Thursday, May 23, 2019

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By : Lonnie Branam [ Sermon Holy Spirit: Advocate Against Unbelievers ]

Lonnie Branam

Jesus Christ, the Master Teacher of the world, made this statement to His apostles shortly before He returned to heaven: “I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever, even the Spirit of truth whom the world cannot receive because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you”(John 14:16-18). In this scripture Jesus called the Holy Spirit a Comforter, and He is the third person in the Godhead. Most people in the world do not believe such a person exists that Jesus called the Holy Spirit. Jesus referred to the existence of the Holy Spirit four times in the New Testament, and He is the greatest Teacher this world has ever seen or heard. Jesus said that God sent Him to bear witness to the truth. The fact that Jesus applied the term Comforter to the Holy Spirit is very strong evidence that that He is a real person, and not just a force or an it as some surmise. In the Old King James version this person Jesus called the Comforter is called the Holy Ghost We should no longer use this term; it is an erroneous and superstitious term. In the 1600's the word ghost used to mean “spirit.” The true name of the third person of the Godhead Spirit or Holy Spirit which describes His nature as immaterial, invisible and pure.
In the first place a few words are in order on the different translations of the word rendered “Comforter.” Some translations even leave the word untranslated and render it paraclete. If we substitute and English letter for each Greek letter in the original Greek word, it comes out paraclete in English. However, this is not a translation but a transliteration which is to write or spell in corresponding characters of another alphabet. The result was to give us a new English word, paraclete, which few people know the meaning of. Paraclete is the original Greek in John 14:16 because the New Testament was originally written in Greek. Thanks to Alexander the Great, Greek was the most widely used language in the first Century A.D. Other translations render the word helper, counselor and advocate. This gives some idea of the differing opinions as to the import of this interesting word
According to Thayer's Greek Lexicon the word literally means, “called to one's side” or “one called to the side of another.” Among te Greeks it very frequently referred to a person called to one's aid, especially in a court of justice. A good lawyer or counselor was certainly a comforter in such situations. Thus he term described one who pleaded another's case before a judge–a pleader, counselor for defense, legal assistant, an advocate. In the widest sense the word could also mean a teacher. intercessor or standby.
Furthermore, it is very noteworthy that the Holy Spirit is called
“another comforter.” Jesus said, “I will pray the Father, and He will give you another comforter.” We learn here that the Holy Spirit is not the only paraclete. When Jesus was on earh He was the other paraclete, and continues to be so since He returned to heaven. Christ had already stood in the person of a paraclete to His disciples while He was with them on earth. He was their advocate and defended them against all opposition and against their enemies. He answered the scoffers, unbelievers, hypocrites, the Pharisees, Sadducees, the Sanhedrin. Having a perfect knowledge of the scriptures He rebuked the Jewish nation for mistranslating the law of Moses and for ignoring prophecies that clearly referred to Him. He charged them with exalting their traditional beliefs above what God said in the scriptures. On one occasion He said, “In vain you worship God, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” He was the legal representative for His disciples on the word of God, and He spoke with authority. He stood as an aid to the disciples in correctly interpreting the Old Testament scriptures. He was the way, the truth and the life.
