Sunday Night Live Sermons
THE PROMISE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
26th May 2002
It is a fortunate boy who has a good influence upon his early life. I thank God one man influenced my childhood. He was the local doctor, Dr W.A. Kemp. When my mother announced she was pregnant, a lady said, "You must go to a good doctor, Dr W.A.Kemp." He listened to me in the womb. When I was born, Dr Kemp grabbed my heels, swung me up in the air, hit me on the bottom and allowed me to preach my first sermon!
He had a continuing influence on the rest of my early life. He came to our home regularly and, although I did not know it at the time, went also into the home of my future wife. We were born only a few days apart, a few streets apart, and there he was, keeping an eye on both of us. In childhood he removed my tonsils and my appendix. He was also in my church. He was a lay preacher and he would sometimes preside at the Lord's Table. Sometimes he preached the Word. He treated my teenage brother during a terrible illness and then preached at my brother's funeral. He was Chairman of the School Council, Mayor of our City, Magistrate in our court and Life Member of our hospital. When I told him I would study biology at University, he instructed me how to use a microscope properly. He also gave me other instruction.
I always remember the night my father died. I was eight. Dr Kemp came to pronounce death and putting his hands on my shoulders said to an eight year old: "Now you are the head of the family. You have to look after your little brother and sisters and your mother. You can never fill your father's shoes, but you can take responsibility for yourself."
He noticed my shoes, covered with mud, waiting to be cleaned next morning. In our laundry, the night my father died he taught me how to clean shoes. When we needed a holiday, whose house was it we went to for a vacation? The holiday house of that same Dr. Kemp. Always in my childhood there was looming the genial, warm character of Dr. Kemp. He had founded a Boys' Club in which I became a leader. When I began to think of entering training for the ministry, I discussed it with Dr. Kemp. On my first day at theological college I discovered he was Chairman of the College Board! He presided later at my graduation. When I was ordained, and representatives from churches placed their hands upon the heads of kneeling young men to set them apart for service, it was natural that he who had placed his hands upon my bottom at birth, around my shoulders in death, should now place them on my head in blessing. I thank God that in the first twenty years of my life there was one man there all the time as teacher, helper, companion and friend.
Last month in Edinburg University I addressed an International Conference in McEwan Hall from the very platform where he graduated as a doctor. Beverley and I stayed on campus in an old building now renovated as a hotel. It used to be the Maternity Hospital where Dr Kemp had trained to bring babies into the world, one of whom was me, and I was on the diametrical opposite point of the world! I thank God for the next forty years of married life there has also been one, this time my wife, who has been my companion and helper, teacher and friend. What a difference if a person has someone alongside as companion and helper, teacher and friend.
We are greatly blessed if we have someone in our lives to influence us for good. Many of us only ever have one close friend. We may have many acquaintances, but we are fortunate if we have one close friend. There are thousands in the city who need a friend, helper, companion, guide, and counsellor. God understands the emptiness in the hearts of humans when there is no friend. In the Old Testament, there are many references to the Spirit of God given to be with us. In the New Testament, there are 385 references to the Holy Spirit and 244 of these indicate specifically that God's Spirit is alongside us to be our Helper. God gives His Spirit as a friend to be with you.
In the Old Testament it appears that God could give His Spirit to man and that man could pass the blessing to another person. Moses passed the Spirit of God to Joshua. Elijah passed the Spirit to Elisha. The capacity to pass on the Spirit was the background to the words of Jesus on the night He was betrayed. He said to His disciples: "It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counsellor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you." John 16:7 Then Jesus gave them the Holy Spirit to be with them. The 14th, 15th, and 16th chapters of John's Gospel concern the Holy Spirit. Jesus says He will send another helper, in Greek, the parakletos. The word is used in different ways. It is used as a companion, one who is alongside. It meant a witness who came into the witness box to give support and help. It was used of a soldier who assists in battle when things are going badly, of a legal advocate who would come to argue the case against others on your behalf, of a person who would put his arms around you in comfort when you were broken-hearted and sad to comfort you.
Parakletos means "comforter," - "com" meaning "alongside", and "fortus" meaning "with strength". The one who comes alongside with strength. Jesus said, "And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counsellor to be with you forever-- the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you." John 14: 16-17 Then, "the Counsellor, 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 A few verses later, Jesus says, "When the Counsellor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me." John 15:26 In the 14th chapter of John, Jesus mentions four things that the Holy Spirit means to each Christian.
