The Helper

by Jeffrey W. Hamilton

Text: John 16:1-15


I.         Lifting a few statements from their context can often make a writer appear to say things he never intended.

            A.        It happens in politics all the time, and it happens in religion as well.

            B.        In his last hours, Jesus made a series of promises concerning the Helper that the religious world has misapplied.

II.        Another Helper - John 14:16-17

            A.        Islamic teachers claim that this is referring to Muhammad.

                        1.         First, they claim that it cannot be the Holy Spirit because they already had the Spirit

                                    a.         But verse 17 says that the Helper is the Spirit of Truth.

                                    b.         Later, in John 14:26, the Helper is identified as the Holy Spirit

                                                (1)       Islamic teachers want to say it added, but there is no variation of text found in John 14:26 to show it was added.

                                                (2)       Instead it is solidly consistent across all manuscripts

                        2.         Second, they claim that “comforter,” which translates paracletos (helper, comforter,advocate, or counselor), was a corruption from periclytos (praised one or Ahmad or Muhammad).

                                    a.         The problem is that there is no variation of text that hints that this word changed. In fact, this particular word is rock solid through all the various manuscripts.

            B.        Jesus stated why the Helper would be sent - John 14:18

                        1.         Jesus had been saying he was leaving them - John 14:1-4

                        2.         The Helper was to be with these apostles after Jesus leaves

III.       He will teach you all things - John 14:25-26

            A.        “We have continuous, daily access to the Holy Spirit for wherever we go He is with us – and He has promised that He will never leave us nor forsake us. Each one of us have dwelling within our hearts the omnipotent, omniscient, eternal, glorious, gentle Holy Spirit, Who has come to live in us, to be our Advocate and Counsellor [sic.], our Teacher and Instructor, our Comforter and our ever present Helper in time of trouble.” [Knowing Jesus].

                        1.         Notice it changes from Jesus talking to the apostles to being for every Christian.

                        2.         But also notice that the Spirit would bring to remembrance everything Jesus taught them. He is referring to his teachings while here on earth that he gave to his disciples.

                        3.         We are not among that number.

            B.        What is often claimed by Pentecostals is that all Christians will direct know everything God wants them to know.

            C.        Those who claim it is for all Christians argue that there are other sections that apply to everyone, such as John 15:1-8.

                        1.         What is ignored is that John 15:1-8 speaks of general principles: “”Every branch that does not bear fruit.”

                        2.         This is not the same as the specific promise in John 14:26, nor the following verses - John 14:27-31.

                                    a.         “Do not let your heart be troubled”

                                    b.         “I have told you before it happens”

                                    c.         “I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming”

                                    d.         “Get up, let us go from here.” Which makes a transition before John 15, by the way.

IV.      The Helper will testify of me - John 15:26-27

            A.        Several denominations cite this passage to state that we are to personally testify of what Jesus has done for us. For examples, this testimony is considered as evidence of salvation among the Baptists.

            B.        Once again, who is the “you” in this passage?

                        1.         “You” have been with Jesus from the beginning.

                        2.         That can only be the apostles. Even in the early days there were few disciples who could claim this - Acts 1:21-22

            C.        What Jesus was promising that the Holy Spirit would help the apostles in this task of witnessing about Jesus’ life on earth, his teachings, and his resurrection.

                        1.         Peter said he and the other apostles were witnesses - Acts 2:32; 3:15; 10:39

                        2.         Peter also said the Holy Spirit was among the witnesses - Acts 5:32

                                    a.         He is referring to the miracles that the Holy Spirit performed to support the apostles.

V.        The Helper would guide them into all the truth - John 16:7-15

            A.        Again, this verse is cited to say that the Holy Spirit will directly guide each Christian and give the gift of prophecy. Some go so far as to say that you can’t understand the Bible unless the Spirit comes and reveals it to you.

            B.        Notice the context

                        1.         They could not bear to hear the rest of what Jesus need to say to them - John 16:12

                                    a.         Why? Because Jesus was with them - John 16:1-4

                        2.         They will shortly no longer see Jesus - John 16:16

                        3.         Jesus is talking to the apostles

            C.        They had the things of God from the Spirit - I Corinthians 2:6-13

                        1.         We can trust the teachings of the apostles as equally as those of Christ because the source of their teachings were the same.

                        2.         This was assurance to them, and to us, that the apostles would be able to record Jesus’ complete teaching.

                        3.         And through that teaching, the world would be convicted - John 16:8-11

VI.      It is wrong to take promises made to the apostles and apply them to everyone

            A.        The words are recorded so that we might trust their teachings as being not their own, but Christ’s

            B.        The Spirit then guides us through the words the Spirit had recorded through the apostles.

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