But now He was going away, and the Father would send them another Comforter who would be with Christians to the end of the world. Not only was Jesus a paraclete or helper when He was on earth, but He continues to be a paraclete for Christians today as He sits at the right hand of God. Near the close of the first century the apostle John wrote these words to Christians, “My liittle children, these things I write unto you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world“(I John 2:1,2). The word in this passage rendered “propitiation” in most verions means, "atoning sacrifice." His death on the cross was God's reconciliation or appeasement for sin. Verse 1 literally reads, We have a paraclete with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” I don't know of any translations that use the word “Comforter” in this passage. Here advocate primarily means an advocate who pleads and interceded for Christians before Almighty God the great Judge of all. Christ, as the advocate of Christians, pleads and mediates their case with the Father when they sin. It is no simple matter for Christians to be forgiven of sins committed after baptism. Christ is the Christian's legal Counselor and represents him or her before the bar of justice. Christ, not the Pope of Rome, is also our High Priest and mediates the cause of Christians before with the blood He shed as a sacrifice for our sins, and for our sin only, but for the sin of the whole world. However the revealed truth that Christ also is a paraclete raises a very interesting question. What do we need with two advocates? If Christ is our advocate at the right hand of God, what then is the work of
the Holy Spirit who is another advocate? At the request of Jesus, God sent the Holy Spirit to Christians as an Advocate or Lawyer, or Defense Counselor to plead their cause of Christians against the unbelieving wold. The Holy Spirit is the Christian's Advocate against an evil and unbelieving .world. His work is to defend Christ against all of His enemies on this earth and against all who oppose the Christian religion and endanger the faith of Christians. The Holy Spirit was sent to prove to a doubting and unbelieving world that Jesus Christ was who He said was, an Incarnate Deity. He proved to the Jews that they crucified their Messiah whom Jehovah sent, and who was predicted by the prophets in the Holy Scriptures. Christians have always been in dire need of a Counselor, an Advocate or a Helper to answer all the deceiving arguments, theories and lies that an unbelieving world has made against the Christian religin. Christians in all ages have never been able to answer the powerful arguments, theories and falsehoods that discredit the claims of Christ and the claims of the Christian religion. The work of Christ since His return to heaven is at the right hand of God as the paraclete for Christians pleading their cause before God when they sin. The work of the Holy Spirit is on the earth as the paraclete of Christians against an atheistic, agnostic, doubting and unbelieving world. I tend toward the school of thought which makes the Holy Spirit primarily an advocate, the Defender of the faith and secondarily a Comforter. He is a Comforter to us only because He advocates for Christ and His religion against an opposing and unbelieving world.
What is the evidence that the Holy Spirit has completely answered the most convincing arguments of an unbelieving and disobedient world that will not accept Christianity.? He has answered all antichrist teachers, scientific unbelievers, evolutionists and intellectual thinkers in high places. When the world stands against Christians, the Holy Spirit stands against the world and speaks for Christians. As the word paraclete means, He has come to our side as a Counselor, an aid and helper. Consider with me some of the powerful ways He has stood for Christians and against a world that loves to dispute about true religion. Jesus spoke to the apostles about the work the Spirit would do in Luke 12:11, “And when they bring you into the synagogues and unto magistrates, and powers, take no thought how or what you shall answer, or what you shall say; for the Holy Spirit shall teach you in the same hour what you ought to say.” When the apostles appeared before unbelieving rulers, the Holy Spirit took over their minds, and they spoke as the Holy Spirit moved them. As a result unbelieving rulers admired the wisdom and speech of these unlearned apostles. As an advocate He protected them against an unbelieving world. In the first century no thinker, rulersopher or religionist was a match for the apostles in the first century. They were inspired men who spoke as the Spirit gave them utterance. When called before rulers and magistrates, the Holy Spirit came to their side and did the speaking for them. The apostles were simply His mouthpiece. The Advocate of Christians was simply defending them before an unbelieving world. No thinker, ruler, philosopher, or antichrist teacher was a match for the apostles of the first century. Furthermore, the Spirit guided the apostles into all truth Jesus did not reveal and also by supernatural power brought to their remembrance all truth they heard from Jesus during His earthly ministry. What an Advocate or Lawyer the Holy Spirit has been for the Christian religion! As a pleader for the cause of Christianity, He is also our Comforter, understandably so.
In addition the Holy Spirit stood against the unbelieving world in the first century by filling the New Testament church with numerous miraculous gifts that awed the first century world. He personally saw to it that the Christian religion got its feet on the ground. It was these awe-inspiring miracles that caused the spread of Christianity throughout the then known world. The unbelief of most scientific thinkers and most modern day historians is due to the fact they have ignored all this miraculous evidence clearly revealed in the Bile. Without honestly and carefully examining this evidence, they have arrived at erroneous conclusions on the Bible, God, Christ and the Christian religion. Most of the scientific world has made an inexcusable error in their inductive reasoning. As a result they have reached conclusions without examining all the facts and evidence n the Bible, which is the most respected book and the only authoritative history of the world and mankind in the possession of the human race.