1. A LIVING HELPER
v16 He says, "I will ask the Father and He will give you another Helper who will stay with you forever." In those words "another Helper" there is an idea of the gift of a living Helper, someone to be alongside and help us. Many people need help. They cannot cope with life, with study, with family life, with marriage, with children and with other relationships. Every week hundreds of people who are not coping call Life Line for help. Jesus said; ""I will ask the Father and He will give you another Helper who will stay with you forever." He is a living Helper. He takes the place of Jesus. He universalises the presence of Jesus. As Jesus was with the disciples in Galilee, He is now, through the Spirit, with you wherever you are. "Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Matthew 28:20
2. AN ABIDING COMPANION
He is the abiding Companion, with you always. He is the answer to our loneliness, that dreadful urban disease that eats away at the hearts of those who feel they have no friendships, no mates. God's Spirit is available to be with you wherever you are - as Helper and as Friend. Paul knew that kind of help. Speaking of his time in prison and facing trial he said; "At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength." 2 Timothy 4:16,17 The Spirit of God stands by you. In the New Testament we are told that not only will the Holy Spirit be with us, but the Spirit will be in us. The Spirit of God is the indwelling, abiding Companion who remains with us wherever we are and who is with us no matter the time of day.
For 17 years I have ended my four hour program on 2GB, "Sunday Night Live With Gordon Moyes" with a prayer and an old Irish blessing, a thank you, then "this is Gordon, saying "Good Night" now to you, and especially to you!" The first "Goodnight" is for everyone listening. My words, "especially to you" is a secret "goodnight" to my wife who is waiting at home. But over the years thousands of people have said to me, "I wait until you speak the last words of your program, because I know you say "Goodnight" especially to me!" And so I do! Possibly a hundred thousand people listening to me have no one else to say "Goodnight" to them. People feel they have someone who cares. The Holy Spirit is a companion and friend, one to whom you can relate. Every night the Holy Spirit is available in your life to bless you - and especially you! Personally! He is the abiding Companion to be with you - and in you.
3. A PERSONAL FRIEND
The Spirit of God who reveals the truth about God and remains with us and is in us, is a personal friend. The Holy Spirit is never spoken of in Scripture as "it." It is always "He." He can think, feel and will. The Spirit talks to us, counsels us, comforts us, warns us, judges us. We can grieve the Holy Spirit and hurt the Holy Spirit. We can lie to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a personal Friend. He is not just God's power, but also your power, personally, in you. That is the friendship available from God. Friendship with God through the Holy Spirit is only available when you give friendship. You cannot buy, rent, or borrow it. You cannot earn it. You cannot demand it. You can only give it. When you give friendship to others, you find that friendship comes back to you. If someone says, "I have no friends" inevitably it is because he is not giving out friendship. If you want the friendship of God coming in a personal way to you through the Holy Spirit, you have to draw near to God. He will draw near to you. You have to come close to Him and talk to Him and read His word and share in prayer, because He is an abiding personal Friend.
4. AN ENABLING TEACHER
In John 14:26 we read, "The Counsellor, 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." Helper, Companion, Friend, and Teacher. Many can teach but He is the Enabling Teacher. Jesus was called "Teacher" many times in the New Testament. Nicodemus said, "We know you are a teacher sent by God." John 3:2 The Holy Spirit enables us to remember the words of the Teacher. Two things happen.
Jesus gives us power for eternal life, but the Holy Spirit gives us power for internal life. He gives us gifts and He offers us graces. There are eight graces mentioned in Scripture and twenty-one gifts for those who are Christian. You may have one grace or two gifts, one gift or three graces, but it is the Spirit of God, who is the Teacher who enables you to cope with Life by offering you His gifts and graces. Young people, having to do examinations, would dearly love to have a teacher who not only teaches them but enables them to remember what is taught. That is exactly what we have in the greater examination of life. That is the role of the Holy Spirit. He convinces us. He convicts us. He converts us. He calls us to Jesus Christ. He reminds us of all Jesus said.
On the Day of Pentecost, the Helper, the Companion, the Friend, and Teacher of Christians, came to the world like a mighty rushing wind. The Spirit who came that day is available now for any who claim the promise of God. The Scriptures tell us how to find him who is a Helper, Companion, Friend, and Teacher. In Acts 2:38, Peter tells us how the Spirit comes to us. "Repent and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Turn away from your sins. That is the first thing. Be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ. Your sins will be forgiven, and you will receive God's gift, the Holy Spirit. God's Spirit comes to you when you believe that Jesus is God's Son, your Saviour, when you turn from your sins and follow His way in obedience, when you are baptised into Him. You receive the gift of the Holy Spirit who brings gifts and graces to fill your heart and life. That is the promise of the Holy Spirit.