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The Comforter

John 14:15-21



The great Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen was the first to discover the magnetic meridian of the North Pole and to discover the South Pole. On one of his trips, Amundsen took a homing pigeon with him. When he had finally reached the top of the world, he opened the bird's cage and set it free. Imagine the delight of Amundsen's wife, back in Norway, when she looked up from the doorway of her home and saw the pigeon circling in the sky above. No doubt she exclaimed, "He's alive! My husband is still alive! And he's sitting on top of the world!"


So it was when Jesus ascended. He was gone, but the disciples clung to His promise that He would send them the Comforter from on high, the sides of the north, as indication that He was alive and well in heaven. What joy they felt then, when the dovelike Holy Spirit descended at Pentecost. The disciples had with them the continual reminder that Jesus was still victorious, and thinking of them, seated at the right hand of the Father, on top of the universe!  This continues to be the Spirit's message to us today. 


Unlike believers in the OT times, the Holy Spirit of God doesn't just come 'upon us,' but 'within us!'  Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Ghost! 


Where do you find your comfort?  I find mine in the one and only true and living God, named Jehovah, whose Son is Jesus Christ, whose Spirit is my Comforter, residing within me!  I look up to find my comfort, from the One Who dwells in the sides of the north.


How do you medicate the pain of life?  I choose to call the Great Physician, still practicing medicine in Spirit in those who believe!  What do you reach for to pick you up when you are down? 

Ephesians 5:18
And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

I reach up on the shelf for northern comfort, the written Word of God ... which is the living Word, Jesus, translated in writing, interpreted by the Spirit of God Who gives me understanding and help.


This is the great comfort chapter.  "Let not your heart be troubled..."

It speaks of heaven, and gives comfort.  Jesus said, I'm going away, but one day you can follow me where I am going.  They were comforted by this.


But still, He was going away, and knew they would need continuing comfort.

v. 16        'pray' is a rare Greek word, not the usual one used.  It means ask.  That's why it is not followed by 'to'.  To 'pray to' would mean to pray from earth.  Jesus knew that He would soon be seated on the right hand of the Father, and would simply turn and ask, and He knew that the answer would be yes!


This Comforter is the third person of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit.


ill.--as a kid, the guys I saw on TV who talked about the Holy Spirit were either hitting people on the head, knocking them backward, handling snakes, or talking about God making me rich.

        The ladies I saw who were big on the Holy Ghost either wore NO makeup, or way too much! [how 'bout them eyelashes!]

        And let's be honest, we see more nonsense going on in the name of Spirit-fullness than anything.  You'll see some weird stuff, like holy laughter, holy running, tongues that ignore the rules of I Cor. 14, faith healing and prosperity preaching, drinking of deadly poisons and snake handling.  Weird stuff, and all in the name of the Spirit.  Get to know some of them and you'll realize most of them are pretty weird people anyway...don't blame it on the Spirit, they would be weird without Him.


As a result, we have allowed them to rob us of the true blessing of the Holy Spirit!  We so want to avoid being associated with the extreme, that we have created another extreme of our own.  They're in a ditch on this side of the road, and we're in the other ditch.  It's time to get on track!


This is both exciting and sobering:

        What we see, He sees.  What we listen to, He is subjected to.  What we experience, He experiences.  What we do, we force Him to tag along for!

        "Oh be careful little feet where you go..."

ill.--you can't walk into that bar, hang the Spirit on a coat rack, have your fun, and then pick Him back up on your way out!

        But we are never alone and never forsaken!  Some of you may spend a lot of time in an empty house, but you are never really alone! 


Let's enjoy walking in the Spirit, talking to God in the Spirit, reading our Bibles, explained to us by the Spirit of God within us, our Comforter!


The Holy Spirit takes action from the moment of your salvation, and these 4 things happen immediately: [we don't seek these things...they are already done]

  • You are born of the Spirit - you were dead in sins, incomplete, with a dead spirit, and He quickens [resurrects] it. Now you are complete in His image, body, soul, and spirit, and you can have immediate fellowship with God in the Spirit.

John 3:5-6
5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

  • You are baptized by the Spirit.

1 Corinthians 12:13
13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body...and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

At the moment of salvation you were supernaturally 'baptized into' the body of Christ by the Spirit.  Don't confuse this with water baptism.  That is an outward act, symbolic of the inward baptism which has already taken place. 


  • You are sealed by the Spirit.