Let me give you an outstanding example of how the Holy Spirit convinced a large part of the world that the Christian religion was the true religion which Jehovah God gave to all mankind. In fact, with the help of our Advocate's miraculous powers the Christian religion conquered most of the world during the first three centuries A.D. It even became the official state religion of the entire Roman Empire. Neither scientists nor historians can deny this historical fact, but many inexcusably ignore it. How did the Holy Spirit perform this great historical wonder? From 33 A.D. to 100 A.D. the Holy Spirit pleaded, defended and interceded for Christianity in a miraculous, extraordinary way. Jesus revealed that the Holy Spirit would do this in a statement He made just before He ascended to heaven. In Mark 16:15-18 Jesus said to the apostles, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is immersed will be saved, but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs(miracles) will follow those who believe: in My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it will by no mans hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.” When the apostles went into all the world, they and Christians took all these miraculous powers with them.The Holy Spirit empowered the apostles to give all these supernatural powers to selected Christians in each congregation. In addition to the five just mentioned, there were ten or twelve other miraculous gifts performed by the first century church(I Cor. 6-11). Now Christians can perform all these miracles today, or they can perform none of them. No one has a right to pick out the easy ones such as tongue-speaking and healing, and leave out deadly snakes, drinking poison and exorcism. The truth is that none of these first century miracles can be done today. So-called faith healers are using trickery to deceive gullible people that they can heal, and speak in tongues through the Holy Spirit. All the miracles performed by the early Christians were works done through the Holy Spirit, the Advocate of the Christian religion. The only way Christians could receive one of these miraculous gifts was by the laying on of an apostle's hand(Acts 8:14-21). When the apostle died, miraculous gifts ended. For this valid and revealed reason, none of these miraculous works can be done today. All these wonders were done through the Holy Spirit in the most difficult time of the Christian religion. Since the death of the apostles and the close of the first century A.D., the Holy Spirit has worked through Christians in an ordinary, non-miraculous way. Miracles are no longer needed All those miracles that convinced thousands and thousands of Jews to leave the Jewish religion and caused million of Gentiles to leave idolatry for Christianity proved beyond all dispute that the Christian religion was and is a gift from Jehovah God. to the human race.
They were needed then to successfully establish the Christian religion as God's one true religion. Those miracles that proved that truth then proves it now. No more miracles are needed, and no more will be given. The Christian religion was proven to be from God one time for all time by the miracles of the first century. The Holy Spirit reveals to mankind they are the children of God by faith and obedience to Jesus Christ by motivating them to faith, repentance and baptism and to love for God and our fellow human beings. All His work is now done through the written word of God in the Old Testament and the New Testament. He is the Author of the 66 books of the Bible. The canon is now closed forever. If we lived as long as Methuselah there would be no need for additional revelations from God. In the present day and time, when the unbelieiving world stands against the Christian religion, the Holy Spirit stands aganist an unbelieving world. How does He do that without miracles. He works through Christians. He continues to be the Advocate of Christians and the defender of the faith against all unbelievers because we have all His agruments, teachings and wisdom He gave to the apostles. No one can stand against Christians today if they know the truth the Holy Spirit gave to the apostles of Christ. Somewhere in the Bible there is an answer to any argument that any unbeliever can brig against the Christian religion, scientific or otherwise. In closing I ask you to pray for the young people of the opening decades of the 21st century. A horrible thing has been done to them. Their fathers and forefathers have taken God and Christ away from them. As the seek an education today, they are sitting at the feet of teachers in High Schools and most Universities who do not believe in God, Christ, and the Christian religion. They are being brainwashed by the theory of Evolution that sees no need in the belief in God and Christ. The younger generation does not know that the Holy Spirit, the third Person in the Godhead comforts Christians by being their Defense Lawyer defender of the faith against an unbelieving world with its false claims and opposition to the one true God, and Christ the Savior of the world, Our young people are in trouble. Pray for them.

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