Bristol, Tennessee, preaching in a Bible conference. And during the conference they were having children’s meetings. And so the kids went to the children’s meeting. And after one of the meetings I walked down the hall and one of the men came up to me and said, “You might be interested in what happened this morning in one of the Sunday school classes, while we were having our adults meeting.” I said, “What?”

He said, “You know, there’s a little boy here who is attending the conference and his mother is here. And she is a Christian. And his father is not a Christian. And for a long time, they have been praying for the father. She has been praying for the father, and of course, praying for her little boy. And this morning, the little boy was converted in the class. And he received Jesus Christ as his Savior. And Lewis,” the man said to me, “Do you know what his first statement was after he had received Christ as his Savior?” I said, “No.” He said, “The first words that that little boy spoke to his mother were, ‘Is Dad saved?’” In other words, the love of God had been spread abroad in his heart and the very first concern that he had was for his father. Now, that’s a pretty good evidence of the coming of the Holy Spirit; the love of God shed aboard in our hearts.

Well, time is up. Next time we’ll study the teaching ministry of the Spirit.

[Prayer] Father, we thank Thee for the word of God and for the presence of the Holy Spirit. And, Lord, we pray that each one of us may experience his indwelling, to the extent that Thou dost desire. Enable us to receive Thy word by faith and to be responsible to his ministry.

For Jesus’ sake. Amen.

Posted in: Pneumatology