Ephesians 4:30
And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

You cannot lose your salvation, because the Spirit sealed it, and no one can break that seal.


  • You are indwelt by the Spirit.

Romans 8:9
But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

God inside of you!


These 4 things are done already for the believer.  But there is something left undone, and we are to seek it every day:  the filling of the Holy Spirit!


  • Are you filled with the Spirit?


Ephes. 5:18

    And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;


Nothing will have a greater impact on the believer than the daily filling of the Spirit. 

ill.--it's much easier to drive a car than to push it, so stop daily at the filling station!

ill.--a chain saw will accomplish much more than a hand saw.  Whose power will be revealed today?  And how sharp is the edge?


A huge problem in Christendom is 'burnout.'  And the filling of the Spirit is the solution.


If you are not daily asking God to fill you with His Comforter, the Holy Ghost, then you are missing out on what it means to live the victorious Christian life!  You've tried it the other way, in your own strength, and look what it has gotten you.  Let's do it God's way! 


The Contrast.

Remember that there's a contrast in Eph. 5:18...between drunkenness and Spirit fulness.

In Acts 2 when the Spirit came at Pentecost, they were accused by some of being drunk, because they were so obviously controlled by some influence.  Peter stood up and said, these aren't drunk, it's 9 AM!  They are filled with the Spirit.


Why does God use such a contrast?  Because getting drunk changes a person.  There's a transformation which takes place.  And so it is with the Spirit filling!

        Now, there's a big difference of course, as drunkenness changes a person in a negative way.  The person who is normally intelligent starts babbling like an idiot.  Normally nice, but now they want to fight!  Normally shy and quiet, and now they are running around with a lamp shade on their head!


joke:  A guy got drunk and thought he could fly, and jumped off the roof of the house.  At the hospital he asked his friend, "I thought I could fly...why did you let me do it?"  He said, "I thought you could too!"


Alcohol changes you in a negative way.  When you are controlled by the influence of the Holy are changed to the positive!


The person who doesn't think they can witness becomes bold for Jesus, and their tongue is taken over.  They are 'under the influence!'


Bitter becomes loving and forgiving.  Fearful becomes confident.  Angry becomes kind.


We all need an attitude adjustment, but it shouldn't be the 'spirits' in bottles, it should be the Spirit in you!


Happy Hour:  the people aren't happy going in...nor out!  If they are happy on the way out, it's a very short-lived happiness, soon to be overcome with a hangover, and if there's happiness in their path as they leave, they have a strong way of ending it in others.


Controlled substance vs. the Controlling Spirit:

  • A person may drink to find happiness, but if they do, it is empty and temporary...a counterfeit.  The Spirit brings lasting joy!
  • A person may do drugs to gain strength, but any strength they receive is counterfeit.  The Spirit gives His strength, which is the real thing!  Strength to labor, strength to suffer, strength to take in and give back again...strength to hope, to love, to resist temptation, to serve God! 
  • A person may fill their belly, their nose, their vein with something in order to find 'escape' from this world, but the world it takes them to doesn't's a counterfeit, and it soon returns them, not back to where they started, but to a much lower level of pain and emptiness!  The Holy Spirit provides an escape to another world, and it's higher, much higher...better, much better...and it's real!


The Command.

"Be filled with the Spirit" is not a's a command!  It's an imperative sentence.

  • This command is imperative!

You dare not disobey as a Christian.  It's all 10 commandments rolled into one NT command.  For the fruit of that Spirit begins with love, for God and others, which sums up all the commandments.  The fruit of that Spirit is the joy, peace and patience we just spoke of.  It controls us, making us gentle and good, faithful and meek, and under control!  And against these things there is no's not a controlled substance, it's the controlling Spirit!


Now, think about this:  "Be not drunk, but be filled"

        If it's a sin to get drunk, and it is...then it's a sin to not be filled with the Spirit!

ill.--how many of you think it would do damage to the church if I were preaching drunk right now?  You would be offended and leave.  Someone would make a video and put it online, and I would be in the news, and the cause of Christ would be harmed!

        Should I then preach, not being filled with the Spirit?


Imagine a member of the church is in the paper for a DUI.  If you think that would be damaging to the church you are right.  And it's even more damaging that many wear the badge of a Christian but they aren't filled, and we should put their picture in the paper!


  • This command is inclusive!

This command is not just given to pastors and teachers and deacons.  It's for all of us children of God.

