Welcoming the Helper (John 16)
There is a sense in which everything you and I have ever sensed of Jesus Christ, His presence, His peace, His love, His joy, can all be attributed to the work of the Holy Spirit. God the Holy Spirit is actively ministering on this earth since the day of Pentecost. Just as Jesus was opposed and misunderstood in His earthly ministry, we have a tendency to do the same today with the Holy Spirit. Some churches, if not outright rejecting Him, make no room for His active role in ministry or daily life, resulting in dead observances. Other churches embrace the Spirit but look for outward, physical displays of power as the main mark of His work. The Spirit gives gifts and graces and works in tangible ways, but these are only the tip of the iceberg. Both extremes hinder us from walking in the true anointing of the Spirit, and of course, the devil loves that.
In John 16, Jesus reveals to us the true ministry of the Holy Spirit, which is twofold. One of His roles is mainly for believers. Jesus calls Him “the Spirit of Truth,” whose role is to “guide you into all the truth” (John 16:13). As the Holy Spirit lives in us, He reveals the truth of scripture in ways that transform us by renewing our minds. Jesus foretold this by saying, “He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you” (16:14). So, our personal experience of Jesus occurs as the Holy Spirit reveals Him to us. The Spirit helps us know Jesus more deeply.
Jesus also calls Him the “Helper” or “Advocate,” whose ministry is to “convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:7-8). This work is also primarily unseen. It happens in the hearts and minds of people, and if they yield to Him, they bear the tangible fruit of being born again. The Holy Spirit seeks to do this in the whole world, to reach every conscience with His conviction. He is not limited at all, but He desires to use the prayers and voices of believers to accomplish this work, like an attorney calling on witnesses.
The Greek word “Parakletos,” translated “Helper” or “Advocate,” actually refers to an attorney or lawyer. This was a legal advocate who built a case in a court room. The Holy Spirit is actively building a case to convict the world of its sin, to reveal to people the perfect goodness of Jesus, and to expose the rottenness of the devil who has deceived the world and will be judged. We must remember that the Holy Spirit is the Lawyer; He is doing a lot of work that we are unable to perceive or accomplish on our own! Yet, we have a key role: Jesus said, “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses” (Acts 1:8). The Spirit is building the case. He is convicting, persuading, and convincing. But He calls upon us to “take the stand” and give testimony of who Jesus is and what He has done. We tell of what we have seen with our own eyes and experienced in our lives and hearts! God’s own Spirit does the rest.
Not all of us will preach to entire cities, like Paul. Not everyone will stand in pulpits or travel to foreign mission fields. But every single believer is a witness by the power of the Holy Spirit. Be available to testify of Jesus’ work in your life, and the Holy Spirit will use you to build His case.
The Rock Church