        John the Baptist was filled with the Spirit, and so was his mother and dad.  It applies to all of us.  We each should get up each day and seek to be filled!


Should you teach or serve in your own power then?  Should anyone ever sing or play without the Spirit?  Singers can sing from their own talents or w/ an anointing that makes it special even if their special isn’t quite so “special”!

No deacon should 'deac' and no usher should 'ush' without it!


Dare you live each day, have a spouse, raise a family, make decisions, without the filling?


contrast, command...


The Control.

ill.--a group of pastors wanted to have D.L. Moody come to their area for a big crusade...all except one, who said, "Why do we need him?  Does D.L. Moody have a monopoly on the Holy Spirit?"  A wise preacher answered, "No, the Holy Spirit has a monopoly on him!"


Moody was uneducated, and not likely to succeed in man's eyes.  He was never ordained to preach.  He was a salesman who got saved, and heard a preacher state that the world has yet to see what God can do with a man completely yielded to him.  And Moody said, by the grace of God, I'll be that man.  And God used him to shake two continents!  He had never been to school, and would butcher the English language.  They say he could pronounce Mesopotamia in 1 syllable!  But God controlled him and transformed this ordinary guy into the mighty evangelist that he became.

        As a side note, Moody got a lot of hate mail, and much of it was anonymous.  One time in a meeting he came to the pulpit and found a small note folded there.  He opened it to find only one word inside, "Fool."  He told the crowd, "In my years I've received a lot of letters with no signatures.  But this is the first time I've ever received a signature with no letter!"

It's not exactly correct to say the filling is like filling a car with gas.

        Being filled doesn't mean we get more of the Spirit.  We already have Him in His entirety.  This is where the Spirit gets more of us.  Open up every part of yourself to Him!


It's not like filling a glass with water.  It's not about how much is inside.  It's about what ELSE is inside.  If other substances are inside, then it is not just water...and water mixed with other things is not water!


“Filled” = “Controlled”.  Every day we can awake and ask God to control our eyes, ears, tongue, feet, private parts, mind/thoughts, nostrils, veins, etc.  Habits and Hang ups can be controlled, but only w/ God’s help!


How can we be filled?  Here's some principles:

·       Self-examination. This takes time, daily, in prayer and in the Word.

Psalm 139:23-24
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:
24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Psalm 19:12
Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults.

Each of us may have some dirty laundry hidden from others, but not God.  But maybe there's some things hidden even from you, and God longs to point those out to us if we will ask Him to! 

Psalm 51:6
Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.

 ·       Confession.

1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Be specific, ask God to bring it to mind, name them one by one.  Our problem is we want to sin retail and confess wholesale!  "Forgive me for ALL my sins!"

And don't just ask what is wrong, but what is right.  Are my priorities set on eternity?  What am I living for?  If you are full of worldly pursuits and ambitions, there's no room for God's Spirit.  We must be emptied before we can be filled! 

  • Surrender.

This confession must include surrender.  If you say, Lord, you can have every part of me except for this, you undermine the filling of the Spirit.

ill.--When General Douglas MacArthur accepted the surrender of the Japanese on the USS Missouri, the Japanese Admiral, dressed in war regalia, approached, and held out his hand to the General.  What did MacArthur say?  "Your sword first."  It was a symbol of disarmament.

·       Prayer. - Ask God to fill you

Luke 11:13
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

And do it daily.  It's not a once and for all thing.  We sin everyday.  We need continual filling.

Just as you can't push you grocery cart to the register and say one blessing over the week's meals, but rather should be thankful every meal, you cannot just say 'I do' at the altar of Spirit fullness and it be a long and happy marriage.  You need to show your love and give of yourself every day!  It's not a quick fix or a cure all.  You can be filled today, and blow it tomorrow.  Paul said, "I die daily."  It's a daily thing to seek.

ill.--a man would cry out in every church prayer service, Lord, fill me!  A lady nearby got tired of it and said, "Don't do it, Lord, he leaks!"

        It's true!  "Be filled with the Spirit" is in the progressive tense, literally, "Be being filled!"

Take this challenge:  Every day, take a few minutes before you leave home, and do self-examination by the Spirit, confess, repent, surrender, and simply ask for God's Spirit to fill you today.  Your life will be under control.  Bad things will still happen, but it will be under control.  You'll still be tempted, but it's under control.  And there will be greater opportunities to serve God, because your day is guided by Him.  He will make divine appointments for you because your schedule is under His control!

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